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DMI News

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New Cam..... sorta

February 19, 2004 10:26

By popular request, I've added a live updating screenshot of the computer to my left. Since it's running linux, I accomplished this (thanks with a few tips from mizery_) by using xwd to capture the screen and convert to change the image to a jpg and knock it down to 320x240. After that, it was just a matter of configuring another cam entry. It updates every 5 seconds. The only downside of this method is that it's enough of a resource hog that I notice it when I'm watching movies, even when I have both programs niced. While this is not really the crisis it might seem to be, it might create problems when I start encoding cam streams off this server again. We'll have to see. And if anyone knows any utilities that might work better, please let me know. Also feel free to suggest themes. It's running Gnome.

I would also like to be able to do this with my windows desktop, but all the applications I've found that will do automated timed screen captures seem to be shareware products. If anyone knows of any free, or better yet open source, windows screen capture utilities that can automatically save a screen capture every few seconds AND not take a huge resource hit at the same time, let me know.


The Next Party

February 17, 2004 22:27

Will be HERE, in The Colony, TX, on March 13, 2004. 18+ only. If you want to come, RSVP to Party will last all night and people may stay over if they like. Weather permitting, the pool might also be available. For those unable to attend, the party will be broadcast with both video and audio, as expected, and will also be recorded for later downloading. I will attempt to get the living room cam mounted and zoomable before then, and maybe even pannable if I get around to it, but don't hold your breath.

I've changed the position and the aim of the back porch cam to view the pool. It was originally set up the view the bubbles, but the bubble machine seems to not want to function any longer, so I'm going to have to tear into it and find out why. For the moment however, it'll be offline.

Cari now has a cam she plans to leave on all the time. It's hiding in the plant next to her computer in the living room. We'll probably set up something controllable in view of that cam enventually. Maybe.. :)

I moved the hallway lamp from the end of the hallway to the top of the black shelf in the kitchen. It'll work better there and won't interfere with the ongoing furniture rearrangment struggle currently going on in the living room. The living room cam has also slightly changed position. I'll try to get it mounted on the wall, so it'll be higher and in reach of the cat5 cable I have convienently stashed in the attic so I can wire up the zoom on the cam and that will be controllable too.

I've decided to wire up the barcode scanner in the garage where my fridge is. Then the inventory will actually change again, and hopefully be up to date. I just need to clear a spot first, and set up a monitor. But soon.. hopefully.


Music Control

February 05, 2004 14:47

As you might have noticed, a few days ago I added a music control feature to the page, located under my cam pic and for a few other cams. From the page itself, it shows the name of the mp3 being played and lets you go to the previous or next in the playlist. A music control link then lets you start, stop, pause music, view the playlist and jump to songs from there and also add songs into the playlist. It also lets you upload your own music.

While there are other plugins for winamp to control the music playback, they've all had drawbacks. Some were crash prone. As for the others, they lacked two basic features. One was an easy way to control who exactly was and was not allowed to use it, and secondly a way to prevent someone from changing a song currently in progress. My implementation has both of these features.

The downside of my implementation is that it's both ugly and probably not extremley user friendly, although most people seem to have figured it out without much trouble. However, I can fix both. I'll probably make the main page resemble a winamp skin. Is there any other feature that would be useful? I've got a few I'm planning to implement yet, such as preventing a song from being played twice in a row. Anyone have any other ideas that would make sense? Let me know.

Also, if anyone would like to submit a skin I could use as an image map or layout ideas, let me know that too. Skins or examples of such can be mailed to Ideas can be commented on here.


Old stuff, New Stuff

February 02, 2004 15:19

First of all, yes, I heard about Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction". No need to tell me about it.

The smiley and bear WILL be making a comeback, but I'm working on putting them on a permanant power supply. The smiley drains the batteries after less than a day of use, so I'd rather not spend money on replacing batteries everyday. So hopefully by today I'll have that and the bear back online.

Some merchandising ideas have come up, more for the silly factor than any serious attempt to draw revenue from the site. We're talking about putting together two calenders, one the dmi girls, and another of the dmi guys. If you're interested in posing for a calender send an email to Dweasel at or When we have 12 interested individuals for either calender, we'll coordinate some type of digital picture exchange and find someone to print the calenders. The clothing and pose will be at the discretion of the subject. More information will be provided as we figure things out.

And on an even more silly note, other merchandising ideas have been tossed around. While T-shirts, mugs and mousepads make perfect sense, some ideas clearly make more sense than others. :)


New Stuff

January 26, 2004 16:06

First of all, I replaced the hallway and living room lamps with tiny versions. These lamps cost about $4 at wallmart and use bulbs in the 4-7 watt range. The primary reason for doing this is that my roommates have a habit of physically turning off the normal lamps for a variety of reasons and that results in lamps that are listed on the page but do not function. This then creates confusion, accusations, etc. So I just decided to replace the lamps with mini versions that are unlikely to be annoying enough to justify turning off. Of course, I've been told that they're ugly, but I'm sure if I search long enough I can find a suitable replacement that fits the decor.

This cool valentines bear plays a little tune and covorts around and the guitar lights up when you press a button. Well, at least it DID before I did a bit of minor surgery in my efforts to get him internet controlled. In the near future (hopefully today) you'll be able to activate him yourself.

