I’m a gadget guy. I could drive to Fry’s Electronics blindfolded. My personal hobby is finding more ways to use my Mac as a gadget hub.
This year my pet gadget project is home security. My latest toy is a USB video camera and EvoCam—a slick web cam app for the Mac that doubles as a motion sensor security camera. If you’re a little paranoid about what goes on at home when you’re not there…
Think Of The Security Possibilities
Home security systems, even without cameras, can cost a pretty penny and be rather complex for the less gadget inclined members of a family. Your Mac comes to the rescue.
Most Macs have a built-in iSight camera—MacPro and Mac mini excluded.
That means the iMac and MacBook models have half of what you need to get your feet wet with home security options. Home security?
How many ways can you worry about what goes on at home when you’re not there? NannyCam. TeenagerCam. MaidCam. SpouseCam. ThiefCam. I can’t afford a nanny, or maid, don’t want a thief, and worry more about our teenagers than my spouse.
Spying For Fun, Not Profit
EvoCam is not a James Bond-like utility for Mac users. It’s not that high tech. But it is a cool addition to your gadget arsenal, and, with the right Mac, makes a perfect home security sentinel.
A video camera attached to your Mac and running EvoCam becomes a webcam that streams video. It lets you view video online. You can create time lapse movies on your Mac. It even works as a motion sensor.
Set it up on a schedule to become a motion sensing camera, or have it periodically snap images and store them or upload to a remote web server. EvoCam can snap a photo every time there’s motion in front of the camera.
The time lapse feature is like compressing days or weeks into minutes of video. If you’re connected to the internet, EvoCam has the ability to stream live video so you can connect remotely to see what’s going on at home.
The video stream can be password protected to avoid snoopers. It’s not an idiot proof set up, but it’s also not complicated to get started.
Set the video size and recording settings using the simple tabs. The quality and type of video capture can be set using similar controls. For uploading to a web site you’ll need to know the FTP address, user ID, and password.
EvoCam can handle multiple cameras at the same time, each with a separate controls window. Nearly any QuickTime-compatible camera works, whether USB or FireWire. Captured images can be sent via FTP, SFtP or via email. All images can be archived to your Mac.
Think of the possibilities with a simple Mac mini hidden away in a corner of the room.
Setup your system with a schedule to capture images or video. Even add text captions and a clock timer to the image using whatever font, color, style you like. The captions are laid over the image or video.
How about wireless video cameras? I haven’t tried it yet (the cost is a bit pricey for a hobby) but the BT-1 Bluetooth Wireless Webcam would be a good example of a home security system using wireless technology.
Some cameras have the ability to pan, tilt, and zoom, and depending on the camera, can be controlled via EvoCam. Whether you use it as security cam, or as yet another Mac gadget for your collection, this is fun personified.
If only there were a way to park half a dozen cameras all over the house and all connected to a hidden Mac mini…