Monthly Archives: September 2012

Extend Your Pain Cave: DropCam HD Review

If you’re like me, you are reconsidering the layout of your pain cave for the winter. If you are also like me, you have a life busy with kids and thus you also sometimes struggle with keeping an eye on them while riding on the trainer. This dilemma is especially problematic for me as I am expecting my fourth child in the next week or two. As combining my pain cave with the nursery was not an option per my wife, I decided to look for the next best solution. Enter the Dropcam HD.

What is it?

Dropcam HD is small remote camera you can set up anywhere and monitor remotely via the internet, iPhone, or Android phone. I won’t repeat the stuff on Amazon. I would go there for a great run down of the publicized features. Let’s get to the real world experience.

Unboxing

Here is the box that arrived from Amazon today.

Pop open the lid, and its already clear that this is designed to be an easy setup process.

Here are the setup directions. I followed them and the entire procedure took about five minutes. That includes running around to set it up and downloading the iPhone app.

How does it really work?

First up, it doesn’t look HD to me, but maybe I need to mess with the settings. However, it is clear enough to do what it needs to do: provide me a view of the room. Here is what the video feed looks like on my iPhone when the room is lit up by an overhead light.

This is an untouched screen shot.

It does have a night vision view, and here it is. I was able to spot my dang cat crawling into the crib with it.

Untouched iphone screen cap of night vision. Cue Paranormal Activity fans.

Here is the vertical view. Notice that you have the option to speak over the internet through the camera. So you can say things like “stop eating the crayons” or “bring daddy a bucket please!”

The camera does come with online DVR storage. If you are paranoid about your data, you might cringe at that, but I am, for better or worse, pretty trusting with that. You can set the camera to send you a text, email, or notification when something moves or makes a noise in the room. When you answer that notification, you can review the video from the event.

If you are a particularly open type of individual, you can also share your camera feed, or even make it public. No, I am not doing public views of my winter Sufferfest sessions.

The oddest thing I have noticed is that there seems to be a 1-2 second lag between actual motion and motion on the iPhone. I don’t know if this is less so with a better Wifi connection. I have a Airport Extreme router. I will keep an eye on how this goes over the next few days.

The unit itself is tiny yet heavy enough to stay stable on a table. Here is an important point: it must be plugged into an outlet to work. So while I can move it around easily and put the camera wherever I want, I need to have access to a plug.

Conclusion

So far, for 150 dollars, I am happy with this product. As soon as I can get back to riding (see prior post) I will test it out on the kids. If you’re looking for a cheap and easy way to monitor your home/family while you’re busy doing whatever it takes to conquer the field, I highly recommend it!

Aw Nuts

Just wanted to do a quick check in at the end of September here. My triathlon life has been in shut down mode thanks to a recent visit to the urologist. 6 days ago, and five days after the Huckleberry 100, I went under the knife and had a vasectomy. No, this not some witty metaphor for some hardcore, nut busting workout. Thanks to my wife’s super uterus (seriously, she can get pregnant watching a documentary on submarines and seamen), I am really talking about having the “snip snip.”

As there are probably a few other triathletes out there considering this procedure, I thought I would briefly share some of my experience and hopefully answer all those burning questions you tri-geeks may have.

  1.  At first, I thought it was kind of ridiculous to actually plan when I got the procedure around my mediocre age group triathlon career. But, after my first consultation visit with the urologist, this turned out to be a wise decision. I was basically recommended no riding or running for two weeks after the procedure. No strenuous exercise at all for a week after the procedure. Two weeks off can be pretty hard to stomach in the middle of the racing season, so you definitely want to plan accordingly.
  2. Okay, how about pain during the procedure. It was basically worse than the typical dentist visit, but nothing outrageous. Maybe slightly more unpleasant than standing in line at athlete check at an Ironman or using a porta potty at mile 25 of the run. I thought I would just get two quick numbing injections and that would be it. Turns out that was an underestimate. First, I got two injections to numb along the spermatic cord. This was an “interesting” shooting sensation. Then, there were two shots at the incision sites in the scrotum. More quick stinging and burning. While Lidocaine takes care of the sharp pain associated with needles and scalping, it doesn’t do much for the deeper “pulling” pain that comes with manipulating the vas deferens. So in other words, as the doc was moving the vas around, I had two definite sensations of being gently kicked in the groin during the procedure. I was awake the whole time. I had no pre or post procedure pain medicine other than Advil and a beer. Blood loss was minimal and looked worse than it really was.
  3. To keep things safe, they tape the other goods out of the way. And you might want to save yourself some time and shave beforehand. Yes, down there.
  4. Okay, now to recovery. Despite countless jokes about bags of peas and other horror stories you read online, I am happy to say I had minimal pain after the procedure. That’s right, it’s actually an internet medical story that doesn’t involve all hell breaking loose! Right after I had some prolonged bleeding that stopped within an hour or two with pressure. I used some Advil over 16 hours to help with some soreness. But by the next morning, I was walking around. I didn’t need any ice at all. Honestly. The doc recommended tight fitting boxers or sports briefs. Fortunately, us triathletes have plenty of tight fitting compression garments, and that did the trick well. Two days after, I was out shopping at Target. Three days later I shoveled river rock. Four days later, I swam. Six days out, I still don’t think I’m ready to quite run yet. While the discomfort is pretty miniscule with everyday activities or even gentle swimming, jostling around definitely is still unpleasant. No way to ride yet, but I think probably in another week I’ll be ready.

In the end, I have to say this was fortunately an over hyped experience for me. If I wasn’t ravaged by the annual return to school shared sinus infection among my family of five, I would be pretty chipper. Yes, there are lots of different opinions on the safety of the procedure, ethical considerations, and the notion of auto-immunity. I’ll be honest, if that is what you want to read about, you need to find a different internet site. I’m just a triathlete who is done having children and wants to keep on running and riding. If you have any questions in that regards, please let me know and I would be happy to answer!

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