Jason Hutchens: spy on lab

Jason Hutchens: spy on lab

Paul Williams and myself were responsible for one of the first online web cameras, at least in the Southern Hemisphere. Back in the dark ages of early 1995 we connected an IndyCam to the web. A rather badly written CGI server was responsible for taking snapshots and rendering the web page. The camera proved to be popular. We even connected it to the television at one stage. We made sure to tune the TV in to SBS, Australias multicultural television station, as most of the programmes are subtitled. You could actually follow the plot of a movie if you pressed "reload" often enough! I have kept a few spy camera images in my rogue's gallery.

After the success of our first camera, we announced to the world that we'd connected up a second camera in the lab next-door. This was a well orchestrated hoax, and we sucked in many web surfers, hook, line and sinker. You can re-live the hoax before reading a selection of some of the emails we received, which are shown below.

Well in dont know if you folks were playing a Joke by staging the fight and supposedly hitting the camera. If it was a joke the jokes on me!! If not I have the photos saved and plan to send them to authorities..
I'm afraid it's rather easy to catch on... I don't know what other comments you may have received ("Hey, someone just *killed* a guy there!") but I suspected the whole thing was staged from the second picture, and was certain from the fourth... at first I thought they were really there and staging a fight in real-time, but then I realized they probably wouldn't have been able to set it up in time.
I have reason to believe that you were involved in a homicide today at approximately 3:57pm, involving a scuffle in the CIIPS second lab, and subsequent bludgeoning of a fellow student with a cricket bat.
I will arrive shortly to take you into custody whereupon we will proceed to my house and... well, I just hope you've seen Pulp Fiction.
Constable Care
I saw your home page, it is amusing, I gather it is not really a camera but a series of captured images. We are all rather envious that you all have so much time to do such things - we all have to work so hard here.
Pretty Funky. I did see you murder somebody so thats cool I guess. Were those prerecorded images (probably) Oh well I felt compelled to say hi and that I've never seen anything like that before (besides stuff like CuSeeme)
Keep up the good work!
Yes, yes, quite amusing :)
I still have tears in my eyes...
I realised that the "murder" was fictitious, of course, but believed until the final camera-broken frame that it was occuring in real-time. I imagined that you had the software written so that occupants would be warned when someone was accessing the camera, and that in this case they were putting on a little "play" for me (I was most touched!).
It's a pity you couldn't hear me laughing over the net. An excellent example of "university" humour/wit; I loved it!
While cruising the Internet, we stumbled across your "Murder" scene. We "debated" whether what we were witnessing was in fact real, staged or otherwise. Finally deciding it was in fact staged, we thoroughly enjoyed the show. Then we actually wondered if we were actually enjoying what may be real, but figured, oh well, what can we do about it ... ! Just kidding!
We really enjoyed the "spying" and think you should do some other scenes. Keep it up.
Doug & Sue and Tony
First picture or two I thought A-ha! a bit of rough-house play, lets settle down to a bit of biffo. The next couple of pictures..yeah right! Got a good laugh from me - Well done.
I will report this incident ASAP. You will not get away with this! I promise you! That poor defenseless person, getting his HEAD bashed in...What the hell was on that bat....Hmmm... I know, you've done this BEFORE! You can't I will not let you get away with this!
.....Anyway....Good skit, humored me, kept me awake anyway Up all night, It is now morning 6:19 am in Pennsylvania...
The "murder" camera is by far the best piece of net.humor yet seen on the Web! How about for your next "camera" you have a young couple who just can't wait to get back to the dorm room and find their way into your lab. They could "knock over" the camera before things go to far.
I was poking around the net on my lunch hour when I came across your web site. Imagine my surprise and horror when I witnessed one student beat another with a cricket bat covered with grape jelly. Fortuneately, as an American, I'm used to violence, so it didn't really upset me. Still I thought I should tell you what I saw just in case it wasn't an actt. I implore you to go check the lab.If you don't hurry, little bits of brain and gore could permanently damage your computer equipment. Beleive me, I've had experience with this sort of thing.
Dear Mr Hutchens,
I was shocked to see the images being shown on your WWW site, the mindless violence quite put me off my tea. I was trying to find the number for Nedlands Police but directory inquires were unable to help me. So i have been forced to report you to the postmaster at your local sight.
ps. only joking, you could be the next Peter Jackson.
Don't understand it - Oz looks so peaceful and friendly on "Neighbours". Or maybe that's why he was killed - he set the video on the wrong channel and recorded "Home and Away" instead. Actually I don't understand you foreigners at all - Rule Brittania I say.
