WhatsApp launches video calling

Facebook today announces that they had launched the most promising feature that everyone has been waiting for quite a long time which is video call.

The main objective is to replace Apple’s FaceTime technology that only can be use in Apple’s products. The Facebook-owned chat service WhatsApp is officially launching video calling for its over 1 billion users worldwide on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg announce the news in his Facebook’s news feed today.

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To use the new feature, WhatsApp users can hit the call button in the top right corner of a conversation, which will bring up an overlaid interstitial asking if you want to voice or video call the friend or family member you’re chatting with. To kick off the video call, you simply select the “video call” option from this screen.

During the call itself, you can switch between the forward-facing and rear camera, mute the call or press the red button to hang up.

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Personally I have try the video calling, so far it looks very stable and smart enough to adjust the resolution according to the network connectivity bandwidth.

 

 

TP-Link NC-450 Pan & Tilt IP Camera

Overview

TP-Link just make an announcement that they are going to launch another new model for TP-Link smart home product very soon. TP-Link NC-450 is a pan & tilt IP camera that has the night vision ability. The specification is exactly like the TP-Link NC-250 that I reviewed earlier, the only major different is that NC-450 see up to 360 degrees horizontally and 150 degrees vertically and comes with 2-way audio communication.

NC-450 allowed user to put in SD-card so you can save your video based on motion or audio detection setting.1325_normal_0_20160620145217

Specification

  • 720p HD Imaging – HD resolution provides sharper, clearer images
  • Pan / Tilt – See up to 360 degrees horizontally and 150 degrees vertically.
  • Night Vision– Know what’s happening when it’s dark, with up to 26 feet of night vision.
  • Motion & Sound Detection -Receive push and email notifications when motion or sound is detected.
  • 2-way Audio – Start 2-way audio with ease to communicate with your family instantly
  • SD Card Storage -Save your videos and images easily thanks to an integrated SD slot
  • tpCamera App – Use the tpCamera app to access feeds from anywhere, at any time

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From TP-Link NC-450 emulator, you can see that NC-450 firmware has more functionality than NC-250 firmware, it has a joystick control for pan & tilt functionality. User can adjust the brightness, contrast and saturation of the camera. http://www.tp-link.fi/resources/simulator/NC450-emulator/index.html

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The firmware is much more quicker compare to D-Link one.2

User can view back recorded video at SD card page, and it also fully support FTP and notification delivery.

CAMERA
Image Sensor 1/4″ Progressive scan CMOS sensor
Resolution 1.0 Megapixel (1280 x 720)
Lens F: 2.0, f: 3.6 mm
Viewing Angle FOV = 75°
Pan/Tilt Range Pan range 300° Tilt range 110°
VIDEO/IMAGE
Video Compression H.264
Frame Rate & Resolutions Max. 30 fps at 1280×720 (HD)
Video Streaming Controllable Frame rate
Image Settings Rotation: Mirror, Flip
Configurable brightness, contrast, saturation
Overlay capabilities: time, date, text
AUDIO
Audio Communication 2-Way
Audio Input Built-in microphone
Audio Output Built-in speaker
ALARM AND EVENT MANAGEMENT
Input Trigger Motion/Sound detection
Notification E-mail, App
Storage SD Card
NETWORK
Standards and Protocols Bonjour, TCP/IP, DHCP, ARP, ICMP, FTP, SMTP, NFS,DNS, NTP, HTTP, HTTPS, UDP
Security Multiple password-protected user levels
WIRELESS
Wireless Data Rates IEEE 802.11 b/g/n, Up to 300Mbps
Frequency 2.4-2.4835GHz
Wireless Transmit Power <20dBm (EIRP)
Wireless Encryption WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK
INTERFACES
Network Interface RJ-45 for Ethernet 10/100 Base-T
Power Connector DC power jack
Button Reset/WPS push button
SURVEILLANCE MANAGEMENT
Users 13 simultaneous unicast users
Bundled Management Software Viewing and recording up to 36 cameras
MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
Supported OS Windows XP or higher
Mac OS X 10.7 or higher
Android 4.1 or higher
iOS 7.0 or higher
Supported Browser Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0 or higher
Firefox 4.0 or higher
Safari 5.0 or higher
Chrome 5.0 or higher
Opera 12.0 or higher
GENERAL
External Power Supply 12V DC, Max 12W
Certification RoHS, FCC, CE
Package Contents NC450
Power Adapter
Extension Cable
RJ-45 Ethernet Cable
Quick Installation Guide
Passive PoE Injector
Environment Operating Temperature: 0°C~40°C (32°F ~104°F)
Storage Temperature: -40°C ~70°C (-40°F ~158°F)
Operating Humidity: 10%~90% non-condensing
Storage Humidity: 5%~90% non-condensing
Dimensions( H X W X D ) 5.7 x 4.3 x 4.2 in. ( 144 x 109 x 106 mm )
Packaging Dimensions 10.6 x 8.8 x 5.3 in. (270 x223 x 135mm)
PoE 12V DC, Max 12W
COMPATIBILITY
Supported OS Windows 10

