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Homepage / Personal / Watch Jiffy live!

Watch Jiffy live!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Secret awesomeness…

Jiffy is quite an amazing little fellow. In fact, I got him to do some awesome tricks the other day. I thought I had video recorded him balancing a food flake on his nose, swimming in sync with my hand, and some other great tricks. The worst part is that I forgot to click ‘record’ before we conducted such awesomeness. Either way, I was unable to produce video evidence of this encounter and because of that devastating event I’ve ensured that Jiffy will always have surveillance monitoring his fantastically impressive ways! Evidence! I need evidence!

Who is he, exactly?

Jiffy is a Skirt Tetra1 that I got from PetSmart for a couple of dollars. It was interesting because I first got Jiffy for an experiment to grow different plants and spices as part of my learning process regarding hydroponics and aquaponics. However, one day I noticed that Jiffy was acting different than the other days, he was anticipating me feeding him. Jiffy swam in a completely different pattern than the days prior, he was demonstrating memory2. I did not believe that a fish could remember me and so I tested this theory out by sending different people in to visit with him and he openly responded differently depending on who was visiting with him; it was strange to me at first. Now, I’ve come to accept that Jiffy is a smart little guy, who has interests and desires; though not very advanced (generally dealing in the eating, floating, and pooping but you know).

He’s my wet little friend and I’m happy to share his company with you! I hope you enjoy spending time with him, too!

Straight From The Nerdery

So how am I streaming this? Why can you only see it using http? Let’s dive right in!

I heard, in an Arizona WordPress Group meeting, that some people were trying to stream live feeds of their animals on their website. This got me thinking about doing this for Jiffy The Fish.

At first, I wanted to purchase a low cost camera on Amazon but then I thought twice because I’m broke AF. Finally, I got all fiercely modern MacGyver and realized I had a bunch of old Android phones laying around that I could hack together something with. So, I used a Samsung Android phone to create a live stream with use of its camera. From there, the feed is posted at an internal IP address (inside the home network). Next, I accessed the network router, established a port route/forward to my Android devices’ internal IP and poof, the outside world could connect!

The next challenge was getting the feed from my internal (home) network to my server where my website is for little to no money. This part was actually pretty simple. It required being extremely resourceful because my home network is using a dynamic IP address. This limits my access to my feed because the ISP may change the IP and I have to reconfigure everything, which means I need managed DNS. A great tool for this was No-IP, an extremely helpful service for projects like this. No-IP has a stand alone application that you download to your PC and it pings your external IP address and upon any changes it updates the DNS of a given domain name, in my case “jiffy.ddns.net”. Having No-IP automatically checking and updating my DNS helps me to know that I can consistently rely upon my live fish feed to be accessible from the outside.

Use of No-IP has allowed me to insert the following iframe tag into the HTML code of this page:

<iframe src="http://jiffy.ddns.net:6670/video" width="100%" height="240" scrolling="no"></iframe>

Having this iframe tag inserted into the HTML let’s you see that it is clearly using “http”. This is because No-IP charges for “https” being attached as part of their DNS management package. So, this broke MacGruber is stuck with a managed DNS HTTP feed link at the present time. That’s super lame, too, because having an unsecured live feed element (HTTP) in a secured page (HTTPS) means it will not render on the page when your visitors try to view the page using your sites default HTTPS URLs. If you navigate to the HTTPS version of this page, you will notice that the iframe feed element does not load or play (because it is not secure).

As you will notice, your browser may throw errors or display that the site is “not secure” while you are on this page (Figure 1). This is because of my no cost solution I’m using to stream the feed (as an HTTP element).

Figure 1. Screenshot of URL bar of browser.

It’s good that some browsers stop an unsecured element from populating on a page but it’s also really annoying when it does that, too. Either way, this was the cheap and dirty way I got a live feed of Jiffy to you. There are other ways I’m sure but this is the one I used. If you are curious to know more about how I hacked this Android to use it’s camera as a live streaming CCTV device, please feel free to contact me for more information!

Status Update

As of 8/24/2019, due to some unforeseen events, Jiffy The Fish’s live feed is unable to be broadcast on this page. Hopefully soon this feed will be active again soon.

Reference this work as:

Matthew Mansfield, "Watch Jiffy live!," in Mansfield, August 1, 2019, https://matthewmansfield.me/blog/08/01/2019/watch-jiffy-live/.

Footnotes

  1. Sharpe, S. (2019, June 28). White Skirt Tetra. Retrieved August 2, 2019, from https://www.thesprucepets.com/white-skirt-tetra-1378406
  2. Simpson, A. (2009, January 07). Fish’s memories last for months, say scientists. Retrieved August 2, 2019, from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/4158477/Fishs-memories-last-for-months-say-scientists.html

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