I do hope that what happened was not real. In any case, I don't really care because I thought that the guy who walked in at the end was really GORGEOUS and I want to know who he is and I want to know how I can contact him and...
You had us going there for a bit! I was gonna call 911 (the police) but I figured our local cops, here in Gainesville, Georgia, USA, couldn't do much about your little incident there in Australia.
The blood (or chocolate pudding?) on the end of your club was a nice touch :>
If there really was a homicide there today, we saw the whole thing! The guy with the dark hair and blue shirt did it!! He appeared to brutally assault the poor little fellow at the computer for no reason at all. If you catch him, I think you ought to chain a Tasmanian Devil 'round his bloody neck!
I nearly pissed myself watching the events unfold.....
Very nice display! kept us rolling around laughing! Even on a 28.8 PPP modem link it was awesome!
I don't what you guys are doing, but your fake attack was really impressive the first time I watched it, but the second time, it was clear I had been had!
Harry Houdini
I would like to compliment you on the humorous display of murder and mayhem I was given the opportunity to witness. It was, shall we say, "artfully" done.
Tell your actors they did a good job.
I know who you are, and I saw what you did
Jessica Fletcher
Oz humor, I always did like it.
That was a pretty cool act, You just embarresed yourselves in front of a bunch of people but it was kinda funny. The bat and the knife was a pretty cool add in to the fight:).
Jason you conman! Good show! Best laugh I've had all night.
I just happened to be virtually visiting your computer lab via the "Spy on Other Lab" camera when I witnessed what appears to have been an attack by someone with a large flat stick.
If this was indeed an actual attack and not just some student prank for the benefit of the camera, I can provide you or whomever the series of 7 images clearly showing the action and the face of the attacker, as well as the stick and a knife.
I truly hope that this was just some prank and not in fact a violent physical attack, as it appeared to be.
I guess this is what i deserve for getting into this camera thing too much...i ALMOST thought that other lab bit was real...whew... Oh well thanks for the good laugh
Yours is the funniest WEB site I have ever visited.
I laughed FUCKING OUT LOUD for about three minutes, and called everyone I knew and told them to check out your site.
You Australian students -- weird sense of humor. I like it.
You are pioneers in using the medium of WWW.
I look forward to more.
Way to go.
I don't get it.
Rush Limbaugh
That was amazing!! How are things down under, it must warm the cockles of your heart knowing that somewhere in the world, two geeky freshmen are getting a laugh at your hijinks. I get all misty eyed just thinking about it. Spy cam of the other lab was pretty funny.
Hai there, Marcel here from the Netherlands, just watching your excellent show, it's really a killer, had a lot of laughs over here..
I have just witnessed an horific attack by one student on another. I have informed interpol and no doubt your local constabulary are already hotfoot to the scene of the attack. Not only did this groteque looking man violently attack the nice looking chap, but he also wantonly damaged the university's property. Bloody students eh?
There was an assault on camera! The "Spy on other lab" camera! I saw everything! If you need me to be a witness, I'll fly in from Canada! Good thing I happened to log in when I did. I have gone back and saved all the .gifs to disk so we can use them in the court case. Maybe we'll get on the front of the National Enquirer. I can see the headlines now...Canadian Computer Geek solves mystery murder over the Internet. Uhmmm, about that computer that poor fellow was using... just how much blood was splattered all over it? Was it in bad shape? I don't know if this is quite the time to ask but could I buy that computer cheap? I know that it would bother some people if they found out somebody was murdered while using it. You could sell it to me as is. I'll clean it my self. Come on, you'll never sell it to anyone else. Ok, how about a trade? I've got a Atari 2600 classic gaming computer. It's in great shape and it's even a collectors edition. So what do you say? Is it a deal? By the way, did the chap with the cricket bat get 6 runs? Great page, thanks for the laugh.
Dateline: Maryland, USA
This reporter was browsing funny and useless sites on the Web, when suddenly a fight broke out in *Other Lab*. The humanity! One hapless student sat at a computer, suddenly ambushed by another who entered the room. The assailant grabbed the shirt of the helpless victim. The unidentified victim valiantly tried to defend himself, apparently throwing a well-placed punch. The next thing this reporter saw was the assailant with a club of some nature, apparently heading toward the victim. Following the logical course of events, our victim disappeared from the scene, to be followed by a closeup of the club, with...blood stains? The victim again tried to defend himself, brandishing a knife from his position on the floor. The attacker seemed to be in danger of losing, well, vital parts of his anatomy (this is a family report). Anyway, not long afterward, the picture was gone, replaced by a multicolored screen. Then, the message...A system error has occured. Please report. (Paraphrased, of course). Could the system error have been the result of the assailant finding the hidden camera? This reporter will probably never know for sure.
