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Real Life "Person of Interest"
April 14, 2013 10:33 AM   Subscribe

The soothing feed of a thousand places around the world (especially parking lots). With a NSFW-sounding URL (and potentially NSFW content), Adrian Hayter writes about his exploration in the world of unsecured webcams. The feeds also include everything from store security cameras to aquariums and doggy daycare. His FAQ discusses the mechanics as well as the ethics this project.
posted by brilliantine (259 comments total) 173 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh man, what a timesink. A long time ago, ike 2005, my then-SO was studying in Germany, and called me from a phone booth in Freiburg. Just for kicks, while we were talking, I looked up webcams in Freiburg, and found one that I could control with a panel. I found her phone booth, zoomed in, told her to step out of the booth and wave for a second, took a screenshot and emailed it to her. That was a fun "hooray for the future" moment.
posted by not_on_display at 10:47 AM on April 14, 2013 [30 favorites]


Apparently, at 17:48 UTC, everyone is the world is somewhere else.
posted by UrbanEye at 10:49 AM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


This sort of thing has been out there for a long time. I've always had a fondness for opentopia.com (warning: porny camgirl links at the bottom, might set off your workplace netnanny.) If you don't care about bandwidth too much a random webcam screensaver would be a fun project. (I suspect it's been done.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:50 AM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I feel like I'm in the control centre of a 'Bourne' movie ready on a moment's notice to deploy every cop/agent on the eastern seaboard to ... somewhere? to find ... someone?

BUT I'M READY TO GIVE THAT ORDER!
posted by mazola at 10:51 AM on April 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


There's no way this is Bellows Falls, Vermont!
posted by not_on_display at 10:55 AM on April 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


To do this right he needs some caching support, because this thing don't scale to many visitors at all, and by "many" we're barely talking single digits.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:57 AM on April 14, 2013


Warning: clicking the first link on a low-spec machine may cause browser crashes or low level explosions within your tower. And, as much as I hate to admit this, Chromium handled it much better than Firefox.
posted by Lorin at 10:59 AM on April 14, 2013


Ew. Found a feed to an old lady eating her lunch very slowly and watching television and now I feel like a creep.
posted by ColdChef at 11:06 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here, creeps.
posted by ColdChef at 11:07 AM on April 14, 2013


What's happening here?
posted by ColdChef at 11:13 AM on April 14, 2013


Guy in Portland dog hotel is my favourite so far.
posted by Lorin at 11:14 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


What's happening here?

It's a Foucault pendulum
posted by muddgirl at 11:15 AM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Found a cultist compound in Germany.
posted by ColdChef at 11:17 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


George_Spiggott: "To do this right he needs some caching support, because this thing don't scale to many visitors at all, and by "many" we're barely talking single digits."

That's sort of the beauty of his approach; those images are loaded directly from the webcam, rather than passing through his server. It's likely true that the webcam:vistor ratio could get high enough to take most of them down howver.

ColdChef: "What's happening here?"

That's a Foucault pendulum. The wikipedia page even uses the same one for it's depiction.
posted by pwnguin at 11:17 AM on April 14, 2013


Ew. Found a feed to an old lady eating her lunch very slowly and watching television and now I feel like a creep.

Yeah, I was a little creeped out by this one too.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:17 AM on April 14, 2013 [13 favorites]


What's happening here?

It's a Foucault pendulum
posted by nickrussell at 11:17 AM on April 14, 2013


African webcams
posted by ColdChef at 11:19 AM on April 14, 2013


Fat guy workin' his wood
posted by mss at 11:21 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Beach in Miami. Warning: just saw some major ass-crack.
posted by ColdChef at 11:24 AM on April 14, 2013


Good one! Museum in Buenos Aires.
posted by ColdChef at 11:25 AM on April 14, 2013


I feel like the Architect in the Matrix.
posted by surrendering monkey at 11:26 AM on April 14, 2013


Whoa.
posted by ColdChef at 11:28 AM on April 14, 2013


Golfers. Pennsylvania.
posted by ColdChef at 11:28 AM on April 14, 2013


DUDE PUTTING ON HIS PANTS
posted by ColdChef at 11:30 AM on April 14, 2013


ColdChef: "Whoa."

I clicked on that and saw two people come in with two all-white cellos, and now they are playing something.
posted by not_on_display at 11:30 AM on April 14, 2013


Yellow lab swimming in Denver
posted by maggieb at 11:31 AM on April 14, 2013


ColdChef: "DUDE PUTTING ON HIS PANTS"

He's just folding his pants. Nice placement of the La-Z-Boy recliner. Reminds me of a Blake Edwards film.
posted by not_on_display at 11:32 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


More puppies.
posted by ColdChef at 11:32 AM on April 14, 2013


AAA! He just did the thing where you stick your finger under your armpit and then smell it for B.O.! This is really getting personal.
posted by not_on_display at 11:33 AM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Huh, I've come across my hometown four times already. I don't know why that, or the fact that I can pick it out at 200 pixels square, is surprising, but it does give me an odd little jolt of pleasure. I imagine a lot of the ones that look like people at home are actually nursing homes and the like? Anyways, those aren't what inspire me to click through. The colours in that church though? Pure Eggleston.
posted by Lorin at 11:34 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fishtank.
posted by ColdChef at 11:36 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lonely guy in a mattress store.
posted by ColdChef at 11:37 AM on April 14, 2013


