Friday, October 15, 2010

The A/V Stuff

Alan Stankevitz works with a security camera while a stuffed Great Horned Owl looks on.

The cages were completed in mid-August, and yes, there's been plenty to do since then. We had to figure out what kind of cameras would work best for our setup and raise money to buy them--neither one a small task!

So a couple of weeks ago the equipment came in to get the breeding cage all wired up and ready to go. Mike from Ace Communications Group came over at 8:30 to put all the ends on all the CAT 5 wires and move my router. Alan Stankevitz came over at 9 AM to start working on installing the cameras.

The feeding tray in the cage made a great work bench, plus there were boxes and tools scattered all over. There were about three ladders in use. Two stuffed owls and a stuffed bear served as owl stand-in models for focusing and other camera adjustments.

Alan has a lifetime subscription to Murphy's Law and even though I don't have a subscription, his kicked in: one of the cameras was defective and no matter how hard he tried, it just pain would not stay in focus. He conceded defeat at 7 PM.

I ordered another camera and today Alan came over again. It installed without any troubles. Hein got the dome infrared illuminator in place. Hardware for the breeding cage done!!

Then Alan came inside to get the rest of things running. He installed the server software for the cameras, then started in on the complicated task of getting an IP camera up and streaming on UStream. (UStream doesn't support IP cameras, so he had to figure out some additional software to make it work.) I'm soooooo glad Alan is a technologically gifted person--computers, cameras, wires, hardware, software, name it, he can figure out how to make it work!

If all goes according to plan, the owls should be released into their new home the end of next week. They've been doing fine and dandy in their temporary home with falconer Erica Broberg in St. Charles, but it'll be FANTASTIC to have them here (and streaming online for the world to watch!)