» FAQ

(0) How did you accomplish this amazing feat?!?!?!

Parts of it are simple, parts of it are complicated. I've provided an extra page to outline the details of setting up your very own web cam and interfacing gadgets with your computer.

(1) Why isn't the picture changing/loading/reloading?

Different cameras have different refresh rates. It's possible it's just refreshing slower than others. The machine or program hosting the cam might have crashed. If there simply isn't any activity in the camera you're watching, try turning on some lights, although some cams don't have visible lamps.

(2) I see you're at home. How can I contact you?

The message form on the webpage below the cam will send me a message that I will receive immediately assuming I'm paying attention. You can join the chatroom and talk with me there. Even if I'm not paying attention to it, someone in there might be able to assist you. My nick is Restil.

(3) Why are you picking your nose?

I'm not picking my nose, I'm scratching it! :)

(4) Why won't you won't do anything fun for the camera?

I would hope the site has adaquate entertainment value without relying on stupid pet tricks from me. Most of the time you see me, I'm actually working, so I won't be spending much time jumping up and down in front of the camera.

(5) I live in the Dallas area too and I want to come over/meet you somewhere/stalk you/party!!!

Contact me and we'll chat.

(6) How do I control the lamps?

On the right side of the page is a table with lightbulb icons and on/off links. Clicking an ON or OFF link next to a bulb will turn on or off that lamp. You can also toggle the lamp by clicking on the bulb icon.

(7) Is this for real?

Yes. All the cams you see are live, with the exception of the slideshow. Many of the cams are viewing lamps you can control to test them out.

(8) Where is the RC Car?

The RC Car is currently broken and unavailable. I also can't use it at my current residence, so until I move again, it will remain unavailable.

(9) Don't the lamps turning on and off all the time bother you?

No. It doesn't take very long to get used to it beyond the point where I notice.

(10) Why is the site called Drive Me Insane?

CFOX Radio in vancouver has a weekly segment called Geek of the Week. My site was bestowed that honor one morning and after a lengthy, and somewhat inaccurate explaination of what you could do on my site, one of the DJ's sarcastically asked "What is this? Drive Me Insane Dot Com?". Since I didn't have a domain at the time, that name sounded great, the domain was available, so I purchased it and themed the site after that name.

(11) What happens if I leave the lamps on?

Although someone else will likely get around to turning it off soon enough, all the lamps will turn off three minutes after being turned on.

(12) Doesn't it bother you that people all over the world are watching you?

This is one of those magical webcam questions that I'm sure everyone who has a webcam gets asked constantly. No, it does not bother me. Having an inconspicous little camera sitting on top of my monitor looking at me does not present me with an unnerving experience. I don't sit here dreading all the people in the world who are watching me at this very moment (although I do make some effort to stay fully clothed just in case). If you really want to know what it feels like, set one up yourself. You don't require a deep rooted philisophical reason for having a live camera pointing at you, even though many webcam owners have tried to come up with one to justify it. Its a cool computer toy, just like all the other computer toys I like to play with. There's really not much more to it than that.

(13) How many people visit you here?

Before 2002, the site averaged from 50-200 visitors a day. In early 2002, some large websites started linking me and the daily average visitor rate rose to about 500 on normal days. In September, TechTV ran a feature on my site and the daily visitor rate remained at around 10000 for 3-4 months, then settled down to around 5000 a day until I moved. Now it sits at around 1300 a day. There's a stats link available if you want more information

(14) Will you do something for me on the camera?

Although I'm usually pretty busy, I will make an effort to perform any single, simple, non obscene guesture to the camera, but repeated requests will likely go unanswered.

(15) Can I ring your doorbell?

At one time, I had doorbell logs on the site. Now that I've moved, they will soon be added back on, but at no time were you able to ring the doorbell. When someone physically rings it, a few pictures were taken, timestamped, and added to the log page, but it wasn't an interactive option.

(16) Is anyone living with you?

