Sunday, 22 August 2010

WiFi. Not 3G. WiFi!

More and more people are leaving comments and negative ratings against SECuRET LiveStream on the Android Market because it only uses WiFi, and doesn't use 3G.  You'd have thought that by naming SECuRET LiveStream as 'Camera WiFi LiveStream' on the Android Market (a seemingly fruitless attempt to try and make clear what the application is), that they may have got the massive 'WiFi'-shaped clue in the title.  Just in case they missed it, here it is again ... 'WiFi' ... got it?

Anyway, I think I better explain why it doesn't use 3G just on the off chance that any of those reckless commenters actually decide to read this and not rate an application poorly for something it doesn't do (thought: I wonder if they also rate Google Maps poorly because it doesn't play videos, or leave an insightful comment about Google Translate lacking any kind of 3D graphics :P )...

The main reason that it doesn't use 3G is because SECuRET LiveStream turns your handset into a web server in order to stream the video; that's how you are able to view the SECuRET LiveStream web page that comes directly from your phone.  The video stream on the web page is just a series of JPEGs; the Java applet in the web page just keeps requesting JPEGs as quickly as possible from the phone's camera to make it look like video.  To do all these web-server-based-shenanigans, your phone needs an accessible and unique IP address which is only possible when it is connected to a WiFi network (most of the time, that is - some public or corporate WiFi networks may not allow you to serve from your phone), and not possible with a 3G connection (when using 3G your address is NAT'd - all phones share an IP address; it's like a massive LAN) ... and ta daaah ... there's the answer - no guaranteed accessible and unique IP address when connected to a 3G network :)  Also, you'll find most network providers frown upon people setting up what amounts to a web server on their network without permission.

It's not impossible to design an application like SECuRET Livetream which uses 3G; you would just push the stream of JPEGs to an intermediary web server somewhere, and then connect to that to pull the JPEGs back to a web page ... I'd imagine this would be petty slow though and would surely use a huge chunk of your monthly data allowance if you were to use it for any prolonged period of time - peer-to-peer using WiFi is the quickest, cheapest and most efficient way to implement the application I set out to create and that thousands of people enjoy using.  Plus, I don't want to maintain an intermediary web server in my spare time.

So, there you go - SECuRET LiveStream a.k.a. Camera WiFi LiveStream has never claimed to, and doesn't use, 3G ... and is very proud to admit that fact :P


  1. I wrote instructions for technical products in the 90's. Sadly, these instructions had to written for a FOURTH (4th) GRADER to understand in English for distribution in the U.S.....the seven other languages were translated from my original technical instructions collaborated on to finality with Underwriters Laboratories and an OSHA certified electrical engineer! My point is? You would think this country (and hence, the users of the FREE apps you shared) would have better sense or at least read the instructions....NOT! So don't let idiots get to you cud they seem to be multiplying exponentially!

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