June 2004 archive

iSight Security Camera

iSight Security Camera

I live next door to my father and Cheryl, who have been caring for my cat Ophelia for years while I’ve lived in Ottawa and in various no-pets-allowed apartments. This weekend, I’ve been feeding Ophelia since they’ve been out of town. They have some lovely potted flowers on their front steps, and even a small fern tree in a pot.

Apparently some dorks decided to remove the plants from their pots this weekend. I came over Saturday morning, while Cheryl was still there, to be find dirt thrown all over the place. Cheryl had already replaced the plants in their pots, but we found it unthinkable that someone would stop by just to pull plants out of pots.

Sunday morning, on my trip over to visit the cat, I found that all the plants had been de-potted again. After replacing them as best I could, I setup a security camera to watch the front steps:

I discovered a couple interesting things:

  • EvoCam has a very nifty motion sensor feature, which works very well.
  • The normal stands that come with the iSight are not well suited for being placed on a flat surface. They are geared purely towards being placed on a computer monitor.
  • When using a thick firewire cable, rather than Apple’s recommended thin firewire cable, the cut off top of a pop bottle is an effective stand for an iSight camera.
  • An empty casing for the Simpsons’ DVDs works well to boost the camera up a bit, as well as providing a nice escape route for the firewire cable.

Fortunately, the plants were undisturbed overnight. This is good, since I’m not entirely sure how well the camera would have worked in the darkness. I left the porch lights on to give some light, and the iSight is generally pretty good in the dark, but I never tested it in this security camera configuration.