Some friends and I are working on a museum about Malaria.

It’s been a bit stop-start. After a few appearances in Berlin, it came to life for 3 months on Grafton Street, Dublin and is currently in storage until the next breath of fresh air.

Any takers?

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I was trying to get a printed copy of the 1948 original, but wasn’t able to find one.

I asked Nhân Nguyễn to remake it as a PDF based on a photograph of the original and the original text.

Here it is for anyone who’s interested. Or, I also have it as an Adobe InDesign file if you prefer.

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I’ve been working with IP cameras for nearly 5 years. From the early delight at getting a jpeg to refresh on a web page to the large scale cloud CCTV projects, it’s been a long learning experience.

All the while, and now Evercam have been pushing the frontier of what is possible with, or expected from, Cameras. We’ve worked on remote storage for thousands of cameras. We’ve built a beautiful API, timelapses, an app store and much more.

Then it struck me.

No one has yet solved the basic, most fundamental problem of working with cameras. Just the simple ability to login and view a camera with the sort of frictionless user experience that we are familiar with in other areas of our lives. …

Evercam is a commercial software company. We’ve decided to open source all of our code because we believe it is the best way to achieve our goal:

To build the best camera management software in the world.

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We believe the camera software industry is being held back by a proprietary attitude that was better suited to the last generation of closed circuit TV systems.

We believe that the main difficulty in developing good, universal software for cameras is the difficulty of dealing with the many unexpected scenarios and edge cases.

This is a problem perfectly suited to the many eyes approach of the open source community.

Already today much of our code is available on Github under the Apache 2.0 licence. Over the next few weeks we will be opening up the rest of it (some of it needs a little polishing first). …

You have more control over the images stored on a public CCTV system than you do over those on your phone.

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When you take a selfie, it’s probably syncing to one or more online services (icloud, dropbox, G+ …). Whichever company it is, you have agreed to their terms of service.

Some of these agreements are pretty generous about the rights they give the company over your images.

When you stand in front of a CCTV system, you haven’t signed anything, in fact you’re covered by some pretty comprehensive EU data protection legislation.

At least, that’s how it seems to me.

Here are the UK Government CCTV Privacy Guidelines

Here are the (Slightly less readable) Irish Government CCTV Guidelines.

Here’s a great article by Roisin Kiberd on the subject for Vice Magazine / Motherboard.

Cameras are a little bit different to other IoT devices. Here’s why.

Eyeballs v Algorithms

With CCTV cameras, the output is images. Don’t bother trying to get data from them, it’s expensive and disappointing.

Instead, use images for what they’re good at — transmitting information into the human brain.

Let the IoT device trigger the event, then look at the images.

That’s the root of the issue, now here are some details:

Connection Protocols

Unlike every other IoT device, high bandwidth requirements mean that cameras don’t use Bluetooth or Zigbee. We even advise customers to avoid WiFi.

Communication Protocols

This is not a place for MQTT or ZeroMQ. Like with the connection protocols cameras are often sending in the region of 1mb/s streaming video and so the protocols designed for small amounts of intermittent data aren’t appropriate. …

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We like to know who we’re doing business with and we like to buy things from people we trust.

That’s why companies like Tesla and Rover have made the seemingly radical decision to open up their CCTV systems to their customers. They’ve turned the very definition of Closed Circuit Television on its head by opening it up and turning it into a powerful sales and marketing tool.

Customers of both the latest Tesla electric cars and the new Rover Mini can actually watch as their own personal vehicle is assembled. And why shouldn’t they ? …


Marco Herbst

Evercam Construction Time-lapse Cameras, and a few other passing interests.

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