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The FarWatch Family- Programs for remote monitoring

The FarWatch family consists of three elements. It is structured so that you can start gently, with just the first element, and build towards fancier solutions as suits your energy or needs.

But! Before I say more about my "FarWatch" family of solutions, I would like to mention...

Sarmalink.com/ (The link will open in a new tab or window, making returning to FarWatch easy.)

I know next to nothing about Sarmalink... but I saw their USB thermometer on eBay, and decided to take a look. They seem to be trying to do "FarWatch"- like things, and so you may want to look at what they have to offer. If, and I don't know if they are or are not, they are supplying reliable hardware and robust software, they look pretty good! Their product won't do all that FarWatch will... but, on the other hand, it will be easier to set up!

Anyway... if you try them, let me know how it goes? Back to FarWatch....

Far Watch lets you watch premises from afar. You can check on things at the Watched premises from any internet connected computer, anywhere in the world. The computer you use to check up on the Watched premises doesn't need anything beyond a normal internet browser. The PC it runs in can be very modest... a Win98SE box is quite sufficient.

At the Watched premises, you must have an always- on internet connection, but you do NOT need to have a static IP address. I've not met anyone whose DSL, or broadband, or cable connection was inadequate. This includes people using very basic "home user" set ups.

Once you've installed FarWatch, you can visit a webpage and see the temperatures being reported by sensors at the Watched premise. Worried that maybe the heating has failed, and your pipes are about to freeze? Just use Far Watch.

Most elements of the basic FarWatch system are free, or inexpensive shareware. To see the temperatures, you will need to buy and install (full instructions given) a 1-Wire MicroLan... but that can be the start of a whole other lot of fun! And isn't expensive.... about $35.

The basic FarWatch system has its own promotional page you can visit.

The next step.....

Once you have the basic FarWatch deployed, tested, settled in and appreciated, you may elect to "go to the next level" (!) That would entail simply installing a different piece of shareware in the FarWatch computer. You would not have to give up the FarWatch services already running. You could go back to them if you wished.

The enhanced software makes use of some of the services you already have working in your computer, as a result of setting up FarWatch. (The enhanced software can also be used without FarWatch, but in that case you will only have the benefit of local services.)

The enhanced product- DS025... don't you love the catchy name?- turns your computer in to a weather monitoring and weather data recording station. It can simply record a temperature... although recording TWO temperatures (indoor/ outdoor?) is so little extra work that you'd be crazy to set system up for just one temperature.... or, with some effort and expense (sensors), you can set the system up to monitor....

Up to five temperatures
(Wind direction is a work- in- progress!)
Barometric pressure
Light levels
Door openings

You can even present images from a simple USB webcam or IP-cam at the monitored premises! Using the image capture software and hardware of your choice. See my page about the video feed option in FarWatch / DS025 if you want to see that in action, learn more.

If you visit a FarWatch DS025Weather Station, you can usually see an example of the system in action, although that site is not always up! Details in a moment.

DS025- the weather station shareware- has its own descriptive page.

The FarWatch DS025Weather Station I cited a moment ago is in southern Connecticut, USA, near the Haddam Bridge across the Connecticut river. "Now" is at the right hand edge of the graph. The vertical gray lines are midnights. The red up/ down/ up/ down line is outside temperature. The slowly drifting green line is barometric pressure. One of the brown lines shows you the windspeed: When horizontal wind zero. Gently up: gentle breezes. Strongly up: Strong winds. Look for the on/ off/ on/ off pattern which ties to day/ night/ day/ night. The sensor cost about $10, and isn't very robust, so the windspeed sensing is sometimes out of action.

Ne Plus Ultra!! Ta da!

Once you have the above working, you can extend your arrangements even farther and set up a FarWatchWATCHER! This is a simple bit of software that you run on the PC of your choice. Every so often... I recommend twice an hour... it "looks" at the premise where DS025 is running, and checks that the temperature on the sensor of your choice is still above the threshold of your choice. If it isn't, a red panel flashes on the FarWatchWatcher screen. (At the moment, your PC can't be in a "suspend", or "power save" or "screensave" mode... but I'm working on that. What FarWatchWatcher does is save you remembering to check via FarWatch that the pipes in the Watched premise are not heading towards freezing.

And guess what? FarWatchWatcher has its own descriptive page, too!

General remarks:

I do not insinuate spyware in my programs. (Click here to learn about the dangers of spyware.... as bad or worse than viruses.)

Your thoughts on the site would be welcome! PLEASE report any difficulties with downloading the material or its use?? I promise I won't think you are silly... and will APPRECIATE any trouble you take to help me see where my instructions are not clear. (I have been known to send free registered versions to people!)
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