Tag Archives: ImageSalsa

Research for Better Weather Camera Software

Though I like the combination of ImageSalsa and Fling, I was starting to think ImageSalsa wasn’t the best choice.  It wasn’t its features but rather the fact it appeared it hadn’t been updated 2006.  I was worried that maybe in the future the software wouldn’t work with a new web camera or the latest version of Windows.

So, I started searching for something better.  But, first I started searching for weather station software.  I figured I should make sure whatever weather camera software I used also worked with my preference for weather station software.  I thought I found the perfect match that did both in Weather Display.

Weather Display was a weather station software that worked with a Vantage Vue and also uploaded weather camera images and did time-lapsed photos.  I downloaded a demo and started configuring it.  However, I immediately ran into issues.  I could get the software to take an image every 60 seconds but not upload via FTP.  I decided to try out the time-lapse video feature.  At this point, the entire interface of the software started to become an issue itself.  Though I found some FAQs, the interface looked like it was originally designed in the Windows 95 timeframe.  However, it was being actively developed so I posted my question on their forums.

I received a few replies and even a couple from the programmer.  However, the last one said that all my settings looked fine however they never tried to answer the question of why I couldn’t create a time-lapse software.

So, I now have a web camera software I like but wasn’t being developed and a weather station software that was being developed but didn’t work.

ImageSalsa Beta and Fling

In addition to the FTP issue, I noticed that the maximum resolution in ImageSalsa was 640×480.  However, I purchased the Logitech C910 because it supported HD resolution up to 1280×720.  I remembered in my initial searching seeing something about higher resolutions in ImageSalsa.  I found the post that mentioned a beta version.

I found the ImageSalsa beta web page and downloaded that version.  After doing some more searching, I found a reference to the new Video –> Configure Input Devices.  This allowed me to configure the higher resolution.  I went back into the canvas properties and increased the size of the canvas.

My web hosting provider answered my question by saying that FTP should work.  So, I started doing some more research and I remembering seeing other posts that they used another FTP program.  The program was Fling.

Fling is a FTP program that supports automate uploading.  You can configure Fling to watch a folder and upload the content via FTP when the files change.  I configure it for my ImageSalsa folder and it uploaded the files perfectly.

So, next to create a web page.

ImageSalsa Configuration

With the new Logitech C910 web camera working, I started to configure ImageSalsa.

  1. I set my Location Preferences for latitude and longitude.
  2. I configured the web camera in Video –> Video Feed Setup.  The maximum resolution was 640×480.
  3. I created a new portfolio and a new canvas.
  4. I made the changes to the canvas properties.
    • General
      • Width – 640
      • Height – 480
      • Background Color – black
    • Text
      • Enable “1”
      • Schedule – sunrise-60 to sunset+60 min
      • Update Interval – 60
      • Pos X – 10
      • Pos Y – 470
      • Color – light green
    • Graphics
      • Enable “1”
      • Schedule – sunrise-60 to sunset+60 min
      • Update Interval – 60
      • Video Feed – Logitech C910
    • Fixed Save
      • Store Fixed JPEG – check
      • Save Interval – 5 min
      • Schedule – sunrise-60 to sunset+60 min
      • File – F:\WeatherCam\Single\weather.jpg
    • Sequential Save
      • Store Sequential JPEG – check
      • Save Interval – 1 min
      • Save As – YYMMDDHHMMSS.JPG
      • Schedule – sunrise-60 to sunset+60 min
      • Storage Directory – F:\WeatherCam\Movie

The next step was to set the FTP Push settings.  However, I ran into problems.  The file would try to upload but would disconnect unexpectedly.  I tried a number of variations in the settings but nothing worked.  I did some research and found a forum posting with the exact same issue.  However, there was no resolution.  So, I tried uploading via FTP to a different web hosting provider.  That worked.  So, I sent an email to my primary web hosting provider asking if there was any changes I could make to my FTP server settings.

ImageSalsa and Logitech QuickCam

I had a Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks laying around for web chats.  I recently replaced it with a Microsoft LifeCam VX-800 in an attempt to address from audio feedback issues.  I also have an old Toshiba Protégé TabletPC.

QuickCam® for Notebooks I connected the QuickCam to the TabletPC and then installed the demo version of ImageSalsa.  I read through the ImageSalsa manual.  I created a new portfolio and a new canvas.  I followed the instruction to enable the camera and add it as a graphic.  I was able to see the video feed in ImageSalsa.  I did a text overlay of the date and time.

The first issue I had was the image appeared to be fuzzy.  I wasn’t sure if it was the software or the TabletPC screen.  But then I remembered the QuickCam has a manual focus ring.  I played with that and was able to get a sharper image but still wasn’t happy with the sky image.  It was an overcast afternoon but the clouds were completely washed out in ImageSalsa.  The resolution was only 320 x 240 which I thought might have something to do with it.

I decided to try the LifeCam next.  This time the image was completely wrong like the RGB values were off.  I did some web searching and found a reference on Microsoft’s knowledge base that there may be driver issues if a Logitech camera was installed first.  So, I uninstalled the Logitech drivers but the image was still wrong.  I also looked for LifeCam drivers but there weren’t any for this model.

I did some more research and also found many new web cameras that had auto-focus and HD resolution.  I started to think that if I am going to go through all the effort to setup a weather camera, maybe I should have a decent camera.

Weather camera idea

On Ambient Weather, I noticed some weather camera software called ImageSalsa WebCam Software.  I hadn’t thought about doing this as part of my weather station but I have seen these type of pictures before that had the current temperature and other weather statistics along with a outside picture.  I looked around the ImageSalsa website and notice that it was able to pull the data from the Vantage Vue and overlay the text on the picture from a web camera.  The software even had the ability to upload the picture via FTP to a website.

ImageSalsa WebCam Software
ImageSalsa WebCam Software

Since I was going to have a computer anyway to log the weather data, I was really starting to like this additional equipment idea.  What really sold me was the concept of a weather time-lapse movie.  The same software developer also make a program called MovieSalsa which creates a movie from a series of photos.  I found a sample and was sold.  This looked cool.  Nerd smile