Review: iCam app streams webcam to your iPhone

I was pretty shocked when I read on Gizmodo that a man had used the iCam iPhone app to watch as someone burglarized his home. Not just because the story was so crazy, but because I often wondered what I would do if I witnessed my home getting robbed while using that exact same iPhone app. I’ve been testing the iCam app for several weeks and, while it won’t keep intruders out of your home, it will certainly give you some piece of mind while you are traveling.

The iCam app allows you to monitor your webcam via your iPhone (or iPod Touch) from anywhere so long as you have an Edge, 3G or WiFi signal. Obviously, WiFi is ideal for monitoring the video, but I was surprised with how well it streamed over 3G, as well. You can also enable motion detector alerts which will push notifications to you whenever your webcam senses movement. This is ideal for people wanting to use iCam for home security.

In order to use iCam, you must first download the free software to your computer (available for both Mac OS and Windows) and download the $4.99 app to your iPhone. A very simple setup process links your webcam to your iPhone, allowing you to remotely view your camera feed from anywhere you have a signal.

I tested the app while remotely keeping an eye on my two dogs. iCam allows you to stream up to four webcams directly to your iPhone, so my girlfriend and I set up both of our MacBooks in the bedroom while our dogs stayed behind. Leaving your dogs at home can be stressful, so having the ability to check in on them no matter where we are definitely intrigued us.

When you open the iCam app on your iPhone, you see thumbnail views of every feed that you linked to your phone. In the photo above, you can see our two camera feeds. Tapping on one of the small boxes opens that feed in full screen, as shown here:

Additionally, you can set iCam to take still images of any motion activities that it detects. Curious pet owners will finally see what their dogs and cats do when left alone and victims of burglaries may just have a critical piece of evidence to show to law enforcement officials.

On a few occasions, iCam failed to sync with my webcam. I remedied this once by repeating the initial setup and two other times the situation resolved itself when I closed the iPhone app, waited a few minutes and relaunched it.

Overall, the iCam app is worthy of its $4.99 price tag. It provides piece of mind, shows only a few signs of being infrequently buggy and offers more than enough features beyond just the video streaming to make it both useful and entertaining (at least for people watching their pets while also out with friends).

If you have pets (or perhaps a babysitter that you don’t trust) or want an inexpensive home monitoring system, then iCam might just be right for you.

The iCam app is available in the iTunes App Store and the software for your computer is available on the company’s website.

Flying Pasties hide your privates from full body scanners

We’ve covered the issue of full body scanners in airports pretty extensively here at Gadling. More and more airports are implementing the security devices and more people are crying foul as they fear that their right to privacy is being disregarded. Now, a creative company has introduced a product to protect travelers’ privacy, modesty and genitalia. Flying Pasties (some images potentially NSFW) are rubber pads that you place over your nether regions so that anyone reviewing your image on a full body scanner doesn’t see anything that you wouldn’t want to expose without first being taken out for dinner.

Flying Pasties aren’t stickers or paper cut-outs. They’re 2mm thick pieces of rubber that adhere to your skin to cover your breasts and genitalia. According to the manufacturer, when your image appears on the full body scanner monitors, areas of skin covered by the Flying Pasties will not be visible to the security agent.

The pasties come in sets for women including two breast pasties and one bottom and one bottom piece for males. They are emblazoned with text such as “Private” and “Only my husband sees me naked.” The company does offer the option to customize the message your pasties.

Flying Pasties sets for women retail for $24.99, but the company is offering an introductory rate of $16.99. Male bottoms are $9.99 and a set for a man and woman is currently $19.99 instead of $29.99.

Would you wear rubber pasties to hide your naughty bits? Have you been exposed by a full body scanner? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Five stylish items that save time in a security check

We’ve all been there. A security check procedure goes something like this – untie and remove shoes, unbuckle and remove belt, take out wallet, drop keys in the bowl, dig into your bag for your laptop, then step through the metal detector only to discover you had change in your pocket.

It’s an annoying process but one set in place to keep us all safe. So we deal with it. Seasoned travelers know there are shortcuts for the security hubbub and travel goods manufacturers are constantly innovating new products that help us get to our gates a little quicker. Here are five products that fit the bill.

