Baby Monitor Phone Hack


At our baby shower we were lucky enough to be gifted with an awesome baby monitor: the Samsung SEW-3037W, which features Pan Tilt Infrared video.  Aside from the annoying startup sound that can’t be disabled (that every Samsung device seemly has to have), it’s been the perfect device for keeping an eye on Clara. However a few weeks ago, we realized that the microphone –  the most critical part of the monitor – stopped working.  Samsung was really good about fixing it for warranty, but we are without it for a few weeks.

We had a few options: move Clara from her secluded nursery to a closer (and noisier) part of the house, buy a cheap baby monitor that may not even work well (and probably set us back another $50), or figure out how to cobble together a baby monitoring system with what technology we have.  Luckily we were able to use our phones to have a decent monitoring system that set us back $4.

We actually have my old Droid Bionic permanently docked in Clara’s room, that streams music and white noise at night.  After installing IP Webcam on the phone, we have an instant video-streaming server. From there we installed tinyCam Monitor PRO onto my Galaxy S4 and have been able to consume the stream.  I played with the free version of tinyCam Free to set up a proof of concept, and opted to spend the $4 so that I can get the prolonged audio streaming (the free version only allows a minute of streaming).

As far as an interim solution, this has worked really well over the last week.  There is a tiny bit of a lag (about 1 second on average), but I’m wiling to live with that.  The Bionic’s camera has always been pretty poor in low light, but I can make Clara out pretty well (we have a lamp with a red light bulb in the room).  The angle isn’t the greatest because the camera sits in the dock on her crib, but it gets the job done.  The benefits of this is that both Bethany and I can monitor Clara at the same time, and I actually can use VLC on my computer to watch the video as well (where this screen shot came from).


All things being equal, I would choose the Samsung monitor due to the responsiveness and nighttime performance – but if you don’t have $200 to spend, and happen to have an old Android phone lying around, this would definitely be an option that would get you by.

Countdown drawing near: 2 days

It first became months, then became weeks, then days and now hours.  It is only hours until I am eligible for my "New Every Two" discount from Verizon. 


With that, I plan on finally relinquishing myself from my cursed Treo 700w.  I have been waiting for this day for so long.  It’s not that I’m happy to end my association with the Treo as much as I have grown to hate the phone with every bone in my body.

My association with the Treo started with the 650, with the Palm/Garnet OS.  The phone worked pretty well for the most part, but was still pretty quirky. Shortly thereafter I "upgraded" to the Treo 700w.  I put quotes around that word because while I love the high-speed EV-DO access that’s pretty much all I loved with that phone.  The call quality is miserable (and that was just the beginning).  The phone had an extremely low amount of memory, so much that running applications in parallel caused the phone to start screwing up.  I became extremely familiar with the Task Manager, shutting down virtually every application after I used it.  I had to deal with the shoddy Bluetooth ability (until an update helped that), as well as troubles pairing the device with my computer.  Any of my friends can tell you how much I’ve been frustrated with this phone, and how eager I am to be rid of it.  Besides the EV-DO the only other benefit about this phone is that it’s pretty durable, I’ve thrown in frustration so many times and it still manages to stay in one piece.

I’ve narrowed down my replacement to two different choices: the Samsung SCH-i760 and the (UTStarcom) XV6800. Both devices look great.  They’re both running Windows Mobile 6 – which isn’t the best mobile OS, but after transitioning from Palm to Windows Mobile, it’s too much effort to make another switch.  They both have EV-DO, along with the Wi-Fi option.  Both of them have a fold-out keyboard.  The XV6800 looks like an amazing, sleek device, but I am pretty concerned about the comments made about the call quality.  After my Treo experience I am extremely sensitive to having less-than-stellar call quality.  With that in mind, I’m leaning more towards the Samsung.  We’ll see how things go on Wednesday: