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Network Camera

With web servers and networking capability now built into printers and broadband access boxes as well as computers, it was only a matter of time before a network webcam became available which doesn't need to be plugged straight into a computer. I've had "half an eye" open for such a device for a while - thinking that it must be technically possible. And on Sunday I spotted one on the shelf at our local PC World ....

It's a nice little camera from Linksys. Wireless and Cat5 connections. Powers up at IP address 192.168.1.115, so it can be spoken to (with a bit of temporary address changing!) from our network, and configured through its web server ... it's now on our network at 192.168.200.73, and configured to email us a few seconds of video clip if it detects movement.

All we have to do now is to work out how to view the .asf files that are coming into our Mac and Linux inboxes. It does seem a huge shame that Linksys (part of Cisco) are supplying a product without drivers even for OS X. A quick search of PHP's "Pear" and Perl's CPAN has drawn a blank so far ... but I have come across a formal specification of the file format. Perhaps my chance to write something as a contribution to one of those repositories? Or has anyone any experience with .asf -s ??
(written 2004-12-07, updated 2006-06-05)

Commentatorsays ...
Bruce James:You could use something like
http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/win/31513
(nothing to do with me, and I have never used it)
and receive the .asf files on a Windows box, convert to a much more portable format like MPEG and distribute them from there.
Most things these days will decode MPEG.
B
(comment added 2004-12-07 11:19:24)
Graham:I'll have a look at that when I get home. I was really trying to avoid the need for a windows box anywhere in the system .... but it may be the most practical :-/ ...
(comment added 2004-12-07 18:45:03)
Ed Spittles:Hi Graham,
did you consider MPlayer for converting asf files?
I haven't used it myself, but it seems like it might do the job:
http://www.mplayerhq.hu/DOCS/HTML-single/en/MPlayer.html#asf-wmv

(comment added 2004-12-20 18:19:40)
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