 

For more detail can refer to TP-Link Official Site:
http://www.tp-link.com/en/products/details/NC450.html

Setup TP-Link NC-250 on Synology Surveillance Station

It is pretty easy to setup the NC-250 IP Camera on Synology Surveillance Station. Basically we don’t really need to do any hacking other than add the camera into surveillance station with a couple of quick setting.

The first thing we need is to make sure we know the IP address of the TP-Link NC-250. But before that, it would be better if you install the IP camera using TP-Link phone app so that it can connect to your router, and then you get the IP address of the camera from DHCP list or from the setting page in the phone app.

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Because TP-Link NC-250 IP camera is not officially recognized as compatible camera in Synology Surveillance Station, so we have to choose [User Define] brand.

Put “8080” as your port number and this is fixed by TP-Link firmware, the source path is “/stream/video/mjpeg”, default username is “admin”, default password is “admin”, but the key thing is you can’t put the actual password here, TP-Link firmware recognize only base64 encoded password, so go to https://www.base64encode.org/, and encode it to base64 format. Example, password “admin” would be converted to “YWRtaW4=”, passsword “qwerty123” would converted to “cXdlcnR5MTIz”. Put the encoded password at the password field. Click “Test Connection”, you would see your IP camera video screen if everything is correct.

But anyway, I still can’t get the video setting correctly to work dynamically like other brand, so everything would follow the default IP camera setting.

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Reply or comment below if you need my help.

TP-Link NC 250

The real problem with D-Link is it is very expensive, as compare with TP-link newly launched IP camera in the market. Overall TP-Link launched a couple of IP camera models in the market, the price is about 40% cheaper than D-Link IP cameras by comparison on the same specification.

Recently I bought the latest version of TP-Link IP camera (NC-250) model. Overall this IP camera comes with a LAN port connection, and it is 720p HD with 30 FPS. I review this product from a few perspectives, the first one definitely would be comparing the price.

Price

The price of TP-Link NC 250 is definitely cheaper than any D-Link HD models, a normal D-Link DCS-2132L IP camera sold at around MYR 450 would has the same specification like the NC-250. But both of them still lost to Xiao Mi IP camera (night vision) that you can get at around RM100.

Technology

Both of them support night vision, with 30 frames per second. DCS-2132L only cover around 57.8 degree angle, but NC-250 can cover up to 64 degree horizontally.

Installation

It tooks me 30 seconds to setup the NC-250. Basically I can set it up without installing software on my PC. The only thing I need to do is to plug the IP camera to my router using LAN cable for the first time, and open the TP-Link camera app and set it up from there using their installation wizard.

