Category Archives: IOS Apps

Use Your Phone as a Webcam for Zoom on Computer

It is July 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jokes in the IT sector is that the novel coronavirus is the leading agent for digital transformation and not the CxOs. The pandemic has spurred the world to change the way many things operate, especially desk bound job roles. Now, it is also transforming how I work from home.

Many of us who can simply work at a desk, with a computer that has internet access can essentially work from home. This is all thanks to the development of high speed Internet access for homes, and the maturity of many other technologies lie VPN, VDI, Remote Device Management softwares, Windows, MacOS and many more. One of the very highly utilised tools is the remote collaboration & conferencing solutions. This led to the rise of Zoom, and the likes.

Zoom was adopted by Nutanix before the pandemic, and became the de facto by the time we went into a global WFH mode. Although we still have access to other tools like Webex, but that’s another discussion altogether.

Physical Set Up of the iPhone 5S on a holder with a Gorilla Tripod

Let’s get back on topic, using your phone as a webcam. No, this is not simply to join a Zoom call on your smart phone and use the camera there, but to tether your smart phone to your laptop, and use the camera on the phone. Either as a replacement to the built in cam on the laptop, or as an additional camera.

Prior to this mass movement to work from home, turning on webcams in a web conference call was a rare practice. Once a while, someone will switch it on, and half that time it could be by accident. Now that we hardly see each other face to face in the office, it’s become common practice to enable the camera by default.

Web Conference Etiquette

All these while, I’ve been using the built in camera in my MacBook Pro, and I’m starting to see areas of improvement. It’s primary about the camera angle. I have extended my home office set up to have multi cameras, and more often than not, I am not looking at my laptop’s screen. From the perspective of the other parties I’m on a call with, I appear to be looking else where. I became even more aware about this as I come across posts about web conferencing etiquettes.

As I prefer to look at my larger screens, the solution to improving the experience is to leverage an external webcam. There are may choices in the market nowadays, and a popular cam like the Logitech Brio can go way beyond S$300. Till the day I need to do live streams at 4K resolutions, I’m fine to try something cheaper.

The hunt for budget 1080P web cams

Searching through the usual online portals like Amazon, Lazada, Shopee and Taobao, and picking up reviews over YouTube, I came across 1080p cams with large variance of prices. Logitech ones still command over S$160 a unit, and unknown brands can be like S$25. S$25 would have seem too cheap for a product give a good experience, and let alone any Mac OS support. Not taking risk there. The middle ground would be those that have been covered by YouTube reviews and they generally show samples of the image quality. I eventually narrowed the selection down to the Jelly Comb 1080P Webcam, or the Nanshiba 1080P Webcam. Granted, both are not by well known webcam manufacturers, but at least from YouTube reviews, they are good enough, and within the comfort of my budget.

S$10 EpocCam gives another life to my aged iPhone 5S

Just as I was about to place an order, I discovered on more way. Using my existing smartphones as the webcam. There are a couple of solutions out there, and one worked sufficiently well with my iPhone 5S and Mac OS X. That is the EpocCam by Kinoni. There are free (Ad driver) versions of the app to try. If you like it, you can then buy the Pro version from the app store. It is S$10.98 on the Singapore Apple app store. I really appreciate that these are no in-app purchases, and they fully support sharing the paid app via Family Sharing. The Google Play store also has a similar versions of free and paid apps. The Pro not only removes the in app Ads but also unlocks more functionality, like allowing higher resolutions than 640×480, and the use of the phone’s mic.

Setting up EpocCam with Zoom

To get it going is pretty straight forward, and with a caveat. Install the app on the smart phone, and the driver on the computer. When the app on the phone launches, it will automatically detect the computer and start streaming the camera feed to the computer. To use the feed in Zoom, we simply need to set the camera in zoom to EpocCam.

Phone to Computer connects over WIFI or USB (for iOS only)

Here’s the first gotcha on Mac OS X, the security in the OS blocks the use of virtual cams. (I suspect maybe because they are unsigned). The Kinoni website has the workaround documented in their FAQ, under the Troubleshooting section. It’s a simple 2-3 steps process. I’ll repeat it here, in case that changes in the future.

