iPod shuffle second opinion, webcam

2005-07-04

Ok, I know I was overly harsh about the iPod shuffle in the last entry but after living with it for a few days, I've come to realize that it's an awesome player if used as intended. By used as intended, I mean stop screwing around with podcasts and strange sync ideas and just use it for playing random music. The autofill works great albeit a little slow. The only problem with autofill is that you end up with an extremely strange assortment of music. I solved this problem by creating playlists with different types of music on them. When I'm in a good mood, I load up the Good Mood playlist with autofill. It still ends up fairly random, but now all of the music feels like it "goes together."

So I was just ripping some legally owned CDs in iTunes and had an idea for a little time-lapse video of my mousepad. I tried to find suitable software for the Mac mini for about 20 minutes before I just plugged it into my Windows box and used the Timershot Powertoy from Microsoft... Quick and Dirty. Getting the images onto my website wasn't as trivial as it sounds though. My options are fairly limited because the powertoy doesn't support anything other than Network Places and simple files. I avoid FTP as much as I can so that was out of the question. I already have Samba shares setup between my Windows box and the media server so I took that route.

Every thirty minutes, the Webcam Timershot program snaps a fresh JPEG and saves it to a mapped network share on the media server. The media server has a cron job set at 30 minute intervals to scp that file to the web server. Not amazingly difficult, but smarter than your average file transfer. The result is a view of my desk for the world to see. Sorry about the quality, I'm not going to fix my lighting just for a webcam. I like low lights.

As I'm writing this, I've decided to switch to five minute intervals. Thirty is a bit long, allowing for almost an hour of lag between shutter and cron job.

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