Monday, 20 December 2010

Frozen Webcams - Update 20th December

The web cams are running again - thanks to Nick M and folk at the cathedral who sorted it all out today. It is still extremely cold here in Derby (minus 10 or colder!) but at least we have not had the snow which has caused such problems elsewhere in the UK (hope I don't speak too soon!! Nick B)
After a brief warm snap, it's cold once more in Derby. So cold, in fact, that our webcams frozen on Tuesday evening! I finally got up into Derby Cathedral on friday, only to trace the fault to either a blown fuse or a ring main problem inside the magnificent and ancient stone tower. Having informed the vergers, this power was restored on Saturday morning, and both cameras are now working correctly. (although both could do with having their lenses cleaned, and a bit of weeding done to the foreground of one of them)

On a completely different note, we would like some advice. Perhaps you can help us?
Every year since 2006 we have run Watch Points on Cathedral Green, manned by a brilliant bunch of volunteers from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, all organised by Nick B. Although great to be able to see our birds in real life from just below, we do appreciate how frustrating it is not knowing exactly what's going on inside the nest whilst everyone else is online with a crystal-clear picture. So next year we are considering using either mobile phone or a netbook computer with an internet link. This might also eventually allow us to us send short and topical updates via Twitter. We'd be interested to hear from anyone who has used such equipment here in Derby city centre, and how good the signal and image reception is on different equipment.

We do need to keep expenditure to a minimum, so maybe an inexpensive PAYG Android phone like the T-mobile Pulse Mini? Or maybe a bottom end Netbook? Not being very familiar with either technologies, your Project Team would welcome any suggestions or pitfalls to look out for. The key thing is that, because of the short breeding season, we wouldn't want to lock ourselves in to annual contracts or pay for broadband connectivity we wouldn't use, and we don't want to spend your kind donations in a profligate way. We know that Flash player is needed to view our cameras (which rules out the iPhone), and that mobile screens are obviously smaller than netbooks. So, whilst there are advantages in having a phone we can easily take inside the Cathedral when working on our equipment, maybe it would be great to be able to take a netbook to share with more people or take to evening talks and share live images with our audiences by plugging it into a projector.
If you have experience and views of either bits, do please leave a comment on this blog, or email me on peregrines@derbyshirewt.co.uk

Nick M
Derby Museum & Art Gallery

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that the webcams are frozen. Although I've previously followed the stories of growing chicks, at this time of year I've been using the webcams as a snow monitor! (I need to drive to Derby most weekends.)

mark murfin said...

male there at present small? redwing in the nest box ?? xmas dinner??

AnnieF. said...

just noticed the cams are down again - looks like the freezing weather got to them last night!

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

@AnnieF Yes, thanks for this, though we discovered this earlier today. Once again we think the Cathedral bell-ringers may have tripped the fuse by turning on too many heaters at once inside the tower.

I can personally confirm just how bitterly cold it is up there, and I'll be niping up there myself this lunchtime to try and reset the fuses on behalf of the vergers.
Nick M.

AnnieF. said...

@Nick M. : Many thanks for that - mind you wrap up well before you attempt it!

Joyce S Derby said...

Good view of both peregrines at Jury's Inn 11:30am

Craig said...

Merry Xmas all,
No Peregrine in the cams at the moment. I hope they're having a nice Christmas lunch.

Craig said...

0.38 I see that the cameras are down, the Derby CC website is down.

AnnieF. said...

Merry Christmas Craig & all fellow bloggers, and of course our amazing hosts at the Peregrine Project, Derby Museum, Derby Cathedral and all the superb volunteers! I've appreciated all your work & your posts - long may you continue.

Anonymous said...

Just to add Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, the project's third partner, to the list of AnnieF's credits in her recent comment....a partnership that seems to have worked very well as far as I can tell.....
Anon

stuart said...

A cheap netbook would probably be best as it's easier to huddle around than a phone, and not quite as easy to misplace (and not as attractive to anyone with light fingers as a shiny iPhone would be...). You can buy a broadband dongle from 3 or similar and top it up per month as you need it. It should be fast enough to show the webcam, although they can cut every so often depending on the coverage. Does the church or museum have a wireless network you could use instead? You might be a bit too far away though.

Battery life could be a problem, although it would most likely be worse with a smartphone. I like the idea of having Twitter updates. This would also be a bit easier to do from a netbook. Good luck!

Stuart, LPP.

AnnieF. said...

One peregrine looking fed-up in the fog, on the scrape ledge lhs.

KerrySuffolk said...

Looking forward to the next year of peregrin watching. Thanks to the team for all their work in a difficult year. Happy New Year to them and to all you peregrin watchers too.

David WB said...

I have just logged on to the web-cams and both peregrines are their one on the tower and I think the female on the platform.

AnnieF. said...

A very happy, healthy, successful and prosperous 2011 to you all, and to all fellow-bloggers & peregrine watchers everywhere.
In this cold, damp, gloomy weather it's hard to believe that spring will ever come, but it's only a matter of weeks before Derby Cathedral's pair will be keeping us on the edge of our seats. Well done and many thanks to everyone who's made that possible.

Joyce S Derby said...

Looks like CAM 2 is still frozen