Jimi Wallet
The beauty of the Jimi lies in it’s simplicity. The basic clamshell design and minimalist approach are ideal for those who know how to pare down to the essentials when traveling. With room for a few credit/debit cards, an ID, an insurance card, and a few bills the Jimi forces the user to keep it simple. Its translucent water resistant casing is versatile enough for a trip to the beach or a hike in the hills. The included money clip is also made of plastic and won’t set off the sirens as you breeze through security. All this coolness comes in under $15. The Jimi shows us that plastic wallets aren’t just for kids.

Kavu Burly Belt
Belts are often forgotten as a flier strolls into the metal detector. Then it’s back through the scanner or into the dreaded plastic booth for a pleasant wanding. Kavu has taken a similar approach to our friend the Jimi Wallet. The Kavu Burly Belt uses a plastic fastener for a buckle and doesn’t incorporate metal anywhere in the design. The trippy designs on the webbing that makes up the strap will make your more outdoorsy friends jealous.

Chaco Flip Pro
“pictured above”
This uber-cool flop, available in men’s and women’s models, sports a webbing upper and a rubber lower. The sole is Vibram and is designed to grip all types of terrain. Unlike many flip flops the Flip Pro also keeps feet comfy for the long haul by including an arch. The advantage to flops in the security line are obvious; simply slip out and slide through.Kelty Platform
This day pack is a workhorse in disguise. The rugged exterior gives the Platform a casual appearance but hides some handy features. The ventilated back panel deters a sweaty back when traveling in hot or humid conditions. The strap-to-sling carry configuration allows two ways to carry the bag. But the feature that will help you get past security with lightning speed is the laptop side zipper. This long zipper runs down the side of the pack and accesses only the laptop compartment to allow for a quick grab as you enter the line.

Tech4o Traileader Pro
Who says a plastic watch can’t look professional? The Traileader Pro boasts not only the ability to slip through security without removal but is also packed with features that could prove useful if your destination includes outdoor activities. The Traileader Pro has a built-in compass, barometer, altimeter, and weather forecast for the more adventurous trips.

By upgrading a few items in your travel kit to non-metal accessories and items designed for quick action you will be through security quicker and on to the coffee shop on the other side to check your email. With that said, there are never any guarantees that the guy in front of you won’t have a pocket full of quarters.

Video shows the cause of Newark Airport shutdown – a couple in love

On Sunday, thousands of passengers ended up stuck at Newark airport for several hours, forced to evacuate the terminal, go through security again, and wait for the many flight delays and disruptions that happened as a result.

Some passengers tried to make the best of the situation. Many probably expressed frustration with the TSA employee who allowed a mystery man to walk the wrong way through a security checkpoint. And others may have wondered who the man was who caused them to suffer through the ordeal.

Was he a terrorist checking out the security system? Was he a man who made an Innocent mistake? No, as the just-released video footage of the incident suggests, he was a just a guy in love, looking for a few more minutes with his sweetheart. On the video below, you can see him hanging out by the security desk. He’s asked to move and does so, but when the guard leaves his post just a few seconds later, the guy takes that opportunity to duck under the rope and join his lady friend.

Ah, love. Cute, right? No. Not even a little. As a result of this guy breaking the law, and of the TSA employee’s failure to do his job, thousands of people were needlessly evacuated from the terminal. Time and money were wasted. And a few hundred people probably missed important connections or meetings, or at least had their vacation get off to a really bad start.

This guy wasn’t a terrorist (just an idiot), but the next person who tries and succeeds in getting past security could be. More than just frustrating travelers going through Newark on Sunday, the incident exposed just how insufficient TSA security is. What good are X-ray scanners and full-body pat-downs when a guy can simply breeze past an empty guard desk? It looks like our biggest threat to security may not be underpants bombs, but rather the lax attitudes of some employees within the TSA.

The TSA employee has been placed on administrative leave. The man who slipped past security has not been identified.


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Check out these other stories from the airport checkpoint!

Fill your bottles before going to UK … because you can

The British government is planning to ease its ban on the amount of liquid you can take into and out of the country. Currently, passengers are only allowed to carry 100 ml bottles. Improved airport X-ray machines are expected to render that limit unnecessary. If all goes well – based on secret technology being tested by German scientists – the ban could be lifted by the end of the year.

Originally, the prohibition on fluids was enacted as a response to summer 2006 terror attacks. This new technology would improve the ability of security personnel to identify nefarious liquids. So, if all goes well, it will have taken us 3 ½ years to get back to the 2006 norm. Finally, a return to the days of easy duty free liquor!