cheapest IP camera yet
Monday, February 8 2021
location: Room 8A, Woodstock Inn on the Millstream, Woodstock, Ulster County, NY
It being a workday, I told my boss I'd be a little delayed. And then Gretchen and I spent a couple hours in our room doing things like making coffee and tea with our room's Keurig machine, reading the news on our devices, having sex, and playing another game of Banagrams (this time I won). Then Gretchen headed off on foot to work, and I drove home to begin my workday. I would be having the leftover Indian food for lunch.
Today I took delivery of a little ESP32 module that came complete with a tiny camera that eventually proved capable of capturing images of nearly 2 megapixels. The device had come on a slow boat from China and had only cost $7.20. If I could get this working, it would be the cheapest-possible WiFi-capable IP cam (before this, the cheapest such cam would be a $10 Raspberry Pi Zero attached to a camera, the cheapest of which run about $7, though those are high-quality cameras). This device is designed to be programmed with the Arduino IDE, but I haven't particularly enjoyed working with esoteric 32 bit boards using that. The Arduino IDE was originally designed just for 8-bit Atmel microcontrollers, and its expansion into other processors ("cores") seems kind of hacked-on, and can be frustrating in unexpected ways that force me to Google for solutions. Today, for example, the Arduino IDE failed to show me ESP32 examples even after I'd made sure its cores had been installed in the Boards Manager. I then learned from a Google search that ESP32 examples are not placed in the File menu unless an ESP32 core is selected as the current board in the Tools menu. Once I had that figured out, I then had other issues that never came up when working with Atmel chips: I had to specify a Partition Scheme for the ESP32's internal flash storage, and possibly other things like Flash Frequency. In the end, though I was amazed to get this little board working, serving a live video feed on its own little web server using code I can freely tinker with.
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