An iPhone and an Incubator
Sometimes I don’t fully understand the usefulness of things right away. Ustream, for instance. When I first heard of it, I imagined nothing beyond webcam “concerts” and talk shows filmed from somebody’s living room. (Party on, Garth.)
But now I’ve tried it, and I say Ustream is for the birds. Literally. (Never mind the other obvious use cases, such as following police scanner feeds in Boston this week.)
I live on a farm, as you may already know if you’re a regular reader of this blog. Usually, that only comes into play here when I’m explaining how I became a cord-cutter or whining about my slow DSL connection. But now, even my chickens are getting involved.
I’ve been keeping a small flock of chickens since I moved to the farm, but this year I’m hatching in an incubator for the first time, with eggs due April 26th. And in trying to learn as much as I could about the process, I found myself actually using YouTube on the AppleTV for once.
But I really made the connection when I saw a mention of a live hatch on Ustream. I tuned in, first on my iPad and then a Boxee Box, and that night I watched a stranger’s chicks hatch across the country.
As it turns out, Ustream is great for this sort of thing: a camera trained on something interesting, preferably involving baby animals.
So, naturally, I had to try it myself.
After debating various combinations of cameras, computers, and encoding options, I chose the easiest possible setup:
An old iPhone, with a paperclip kickstand.
Not surprisingly, I’ve run into a few glitches with my slow connection (~2 Mbps upstream) and have to take the camera offline whenever I want to upload photos or do anything that requires a lot of bandwidth. I didn’t honestly expect it to work at all, so I’m pretty impressed with the video quality.
My chicks will be hatching on or about April 26th. Starting today, you can find the hatch cam on my new food and photo blog The Homegrown Gourmet. (If I’m not uploading anything, that is.)