In early January of 2012 I purchased my first weather station; the Ambient Weather WS-1090. A few days later I installed Cumulus software on my PC and linked the data to wunderground.com. When I realized how exciting this was I decided to start my own weather blog and write about my experiences. I’ve been interested in meteorology since age 5 and I can remember watching the weather channel and chasing storms in my parent’s car when I was barely old enough to drive. Deciding which weather station to buy was a very hard choice I had to make. I wanted a high quality product that could give me accurate data but I didn’t have the budget to buy the best station on the market. I went with the Ambient WS-1090 because it was listed on the wunderground.com website as being a compatible station to report data to and many of the reviews by users were positive. The price was very attractive and I was happy to get a good quality station for a price that didn’t break the bank. The setup was a breeze and I had it up and running in just minutes. The Cumulus software that I installed worked brilliantly with the station and it has many customizable options that I could play around with.
It had been several years since I had worked on any blogs so I expected the blog structures in 2012 to be more advanced than they were 5-7 years ago when I worked on my last project. My last project was a family website dedicated to my son Aidan’s birth. I went to blogger.com and started up my weather blog “Fast & Flurrious”. I’ve had a great deal of fun designing the site and have spent many long nights adding new features and writing new posts on everything to do with weather.
One thing I noticed about some of the other weather blogs I’ve seen around are that many don’t have a live webcam setup. I immediately saw this as a great idea to add to my blog and began researching all the different kinds of webcams out there. One thing I love about technology is that the gadgets get smaller and they cost less over time. 5 years ago webcams had grainy pictures and cost well over $100 and now you can get a high definition camera for even less than $100. For my application I needed an IP camera. An IP camera by definition is a type of digital video camera that can send and receive data via a computer network and the internet. Most are used for surveillance but mine is being used to show the weather outside live as its happening. I thought to myself wouldnt it be cool if Connecticut was having a Blizzard and people could log on to my website and see what was going on at my location in North Haven, CT.
Choosing a webcam involved more research than I had originally thought. I went into this project thinking that I would just use the webcam that I already had. That would not be the case as I soon realized that in order to have the freedom to broadcast a webcam feed where ever I wanted at my home, I would need a wireless camera. The wired ones are very limited and the cable length is limited to 6 feet. I tried attaching a usb extension cable to the webcam I already had and it didn’t work. The camera I already had was a fantastic camera (made by Logitech) but it did not do what I needed it to do.
After researching several different kinds of wireless web cams I finally made up my mind with the D-Link DCS 932-L. Its made for indoor use but I have plans to make an enclosure so I can use it outside as well. The outside cameras were more expensive and once again I had a very small budget to work with. This D-Link camera is commonly used by new parents who want to keep a close eye on their newborn child. This is not the only practical use however for this camera. It is wireless and as long as it is within the range of my computers router, I can broadcast a live feed anywhere in my house. I set it up in one of several windows in my home and broadcast different angles of my yard during the day. At night I usually dont broadcast but the camera does come with Night Vision which is a great feature. Some other great features with this camera are that it has a motion detection setting so it only records video if it detects motion. This is useful if I have the camera setup to watch my front door while Im at work. If someone tries to break into my house or anything of that sort, the camera will automatically start recording and it will also email me a still shot too! I think I may use this feature in the future trying to record animals at night. Ill set up the camera on my deck and set it on motion detection. If an animal walks by it will record it. There are lots of animals that only come out at night and that are spooked by humans very easily. It is these animals I hope to catch on film. I have attached a picture of the camera I bought so you can check it out. The camera can be mounted to a wall or shelf and it also pivots and bends to any position you need it to be in.
I have used the camera for about a week now and I absolutely love it. I can go to http://www.mydlink.com and watch the video from my computer anywhere in the world and I also downloaded the android app so I can see the feed on the go. The webcam feed can be seen on http://www.wunderground.com and also my blog at www.ctweathergeeks.com. For about $100 you can have a wireless IP camera for your blog too! If you are starting a blog and need any advice I can try to help you out as best I can. Email me at Scott.Cimini@gmail.com.