I really really want an explanation for the cultist compound.
posted by kiltedtaco at 11:38 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Boyne Mountain indoor water park
posted by pmurray63 at 11:39 AM on April 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Look at all these Pizzas!
posted by ColdChef at 11:39 AM on April 14, 2013


Russian gamblers.
posted by ColdChef at 11:40 AM on April 14, 2013


More dogs.
posted by ColdChef at 11:42 AM on April 14, 2013


There was a pretty nifty Mac screensaver of something similar awhile back. It was pretty mesmerizing, actually. Lots of snowy parking lots, college quads and the occasional store/coffees shop in Russia. Stuff like that.
posted by jquinby at 11:42 AM on April 14, 2013


Manatee tank in Tampa, FL
posted by not_on_display at 11:43 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


This rather well lit pool table in Finland is empty now, but it shows potential.
posted by Lorin at 11:44 AM on April 14, 2013


This would be a nice place to live.

He doesn't filter these very well, does he?
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:44 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Zhoom! Bzhoooooowm!
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:46 AM on April 14, 2013


Seattle doggies

Napping Ann Arbor doggie
posted by pmurray63 at 11:46 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Swedish sharks!
posted by ColdChef at 11:46 AM on April 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think this is a veterinarian's dog kennel? The puppas are all asleep right now.
posted by not_on_display at 11:46 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Found a cultist compound in Germany.

I don't think the geography of these is any more trustable than the datetime stamps. "51.0000,9.0000" sounds like default coordinates.
posted by DU at 11:47 AM on April 14, 2013


Storks in a nest on a roof.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:48 AM on April 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Grottiest hot tub evar
posted by not_on_display at 11:48 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here is the website of the cultist thing but it's in German. All I can understand is, they like pyramids. Help?
posted by kiltedtaco at 11:49 AM on April 14, 2013


He doesn't filter these very well, does he?

That's most likely a daycare that parents can check in on.
posted by ColdChef at 11:49 AM on April 14, 2013


Yeah, I was a little creeped out by this one too.

I can't stop watching that one. I just know something's going to happen.
posted by prinado at 11:50 AM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bunch of young dudes in a garage.
posted by ColdChef at 11:51 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Joe in Australia: "He doesn't filter these very well, does he?"

He has a reporting feature if you think it doesn't belong. I'd bet that cam when the lights are on and people are moving around is less creepy.
posted by Mitheral at 11:52 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wish they'd point publicly accessible webcams at bike racks. Register with a verified email address and you get access to the "summon security guard there's a guy getting busy with a hacksaw" button. Community policing FTW.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:52 AM on April 14, 2013 [9 favorites]


Man, this is my favoritest thing on the web since the Sea World Penguin Cam (which runs 24/7 in my office but seems to be down now).
posted by not_on_display at 11:54 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ok, looks like the pyramid people are "alternative medicine" folks.
Following the holistic approach of bio-resonance, the Sauerland Pyramids were built on interference-free grounds, the risk of electro-magnetic radiation for the staff was reduced to a minimum, the integration of a geothermal heating system, solar concepts and a system for recycling rainwater ensure the environment-friendly handling of precious resources.

The interior of the pyramids is illuminated by full spectral light, the work places can be adapted to individual needs in so far as temperature, light and ventilation are concerned. The Sauerland-Pyramids are an impressive symbol for the holistic attitude of the Rayonex company; we do not use words alone, we also live up to them.
---
Since the beginning, Rayonex has been a manufacturer of Bioresonance devices with a coherent philosophy - a cause oriented therapeutic approach.

Central to this consideration is Bioresonance according to Paul Schmidt, the system that has been developed to stimulate the functions of the body with frequency spectrums (for the human sector as well as for the veterinary sector). Back in 1976, Paul Schmidt began his research and established the exogenic Bioresonance (effectual from the outside) that bears his name today (Bioresonance according to Paul Schmidt).
posted by kiltedtaco at 11:56 AM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hypnotic.
posted by jquinby at 11:58 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oops, I found the Matrix.
posted by taz at 11:58 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


A beach in Honolulu. Probably a bit too early for much activity, but a delightful thought given our recent weather.

Lots of doggy cams in Hawaii, too.
posted by pmurray63 at 11:59 AM on April 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Here's that screensaver, btw.
posted by jquinby at 11:59 AM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just found a sleeping kid. Not linking it.
posted by ColdChef at 11:59 AM on April 14, 2013


Woo-tastic. They should have some funky robes.
posted by arcticseal at 11:59 AM on April 14, 2013


Can't find the reporting feature.
posted by ColdChef at 12:00 PM on April 14, 2013


Cripes. Little brother's a script kiddie.
posted by bonaldi at 12:00 PM on April 14, 2013


ColdChef: "Can't find the reporting feature."