Although I've lived alone for 8 years, due to a sudden moving crisis, I was forced to move a few times. I ended up with my parents for a few months, then moved in with Wes, Cari, and nathan, but after several months due to financial problems with my roommates and other issues, I moved back with my parents for a while, bought a house, and Gertie and her kids moved in with me and we got married on October 29, 2005.

(17) How much does this cost?

My site, as it is, could be duplicated for $200 USD if you timed the sales right. The monthly recurring costs are about $200, $100 for the server and $100 for the cable connection. Yes, I know you probably pay less, but I pay for a lot of upstream. Yes, you probably get a lot of upstream and still pay less, but it's all I have available. Yes, I know cable probably sucks, but it's my only option.

(18) Do you make any money from this site?

Not directly. I have adsense ads on several pages, but the income they produce is dubious. However, it does work indirectly as a nice resume to get me work.

(19) I don't like your layout and I know I can do better. How can I help?

First off, there is more than one layout. Click on the themes link on the sidebar to see what else is available. If you still don't like any of the themes, you're free to design your own. Check http://drivemeinsane.com/themes.html for instructions.

(20) Since I don't see any way to donate money to you, I'm going to act like I want to, if only there were a way. So.... what gives?

For a number of reasons, I don't currently accept donations. First of all, the amount I would make would not be worth the effort of collecting it. Secondly, no matter how unconditional the donation might be, there's some expectation of a return on the investment, even if it's more of the same. And most offers to donate aren't so free of conditions. Third, I'm not interested in taking charity for a hobby. If you insist on sending money in my direction, either offer me a job or buy something from me.

(21) Why don't you put advertising on your site?

For the longest time I hadn't, but I've started using google adsense recently. Depending on how well that works out, I might expand or drop it.

(22) Why not get a cafepress account?

Had one. Nobody bought anything. Waste of time.

(23) Am I allowed to advertise/pimp/spam my website/services on your site?

Depends. As part of your profile, you're able to add webpages. If you have a commercial site you wish to advertise, you may do so there. In the chatroom, it would be preferable to first make sure it would be welcome. Dropping in, spamming the URL and leaving will NOT be acceptable, no matter what. If you're a regular and want to run it by some people, that would be fine, but don't expect this to be a one stop spam spot before you move on elsewhere.

(24) I'm supposed to act civilized. What does that mean?

If you really don't know, you're in the wrong place. However, for those who are merely curious, here are some basic guidelines. Avoid inapproprate or unnecessary use of foul language. Do not abuse other members of the site, or the site itself. Use proper english as best as you are able. Check the visitors page for information on people before bluntly demanding their vital statistics. Be polite. And have fun.

(25) My brother/friend/some random wandering stranger accessed your site from my computer and abused it, and now my network is banned. What can I do?

If you know there are people in your life who are likely to create problems for you, the best thing you could ever do is sever all ties with them immediately. At the very least, keep them off your computer. Do you REALLY want to give someone with a malicious streak access to your computer? That's just stupid. However, if the inevitable has happened, your best bet is just to suck it up and learn from the experience. I'm not going to accept it as an excuse to let you back in. However, there are other sites to get banned from, so take it as a hint and solve the problem.

(26) I see cams with other people on your site. Who are they?

Assuming they're not actually over here, the cams with names are other people with webcams. They can add their cam to the page when they wish and remove it when they leave. People with controllable lamps can also add those to the page. If you wish to do the same, go to http://drivemeinsane.com/addcam.html.

(27) What's your relationship status?

I'm Married.

(28) I just saw your site and suddenly thought of a GREAT business idea. Want to go into business with me?

Prepare a formal business plan, including long term projections, confirmed sources of required funding, and research into all possible interference with regulations, patents, and copyright issues. Then we'll talk.

(29) I think this site is stupid.

Then why are you still here?

(30) What does the Cam Refresh Select form do?

