Thursday, 19 November 2009 19:46

Video chatting with your dog

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It's definitely been hard leaving Evie while I go to work, but as you can see in my separation anxiety post I'm doing everything I can to help her. But I have anxiety too, so my solution is to check in on her via video chat. (She sleeps a lot, plays with her toys, and whines for about 5-10 mins every once in a while.)
So how can you do that too? Well, you could buy a special setup to watch your dog, but since I'm a Mac geek I figured out an (almost) free solution.

Equipment & software needed:
  • 2 Mac computers
  • 1 webcam on your home computer
  • 2 AIM accounts (free)
  • MobileMe account ($99 a year)
Steps:
  1. Once your MobileMe account is set up, go into your System Preferences and turn on Back to My Mac on both computers. Make sure to turn on screen sharing in your Sharing preferences as well. Also make sure your home computer is not set to sleep when inactive (Energy Saver).
  2. Setup your AIM accounts on iChat, one on each computer. Test out the webcam to make sure it works properly with iChat (if it's built in it should be no problem) and that it's pointing at the area where your dog is. Make sure you're logged to the AIM accounts on each computer.
  3. On the away-from-home computer, open up a Finder window. You should see your home computer listed on the left-hand side under Shared. Click on the home computer and then click on Share Screen at the top right of the Finder window. You will have to enter in the user name and password for your home computer. Once you do you should be able to see and control the screen of your home computer (pretty cool huh?!)
  4. Open up iChat and find the away-from-home computer's user name on your Buddy List. Click on that and then click the video camera icon at the bottom of the iChat buddy list window. A window will pop up on your away-from-home computer asking if you want to video chat - click accept. You should now be able to see video of your dog at home!
  5. You can exit the Screen Sharing/Back to My Mac and continue to video chat. However, if you close the video chat window on your away-from-home computer you'll have to start all over to video chat again.
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