Virtual holidays

It seems unlikely I'll be having a holiday this year for various reasons.

For the last four years we have toddled down to the same place in West Cork and to give an idea how much we love the place, it's the first time ever to repeat a holiday that many times.

What I love about the spot is the views and the complete tranquility of the place.  I could sit for hours just staring at the view watching cloud shadows chase themselves across the islands.  If only I had a view like that [I thunk to myself] I'd never need a holiday again.

As it happens, there is an Internet company down there and it has a few web cameras on its masts, and one of those cameras points to my favourite spot, though not [obviously] the view from our holiday cottage.  I had the site bookmarked and would frequently drop in to refresh my head with the view.

Now wouldn't it be brilliant [I thunk to myself] if I could get that picture on my laptop screen as a background?

I could easily copy one of the images and use it as my background, but then I would miss out on the chasing shadows.  The web camera takes a new image roughly once a minute, but the prospect of capturing each new image, and setting it as a background seemed a little labour intensive, and to automate it in some way would require a computer.  I pondered on this little problem for a while and then realised that my laptop is a computer which you have to admit is sort of convenient?

I wrote a little programme that takes a copy of the image from the website and then instructs the laptop to use it as its background.  That worked remarkably well.  The only problem was that I had to run that little programme every minute to animate the damn thing.

So I wrote another little programme and set a timer on it so it runs the first programme every minute.

It works!

The quality isn't the best as the camera image is small but my screen isn't but who cares?  Also they are apparently running on GMT so the time in the corner of their image is an hour out but who gives a fuck?

My desktop –

Live wallpaper

The island in the distance is Cape Clear and to the left of it is Sherkin Island.  The narrow strip offshore is Long Island and the cottage where we stay is just behind the hump on the left. 

Every time I look at my desktop the image has changed.  Yesterday it was completely blanked out and grey so obviously there was a wee drop of fog or low cloud.  Today though seems to be a nice day down there.  I could sit and watch it all day, and just daydream.

Who needs holidays?


It's only fair to share...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponShare on Tumblr


Virtual holidays — 7 Comments

  1. If web cams have your West Cork paradise place under 24/7 surveillance, then so has the CIA, North Korea and the EU anti-tobacco conspiracy. Grandad, you don't get away from anybody nowadays when you slip away on holidays.

  2. Just because you did not find the feed to web cam at the cottage, or in the cottage, does not mean there is not one. 

  3. Just because many of us are paranoid doesn't mean they're not snooping on us with web cams and things. But sometimes I look up sullenly at the sky and try to outstare them.

    • Two things – finance, and Herself was finding the long distances a bit tiring.  Both are a tad difficult to overcome, but who knows what the future will bring?

  4. Any chance of making that wonderful little programme open-source. Or how about creating Windows and/or Android versions and make a few bob for yourself out of it?

    PS: Sunny today as well 🙂

    • Heh!  You wrote that last night and it ain't so sunny now!  I grant it was beautiful all yesterday though.

      It isn't a programme as such as it requires a fair bit of customisation, and woud be different for each operating system.  If you want to have a bash [that's an in-joke incidentally] the method I used is here.

      If you want to try it out, drop me a line and I'll send code and instructions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *