Snow, new beds, 4am wakeups, life goes on

Little dome Foscam
Little camera I’m playing with. Forgot I have an all brick exterior. going to be a fun time mounting it.

While the new Maggie bed has generally been a great thing, it’s also given her more freedom to wake up absurdly early and turn on the lights and start a party.

I don’t think this will be a problem long term though. I’m pretty sure it’s due to the fact that there’s enough snow out there that it looks like daylight at about 4am.

This morning she woke up around 4am – I heard her on the monitor, turned on the lights at 4:40 and get a book and started playing with her dolls. About 5am baby woke up and I went to get a bottle and that alerted Maggie I was up.

She asked for food, cartoons, water, land in Montana. I asked her what she really wanted and she said she wanted to lay around and watch cartoons for a little bit so I obliged and she passed out within a few minutes in it looked like. She was awake but not really raring to go.

I’ve been working on getting another camera installed at the house. Two actually. Since installing a security camera out front I’ve learned some of the things I thought were people in my yard were just trash blowing in, and some were people, usually people from the towers walking their dogs and being dipshits.

Oh yeah, and I’ve caught the mailman chucking 50 pound packages with a 10 foot toss, that was a fun video to send to Amazon as to why I had so many broken items listed… here you go, it’s USPS.

Aerin’s got a ton of size 2 diapers I think we’re going to try and trade with someone. I don’t know how we ended up with so many, but they’re incapable of handling a baby who is currently wearing 9-12 month clothing. Anyone in Nashville want to trade some 3s for some 2s drop me a line.

  • Chris A

    Hi Paul. I’ve been following your blog for a little while. I think I found it in my search for baby monitoring tech. We’re in a similar boat as your family. 2 toddlers under 3 yrs old.

    I ended up using 2 foscam 8910’s in the babie’s room. I find them just barely serviceable. Regularly loosing connection for video or bad audio on wireless. Now I’ve been researching cameras to use in other parts of the house (front/back door, side of the house etc) and looking for better options.

    Can you give any more detail about the camera you mentioned in your post? What your planned setup is (hardware, software, etc..). Why you chose them?

    Thanks in advance.

    • You might want to check two things – the 8910s had one last firmware update which fixed a lot of the wifi problems. That and not using the Android app that Foscam was pushing seem to have made them pretty decent except I think the audio gain thing is a hardware issue.

      Foscam as near as I can tell from the guts of the camera just re-brands Shenzhen (I’m spelling that wrong I know) equipment and repackages it. You can see that their software is written by them as well, then they slap a Foscam logo on it. Same with the cameras.

      This means a whole lot of cameras out there have the exact same guts, and the same software, but with a different logo. Having been to CES several times now I can tell you it looks like *all* the consumer grade cameras are made by about two or three different companies. They all appear to have the same problems and the same schedule of firmware updates.

      Basically, you see one that looks like an avacado, probably all of the ones across mfgs shaped like that are manufactured by the same two or three companies.

      I have two new cameras, also from Foscam. Got them mainly because it’s what I am familiar with due to a work setup. I wire these in when I can as WiFi cameras are subject to too many issues (WiFi router going down, person walking between router and camera, really “noisy: phone WiFi interfering, kid torrenting a movie over wifi, etc) the one pictured is going out back mostly as a watch my back yard sort of thing. It’s not something i’d recommend, but I bought it and then was too busy to put it up for 8 months so it’s mine now.

      There’s another one that’s a POE camera from them that I’m putting at the front door. We’ve just had too many breakins in the neighborhood, and also the delivery drivers I’ve caught chucking packages just with what I’ve got.

      Sorry, got to get kid off potty, what do you need these to do – what kind of room?

      • Chris A

        Thanks for the info.
        So the foscam’s I have are ok. When I finally got the browser based viewer working it was still ok but I was hoping to get something more centralized so I am now using SecuritySpy for viewing but with no official support for the 8910’s I get no audio on the mac. Using the foscampro app on the iphone gets me video and audio but that has it’s own other issues. Maybe if they were wired I would get a better experience.

