New Cat and Surveillance Cameras

We adopted a new cat. His name is Carl (as in Sagan) and he's cute and ornery.

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I taught him how to fetch, and he'll regularly just bring a toy so someone (anyone) can throw it for him to grab it and bring it back. It's fun.

After talking about it for years, I finally installed some cameras at our house. Having worked with surveillance gear for years, I think I always felt like I'd be bringing work home with me if I installed stuff here. Since I don't work with that stuff anymore, it didn't feel as much like work at home.

I decided on one of Netgear's Arlo kits with 4 cameras. The devices are powered by 4xCR123A lithium batteries (sort of gross), and require no cable runs whatsoever. They connect to a base station and have inbuilt PIR motion detectors that cause the camera to record when sensing motion. I've found over the last week and a half that they work pretty well, and the nice, wide angle lenses make it pretty easy to cover a lot of area with a single camera. The cameras have selectable "quality" presets to optimize video quality or battery life as well.

Another interesting aspect is that the cameras don't write to a local DVR. The base station receives the video from the camera, encodes it and sends it to Netgear's web service, sort of like dropcam/nestcam stuff. They give you 7 days of retention for up to 5 cameras for free, and paid plans are something like $100-150/yr for 30 and 60 days' retention if you need it. It's pretty cool. I'm going to try some rechargeable lithium-ion or li-po batteries when the set in one of the cameras dies. According to Netgear's forum users, low use cameras get similar battery life from rechargeables vs lithium cells.