16 Jun

Sometimes I Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me

Whether you are interested in a hummingbird’s eye view of a half billion monarch butterflies waking from their naps (see video above) or a Komodo dragon destroying a (robotic) spy pig for muscling in on his mating rituals, these spy animal videos have you covered.

From the people behind the BBC Earth & PBS Nature program(me) Spy in the Wild and Spy in the Wild 2, get up close and personal with the help of robotic cameras made to look as life like as the animals they portray. Choose from bats, penguins — these are narrated by David Tennant and not Benedict Cumberbatchsinging (and farting) gorillas, ostrich, otters and eagles, owls, seals AND sharks, and even the adorable quokka. And of course, a spy tortoise.

Not enough creepy spy animals for you? Well, tune in to see spy orangutan, spy crocodile hatchling, spy meerkat, spy egret, spy prairie dog, spy macaw, spy sloth, spy cobra, spy bushbaby, spy squirrel, spy adelie, and spy baby hippo.

This post was created for MetaFilter, but I forgot to search before I composed and found on preview that there was a post from only last month.

03 Feb

Noon All Year

Ten years ago I made a video titled One Year, which showed the founding of our farm; from the building of the barn, the digging of the well that provides water to the barn, the erecting of the fencing, and the arrival of the llamas and the sheep. However, that film was with the old analog camera pointing out a window, and — while I love it — entirely too long at over 16 minutes.

I have been looking for a similar project since.

Read More
20 Feb

The SecuritySpy That Doesn’t Love Me

Almost immediately after I posted my last entry on the trials and tribulations of an EvoCam on life support, the software crashed again.  Fresh start, minimal other applications running, and poof. I cleaned up the mess, and then instructed my iMac to restart itself every Sunday at 1am.

If all goes as planned (stop laughing!), this will be enough to help keep EvoCam running between restarts.  If not? Then the next step is increase the frequency of the reboots until I can set up the Mac Mini, and start all over on that machine.

Because, I am all out of options as far as out-of-the-box software after giving SecuritySpy a close look this weekend. The results, as always, were mixed.

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14 Feb

Don’t (Kernel) Panic! 🤪

As you may recall there has been a lot of effort (by me) put into trying to make EvoCam as efficient as it can be in regard to its resources usage. I figured if the software has been abandoned I have two choices: learn to program and roll my own EvoCam clone or do what I can to keep it alive, and hope that I find a replacement. Long time readers (LOL) know that I chose the latter, because the former would take too long, and probably drive me mad. Read More

07 Feb

Do As I Say, Not As I Did

Look, I have never claimed to be an expert on anything.  I hunt and peck my way around the keyboard, and do the same when it comes to figuring shit out.

I like to pretend that what I am creating with the FarmCam Project is like software development; each tweak or improvement a new version. Sometimes it feels that way as I wrestle with EvoCam to get the most out of the abandoned software, that has gone dark without explanation. I can’t just make a support request or post to a support forum. If there are diehard EvoCam enthusiasts, I have no idea where to find them.

These instructional entries are here for two reasons. One, I hope to help others who may have similar interests — or needs — to my own. Secondly, if I don’t write this stuff down somewhere, I am likely to break something and forget WTF I did. These are my own manuals in some sense. Hence, many entries with lots of guess work and promises to report back later. Most of the time I forget to do some things in advance, and I am left wondering if a change will make any difference at all. Other times, I’m not patient enough to test things before I write about them here. [This is another of those times!] Read More

30 Jan

Hooked on CronniX

I turned to cron/crontab in order to run an Automator application and Transmit to (sometimes) smoothly synchronise the daily movies on my iMac with those on the remote server.  Then I learned much of the hard work I was scripting could be done from within my beloved EvoCam. However, EvoCam does not appear to be able to handle the archiving part of the operation. At least not to my specifications.

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22 Jan

Ticking Off the To-Dos

This weekend I was able to do a few tasks I always said I wanted to do, but never really could convince myself that I would find the time to do them. These projects involved cutting wires, fishing wires through walls and insulation, moving furniture, de-cluttering wires, and completely wiping my computer’s hard drive and doing a clean macOS install.

I’m impressed at least.

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08 Jan

EvoCam for Simple Timelapse and More

Over the years I have had requests to share the details of how I do the technical things that power the FarmCam. Below are instructions for using EvoCam to share still images as well as timelapse videos on a website to which you have FTP access.

Unfortunately, EvoCam is no longer being developed so everything in this article will likely focus on Version 5.0 (65-bit preview 3) of the software. At the time of this writing one can still download the software from reputable sites; however, if you cannot find it, email me. I can provide the DMG file, but I do not provide support for the software!  EvoCam works only on macOS, and I have tested it  up to: macOS High Sierra Version 10.13.6 on my iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2012).

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05 Jan

Options Are Always Nice

A few days ago I wrote about the new features I have added to the FarmCam. While writing the entry I stumbled upon actions settings in EvoCam that allowed me even more flexibility in the ways I share the views. However, I had a few concerns before I could decide if it would be a viable replacement for the current method.

My experiments in the last few days have resulted in mixed — but encouraging — results, and as promised I am sharing them with you. Read More

31 Dec

New Features for the FarmCam

In October my Australian cousin Peter, challenged me to create a different sort of time lapse.  He wanted to see how the view would look at the same time each day throughout the year.

I knew this would be easily accomplished with EvoCam by adding a new action set; so I set up a test, and let it run from 17 October through the last day of 2017. I used EvoCam to manually export the video to MP4 at 5 FPS. Below is the result.

During this experiment I learned a few things:

  • EvoCam software has location abilities, so I am able to have it do things at sunrise and sunset for my location. Therefore, in addition to the Daily Noon image, I have added a Daily Sunrise and Daily Sunset. These are still photos uploaded daily, and can be viewed with the other stills and videos on the FarmCam page. I will make time lapses from the images, but not sure if they will be seasonal or yearly.
  • EvoCam may be able to allow me to cut out my buggy Automator cron job. Right now the encoding from the EvoCam MOV to an M4V is done via default settings in Automator. Then I use the Automator app to convert the M4V to MP4 and upload the file via FTP.  I am running tests now to see if EvoCam can export the final video as an MP4 rather than a MOV. It has a feature for uploading the resulting video to the web server, which is a good thing.
  • If EvoCam can export as an MP4 then I can control the frames per second for playback as well. This allows me to slow down the final daily time lapse video, therefore making it more enjoyable viewing. Things that currently flash past, like animals, birds, cars, sheep, llamas, dogs, etc, will be visible.  The downside is that the video itself will be longer.  That may mean I will need to take stills once every 60 seconds instead of every 30 in order to reduce the final run time for the rustling time lapses.

I should have the answers to the experiment by tomorrow, and I can then make decisions.  Updates will follow.

Fingers crossed.