Archive for December, 2013

Mumble gripe grumble

Posted December 31, 2013 By Ruth

So, it turns out that the camera only records if a computer has the IE browser window open to the camera’s IP address…..

This makes no sense.  All that is part of the firmware, the access is JUST to modify the settings, nothing is loaded onto the computer, but if that window isn’t open the camera doesn’t record.  How annoying is that??

So, if I have to leave a computer running something for the camera then I’m going to look at the some of the 3rd party software’s that are supposed to work (and add extra options) to the camera.  I’ve downloaded 4 different trial versions to try, and I’ll update with my final choice once I make that decision.

 

Edit: I never did update this.  We settled on the Blue Iris software.  Though the most expensive of the ones I tried it was also by far the most versatile of the bunch.  Not the easiest to use, it took some fiddling, but once I figured it out I’ve been quite happy with it since!

Foscam Camera review–Update

Posted December 27, 2013 By Ruth

Original post here..

As stated in my update of my original post I called Foscam and received instructions on how to send it in for repair or replacement.  I received the new replacement camera on Monday 12/23/13, and set it up immedietly.

 

This one definetly fuctions better.  Its not rebooting or anything of the like.  And with fairly minor tweaking of the settings we managed to capture a video of exactly what we wanted to capture:

 

 

you don’t see her till towards the end.  Based on the the tracks in the driveway she came in very close to the right hand fence, and must of triggered the camera as she did so, but since it takes a good second or two to “wake up” it missed her entrance, only showing her when she came back across.  I’ll take it.  Now if I can tweak the settings so that we’re not ALSO getting video triggered by the majority of the cars going by……

(For those of you saying “wtf?  Its a dog??”, yes it is, and she belongs to the folks who’s house is just visible across the street.  They swear she’s trained to stay in their yard…..)

I will however say, I never did get a response to the email I sent them via the tech support contact page on their website.  And I ALSO, since sending them that email, have received a sales email from them EVERY SINGLE DAY except for Christmas.  So although I’m reasonably happy with their product, and their support via PHONE was great, their basic customer service sucks.

Rough-Legged Hawk

Posted December 25, 2013 By Ruth

I keep forgetting to post this.

This past Saturday, Husband and I were out running errands, and decided to swing by one of the locations where Snowy Owls had been spotted in hopes of seeing one.  Unfortunately we had some time constraints and weren’t able to stop and really LOOK, so if there was any there we didn’t see them.  However as we drove slowly past the fields a large hawk flushed from the east side ditch.  Husband was kind enough to slam on the brakes so I could snatch some hurried photos despite the horrible lighting of the day.  The hawk stayed low to the ground, and appeared a bit peeved at us, he (or possibly she, the markings indicate possibly female or juvenile) watched us closely till he was well past the road, aiding my attempt to get photos.

(click to view a larger version of the photos)

 

 

 

She might not be the Snowy Owl we were looking for, but I’m not complaining!

A White Christmas and gardening!

Posted December 25, 2013 By Ruth

I know, what a pairing right?

I wasn’t sure we were going to have a white Christmas here, we often don’t, somehow always managing to have a thaw right before Christmas that melts the white stuff already on the ground.  Heck, some years we don’t get any snow till after January 1st, at which point Mother Nature makes up for her kindness by dumping feet of the stuff on us.  And sure enough, this past weekend we had temps in the 50’s with rain, resulting in all but the largest of snow piles melting into nothing.

But this year the few flakes that were drifting out of the sky when we left to go to Christmas Eve dinner at my Inlaws had turned into full on white out conditions by the time we left to come home.  Its only a couple inches of snow, but it made driving home interesting.  Apollo’s thrilled though.

Their family tradition is to open one gift on Christmas Eve, and this year my SIL planned to be spending Christmas dinner with HER Inlaws so the gifts chosen to open were the ones from her family to everyone else.  Her gift to us this year was a new “welcome” mat for our front steps.  Our current one is decidedly faded and worn.  Please note the “‘ around the word “welcome”.  Our current mat states “You read my door mat, thats enough social interaction for one day”.  THIS is the new one.  Which sent the entire family into gales of laughter when they read it.  I love it, but when I flipped it over, and stopped to read the attached “warning label” I laughed even harder:

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The other present I was handed last night was my belated Birthday gift from my MIL.  My birthday was last month and she completely forgot to get me anything, I told her not to worry about it, birthday dinner and cake was plenty, but she insisted.  She ordered several books off my Amazon Wish List, one of them Backyard Winter Gardening by Caleb Warnock.

I’ve been fascinated by the concept of winter gardening for a while, but the large majority of instruction and discussion on it that I’ve found has been done by folks in climates different from mine.  Someone on the west coast, or a zone and a half warmer than I, is going to have different success with different techniques that I would.  Technically we’re zone 5b, however I’ve repeatedly seen plants that are supposedly hardy to zone 5 not survive our winters.  So I was skeptical that any of the winter gardening techniques that I was seeing would work here.   The author of this book lives in the Rocky Mountains, and has recorded winter temps in his garden as low as -17.  So I figure if HE can do a winter garden with these techniques than I ought to be able to pull off something here.

Husband practically lit up when he spotted me reading about winter grown broccoli last night.  After my one disastrous attempt to grow broccoli two summers ago I’ve not tried anything close since.  We may be trying again this next winter.  I will attempt to remember to blog about how what when and what the results are!

New gadget in the right side-bar

Posted December 22, 2013 By Ruth

I added the BirdTrax gadget to my side-bar today.  Looks like a cool little gadget that helps keep track of bird sightings in the area.  For the moment its reporting sightings within 50km of Shoppingtown Mall in Syracuse NY, as I figured that was a generic location.  That might change depending on my mood…..

Home on the Range: Quick Cinnamon Rolls.

Wildlife

Posted December 15, 2013 By Ruth

We’ve still got the trail camera’s up, there was a pretty slow period where we didn’t see much, but when I checked them yesterday….

 

 

 

 

 

Apollo’s happy

Posted December 7, 2013 By Ruth

 

It snowed!

 

 

Arty’s enjoying it too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin!

Posted December 7, 2013 By Ruth

So, Sunday when I checked the pumpkin I noticed it had developed a soft spot (probly got whacked a few to many times, I didn’t have a good spot to let it be, that should be fixed by next summer).  So I made puree!  I’d planned to let it sit another week or so, but it was plenty ripe enough to work with and taste yummy.

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It turned out well.  First recipe tried was this one.  Very good, though kinda mild.  I’m on the hunt for the next recipe to make!

Initial Review: Foscam FI8910W Wireless Camera

Posted December 3, 2013 By Ruth

So, my mom sent me an Amazon gift card for my birthday.  Love those things, and she knows it.  So, I’ve been wanting a wireless “webcam” for a while.  Partially to watch the bird feeders when I couldn’t be there, and partially to catch the neighbor’s dog(s) in the act (on my property) so I can hand more proof to Animal Control.  I’d poked around and settled on the Foscam FI8910W camera as an inexpensive model that would likely do what I wanted.

It arrived Wednesday, and I spent several hours setting it up.  It shouldn’t have taken that long.  The biggest issue is that although the packaging says it’ll connect via Wireless B/G/N and my router supports all of those AND (supposedly) features a “mixed” setting so as to support all of those at once, the camera refused to connect.  None of my other wireless devices had that problem, but the camera did.  I had to set it to one of the options in order to get the camera to connect.  But it took me a while to figure out why the router could see the camera but the camera said it wasn’t connecting.

It also kept rebooting itself, which was annoying as heck.  But updating the firmware seemed to fix that.  

I set it up at first without any recording, just to see how it would work to view from.  Quickly decided that with the bird feeders placed where they were it wasn’t going to work to watch the birds, but it would work fine to keep an eye out for the neighbor’s dog.  I debated moving the bird feeders.

Thursday it started rebooting itself constantly again.  A factory reset fixed that problem this time.  I was starting to get a bit peeved.

Sunday morning, it had worked fine Friday and Saturday after the reset, so I decided to go ahead and set up the motion detection and recording options.  Discovered that it only detected motion in the center of its viewing window.  Thats a bit annoying, but its hardly an expensive camera, so I guess I get what I pay for.  Adjusted the viewing angle to cover the driveway better so as to catch what we wanted to catch.  Debated moving the bird feeders.

Sunday afternoon it started rebooting itself constantly.

I unplugged it and sent an email off to Foscam’s tech support.  As of now (Tuesday morning) they’ve not responded, but I’m willing to give them a little time at least to catch up from the holiday weekend.  If I haven’t heard from them by tomorrow though I’ll just call them (since I’ll have time tomorrow during business hours).  

Current review: less than impressed.  At least some of the problem IS that I was looking for an in-expensive camera, if I was willing to drop more cash on the problem I’m sure some of the issues wouldn’t be issues.  On the other hand the whole thing has turned into an exercise in frustration.  We’ll see what tech support says……

(disclaimer, I bought the above mentioned camera with my own money/gift certificate, I was not asked to do a review and am receiving nothing for doing so.  The above link to Amazon IS via my Amazon Associates link, and if you buy something via that link I’ll earn a few cents.)

 

UPDATE 12/5/13 I called tech support yesterday, and after explaining the problem, and what I’d done to fix it, was informed it definetly has a mechanical issue and they will replace it.  I received the RMA info along with return instructions in my email today.  So hopefully we’re good to go!  I will however say that it is QUITE frustrating to give a company my email as part of a tech support request, and to then get a sales email for every single day since, and still not get a response to the tech support email.

Additional update HERE.