Setting up an IP webcam with ibaby

A number of people have asked how I setup a low-price IP webcam to use as a baby monitor, so I thought I’d put together this short guide to show how to get it connected etc.

What you will need

  • The camera – cost about £35 from amazon
  • A Cat5 network cable (comes with camera)
  • Camera power cable (comes with camera)
  • Wifi antenna for camera (comes with camera)
  • An i-device (eg. iphone/ipad etc)
  • Your wifi password

Here’s a photo of all the bits;

Here’s a photo of an example of where to find your wifi password (marked in red) – it will probably be a different router that you have.

You wont need a PC.

Step 1 – Connect the cables

  • Connect the network cable to the back of the camera
  • Connect the power cable to the back of the camera
  • Connect the wifi antenna to the back of the connect (it screws on)

Step 2 – Connect the network cable to the router

Plug the network cable into a spare port on your router – it just clicks into a spare network port on the back.

Step 3 – Plug the camera into the mains

Step 4 – Download the ibaby app on your iphone

Go into the appstore and search for ibaby. Click install.

Step 5 – Go into the ibaby app

Make sure your phone is connected to WIFI and not just 3G – you can tell this by looking in the top corner of your screen;

3G looks like this

You wont be able to connect if you are on 3G

Wifi looks like this

This is correct, you are connected to your wifi.

Ibaby app

Open the ibaby app – and you will see something like this (if not click ‘Setup’ in the bottom left corner);

Step 6 – Configure the camera

Click Camera Wi-Fi Settings, it will list the wifi networks it finds;

Choose your network from the list – and then type in your wifi password that you found above.

Step 6a – Enter your wifi password

The camera should now restart. At this point you should unplug your network cable, leaving just the power cable and the wifi antenna connected to the device.

Step 7 – Use the camera

Once you’ve done this – you should be able to use the “View” button at the top of the screen to view the camera – and/or rotate your iphone to get a better view. You should also be able to swipe across the screen to move the camera up/down or left/right. You can click “Audio” at the bottom to hear the audio from the room, and press+hold the button to speak back (if your camera comes with a built in speaker – if not you can attach one in using a normal 3.5mm jack and still use the speak-back function).

Step 8 – Accessing from outside your home

(Will complete this soon)

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Grandstream HT286 firmware issues

I’ve had a grandstream HT286 for a while – and I’ve recently been having a problem with a couple of voip services – the phone has cut out mid-conversation etc. I decided it was likely due to the firmware version and thought it time I upgrade.

The firmware was v1.0.5.9 with a version string of;

Software Version: Program– Bootloader– HTML– VOC–

Unfortunately I tried a number of different auto-update servers over TFTP – but none worked correctly.. I was stumped! :(

I searched the web and found a really good site with an archive of the different versions of the firmware – the site is;

What I didn’t realise – and I sort of stumbled across this – is that these devices need to upgraded through the majority of the versions to work correctly; you can’t just jump from v1.0.5.9 to v1.0.7.19… The old firmware asks for the wrong filenames over HTTP etc.

Anyway – to cut a long story short – the way to fix it is to find out which firmware you have, grab a copy from the above website, shove it on a apache server and point the device to look at that server. You can then iterate up the device firmware versions until you get to the last one you want!

Hope that helps others with the same problem I had!

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Wide character in print or Wide character in subroutine perl

This is just a post for others who have the same problem and find my solution through google and more to the point, for my reference in future!!

I’ve had this problem numerous times before, as you do when you mess around with datasets from numerous sources… The quality differs and data formats can cause headaches.

Anyway – I was trying to import data from Amazon into perl, and this had worked fine before, but a particular product description didn’t want to import – instead coming up with the errors;

Wide character in print

Wide character in subroutine

All I want to do is get the text in unicode and convert it, preferably keeping as much ‘quality’ as possible, but ultimately the data should be in 7-bit ASCII.

I searched the web for a quick-and-dirty answer, but to no avail; countless people are out there telling you that it’s unicode and blah blah – there was one useful guy out there suggesting to use the binmode operator; but the downside is that I wasn’t actually writing the data to a file; I was repackaging it as XML data; binmode will only set the file writing mode.

Anyway – to cut a long story short – the best way around this – ie. to process unicode into being ‘just ASCII’ is to use the Text::Unidecode module and then use unidecode on any problem variables that are unicode.

Hope that helps someone and saves a bit of time!

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Random Skype IMs from my past popping up!

I recently moved abroad, and to keep up with family etc I’ve taken to using skype a lot. It’s worked really well and I think I talk more to my family then I ever did when I was at home.

Anyway – I’ve recently noticed a weird phenomena, which is basically that I’m sat at my PC doing my work and suddenly an IM will pop up on the screen – but it will be part of a conversation I had a week ago. At first I replied to the message thinking the message had just come through but then I realised that if I get a random message I can check it out by scrolling through my chat history and checking if anything has come in for the last 5 minutes or whatever.

However! These random messages can be really annoying and a bit odd!!

To fix the problem – I’ve been trying to figure out whether I can purge previous skype IM conversations – but you don’t seem to be able to do that, you can ‘hide’ conversations but you don’t seem to actually be able to delete them completely.

Anyone have the same problem and/or advice for how they fixed it?! It’s driving me nuts!

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New directories

Just thought I’d post that I’ve created two new phpld directories that may be of use to people – particulary SEO types.

