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How to turn your webcam into a surveillance cam

Instant webcam to surveillance conversion 'ingredients'

OK, so you've decided that webcam home surveillance is not a bad idea. (Who could blame you?) So then, what are you going to need to make this happen?

Good question! For starters, I want to assure you that there are some very good and FREE software and apps that can make this a breeze. Here are two options that will satisfy needs for both Windows and Mac users:

Sighthound (Windows, Mac) - This allows you to record when motion is detected. What's more, it can tell the difference between people and objects. Sighthound will even allow you to detect movement in critical areas like doors and windows as an extra precaution.

iCamSource (Windows, Mac) - This free download works with almost any webcam. What's really nice about it is it lets you connect and take a look from any gadget with iCamSource software installed. So, if you leave your laptop behind for surveillance duty, you can just jump on your mobile device for a peek, just as often as you like. Note: The iOS and Android apps cost $5 each. Another note: They're worth it.

Before we move on, for Windows folk, there is one more option that I like. iSpy is a free, open-source camera viewing program with almost limitless possibilities. And it's always offering new features and improvements, like being able to activate any number of connected cameras by motion, sound or schedule.

It even comes with amazing value-adds like loitering recognition, license-plate recognition, motion tracking, time-lapse recording and more. However, it is a bit more complicated to set up than other options I've listed. As with everything else in life, there are always trade-offs.

But what if your computer doesn't have a webcam? Well, you can buy one. Don't forget it works great for video chat with friends and family when it isn't pulling surveillance duty.

Next page: Basics for buying a webcam
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