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Site News & Updates

Frequently useful information about Japan Brats, but occasionally mundane and irrelevant ramblings from the Webmaster (moi).

New & Improved Japancams plus Wowcams!

It's been a while since I posted anything on Site News. Frankly, I had little new to report until now. As the headline clearly indicates, Japan Brats has completely overhauled its Japancams pages. Additionally, we've added a link to Wowcams, a new website that I recently launched based on the same concept as Japancams but with a far greater scope and dozens more webcam locations.

Both Japancams and Wowcams employ the novel and exciting WebView Livescope technology created by Canon (yes, the camera and copier people from Japan). What's truly unique about it is that you can control individual streaming webcams in realtime directly from your desktop or laptop. It includes full Pan/Tilt/Zoom controls and even permits you to capture a static JPEG image for your photo collection if you wish.

We've expanded our offering of webcam locations in Japan from 20 to 30, from northern Hokkaido to the southern tip of Kyushu as well as Okinawa. Better still, Japancams is easier to navigate than before with simple, clear instructions. You can view 6 webcams simultaneously on each page or category, or switch to individual webcams with full Pan/Tilt/Zoom controls. Both Japancams and Wowcams also feature a page entitled "Big View" where you can view larger webcam images from a variety of locations that rotate in approximate 40-second intervals.

Though created by yours truly, Wowcams is actually a separate website altogether. You can find the link in the "Fun Stuff" box on the Japan Brats main page (in case you want to make a note of it or bookmark it, the URL is http://wowcams.blogspot.com). The platform and design, however, is nearly identical to Japancams. The only difference is that it will appeal to those of you who enjoy the vicarious thrill of visiting foreign landscapes from around the world. From the verdant valleys of Sulzberg, Austria and the Mississippi River in Ft. Madison, Iowa to the snow-covered slopes of Park City, Utah or the balmy, sandy beaches of Kaanapali, Maui you will find scores of sights to visit on Wowcams.

The only requirement is that your browser be Java-enabled. Most computers today come with Java pre-installed. However, if you experience problems viewing our webcams, check your browser's (Internet) settings. It may have been disabled.

All of our webcam locations include a small camera icon, which permit access to the Java viewer with Pan/Tilt/Zoom controls. Simply click the icon and you will be switched to the Java viewer. With these controls, you can zoom in for a close-up say of Tokyo Tower, move the camera across the panoramic landscape of the Swiss Alps, or enjoy a wide-angle view of Diamondhead. Easy step-by-step instructions are available from the good folks at Canon via a convenient link in the menu frame located on the right side.

For added convenience and versatility, Canon also offers an optional webcam Viewer for PC, which may be downloaded for free. A link is provided in the menu. It works with Windows 2000 and Windows XP operating systems (or later versions) and with Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 and Netscape 7.1 or 7.2 browsers (or later). Sorry, a Mac version is not yet available.

The advantage with this standalone viewer is that it opens in a separate pop-up frame so you can continue using your browser for other purposes. It also stores up to 100 webcam addresses that you can easily call up with the simple click of your mouse. Viewer for PC is small -- only 2.7MB -- and can be installed in a snap.

As with most webcam platforms, the Java applet is somewhat slow to load particularly with slower, dial-up connections. This is because of the larger bandwidth requirement for streaming video. Nonetheless, with a little patience you can enjoy viewing webcams from around the globe 24/7, day or night, rain or shine. Both loading and control response times will increase dramatically for those of you equipped with DSL, cable or a broadband connection. I highly recommend switching (if you haven't already) especially if you plan to be more than a casual visitor.


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