As a new father a couple of years ago, I obviously relished looking at the different options for babycams – I was looking for nothing less than audio AND color video (with infrared night vision), the ability to plug into the feed via multiple monitors (iPhone/iPad, internet browser, etc.) and I wanted to be able to move the camera via any of those methods.
Did these options exist? Of course. Were they expensive? Stunningly so. Hundreds of dollars.
So I found exactly what I was seeking for less than $60.00.
Allow me to explain…I knew a Wifi-enabled set-up was a no-brainer when it came to simplicity. I’d read about iCam on Lifehacker and knew I could run a multi-camera server off one of my home computers that my mobile devices could access via iCam – even over mobile data plans (I’m on AT&T). So a Wifi camera with an internal web server seemed the most obvious solution and I headed to Ebay to see what the market had to offer.
I’ll spare you the boring research details but suffice to say, I found a lot of options for less than a hundred bucks. The Foscam (and Foscam-rebranded) cams seemed the best solution. But I hate waiting for shipping from China so I hit Amazon and found a model that looked promising for $50 and offered Prime Shipping (EasyN FS-613B-M166). Done.
The next day, I got the camera and easily set it up on my home network. I mounted it in the corner of my daughter’s room, added it to the iCam server software I downloaded from their website, and was in the money. It works 24/7 and appears on both my and my wife’s iPhones from wherever we are on Earth. We can also access it via iCam’s website through any web browser.
Emboldened with the idea that I could add more cameras around my home for security purposes, I added three more cameras around my house. My home gets pretty dry weather, so I added all of them outside, underneath my home’s eaves. Now I can see and hear most of my property, day or night, from almost anywhere I might be.
And this, of course, includes directly on the screen of my HTPC screen. As you can see from the photo, I can pull up the cams and display it over the currently playing content. I do this via my remote control and will admit I use it mostly to see when the pizza guy arrives! Systems like this, particularly if you want to control it all via your Mac (as I did), are really expensive. But the only cost I ran into beyond iCam’s cost ($5.00) were the cameras themselves. I did add a Sony Dash I grabbed from Woot! for $50 that displays the camera video feeds (along with weather conditions and the time) that I mounted in our bathroom.Read More
While there are alternatives to using AT&T as the iPhone’s wireless provider in the US, most us of are on AT&T’s network. And more than a few have found their coverage to be weaker than hoped. Personally, I was using Verizon with much more success prior to picking up my iPhone and I miss their comparably universal coverage. In my house, I guess I was amazingly lucky – Verizon covered me in every room. The best AT&T can offer me in West LA is three out of five bars when placed at a precise angle on a grey chair in my living room. Everywhere else is a dead zone.Read More
Having already gushed profusely over how much I love my Sony eReader, I was deliriously happy to find the following info in MobileTalk’s forums. Basically, there’s a simple procedure one can do on a Mac(!) or PC that activates and displays a clock in the lower right-hand corner…see below for before and after shots. All you need is a SD card, a card reader, and the files included in the post.Read More