Linksys WVC80N for remote monitoring

Installed a Linksys WVC80N for remote monitoring of a site. Mentioned this to a few folks and they seemed excited about, apparently this is a common need.

The camera hardware itself was easy to set up and the hardware is solid. I did the setup on a Mac and had no problems getting the camera set up and working on the wireless network.

At that point, tho, you have to go offroad. Assuming you want to have remote access to the video, you have a couple paths to try out:

* You can set up motion detection-driven email/ftp alerting. You have to use all the camera admin pages but it seems pretty straightforward. But I didn’t do this. So no idea how well the motion detection work.
* Or you can set up a dynamic dns connection through TZO.COM. The camera web pages claim there is a free trial, but the TZO website did not work for the free trial. Kind of a screw job Cisco, you should do better. The cost for a year of service for TZO was not crazy tho so I just signed up for a year of service. You get a domain which you can connect to from anywhere. And it does work, I am looking at my camera now. But it took a LOT of futzing with firewall rules and port mapping on my dsl modem/router to punch thru. All these devices claim they have some magic UPNP technology to help you do all this but that seems to be baloney. So be prepared to futz or have someone futz for you.
* Once it is set up, it took the TZO.COM dynamic DNS service 24 hours or so to be reliable. Probably takes that long for DNS entry to percolate around.

Troubleshooting your network

How to Troubleshoot your Network ~ Chris Pirillo recommends Axence Nettools. He’s also a fan of OpenDNS which I admit seems cool, but the neat shortcutting thing won’t work obviously when I am on some other network.

Then there is Lanroamer if you need to operate at a lower level.

Of course there is Network Magic which in my not unbiased view, just gets more and more robust and more and more useful. Now on version 4.5. Mac support now available which is one of the best things I find, since Mac/PC networking is still way too hard (though I haven’t tried Leopard yet and it seems to have a lot of new features in this area).

Airport Express

Tried to install the Airport Express last night, I’ve seen lots of bloggers talking about — Ross Mayfield’s Weblog: Airport Express.

I basically think it doesn’t work with WinXP. The install wizard died on two different laptops, in both cases complaining that I needed to let Windows manage my wireless hardware, that 3rd party tools were interfering with my hardware. Well in both cases the machines were configed to allow Windows to manage the hardware so I don’t know what the “wizard”‘s problem was. One machine was a dell laptop, one was a jvc japan import. I was finally able to connect to the airport express just using the regular windows connection software, and at that point the airport express admin utility would run. But I could never get the wizard to run, and could never reliably muck with the airport config. I gave up. Another hunk of inert silicon and plastic in the corner of my office.