Tag Archives: record

I Spy With My Little Eye – But iSpy Open Source Webcam Security Goes One Better

imageI watch you – you watch me. And, we all live together – happily – sort of. We live in a surveillance society, and whether that’s a good thing, or not, is open to much debate. We’ve discussed this issue here a number of times and, the consensus of opinion as expressed by readers is – Thumbs Down! – to surveillance in public spaces.

From a personal perspective, I have to admit to conflicting emotions. As a recipient of a  Neighborhood Watch award (back in the mists of time), I’m a strong supporter of the philosophy that we all share a responsibility to safeguard our personal environment. And, personal Web Cam surveillance, it seems to me, is an acceptable defense against hooligans intent on causing havoc.

I am NOT in favor, however, of broad scale deployment of security cameras by law enforcement based on the theory that doing so reduces crime. Survey after survey concludes that this is an urban myth. Worse yet, voyeuristic surveillance, such as this, is an assault on personal freedom.

But, on to how you can take advantage of a superb free (Open Source) Web Cam surveillance solution that includes a ton of built-in features. iSpy, last updated January 25, 2012, is an open source application which uses your webcam(s) and microphone(s) to detect, and record, motion and sound. And, a lot more besides.

Typical usage – click on graphic to expand.

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Fast facts:

Connect and monitor as many cameras and microphones as you like. Import and export object lists to share with colleagues.

Connect multiple computers in a group and manage over the web.

Install iSpy Server and publish your webcam to other instances of iSpy, over your network and to the web.

Detect, highlight, track and record movement.

Detect loitering.

Customize movement detection areas on your cameras.

Detect and record sound.

Run any program or send an email or SMS alert when movement or sound is detected.

Run any program or send an email or SMS alert when movement or sound is not detected (monitor machinery or staff activity).

Receive email movement alerts with attached frame grab images from your webcams.

Periodically receive image grabs via email from your webcams.

Connect to any device, even webcams attached to other computers with JPEG, MJPEG, IP Cam, webcam and AVI file support.

Watch live and recorded media over the web (through this website) and also via mobile devices.

Access and control iSpy remotely.

Password protect iSpy and hide it in the System Tray.

Schedule sound and video capturing to start and stop automatically.

Time-lapse record from any camera.

Motion track and count moving objects.

Connect multiple instances of iSpy and iSpy server running on different computers to this website and view all aggregated media online.

Create groups, invite friends and share access to your webcams and microphones.

The following review is based on an older version of  iSpy –  January, 2011. The version currently running on my system.

Setting up iSpy while relatively uncomplicated, was not quite as easy as I would have liked. On the other hand, additional features often lead to more complexity.

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As the following screen captures indicate, you’ll be presented with a smorgasbord of fine tuning choices.

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Languages: English, Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, Deutsch, Español, Française, Hrvatski, Italiano, Magyar, Nederlands, Русский, Polski, Português and 中文

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7. Microsoft .Net framework will be installed if required. Windows media player 9 VCM codecs – will be installed if required.

Download at: iSpy Connect

iSpy user guide available here.

I’ve tested this application extensively and overall, I’ve been very pleased with its performance. If you’re looking for a free (Open Source), Web Cam surveillance solution, iSpy may be just what you’ve been searching for.

If you don’t need all of the features built into iSpy, (some of the bells and whistles are just that – bells and whistles), I’ve previously reviewed Secure Cam, an open source surveillance application which should meet your basic  surveillance needs.

Rise Cam, an application also covered in that review, is no longer available.

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Filed under downloads, Free Surveillance Applications, Freeware, Software

Audacity – The Best Free Multiplatform Audio Recorder/Editor?

image A year or so ago, I needed to record 20 minutes of streaming audio from the Internet, and since I am not an audio hobbyist, and have limited experience recording using my computer, I simply launched Windows Sound Recorder and sat back to watch it do it’s job. I thought!

No such luck. I was surprised to learn the maximum recording time on Sound Recorder is only 30 seconds, which was far too short for my purpose.

A mad scramble to find a freeware/open source replacement for Windows Sound Recorder led me to Audacity which, as it turns out, is the most popular free, open source audio editor/ recorder available. It works with many operating systems, including Windows, Mac, GNU, and Linux.

Audacity has a surprisingly easy to use interface, and I found it to be feature-rich and flexible. The first thing that struck me on launching the program was, it advised me I had several hundred hours of available space on my drives in which to record. Not 30seconds!

image

Audacity has the capacity to handle multi-track editing, a good number of audio effects including reverb, delay, compression, echo, phaser, wahwah and reverse. Its audio export functions include MP3, OGG, AIFF, and WAV and more.

One of the more interesting features, for me, is Audacity’s capacity to convert tapes and records into digital recordings. I have a large collection of old 70’s and 80’s albums that I have many times considered converting to digital recordings and burning to CD’s. I now have the application to do just that. Now, if I can only find the time!

System Requirements: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista

The Audacity web site lists the following features:

Recording:

Audacity can record live audio through a microphone or mixer, or digitize recordings from cassette tapes, vinyl records, or minidisks.

