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

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.