It is believed that the very first "cats on the Internet" were Petunia and Webka, the pet of Jeff Schwartz, who in 1994 was a student at the University of San Francisco. Schwartz, along with his friend Dan Wong, installed two webcams, one of which showed how cats behave in the absence of the owner of the house. And the second, called FogCam, broadcast events online from the educational institution itself.
Schwartz admits that he was inspired by the "Coffee Cam" experiment from Cambridge. There, in one of the laboratories, employees could not agree on a schedule for using a large coffee pot, so during the day someone managed to fill their cup, while others had to brew the drink again and wait. It turned into a kind of "game", a rivalry between scientists, until the young IT guys, Quentin Stafford-Fraser and Paul Jardecki came along. They secretly put their webcam in front of the coffee pot and were the only ones who knew exactly when it was full.
In 1993, Coffee Cam was connected to the Internet and the joke was revealed. The audience liked it so much that later that very camera was sold at auction for $ 4000. The viewers also liked the FogCam project, then such technical innovations were a novelty and served as an example of a window into a new, brave world of digital technologies. The FogCam camera has worked at the University of San Francisco for 25 years, but now everything is coming to an end - Schwartz announced its shutdown at the end of August 2019.
The reason for the shutdown is bureaucratic. At the end of the last century, webcams and broadcasts attracted attention to the educational institution, made advertising for it. But since then, everything has changed radically, the current leadership purposefully expels Schwartz from its territory. The camera has been moved several times to other locations, but there are no more options and will have to be removed from the campus. There is no point in switching the old camera to something else, it is easier to recognize the completion of this historic project and move on.