Streams and Eggs and all - an update from the trenches

Wildlife NewsIt has been a hectic April and it's not over yet.

First of all I want to appologize to those trying hard to view the cameras through our Windows Media server. We have had to cap the amount of traffic it can put out due to the cost of the link. At the current cap it should easily handle about 90 simultaneous viewers but has at times had over 300 trying to share its link. This has nothing to do with how capable the actual server is - it is capable of serving well in excess of 3000 simultaneos sessions if we opened up the flood-gates (network bandwidth) but at that rate it would be costing the foundation something over $10,000/month which we simply don't have at the moment. We're looking for sponsors to step up to the plate, and the advertising revenue is starting to climb, but it appears that this simply won't happen in time for the onslaught we expect once chicks appear.

In fact, we've pretty much known this all along - that we were caught in a catch-22 situation where the ad revenue wouldn't rise unless more people could view, and more people couldn't view until the revenue rose to pay for the added bandwidth - so we've been working on several fronts to address this.

The first is subscription services - which I've been promised will be available within the next few days - not weeks, days. We've been waiting for a long time for this. I expect that it will lift a bit of the load off our own "free" server as those who subscribe will get 100% access via a completely different system. The first "Channel" available will be the Sidney nest cameras with added bonus of one of the other cameras - probably the Heron camera at this point. Watch for notices here on the main pages and on the video pages.

The second front we've been working on started back at the Video On the Net show that David and I attended late last month. See the Neokast article for details. Since David and I first contaced Neokast we've gone through an initial period where we had first our administrators and then our moderators load and use this new streaming viewer. Now, since Tuesday (April 17), it is open to all our members (and returning members from last year) and is getting rave reviews for the fact that the people using it can watch the Sidney nest (and the herons at Stanley Park) with only the occaisional fit of screen freeze instead of the constant "buffering" that those trying to watch the Windows Media server are getting. It is still only available for Windows XP and IE 6/7, but we've been assured that this will change once this test phase has been completed.

In fact, the testing is going so well that Neokast has asked us to try to get even more of you to get onto their stream - 1000 to 3000 plus! So I'm asking that anyone who has not tried to install the software (and who fits the qualifications shown in the charter post on our Neokast test forum area here) try it and use it - we're sure you'll love it.

There is another iron in the fire regarding the free streaming - some donated bandwidth - but in order to take advantage of it we need to come up with some servers. We're working on that but if anyone is willing to donate either a Windows 2000 or Windows 2003 server and/or license we'd sure appreciate it.

Other cameras

We're not standing still with what we have. As you probably have noticed, the Goldstream cameras have not been showing much of interest lately. That is about to change with the switch of one to a swallow nest first, followed by the "bat cam" which will show the returning resident bats that home in the roof cavity of the Goldstream Estuary Center starting around June.

David and I are also getting the final details in place for the cameras on a osprey nest in Esquimalt harbour. More on that shortly

And finally next there is the Alaska cameras just about to go in. The snow is just coming off the nests up there and the season is about to begin.

All in all it should be an exciting Spring and Summer.

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