March 28, 2009 | It's a miracle! But don't hold your breath — it may not last.
In the beginning there was the simple Veo Observer. It was a snap to set up, once you figured out what was important, and the image quality was outstanding. A couple of times my friend Jim and I even tried an online happy hour (Chronicles, Oct 10, 2003). Alas, the Veo had its limitations: only one person at a time could watch, and you saw whatever the camera happened to be pointed at.
Then came Veo Observer XT. Several people could watch at one time, and the viewer could even control where the camera pointed.
Then came trouble. Soon the company that made Veo disappeared. Gone. Several months later the company reincarnated itself in China, but like its progenitor it soon disappeared as well.
As time went on, the Veos began to get crotchety, as oldsters are wont to do, and the original Veo Observer finally gave up the ghost. Died. Dead.
At some point in the last two years, the Observer XT got persnickety. I found that it would no longer accept logons using "Motion JPEG" (with a Java applet) which coincidentally allowed remote control of the camera. "JPEG Refresh" would work just fine, but there was no control of the camera — what you saw was what you got.
I tried several times to figure out ways to get around this with third-party viewers, and some worked, sort of. Eventually I just gave up and let the sleeping dog lie.
Which brings us to the present. When the hummingbird built her nest on top of the wind chime I got the idea to point the Veo at the nest. But I still couldn't redirect the camera. Once again I went googling for help.
Aha! I found a web site that claimed to have the last version of Veo firmware — at least it was newer than the version I had. There wasn't much to lose, so I reset the camera back to factory setting and updated the firmware.
Success! Once again Veo let me log on in "Motion JPEG" mode and control the camera. I was on cloud 9.
Not so fast. What one hand giveth, the other taketh away. Although I could now control the camera remotely, I had lost the wireless function. Then I discovered that while I could look at the camera locally, through the LAN, I could no longer get to it over the internet! (That, of course, has worked reliably for the 6 previous years.) Argh!
I found another version of the firmware, between the one I originally had and the one I had installed. I rolled the firmware back a few versions. The Java applet no longer worked. And, I still couldn't get to the camera over the internet.
Maybe a new camera.... I started researching internet cameras. User reviews of cameras in my price range tend to say one of two things: either The camera works but the image sucks or [expletive] [expletive] [expletive] camera. Then I came across a camera that sounded really promising: indoor/outdoor, day/night, remote control, auto-focus, pre-set viewing positions, 26x optical zoom, and more. Let's go shopping! $1489 Never mind!
I reinstalled the latest firmware version into the Veo. Configured the camera. Tested it locally. Check! Tested it over the internet. Check! Check? Everything was working: remote control, java, the whole enchilada. But everything was now exactly the same as it had been two hours before when hardly anything worked!
It passeth all understanding.
So, I reverted to the original plan. The Veo is now focused on the hummingbird nest.
Last updated on Jul 16, 2016