Contact form
posted by jquinby at 12:01 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


this one was just showing a completely empty white room with a light in it when I last loaded it. Beyond unsettling.
posted by bonaldi at 12:02 PM on April 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


Thanks. I already closed it, but I'll use that next time.
posted by ColdChef at 12:02 PM on April 14, 2013


"Well, I had this extra webcam, and I don't wanna get out of my chair and WALK to the other room to check its status, so..."
posted by not_on_display at 12:02 PM on April 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm just going to assume San Luis Obispo guy is waiting for alien contact from his radio telescope array.
posted by Dr. Zira at 12:04 PM on April 14, 2013


There's some good sellin' happnin' down here.
posted by surrendering monkey at 12:04 PM on April 14, 2013


Shirtless dude and his old lady watching some TV.
posted by ColdChef at 12:05 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


BONUS! He's got a huge tattoo of a cobra on his back.
posted by ColdChef at 12:06 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


You guys. DONUTS.
posted by Dr. Zira at 12:06 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


More geographic shenanigans: Not Woburn, MA
posted by not_on_display at 12:07 PM on April 14, 2013


this one was just showing a completely empty white room with a light in it when I last loaded it. Beyond unsettling.


Definitely. But I'm afraid it would be more unsettling with a person in there. Because there's no way they wouldn't seem trapped.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:07 PM on April 14, 2013


Reminds me of the old guy in Amelie who instead of a clock has a CCTV camera pointed out the window at the jewelery store clock up the street and a TV.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:08 PM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cigar rollers.
posted by ColdChef at 12:08 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


bonaldi: We'd need a banana for scale. Could be a bird watch thing before the mummy bird got there.
posted by surrendering monkey at 12:09 PM on April 14, 2013


I find that by setting the screen to 1x1, and then resizing the browser window to a smaller size (and correct aspect ratio), I can zoom through all of them one at a time without having my CPU fan go WHAAAAAA
posted by not_on_display at 12:09 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Domino's Pizza.
posted by ColdChef at 12:09 PM on April 14, 2013


Searching for Ann Arbor gets you lots of lab equipment.
posted by kiltedtaco at 12:10 PM on April 14, 2013


spooky
posted by not_on_display at 12:10 PM on April 14, 2013


Giraffe!
posted by Dr. Zira at 12:10 PM on April 14, 2013


Dominos in the UK! THEY ARE LIKE US
posted by not_on_display at 12:11 PM on April 14, 2013


Tallahassee haircuts
posted by pmurray63 at 12:13 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love the ants on page 1.
posted by not_on_display at 12:13 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some backdoor way to watch Japanese soap operas?
posted by mss at 12:14 PM on April 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


"In Finland, teenagers don't 'do donuts in the parking lot,' young man. See? No car for a week!"
posted by not_on_display at 12:16 PM on April 14, 2013


Go-Kart Track in the UK (purportedly) ... I wonder if they go clockwise around the track. They don't seem to be open.
posted by not_on_display at 12:18 PM on April 14, 2013


I thought, at first, this is so beautiful! How often do you see scenes from Sweden, Mexico and Tennessee in the same place? People are just people, everywhere you go.

Then: oh, god no! I think one of these cams showed a family grieving over a dying man!

Sorry, I can't look anymore.
posted by SPrintF at 12:18 PM on April 14, 2013


Annnnnd this one will give me nightmares. If that's really in Delaware, that hospital or hospice or old folks place has got some 'splainin to do.
posted by disillusioned at 12:30 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh hey, I've had to turn my car around in that loading bay before. It's gratifying to know that the area is still safe for other passers-by to also turn their cars around.
posted by ardgedee at 12:32 PM on April 14, 2013


Hi Larry.
posted by codacorolla at 12:32 PM on April 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oooh, a beautiful botanical garden in South Korea.
posted by mecran01 at 12:38 PM on April 14, 2013


Relaxing on the couch and watching the Masters in Massachusetts
posted by pmurray63 at 12:40 PM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pretty waves somewhere on a coast in the UK? Hypnotic and worth a screensaver on its own.
posted by Nutri-Matic Drinks Synthesizer at 12:41 PM on April 14, 2013


disillusioned - that could well be a simulation mannequin for medical teaching.
posted by Coobeastie at 12:41 PM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Whatever the meter is at top left, it seems to get a lot of errors (if "Er" means error).
posted by limeonaire at 12:45 PM on April 14, 2013


Penguins!
posted by pw201 at 12:46 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


that could well be a simulation mannequin for medical teaching.

That makes some more sense... the vitals aren't moving at all, and he looks... fake.
posted by disillusioned at 12:47 PM on April 14, 2013


Someone's model train set in Sweden. Train running now.
posted by audi alteram partem at 12:54 PM on April 14, 2013


Oo, Loyola University Chicago's Crown Center for the Humanities has a beautiful lakeside labyrinth...

Elsewhere in Chicago: Ahhhh!
posted by limeonaire at 12:54 PM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


This family in Swift Current, Saskatchewan seems so close, yet so unaware ...
posted by pmurray63 at 1:07 PM on April 14, 2013


So, why do people have streaming web cams in their homes? I can understand if people want to see what their pets are doing while they're at work, or make sure their kids are okay, but otherwise?
posted by taz at 1:14 PM on April 14, 2013


So, why do people have streaming web cams in their homes? I can understand if people want to see what their pets are doing while they're at work, or make sure their kids are okay, but otherwise?

Well, also for security purposes, to check on your house and make sure it's not broken it. I'd argue 98% of the "people in their living room" cams don't realize they're publicly accessible 24/7.
posted by disillusioned at 1:19 PM on April 14, 2013


Hi Larry
posted by BungaDunga at 1:23 PM on April 14, 2013


Holy crap! These dogs are HUGE.
posted by ColdChef at 1:25 PM on April 14, 2013


Somebody should send that family an email. Secure your security cam!
posted by Kevin Street at 1:26 PM on April 14, 2013


Baby giraffe!
posted by Coobeastie at 1:28 PM on April 14, 2013


> "Well, I had this extra webcam, and I don't wanna get out of my chair and WALK to the other room to check its status, so..."

