Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

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We've noticed a problem with one or more of the pets messing in the house. We believe it's Sparky, who seems to be able to leap the babygate during the night and return with utmost secrecy. But we're not sure, and we don't want to punish the wrong pet.

So, we shall try employing some technology to solve the mystery!

Using a USB webcam we already had, and downloading a free 3rd-party Macintosh driver (macam) for it, along with a $10 shareware application (KeyCamX), we now have a motion detection image-capture system set up and pointed at the point of interest in the house.

Thus, whenever a pet enters the area, the laptop starts recording and saving images to the hard disk. It also emails a notice to me and Shelley, including an image it captured so we can see what's going on. Of course all of this is time-stamped so we can know exactly when it happens as well.

The software can store the images on an FTP server, can execute scripts, play loud alarm sounds, etc., etc. The webcam images are quite nice as well, so this system should let us catch the dog (or dogs or cats) doing what they should not be.

After we use it for this, I plan to point the camera out the window to watch our place during the day, just to see what's going on and catch anyone coming up to the house.

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