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Tag: control

Loftek CSX 2200 Remote Wireless IP Camera

Posted by tomwiles at 10:36 PM on February 24, 2012

I recently started looking to purchase a remote IP camera that would allow me to remotely view my home via the Internet. There are quite a variety of remote IP cameras that offer a number of different viewing options at widely varying price points. After a bit of looking, I ended up purchasing a Loftek CSX 2200 wireless IP security camera via Amazon.Com based mostly on the large number of positive buyer reviews.

Among other features, the Loftek CSX 2200 offers VGA/QVGA/QQVGA resolutions, a built-in microphone, supports external audio, UPNP/port forwarding, 802.11 b/g WiFi, 270-degree horizonal pan, 120 deree vertical tilt, automatic motion detection and alarm, alarm notification via email or FTP server, infrared LED’s cover up to about 15 feet, and support for all major browsers.

The Loftek CSX 2200 offers a lot of features for the $67.99 price tag. The downside is that the small included quick start guide is printed in very small type and isn’t all that helpful.  A fair amount of networking knowledge is required in order to be able to get all of the features working properly. Simple Windows setup software is included, and even though once it is set up it will readily work with Apple and other non-Windows devices, Windows is required for initial setup. Initially it has to be plugged in directly to an Ethernet port so the included software can detect it. Once detected via Ethernet and into the browser setup screens, WiFi can be enabled. A more complete PDF manual can be downloaded from the Loftek website.

I was able to go into my ISP’s DSL router and enable port forwarding to port 1029 and get remote access to work from outside my home network. I was also able to get the automatic email alarm notification feature to work on motion detection. Motion detection sensitivity can be selected, but it seems to work good so far at the default setting. When motion is detected, it will automatically take a series of 6 photos and email all 6 photos to up to four pre-determined email addresses. One quirk I ran into is that when setting up an email account the email “test” feature won’t work even if all of the parameters are correctly set up until the configuration has been saved to the camera.

Since this camera is designed to work with it’s own infrared LED’s in complete darkness, the color balance can be a bit off in normal lighting conditions. I’m including two photos of the same scene, one with my compact florescent lights on and the other with the lights completely off.

 

Even though one of the Amazon.Com reviewers claimed he was able to get this camera to work with an iOS app designed to work with Foscam brand IP cameras, so far I’ve been unable to get any of the free iOS apps to work with the Loftek. On the other hand, I can easily access the camera directly in Safari both on my iPad and my iPod Touch using an Internet connection completely external to my home network DSL connection.

Overall I’m quite pleased with my purchase. The Loftek CXS 2200 offers a lot of value for the $67.99 price.

Remote Monitoring/Home Automation

Posted by tomwiles at 10:42 PM on January 22, 2012

For several years, there has been a small but dedicated group of people experimenting in the world of what has been dubbed home automation. Until now, this field has been fragmented with clunky, often expensive products that don’t integrate well and often make the consumer jump through multiple hoops to even get them to work.

In a recent article I talked about installing a Nest remote-controlled thermostat in my house. The Nest thermostat has so far proven to MORE than live up to the promises made by its manufacturer. The Nest thermostat was remarkably easy to install and makes it amazingly easy to remotely monitor and control my home heating/air conditioning system via iOS or my Android smartphone. Once installed, the Nest simply works. The Nest is worth every penny of its $249 dollar price tag.

Now that I’ve lived with the Nest a while, I’m more excited than ever about the possibilities of remote monitoring, remote control, and home automation.

What I want next is a remote camera system that works with the absolute ease of the Nest thermostat and Nest app combination. The ideal remote camera system would offer at least 4 network-connected weatherproof cameras along with a controller/app system that could be set up with the no-muss, no-fuss ease that the Nest thermostat offers. I want to be able to open an app on an iOS or Android device/smartphone and have my remote camera views simply show up, perhaps with the ability to pan, zoom and tilt individual cameras if I wished right from within the app. Furthermore I don’t want to have to worry about firewalls or port-forwarding to try to get past my home router or ISP firewall

I would also like to be able to use my iOS device or Android smartphone to be able to remotely monitor my refrigerator.

Now that most of us are equipped with smartphones, I see a huge opportunity for a company or companies to step into the home automation/remote monitoring arena and fill the void. The standard to meet revolves around ease-of-use.

Mobile Mouse Remote Trackpad For iPod/iPad/iPhone

Posted by tomwiles at 2:41 AM on December 26, 2010

I recently bought the newest version of the 32 gigabyte iPod Touch. The latest iPod Touch is one amazing device that has functionality well beyond simple MP3 and video playback.

I’ve started adding some extremely useful apps. One of these apps is Mobile Mouse Remote Trackpad. To use it, you have to download and install a server program on your Mac or Windows machine, and then download and install the app on your iPod, iPad or iPhone. The app connects to your local network via WiFi and searches for and connects to the locally-running server software.

The Mobile Mouse Remote Trackpad app works exactly as advertised. It even adds left and right mouse buttons, along with an on-screen keyboard. This setup works well for use with a home theater PC setup (HTPC) as an easy-to-use hand-held controller.

So far I’m using the free version before deciding whether to move to the paid version. The paid version eliminates a startup nag screen as well as adds additional functionality.