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StripCam ReadMe

Version1.0, 2000 March 14
David Van Brink
_________________________

*
A new social type was being created by the
apartment building, a cool, unemotional
personality impervious to the psychological
pressures of high-rise life, with minimal
needs for privacy, who thrived like an
advanced species of machine in the neutral
atmosphere.
-- JG Ballard, High Rise
*
_________________________

What is StripCam

StripCam is a MacOS utility for periodically accepting an image from a camera source, compressing it to a JPEG image, and uploading it to an FTP server, or saving the file locally. The utility is written as a control strip module, so its controls and a tiny preview image are always accessible.

System Requirements

StripCam will work on any MacOS computer with QuickTime 2.5 or later, and Open Transport. It works much better if you have a QuickTime compatible video source available; if no video source is available, StripCam uploads rectangles of random color. StripCam uses about 1 megabyte while running.

Features

Control strip module is always available and running.
Upload pictures to FTP server, or save locally.
Two text captions, can include text, date, time, and number of pictures taken.
Runs on any 68020 or later Macintosh, uses very small RAM footprint.
Can run in background without impacting performance.

StripCam is intended to be very streamlined and simple! Its tiny number of features is its strongest feature. If you need a zillion features, there are various heavyweight apps which can provide them, such as SiteCam, Oculus, and CoolCam.

Installation

To use StripCam, you will need to have the control strip installed on your computer. The control strip is installed automatically on some systems, and not on others. If your computer has the control strip installed, there will be a control panel called "Control Strip" in the control panels folder. If it is not installed, you can get it from your system installation disks or CD, using a customized install to install only that piece (it's in the Control Panels section).

Once you have the control strip installed, you must place "StripCam" into the folder named "Control Strip Modules" within the system folder.

StripCam will be available for use after you restart your computer.

Configuration

If you click-and-hold on StripCam within the control strip, a popup menu lets you set the interval between snapshots. At any time -- even when StripCam is set to "Off" (never take a snapshot) -- you can select an immediate snapshot from the "Take Picture Now" menu item.

Before selecting an interval, however, you should use the "FTP & File Setup..." to select where your snapshots will be sent, and what they will be called.

A typical "FTP & File Setup" might be:

Server Name: ftp.some-isp.net
User Name: joesmith
Password: (password)
Directory: public_html
Image Name: mycam.jpg

There is also a menu item called "Video Settings" which lets you adjust features of your video capture hardware.

The menu item called "Captions..." lets you place two captions onto each snapshot. One is printed near the top of the snapshot, and one near the bottom. To display the time the snapshot was taken, you can insert "%T" anywhere in the caption. For example, "The time is now %T." The letter 'T' must be capitalized. Similarly the date may be included as "%D".

Setting Up Your Web Page

See the "Example HTML" folder, and the two example files called "cam.html" and "camAdvanced.html" for a starting point setting up your webcam page. They're both
set up for a 90-second automatic reload time. This time is unrelated to the upload interval selected on the StripCam control strip.

Troubleshooting

If StripCam appears to be displaying colored squares in the control strip, instead of digitized images, then it has not found a video digitizer on your computer. Either you have no digitizer, or your digitizer is installed incorrectly, or is not QuickTime compatible, or is in use by another application.

If StripCam appears to be capturing all black or all white images, you probably need to adjust the settings of your digitizer. Use the "Video Settings" menu option.

If StripCam appears to be capturing video images, but is not uploading them correctly, then there is a problem with the FTP connection. You can view the FTP log to more precisely pinpoint the problem.

StripCam may not work with anonymous logins on FreeBSD's FTP server. (Probably not on other UNIX FTP servers either.) This is because by default anonymous logins are not allowed to upload-and-overwrite files, or rename-and-overwrite.

StripCam will automatically relaunch its slave application, "(StripCam)", if it notices that it's not running. If you switch to "(StripCam)" and quit it, it won't stay quit, unless the control strip menu is set to "Off".

Reinstallation / Removal

To install a new version of StripCam, you'll need to replace both "StripCam" and "(StripCam)" in the "Control Strip Modules" folder of the "System Folder". Just drag them out.

Known Bugs

* Some ISP's do not allow passive mode ('PASV') FTP connections. StripCam requires passive mode, and won't work with those ISP's. The only one I know of is simplenet.com. (Thank you cathyscam!)

Version History

StripCam Version Zero
5 December 1997

StripCam Version 0.1
* Eliminated a handful of crashes
* Added user interface for FTP configuration
18 December 1997

StripCam Version 0.2
* Added video settings option (necessary for certain vdig's)
18 December 1997, later that same day

StripCam Version 0.3
* Fixed 10 and 30 minute intervals
* Added %T and %D to caption mechanism.
* Put all our junk into the system zone. (7 Jan 97)
*** Known Bug: Quitting the finder will crash if StripCam is installed! This is most commonly observed when installing fresh software, and the installer needs to quit all running applications. Work around is to remove StripCam, reboot, and run your software installer. (Sorry! Looking into fixes now.)
8 January 1998

StripCam Version 0.4
* Upload the temp file with unique name, so multiple StripCams can be uploading to the same FTP directory without conflict.
* Make the FTP Log window more usable
* Don't start up network services until the first picture is uploaded. So, dialup-users can leave StripCam "Off", and I won't go dialing you in. Also, lets installers force the Finder to quit without crashing.
14 June 1998

StripCam Version 0.5d...
* Use "t.something.jpg" as the temporary name for "something.jpg", so that the upload keeps the ".jpg" extension. (This was because geocities's free websites only allow certain file types in the directories.)
* Don't send a "CWD" ("change working directory") during the FTP if no subdirectory is specified. (This was because geocities's free websites do not allow subdirectories or "CWD" commands.)
* Automatically append ".jpg" to file names if they're not there.
* Correct problem where preferences file would be incorrect after user reinstalls system software or otherwise alters directory structure.
* Added bubble-pip instead of rotary countdown.

StripCam Version 0.6
* Made much more stable by breaking StripCam into the control strip module, "StripCam", and the application which goes next to it, "(StripCam)".
1999 March 3

StripCam Version 0.7
* Added second status area, showing numeric countdown, and amusing use of colors to indicate status.
* About box.
* Rolled "(StripCam)" application as 'DATA' 2 resource in control strip module. If application is absent, the control strip module creates it. (to do -- check version number of app and recreate if necessary.)

StripCam Version 0.8
* DOA

StripCam Version 0.9
* Eliminated several possible crashes. Made application relaunch even if you accidently quit it.

StripCam Version 1.0
* Fixed crash with USB cameras, added more caption options. Also, lowered QuickTime requirement back to 2.5, since 3.0 is no longer available, and 2.5 works great on older Macs.
2000 March 12
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Copyright

StripCam is owned by David Van Brink, poly@omino.com. Version 1.0, 2000 March, is available noncommercial use only.
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Original file name: StripCam Readme - converted on Thursday, 16 March 2000, 17:45

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