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Now for some fun stuff

September 27, 2009 05:33

The months of programming has gotten dull, as one might expect. I REALLY need to concentrate on it some more, but I find myself playing a bit too much half life to distract myself, and I suppose that's really not being very productive. SO.... I've decided to spend a week or so working on some other projects.

First off, I've dug into my collection of cameras and other equipment, mostly just to see what I have. I've barely touched most of it in years, so I kinda needed to do an inventory assessment, if nothing else. I've got 2 large VHS camcorders which seem to work fairly well, one 8mm camcorder that seems to have lighting issues, and a indoor/outdoor day/night camera. All of these use the basic composite jack for video output. I've got several other camcorders that might be useful if I can fix some issues with them, but for now I'll just concentrate on the ones that are functional. I also have a IP Video 9100B video camera server, which takes 4 video inputs, but oddly enough can only actually use one of them at a time... so it's really just a 1 video cam server. It replaces a computer with a capture card and a cam server and does so in a box that's 1" by 3" by 4". It's got a round robin capability, but I'm not sure how to read that yet. More research will be required. I can always ressurect my capture cards for the remaining cameras if need be.

I'm going to start deploying cameras around the house. There has been resistance to this in the past, mostly due to construction related issues, but I really need to get this expanded out of the office and into the hallway, living room, and eventually kitchen. The infrared camera is also an outdoor cam and can be mounted outside. It's also a wide angle camera, so I might mount it so it covers the porch and part of the yard. I'll get a doorbell triggered capture system working again, along with a motion sensor based one. The old house had a window in the door itself, meaning I could mount the camera inside and with a good view of whoever was on the porch. I'll figure something out.

Getting the motion sensors working will require me to get the CM11A functional again. This will make Polk very happy as well, so it's a double bonus. This, however, will require some software work on lampmaster, which I don't plan on doing until I upgrade that server, and THAT won't happen until I strip out all of the nonessential functionality and incorporate it into other servers. So yeah, that one is still going to take a while.

I'm going to give a crack at making a marquee sign again. I long ago found an excellent schematic, which naturally I can't find the paper I printed it on, nor can I find it online anymore. Even so, I might be able to fix the problem I was having way back when and try again to make one. As with the motion sensors, anything device related like this would run through lampmaster, so I'll still need to update that server before a completed project can be deployed. Still, I can always get started.

My ultimate goal for the next few months is to get a Christmas display set up. While I would love to do an outdoor display, the time and logistics, not to mention expense of getting a camera set up outside in a safe, permanant location would not be feasible in the short term, even though there are short term workarounds, such as setting it up in the car, instead of a mailbox. I'm also uncomfortable doing it since the prime display hours would be during the time I'm at work, and I would prefer to be at home when hundreds of strange people are watching the house. I don't want my wife to have to deal with idiots that come up and ring the doorbell thinking that somehow a public display is equivilant to an invitation to come inside.

THEREFORE, I will instead concentrate on an inside display... somewhat smaller, but still a workable demonstration of what I can do outside the next year if it works out well. I've got the software in place to sync lights to music. I'll need to invest some time in putting together the hardware in a safe way (especially being indoors). I'll also need a streaming format that will have video synced to audio so people can observe the whole effect. I have a method using ffmpeg that should be able to serve it using flash, but I still need to spend some time testing this. At least one of the camcorders I mentioned earlier will be deployed for this purpose. Of course, anytime a musical display isn't in operation, all of the individual light componenents will be controllable.

That should keep me busy until Christmas.