Friday, 26 November 2010

Chat 2.0 is here!

Yesterday the long awaited, and much needed, new version of our chat rooms was published. To make sure it would fulfill our needs the team at WildEarth Interactive built this new chat engine from the ground up. Not an easy task, but it now gives us a chat tailor-made for us and one we can adapt and modify as our needs develop and change.

The first priority was obviously to fix what was wrong with the old version (crashes, high CPU usage, impact on streaming, etc) and all of these have indeed been addressed and fixed. In addition to this some improvements were made to the look and feel.

Some of the improvements and (new) features that are already incorporated at launch are:
  • improved stability (It has been tested with one thousand 'chat bots' to see if it could handle the load and it passed this with flying colours!)
  • lower CPU usage and no impact on stream performance
  • stable user list, viewable side-by-side with chat
  • large font support for those with less than 20/20 vision ('A' button)
  • more colours to improve readability
  • private messaging in a separate tab
  • time code in users time zone
  • the ability to watch chat without logging in
  • the ability to post links
It also provides improved moderation tools to help better manage the chats, something which a number of our producers had asked for.

E.g. a 'kick' option has been added, similar to the one on Justin.TV, that allows a user who is breaking the community guidelines to be quickly, but temporarily, removed from chat without immediately having to go to a full 'ban'.

We will of course keep developing the chat engine and will add more features and improvements as we go along. For this, as always, your feedback would be very helpful. So tell us what you think is right, wrong, or could be better at

-- Peter

Thursday, 25 November 2010


This brand new penguin webcam gives you a sneak peek into Penguin Point, the National Aviary's African penguin exhibit. African penguins, also known as jackass penguins, are native to South Africa and live in a climate similar to Pittsburgh: cold in the winter, warm in the summer. The Aviary's exhibit currently features a colony of 10 penguins: Patrick, Stanley, Elvis, Simon, Sidney, Preston, Dottie, Rainbow, Demi, and Owen. They share their exhibit with two Cape shelducks.

Penguin Point is a brand-new $1.7 million African penguin exhibit that immerses visitors in the sights and sounds of a real penguin colony. This fascinating new webcam will give you a perspective of African penguins doing what penguins do best — waddling, squabbling, scaling rocks and torpedoing their way through the water.

In time, the National Aviary hopes to breed select members of the group as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) African Penguin Species Survival Plan, a carefully monitored breeding program that seeks to preserve healthy, genetically diverse populations of African penguins.

Already as part of this Plan, two of their African penguins, Kristen and New Penguin, are living off-exhibit with the hope of breeding in the near future.

Hopefully soon we will have some very tiny penguins to show you. Watch this space!

Emily Wallington

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

New Bald eagle Cam at Lake Ozarks

WE are really happy to announce that we have a brand new bald eagle cam on WildEarth. It is set up at Lake Ozarks in Missouri.
Springtime at Central Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks means the return of migrating birds. With 1,150 miles of shoreline surrounded by thousands of acres of wooded hillsides, the Lake of the Ozarks is one of the best places in Missouri to spot a spectacular variety of birds

About 2,800 bald eagles annually migrate to Missouri, including more than 100 that congregate at the Lake of the Ozarks to spend the winter soaring high above the Osage River and Bagnell Dam, diving for fish.  These majestic birds arrive in October and remain in the area until middle or late March.

This eagle cam was installed on the Lake of Ozarks by Jim Ray. It overlooks a bald eagle nest occupied by two eagles named Elsie and Einstein. Jim explains: "This setup is right in our back yard,we sometimes even have coffee with the eagles”!

The cam is an Axis 214 PTZ mounted inside of an upside down 15 gallon aquarium, with small heater and thermometer on a platform 40' off the ground.

Elsie & Einstein came to this location in August 2009 and built their first nest 150 feet north of their current location. In 2009 they hatched 2 eaglets but only one survived into the early summer.

Last year the Important dates were February 10th when the first egg was laid and March 17th when the first chick hatched. These dates may be a bit earlier than the Canadian eagles due to the climate.

This year they moved their nest even closer, about 80 feet from Jim's back deck. Unfortunately last year he had this cam on his roof and there were many branches between where the cam would have been and the eagles nest so he made the decision to not broadcast it live. However, this year the view of the nest is much better and so WildEarth and Jim will hopefully bring you some fantastic images throughout eagle breeding season. WE are very excited.

Best viewing time is sunrise central US time.
You can find more information at Jim's website:

Emily Wallington

Sunday, 21 November 2010

New cameras for Pix Controller

Pix Controller recently started streaming two new wildlife cameras. Both are streaming from remote areas in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The second wildlife camera is similar to the current wildlife camera, but this system has a high resolution camera setup close to the animals. There is a feeder that puts out a small amount of feed at day light and dusk to attract animals such as whitetail deer, wild turkey, gray squirrels, raccoons, chipmunks, birds, and much more. This is in a more remote area than the current wildlife camera and we hope to see some different types of activity. They have found out that this is close to a whitetail deer bedding area and on several occasions have had deer bed down and sleep right in front of the camera.
The next new camera is the predator camera. At this camera site they put out road killed whitetail deer, which is a common occurrence in Pennsylvania due to the high deer population. These deer carcasses are put to good use to feed and attract an array of predator wildlife such as red fox, gray fox, coyotes, hawks, owls, and raccoons. This is a great opportunity for you, the audience to see predator animals which are otherwise rarely seen.

WE hope you enjoy these two new cameras and thanks to Bill Powers and the whole Pix controller team for putting these together.

Emily Wallington