May 18, 2015

Porchcam Woes

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

Curse the upgrade!

I swear, after so many years in the illogical computer business, I have a damn fine reason to be wary of software upgrades: Sometimes upgrades are the worst possible things you can do.

The Wambooli Porchcam has been a feature on this website for over 12 years. When you visit the page, a picture is snapped, uploaded, and presented. The picture comes from a webcam mounted on my front porch. Silly, I know.

Over the years, I’ve replaced webcams that have died or failed. Generally the replacement happens because the device dies; winters here are harsh. This past week, however, the Wambooli Porchcam died after a software upgrade.

Generally I don’t upgrade things unless there’s a problem. So I stick with older versions because they work and, again, I’ve suffered terrible consequences from upgrades.

In this case, the webcam software plugins weren’t recognized by my web browser. I need the plugins to manage the webcam and set its features. The plugins aren’t needed to view the image, so I’ve been putting off doing an upgrade until something needed to be reset.

Guess what! Something needed to be reset last week. After a power outage, the webcam was malfunctioning. Not being able to access its administrative web page, I opted reluctantly to upgrade to gizmo’s software.

The upgrade process went well.

After the upgrade, however, I could no longer log in: The plugins were still unavailable and I was unable to reset the webcam’s parameters.

My first stop was to the manufacturer’s website to check their support forms. Sure enough, I’m not alone. And that fact ticked me off: I could have checked the forums first and then waited, but it’s too late now.

Thereafter, I deliberately took down the webcam. It’s offline for the near term.

I may look for another webcam in the future, probably something that’s designed for rugged outdoor use. Maybe something with a Zoom feature, which would be fun. And I must consider another manufacturer as the one I’m currently using seems to have an issue with support, plugins, and a whole slew of issues I’d prefer not to deal with ever again.

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