With some sound cards, it can also capture streaming audio.

Record from microphone, line input, or other sources.

Dub over existing tracks to create multi-track recordings.

Record up to 16 channels at once (requires multi-channel hardware).

Level meters can monitor volume levels before, during, and after recording.

Import and Export:

Import sound files, edit and combine them with other files or new recordings.

Export your recordings in several common file formats.

Import and export WAV, AIFF, AU, and Ogg Vorbis files.

Import MPEG audio (including MP2 and MP3 files) with libmad.

Export MP3s with the optional LAME encoder library.

Create WAV or AIFF files suitable for burning to CD.

Import and export all file formats supported by libsndfile.

Open raw (header less) audio files using the “Import Raw” command.

Note: Audacity does not currently support WMA, AAC, or most other proprietary or restricted file formats.

Editing:

Easy editing with Cut, Copy, Paste, and Delete.

Use unlimited Undo (and Redo) to go back any number of steps.

Very fast editing of large files.

Edit and mix an unlimited number of tracks.

Use the Drawing tool to alter individual sample points.

Fade the volume up or down smoothly with the Envelope tool.

Effects:

Change the pitch without altering the tempo, or vice-versa.

Remove static, hiss, hum, or other constant background noises.

Alter frequencies with Equalization, FFT Filter, and Bass Boost effects.

Adjust volumes with Compressor, Amplify, and Normalize effects.

Other built-in effects include:

Echo

Phaser

Wahwah

Reverse

Sound Quality:

Record and edit 16-bit, 24-bit, and 32-bit (floating point) samples.

Record at up to 96 KHz.

Sample rates and formats are converted using high-quality resampling and dithering.

Mix tracks with different sample rates or formats, and Audacity will convert them automatically in real-time.

Plug-Ins:

Add new effects with LADSPA plug-ins.

Audacity includes some sample plug-ins by Steve Harris.

Load VST plug-ins for Windows and Mac, with the optional VST Enabler.

Write new effects with the built-in Nyquist programming language.

Analysis:

Spectrogram mode for visualizing frequencies.

Plot Spectrum command for detailed frequency analysis.

Download at: Download.com

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Filed under Audio Applications, Audio Software, Free Full Versions, Open Source, Portable Applications, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Audacity – Free Multiplatform Audio Recorder/Editor

Several months back, I needed to record 20 minutes of streaming audio from the Internet, and since I am not an audio hobbyist, and have limited experience recording using my computer, I simply launched Windows Sound Recorder and sat back to watch it do it’s job. I thought!

No such luck. I was surprised to learn the maximum recording time on Sound Recorder is only 30 seconds, which was far too short for my purpose.

A mad scramble to find a freeware/open source replacement for Windows Sound Recorder led me to Audacity which, as it turns out, is the most popular free, open source audio editor/ recorder available. It works with many operating systems, including Windows, Mac, GNU, and Linux.

Audacity has a surprisingly easy to use interface, and I found it to be feature-rich and flexible. The first thing that struck me on launching the program was, it advised me I had several hundred hours of available space on my drives in which to record. Not 30seconds!

Audacity has the capacity to handle multi-track editing, a good number of audio effects including reverb, delay, compression, echo, phaser, wahwah and reverse. Its audio export functions include MP3, OGG, AIFF, and WAV and more.

One of the more interesting features, for me, is Audacity’s capacity to convert tapes and records into digital recordings. I have a large collection of old 60’s and 70’s albums that I have many times considered converting to digital recordings and burning to CD’s. I now have the application to do just that. Now, if I can only find the time!

System Requirements: Windows 98/Me/2000/XP

The Audacity web site lists the following features:

Recording:

Audacity can record live audio through a microphone or mixer, or digitize recordings from cassette tapes, vinyl records, or minidisks.

With some sound cards, it can also capture streaming audio.

Record from microphone, line input, or other sources.

Dub over existing tracks to create multi-track recordings.

Record up to 16 channels at once (requires multi-channel hardware).

Level meters can monitor volume levels before, during, and after recording.

Import and Export:

Import sound files, edit and combine them with other files or new recordings.

Export your recordings in several common file formats.

Import and export WAV, AIFF, AU, and Ogg Vorbis files.

Import MPEG audio (including MP2 and MP3 files) with libmad.

Export MP3s with the optional LAME encoder library.

Create WAV or AIFF files suitable for burning to CD.

Import and export all file formats supported by libsndfile.

Open raw (header less) audio files using the “Import Raw” command.

Note: Audacity does not currently support WMA, AAC, or most other proprietary or restricted file formats.

Editing:

Easy editing with Cut, Copy, Paste, and Delete.

Use unlimited Undo (and Redo) to go back any number of steps.

Very fast editing of large files.

Edit and mix an unlimited number of tracks.

Use the Drawing tool to alter individual sample points.

Fade the volume up or down smoothly with the Envelope tool.

Effects:

Change the pitch without altering the tempo, or vice-versa.

