EvoCam

Having sorted out the hardware, the next stage in moving the Lescam was, of course, getting some software that would do much the same thing as Webcam32 has been doing for the last few years. Webcam32 isn’t the slickest of programs (it hasn’t changed in a long time)[1], and for Windows users who want to start with a webcam, I usually recommend WebcamXP these days. But it’s been working for me, and I never saw any reason to replace it (well, I’d paid for it, so I wanted my money’s worth, which I’ve probably had by now).

More of the usual searching and reading led me to EvoCam, which looked like it would be a pretty much exact replacement for Webcam32. Indeed, their own site mentions that WebcamXP is an equivalent program for Windows users. So I downloaded a trial, and set it up.

Getting it talking to the camera was simple. Getting it to upload images by FTP did require a few changes from the default settings (no temporary file, use passive FTP), but nothing too tricky. Overlaying text on the image was several million times easier than with Webcam32 – it all integrates well with Mac OS X, so colour pickers are available, and it’s all nicely point and clicky.

Then came the final test – getting the live Lescam working, so suitably insane visitors can see me moving. A quick look at EvoCam suggested that this might only work with a Java applet (which I’d rather avoid) or by constant page refreshes, which would be a bit 1999. However, a more detailed look at the docs showed that the software will cheerfully serve up the image directly. So all I had to do was change the script that runs on the Lescam page to match the syntax for EvoCam (not much more than adding “webcam.jpg” to a path).

Then I just had to get the outside world pointing in the right direction. A little bit of tweaking on my router was needed to point requests to the port I’d configured to the Mac rather than the PC (and to give the Mac a fixed IP address to make sure it stays pointing there) was the first step. That was easy enough, though I did manage to forget to click the “Save Settings” box the first time. :duh:

Finally, as the Windows PC is now off, I needed to add a DynDNS Client to the Mac, so that the address I use for the image always has the right IP address. That was even easier, as DynDNS have produced a nicely behaved Mac OS application.

And after all that, we have a working Lescam, as far as I can tell. I’ve got a few days to try out EvoCam before I decide if I want to keep it (it costs the hideously large sum of $25, so it’s not much of a decision, really!).

This has been another “Les goes Mac” post. There are more to come, including a bit of muttering about office suites…

[1] And as of May 2009, it seems to have vanished. It is an ex-program. It has ceased to be. It is no more.

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