Networking

Connecting Multiple IP Cameras to Windows Media Center

After publishing a piece on how to connect an Internet enabled camera to WMC, iPhones and iPads yesterday, I received a couple of emails basically saying, “great, but I want to monitor more than one camera in a master view like stand alone IP surveillance software”.

I thought about this for a bit and then tested to see if an HTML page could be hosted locally, placed in the C:ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Accessories\Media Center\Media Center Programs folder with the appropriate MCL and PNG file. The answer was yes, and this now opens the door to more customizations.

Further, I thought that the still images needed to be refreshed. Not much value in watching an image on the screen that just sits there. I fired up Microsoft Expression Web and created a page and added in a META REFRESH tag to reload every xx seconds (I used 30 seconds as the interval). While tables should not be used for layout on a page designed to be viewed in a real web browser (a deprecated means of coding), a nested table structure proved perfect for display inside Windows Media Center. I specified the Segoe UI font and ended up with something that looked pretty decent and worked.  Here is the view inside Windows Media Center:

mycameras

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Sonos S5 Music Players, Connected, Converged, Fantastic

I’m not easily impressed, but my jaw is hanging open today after installing two Sonos S5 Music Players to cover my home with end to end music. I’ve used computers, Media Center Extenders and all kinds of hardware and software in the past to move music around my home, but I always had to cobble together pieces and use separate devices and controllers to get what I wanted.  What did I want? Well, everything imaginable. The list below is not in any particular order:

1. The ability to stream from ANY of my computers (using Play To or anything else) to more than one music player/renderer simultaneously.

2. To be able to control the volume above individually or together.

3. Play Pandora Radio and other Internet sourced digital music

4. Use existing/create new playlists

5. Use iPhones, iPads and  iPxxx whatever to control and manage the device as a remote control (including graphical menus).

6. Use the system as an alarm clock with choices to wake from alarm, music, Internet music, whatever

7. Wireless connectivity in my Living Room

8. A system that was upgradeable.

9. Quality sound

10. Expandability

I’m still stunned that I found a system that does ALL of the above. (And I’m betting I discover more features – I’ve only had a few hours experience with this all, so my exploration and discovery has only just begun).

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Stupid Toshiba Advocates Lagging Edge Standard for SD Cards

June 22 press release from Toshiba announces an effort to “ promote a new SD card that integrates Wi-Fi wireless communication with data storage capabilities. The forum, the "Standard Promotion Forum for Memory Cards Embedding Wireless LAN"* has been founded by Toshiba and Singapore-based Trek 2000 International Ltd.. ‘

But they want to make this 802.11b/g and not the faster 802.11n (which is backwards compatible with b/g.

As any photographer knows, RAW files are huge, and even the JPEGs at Fine and Super-Fine resolutions are pretty big.

Eye-FI has done it right and offers SDHC cards that utilize 802.11n.

Why in the world would Toshiba (or anyone else for that matter) want to slow people down? This may be a price based decision. I sure have no interest.

Defy Hackers with Routers with Captcha

D-Link has once again one-upped the wannabe hacker community by adding a feature that will make it a whole lot harder for the script kiddies to break into your router  programmatically.

The current crop of Extreme N routers now have updates available that add CAPTCHA to the login page.

dlink_captcha

You can’t be too secure.. Right?

D-Link DSM-210 Internet Frame Part 2

The D-Link DSM-210 Internet Frame really is best of breed. Besides displaying images from various places on my network, or from its built in 1 gig memory, it does a really great job of displaying RSS feed snippets from blogs and such. Or weather reports, or images emailed to my online frame account from invited friends. There’s lots of content available from http://dlink.framechannel.com/ that can be displayed on the frame. Including the ability to view shared photo streams from flickr, facebook, webshots, photobucket, and more. MSNBC had a write up of Frame Media, which provides the online service for D-Link and several other companies.

rssfeed

The DSM-210 displays an RSS feed snippet

As much as I liked the Momento frame that I’ve had for a couple of years, it had a few shortcomings. It didn’t support WPA2 (only WPA) and the remote was a little flaky requiring multiple keypresses at times to enter a character at times.  And it did not see my mixed g/n networks (and couldn’t connect to them even if I entered the SSID and credentials manually). There haven’t been any firmware updates, and the Momento frame really isn’t readily available. It is important to note that the Momento I had here was pre-production, from the floor of CES.

The DSM-210, however, implements WPA2, sees all available networks, and the mini remote is extremely responsive. The frame goes into standby mode at night when I turn off the lights in my living room and starts up again in the morning when I enter the room. D-Link tells me that the frame will be available soon online and in the usual big box stores.

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