Verizon Wireless Data Tests From Florida

As I was returning the Storm after a little test run (I talked about it in the previous post), I decided instead of ditching Verizon altogether to try out their data plan. I got UM175 USB wireless modem and Verizon’s “unlimited” 5GB data plan for $59.99. But testing all that from the middle of New York City isn’t as much fun as taking the set to vacation.

So here I am, in one of Orlando, FL resorts, checking the quality of the service. There’s no problem with connectivity, my question is – just how good the internet connection is for an advanced user like me. All tests were conducted through, so that you can enjoy the pretty graphic fonts instead of boring tables.

The most important criteria to look at are latency (how fast the signal travels from point A to point B and back) and upload speed. Big latency is what will kill your IP phone conversation, your online meeting or your live webcast. Download speeds are usually more than adequate, but when you’re trying to upload a bunch of pictures from vacation, a huge Excel spreadsheet or heavy PDF, the podcast or videoblog post – that’s when little upload speed is starting to hurt. Besides, slow upload speeds will also have their say in making your online meeting or IP phone conversation useless.

video web

Social TV On The Web – Or Social Web On TV?

Social media gets more diverse every time someone uploads the video on YouTube. It gets more popular every time someone watches that video. And, obviously it gets more social when you pass a link to or embed a video into your blog or web site. It’s hard to say who exactly came up with this idea (I think it is instinctive thing), but “do as I do” routine almost never fails.So every time some creative video gets out there, some other people think “hey, I can do that too”. And they try to.

Forget the reality shows your parents used to watch. WWF is a good stunt work. Next generation reality shows are going to be different. Studios still casting people who look good on TV, but that’s about to change. In the world where everybody can become his own video producer for less money than cost of a semester in a decent private college, next TV would be whole home-made. People increasingly watch videos online instead of regular TV. Ubiquitous broadband (including high-speed mobile), YouTube on your mobile device (hello, iPhone) and next-gen TVs with network hook-up will let you watch your favorite web site in your favorite cafe, in the comfort of your living room, on the go. Or upload your footage just as easy.

Just make sure you get that lens cap off before you start shooting.


Home Surveillance System (Part 2)

Panasonic BB-HGW700A Network Camera Router (Home Surveillance System – Part 1)

The good thing about Linksys router is that it still shows all the reserved IPs, even without the actual name of the device. So with only two unnamed devices (somehow iPhone didn’t get a name on the connected devices list) it was pretty easy to figure out what is what. Overall process of setting up three cameras for camera portal was pretty easy, but I stumbled on getting to view cameras from Internet. The default setting that is being picked up by the camera is that of the network you are setting the whole system up. Which basically means – your local network. So whenever I was trying to access the camera from outside I was still being thrown to 192.168.1.something address.

With some additional tweaking (your settings could be different, so I am not posting mine here) I was able to get everything to work together. Because of firewall restrictions at work I was not able to utilize Camera Portal to its full extent. Instead, I keep accessing all three cameras individually, at the same address with different port numbers. Initially, the ActiveX component wasn’t favoring Internet Explorer 7 (no problems with IE 6 though, strange), but it seem to be working alright lately. For Firefox/Opera browsers the Java applet used instead. I had mixed results with it as it could work and fail on a same computer at different times.

So the whole set up is now consists of:

Cameras transmit video in up to 640×480 resolution, but 320×240 is preferred. Camera’s also have built-in microphone, so mind the bandwidth if you go with higher quality settings for both video and audio. The quality is on par with or a little below regular cell phone camera, but you didn’t expect to make movies with these cameras, didn’t you?

Two of the cameras are set up on the tabletop tripod with mini ball head – I got the cheapest they had. Just make sure the camera stands firmly on it. Third camera doesn’t have any stand and just sits on the shelf. Thanks to the large dip in the back, wires don’t get in a way.

Overall I am very happy with my system. There are some glitches, though. Sometimes the video just freezes completely, although sound is coming though. Panning or zoom don’t work altogether, so you have to reload the page to get video right.

Panasonic also has a recording software that works with their cameras, but since I didn’t really need it yet – I can’t justify the cost of buying it.