Responsiveness

It is pretty straight forward to do more advanced stuff with NC-250 web GUI, the IP camera admin page definitely more responsive than D-link one. Although the cam view mode can’t be used in Chrome browser, but if you want to view the IP-camera you still can set NC-250 up with TP-Link Cloud at http://www.tplinkcloud.com, where they use Flash instead of Java Component for their cam view mode.

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But if you are accessing the IP-camera using local IP access using Chrome browser ,then you would see something like below,

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So the solution is to use Firefox or IE browser if you want to access the admin page. Currently TP-Link cloud do not support changing the IP-camera setting like what D-Link’s mydlink.com does. So see below, nothing much you can do with TP-Link cloud now either than changing the camera name or removing the camera, that’s it! (But I believe they will upgrade those functionality soon)
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Comparison

I am making some quality comparison between XiaoMi IP camera (nigh vision) with TP-Link NC-250, below are the results.

Above is the screen shot taken from XiaoMi IP Camera (night vision), basically it comes with 111 degree horizontally, you can see clearly when the light is on. But it is doing badly during completely darkness. Barely to see anything.

NC-250 definitely can’t compete with XiaoMi IP Camera in term of viewing angle, but it has a better quality at night with 6 infrared led.

Conclusion

TP-Link NC250 definitely not a perfect IP camera, but the good thing is it is 50% cheaper than what D-Link can offer, although it can’t really beat XiaoMi IP camera other than perform better at night, it does offered LAN port to improve the bandwidth quality if you are setting it up at farther location.

Next post I will show you guys how to set it up on Synology Disk Station.

TP-Link HS100 & HS110 Smart Plug

Recently TP-Link launched their first smart plug HS100 HS110 model. This product definitely will be D-Link closest competitor product since D-Link launched their own version of smart plug 2 years ago.

A few classic features are include scheduling, energy monitoring, away mode, and remote access. The major difference between TP-Link and D-Link smart plugs is that TP-Link HS110 has the ability to connect to Amazon Echo.

TP-Link HS110 support up to 16A electricity power, and has ability to connect to WiFi router so that it can be controlled by your phone app when you are away from your home.You also can schedule the Smart Plug to automatically power electronics on and off as needed, like setting lights to come on at dusk or turn off at sunrise. It is compatible with Android and IOS.

The the next thing is that you can analyze the device’s real-time and historical power consumption. The only differences between HS100 and HS110 model is that the HS110 model can monitor power consumption.

You can view the details here.
http://www.tp-link.com/en/products/details/cat-5258_HS110.html

 

Now you can save your viewed web page as image into Google Drive

Recently Google launched a new feature where you can save any web page as PNG image, and then store them automatically on Google Drive.

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/save-to-google-drive/gmbmikajjgmnabiglmofipeabaddhgne?hl=en

It’s extremely simple to use: You install the extension, and a new button will show up in your Chrome toolbar. Click it while visiting a webpage, and it will be saved in Google’s cloud — to find your saved web page, go to https://www.google.com/drive/

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The only thing is that you might get a little confuse because it automatically saved to your root of the Google Drive directory, so it will might mixed up with your document and photos and pretty difficult to search for them later.

But the extension will make it easy for you to save now and then view them later.

DO NOT upgrade XiaoMi IP camera to latest firmware

What I noticed within these few days is that XiaoMi release a latest IP camera firmware 1.8.6.1B_201603181307 to anyone who connect to XiaoMi Server to view their IP camera.

I had a close friend that bought the same camera at China, he updated to latest firmware. It works OK at the first place because he was connecting the IP camera at China (Because currently he is working at ShenZhen). But nightmare starts when he went back to Malaysia for short vacation, and the IP camera no longer working.

A uncommon voice message prompt and said “you can only use this camera within China”.

I took some risk too and update my XiaoMi IP camera to that problematic version, and hit the wall for the whole night. I was trying to rollback the firmware to older version, but it never work.

I am quite confident that I am not the only person that face this issue, there are a couple of MIUI forumer hit with the same issue too. But some of them successfully rollback the firmware version.