Wednesday, October 20, 2010

FaceTime for Mac - just about perfect

The artistic sociopath alternates cruel sadism with lovely gifts.

That's Apple.

The gift this time is FaceTime for Mac. It's just about perfect. Best of all, unlike the long dead iChat app it replaces, it's not tied to an OS release - it works for 10.6 and beyond. I dare to hope Apple is decoupling app functionality from OS release, but that's because I've got Stockholm Syndrome.

Seriously, OS coupling made iChat worthless. If Apple doesn't want to repeat that mistake, they have to maintain FaceTime outside of OS cycles.

On the other hand, there's not that much to maintain. It's pretty good as is. I'd like to see bigger buttons, but it's the kind of simple UI an elderly person with good vision can work with. (Apple is paying attention to demographics.)

During initial setup you can use your MobileMe account [1] or start a new apple account. You then associate it with ANY email address you own. After initial setup you can assign multiple addresses; they're simply unique identifiers that Apple assigns to your Facetime account identifier. You can choose one of these to be your callback email.

I love that "that you can also start a call from Mac OS X via URLs like facetime://appleid or facetime://email@address or facetime://phone#".

I tried this by embedding this protocol into a Google sites page. !It worked!

This means I can create a web page for my mother with a large clickable link target. That's far more useable for her than Google Video Chat or OS X iChat.

That's cool.

[1] Please do not make my MobileMe renewal mistake!

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