Remove static, hiss, hum, or other constant background noises.

Alter frequencies with Equalization, FFT Filter, and Bass Boost effects.

Adjust volumes with Compressor, Amplify, and Normalize effects.

Other built-in effects include:

Echo

Phaser

Wahwah

Reverse

Sound Quality:

Record and edit 16-bit, 24-bit, and 32-bit (floating point) samples.

Record at up to 96 KHz.

Sample rates and formats are converted using high-quality resampling and dithering.

Mix tracks with different sample rates or formats, and Audacity will convert them automatically in real-time.

Plug-Ins:

Add new effects with LADSPA plug-ins.

Audacity includes some sample plug-ins by Steve Harris.

Load VST plug-ins for Windows and Mac, with the optional VST Enabler.

Write new effects with the built-in Nyquist programming language.

Analysis:

Spectrogram mode for visualizing frequencies.

Plot Spectrum command for detailed frequency analysis.

Download at: Download.com

9 Comments

Filed under Audio Applications, Audio Software, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Open Source, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

Record, Edit and Apply Special Effects to Your Digital Audio Files Free With Audacity 1.3.2

audacity_windows1.jpgSeveral months back, I needed to record 20 minutes of streaming audio from the Internet, and since I am not an audio hobbyist, and have limited experience recording using my computer, I simply launched Windows Sound Recorder and sat back to watch it do it’s job. I thought! No such luck. I was surprised to learn the maximum recording time on Sound Recorder is only 30 seconds, which was far too short for my purpose.

 

A mad scramble to find a freeware/open source replacement for Windows Sound Recorder led me to Audacity 1.3.2 which, as it turns out, is the most popular free, open source audio editor/ recorder available. It works with many operating systems, including Windows, Mac, GNU, and Linux.

Audacity turned out to be easy to use, and I found it to be feature-rich and flexible. The first thing that struck me on launching the program was, it advised me I had several hundred hours of available space on my drives in which to record. Not 30seconds!

Audacity has the capacity to handle multi-track editing, a good number of audio effects including reverb, delay, compression, echo, phaser, wahwah and reverse. Its audio export functions include MP3, OGG, AIFF, and WAV and more.

One of the more interesting features, for me, is Audacity’s capacity to convert tapes and records into digital recordings. I have a large collection of old 60’s and 70’s albums that I have many times considered converting to digital recordings and burning to CD’s. I now have the application to do just that. Now, if I can only find the time!

The Audacity web site lists the following features:

Recording

  • Audacity can record live audio through a microphone or mixer, or digitize recordings from cassette tapes, vinyl records, or minidisks.
  • With some sound cards, it can also capture streaming audio.
  • Record from microphone, line input, or other sources.
  • Dub over existing tracks to create multi-track recordings.
  • Record up to 16 channels at once (requires multi-channel hardware).
  • Level meters can monitor volume levels before, during, and after recording.

Import and Export

  • Import sound files, edit and combine them with other files or new recordings.
  • Export your recordings in several common file formats.
  • Import and export WAV, AIFF, AU, and Ogg Vorbis files.
  • Import MPEG audio (including MP2 and MP3 files) with libmad.
  • Export MP3s with the optional LAME encoder library.
  • Create WAV or AIFF files suitable for burning to CD.
  • Import and export all file formats supported by libsndfile.
  • Open raw (headerless) audio files using the “Import Raw” command.

Note: Audacity does not currently support WMA, AAC, or most other proprietary or restricted file formats.

Editing

  • Easy editing with Cut, Copy, Paste, and Delete.
  • Use unlimited Undo (and Redo) to go back any number of steps.
  • Very fast editing of large files.
  • Edit and mix an unlimited number of tracks.
  • Use the Drawing tool to alter individual sample points.
  • Fade the volume up or down smoothly with the Envelope tool.

Effects

  • Change the pitch without altering the tempo, or vice-versa.
  • Remove static, hiss, hum, or other constant background noises.
  • Alter frequencies with Equalization, FFT Filter, and Bass Boost effects.
  • Adjust volumes with Compressor, Amplify, and Normalize effects.

Other built-in effects include:

  • Echo
  • Phaser
  • Wahwah
  • Reverse

Sound Quality

  • Record and edit 16-bit, 24-bit, and 32-bit (floating point) samples.
  • Record at up to 96 KHz.
  • Sample rates and formats are converted using high-quality resampling and dithering.
  • Mix tracks with different sample rates or formats, and Audacity will convert them automatically in real-time.

Plug-Ins

  • Add new effects with LADSPA plug-ins.
  • Audacity includes some sample plug-ins by Steve Harris.
  • Load VST plug-ins for Windows and Mac, with the optional VST Enabler.
  • Write new effects with the built-in Nyquist programming language.

Analysis

  • Spectrogram mode for visualizing frequencies.
  • Plot Spectrum command for detailed frequency analysis.

 

Download at: Sourceforge, the download repository of Open Source applications.

3 Comments

Filed under Audio Applications, Freeware, Multimedia Tools, Open Source, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools