Shameless review–The Hawkcam Pro


Its all about the reviews. http://www.amazon.com/HawkCam-Pro-Surveillance-activated-Protected/dp/B00OQOB9BA there are a growing number for this great remove viewing camera.

I wanted to add inside the house video of the entrances to my house. I realize that is geeky at best but it was important to me. I looked around on Amazon and found the HawkCam Pro. First off, watching my house like a hawk appealed to me.

What I loved:

  • There is no monthly storage fee for my video. I can use a number of methods including a local S.D. card, ftp to my computer hard drive or connect my cloud drive of choice to the system – no monthly fee let’s me be flexible.
  • Occlusion detection if someone accidentally (or not accidentally) covers the lens – it notifies you.
  • Remote viewing set-up is simply an account away. Even when I drop down to 4g in my office at work I can still view my back door cleanly.
  • Night vision is great – I don’t need lights turned on to use the camera.
  • Cost is perfect. It was right in the low end of the ballpark I was willing to spend for such a camera.
  • You can have one ore more cameras in the software.
  • Very cool feature – you can set the camera up from any device. I actually stood next to it with my iPhone and had it up and running on my wi-fi network in about 3 minutes.
  • I was thinking zoom would be a critical feature I would miss but in the end if you are observing a set thing (door) zoom really doesn’t add any value to what you are trying to do. In fact I suspect zoom would actually increase the size and make remote viewing tougher.
  • instructions both for the camera and for setting the software were excellent.

What could be better

  • Really only one thing – I wish the base were a little easier to assemble.

Overall this is a great addition to the home security system. I really like the overall view it gives me and frankly in the basement where it is a straight shot I think in the end zoom would have taken away from the value rather than add to it. The software is very easy to use and I like being able to record to the S.D. card on the device. If I need the video – I can run over and grab it. Mostly right now I am using it to figure out when the dogs have muddy feet coming in the back door.

If you need a quick, good and effective video surveillance tool for home use or business use then this is the product to get. I included the link to the page up in the top section. Overall I highly recommend this product. In the IoT expanding world of home security today, all I can say about this device is NO MONTLY FEES. That alone makes it worth twice as much as any of the competitors whose monitoring packages include a monthly fee.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Glory, Joy and a really bad sense of humor…


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The stained glass windows taken from inside the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. You can’t hear them but the choir was practicing as I took this picture. It was an amazing view.

Except for reading the sign on the way in. Pickpockets are known to frequent the cathedral. Please be careful with your personal belongings.

Seriously?

Pickpockets frequent Notre Dame? Look up at the beauty, enjoy the beauty but keep your hand on your wallet!!!!!!

Oh well I guess in the end you never know what makes people tick.

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Nick, who says he never remembers anything remembers me shaving off my mustache when they were little and when they were a little older going completely clean shaven for a time. When I was traveling to Kuala Lumpor I ended up shaving off my goatee as it was hot and uncomfortable. Nick still talks about not recognizing me when I got home from that trip.

This is all of us sitting on our old couch in the living room of our house in Cincinnati Ohio. We were, based on Jakki’s expression watching something the boys wanted to watch.  When Jakki was little I used to pick her up from Day Care and at that time we would either have to drive all the way across town to get her older sister or we would shoot straight home and make dinner. No matter which happened Jakki had rules. She didn’t want to miss Shining Time Station and Barney. She would sit on the end of my chair and enjoy her shows. It was the routine she established every early on in her life. Her early years in the end were tougher because of all the transportation to play practice and plays we had to do for her older unsorted148sister. But the bean never complained. She even let me listen to Classic Rock radio the entire time.

My mother has a very very bad sense of humor. Seriously. Its bad. On my 35th birthday this batch of black balloons was delivered to my place of work at the time, The Future Now. Much fun was had at my expense.

Like I said mom has a bad sense of humor.

I am only sharing this to protect those who may yet fall victim to that sense of humor.

‘nough said.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Throwback Thursday blog–lot’s of jumbled memories of the way things were.


I’ve posted this picture before but being that people like to celebrate throwback Thursday here is a blast from the past. I love this picture. The day I found it slidetray015in all the slides my grandfather left I was happy. The more I see this slide the happier I am.  I made it my profile picture on Facebook recently because it reminds me of not only where I once was but ultimately who I want to be.

My father was someone who believed in life long learning. That every day you should strive to learn or understand a new principle or concept. He taught hundreds of students over the years to keep reaching for the stars.

Grieving is a funny process. You wander through days and even weeks without reminding anything that sets off the sadness. Then you sit there and find one thing and it nits at you until the sadness returns. Luckily I have this picture to look at to see and remember my dad as he was simply a great dad and a wonderful person.

This by the way was my Grandfather’s favorite photo place. There are a number of pictures taken here of family members over the years. Never one however at this location of my grandmother. She didn’t like the hiking and wandering around the Dells like my grandfather did.

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Somewhere near IPST in Bangkok Thailand 1972.

It was a different world back then. Perhaps a bigger world. We wandered off to Bangkok for our sojourn there and suddenly we communicated by letters with family back in the US. We called on the phone a couple of times but it was often more like a bad cellular connection, hard to hear and understand. My grandfather gave my mother a tape recorder so that we could talk to them and send it off in the mail. It came back to us two weeks later with grandpa and grandma talking to us.

I once on the tapes said I rolled a 300 in bowling I was so proud. I meant to say over the course of the three games in my league I compiled a 300 series but it came out wrong.  No one ever corrected that error. I guess in the end it was cute.

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Ending today with images of Colorado. Dad’s idea of a great vacation was go somewhere rustic and hike for a week. We did that quite a number of times, Turtle Flambeau Flowage we canoed for a week. Porcupine Mountain State park we were in a cabin and we hiked for a week. Colorado we hiked for a week. Dad took over as our scoutmaster for a year and we hiked as many weekends as he could organize hikes.

In the end Dad the hiking stuck. I love taking the boys on walks every day. I think Dylan as the same philosophy in life about walking as you did. Just walk. So we do!

Every vacation we end up taking has at least one long walk in it. Be it that we are walking along the ocean or walking into town we hike on vacation.

I should probably get a shirt printed that says “Just hike.”

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

They grow up so fast. Do you remember those day’s in September?


The boys were into technology at a very early age. Here they are checking out the video camera. unsorted011They learned quickly that if you are behind the camera then no one can take pictures of you.

Not sure the location but I suspect it was a family gathering at a restaurant.

Over the years the boys have become quite adept at using and building on their knowledge of technology. It is amazing to see them try fun new things and look at the world through different lenses. The other side of that reality is they have no interest in either cameras of photography. It seems like in our family that gene isn’t passed to everyone. Or perhaps it is the loud pushy photographer gene that causes everyone else to stop.

I will never forget Jay Ralstin, Barb Andersen (nee Ralstin) tormenting Joan Ralstin on the day of Barb and my wedding rehearsal. She was trying to take a photo of all of us and Jay and I did exactly what she asked us to do. Sometimes the literal meaning drives a photographer nuts. So we did.

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On the beach in Mexico (Xcarte). What a wonderful experience that was for everyone. We didn’t enjoy the cruise ship as much the second time but we did love the stop at Cancun. We spent a magical day in the ecological park that maintained the wonderful rule – the people are the visitors not the animals.

This is on the sandy white beach that faced into the Caribbean.  As I said we as a family did not enjoy the cruise as much as we did the first cruise but we loved the ports of call. Are you allowed to pluralize port of call? Anyway the ecological park Xcarte is simply an amazing place. Wonderful creatures safely in their environment. Humans are no allowed to wear sun screen or anything else that might cause the animals discomfort. We frolicked on the beach and wandered around the park all day. We have been to Mexico a few times, this was the first time for the boys and Jakki so that was a lot of fun!

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When the boys were little Barb insisted we didn’t need a dining room, we needed a large playroom for the boys. So in our house on Willowcove we ended up not having a living room, we had the kids tv (behind Barb) where the Sega Dreamcast was, and the boys toys. There was no dining table (we kept that in storage until we moved to Indiana) and the boys had room to roam.

We did have child gates on both ends of the room. We learned that from Dangerous Dan who was caught several times trying to get her walked up the stairs in Cincinnati. (Dangerous Dan was another nickname of Jakki and was given to her when she was doing things that were at best dangerous). Eventually when we moved to Indiana the dining room returned and the boys moved up to their room. They had the bonus room above the garage then that was huge and didn’t need a larger playroom. Seems funny but in less than 80 days those two little guys in these pictures will be 17 years old.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Beginnings–a relationship, a child and a sister…


This picture was taken early on in probably December 1990. I was still teaching school at that time. It seems strange now to say I was a school teacher once, unsorted869I haven’t been one in many years now. But at the time of this picture I was teaching second grade. I think this picture is in Hot Springs AK, taken by Barb’s mom Joan Ralstin. We were set to fly there the day after Christmas the year we got engaged (1990), The Bloomington airport was literally iced over and all small flights were cancelled for the 26th and possibly the 27th. We decided to drive to Arkansas, How hard could it be?

The answer to that was a snow storm that started as we passed Effingham Illinois. It kept snowing and got worse so we ended up spending the night in a hotel somewhere South of Illinois. Roads were much better the next day so we were able to make it on the second day of trying. Back then I didn’t care – I had a full two weeks of vacation at Christmas. It was a fun trip the three of us took. We had a blast hanging out and seeing the sties of Hot Springs. We also did a post Christmas Christmas lights tour of the village.

Driving home wasn’t eventful in the end.

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Here is Barb with baby Becca. I don’t recognize the chair. But I do recognize Barb. Who knew later in life the baby on her lap would be addicted to “Denver the Dinosaur.”

I still have nightmares about that dinosaur.

Seriously, horrible nightmares. I watched every single episode of Denver the Dinosaur. Some of them multiple times. Like the Dinosaur that replaced Denver (Barney) it was a horrible time to be a parent. In the old days you didn’t have to watch/hear the things kids read over and over. Comic books and other books simply didn’t make that much noise. Certainly teenagers would have loud music in their rooms but you could always shut their door. When you are making dinner you can’t help but hear the noise made by cartoon dinosaurs.

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Finally – in the foreground my cousin Andy and their dog. And in the background of this picture is my little sister. Yes it is true all those years ago I originally wanted a puppy. But I can’t say how wrong I was. Barb is an awesome sister (as Lynne is also). I can’t believe what a cool person she has become.

I am very proud of my little sister on this her 25th birthday (family joke).

If I were in town for your birthday I would say let’s dodge work and go see the Paddington Movie. Since you and I used to read those books a couple of years ago when we were both whipper snappers.

I used to tell Barb stories about the stuffed animals she collected. She used to have so many stuffed animals that would tell stories. Sadly, I don’t remember any of those stories or I would post one for her today. Barbara was my last sister and my 3rd Barbara in my life.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Memories of Bloomington Indiana–and a couple of pictures Barb took before we met for the last time…


Now we are to Barb’s pictures from before I came on the scene. In this picture off to the left side (as you see the picture) is Barb with really curly hair and her unsorted834daughter Rebecca Leslie Giordano. She is more commonly called Becca.

I joined Becca’s life when she was five years old. This is her 4th birthday party. Her 5th birthday party was literally a week before Barb and I started dating in 1990. The reason I know that is the 4th Bday is that her 5th Bday was up at Chucky Cheeses in Greenwood Indiana. Bloomington had every fast food restaurant known to the human race but never got a Chucky Cheese.

In the beginning of Barb and my relationship we brought Becca in. She was a great kid. At our wedding ceremony Barb’s mother Joan gave Becca a ring she had carried with her since Joan was a little girl. At the wedding ceremony Becca got that ring from me right after Barb got her ring.

