I remember the first time I saw a webcam, how amazed I was. I think it was the webcam that was aimed at the cat's food dish. Never did see a cat, but I thought the idea was a great one. I wanted one of those cameras. And I knew that with as many cats as we have, chances were much better that people around the world would get to see a kitty, than on the sites with only a few cats in house.
Now, with GeoCities, it used to be, belonging to GeoPlus and being a featured page, you got points for the traffic that your site gets. It took fifty points a month to pay for GeoPlus and the points left over accumulate. And you could buy stuff with these points. Kind of like Green Stamps. Remember those? (HA! then you're old, like me!!) But when they went to Yahoo, all of that stopped. That's when I left.
Anyway, as luck would have it, one of the items available at the Geo Store was a webcam, by Connectix. I started campaigning like crazy to get people to go visit my site, all pages, not just the first. And before I knew it, I had the points. And I ordered the camera.
There are more cameras available than the one I have. You can get cameras online at Logitech (I'm now running a Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000, which I really like; the original camera finally died), or Creative Labs, just to name a couple of places. I'm sure there are more. And you'll need a program that can ftp the images to your website. I really like the one I got at Webcam32. There is a small registration fee.
Now, remember, you will need to keep your online connection open. The Webcam32 program does have the capability of taking the image, dialing your ISP, uploading the image, then disconnecting, which greatly reduces online time. Say it takes a minute to upload an image and you have twenty images uploaded an hour (that's every three minutes).
Then, you need a website that has ftp capability, storage area if you plan on having archives (like my *last four hours online) and, most of all, reliability. I use my Ace-Host.net site for my camera.
Earlier this year (2005) we got a new Dell that is on 24/7. I was always nervous about leaving my work computer on (since we have a cable connection) and the old Gateway, the one where I run the backyard, patio and office cam is just too noisy to leave on all night. The weather station will also be updated around the clock.
And that's it. That's all you need for a webcam.