Witness

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When I was in Texas last week I wished I could somehow see my cat hanging out at home. When I got home I decided to make yet another attempt to find some sort of home camera system that would let me do this, using my Mac. Therein lies the rub, as almost all the home use cameras out there are PC only.

Lo and behold, a Google search brought up Witness. Long story short: for $39 you buy the software, download it to your iSight camera-equipped Mac running Snow Leopard or Lion (OS X 10.6/10.7), choose a password, go the iPhone/iPad App store and get the Witness app, sign in with your user name (email address) and password, then configure the thing to do what you want when you want.

Proof of concept: I was able to get it up and running first time through, and my cat (Gray Cat) triggered it on my iPhone just like she’s supposed to, when she walked through the iSight camera’s visual field.
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Bonus: Whenever you’re homesick you can have a look at what the camera sees, even if there’s nothing activating the device — and it works from anywhere in the world.

You can have multiple cameras all feeding through your one mission control-like iPhone and/or iPad. The program takes a snapshot if it’s a quick motion or defaults to movie mode if the movement’s sustained. It saves the photos and videos and you can watch them whenever you like, and/or download/email them to whomever.

Pretty impressive all in all for not having to buy any equipment but, rather, just using what’s in the room.

-- Joe Stirt  

Witness
$40 (or $30 if you’re a student)
OSX only
Available from and designed by Orbicule