  1. Install Xcode command line tools via by typing: xcode-select –install
  2. Remove application’s code signature with, for Zoom type: sudo codesign –remove-signature /Applications/
  3. Quit and relaunch the app with signature removed, it will now detect EpocCam
Camera Selection in Zoom with the Virtual Cams
EpocCam Microphone works well

After restarting Zoom, you should start to see EpocCam as an available Camera source. I’ll touch on the other OBS Virtual Camera in a bit.

The other feature I like with the EpocCam Pro is that it also allows the phone to be used as a microphone. This is extremely handy on my 2014 Mac Mini that doesn’t have a MIC port. I must admit that it works quite well too.

EpocCam is great but not perfect

I’ll say first that I really like what the S$10 solution is giving me. Like everything else, there are room for improvements. I hope Kinoni can address this eventually.

  • The app does not rotate at all, and only works in landscape mode. It will also not flip around if the phone rotates 180°. If you like landscape or need to flip the phone (like I do), you will need another intermediate software, OBS, and the add on OBS Virtual Cam. That is why there is the additional camera in my camera list above. The diagram below shows the components I have installed to get the final result. With OBS there are also other cool things that can be done, it’s a post for another day.
The cam feed path from Phone to Zoom
  • This is probably not something EpocCam can improve on, but be aware. The phone can run pretty hot if using the main camera. As comparison, when I run a banking app, the phone gets really hot too. With the front facing camera, no heating issue. I ran it for 3 hours plus while writing this blog and the temperature remained comfortable. My guess is that it’s probably due to the aged processor of the iPhone 5S being driven hard by iOS 12.

My set up

Here is a combination on how I set up the software, just simple points to guide you along. I’m also very new to OB, if you have suggestions to improve on it, please do share.

Software Configurations and Operations

Installation of the apps are pretty straightforward, I assume you should be able to do that on your own.

  1. EpocCam on iPhone – set the resolution to 1280×720 & switch to front camera
  2. EpocCam Driver – nothing else needed, at most a reboot
  3. OBS – Don’t need to configure any streaming options;
    • Settings – set the Video base canvas and output resolutions to 1280×720
    • Sources – Add a Video Capture Device, choose EpocCam, with 1280×720 preset, no need for buffering. Name the source meaningfully, especially if you use more than one. Move the source to fit where you want on the canvas. Simplest is just to line them up, as they are the same size.
    • If the video image is not at the right way up, select your source and use Transform to rotate/flip as necessary.
  4. Zoom – follow the steps on Kinoni FAQ to allow the use to Virtual Cams on macOS

Once all these are up, you are ready to use the set up. Remember, what will be seen by the Zoom participants are what you assemble together in OBS Studio. So to get it all from Phone cam to Zoom, we need to complete these steps, in no particular order.

OBS Virtual Cam filler
  • Start EpocCam HD on the phone
  • Start OBS Studio and make sure you can see the camera feed
  • Within OBS Studio select Tools > Start Virtual Camera
    • If we miss this step, you’ll see a nice filler instead
  • Start Zoom meeting, choose OBS Virtual Camera as camera source

That’s all to it for a quick start. Have fun and enjoy experimenting around.

Wrapping Up

I’m going to try a double cam feed on my upcoming Zoom calls. It will be interesting to find the right angle and OBS layout.

Other features I will look at exploring are having various scenes, and to switch between them. One use case I have is when having long calls, like workshops that I run, I can switch the scene to show “break time”, instead of just an empty seat.

OBS is a very popular software used by many streamers and there are so much more things we can potentially do with it. One potential integration I can imagine now is with the Elgato Stream Deck. That’s another rabbit hole for another day.

Review : Jabra Revo Wireless

I recently invested in my first pair of over-the-ear headphones, after much research and testing, I decided on the Jabra Revo Wireless.

I had very specific requirements which helped to narrow down my choices, and the Jabra Revo Wireless succeeded on.

  • Bluetooth capable, and must support multipoint connectivity (simultaneous connection to 2 devices at the same time over bluetooth)
  • Must have a decent voice call quality, especially for the mic. Really hate to constantly repeat myself because of poor noise isolation.
  • Comfortable over the ears cups
  • Good music quality
  • Leverages the IOS headset battery meter; so I can see how much power is left in the headset
  • Integrates well with IOS and Android

Some nice to have features, which I really like, and the Jabra Revo Wireless supports very well

  • backup wired connection via 3.5mm – this allows me to keep using the headphones even after the battery has gone completely flat; and also enables me to use the headphone with inflight entertainment systems
  • charge via USB – this is particularly important especially for travellers; the icing on the cake here is that the Jabra Revo Wireless will act as an USB audio device. Works on both Mac and Windows; the Jabra Revo Wireless will show up in the Audio device list for both input and output!! How cools is that!?!

