Harry’s Ramblings; web cameras
by Harry Pope
There might be a travel ban, but you can still visit places via your computer. So far recently I have been to Venice, Vegas, Paris, and lots of other locations. All via the webcams.
Web cameras are something that haven’t really taken off like other technical innovations. The first thing to do on your computer is go to Google. Then in the toolbar write live webcams. The world is then at your fingertips. The first options are San Francisco, Edinburgh, and Les Arcs. Let’s take you to the first destination. Go down to the second option, San Francisco earth cam, and after the annoying advert you are there. Don’t expect too much if you are in Europe and accessing in your morning, because they are eight hours behind us and there will be no activity. And it will be dark.
Forget about Edinburgh. They require you to update your flash, that’s okay if you know what you are doing, but if you really want to know what’s occurring in Scotland’s first city, then go ahead. Otherwise, there’s more places to visit. Les Arcs is boring. There is a toolbar at the top taking you to other potentially just as interesting locations, but here there’s just nothing happening. Take my advice and leave the Alps alone. Unless you are a skier, and want to have a gander.
London views are more interesting, but there are only five main cameras that I can see, covering main tourist spots. The best one is on the top of The Shard, incredible views, but my attention span was pretty poor and I soon passed to another location. You can only ooh and aah about the spectacular views for so long, so it was to Westminster Bridge with the camera on the top of the Park Plaza Hotel. This was getting better, but I wanted something more interesting. Ah, I thought, how about London Zoo. But there’s no live streaming, only short video clips that anyone can see on youtube. They are definitely missing a trick here. Canary Wharf camera is pretty uninteresting, so is the London Eye. They might state that they are live, but look closely and nothing is moving. They lie.
Ah, but Venice. Have a look at Piazza San Marco. There might not be anyone walking about the majority of the time, but you know it’s live because there are birds flying in front of the camera. Okay, who wants to look at seagulls flying over a deserted square, but if there’s nothing more interesting, then………I have just been on, and mid-afternoon there’s a group of four men walking across the square. Don’t they know there’s a virus on? What are they doing, walking together, chatting without a care. They have now ambled out of sight, I will never know if they transmitted the corona to each other.
But this site has had more than fifteen million hits. The next one has had thirteen million. That is on the Grand Canal, overlooking St. Mark’s Basin, on a roof, and blow me, the same four people (they look the same) have just walked into view. Strolling unconcernedly, they have now gone again. But this one is very good, because you don’t have to rely on birds. Yes, there are some, but there are also boats. Today is overcast, but the water buses are still on the Grand Canal, mooring up for a few seconds while passengers jump off and on. Love to know where they are going, how much the boat fare is. Just counted a dozen gondolas, permanently docked for the duration till the tourists return. There’s another live camera looking straight at the Rialto Bridge, not so popular with only three millions hits, maybe that’s because there’s no gondolas or any other type of small boat moving, let alone visitors.
Rome is good. No seagulls, there’s an excellent camera looking right at the Coliseum. The Trevi Fountain has had over nineteen million visits, but there’s no-one throwing money into its clear waters. You can see it’s live because the wind is making the water move. There are eleven Roman cameras, but there is also a very weird one, and that is four cameras in someone’s home, you can see them in dining room, kitchen, and two living rooms. It’s called Casa Monika, but I think that’s a little spooky. Don’t like it much. The site is called spied life.
The beach at Fort Myers in Florida looks lovely and warm, but deserted. Ten million people have visited 42nd Street in New York, at 9.25am local time there’s a lot of traffic movement with people walking, albeit not nearly so many. At 6.26am the roads are wet outside the Little Vegas wedding chapel, probably street cleansers have just been out, it never rains in Vegas, or does it? I wasn’t watching to see, tragedy, missed the rain in Vegas. I could always ask the 226 people who are online now, they must have seen it. Rose Bay in Sydney, Australia must be a great place, I am sure, but at 11.30pm, who knows? My fault for not being there earlier.
But to return to the start of this article, the world is at your fingertip, with a little research and the basic knowledge I have shared. Visit all these places, and more. But my wife has banned me from Yellowstone National Park. I want to stare at Old Faithful, the geyser that erupts. Just looking, that’s all.