The various cams have different ways they can be viewed, although from all appearances, they look the same. Every cam supports the IE mode, indicated by the Internet Explorer icon. This means it uses javascript to reload the webcam image. The mozilla icon means that it uses netscape serverpush to view the image, which is supported by netscape, mozilla and some other browsers, but not Internet Explorer. The Windows media icon will stream the cam in asf at 15 frames per second, complete with an audio stream. The cache icon will display an image cached on my site, as opposed to loading it directly from the source. This saves bandwidth for the source, but refreshes slower and further behind. The archive option will replay webcam captures that were recorded previously.

(31) What kind of internet connection do you have?

The server for this website is hosted by ev1servers.net. It has a 100mbps network connection and 1 TB of data transfer per month. The cams are hosted off the networks that they are located on. The upstream of individual cams depends on the internet connection of the cam host.

(32) Can I have Ops/operator status/that @ thing?

Short answer: No. Long answer: Yes, but only if you don't ask for it. Even then, you have to have been a regular around these parts for about six months without annoying Paul (or any of the other ops). We don't do much other than boss Jeeves around, anyhow. We just don't need twenty newbies doing it all at once. :]

(33) Gertie, Doesn't the lack of privacy upset you/get on your nerves, and doesn't the light going on and off make you want to break light bulbs/ run screaming?

Actually, I love the cams, the lights, and yes, even the scream machine. If we want privacy, we have plenty of places we can go to have it, or we can always just turn the cam to the wall or off. If I am really lucky, Restil will keep building on all this until the day we die.

(34) Where is the car?

The car broke shortly before I moved and since I can't use it in my current residence, I won't be fixing it. In the hopefully near future I'd like to obtain either a large RC tank or a boat that can hold the battery and yet move slowly enough that they won't damage themselves or anything they hit.

(35) What will happen if I write a script to turn your lights on and off every second?

First off, you're not the first person to think of that. Secondly, the software has built in countermeasures to detect and stop automatically scripted activity. It would work for a little while, longer than someone would reasonably do it manually, but not very long from a script's perspective. The software will then start to implement delays, and if the activity continues, a permanant ban. Your choice.

(36) Do you have a job?

Yes. Two of them in fact. One is contract tech support, and the other is a warehouse job at the BigLots! distribution center.

(37) What is a googlesnack?

Go to google.com and enter some words. Google then gives you a page of links to sites that match the words you entered. If you notice the URL of that page, it contains your selected search term in the URL. Now, whenever you click on one of those webpage links on the page, the site you go to will have the current google URL passed to it as the referer address. This way, websites found via google are able to find out what you were searching for when you found it. Most of the time, people search for terms that are somewhat relevant to this site, but every so often, there's a strange one.

(38) How does the insanity level work?

The insanity level goes up automatically anytime you turn on a lamp or send a message. Slowly over time, it will decrease. It's basically an indicator of how busy the site is. If it hits 100%, I just reset it back to 0.

(39) In the chatroom, what do the green and yellow dots next to people's names mean?

The green dots indicate ops, the yellow dots indicate voiced users. If you're new to IRC, an op is someone who has the capability to set the topic, remove and ban abusive users from the chatroom, and generally maintain order. Unlike other chatrooms, the ops here also have some control over the site itself. Few people are ever granted ops. As a general rule, I won't grant it to anyone who has been here less than half a year, and only if they show no actual interest in having it. Being voiced means that when the channel is moderated, people who have voice are still able to talk. When the channel is not moderated (as is typical), being voiced has no special effect.

(40) Why do you do this?

The Why link will explain in more detail. However, as a summary, I do this because it's fun. It's a great way for myself and others to meet people, and makes a nice demonstration of what can be done with webcams and home automation equipment.

(41) What is the power bill like?

While the power bill at this residence is rather high, due mostly to the pool pumps, the site itself with the lamps consumes very little power. The bulbs are of a low wattage, and for every lamp that is turned on, another is turned off. In the long run, a lamp is only on about 1/8 of the time. The monthly total for all the lamps comes to less than $5 USD.