Call performance is very good, among the best of bluetooth devices I have used.

Multipoint works very well, though I must add that when there are 2 devices connected, there will be some lag in the audio. So, if you are watching a video, or playing a game, the sound will be about half a second late. I’ve validated that this only occurs when multipoint is in action.

Overall, this is a great headset and I am very pleased of my investment.

Foscam IP Camera

So many months ago, I purchased a pair of Foscam FI8918W cameras. Primary usage is to be able to check out what’s going on at home while we are out. After using it for several months now, I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a “remote eyes and ears”.

I must say, it has been a very good investment. Comparing the features with the more commonly known brands like Dlink, Panasonic, Linksys, etc.. it’s very very competitively priced.

Video quality is great does 640×480 @ 30fps, Pan & Tilt capability, night vision is enabled via infrared, 2 way audio (yes, you can have a conversation), motion detection alarm, and much more. All for only S$125, and includes delivery fee.

Coupled with my Singtel Fibre Broadband, I can get very good frame rates when viewing from outside the home, connected via the internet. You’ll need to know how to configure out broadband router to appropriately forward the TCP ports to the cameras.

The video can be access via your favorite browsers, e.g. IE, Chrome, Firefox, Safari (on iPad and iPhone too!!). Or my favorite method is to use the IOS App, Live Cams Pro. Find it here

In Singapore, you can order the camera from Though you can possibly order from an US site, and may cost a little less, but at the price of difficult warranty replacements. I’d rather just order from the Singapore store and get easy warranty replacement when required (so far so good, touch wood).

Hello 2012!! The most >Geek< fun I've had in a while

ok ok, so this is really not at all keeping up to trying to post regularly. Got too busy, had a baby, etc.. excuses.

Now, I have a great reason to post!! I just finished a little pet project, tiny one.. but I’m quite excited about it as it’s something I’ve tried to do over 10 years ago, but the products were bad. Now, with newer hardware and software it’s a reality!

I had just succeeded to build my home SIP infrastructure. With a SIP client on my iPhone, I can connect to my personal PBX server, and make calls to regular phones via a SIP to PSTN router.

You are lost? I just built my own VOIP system, which I can make data calls over the air, from my iPhone, connect to my home based VOIP system, and call to a land line. What’s so big deal about that? Here in Singapore, the digital land lines are completely toll free! All outgoing LOCAL calls are free. With 3G and 10GB of quota a month, I can make a lot of phone calls this way!

I will share how I did it… and boy, it’s not easy. This setup is not for the faint hearted to even attempt to consider. Leave it to the real IT geeks *cough*

Here’s a glimpse on what you’ll need.

  1. Home broadband connection which has preferably unlimited usage (as we get here in Singapore)
    +the broadband connection must always be up (otherwise you cannot connect from outside of your home)
  2. Home wifi  network, if you want to make calls via your SIP client in the smartphone
  3. A Linksys SPA 3102 (retailing for about S$100 in Singapore) – this is a VOIP Router
  4. Asterisk – a free PBX Server – run this on an old PC, or a small atom machine, or a virtual machine
    (I run mine as a VMware Virtual Machine)
  5. A SIP client for your PC and/or smartphone
    PC – A good and free SIP client called X-Lite (
    iOS – many choices available, free and paid I use the free client from 3CX (

Generally, each item is easy to get up and running, but to get them working together was not easy, especially when you don’t understand half the terms involved. This is one of the craziest situations where I was looking at pages of configuration items and they are mostly abbreviated.

In addition, there are few up to date guides on the net which tells you what to do. I found lots of guides for Asterisk, some very good, but are for older versions. I’m using version 1.8, and there are lots that are now redundant. After all I’ve done to get things to work, I must say it’s actually not a lot of settings we need to make.

Credits will be given when due. I will link to the sites which I found the most useful information.


iMessage how to use it?