That was great! You almost had me going there for a minute. I was looking forward to being interviewed on TV as the first WWWWitness to a WWWWeb MMMMurder!
I saw the events that led up to the shutdown of the camera. I have saved the pictures on my hard-drive. My phone number in the United States is area code (941)-643-2917. I'm not sure if what I saw was a staged prank or not, but if you need the photos please call.
Condolences for the recent loss of your most promising, yet somehow physically inept computer guy. Take comfort in the fact that his passing was quick. He probably didn't ever know what hit him. :) Well done, folks!
That almost looks like real blood!!!!
Quentin Tarantino
Your sequence of NOT live stills are very funny. Congrats, I was spoofed! Ya got me good.
Naughty boys!
No prezzies for the bad man in the white shirt THIS Christmas!
Executive Director
Christmas Deliveries Division
Festival Enterprises Pty Ltd
In Ohio we would use a baseball bat -- WHACK! We had an intern from England once; she was dangerous without a cricket bat. That was a cricket bat; wasn't it? It wasn't some kind of ceremonial dream time apparatus, was it?
I think which a guy had break the CAM, I have the images on the happen. And I have see a guy with a knife. Please reply to me, I have the IMAGES! It's to happen before 10 minutes of this message!!
Haaaaaaaaa. Oh yes! Some guy beat the pulp outta some other guy then slammed the camera with the bat. Thanks man. What a riot! we were standing around the 'pooter hollerin. Too Cool. Can't wait for the sequel.
Was this a previous play made for internet viewers or was this real I saved the murder to disk if the police need copies of the murder...
Email me back if this really took place, I am immediately contacting the authorities associated with this account...
We saw it all.. filed a police report and everything
I was just watching your spy cam on the other lab and witnessed a murder! One lab worker was innocently working away on his computer when a mad-man came in, weilding what seemed to be a huge bread stick. The maniac beat the poor man to a pulp with that bread. There were crumbs and blood flying everywhere. I think I just witnessed the World Wide Web's first murder from Canada! I have the evidence . I saved the GIF's so we can catch this crazed killer.
Live murder. Are you crasy. it is not funny !
I *LOVED* it. Nearly shit myself laughing. :)
There was this one guy and he punched this other guy and then the guy who got punced beat the piss out of the guy who punched him with a blunt object and then he smashed the camera with the same object. I think his name was Ferdinand.
Bravo! Very good! An Oscar performance.
Man, this was the funniest thing I ever saw on internet!!!!!
And who says Aussies don't have a sense of humor! Great site.
Rev. James M. Reusing
St. Jane Frances Church
Starting at about 08:41 WST, I was downloading images from your "Spy on Other Lab" video camera. The sequence of frames show a young man at the foreground workstation being attacked by another young man, who was at first rebuffed, then picked up what looked like a cricket bat and began to strike the first man until he was on the floor and out of view. He then saw the video camera and realized he was being watched, so he apparently took a swat at the camera. The last frame shows the "cricket bat" approaching the camera, while the man on the floor had recovered and was wielding a knife, taking dead aim at the bat-holder's hip. A third man with shoulder-length hair was just entering the lab. The camera's next image was just a mosaic of colored dots. When I requested the next image, I got "A system error has occurred. Please send a message to Jason...".
I've copied these images out of my Netscape cache for safekeeping.
I'm fully aware that this could be the prank of some imaginative college students who are rolling on the floor as I write this, but on the off-chance that it isn't, you can reach by the following methods:
Some guy broke into the computer lab and clubbed another user to death. I think maybe you ought to check it out. There could be liability or something involved.
A Concerned Citizen (of another country, of course, but a citizen nonetheless; and of course we do both speak English, so we have that in common... oh well, you get the point)
I laughed, I cried, It kept me on the edge of my seat! It's a shame you guys aren't over here - there would surely be an Academy Award in it for you.
I can identify the person who snuffed out the computer geek at the lab. Please get the authorities in touch with me as soon as possible before I have a mind meltdown.
I was looking at the "other lab" last night, just for fun, and seemed to have witnessed an attack on someone, with the final frame being the destruction of the camera. I have copies of this both printed out and probably still in cache. If these would be helpful, please contact me.
