Round Three …
When I switched to a Mac Mini, I was confronted with all kinds of problems. New Software, video digital conversion issues, and an OS so new that everything that may work with it is in beta, or had to find, not to mention wicked expensive. Ahhhh for the love of bees.
I bought a new digital converter, USB_Live , and then started testing software, until I came up with a combination of USBVision and Image Caster . Streaming Live software is incredibly expensive for a mac, because of Apples high digital imaging protocols. So…. We went from $1.00 for setting up and operating the very reliable Snappy, to $130.00 with a system that can only take rapid stills. Sigh.
Round Two …
Well…. After a few
weeks of running things that way, I found Webcam
For the original configuration, I decided to put the camera in a modified Medium Super hive box. This is an educational hive (and hopefully good honey producer also), so instead of putting in “frames”, the box was left relatively empty so the bees could make “natural” shaped comb. There are a couple of frames as starter references for the bees, not that they really need them. This hive has a Buckfast Queen, and Buckfast bees. Thank you brother Adam and the Buckfast Abby, you developed one great Bee. The following photos show the original set up from hive right into the Server . The current setup has the camera inside the hive in Winter, and in the View Window outside in the Spring/ Summer.
The Version 1 BeeCam setup used old proven technology. Since bees don’t like light inside the hive, the first thing was to find a good used infrared security type camera. As many businesses are going to complete digital technology, good used analog is readily available. On eBay for $20.00 plus shipping I got a great 0. lux, 6 IR LED camera, with 50’ of cable and power supply. The next issue was to get the analog converted to digital so it can be viewed on a CPU monitor. A bit of research on the web got me to a wonderful web site dedicated to Snappy which in it’s time was an incredible piece of technology costing just under $200.00, but can now be fought on eBay for $1.00 with software. Snappy has a cultesque dedicated group of followers, of which I have become one. There are several web sites with great support, and patches for newer operating systems.
Now that the analog was converted to digital, I tried to write a script to convert the sequential picture to a static name, so my web directory wouldn’t fill up. I almost got it, but needed a bit of help from my friend Ben, a lifetime MIT student, hater of the Windoze OS, Preacher of Linux, and a DOS Guru. He also came up with a text script that would then auto-ftp the .jpg directly to the web directory. I had completely forgotten how powerful and wonderful DOS is. The script has some built in safety features in case something misfires. Save it as a .bat file and use the “Scheduled Tasks” to configure it. All Snappy users are welcome to it:
move /Y pixname(0002).jpg pixname.jpg
move /Y pixname(0003).jpg pixname.jpg
move /Y pixname(0004).jpg pixname.jpg
move /Y pixname(0005).jpg pixname.jpg
The text script is as follows:
rename pixname.jpg newpixname.jpg