Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Squirrel Tube

I had a cheapo USB webcam lying around, and I was waiting at home for the half-wit maintenance men to come by and screw around with my stuff, so I could tell them what I really think, but realized what a waste of time that is (they never show up when normal working people would be on a job).

To allow myself time to actually go to work, I decided it would be convenient to be able to see what was going on in the backyard, via webcam.  I was searching for solutions online (of the free, easy variety), and not getting much.  Additionally, I found recommendations, for an application like mine, along lines of a motion sensing image capture instead of video streaming.

The first one I tired wasn't very good, called Dorgem.  It was good in that it captured motion, but it would trigger on any little thing, like a leaf, or an actual squirrel.  There was no sensitivity setting ability, so I moved on.

The software I ended up using is called Tebocam, which provides sensitivity settings, region of interest definition, calibration, and built in alerts through e-mail messages.  Additionally, you can set regular, repeating image capture for time-lapse movie making.  Awesome!

I have the SquirrelTube setup to allow e-mail posts, so Tebocam can send the images once it's been triggered by a significant enough change in the image and they get posted up right away.  Additionally, I have SquirrelTube send me an e-mail when a new post arrives, so now I have *nearly* real-time updated images about anything interesting going on in the backyard.

It's also fun to make a time-lapse of what the yard looked like each day.  I've done that in MS Movie Maker, a POS software that installed windows spy-ware on my computer, which I've had to spend significant time getting rid of.  BALLS.  All for a little fun w/ movie making.

Anyway, if you see any squirrels in the webcam, let me know!

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