I'm over social media - the Facebook page for this blog is a hopeless way to reach people and I removed the slow horrible sharing widgets a while ago. But I have this nagging suspicion that RSS is a super-niche activity for techno-libertarians harking back to the good old days of the Internet with open protocols and wall-free gardens and isn't entirely up to snuff either. So I'm going to experiment for a monthly email list for people who vaguely follow the blog or use Catfood Software products but don't quite manage to come back here every day to check for updates. Sign up here.
Why? Excellent question. The rules for blogs are to pick a narrow topic of interest, know your audience and do keyword research and drop SEO honeypot bombs to draw that audience in. I did that for Catfood Software but this isn't that kind of blog. It's a random collection of my hobbies and interests. So if you're not sure read through the Featured section in the side bar to get a preview.
I write a lot of code so what you'll get for sure is updates from Catfood Software and other occasional side projects. When I struggle with the process or discover something I write about that as well - these posts are more interesting to other developers and less exciting if you just want your desktop wallpaper (or Android phone) to look awesome. I love to make videos that don't have me in as well, mainly complicated time-lapses so you'll find alotofthose too. Also hikes in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. Occasionally politics.
If that works for you and you're not an RSS type then please join and let me know how I'm doing.
Nest (previously DropCam) can email you when it detects activity but that gets boring quickly. How about an email only when it sees something totally new?
The script below downloads a frame from a web cam and then calls the Google Cloud Vision API to label features. It keeps a record of everything that has previously been seen and only sends an email when a new feature is detected. You could easily tweak this to email on a specific feature (i.e. every time your dog is spotted), or to count the number of times a feature appears. I'm using a Nest cam but any security camera that has a publicly visible image download URL will work.
There is a bit of setup to get this working. Create a new Apps Script project in Google Drive and paste the code above in. You'll need to provide you own values for the three variables at the top.
OAuthCreds is the contents of the JSON format private key file for a Google Developer Console project. Go to the console, create a new project and enable the Cloud Vision API. You'll also need to enable billing (more on this below) - a trial account will work fine for this. Once the API is enabled create a service account under Credentials and download the JSON file. Just paste the contents of this into the script.
That's the hard part over. Now enter the URL of the image to monitor (see this post for instructions on finding this for a Nest / DropCam device) as MonitorImageUrl and your email address for SendEmailTo.
One last thing - follow the instructions here to reference the OAuth2 for Apps Script library.
Once this is all done run the script (the main() function) and authorize it. You should get an email with a picture attached and a list of the labels detected together with a confidence score from 0 to 1. If this doesn't happen check the logs (under the View menu).
You can now schedule the script to run repeatedly (Resources -> Current project's triggers). You get up to 1,000 units a month for free so once an hour should be safe. If you need more frequent updates check the Cloud Vision pricing guide for details.
After a few runs you should only get an email when something new is detected. If you're seeing too many wild guesses then add a filter on the score to exclude low confidence features.
Enjoy, and leave a comment if you have problems (or modify this in interesting ways).
This timelapse contains edited highlights from January 2015 to January 2016. I have a Nest Cam (previously DropCam) pointed at the Pacific from the back of my house. To create the footage I grab a frame every 20 seconds and save it to Google Drive using Google Apps Script. I fire up a program about once a week that creates a daily timelapse movie from the frames.
The music on the video is from the excellent JukeDeck. This particular track was randomly but happily called California Battle.
As well as the conventional timelapses I'm creating a couple of different videos from all of the footage. More over the next few months.