The first question I had was, where’s the app for iMessage? I was thinking that there could be a dedicated app, and it’ll probably function like having another “whatsapp” like function. I was wrong. In face, iMessage is integrated into the orignal “Message” app. Yes, the one you use for SMS and MMS.

So, how to start using it? There are 2 parts to it. Part 1 is to setup your iOS device, and part 2 is how to send an iMessage.

Part 1 – go to settings, messages, then look at addresses. These are what your friends and contacts will use to send iMessage to you, as a form of identification (like a userid). By default, your mobile number will be one of them, and the other is the iTunes or iCloud account you used when your first setup iOS5. You can add or change more contact information. e.g. your work email address. Add all the form of “identification” you want and save it.

Part 2 – just launch messages, and here’s the cool bit. Just add the contact you like to send a text to. The app will then do a check if the recipient is already registered with iMessages. Remember what you did in Part 1? The recipient’s contact information in your phone book will be used to check for iMessage “compatibility”. If yes, your “send” button will turn blue, and the text box will have a faint “iMessage” word, otherwise it will have a faint “text message”, and the “send” button will be green.

It’s that simple!

Now, I’m just a little curious about the warning that popped up once or twice to warn of carrier charges for sms sent to activate iMessage. I wonder how many messages will that consume.

IOS Devices : Automatic App Installation On All Devices You Own

I didn’t stay up to catch the Apple WWDC, but it’s the first thing I checked out when I woke up today. One of the new features which has got all my thumbs up is the ability for your devices to automatically download purchased content. More details is in this Mac Rumors posting.

I haven’t tested this yet, but what I believe it’s suppose to do is this; Say you have an iPhone and an iPad. If you’ve purchased  content, Music/App/Book, from the Apple Stores, it will automatically make it available on both devices. That sure takes the hassle out to trying to keep both devices in sync.

Without this, I’ve been maintaining synchronization using iTunes, or just manual re-download. Now it’s all automatic! That’s cool!

The best part, you don’t need to wait for IOS5, all you need is the currently available IOS 4.3!

IOS Game – GLWG (Great Little War Game) – 5 Js

GLWG! Came across this really fun turn based strategy game 2 days ago. The iPhone version was going for free, and the iPad (HD) version was $0.99. I bought both!

Did I say this is a War Game?

It’s turned base; you make your moves, then the AI moves. Each of your units get to move and attack (if in range) every turn. There are some advantages you gain from going on to high ground, or travel further by riding in a vehicle.

When you attack, the opponent automatically retaliates, if it survives.

Very addictive! Check it out!

Excellent PDF Reader for the iPad

I’ve been working on deploying several large VMware environment lately. What has been very helpful to me is my iPad equipped with PDF Expert [iTunes].

It was one of the first few apps I bought on my iPad, and it is one of my best investments.

It supports PDF (duh), docx, xlsx, and more. But I primarily use it to refer to PDF documents. What’s really good about it is beyond fundamental book reader (for that, iBooks will do just fine).

It’s the ability to be able to annotate the pdf document… e.g. highlight, underline, strikeout, notes, add text and more. I can make corrections to the document, so that when I get back to my PC, I have an easy reference. Bookmarks are automatically placed when I annotate, so it’s easy for me to search later on.

What’s also cool is the ability for the app to send out the corrected pdf with either the annotations all flattened on to the doc, or still kept separate.

This app to me allows me to completely replace PDF print outs and scribbling corrections.

To up the ante, a recent update (can’t remember when), there has been new integration which allows you to connect to multiple DropBox accounts to download, and even sync!

I do recommend it to anyone looking for a tool that does this.

IOS App – Song Exporter Pro

Song Exporter Pro showed up in my list of top free apps on the weekend of 30th April 2011. It’s a very neat tool which allows someone to share or “export” the music off the iPod library in the iPhone. (I think it will also work with iPod Touch and iPad, but haven’t tested it).

This is the answer a question I get frequently. How can we copy music from an iPhone to a computer. It used to be never, unless you use some specialized tools to do it. Now, it’s very easy, lauch Song Exporter Pro, select the songs you want to share, and connect to Wifi. Then, go to the computer you want to copy the music to, open the browser and point it to the IP address of the iPhone (it will be listed in the app). You’ll be presented with a nice web page that allows you to easily download the songs.

This is a nice handy tool which allows you to transfer your songs easily to your other computers direct from the iPhone.