It isn’t easy stepping in and becoming a parent. Particularly when the original parent is still around. I worked very hard to make sure that Becca’s dad’s role was always supported.

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This is the famous piñata birthday. Barb was helping Becca and Becca ended up getting smacked with the baseball bat. Obviously this picture is from before the smacking occurred.

Bloomington Indiana was an interesting city to grow up in. There were lots of people that were there for 1 year finding that college in the end wasn’t for them or the larger school wasn’t what they were looking for. We, those of us who lived in Bloomington full time used to relish the summers when the vast majority of students went home for the summer. The town was smaller, idyllic and frankly a very nice little city.

When the students returned there were more car accidents, more traffic and overall more noise. Years ago there was a lot of contention between those who attended IU (called Gownies) and those who were natives of Bloomington (called Townies). You can see some of that play out in the wonderful movie Breaking Away. It is one of the reasons that the two high schools (Bloomington North and Bloomington South) have a great rivalry. They cross over the lines frequently.

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The skyline of Chicago from Lake Michigan. We took family vacations up to Chicago as I was working there by the time of this photo. I would leave on Monday and come up late Thursday or early Friday. I did in the end collect a lot of Marriot points.

There are a mix of pictures from this trip. Barb was using her last film camera and I had the first of many digital cameras so you can see the difference in the images. It seems strange now that Chicago is so far away. It was once before in my life (when we lived in Bangkok Thailand). It is a solid 12 hour drive now, far off to the West of where we are. I miss that toddling town and the great sports teams there. If only the Bears had a team right now I could be happy. The Bulls look good so at least that is fun to watch. The Blackhawks are the most recent title winning team and of course this is the year my Cubbies are going to burst back to where they haven’t been in my life. Yes the Cubbies are World Series bound (and this time its not because they team bought tickets for the players to attend and watch the games.)

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

A trip, a joy and a surprised face…


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I had a meeting in Paris France about 10 or so years ago. It just so happened that my folks were retired at that time and they were able to come up to Greenwood (from Bloomington) and watch the kids so Barb went with me. She wandered Paris for three days while I was in the meetings. We then spent the weekend in Paris returning the following Monday.

This image is from that trip.

The River Seine with the various house boats and a tourist boat floating by us on the river.  The trip was a blast. We walked from the Arc de Triumph to the Eiffel tower and the along the Seine to the Latin District of Paris. We stopped in little café’s along the way and had coffee.

We did the tourist thing and had a blast. We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel by the new Arc De Triumph (the something arch I don’t recall the actual name) unsorted687it’s a wonderful hotel and we were sad to pack up and leave Paris.

The second picture is of Francine Marshmutt Andersen. She joined our family as Jakki’s dog in 2001. Here she is exhibiting the traditional Labrador rule of if I want it its mine. Fran was without a doubt the perfect dog for our family. She established a relationship with everyone in the house. Gwen was initially the alpha dog when Fran arrived but that soon changed. At the time of this picture Fran was about Gwen’s size. She ended up getting a lot bigger than she was in this picture – you can tell from the huge size paws that are where they are not or were not supposed to be.

Fran passed away in 2014. She was a dog of infinite mirth and without a doubt Jakki’s dog.

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Barb did a series of picture with Jakki where she shows various emotions. One was titled “No Cheese” one of titled “happy” and it was written in the base of the picture in blue ink.

This one was titled surprise.

All of the pictures are from 1997 the year before the boys appeared. This one was taken most likely before Barb was pregnant with the boys. Once she was pregnant (after the 10th week) she was on bed rest. So the surprise face was probably coming again.

Surprise you have to get mom everything she needs as she is not allowed to get up except to pee. Oh yeah and mom drinks a lot of tea (as Jakki said way back then “dad, mom drinks tea all day. 100,000,000,000,.000 cups every day. How come she doesn’t explode?”).

That one made me laugh for the longest time. She was so earnest when she said it. That her mother drank too much tea. Mostly I think it was because when I was at work she had to get all the tea’s that were consumed.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow