Check out a recent USA Today article on FaceBook:

¨Cybercriminals have launched a massive new wave of Internet-based schemes to steal personal data and carry out financial scams in an effort to take advantage of the fear and confusion created by tumbling financial markets, security specialists say.
¨The schemes — often involving online promotions touting fake computer virus protection, get-rich scams and funny or lurid videos — already were rising last fall when financial markets took a dive. With consumers around the world panicking, the number of scams on the Web soared.
Original article can be found here:


This spike does not score

With oil reaching $137/barrel on Friday, the Chicago Tribune reports a possibility of up to $150 by July 4th, right in time for the many service calls our integrators endure due to lightning, multiple power outages and other summer related challenges. The Trib's story is here:
Some issues:
Some integrators' revenue rests primarily on service agreements for preventative and demand maintenance of systems installed by other integrators
Most of the negotiated rates are in effect well before the "spike" and will sometimes be fixed for even years to come for larger projects
End users depend on courtesy field visits from design professionals usually without the pressure to buy. Those salespeople that are on commission-only contracts and do not get mileage expense reimbursement will have to rethink how many courtesy design calls they do that are far into their territory.
Associations and SDOs will have to start thinking about expense reimbursement of key activities as airfare and car travel costs are far higher now for the "pro-bono" work they receive from industry professionals
Mass Transit Agencies are already rethinking and discontinuing less profitable routes, making less popular areas even less desireable to visit
...and so it goes. I know I state the obvious here, but we depend on our service pros to keep our systems running; let's try to help them out here and there by (perhaps) allowing a temporary fuel offset charge.
Hey before I conclude if anyone is ever in NYC, you are cordially invited to one of our Times Up! rides, like the midnight one we did yesterday through Central Park. This is one alternative transportation non-profit organization that I would like to post a plug for...
...and reduce our dependance on oil.


Analog vs. IP Video Surveillance. . . it's about the customer, folks!

I was really lucky to spend the past eight years working intensely on education programs dedicated to enhancing end user's physical security programs.

The single most important thing I learned that electronic security system deployment is one tool for the physical security or surveillance professional and not the center of their universe.

I am continually amazed at how some discussions about analog or IP video systems lead immediately to technology discussions rather than what's good for the customer. What do they need the system to do? What is their existing infrastructure?

There was an article I read about City Center Surveillance deployment acceptance.


Technology may, in the future, be enabled by enhanced wireless infrastructure technologies like WIMAX, but will not automatically be adopted as a result of technology. The requirements of the end user drive the use of technology and if IP video will provide the right product to more widely distribute video content for mobile reponders, then adoption will be encouraged. Here, mobile responders and emergency services have specific needs that are met by the distribution of IP video to many clients simultaneously.

Does the same system properly service the Loss Prevention or Gaming Surveillance Professional? Not currently, and I know that I am inviting commentary here, but first think of the needs of your customer or, more specifically, your customer's customer! The variable and often slow camera control system response on many IP Video Systems have slowed this deployment since the user has to, without compromise, keep up with tracking an individual through a casino or along the aisles of an electronic superstore. Yes, there are those systems available that provide an uncompromised solution, but at a greater cost than their analog counterparts.

So the next time someone jumps right into a technology discussion, ask them to instead take a moment and "listen up!" as a popular singer says, and perhaps the solution will turn out better for everyone...


Java Junkies beware!

disclaimer: This article is for informational and educational purposes only. Hacking into a internet stores is illegal and is not the intent of this article.

Now you can buy anything, even if someone has taken it off their company store.

Well, that is, if they've not protected the Online Store Product ID to the item you wish to purchase. So you've visited the dynamically rendered web page that does not contain a "add to cart" button. You want to buy that item. The vendor has restricted purchase, sometimes in the hopes of maintaining inventory for a specific client, etc.

We'll have none of that!

Just go to another item that has a "add to cart" button. Copy the javascript shortcut and paste it to your notepad. Notice that it will usually have the Store Product ID (secret number) and the actual (public) Model Number. Now you need to find the secret number for the item you want, that they are not letting you purchase. All you usually have to do is go to the technical information page on the product and look at the URL to get three possibilities for Store Product IDs.

Now you've got three possible Store IDs and one definite model number. Just take the javascript shortcut you pasted earlier and make three different scripts, trying each one until one adds your item to the cart! Once the item is in your cart, they can't stop you from buying it. It's a good idea to take a screen shot of the cart page in case the vendor does not wish to fulfill your order (very rare).

Next week we'll talk about coupon codes!


Leave the standards to the SDOs, or collaborate independently?

Allow me to first state that the following is simply the personal, subjective opinion of this author...

This week began with an announcement from three manufacturers of a "new" cooperative effort to start a communications forum and develop an interoperability standard. I felt like the Jeff Goldblum character from the great "The Right Stuff" movie that would run breathless down the hall to report on the latest activities by the Russians in space, only to hear "we know about it already."

It's probably good that I waited a few days before posting this as I was pretty disappointed that yet another group was doing an "end run" around the Standards Development Organization (the SIA) that has developed the only ANSI-approved interoperability standard for the Security Industry. The interesting thing is that this week's actions, though well intended, have helped me see how impartial SDOs and Credentialing organizations are in the best position to recognize, organize, focus and manage manpower to achieve realistic interoperability goals.

I completely understand how interoperability efforts are quite useful and will greatly benefit everyone in the Security Industry "food chain." However, when an effort exists, why not contribute to it and improve it rather than create another, duplicated, parallel effort. 'Nuff said on that one, right?

Well, not really. You see, last year I had the benefit of meeting a particular end user that taught me something quite insightful. "Think of my customer as your customer."


If I can help my customer improve their customer's experience, or contribute to savings for his (or her) organization that could mean savings passed onto their clients, we all win.

What does this have to do with a parallel standards effort?

Simply put, it is industry resources not applied toward better helping the (hopeful) benefactors of this industry. If we took the time spent on multiple device and system interface efforts and applied those efforts to introduce more useful applications for the end user, we all win.

So where do we go now? What can we do to improve this situation?

Ask the SDO. They have a method in place for recognition of standards development activities and a way for these efforts to focused correctly and impartially.