Amending earlier response to request for an error message: cause of error message message appears to be the terminus of a program depicting certain images transmitted via the "spy on other lab" function which seem geared to judge the reaction of visitors to the web site witnessing the scenes.
... ok, so it was a STAGED murder (very well done -- and more so EXTREEMLY funny may I add). Infact, from the moment I saw the 2'nd picture, I nearly fell on the floor laughing (and couldn't get up, as that old commercial goes).
PLEASE do more of this in the future! This kind of (sick, twisted, and extreemly rejuvinatin') humor is exactly what we sick twisted midnight hackers (and semi-humans) need far more of!
very very clever... i was caught hook line and sinker... reel me in..
What a cruel joke. Enclosed is my cardiologists bill for a jump start and my psychologists bill for counselling. After viewing this I think there are still jobs for lab animals. Good on ya.
I wish to make a complaint. I have just witnessed the most hideous crime. This has upset my breakfast. I'm now going to switch to a more pleasant view.
I witnessed a murder in your lab this morning. I was able to capture all the action and save it on my computer. I will transmit the captured video feed to the FBI and CIA immediately. This crime must not go unpunished. The victim was battered with a cricket bat and rendered unconscious. The perpetrator was recognizable and I think that it was Mel Gibson. I cannot believe that Mr Gibson would commit such a crime but the proof is there.
If I can be of any assistance in bringing the criminal to justice, I would be happy to be a witness at the trial. Please send two round trip tickets to my home and I can be available at any time. Also, make hotel reservations for two and of course you would want to provide money for meals and sightseeing.
I am a key witness to the horrible murder of "Jason". I have the series of events saved in .gif form to catch the terrible monster who committed the crime. I am submitting the downloads to INTERPOL (International Police) so that they may track down the killer. Also the photo of the murderer has been identified by a team of specialists here in the United States that work for an underground team of assassins for hire. They have dispatched their Western Australian contacts who are in the process of tracking down the suspect. For further updates of the progress pertaining to the Australian Trackers, please e-mail my account at kageboshi@earthlink.net The Trackers are confident the suspect will be found and dealt with in a severe manner
Is there some significance to the blue bucket?
Made an otherwise hellish week bareable.
I don't know if this was a joke, but it didn't seem like it. As I retrieved several images of the 'Spy on Other Lab' menu I saw in the first place someone with curly hair in a blue t-shirt, working at the computer right next to the camera, and someone with sort of long hair and white t-shirt approaching him. The next frame revealed the latter subject grabbing the first one by the shirt.The next frame showed the guy in white t-shirt sitting at the computer where the other one was, and the other one running out of the room. Next, comes 'blueshirt' with something shaped like an elongated paddle. Then occured a communications delay. The next frame showed blue shirt hitting 'white shirt', with the paddle (white shirt was presumably on the ground, as he wasn't visible). The next frame shows blue shirt holding his lips as in pain, as if he'd been hit on the mouth, and staring at the camera with a worried look. The next frame reveals the tip of the stick (flat and round-edged, with a red figure on its side) just about to hit the camera. The next frame shows nothing but white noise. The next time I tried to get a frame your system failed (because of the blow, I suppose).
As I hardly believe this is a joke, I feel I should let you know of these facts, which may have derived in damage to university property and personal injury.
I just searched in the .netscape-cache directory and I could retrieve 4 images of the scene. Unfortunately, the frame of the camera about to be hit wasn't there, as there wasn't the frame of blue shirt coming into the room with the stick, among some other relevant ones. These pictures are at your disposal. Please let me know what really happened.
I just managed to retrieve 3 missing and crucial pictures of the process. It seems that the first offender was 'white shirt' as it was him, instead of 'blueshirt' who did the whacking. Nevertheless, the last picture hints to a brutal outcome. I still hope it's all a mockup and you are now laughing like crazy at me.
I still hope the whole thing was staged, but if not, I must tell you there was someone else present: a tall guy with long hair and a t-shirt with a big green frog on it. Surely 'blue shirt' must have fleed away, though not unscathed, butplease, if your workplace is not the lab go check out. It seems that 'white shirt' was, so to speak, treacherously stabbed. Although 'Blue shirt' was entitled to self-defend himself, he seems to have gone too far.
As to the third guy, he is now accesory to a criminal aggression, but he could still be hanging around, oblivious of his legal condition. Now I have all the concerning gif frames. Let me know of a way to send them to you. They might still be present in a buffer area of your computer, though. Check for example in /tmp.