        The 2 main reasons I started looking for something better is because there were a few car break-ins a while back on our street and behind us and we got hit. I say break-in but it was really a “forgot to lock the car” type of break-in, but still. And the second motivating factor is that we’re planning on putting on a small addition at the rear entryway of the house so it would be a good time to get a wired system started for an exterior camera (or more). 1 at the door, maybe another looking at the back yard, etc…

        The thing I’m running into is that to get a camera that is a little bit better quality than the foscams of the world but not industrial grade, there is a decent price jump. Haven’t found anything in the “pro” range of the spectrum for less than around $400.

        I’m kind of eyeing the ubiquiti networks line of cameras which seem to be getting decent reviews but you’re kind of forced to used their software. And if you’re using their software I don’t believe you can tie in other brands of cameras to it. So it’s ubiquiti or piece together a system from different components myself. Which at this point in my life I kind of don’t have too much time to devote to experimenting with different devices/software combination. Paying a little more for a system that will all work together may be worth the time I save by not frankensteining a system from scratch.

        It will be easy to get carried away and start adding multiple cameras to get every angle of the exterior but I don’t need fort knox level of surveillance. And I don’t want to look like the one house on the block who’s got cameras all over the property. It might creep all the neighbors out and look silly. What is that guy hiding?

        Inside the house it would be good to have one camera pointed at the back door and one at the front door. Do I need them? Probably not but if I’m going to invest in a couple of cameras for the exterior, it would be trivial to add more to the system.

        The 2 8910’s in the kids room can/will probably be retired at some point when they are out of their cribs. We had them less than a year apart (the babies and the cameras) so maybe we’re still in crazy panicky new parent mode.

        In the end I’m hoping (fantasizing) of having a tablet (old ipad or android) placed in the hallway or kitchen that will have a feed of the cameras on it, maybe along with the day’s weather or something. But that could be a project for another day.

    • Anyhow, after a long test with several different cameras at work we ended up sticking with Foscam and staying wired. Even wired over a PowerLine in one instance. Camera works beautifully with no additional wiring 400 feet from the nearest network jack.

      Consumer grade WiFi routers fail, randomly blacklist a camera, take up a lot of bandwidth. I use WiFi only when a last resort these days. And in the WiFi scenario I have to have I have an SD card backup and don’t stream the video live because like you mentioned they drop, cameras disappear (at least once I’ve verified it was the router,) and performance is dicey

      • Chris A

        This is one of the reasons I am looking at ubiquiti networks, to get something that is better than consumer grade. I was considering getting their edgerouter lite and maybe a wireless access point before I even knew they had cameras, so then I got into this analysis paralysis with the whole thing and haven’t moved forward with anything.

        I’m hoping to do all wired cameras (POE) and hopefully deal less with maintenance and rebooting/reconnecting wireless cameras and just be able to use the system.

        • Here’s another thing I’ve been thinking about… I’m not sure if you know how easy it is to knock a device off of wifi, but it’s so simple Opryland Hotel was recently accused of doing it to force people to use their expensive in-hotel WiFi.

          Basically you temporarily claim you’re the same SSID and send a DEAUTH and that knocks the connection off. You can do it with a rooted phone I’ve read, although you might need to have a Broadcom chipset to do it.

          I really don’t trust any grade of WiFi for reliability these days. Especially since I’ve started talking to a friend of mine about his very expensive WiFi woes…

          I’ll tell you though, I’ve yet to have a problem with a Powerline adapter (that’s the network over your electrical system stuff) so if you’re hesitant about drilling, and running cables, get one of those and just use an outlet. You don’t even have to use POE as long as you’re ok with an outlet in use.

          The Trendnet PowerLine 1200s I tested I was getting 900mbps, which I believe is the maximum I could get anyway with the laptop I was using. And what’s cool is most of these cameras only use a tiny fraction of the bandwidth. I bet you could get a Powerline style 600 and never come near using it for camera bandwidth.