Webcam Shanghai Resumes

Updated: Recent schedule May 19, 2003

From May 19 to May 23, the camera will be offline from 00:00 AM to 7:00 PM (most of the day time). It will probably online from 7:00 PM (or 8:00 PM) to 11:00 PM. From May 24, it will extend to day time and aiming to be 50% of the time (12 hours everyday). From June 1, I hope I can operate it 24 hours a day. The tag above indicate the status of the server (online or offline).

On May 23, my 130 RMB for all-you-can-eat package take effects. So I don’t have to pay for every minute my server is online. By June 1, I should have a dedicated server for this service.

You are watching Shanghai in real-time.

I am very happy that I have the passion to setup this Shanghai webcam again. Through this webcam, you can see part of the Shanghai – at the intersection of Cao Bao Road and Xi Qin Road in Southwest Shanghai. The camera is placed at the south window of my apartment, directing to the outside. The high building on the left is the Shanghai Everbright Exhibition Center. There is a 4-star hotel and some office buildings in this thirty story huge building. On the right, the lower building with a blue arch is the Shanghai Everbright Convention and Exhibition Center. It is one of the three major exhibition venue in Shanghai. Typically, the exhibition center’s schedule is completely full until end of 2004, according to news sources. However, as you can see from the video, it is closed. All exhibition from the end of April is canceled.

You can also see the road between the exhibition center(right) and the office building (left). It is called Xi Qin Road. The traffic is low. In the distance are some residential buildings which were just built 2 years ago.

Five cool ideas to use this webcam

1. Frequently check this page

You can frequently check this page – in the morning, in the afternoon or in the evening; when it is sunny, cloudy or rainy. At different time and condition, you will see the different sceen of Shanghai.

2. Put it on your own web

If you have a website or personal homepage, why not put this webcam into your own page? Just insert the following HTML code to your webpage.

<SCRIPT language=VBScript src=”http://home.wangjianshuo.com/scripts/webcam/Shanghaiwebcam.cgi”></SCRIPT>

The webcam and the broadcasting server is hosted in my house.

3. Put this webcam into your computer desktop

You can easily open a small window on your computer desktop and see Shanghai in real time through the window. Sounds cool? Here is how you can do it.

Requirements: You must use Windows XP.

  • Right click on the blank area of your desktop and click Properties on the pop up menu.
  • Switch to desktop tab and click Customerize Desktop…
  • Switch to web tab and click New…
  • Enter “http://home.wangjianshuo.com/archives/2003/05/18/ShanghaiWebCam.htm” in the Location text box and click OK.
  • Clic OK again when asked “Add to Active Desktop (TM)”.
  • Click OK twice to complete the setup.

You will see the webcam appear on your desktop. You can adjust the size of the window to just fit the Windows Media Player.

4. Create your own webcam like this

Why not create your own webcam and broadcast your window scene like this? The only thing you need is a computer, a broadband network connection and a webcam. I have wrote about Real-Time Stream Broadcasting Cookbook. Hope it helps.

5. You tell me what you want to do with this cam

The only limit if your imagination.

Important notice

This is no garentee for up time. As you can see, this is only non-profitable personal website. Unlike writing articles and hosting the site, which is just my free labor and small amount of fixed host rental fee, hosting a webcam is not cheap. A 24×7 webcam needs:

  • A dedicated computer as the media server.
  • Always connected ADSL connection.
  • A webcam I cannot use for other propose (MSN Messenger videa chatting, for example)
  • Space – the USB wires and the webcam actually messed up my neat window.
  • The electricity for the computer…

I will setup a watch dog to report on the online time of this service – may publish a schedule for the “show-time”.

Check the status of the media server here. If it shows “Shanghai Webcam Server is Offline”, it means I have turned it off to save bandwidth, save electricity and avoid the noise of the computer fan.

Criteria for me to pause this service:

One of the following reasons will force me to pause this service:

  • Daily visitors to this cam are less than 20. I don’t want to be silly to operate something the world don’t care.
  • If someone complains for privacy issues (if they don’t want me to pointing my camera to this direction) – actually, people cannot be recognized in this cam screen)
  • I cannot cover my cost – if I need the computer and I don’t have any spare computer.
  • My wife cannot bear the noise and the wire one day – yes. I will defintely remove the webcam from window area.

