Didier Stevens

Monday 3 December 2007

Looking for N800 Beta Testers, No Voyeurs Please ;-)

Filed under: My Software,N800 — Didier Stevens @ 9:06

I’ve developed a new application for my N800, psurveil (Photo Surveillance). It automatically takes pictures with the N800’s build-in camera at regular intervals and stores them as jpeg files.


You can find the installation package here (unzip and copy the deb package to your N800) and the source code here. And be careful, it’s beta. On my N800, it takes about 30 seconds to start, and it doesn’t run as root.

So if you’ve got a baby and are looking for an excuse to get an N800, this turns your N800 in a baby monitor, kinda.

From the source code:

psurveil (Photo Surveillance) is a program for the Nokia N800.
It automatically takes pictures with the N800’s build-in camera at regular intervals
and stores them as jpeg files.

– Pop out the camera, and close all programs using the camera.
– Start psurveil. On my N800, it takes very long to start, sometimes a half minute.
– Use the menu to review the settings.
– Interval is the number of minutes between pictures.
– Repeats is the number of pictures to take, minus 1.
– Folder is the directory to store the pictures. The directory must exist.
Settings are stored with GConf, and there is no input validation.
– Click on the “Start surveillance” buttons to start the surveillance. A first picture
is immediately saved, and another picture every Interval minutes, and this Repeats times.
The filename of the jpeg is composed with the date & time when the picture was taken.
There is no monitoring of free diskspace.

The settings for this example are:
– Interval=1
– Repeats=3
– folder=/home/user/MyDocs/.images
These settings will take 4 pictures over a period of 4 minutes, starting when the button is clicked.
Pictures are stored in the Images folder:

I developed this program by merging the example_camera.c and example_alarm.c Maemo example programs.
There are some quirks in the real-time video display, they originate from the example_camera.c program.
If you know how to fix this, let me know.
I’m not an experienced Maemo developer (neither GTK developer), this is my first program for the N800,
so use this program at your own risk, and respect the privacy of others.

I put my code for this program in the Public Domain. For the code copy-pasted from the examples,
read the copyright below.

Todo (no guarantee that these ever get done):
– Input validation
– Folder creation
– Toggle to flip the picture

22/11/2007 example_camera and example_alarm merged
23/11/2007 jpeg filename is current date & time
25/11/2007 0.1.3 added menu & menu functions
26/11/2007 coded settings dialog
27/11/2007 0.2.0 code review
28/11/2007 0.2.1 input validation for numbers in settings dialog


  1. Tested it out, and it worked as advertised. No voyueristic intentions here…. Perhaps 1 feature that would be killer might be a timestamp on the picture.
    Anyways, good stuff!

    Comment by Nels — Friday 7 December 2007 @ 13:29

  2. Thanks for testing. I’ll add the timestamp feature request to the todo list.

    Comment by Didier Stevens — Friday 7 December 2007 @ 14:36

  3. this is a type of program i have searched for for years
    [no really]
    AND it runs on my new N800
    i found it and downloaded it and tried it
    you said it takes “a while” to load
    i waited an hour
    i think i may have a problem
    i am running os2008
    is this an issue ?

    Comment by tom kinch — Monday 21 January 2008 @ 23:20

  4. 1 hour! That’s extremely long. I developed it for and tested it on OS2007, so I don’t know for OS2008. I assume it’s upward compatible.

    Comment by Didier Stevens — Tuesday 29 January 2008 @ 20:05

  5. it may be a problem w/ os2008.
    i read about some neat features on camera 2.7 that are not in camera 3.4 and i tried to install 2.7 on my N800 w/ os2008.
    it does not install.
    oh well.
    no gnumeric and no abiword either.

    Comment by tom kinch — Wednesday 6 February 2008 @ 22:02

  6. any plans yet to upgrade to os2008 ?

    Comment by tom kinch — Sunday 27 July 2008 @ 0:15

  7. No, I don’t plan to upgrade to OS2008

    Comment by Didier Stevens — Monday 28 July 2008 @ 8:32

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