Wednesday 30 January 2013

The [not so] EasyCap for Linux

An EasyCap is a USB device that connects a composite video source (like an "analogue" cctv camera) to a computer.

The name "EasyCap" is not really a product name, because there are so many companies making copies of the original device. In fact one company (ClimaxDigital) got so fed up with the number of bad copies in circulation, that it change its branding to EzCAP, and more recently, dropped the name completely.

So you don't really know what you are getting when you order one of these. Its only when you connect it to your Linux computer and type "lsusb" that you discover what is inside.

Wednesday 23 January 2013

My Smart-arse Sony TV

Just before Christmas I finally plucked up the courage to get rid of the huge TV in our living room.

This must have been one of the last TVs with a proper 4:3 Cathode Ray Tube (crt) that Currys sold. It was enormous.

The neck of the tube stuck out the back so far that we had to sit in the drive-way and watch the TV through the window. It was either that or wedge ourselves into the 10inch gap between the TV screen and the wall. But with our noses pressed up against the screen, it was only possible to take in about 20% of the action.

I hate throwing away working machines, but no one was interested in this fully functional monster. So I loaded it into the back of a truck and took it to the local tip.

Saturday 12 January 2013

Using a Bird Box Camera: #2 Alarms & Recording

So you've installed a camera in your bird box and you can now relax and wait for your first visitors, and your first exciting glimpse of the private lives of garden birds.


But wait a minute! You don't have the time or the patience to sit in front of your tv, staring at a never changing image, waiting for something to happen.

If you are to avoid going crazy, you need a strategy. So here are a few suggestions.

Wednesday 9 January 2013

Robin Box 2013: Our First Visitor

The 2013 nesting season wont really get underway for another couple of months, but I've already switched on the system.


Unfortunately, the old Compaq computer that is at the heart of the system didn't want to start, so I had to wheel-in a spare.


For 2013 we will probably only have one camera equipped bird box, our open fronted Robin box. This has been very successful in previous seasons, and in 2012 a pair of robins had two sessions, laying 5 eggs each time, raising 9 chicks successfully. They were all set for a third attempt, but unfortunately one of the adults just disappeared.