For geek dads, the phrase A Man’s Home is His Castle can take on multiple meanings. Hey, if you have turrets and a drawbridge then you’ll likely find the folks around here asking for your building plans rather than laughing behind your back. And feel free to ditch the concept of castle if you like — maybe Bat Cave or Fortress of Solitude are more your style.
But however you view your home, I have a strong feeling that you’d probably take unkindly to trespassers, thieves, and really anyone who doesn’t have you or your family’s best interest in mind. While 99.999% of us are unlikely to own an actual castle, that doesn’t mean we can’t take our geek cred and apply it a bit in the area of home security, right? I’m pretty certain that my local law enforcement officers will frown on installing cauldrons of boiling oil on the rooftop… and a moat probably violates my Home Owners Association by-laws somewhere… so I’ll tone it down a bit and just talk about a good home security system I’ve recently installed and tested.
Now, there are many tutorials on the Internet for turning your home computer into a security system with a simple web cam… the problem is that if the bad guys take the computer or laptop, there goes your evidence most likely. And given that most break-ins last less than 12 minutes, you ideally want to be notified quickly somehow so you can call the police. Of course, like me, you probably have a home alarm system. But seriously… my neighbor across the way has an alarm system that seems to go off just about every other day — I do take a moment to look out the window to confirm there’s not a line of guys wearing masks carrying out the TV and microwave, but it always seems to be a false alarm. The bottom line is that by the time the security company calls your phone, you don’t answer, and then they contact the police, I’m guessing enough time has passed for the baddies to grab something and haul butt, right?
I’ve got some great neighbors, and we do watch out for one another… and we all set our alarms. But it’s not my neighbors job to risk their necks trying to rush over and subdue a bad guy if I’m not home. I’d rather them just try to catch a license plate number or take some photos from behind their windows and let me know they’ve got something to show the police. No, what I need is a security system that can do as much of the following for me as possible:
1. Take some HD pictures and videos when a bad guy enters my home… preferably using multiple cameras both indoor and outdoor.
2. Text me a message FAST that says “Hey, something’s moving in you house — here’s a picture!”
3. Email me, too — it never hurts to get the same alert using a different method of communication.
4. Allow me to watch in real-time what the camera(s) is pointed at — door, window, baby, etc. — using any Internet-connected computer.
5. Allow me to do #4 above but with my mobile phone.