Support me to continue this free service

You can support this webcam by the following ways:

  • To keep the traffic of this page. Send the URL of this page to your friends or link it up in your website. Recommend this page in BBS and forums.
  • I want to find a dedicated computer to be the server since I cannot garentee the availability of the server if I also play game on it. Now I have alread got a hard disk, a motherboard, a CPU fan, a display adaptor. If anyone has used (as long as it works): CPU, memory, computer case, power unite, network adaptor card, please comments below to let me know. I can pay some money for it.

Please use the comment system to let me know whether you can see the video. Report to me if you cannot see anything.

Sample pictures

Below are the sample views.

shanghai-webcam-night.2003.05.19.JPG

2003.05.19 at 10:35 PM with very poor light condition.

Update: This Service Paused May 26, 2004

This service is paused after I moved my house to Pudong. Please wait for further notification of the status of this service.

22 Comments

  1. So Cool!

  2. How I wish there is romote orientation-control function with your web cam.

  3. Hi Issac, actually I am working on the remote control – the tool that you can use to control the webcam physically.

    I have bought a toy with some rotating platform. I have put the camera on it so I can use a hand-held controller to rotate it to left and right. Now what I need is only a connector that can connect the PC hardward to this controller?

    Anyone has any hardware to allow computer to control the on/off of an external circuit?

    I believe one day, I will add button the this page so you can choose where you want to see.

  4. Cool!

  5. Great idea!I hope I can Create webcam on Chinese Tea like this.

  6. Hi, I really want to let you know how I desire your can extent this free service as long as you can.

    I explored this cool site when I stay in home due SARS and also let me know what is the blog.Thanks.

    May I introduce myself in short? I left SJTU in 1993 and then began your career in Hangzhou. Most days I work in Telecom section and currently I have a position in NOKIA hangzhou. I got lots of idea could lead me to begin my individual venture but till now what is my trouble is I am lack in technical to turn my idea into reality. I hope I can got passion from you to start……

  7. Hi telefan,

    Nice to hear from you. I want to keep this free service as long as I can – as long as I still think the stream of money spent on this service is still useful and interesting.

    Blog is short for weblog. It is some kind of daily updated public journal.

    I also graduated from SJTU. To work for NOKIA is very nice. Just go ahead to realize your dream – it is just the right time.

  8. If you looking for some way for a computer to control the camera or an external circuit, you probably want to do a search on “Home Automation”. There are several different companies with all kinds of products in that area.

    Some things to check for (that came to mind):

    1. Works with outlets/voltages in China. Most of the products I see support 120VAC with US outlet configurations. Maybe the solution could be to buy an adapter/converter?

    2. Programmable API from either the vendor or a third party. If it’s only going to work with their specific (GUI) software, it might be a real pain to control it from a web application. Even a CLI interface would probably be enough.

    3. I think there is a common protocol for home automation devices. Probably want to make sure the device supports it.

    I took a look at the stuff a long time ago, but I have not kept up. I do not know a specific product that will address your needs or what the approximate cost is. Sorry for being vague but I hope this helps you.

    We can talk more if you like. I did not leave my email address since I am concerned about it harvested for spam by web crawlers. Sorry.

  9. Dave,

    Thank you for your suggestions. I think it may be very good idea to manufacture the device so you can control the device via your computer – it is good to have programmable interface. i am interested to find a solution but now, it is still hard.

    I even thought of letting the computer to beep so to trigger the motor of the platform under the camera. :-)

  10. I looked into the matter some more. Just to clarify, would it be sufficient for the computer to be able to turn on/off electrical power to a outlet correct?

    I have this dongle that plugs could plug into the serial port of my computer. Using the provided software, I can use the device to signal home automation devices.

    One possible home automation device is a switch that plugs into the AC power outlet. I can plug a lamp into the switch and then leave the lamp on. The actual power would be controlled by the switch. So I can control the lamp using my computer.

    I figure the same model might work for your webcam control. If you have already have a rotating platform that plugs into the outlet, then you can use this device to control it. Admittedly, the control would be simple (only on/off), but it would be a inexpensive solution.

    I have seen 3rd party libraries for serial port dongle that allow it to be control by other programs (via API). I suppose after figuring out the physical side, all that would be need is to write a dynamic web page (JSP/ASP/etc) that calls the API.

  11. Hi Wangjian,

    Just finished setting up a broadcast as per your cookbook. GREAT STUFF!!!!! Only instead of broadcasting my house which is boring ;-), I’m using my TV-Tuner card as input so I was broadcasting a local FOX channel on the internet. Unfortunately, my ISP charges me for upload bandwidth so I can’t turn it on 24/7. BTW, if you could broadcast a Shanghai TV channel such as CCTV-4 instead of the street in front of your house that might be really cool to see!!!! Although, there are probably copyright laws preventing you from doing this :-( Anyways…thanks a million for the cookbook. Keep up the great work. Bye.

    David

  12. Hi David,

    Nice to hear from you and it is encouraging that you have setup the Windows Media Encoder to broadcast local FOX channel. That is cool, man.

    I don’t ave a TV-Tuner Card, but I did try to broadcast CCTV before – actually using a very silly way, by pointing the webcam diretly to the TV set. haha.

  13. hi david:

    I think that you should continue with this site and thanks for the ideas!

  14. Hi Mr Wang,

    I intend to set up my own wwebcam for monitoring my home when I am away.

    I’ve bought some CCTV cameras and I intend to use them as webcam.

    Any advice on how I can go about it.

    Thank you.

  15. What is the CCTV webcam you mentioned?

  16. These are normal spy camera / mini camera type that I bought whilst in China.

    This are connected using RG6 cables individually and currently connected to the VCR/TV for monitoring.

  17. Well. You cannot broadcast using the way I described in this article directly. These spy cameras does not output digital signals. So it cannot be directly connected to a computer. You need a Video Capture Card to capture the signal from these cameras and convert it into digital signals before computer can process it. However, the total cost may be higher than buying a seperate web cam.

  18. I agree that it may be more expensive but as I’ve already purchased the CCTV cameras, it is more economical for me than to buy 5 separate webcams.

    If I’ve a Video Capture Card installed, how can I upload images into the Internet for viewing when I am away? (Note that it is for me to check on my home when I am away. Any software that you can recommend. Thanks!

  19. Thank you, I just wanted to give a greeting and tell you I like your blog very much.

    On line Kasino

  20. hi recently i was on msn and one of my friends came online too. Well his picture part did not show and what really freaked me out was, he was saying that he can see me and actually was telling me what i was doing!!!!!!!!!!! how is this possible when u didn’t send webcam accepting msg to him and yet he makes it possible to see me without my permission? how safe is it to have webcam plugged in when someone can just watch u even though u didn’t allow them???….is there any way u can prevent anyone to spying on u?

    thanks

    Tban

  21. Hi Jian …

    By accident and by a “mutual friend [Google;)], I am now joined on your blog .. and even though I am not at all for blogging intressiere .. but this is my intresse to beautiful places greater .. I find the idea of a “Milk Tea Shop Business” in such a gaily city like Shanghai, just nice and very intresting ..

    A Webcam that is focused on Shanghai’s skyline would be a nice feature.

    Since we just talk about it, you know http://www.justin.tv? If not then it is now time “jtv” getting to know …

    “Justin.tv is the easiest way to create live video and show anyone in the world what’s happening right now.”

    I myself stations streaming 24 / 7, 2 local TV and consume not even 800kb / s upload, I jtv with Adobe Flash Media Encoder, the server must serve at once .. Where I am very glad about it too, because let’s be honest. 2 Media servers consume each having a TV station in HQ (750kpbs bit rate 44100hz stereo sound) a large amount of power and would even my cable Internet access (131.072 kbit / s Download and 5.120kbit / s upload) overload ..

    as I said .. look at times on JTV there it is possible for you vecast, even with a Nintendo DS Eye, Li (f) send you without the big einbüsen the ADSL line you .. I do not at all how high / low is your bandwidth but I can not even follow from my mobile phone via GPRS, the broadcasts …

    You should only make certain never to send content from FOX at JTV .. that would be the end of Life Cast (DMCA)

    I wish you and your family all the best life, health and success in …

    Greetings from Essen, NRW Germany ..

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