Gotcha this time! The joke's on you! Did't I make you believe I believed it? I could've gone on for days making you believe my anguish was real, but you would've added my name to the jerkoffs list.
what i didnt get was the absence of the chick with the big tits.
It's amazing how entertaining a little violence can be.
Your 'spy on other lab' series is one of the most creative sites I've seen on the net.
That has got to be one of the funniest things I have seen on the net in a long time. I do a bit of surfing and was starting to come to the conclusion that the net was taken over by no-brain/no-personality gimps who want us to see pics of thier f*cking pet cats. But you have restored my faith.
You guys are sick!!! I can take a joke, but passing off images of a "murder" as if they were real-time is *not* funny. For a moment there I honestly thought I should be making a call to Australia. I might not have been so bothered except that I just finished reading the autopsy reports of Ron Goldman and Nicole Simpson elswhere on the web, along with looking at some photos of their bodies at the crime scene. Pretty brutal stuff. Murder is not very funny here in LA right now, particularly a "killing" showing a vicious stabbing and beating.
Just a note to let you know that we're watching your antics here in beautiful, sunny Los Angeles, California. Your web page has served as an illustration to my father (sitting over my shoulder) of the wonders of the Web and the Internet. Thanks for letting us peek in across the Pacific Ocean. Hoping all is well in Australia.
Man, that was hilarious! I *LOVE* your little drama!
Ha, ha, ha! That was funny! You guys have a well developed sense of humor, though it's a little bit sick.
Use more back lift with the back and you will get more power into the shot.
That site with the ant farm is better than this.
Ask the man in a t-shirt with a green animal on it. He saw it.
I hope you had as much fun dying as I had watching.
Just as the camera was smashed a long haired hippy walked into the room
Apparently, though, the attacker hit the other guy so hard it completely flattened out that baseball bat.
Call the cops. I think I saw some crack on the table and that was what they were fighting over. Oh yeah, the other guy coming in just before the other guy hit the camera with his bat had a big gun and he was gonna shoot 'em both cause he wanted the money from the crack.
I just witnessed a horrible murder in the Other Lab while I was spying. Please notify the authorities, and have a nice day
Last resort might be the guy with the frog.
what is your intention by sending things like that?? Do you whant a coment on diskrimination, violents against natives etc.??
Sorry about my poor speling
one hint if you ever need blood again, kayro syrup or pancake syrup and vegetable dye or food coloring is very effective, it even makes scabs (gross) properly. I will check back for your next web crime and maybe i will see some more blood, sweet blood.
Im from just across the way in Adelaide and I popped in on Sunday night at about 20:30 and I saw an image of some guy being grabbed? I hope all is well and that it was just some sort of male bonding shit! Please let me know 'cos now Im a little worried.
i think i just saw the most entertaining and most useless site of the internet! :)) i dont know how much it cost the university to make me laugh, but it was worth it.
and if u happen to go there, give a kiss to heidi in toowong, brisbane.
While spying on your other lab I saw some punkass thug in a blue shirt get rightfully blugoned by a Frat Stick weilding champion of justice. Or something like that. Any way if you see that goofball in the blue shirt give him a whack for me. I'm sorry that there was a camera problem at the end so I couldn't see the final result. Oh Well
That guy got the mess beat out of him. That was cool. It even showed blood.
I just witnessed an attempted murder at your live video site. I have called the police and they are starting a trace of your web-site IP address, they have also contacted the equivalent of our state-side paramedics. I forwarded the complete set of pictures to your authorities and also to America's Most Wanted in case the murderer emails himself to the USA.
Nice hairdo.
A guy murdered another with a baseballtree, that is the reason your camera dont work anymore. SHe smashed it right after the murder.
You killed the camera, OH Go Ahead and Kill the guy!! But Never,Ever Touch the camera!! DO YOU UNDERSTAND !!!!

As you have probably guessed by now, the Other Camera does not actually exist. We simply captured images of ourselves doing silly things, and then wrote a program to display them in sequence.

For our American users, the large wooden object used to "murder" Paul Williams is a cricket bat, not a baseball bat. University studies have proved that a cricket bat is considerably more effective than a baseball bat in combat situations. It was the weapon favoured by the Australian troops in the Gulf. The "blood" left on the bat is none other than Heinz Tomato Sauce.

Not many people realise that you don't actually see any violence being perpetrated, and that no actual murder takes place. The very last frame of the sequence shows both partcipants looking extremely un-dead.