Saturday, June 10, 2000

Internet CornCam thrills thousands

Viewers the world over cheer ears

By Ken Thomas
The Associated Press

        DES MOINES, Iowa — An Internet camera focused day and night on an Iowa cornfield has proved more interesting than watching grass grow.

        Visitors to the CornCam Web page at seem fascinated by the sight of cornstalks getting taller with each passing day, and have been e-mailing their appreciation. The view of the cornfield is updated every 15 minutes.

        Solange Curry uses the CornCam to teach her New Jersey students about farm life. Rob Work, host of the Moose Morning Show in Bozeman, Mont., says his radio listeners love it. And Reade Tilley, an editor with a publishing company, says it was all the rage among his co-workers when he discovered it at their New York office. He declared: “Go Corn! All of New York City is pulling for you.”

        Since May 17, thousands of Web watchers have fastened their eyes on Jim and Sharon Greif's cornfield in Monticello. The Web site — invites viewers to “cheer as the mighty cornstalks battle wind, hail and rainstorms.”

        The response has been overwhelming — more than 20,000 hits one day alone, and about 500 e-mails.

        “Everything from "I wish it was marijuana you were growing' to one from New Zealand that wanted to know why we didn't turn lights on it so they could see it over there during their daylight hours,” Mr. Greif said.

        CornCam is the brainchild of Mr. Greif and Dan Zinkand, crops editor of the Iowa Farmer Today, a weekly paper. Mr. Greif said the two hatched the idea while enduring a University of Iowa football game in which the Hawkeyes were losing “about a zillion to nothing.”

        They mounted a digital camera on a 6-foot post not far from the Greifs' tool shed and connected it to the farm's computer network.

        Spinoffs may sprout soon. Plans call for Web cams in Iowa devoted to soybeans, cattle and hogs.


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