Thursday 24 July 2014

Getting started with the EyeSpy247 F+ (and similar) cameras

I've been working with this particular camera for a while now and I'm writing this article to share some information that I've discovered along the way.

Scope of this article: The EyeSpy247 F+ is an older (superseded) camera manufactured by Sercomm. The same camera has been sold under other brands and there are other contemporary models such as the EyeSpy PTZ which share features and interface.

Getting started

If the camera is new or you have done a factory reset (the little hole that you push a straightened paperclip into) then it won't have your wireless details and therefore can't connect wirelessly. You will need to connect it to your network with a cable in order to set up those details. Use an ethernet cable to connect it to your router and power it up. All LEDs should come on briefly and then some flashing lights for a while. Give it a minute before trying to find it on your network.

I have found this stage to be problematic if the camera has wireless details which are out of date. So if you've bought the camera secondhand or if your network has changed, it might be worth doing a factory reset before trying the above.

Unless you've already given it a fixed IP, then the camera will now have joined your network with an IP assigned by your router. To find this IP you can check your router's admin screen or use a utility like Network Device Finder which is a general device finder, or my own IP Camera Utility which will search for these particular camera models. To use these utilities you'll need to know the general scheme of local IP addresses on your network. This is often 192.168.1.XX but if not, you can check using your router's admin interface (Under 'IP Addresses', 'DHCP', something like that). (Or get a clue by checking the IP addresses of your computer / other devices)

Once you've found the IP of your camera, type that into your browser to see the administrator screen. You should be able to view the video from the camera and access its settings. You'll need to give the admin username and password - by default this is 'administrator' and leave password blank. You might like to change this at some point.

Go to Setup > Wireless. If you don't know your router's security method, you can check this within its admin screen. It seems that newer routers use WPA / WPA2 but I've had routers that have used WEP.

You may also be able to copy and paste your router's SSID from the same screen; this is the name that your network is known as under your computer's Airport menu. By default something like BTHub4-3XYZ. (You can leave this on 'Any' but I think things will work better if you give it the name).

If you're using WPA/WPA2, there's just a single box for your key - easy.

If WEP (this confused me for a while)  - Authentication type: Open system, WEP Encryption: 64-bit keys, clear 'Passphrase' and the WEP key fields. Enter your 10-digit key in the 'Key 1' box and save.

I like to give my cameras fixed IP addresses. This saves having to search for them again if anything is switched off and on. Go to Setup > Network, click 'Use the following IP address', pick an IP address (maybe the one that the router has already given it), enter it and save.

With all of this set up correctly, you should be able to disconnect your camera from the power and from the network, wait a few seconds, plug the power back in without the network cable and wait another minute or two.

If all's well, you should then be able to type the camera's IP into your browser and see video.

Note that the button above the camera's lens which lights up when pressed is the privacy button. If this button is lit then you won't get video or sound. You can disable this button if you like, or disable the other LEDs from the camera's admin interface.

To hear sound as well, add sound triggering and saving of video to your computer, you can use my free utility (beta)

Monday 7 July 2014

Scrutiny v5.2, includes customisable summary report and spell checking

You know when you put something off because something about it just doesn't float your boat, but when you do it you discover it's actually great and works well?

What people have wanted is for Scrutiny to scan a site and produce a report, listing some stats about the site and problems found, also listing the urls of pages needing attention. With a company header so that it can be mailed straight out to a client or manager.

Now that I've done the work and been running it for a while I think it looks great and very useful.

Here's where you switch the feature on, among the list of things that Scrutiny can do on completion.

There are some new boxes in Preferences where you can add your header (as html and css). I've lifted some code from my own website to give my reports this header. The page itself, headings and text are customisable too via the same css.

The summary report contains information about problems found in the following areas: bad links, basic SEO problems, html validation and spelling.

Here's a sneaky peeky at the spelling check too. It allows you to choose language on a per-site basis, it counts spelling / grammar problems as it scans and then allows you to step through the issues on each page and 'learn' any specialist words.

5.2 will be available very shortly as a release candidate. email me if you're keen to try it!