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Perl Net::SSLeay stubborn install – fixed

I’ve been messing around trying to get DBD::Google install on perl via Cpan – but it was just failing every time…

Tracking the error back revealed that it was Net::SSLeay that was at fault – I tried to install it numerous times, but it kept coming up with an error;
Running install for module 'Net::SSLeay'
Running make for F/FL/FLORA/Net-SSLeay-1.36.tar.gz
Has already been unwrapped into directory /root/.cpan/build/Net-SSLeay-1.36-xtsjC4
Could not make: Unknown error
Running make test
Can't test without successful make
Running make install
Make had returned bad status, install seems impossible

Anyway – after a lot of digging – it turns out that SSLeay has OS dependancies – these are;


Once these are install – you can go back to perl cpan and the modules installs like normal.. Phew!

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New site:

Just thought I’d post on here about a new site I’m working on – I’ve put it live but there are still some bits that need fixing. The site is about rainwater recycling which I’ve been investigating recently. Basically it has info about tanks, pumps and how best to collect water and then recycle it around your house to save water, the environment and hopefully a bit of cash from your pocket!!

Anyway – it’s available at

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I often browse IT security forums to keep up-to-date with the latest hacks and methods of circumventing various locks and blocks on hardware. Even though I don’t have an Apple iPhone, when I heard about I decided to have a quick browse of their site to see if there was any mention of how they circumvented the Apple security.

I was out at the time, so used my 3G connection (on my N900) to visit the site – and was shocked to see that was blocked on my network connection. I wondered if the site was down – so when I got home I visited the site via wifi. It worked fine!

I’ve visited the site by various other network connections I have available to me – and it definitely seems like 3 UK are actively blocking just this URL – whilst all the others are fine… Shame on you 3! What are you going to block next – your competitors?

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HTC Desire vs N900

I’m lucky enough to have been an owner of a Nokia N900 for quite some time now, and my wife has just bought the HTC Desire – so I thought I would put this article together to give others a better idea of what the differences are between the devices. When I first received the N900 I didn’t really get my full usage out of it, however it has now become the centre of my mobile communications and I use it all day, every day.

I bought the N900 because I was interested in the increasing uptake of smartphones 2.0: smart phones have been around for a long time and I believe the new generation of phones are such a step up that they can’t even be put in the same category as old ‘smartphones’ like the Nokia N96 or E71.

The smartphone 2.0 marketplace

The thing that differentiates the smartphones of 2010 is the operating system – there is Android, Maemo/Meego and the iPhoneOS. I bought the N900 in the full presumption that Maego would be a better OS than Android/iPhone – and as far as I’m concerned it is… However that never stopped the general populace going for the others (remember Betamax/VHS!).

In my (humble) opinion, the reason why the N900/Maemo hasn’t taken off yet is that it is seen as a niche OS – in comparison to Android/iPhone there’s only one phone offering it – it’s quite big in comparison to other handsets and it’s more of a geeks dream rather than a cool phone to be seen with. Also there are only a handful of apps for Maemo and these are (sorry) still quite hacky compared to Android/iPhone apps. (Good for IT guys – bad for consumers)

What’s good about the HTC Desire?

The screen is great, the brightness and colours beat the N900 handsdown, this is presumably down to the AMOLED screen employed by the HTC Desire.

The menus are really nicely constructed, though the Sense UI widgets are more like ‘fill my whole screen’ than small building blocks, but you can easily switch back to the normal Android widgets which use much less screen space.

What’s bad about the HTC Desire?

It’s a linux OS, but not as we know it… based on my usage of the phone, it’s quite locked-down – I would expect to be able to drop into a terminal, but you’ve got to hack around on the device before you can do that. It’s pretty clear that they are try to keep you away from any internals.

The software keyboard is difficult to type on in comparison to other phones I’ve tried.. The keys seem a little narrow, and worse, my wife finds it difficult to type on because of her fingernails (no such problems with the N900!). I do have to reiterate what others have said which is that you should calibrate your touch typing as soon as you get your device because it works much better once you’ve done this.

Maybe it’s me, but I can’t get my head around leaving apps running on the HTC; Android doesn’t have a close button on apps – they sit around and the OS closes them when it decides they are no longer needed. However this clearly is going to use more battery life than necessary.

Again, maybe it’s me, but the N900 interface allows you to do everything via touch – you can browse the web etc without sliding out the keyboard. On the other hand, the HTC offers 4 buttons and an optical scroll button (or whatever they call it) – which is OK but it’s difficult to know when you should use the buttons rather than click the screen

Sometimes difficult to achieve simple tasks; on the N900 to set a ringtone you click Settings>Profiles>Ring tone and you can set an MP3 or whatever. On the HTC Desire, you can’t set an MP3…. Unless you go via the Music app and then click Menu and then choose to set it up. Again, it might be me, but some things seem far less intuitive than they should be on the HTC Desire.

What’s bad about both?

The battery life is shocking on these new phones, compared to phones of a few years ago. Both the N900 and HTC Desire will rarely last longer than a full days usage. The reason why is they are running 1Ghz+ processors with 500+ MB RAM. GPS, wifi and bluetooth all munch that battery life.

You can get extended life batteries like this video shows – but do people seriously expect me to make my pocket brick into a pocket slab? (nice fingernail decoration BTW – I doubt you’re a real N900 user!).

The phones are so expensive that you have to sign up for a long contract, typically 24 months in the UK.

The phones are nickable, so if some chav spots you with one – you might not have it for long!

I’ll post back about any other downsides of the HTC Desire I spot when I see them!

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Ubuntu Karmic Koala – firefox error

Just upgraded to Karmic Koala, and everything appeared to go fine.. But when I tried to run firefox – I got XML Parse error, browser.xul undefined entity.. Turns out it was getting confused with some xul for Knife Sharpener Reviews from an old install of firefox-3.

Tried a reinstall of firefox-3.5.3 which did no good.

Anyways – the way to fix this particular problem is just to delete the .mozilla folder in your home directory. Obviously – you need to be careful with your bookmarks etc – but really you should be using a bookmark backup service like xmarks anyway!

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