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The Original AnvilCAM

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Sunrise
ABANA 2k
AnvilCAM
KA Demo
BigBLU '07
          
  STOP  

AnvilCAM I Reconstruction

We are maintaining our old slideshow web-cam for historical purposes. While this page has been updated in looks and in technology the content is archival.

We are still debugging and finding all the bits and pieces.

History of the AnvilCAM

The original AnvilCAM was a failed experiment in an attempt to be breakthrough technology. The overriding problem with all web-cams is that while they work well for security cameras, porn, weather and other applications they are not conducive to detailed step by step processes. Our problem was also that of technology. The fastest our dial-up connections could display images was about one frame every 4 seconds under the best of conditions and under less than nominal conditions every 8 seconds or more on the recieving end.

Even our prerecorded netcasts had logistic problems. Being based on the East Coast and the web being a 24 hour a day world we found our selves babysitting the equipment late at night. The VCR had to operated to play (and replay) the video and connections would drop and have to be reestablished. There was also running live commentary. If we had been a pay-per-view site taking in hundreds of dollars every night it would be one thing, but it was just another feature costing time and money. We gave it up after a few months.

IF it had been successful we had planned to build automated web-cam setup in industrial duty electrical enclosures and place them in busy shops all across the country.

Most recently we netcast the 2007 BigBLU NC-ABANA hammer-in. It went fairly well as we had better (10 year newer) hardware and a good high speed connection. It generated 2256 640x480 images.

Live demos were first netcast from New Zealand by Andrew Hooper AKA Kiwi our long time technical person. He had a camera! Then in 2000 we planned to netcast the ABANA conference from Flagstaff AZ. The plan was to take video during the day and netcast at night. This was a total technical disaster and the end of the live AnvilCAM for many years. We hauled PC's, video and camera equipment across country. I had arranged for Jim Paw-Paw Wilson to bring his video camera, a video stand (like a hunter's stand to get above the crowd and support the camera). We paid for an Internet connection and tested it via long distance. We paid and paid and paid. . .

When we got to Flagstaff the altitude turned the jet lag into a gigantic hangover. Paw-Paw's lungs and "normal" headaches were much worse. It made walking around on the campus a torturous ordeal for Paw-Paw. Then we discovered that all the batteries and backups for the video camera had all failed. I suspected the ride in the airline luggage compartment did something to the old batteries. The camera was old enough that batteries were hard to find and none were going to be available overnight even it we could afford them. . . Where we videoed was going to have to rely on extension cords and outlets that we were not supposed to use. . . THEN the first night in the motel I discovered that the local Internet connection I had arranged for and tested long distance was half the speed it was from the other side of the country. It was too slow for the web cam. It turned out the motel had some sort of signal splitting on their phone lines that half the speed to the rooms. . . We didn't get decent video, we couldn't broadcast it. . . All problems that can be solved with money if you have plenty of it. I didn't.

So, now the technology has matured and every cell phone records video. Software works better and a significant part of the population has some sort of high speed connection. Thus AnvilCAM - II



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