Tuesday, November 01, 2005

WebCam Window

I was just about to leave my office in the basement of Swords Hall on Halloween night. I knew on the walk home ghosts and super heroes would cross my path, but I didn’t know, thanks to Daylight Savings Time, whether I would be walking in darkness—and I didn’t know whether the predicted rain had started.

The office across the hall, which has windows, was already locked, so I clicked on the Bradley WebCam.

The WebCam, from its perch on the top floor of the Hartmann Center, offers a constant view of Founder’s Circle and Bradley Hall. What began as a way for Bradley alumni and potential students to see a glimpse of campus has become a window on the quad for the many Bradley faculty and staff who inhabit windowless offices.

I had tuned into the cam just at dusk, when a misty white glow surrounded the lamplights. The cam—which posts a new still shot every minute rather than showing motion—had caught several figures walking briskly and rendered them ghostly blurs. Besides being put in a somber mood by the eeriness of the Halloween evening, I was able to tell that, yes, I would be walking out into near darkness—good to know before I open the somewhat hidden back door that leads up from the basement. I could also see that a heavy mist was settling down on the area—creating a perfect atmosphere for trick-or-treating.

The WebCam is always on—day and night. Just as you might take a mental break and glimpse out your window, I click on the cam to see what’s happening outside. Sometimes I just enjoy the sun shining down on Bradley Hall, other times I mentally wave at a familiar face passing by. Bradley’s WebCam is at http://explore.bradley.edu/bucam/

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