Tag Archives: track

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

Top 6 Personal Finance Apps for the iPhone

Guest writer, Andrew Salmon, takes a look at financial applications for the iPhone.

image As more and more apps are added to the ever-growing universe in the palm of your hand, that is the iPhone, there are some very good ways to track your spending.

Keeping your finances in check on the go can help you avoid getting in over your head.

Here are the top six financial apps for the iPhone:

6. LoanShark

This app weighs in with a slightly hefty $4.99 price tag, but it could save you thousands in the long run. With LoanShark, you can calculate the actual cost of various loans as well as allowing you to compare interest rates and terms. So while the bank throws figures at you too fast to handle before thrusting the contract in front of you to sign, let LoanShark make sure you’re getting the deal that’s right for you budget.

5. PocketMoney

At only $1.99, PocketMoney is a steal. This easy to use app helps you keep track of your accounts, budget and your spending habits. Plus it easily exports financial data to your desktop’s financial software when it’s time to really number crunch. There’s also a minimum of data entry involved, leaving you more time to hunt out those ever-elusive bargains.

4. PayPal For iPhone

EBay allows you to stay on top of your auctions while you’re away from you desktop by offering real time updates on the status of your bid. You can even change your bid on the go. But how about paying for your item right away? Now PayPal for the iPhone allows you to easily send payments safely and securely. Also, in a snap, you can send funds to anyone on your contact list through use of your existing PayPal account. And it’s free!

3. SplashMoney

You’ll pay $4.99 for this personal finance app but with good money management features added to the ability to connect wirelessly to online banking with full security encryption, you’ll be on top of your finances every step of the way. Pay bills, move funds – all on the commute home – and you’ll free up more personal time when you do cross the threshold and call it a day.

2. Mint.com

Like most financial apps, Mint.com provides real time updates on account balances and tracks your spending habits to help you budget, which is great while travelling or otherwise away from home. However, this app is a free download, which ranks it high on this list. Manage savings, checking and credit cards accounts on the go and at no charge? This is a must have for the on-the-go financial whiz.

1. Moneystrands

The key here is ease of use and flexibility. As another free app, this is one you want on your iPhone. Slick and comprehensive, it’s a budgeting tool that even lets you anonymously compare your personal budget to those of others with a similar lifestyle so you can see how you’re doing in the wallet department. It gives you an up to date snapshot of your financial status and supports 44 worldwide currencies.

This is a guest article by Andrew Salmon of IVA.net – a UK company which has been helping people in debt for over 75 years.

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Filed under cell phone, Cell Phone Apps, iPhone, Mobile Applications, Productivity Software, Software

Update Freeware/Open Source Apps Automatically – FreewareUpdater

I’m a strong advocate of open source and freeware software applications, and have been since I began computing in the early 1980’s. In fact, 65 out of a total of 86 applications on my home machine are either open source, or freeware applications. So, just over 75% of the applications I use fairly frequently I’ve downloaded and installed at no cost to me.

I have no way of knowing if these statistics are high, or relatively normal, for an advanced user; without question they’re certainly not on the low side.

I do know that trying to keep open source and freeware applications updated with the latest version can often be a hassle. This is particularly true if, like me, the majority of your installed software is open source, or freeware applications.

To reduce the drudgery involved in manually updating to the latest software version you can subscribe to an Internet service that will help do the job for you, such as Freeware Updates. Alternatively, to retain more control over the update process, you can download and install a tiny application FreewareUpdater that will allow you to conveniently manage and update, the open source and freeware applications on your computer.

Simply download and install FreewareUpdater to your computer, and then update the application list using the application’s intuitive and user friendly interface. From now on the application will keep track of any updates to the software on this list.

When any of the listed applications are updated, or a new release is issued, the list will be automatically updated. Installing the update, or new release, is as easy as double clicking on the software in the list and FreewareUpdater will download and install it on your system.

Quick facts:

  • Collects data on freeware/open source software online
  • Automatic update of application list
  • Installs new applications directly from FreewareUpdater
  • Advises you on both installed, and non installed, applications

System Requirements: Windows 2000/XP/Vista, Microsoft .NET Framework

Download at: Download.com

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Filed under Freeware, Open Source, Timesaving Tips, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools