If you are looking for a cheap and reliable way to monitor a room you can take a look at the freeware Grabmotion which can use one or multiple webcams to monitor rooms. Grabmotion constantly monitors the room and starts default processes once a motion is detected. Processes that can be defined include sending an email with an attached image showing the room during the time the motion was detected, sending sms through a gateway, saving an image to the hard drive or playing a sound alarm.
The main advantage of Grabmotion is that it is platform independent because it is programmed in Java. It will work with most - the developer claims all - webcams and evidence will be saved even if the computer itself will be stolen or destroyed (an email with the image attached to it). It is also possible to request an image from Grabmotion which will also submitted by email then. It is possible to schedule monitoring times, it does not make sense to run Grabmotion if you are at home working on the computer for instance or if someone else is at home.
java -jar grabpack.jar
c:\java\jdk1.4\java -jar c:\mydownload\grabmotion\grabpack.jar
Grabmotion can be easily bypassed by simply turning of the power supply of the computer or the apartment / house. It is still nice to see if your brothers, sisters or friends do snoop around in your room while you are gone.
Update: The official Grabmotion website is no longer available. You can still download the latest version of the application from software download sites such as Softpedia. The latest version of the program has a low memory footprint on the system. Keep in mind though that it will not be updated anymore.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.