Before smartphones, web cams streamed video feeds across the Internet. In 1994, Lou Montulli (a Netscape employee) hooked an SGI indycam up to an SGI Indy workstation to take pictures of fish:
Netscape was building these things called “web browsers” and “web servers.” Taking pictures of fish and posting them to the web seemed like a good idea. The camera produced a 640 x 480 pixel image. It took almost 20 seconds of CPU power to capture an image, add overlay text and post it to the web. The image was updated once a minute.
Fishcam broadcasted live images of the fishtank to something called the World Wide Web. Fishcam was the second live web camera to broadcast on the web and is the oldest camera site still in existence. The original Netscape tank was a 40-gallon oceanic (or salt-water) tank. A year later it was replaced by a larger 90-gallon tank. In 1996, Netscape took the webcam offline. In 2009, Lou Montulli re-started Fishcam with a 600-gallon tank. Today’s Fishcam has a resolution of 2560 x 1440 and it posts images faster than once a second.
Interested in wildlife of another type? They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but not with this live cam around. People go crazy in Las Vegas and get married at all hours of the night, and this cam puts you in the thick of the festivities. Now the next time you’re up grabbing a late-night snack, why not log on and check out the 3:45 am wedding ceremony of Bob and Lydia from Detroit?
Abbey Road Web Cam It was the setting of one of the most famous album covers in rock ‘n’ roll history and now there’s a web cam that lets you revisit the famed London intersection (the “zebra crossing,” as it’s also called) where the four Beatles crossed the street in single file, as captured on the cover of 1969’s Abbey Road. The Beatles recorded more than 90 percent of the band’s music at Abbey Road Studios, and now you can check out who’s crossing Abbey Road at any given moment. Hint: Expect to see scores of tourists, who now regularly flock to the site from around the world—one of the most iconic in all of popular music.
Loch Ness Monster Cam Millions of years ago, what is now known as Scotland’s Loch Ness was part of the seas, and many theorists claim that the Ice Age sealed off the lake…and kept any previous creatures within those boundaries. For nearly 100 years, visitors to the boggy lake have remained on the look-out for what may be the most famous resident of Loch Ness—a serpent-like, sea-dragon creature that could be a modern form of plesiosaur. What was that ripple you just observed on the water? Loch Ness Monster cam lets you continue the visual search for “Nessie” while you wait for your fast-food order or sit through a car wash.
Cockroach Cam The official mascot for the Univ. of South Carolina is the gamecock, or super chicken, but lately the school may be getting known more for another form of animal life being webcast from the Columbia, S.C., campus. Known scientifically as gromphadorhina portentosa (which is Latin for “big, ugly and loud”), the web cam is devoted to showing the daily routine of numerous specimens of giant Madagascar Hissing Cockroach. Why would you want to visit this web cam? We can’t answer that for you, but if you find yourself becoming emotionally attached to the hissing cockroaches, feel free to drop by Room 706 of USC’s Coker Life Sciences Building and meet the “stars” of this cam. Just don’t expect autographs.
Revolutionizing the Internet
Web cams are just one of the Internet’s many revolutions. Aspiring web designers are always looking for the next best thing; the first trick is mastering the basic skills of web development. Computer camps like those run by Digital Media Academy provide the core foundation needed by designers of all types of web sites. Learn the basics of web design and you could build websites that make Internet users take notice — without taking pictures of fish.
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