So I have had a couple of people ask how the CatCam works. Here’s the short version of it.
In the kitchen we have a MacMini acting as our kitchen television. This allows us to stream internet content, Netflix, Hulu, etc. to a new 19-inch display, which is a vast improvement over the 13-inch television that used to sit in the corner. The remote included with the MacMini allows us to move around the FrontRow software, much like you would on an original Apple TV. The MacMini isn’t really anything exceptional; it’s several years old and is the first incarnation of the Intel-based MacMinis. In fact, it’s not even a Core2 Duo, I believe they call it a “Core Solo”.
Since the MacMini is a full blown computer, it can do a whole lot more! We had an original firewire iSight camera that was left over from my old PowerMac G4 from back in the day, so I decided to hook it up and see if it works. It works beautifully, as you can see.
I found a nifty piece of software called EvoCam. EvoCam has a bunch of features that I haven’t even begun to explore yet, but I like it because it has motion detection and timestamping. It also has the ability to upload pictures to the webhost that serves up jpnearl.com. The cam is always active, looking for some sort of motion in front of Tom’s food and water bowls. When it senses motion, it snaps a picture and overwrites the previous picture on the server. That way, I can easily display it using one line of HTML code on the webpage, instead of having to accommodate different filenames.
The motion sensor is looking at a particular spot, so from time to time you’ll notice that one of us walking around in the kitchen will trip the sensor, even when Tom is somewhere else in the house napping or whatnot. I have reminded everyone of this fact so that everyone can make sure they’re properly clothed when passing through the kitchen (Tom included). So far the system is working pretty good. The software is currently on a 15 day free trial. I’m going to mess around with it a little more before deciding if I want to plonk down the money to buy it or try something else.
The things we do on a rainy day.