For starters, I was browsing AllElectronics today and I noticed that they have some decent-looking covert pinhole surveilance cameras for around $50 each. This got me thinking.
Have a closed circuit TV loop through the house which has a bunch of these cameras switched to it. Perhaps have them all go through one of those split-screen things or a switcher which flips through all the available cameras in an orderly manner (and that wouldn't be hard to build), and then if something interesting happens - a signifigant amount of motion, an intrusion sensor being tripped, the doorbell being rung, etc. - that image goes fullscreen for, say, 15 seconds. So if you're watching TV and the doorbell rings, just pause your TiVo (which are really cheap now - you can get them at half.com for under $220 for the 30-hour model) and flip to the closed circuit broadcast. Ah, it's your friend Ray, returning your Fight Club DVD.
So then you go to your nearest terminal, bring up your inventory control application, and swipe the UPC with your CueCat. Then you notice something in your database, and can ask, "Hey Ray... when are you going to return my Powerpuff Girls soundtrack? You've had it for nine days, four hours, and 26 minutes now."
Then you hear something like rocks hitting your back door. You turn back to the TV, and see a bunch of teenagers trying to break your rear window. You run towards them and they leave. You didn't get a positive ID, but that's okay - they're recorded on your monitoring system's harddrive, and you can print the pictures out and give copies to the police and your neighbors, who can then positively ID them as your neighbor's babysitter's punk friends. The cracks they put in your window will not go unpunished.
I would personally never train one of those cameras on the inside of my house. Every entryway should have one, but once they got inside there wouldn't be much point in trying to ID them, since any ID you could get you'd have gotten by merit of having IR motion-sensing lights by each camera.
And of course, all of this would be web-accessible, with plenty of the stuff regularly backed up to an offsite location so that, should something catastrophic happen to the monitoring system itself, there'll still be records available elsewhere. And everything could be logged - every time a security light turns on or off, every time a certain movement threshold has happened on a camera (with accompanying picture, and once a day, loose pictures would be archived into a time-lapse MPEG movie), graphs indicating overall camera etc. activity, and so forth. It'd be pretty damn good home security while also adding convenience (i.e. not having to answer the door to Jehova's Witnesses).
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!
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