Runcible Blog

extreme geekiness

Since I found out that it's possible to get my Quickcam Express working with FreeBSD, I set up an ingenious/silly webcam downstairs. Here's how it works:

  • I have a thrown-out 700Mhz Compaq laptop from work FreeBSD 5.2 installed.
  • I put the laptop inside a cardboard box while keeping the lid open slightly then stashed it in the corner of the room
  • the webcam connects using a couple USB extension cables
  • the laptop has a linksys wireless card that connects to the access point upstairs.
  • the webserver mounts the "thundercat" /tmp partition via NFS
  • every minute, this cron job runs:

cd /tmp/webcam
rm webcam5.jpg
mv webcam4.jpg webcam5.jpg
mv webcam3.jpg webcam4.jpg
mv webcam2.jpg webcam3.jpg
mv webcam1.jpg webcam2.jpg

/usr/local/bin/qcamshot | /usr/local/bin/ppmtojpeg > webcam0.jpg
size=`stat -f %z webcam0.jpg`
if [ ${size} ]; then

mv webcam.jpg webcam1.jpg
mv webcam0.jpg webcam.jpg
  • symbolic links tie it together
  • voilà!

So, a request for the image is really accessing the laptop downstairs, wirelessly. And here's the high quality result:

high quality photo

And here's the most recent one:

the living room