That actually looks like a some sort of vaccuum / pump control system, it has an optional rs232 interface according to the manufacturers page, but hey, when you got a spare webcam, who needs a signalling interface.
posted by mrzarquon at 1:29 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's fun to watch the group dynamics in those doggy daycares, because they really are like kids. There'a always a group of cool dogs hanging out by themselves, and four or five dogs who follow the human (teacher) around wherever she goes. What are we doing now? Is it lunchtime yet?
posted by Kevin Street at 1:29 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Minneapolis chicken coop?

A hangar in St. Paul
posted by pmurray63 at 1:33 PM on April 14, 2013


There goes my night.
An unsettling lack of people in most of these at the moment, but did find a Swedish aquarium and those giraffes.
posted by Gordafarin at 1:49 PM on April 14, 2013


Aerial view of a railway station in Sweden.
posted by jessssse at 1:54 PM on April 14, 2013


This is either a really good "fuzzy analogue TV" filter, or a webcam pointed at another screen.

~185 KW

Is a dryer free?

Watching paint dry?

Lovely video from a monument on the the coast of Japan (apparently).

Big... green... room? With poles?

Tokyo flower shop

Theater cam- with people on stage.

Japanese... factory floor? The camera is sliding laterally, which is neat.

Busy Argentine bakery.

Shed in Fort Davis: Still shut.

Somewhere in Kentucky, assorted liquors are still available.

Tennis.

Extraordinarily sketchy. Operating room...?

Every single webcam in Japan pointed outside is showing beautiful light.
posted by BungaDunga at 1:55 PM on April 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


If you don't care about bandwidth too much a random webcam screensaver would be a fun project. (I suspect it's been done.)

You're right - SurveillanceSaver is a free screensaver for mac and window that does this. I installed it a few years ago, but it made my poor old Macbook heat up so I stopped using it.
posted by gamera at 1:55 PM on April 14, 2013


Aerial view of a railway station in Sweden.
posted by jessssse at 4:54 PM on April 14


It's a model. Noted previously, I think.
posted by pmurray63 at 1:57 PM on April 14, 2013


Anyone thirsty?
posted by reptile at 1:57 PM on April 14, 2013


I think this is the first person I've found...
But the sun is rising in Japan.
posted by Gordafarin at 1:58 PM on April 14, 2013


Okay, what the heck is this??
posted by Tsuga at 1:59 PM on April 14, 2013


Dinosaurs!
posted by Gordafarin at 2:05 PM on April 14, 2013


Young people building... something automotive? One is rocking an American flag jumpsuit.

Seriously though, Japan's looking great.
posted by BungaDunga at 2:06 PM on April 14, 2013


BungaDunga, that one's the Carnegie Mellon Racing team.
posted by reptile at 2:16 PM on April 14, 2013


This one appears to be a hippo, octopus, chocolate Cadbury cream egg, and miniature Minas Tirith.
posted by reptile at 2:23 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


reptile: "This one appears to be a hippo, octopus, chocolate Cadbury cream egg, and miniature Minas Tirith."

OK, I would really like to know the purpose behind that cam.
posted by Gordafarin at 2:29 PM on April 14, 2013


You click on a random web cam and see yourself. The nightmare begins!
posted by blue_beetle at 2:35 PM on April 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


I just realized this would be a great ARG for a horror / zombie movie. Just start putting up fake web cams streaming the outbreak around the world and get some exposure on this site as people try to track down the outbreak.
posted by mrzarquon at 2:42 PM on April 14, 2013


Security cam footage of a guy watching more security cams.
posted by 2ghouls at 2:42 PM on April 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


Is this really Bellows Falls, VT?
posted by ocherdraco at 2:43 PM on April 14, 2013


I've got to come back to this one during daylight so I can convince myself it's a bird of prey and not a pigeon... [1] [2]
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 2:48 PM on April 14, 2013


I really hope this is not what it looks like.
posted by bluemoonegg at 2:49 PM on April 14, 2013


It says a lot about the internet that a lot of these links (like bluemoonegg's) have me tensing up, convinced the image is about to be replaced by a scary face and a loud screaming wav...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 2:53 PM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've got to come back to this one during daylight so I can convince myself it's a bird of prey and not a pigeon... [1] [2]

It's a peregrine. There's probably eggs under it (probably a her). The original. Sweet. Thanks.
posted by rtha at 2:56 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


This one seems to be showing a movie. Or there are a lot more samurai in Illinois than I presumed.
posted by mollymayhem at 2:59 PM on April 14, 2013


Oh, that's fantastic. Thanks rtha!
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 3:01 PM on April 14, 2013


This one showcases some bizarre-looking greenhouse in Tuscon. I'm guessing it's a laboratory for something cool that I don't understand.
posted by lilac girl at 3:08 PM on April 14, 2013


This is going to be a fabulous Maine sunset.
posted by mollymayhem at 3:21 PM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


This one is in no way Louisville, Kentucky.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:27 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Look, I know we Brits aren't blameless when it comes to nicking foreign treasures, but you Arizonans need to give these back...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 3:31 PM on April 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


ClassroomReminderRejected 4AD Album CoverRAWLS_BEASTCompSci Student Activity Center at Perdue, where two young nerds are looking to flirt
posted by not_on_display at 3:33 PM on April 14, 2013


A limbless torso sits atop a desk in Peru.
posted by dephlogisticated at 3:35 PM on April 14, 2013


Looks like a Russian gaming cafe.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:36 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Imagine if someone could do this with Russian dashcams. The internet would explode
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:38 PM on April 14, 2013


Why are there so many webcams of Korean chickens?
posted by Jelly at 3:39 PM on April 14, 2013


Where's the party at?