The smiley face is simply one of those push lights encapsulated with a rubber foam smiley face thingy. Nothing particularly special about this light. Just another cool looking thing to hook up. Both the smiley face and the bear can be controlled with a single transistor, which means I can control them from the parallel port without any additional hardware (no x10, relays, or external power supplies required). Although, I might eventually hardwire a DC power supply for both of them instead of using batteries which will eventually drain.


Fake Webcam Sites

January 22, 2004 14:17

It seems that a significant number of visitors to this site initially doubt that the cams are live, or at the very least insist on having proof that they are. Some go so far as to insist they MUST be fake, only because the concept of computer controlled lights is a bit too tough to swallow, even though consumer grade home automation devices have been on the market for over 20 years. However, although the lamp control is somewhat rare, webcams are not. There are literally thousands of live webcam sites on the internet, and in all my surfing, I've yet to discover a webcam site that claims to be live, yet isn't. Yet people seem so insistant on the fact that fake webcams are not only possible, but prevelant. In fact, some people even have rather delusional ideas on how a fake live webcam could be accomplished.

So here's my challenge. Find me a webcam site that claims to have a live cam feed, yet you can prove doesn't. To qualify, the site must serve up changing images that never repeat, and must have some interactive element on a regular basis that show's activity.

The simple fact of the matter is that even sugguesting that the site might be fake is only a demonstration of your own ignorance. I have rather extensive documentation on this site regarding how exactly I put it all together, as well as providing source code in excess of 10000 lines which I wrote to handle all the various functions of this site. All of this is available for you to peruse. If you choose to simply disbelieve without even bothering to do your research first, you do nothing more than prove to us where you fall on the food chain.

In other news, the Earth is a sphere, not flat. The Earth revolves around the Sun, not the other way around. The civilized world was dragged kicking and screaming from the stoneage a long time ago. It might be time to catch up.


Party and other stuff

January 21, 2004 23:35

Celebrated Gertie's birthday last weekend, also known as, any excuse to have a party, which we did. And we recorded it. Get the videos from the downloads page.

I've added a bubble machine to the site. Under normal usage it seems to drain a bottle of bubble juice in about 12 hours, and each bottle is 50 cents, so although the grocery store will probably wonder why ANYONE would want to purchase large quantities of bubble jucie, I'm sure they'll keep me in stock. However, I'm going to need to restrict the hours the bubble machine is in operation. See, whenever the bubble machine is in operation it, of course, generates large quantities of bubbles, which to a 4 year old are QUITE enticing. So, in an effort to prevent our resident rugrat from wanting to go outside in only slightly above freezing weather to jump around like a crazed maniac swatting at bubbles within landing distance of the pool, I'm going to not have it operational whenever he's home and awake.

Two of my capture cards are defective, so I'm currently seeking replacements. In an effort to not actually spend any signficant money on them, I'm doing the Ebay thing, but it'll probably be a couple weeks before I can add any new cams with composite outputs. In the meantime, I'll be working on the server software to iron out more bugs, automate the ability for people to add their cams to the site and to get the TV remote wired so that feature will be available as soon as I get more capture cards. I'm also hunting for either a RC tank or boat so I can have another mobile cam interface available.


Automated googlesnack generator

January 11, 2004 16:15

Well, it's not really THAT exciting, just a little script I wrote to extract the google searches that end up in a clickthrough to my site. Now you can see the last few day's worth by going here. As you can see, many of the searches are either relevent or at least have expected results. I'm sure people searching for "insane" aren't really looking for my site, but nobody's shocked when they end up here. However, when people are searching for "savethebeansprouts" or how do you hook up a car receiver in your house or tyler durden pics or 15-18 year old girl pics, you just have to wonder. Eventually I'll resume posting weekly googlesnack picks from the full set, but for now you can see it all in its uncensored, unedited glory.

Added a couple lamps in the garage. I'll probably still move them around, but now there are more things to play with. I'm going to set up another cam in there and move the other one to face a different direction, so there will be more space to work with. Hoping to add at least one gadget a day for a while, at least until I've used up all my X10 modules or run out of lamps. I still need to run more cables, hook up 3 more cams, get the doorbell wired, and find a suitable place for the barcode scanner, and then hope people will actually feel compelled to use the silly thing.


Shameless Plug

January 03, 2004 12:58

Happy Birthday to me.
Happy Birthday to me.
Happy 30th.. ugh.. yeah...
Happy birthday to me.



December 29, 2003 21:28

There will be a New Years Eve party here in a couple days. I'll leave it up to you to guess which day. :)

Likely to be at least a few extra people around, and a few extra cams set up for the occasion. If anyone else wants their cams on the site for that day, contact me BEFORE wednesday and let me walk you through the configuration. I will NOT have any time for it on Wednesday.

I'm still trying to get another computer built. I've narrowed the problem down to either the CPU or the power supply. I'll go to Fry's tomorrow and get a replacement for each, then come back and attempt to rebuild it. HOPEFULLY this will solve the problem. If so, I'll end up with almost enough parts for a second computer, assuming the problem is something cheap to fix. Ugh.. too tired to think tonight.