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Technology Untangled: Easy video security with Internet cloud camera

Stephen Bour
December 19, 2012
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technology-bourToday we will look at a simple and effective Web-based network video security camera from D-Link that makes it easy to remotely monitor your home or office over the Internet.

I became intrigued by this subject after recently working on a project that included evidence from a home surveillance camera. That camera recorded an incident as a series of hundreds of individual snapshots. Using editing software, I was able to stitch those shots together to produce a smooth, moving video of the event. This home surveillance system was set up with multiple cameras that were wired to a computer acting as a DVR. While elaborate setups like this are certainly achievable, I was looking for something similar yet simpler to set up and operate, something that required just a minimum of technical skill.

What I discovered was the D-Link Cloud Camera 1200, model DCS-942L, a simple yet feature-filled wireless Internet camera. This camera communicates with the wireless network router you probably already own. It connects via WiFi in a manner similar to a wireless printer. It is about the size of a deck of cards. This allows for great flexibility in camera placement, allowing the unit to be placed anywhere within signal range that a power connection is available. Network cameras like this are different than Web cameras because they can operate independently of a computer (they have their own built-in CPU) and can be accessed directly through the Internet.

The D-Link stood out for me because of several key features. Because it communicates with the cloud, it allows for remote viewing of your live video feed from any iPhone, iPad or Android phone or tablet. You can, of course, also view from any computer on the Internet, as well as control a host of recording and viewing options from your computer while at home or away.

Next, it allows for easy recording of video because of the included microSD memory card slot. Most similar cameras have provisions for recording video to a connected computer or for uploading video to a server, but the D-Link’s onboard memory option makes recording, storing and reviewing video very easy.

Initial setup was straightforward. Begin by attaching the camera directly to your router with the included Ethernet cable, then turn on the power. Next, use your computer to download and run the setup Wizard software. The hardest part was thinking up yet another username and password! Note that the Ethernet cable is only required during initial setup. The camera can operate wirelessly after that.

With the free mydlink app, your phone or tablet easily becomes a remote viewing device. After installing and launching the app, you enter your username and password (the first time only) and then tap to view your camera. Remote viewing includes the ability to monitor audio as well. You can also instantly capture and save a snapshot of any activity as you are viewing it on the screen.

Full functionality and control of the network camera can be achieved by logging on to the D-Link Web browser from any computer. This makes it easy to monitor, adjust and control the camera from anywhere in the world. In addition to providing many video quality and motion-trigger adjustments, the camera also can be configured to provide a two-way audio link, thus allowing it to act as an entryway monitoring and communication device. This camera is also night-vision capable due to the included infrared illuminator and sensor. The D-Link system allows for installation of multiple cameras to your router so you can monitor, for example, both the parking lot and the lobby of your office.

Because of the onboard SD card, you can easily set up the Cloud Camera 1200 as a continuously recording stand-alone security camera. It does not need to be communicating continuously with your computer to accomplish this. A 16GB memory card will record a full week of clear time- and date-stamped video before it begins to overwrite the oldest data. The default video is recorded in 60-second segments at 320 X 240, 10 fps (frames per second), and a single snapshot also is recorded once per minute. Adjustments are available for higher resolutions and longer segments.

Perhaps the more practical method of recording is to set up the camera to record only upon detection of motion. Motion-triggered events are stored to the SD card, and email notification can be set up to instantly send you several snapshots from the recorded event. You can then log on through your computer to view the recorded video. This could be useful for monitoring deliveries to your home or office.

If you are interested in a relatively inexpensive ($150), uncomplicated and practical video security solution, try the D-Link Cloud Cam 1200. You can learn more about the D-Link Cloud video products at http://www.dlink.com/us/en/home-solutions/mydlink/stay-connected. Information on their more robust business products can be found at http://www.dlink.com/us/en/business-solutions/ip-surveillance.•

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Stephen Bour (bourtech@iquest.net) is an engineer and legal technology consultant in Indianapolis. His company, the Alliance for Litigation Support Inc., includes Bour Technical Services and Alliance Court Reporting. Areas of service include legal videography, tape analysis, document scanning to CD and courtroom presentation support. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author.
 

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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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