Smile Mac Users!

by on March 15, 2007 · 12 comments

If you’ve got a Mac with an iSight camera, (like the one that came with my shiny new MacBook) what you’re looking at on the right there is your own face, rendered by Apple’s graphics system to look “painted.” I think that’s awfully damn cool.

Update: I got some reports that this was screwing up PC users, so I’ve moved it below the fold…

Is it also creepy and disturbing? People who know better than me say no: this hack only shows the local camera to the local user. You’d have to compromise the machine itself to access the camera remotely. And the camera has a helpful little green light to notify you when it’s taking pictures.

Still, this is something people need to be aware of. If you’ve got a computer with a camera built in and it got compromised, people could indeed abscond with video (and audio) of whatever your camera happens to be pointed at. So update your software regularly, and put a piece of tape over your camera before you do anything really embarrassing in front of it.

Hat tip to this guy from whom I’m clumsily hotlinking the Quicktime movie. I’ve got just enough technical skill to copy and paste his HTML, but not enough to create a copy of the .mov file on my own server that works.

For non-Mac users, here’s what it looks like. Those are my kitchen cabinets in the background:


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