Lviv.
posted by Tsuga at 3:40 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Electronic Billboard in North CarolinaView of Predigstuhl, Austria, from the mountaintop If the HVAC flutters a paper taped on the machine, and nobody's there to see it, does it still flutter? Yes.
posted by not_on_display at 3:40 PM on April 14, 2013


Also, flamingoes!
posted by Jelly at 3:42 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


That Delaware patient one is probably just this U. of D nursing simulation lab
posted by interplanetjanet at 3:43 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


BABY GIRAFFE!!!
posted by mollymayhem at 3:47 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Stand back from the metal cones
posted by The pets.com Mascot at 3:48 PM on April 14, 2013


This is a set of robotic telescope enclosures. Check around sunset Tucson time to catch them open up.
posted by kiltedtaco at 3:54 PM on April 14, 2013


Great wave in Japan.

Blue Man Group Gets Haircut in Canada (at least when I was looking at it)

OK, I'm hooked.
posted by Bill Peschel at 3:58 PM on April 14, 2013


Tsuga: "Okay, what the heck is this??"

Looks like a lobby; the cony thing in the center is probably some sort of fountain.
posted by Mitheral at 3:59 PM on April 14, 2013


ColdChef: "Bunch of young dudes in a garage."

There is some sort of custom derby car involved, and one of the dudes is in a one-piece American flag costume. I think this is a racing club.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:02 PM on April 14, 2013


Grocery Store in Hanoi, VietnamWhat kind of car is this?Nobody better take my parking spaceEmpty living room, but not in Manchester Tennessee. The clock doesn't match, plus it's dark outside.
posted by not_on_display at 4:06 PM on April 14, 2013


2ghouls: "Security cam footage of a guy watching more security cams."

Uh oh, dude is pacing and fidgeting, looks bored and restless. He's either talking to himself now or someone else through speaker. This could get interesting, or more tedious ...
posted by krinklyfig at 4:07 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now I can watch a Subway restaurant in Columbus Ohio any time I want. Welcome to the future.
posted by codacorolla at 4:12 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cockroach Cam
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 4:14 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Security cam footage of a guy watching more security cams."

In cyber-Russia, security cams watch security guards.

And now, your moment of Zen. (Underwater log cam.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:16 PM on April 14, 2013


lilac girl: "This one showcases some bizarre-looking greenhouse in Tuscon. I'm guessing it's a laboratory for something cool that I don't understand."

"What's Ron's weed room?"
"It's a big room. Full of weed. And its Ron's."
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:20 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Upside down Japanese cam.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:22 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


codacorolla: I know where that is, it's a food court at the OSU Medical Center.
posted by demiurge at 4:27 PM on April 14, 2013


What kind of car is this?

Mercedes R107 coupe (IE: an SL of some variety). Judging by the bumpers a late 70s model.
posted by Mitheral at 4:27 PM on April 14, 2013


codacorolla: "Now I can watch a Subway restaurant in Columbus Ohio any time I want. Welcome to the future."

Oh dear, the web interface powering that one presents multiple cameras with pan and zoom. Which raises a question: how long until some enterprising Eastern European carder pays some student employee to become a implausible accomplice?
posted by pwnguin at 4:27 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


wicked bike tricks

Swedish shark (?) tank

Hello, Mr. Giraffe.

Ground Control to Major Pixel

hitchcock location scout cam
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:28 PM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Guys painting a stunning design onto a boat. I wish it was in color.
posted by gubenuj at 4:33 PM on April 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is awesome. When I had to give up going places, I discovered webcams as a kind of substitute for travel and compiled a small file. I never dreamed of such riches as this when I shared a few of my favorites in a journal entry on Easter morning three years -- an eon in technology generations. Even if I had the skill to assemble something like this fantastic database, I don't think quite so much was available then. Most of the cameras are still active in my outdated virtual tour and have been upgraded.

I started at 9AM CST on April 4, 2010 with the NASA link to the ISS where AstroSoichi was welcoming new arrivals, and zoomed down to earth for the Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue NYC, down the coast to Myrtle Beach, SC, for toes in the sand and on to Palm Beach, FL, where I first glimpsed the Atlantic Ocean decades ago, then south to Miami and Key West, before zooming far north to Halls Harbor, Nova Scotia where the lobster boats rest on gravel at low tide. Westward to Wrigley Field, Chicago at season's opening, then on to magical Santa Fe, NM, and foggy San Francisco. Down the coast to Alisa Beach, Laguna CA and across the Pacific to Waikoloa, HI, on the Big Island and Kona on the west side. In Tokyo, it was already Monday. In London, sushi was being served in the Tokyo Diner, and the famous Beatles' zebra crossing still graces Abbey Road. I skipped some Euro tourist cams in favor of late afternoon on Mykonos, Greece and concluded in Jerusalem for a solemn virtual visit to the Wailing Wall.

