Webcam update


The more things change...

The more they still don't work. Or so it seems. The webcam situation Chez Paul has been a bit dire recently.

• The camera in the den became mostly irrelevant. Since I got my new laptop, I spend very little time in the den anymore, and my houseguest, Bret, has an aversion to being broadcast — now he gets shy! — so he is always turning the camera aside while he works away on his writing project at my computer in the den.

• The Veo cam, tempermental at best, was knocked out of service by a local network upgrade necessitated by the death of my Linksys router: While configuring a new router I decided to change some settings — for my security — only to discover that I couldn't update the Veo's configuration because the damnable serial cable required had been misplaced.

• The little cam attached to my laptop proved unreliable, often hanging for no apparent reason or producing completely black images.

In an effort at continuous quality improvement, I upgraded my webcam software to a program capable of running multiple cameras (the old program could only do one camera at a time). Alas, this didn't help with the unreliable laptop cam, but it turned out to have an unexpected capability: it can capture still images from my networked video cam (Linksys WVC54g) and post them like any other webcam pictures. It is supposed to be able to do the same thing with the Veo cam, but I haven't been able to make that work yet. To my chagrin, it is missing one feature that I really like, namely to post an "offline" image when it is not broadcasting images from a particular camera. It only uploads an offline image when the program is shut down, not when the camera is shut down!

As a result of all this, I have reworked the webcam section of the site:

  • Still pictures from the Linksys video cam are now available as a webcam choice: the "patio cam"
  • The former "webcam 1" has been repurposed as my laptop cam, when possible. (When I'm not balancing the laptop on my lap!)
  • Webcams are now available only in popup windows
  • A new "launch pad" takes the place of the links on the home page

I am still trying to figure out a workaround to show current cam status, absent the feature in the software.