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FogCam, the world’s longest-running webcam, is about to be switched off

Warning: FogCam is nowhere near this dramatic. H Ji/EyeEm/Getty Images

While FogCam never quite attained the level of fame enjoyed by the San Francisco cloud that it was set up to capture, it has nevertheless managed to become the longest continually running webcam in the world.

But 25 years after setting up the camera on the campus of the San Francisco State University, FogCam’s creators have decided to call it a day.

Jeff Schwartz and Dan Wong (aka Webdog and Danno) said it was “time to let it go” after deciding it was becoming too difficult to find new locations to set up the camera.

“The university tolerates us, but they don’t really endorse us and so we have to find secure locations on our own,” Schwartz told the SF Gate.

In a tweet announcing the news of FogCam’s imminent demise, the pair wrote that their webcam will be “shutting down forever” at the end of August 2019, adding, “The internet has changed a lot since 1994, but Fogcam will always have a special place in its history.”

FogCam started life as a student project in the Department of Instructional Technologies at San Francisco State University, according to FogCam’s website. As with just about every webcam around the world, very little was happening on FogCam when we took a look just now. Pointed at a nondescript street, we saw a few cars passing by and some clouds in the sky … but no fog.

Schwartz said that although they’ll be pulling the plug on the webcam, the website will stay online “for the sake of posterity, a decision that will ensure it retains its place on Wikipedia’s relatively short list of “websites founded before 1995” that still exist today.

The oldest (for now), but not the first

It may be the longest-running webcam, but FogCam wasn’t the first. That accolade goes to the Trojan Room Coffee Pot webcam at the U.K.’s University of Cambridge, which went online in 1991 before shutting down 10 years later. The stream showed a close-up of a coffee pot, enabling students to check if it was full before making their way to the room for a drink.

When FogCam goes offline, The Amazing Fishcam, set up by programmer Lou Montulli also in 1994, will soon nab the time record from FogCam. Showing fish swimming about, it’s likely that many people will find The Amazing Fishcam a little more stimulating than watching fog.

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