This took about an hour, and as I finished writing, the bells were pealing from the church down the street and the scent of jasmine wafted in through my window. It was fun even then and I can't wait to delve into this treasure!

Thank you, Brilliantine.
posted by Anitanola at 4:35 PM on April 14, 2013 [14 favorites]


By the layout, I think this anti-liability cam may be pointed at the hot tub at the Wildflower condos (in Mammoth Lakes, CA, as identified by the site), though if so its been spruced up since I was there years ago. And now someone is messing with it (or something near it.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:39 PM on April 14, 2013


When does the game start?
posted by languagehat at 4:41 PM on April 14, 2013


2ghouls: "Security cam footage of a guy watching more security cams."

Shift change!
posted by krinklyfig at 4:57 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wonder what these dudes are up to

Trophy shop!
posted by ocherdraco at 5:00 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: We'd need a banana for scale.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:02 PM on April 14, 2013


Oops, I found the Matrix.

'The Matrix' is back (in your hospital)
posted by homunculus at 5:13 PM on April 14, 2013


This one is across the street from me--it's atop the Wooster Science Building, as they rebuild it. The view here is West-ish, down the new pedestrian pathway and toward the Jacobson Faculty Tower.

The quad is on the right.
posted by exlotuseater at 5:58 PM on April 14, 2013


I just watched a dog in Louisiana have a twitch-dream!
posted by not_on_display at 6:08 PM on April 14, 2013


Creepy curtains in Seattle. I've been checking back every now and then for the past 2 hours and nothing happens.
posted by CutaneousRabbit at 7:09 PM on April 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


the hot tub cam now has two people flirting in a sort of disinterested way.
posted by winna at 7:17 PM on April 14, 2013


This one is at 26th and Mission in San Francisco, facing north. Not that interesting, just recognized it as I live nearby.
posted by skintension at 7:25 PM on April 14, 2013


When I worked in process automation at a large pharmaceutical company, we had some cameras pointed at equipment around the plant.

It wasn't a matter of laziness. It was a matter of being able to see it at any time without having to gown up and risk contaminating an aseptic area. One of the keys to keeping an aseptic area aseptic is to have as few people wandering in and out as possible. Some older equipment also don't have adequate monitoring capabilities like a serial or Ethernet port. We used terminal server on DeltaV workstations throughout the plant to monitor and, if needed, take control of the process in a way that operators could watch and give feedback.

The people in production had cameras in areas that had dangerous equipment or chemicals where it was best to have as few people in the area as possible, like tank farms.

Of course, security had cameras all over the place, but I wasn't privy to those feeds.
posted by double block and bleed at 8:00 PM on April 14, 2013


This dude is eating cookies and milk and just turned on the tv. This is too creepy.
posted by exlotuseater at 8:18 PM on April 14, 2013


More Laundry • I call this installation, "Recliners on the Half-Shell by the River." • Three ScootersRussians playing poolUpside-down Office worker
posted by not_on_display at 9:00 PM on April 14, 2013


I just watched a middle-aged woman in her pajamas emptying the dishwasher... instead of emptying my own damn dishwasher.
posted by not_on_display at 9:02 PM on April 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Truman Show achievement level 1: unlocked.
posted by meehawl at 9:16 PM on April 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Seven men in purple suits.
posted by Lorin at 9:26 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is this a real bird?
posted by meehawl at 9:36 PM on April 14, 2013


So fascinating. What a bunch of great story prompts there are here.

Why are there so many cams from Lilly, PA? I looked it up and it appears to be a tiny town 81 miles east of Pittsburgh. It's dark there now so most of them don't show anything, but wtheck?

Also, why do the links that people post here of the various cams open so much more quickly than when I open them from the original site?
posted by jvilter at 9:37 PM on April 14, 2013


Are these webcams plugged straight into a cable connection, or would they still be accessible behind a router?
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:38 PM on April 14, 2013


Mirror ball ceiling lights in Dordrecht, Netherlands.
posted by quosimosaur at 9:55 PM on April 14, 2013


bonaldi: this one was just showing a completely empty white room with a light in it when I last loaded it. Beyond unsettling.

Could be the interior of a bird house.

Here's another one, I think.
posted by quosimosaur at 10:13 PM on April 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


gubenuj: Guys painting a stunning design onto a boat. I wish it was in color.

All the giant hydraulic cylinders and concrete blocks in the scene make me think this is a civil engineering lab. I'm guessing it's a feed of Berkeley's concrete canoe team.
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:47 PM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is quite lovely in a way. You can be at home all alone, but look out into the world and see everyday life going on, with cars and people just going about their business.
posted by Joh at 10:56 PM on April 14, 2013


I'm a little surprised he hasn't found more. Given the publicly available ones I know of on campus, we're looking at perhaps a 2-3x more.
posted by pwnguin at 11:06 PM on April 14, 2013


I feel like every butcher shop in Poland seems to have a live webcam.
posted by Joh at 11:24 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Somewhere in Kentucky, assorted liquors are still available.

That's the Buffalo Trace distillery in Bardstown. Their website has links to a few different live cams.

I have two webcams in my home, and yes, they're for security. A few years back our neighborhood had a rash of break-ins, so I set them up, and included an SMS notification if they detect movement when activated.

I can't speak to the "professional" models, but the low end cameras are terribly insecure. First, it's easy to find them on the web if they're directly connected, since Google will index their presence. Second, there's actually a web server built into them, and if you don't bother changing the default user name/password, they're either wide open or use a simple password by default. Finally, even if you have a decent password, there's no built-in encryption.
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:36 AM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


When I worked in the basement of a hospital I had a link on my browser to a Bourbon Street webcam (this was before there were millions of online cams to choose from.) It was during the day, so there were no shenanigans, but it was like having a window I could occasionally look out of. Helped keep me sane.
posted by Legomancer at 5:43 AM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm looking at a doggy daycare although I don't see so much care as I do 2 dogs locked in a room all day. Depressing.
posted by dukes909 at 6:02 AM on April 15, 2013


Has anyone reported a site for blacklisting? I used the contact form in the FAQ to let them know about a cam directed toward a child's bed, and after submission, I got a page that said "Are you sure you want to do this?" with no way to respond... so I don't know if they got my message or not.
posted by taz at 6:27 AM on April 15, 2013


HAH! The guy in the bed next to the monitors? That's a training dummy. I'm watching two students practice on it right now.
posted by ColdChef at 6:32 AM on April 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


They are constructing a parking garage out behind my building, and when the pounding gets REALLY bad I can choose from checking a web cam or walking twenty feet to my colleague's window.

I am running about 50/50 so far.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:14 AM on April 15, 2013


HAH! The guy in the bed next to the monitors? That's a training dummy. I'm watching two students practice on it right now.
Well, that's a relief.
posted by Gordafarin at 7:21 AM on April 15, 2013


This might be the best thing I've ever seen.
posted by slogger at 8:41 AM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can choose from checking a web cam or walking twenty feet to my colleague's window.

I've got that beat: I occasionally point a web cam towards the bird feeder outside my living room window to avoid craning my neck. My question now is how do I unsecure it so it shows up on here?
posted by Lorin at 9:07 AM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


A friend just told me that the instinct to seek is stronger than the instinct for sex or food. This post would seem to be evidence. It reminds me of being a little kid when I first got a shortwave radio, and again when I got as CB scanner. I cannot escape surveying webcams.
posted by not_on_display at 3:44 PM on April 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Found it! A Tokyo flower market cam that went down after the tsunami. It was a favorite I couldn't find again until today. They raise the shutters about dawn (mid-afternoon here) and set out cartons, stands and buckets of flora. Customers stream in and pick clean the day's offerings within a few hours. The empty stands are moved back indoors and, after the shop is thoroughly swept, the shutters come down.
posted by Anitanola at 4:42 PM on April 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


What's going on in this cam? Its in Tokyo, and looks like smoke coming out of a subway of some sort, but I'm guessing maybe its a temple or something?
posted by Joh at 8:55 PM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Joh:

Bam!

It's a free hot spring up in Hokkaido. (I dunno how the site is figuring out locations, but it seems like a bunch of stuff all across Japan is being considered as Tokyo).
posted by Bugbread at 9:19 PM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow, great detective work Bugbread! How did you figure it out?
posted by Joh at 9:25 PM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I could read some of the sign in the background, and luckily it has a fairly unique name.
posted by Bugbread at 9:32 PM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pretty great sunrise going on in Italy right now.
posted by not_on_display at 9:47 PM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Eggs!
posted by Bugbread at 9:51 PM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Strange-ass mountain... anyone know where this is?
posted by not_on_display at 9:55 PM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Parked Shinkansen bullet trains!
posted by Joh at 9:59 PM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


"How much dirt do we have left?"
posted by not_on_display at 10:01 PM on April 15, 2013


It'd be great if we could submit tags for any of them. I have seen quite a few empty go-kart tracks.
posted by not_on_display at 10:03 PM on April 15, 2013


It'd be great if we could submit tags for any of them. I have seen quite a few empty go-kart tracks.
Hah! I was thinking the same thing. Then you could get a page full of doggie daycares, model railways, ski resorts, or butcher shops or whatever your interest is.
posted by Joh at 10:14 PM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Someone is playing a movie over a webcam feed
posted by Joh at 10:28 PM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Springtime in Japan
posted by not_on_display at 9:53 PM on April 16, 2013


A German Solar Farm looks like a Pink Floyd album cover at sunrise
posted by not_on_display at 9:54 PM on April 16, 2013


テニスのための誰?
posted by not_on_display at 9:57 PM on April 16, 2013


(I am finding a few doubles: e.g. this is the same as this)
posted by not_on_display at 10:17 PM on April 16, 2013


Street Vendors in the Czech Republic
Great view of Alps from Ferienhof Arnold in Scheidegg
posted by not_on_display at 10:37 PM on April 16, 2013


The weather in Seattle, always
posted by not_on_display at 10:40 PM on April 16, 2013


Update: Dude no longer putting on pants; instead he is in his recliner, snuggled under a blanket, taking a midday nap.
posted by not_on_display at 11:34 AM on April 18, 2013


Mystery of the afternoon: What lurks under this beach towel?
posted by not_on_display at 11:35 AM on April 18, 2013


Is this a thermal webcam? The dog and the blanket are glowing purple!
posted by not_on_display at 11:54 AM on April 18, 2013


