HamsterCam FAQ

  1. Everything's orange or off color... what's up?
    Sorry... we're encountering some fine tuning issues with our new camera. The old one was really lame and produced really cool dull pictures unless we used the yellow bug lites... poor color quality camera. The new camera, of course, has much higher color saturation levels, and just gets a whole bunch of yellow and orange. We've switched to a regular clear light and we'll see how that works out. Might have to switch to a soft white light if the clear is too bright, but we'll see...
  2. New camera? Say... that reminds me... what ARE you using anyways?
    Well, this is all done on the web server. It's a Sun SPARCserver 20. It was initially runing Solaris and had a SunVideo board pluged into it with a SunCamera pluged into that. Anybody who's used a SunVideo camera can tell you that while they're ok for video conferencing, they're not very hot for real lifelike quality stills... since we were planing to switch to Linux at some point anyways, we knew we would have to switch devices. So we took our old PhotoPC 550 digital camera from Epson, opened it up to disable the beeper (it beeps when you take a pic), and we're using that now. It's got a much better interface (serial, so I don't need to worry about drivers for the SunVideo board under Linux... don't exist as far as I can tell, and freely available unix software for controlling camera), better color, is autofocus, can operate under lower light conditions, and can operate closer to the subject than the SunCamera.
  3. I never see your hamster, is there one in there, or is it time to get a new one? and it should not be sleeping around 2:00am. Please E-mail me your answer. Just asking.
    Yep, there is a hamster there. Unfortunately, several elements have been conspiring to keep Gidgit out of the camera. First, she's just a little camera shy. I don't know why, but she just seems to recognize what the camera is there for, and is able to avoid it. With toupe I could just rearrange his cage a bit so that everythign faced the camera, and he would just run with it. No matter what I do with Gidgit, she seems to fine SOME way to move things around so she can hide from the camera.
    And then there's the quality of the camera itself... it was a pretty crappy camera. There have been times when she's been right there in her hut sleeping, barely visable, but you had no way of knowing because of the poor picture quality. We're using a diferent camera now and hope that this problem is taken care of.
  4. What kind of bedding/treets/feed do you use for your hamster?
    Well, the basic bedding at something called CareFresh Pet Bedding. It's been reccomended by both our vet, the pet store we go to for hamsters (they're real good), and a few other sources. It's not made of cedar or anything else that should upset your pet, and it's just really absorbant and clean. Not quite as ODOR absorbant as other scented beddings, but I think it's a fair tradeoff.
    Since the Care Fresh isn't very warm, we also give her a sheet of S.A.M. Sleep Stuff. Any nesting pad should be just fine here. Note, just giving the hamster tissue paper to use as bedding is not a good idea. Putting aside the question of bleached/treated paper, it also starts to stink VERY quickly. (I learned this when I had a hamster at work and my co-workers realized it was fun to watch my hamster try to shove an entire tissue into it's mouth to stow away for later...)
    For food, any hamster specific feed mix will do quite nicely. For a treat we'll also give our hamster Vitakraft treats. They're usually yogurt drops or something similar. We'll also will occasinally take one of those seed sticks you're supposed to hang (you know, the kind with all kinds of seeds and nuts stuck to a stick by a layers of honey n stuff) and let her have at that. It takes her a couple of days to disassemble the whole thing, but she loves it.
    [bedding] [bag o fluff] [fluff] [vitadrops]
  5. What happened to Smokey? Will there be a new hamster?
    Unfortunately, Smokey has died. She was barely a year old when she died, and her passing took us quite by surprise. It was a little unclear if we would be able to get another hamster after the shock of Smokey's death, but we found that we just couldn't live without a little hamster in our lives. So we went to the nearby pet store and got.. Moka. She's just absolutely adorable, but still a little shy. Gradually, she'll spend more time out in the open and you'll get to see more of her.
  6. The picture used to be nice and clear, good positioning, etc... what happened?
    With Smokey's death, we've decided that we were making too many compromises with our hamsters happiness for the sake of getting a good image. We have decided to go back to making the hamster the focus, and the web site seccondary. This means that the hamster's location will be selected on what we think works best for her, not the camera and web site. We will simply work the web site in after the fact. And, because she's still kind of shy, we're keeping the activity to a minimum until she gets settled in. So expect poor quality images for a week or two, and not as high quality images as you might have gotten used to in the past. But we'll be trying other features to make up for that loss. Hopefully it will still come out to a net improvement in the sight without compromising the hamsters quality of life.
  7. When will you have more questions here?
    When you send some in. Duh...