Download Yawcam by typing www.yawcam.com into the address bar of your web browser and install the program. It needs a Java tool installed for it to work. Your PC probably has this but, if not, Yawcam’s installation wizard provides prompts to download and set one up. If Yawcam detects a webcam when it’s launched, the program displays a preview image from the camera and also shows a control panel in a separate Control Panel window. This is where different features can be enabled, preferences set and it also provides error reports.
The Control Panel provides five buttons that turn various features on and off. Click each button to turn the service on. Note that enabled services display a globe icon while disabled ones show a red circle. The File feature provides an image file saved at set intervals to a folder on the local PC. The FTP option enables these images to be uploaded to an internet server so that they can be stored offsite (photos of burglars stored locally will be of little use if they make off with your PC). The HTTP and Stream buttons provide access to the current output of the camera via a web browser as a static image or streaming video. Finally, the Motion switch turns on the motion-detection feature.
Each service needs to be configured before it will work properly. Select Settings followed by Edit Settings. If there’s more than one webcam available, choose Camera and select the desired one from the dropdown menu. Move to Connection to see the current IP address, which your PC identifies on the internet. If none is displayed, check the internet connection is working and then click Get. Many internet service providers (ISPs) change IP addresses upon connection, so tick the ‘Detect at startup’ box to ensure that Yawcam always has the current address. For ISPs that regularly change users’ IP addresses, tick ‘Detect every 30 minutes’.
Set up the locally-stored images by choosing Output followed by File. Provide the image type and location to save the files. There’s also room to change the quality of JPEG images here and to set the frequency of image capture. To ensure that the filename contains useful information, like date and time, click the Open button next to the ‘Image array wizard’ label. This steps through the process of choosing file types and location as well as setting the filename properties to change including time and date information. This ensures that multiple files are stored with sensible names.
To store images online, use an FTP or web server. Many ISPs provide some web space, so check their settings or support pages to find the relevant details. In Yawcam’s settings choose FTP. Enter the image details as for the local image or click the Image array button to use a wizard for these settings. Enter the FTP server details including the username specified by your ISP. Set a suitable upload interval to ensure that there are regular images stored and tick the ‘Silent retry on connection error’ box. Only enter the FTP password when prompted by Yawcam.
Select HTTP to find out the address of a simple web page that shows the output of this webcam. Copy the HTTP web address. Click OK to save the settings. By default Yawcam sends images out on port 8888. To see them from anywhere on the internet it’s important that this port can receive web requests. This may mean altering the firewall on this PC or changing router settings depending on the way it’s connected to the internet. Consult the instructions of the firewall or router concerned to achieve this. Now enter the web address at a different PC to see the webcam output. Remember to point the camera somewhere suitable before you go on holidays an entry or exit door, say, or a wide view of a living area, as pictured here and to keep both the PC and internet connection switched on.