I swear I saw it move.
posted by not_on_display at 12:04 PM on April 18, 2013


A double-stacked garage with some really nice cars
posted by not_on_display at 9:43 PM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm glad to see your lockdown time has been fruitful, n_o_d.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:14 PM on April 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


A radio studio in Hartford CT
posted by not_on_display at 8:43 PM on April 19, 2013


Busy ferry dock in Japan
posted by not_on_display at 5:21 PM on April 20, 2013


It is currently snowing in Japan. (Isn't it late in the season for snow?)
posted by not_on_display at 5:26 PM on April 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


More pretty pretty snow.
posted by not_on_display at 5:28 PM on April 20, 2013


Polish butcher shop!
posted by Night_owl at 7:57 AM on April 22, 2013


BETTER Polish butcher shop!
posted by Night_owl at 8:04 AM on April 22, 2013


Two geese hanging out beside a cranberry bog in Middleborough, MA
posted by not_on_display at 12:41 PM on April 23, 2013


Amazing sunrise in Japan
posted by not_on_display at 1:12 PM on April 23, 2013


Busy intersection in the Philippines, for those of you who like crazy traffic
posted by not_on_display at 8:48 PM on April 23, 2013


Other webcams in Quezon City, Philippines. Look for the jeepneys, which are a form of shared transportation very specific to the Philippines.
posted by not_on_display at 9:08 PM on April 23, 2013


I can't tell if this stuffed animal is normal-sized, or giant.
posted by not_on_display at 5:29 AM on April 24, 2013


More Penguins!
posted by not_on_display at 5:32 AM on April 24, 2013


Seasick Cam
posted by not_on_display at 5:43 AM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Aaaaack, the site's down. I'm going webcam cold turkey!
posted by not_on_display at 7:48 PM on April 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


But WHY is the site down? Why???? There goes my lunchtime entertainment.
posted by Malice at 1:45 AM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, huh? Even the all of the blog entries on cryptogasm.com about the webcams are gone. I have a feeling that this isn't a momentary outage -- that something compelled him to take it down and wipe all trace of it from his domain.

BUMMER. This was my favorite thing on the web in a while. It was simple and direct and did what it said on the tin. I got to see a lot of the world unfiltered. It was great while it lasted.
posted by not_on_display at 5:08 AM on April 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Not an optimal solution, but it's something: if you do a google search for anony/mjpg.cgi, you find a lot of people have collected these manually. It lacks the nice interface of cryptogasm, but there are some interesting finds. For instance, this page seems to have a lot of live links.
posted by not_on_display at 5:30 AM on April 25, 2013


Yay, I found my hotel lobby by googling [Ufa Bashkortostan hotel mjpg.cgi]—thanks, not_on_display!
posted by languagehat at 1:05 PM on April 25, 2013


Пожалуйста! That hotel chain seems to have cameras in all their lobbies -- I kept running into them on the cryptogasm webcam pages.
posted by not_on_display at 2:10 PM on April 25, 2013


I'm very sad about this and I will try to find some of them.

Meanwhile, I still look in daily on my all time favorite Woodblock Webcam for activity in the Tokyo Seseragi Studio of Metafilter's own Woodblock100, David Bull. Tonight (tomorrow morning in Tokyo) he is carving key blocks for a pair of Chibi Heroes prints. This cam is part of a huge and outstandingly excellent website, BTW.

Or, for a break, play the 24 hour history on Halls Harbor Nova Scotia, Canada webcam showing the phenomenal tides in the Bay of Fundy.

I miss the flower shop I rediscovered and the flamingos in Miyazaki as well as the fun of searching that fabulous site for more.
posted by Anitanola at 5:34 PM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is the penguin cam that I keep loading onto the computer in our office lobby.
posted by not_on_display at 8:29 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh no! The Machine crashed! What have you people done?
posted by homunculus at 9:06 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


homunculus: "Oh no! The Machine crashed! What have you people done?"

Are you suggesting when Metafilter brings us something we especially like, we just keep clicking on it until we break it and that's why we can't have nice things?
posted by Anitanola at 1:33 AM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think we loved it too much.
posted by not_on_display at 10:23 PM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


At Opentopia I found the cam showing the flamingos at the Miyazaki Phoenix City Zoo. You can both search and click through randomly. I think I sold all my FB friends down the river to some unknown advertisers so that I could bookmark what I found but I could not resist. Perhaps someone here is clever enough to discover if this is the evolution of our lovely find and perhaps we didn't break it after all but were merely a road test or something.
posted by Anitanola at 1:35 PM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I found my favorite Floral Collection co., at Opentopia and also at this site. I still haven't figured out how to link directly to the webcam -- I think I am just a pawn of the internet. This is a sad realization and I am coming to it late; otherwise, I couldn't be happier. New toys!
posted by Anitanola at 2:03 PM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Flamingos Miyazaki Phoenix City Zoo (This is the Opentopia link missing above. Sorry.)
posted by Anitanola at 9:38 PM on April 27, 2013


Controllable webcam over Brussels, Belgium
posted by not_on_display at 9:48 PM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, thanks to Person of Interest we know how to get the Crytpogasm webcams back: someone has to answer the payphone when the Machine calls. I mean, that can't be a coincidence, right?
posted by homunculus at 3:37 PM on May 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well? Did one of you guys get the phone?
posted by homunculus at 8:06 PM on May 9, 2013


An Ode to Movie Mainframes
posted by homunculus at 9:28 PM on May 9, 2013


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