Tag Archives: sound

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

Reduce Cell Phone/VoIP Background Noise With SoliCall!

image We can often find ourselves in an environment that is not telephone friendly; noisy conferences, on the boat while at the cottage – think about the noise produced by twin Mercury outboard motors, sporting events, or dare I say it, loud raucous parties.

Background distractions produced by unwanted environmental noises may, at a minimum, be no more than an annoyance, or in more extreme cases can lead to confusion, frustration, misunderstanding, and irritation for both parties to a telephone call. Think about the impact on the listener, while you shout to be heard over background noises.

Often we have limited choices as to when we either make, or take, a telephone call, and circumstances may dictate that we do so despite environmental background noises which are sure to produce some degree of anxiety.

Recently, while using my cell phone I instructed my Broker to sell all my holdings in Chrysler – not hearing me clearly, instead he bought additional shares in Chrysler. I’m only kidding you – but you see the point. Background environmental noise, while using the telephone, has the potential to produce unintended consequences.

There’s a great new solution to this common scenario. SoliCall, a company which specializes in noise reduction, noise cancellation and noise suppression technology has developed a personalized voice filtering solution. This noise reduction software operates as a voice pass filter which can be integrated in any phone system, and in any voice call.

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(Before and after the application of this technology)

This amazing technology – I admit, I’m old enough to still be amazed by unique technology – is based on identifying the voice of the speaker – it does not center on specific noises but only on the user’s voice. To accomplish this, the application records and analyzes a sample of the user’s voice and stores the unique acoustic parameters. The end result is; all other voices, noises and sounds are filtered out.

Unlike some existing voice filtering technologies which rely to some extent on telephone speaker position – physical contact using jaw bone sensors for example – this new technology does not rely on the position of the telephone speaker, with the obvious comfort advantage this entails.

Installation is easy even for a novice computer user, but to ensure seamless installation the company provides a terrific FAQ page, supplemented with an application integration page, which covers more than just the basics.

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Recording telephone calls can often be important for both business and personal reasons, and surprisingly (well I was surprised); the SoliCall program includes the capacity to do so.

With SoliCall’s personalized noise reduction you can now improve voice quality and get rid of those virtually impossible to deal with background distractions, in cell phone, headset, and other telephone calls.

There is an obvious need for this exciting technology, and the number of free downloads thus far (32,000+ at Download.com alone), speaks to this.

Fast facts:

Compatible with all SoftPhones

Compatible with business centers, e.g. Gateways, PBXs and Conference bridges

Improves sound quality on any type of VoIP call, e.g. PC-to-PC, PC-to-Phone

Robust echo cancellation

Transmits only your voice – personalized to your specific voice

Screens all other voices, noises and sounds

Becomes more efficient as it learns

Small 1.23 MB free download

System Requirements: Windows 2000/XP

Download at: Download.com

Please note, that all other products offered by SoliCall, for cell phones and for PBXs (the SDK and the PBXMate), are already in the production phase. In fact, the company recently reported on their signing three international deals in the telecom sector.

Pay a visit to SoliCall’s new Website and checkout their full complement of noise reduction and echo cancellation technologies.

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Filed under Audio Applications, Audio Software, Cell Phone Apps, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Interconnectivity, Mobile Applications, Software, VOIP

Reduce Cell Phone/VoIP Background Noise Free with SoliCall

We can often find ourselves in an environment that is not telephone friendly; noisy conferences, on the boat while at the cottage – think about the noise produced by twin Mercury’s, sporting events, or dare I say it, loud raucous parties.

Background distractions produced by unwanted environmental noises may, at a minimum, be no more than an annoyance, or in more extreme cases can lead to confusion, frustration, misunderstanding, and irritation for both parties to a telephone call. Think about the impact on the listener, while you shout to be heard over background noises.

Often we have limited choices as to when we either make, or take, a telephone call, and circumstances may dictate that we do so despite environmental background noises which are sure to produce some degree of anxiety.

There’s a great new solution to this common scenario. SoliCall, a company which specializes in noise reduction, noise cancellation and noise suppression technology has developed a personalized voice filtering solution, currently in Beta. This noise reduction software operates as a voice pass filter which can be integrated in any phone system, and in any voice call.

(Before and After the application of this technology)

This amazing technology – I admit, I’m old enough to still be amazed by unique technology – is based on identifying the voice of the speaker – it does not center on specific noises but only on the user’s voice. To accomplish this, the application records and analyzes a sample of the user’s voice and stores the unique acoustic parameters. The end result is, all other voices, noises and sounds are filtered out.

Unlike some existing voice filtering technologies which rely to some extent on telephone speaker position – physical contact using jaw bone sensors for example – this new technology does not rely on the position of the telephone speaker, with the obvious comfort advantage this entails.

Installation is easy even for a novice computer user, but to ensure seamless installation the company provides a terrific FAQ page, supplemented with an application integration page, which covers more than just the basics.

(Click pic for larger)

Recording telephone calls can often be important for both business and personal reasons, and surprisingly (well I was surprised); the SoliCall program includes the capacity to do so.

With SoliCall’s personalized noise reduction you can now improve voice quality and get rid of those virtually impossible to deal with background distractions, in cell phone, headset, and other telephone calls.

There is an obvious need for this exciting technology, and the number of free downloads thus far (25,000+ at Download.com alone), speaks to this.

Fast facts:

Compatible with all SoftPhones

Compatible with business centers, e.g. Gateways, PBXs and Conference bridges

Improves sound quality on any type of VoIP call, e.g. PC-to-PC, PC-to-Phone

Robust echo cancellation

Transmits only your voice – personalized to your specific voice

Screens all other voices, noises and sounds

Becomes more efficient as it learns

Small 1.23 MB free download

System Requirements: Windows 2000/XP

Download at: Download.com

Please note, that all other products offered by SoliCall, for cell phones and for PBXs (the SDK and the PBXMate), are already in the production phase.

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Filed under Audio Applications, Audio Software, Cell Phone Apps, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools