Tag Archives: video installations

Child Pornography Investigation Stems from Alert Customer

Tanning salon owner Joseph Layland was a friend to many of his customers until  charged with using a hidden camera to record customers in the Malden, Missouri tanning spot. Formerly “DJ’s Tan and Tone” has closed while the owner waits for trial in jail and police investigate.

Local TV site KFVS reported that police officials seized approximately 500 DVDs and videos, 18-hours of surveillance footage, and two computer hard drives as evidence in what is likely to be the Show Me State’s largest pornography crime. Continue reading

Don’t Get Snowed When Buying Security Cameras

We just finished with a bad winter and saw plenty of snow. Hopefully it will be the last of until the end of the year. In the mean time, I was hoping to prevent a different type of snow job from occurring to our customers and followers.
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Illegal “Dumpers” Caught with Video Surveillance

In Springfield, Mass.,  police announced that 13 people had been caught dumping household trash and furniture in a wooded area near town. The alleged illegal dumpers were recorded by hidden camera detectors placed near the area in an investigation that included aid from both state, and local officials. This, according to the Springfield Republican. Continue reading

Words from the Boss: Cloned Debit Cards Add to ATM Thefts

Technology makes our lives easier, or at least it’s supposed to; yet, as our understanding  improves and complicated processes, such as computer programming, become more user-friendly,  some decide to use these innovations to prey upon others.

ATM skimming-devices, for instance, have evolved from clunky, obvious pieces of fake auto-bank teller equipment to sleek, undetectable theft devices that are unnoticeable to untrained eyes. As the equipment becomes better, the criminals grow in sophistication, often stealing hundreds of thousands in others’ money before being discovered. Continue reading

Hidden Camera Exposes Illegal Dentists

Going to the dentist isn’t something that we usually scrutinize to ensure our chosen practitioner has the necessary schooling and degrees that prove he’s a dentist. Usually, we opt for doctors or dentists who are recommended by our social circle, or, more likely, the ones covered by an insurance plan. Usually, the expectation is that they’re qualified; after all, masquerading as a dentist wouldn’t be the easiest scam to perpetrate.

In San Antonio, WOAI-TV News 4 recently published a news story by Jaie Avila using a hidden camera that might be surprising… Continue reading

When Transformers Needs CCTV Equipment, They Call The U-Spy Store

It was Friday, July 16, 2010 at 4:45pm when we received a call at our U-Spy Store Chicago location from the production crew for the movie Transformers currently being shot in downtown Chicago. The Transformers producer knew what she wanted but didn’t exactly know what it was called. She described the product as being a larger bullet or cylindrical shaped camera that can automatically pan back and forth with a controller. But she in fact already had the described camera. All she really needed was the mount that could move the camera as well as the controller.

Quickly our team contacted several of our area vendors who are scattered all over the Chicagoland area. One by one, our vendors told us the same story. This is actually very old technology replaced by the dome shaped PTZ camera. But the producers made it clear they did not want the more modern dome shaped PTZ. They needed something that could move the large bullet camera. It’s all about the visuals and in a movie, capturing the mood and atmosphere is much more important that having the latest technology.

After about 10 calls, we finally struck gold. We found the controller and panning mechanism in one of our vendors located in the Northwest Suburban area. It was now 5:06 and we needed to get approval, payment and retrieve the equipment before the 6pm closing time. About 5:30, after a flurry of calls and emails with attachments of images showing what the mechanism looked like, we received their approval.

Now the hard part for us arrives. We needed to get to the vendor by 6 to pick up the equipment and find a willing U-Spy Store team member to personally deliver the equipment. Gabriel was heading back to the office after a long day of service calls. I called him and he agreed to delay the start of his weekend by a couple of hours by diverting his route home and stop at the vendor. He arrived minutes before close and then called me to say he couldn’t make it on time. Gabriel likes to practical joke but didn’t terrorize me too long. He said he had the equipment in hand and wanted to know what to do next.

Meanwhile, back at U-Spy headquarters, German was more than willing to drive the equipment down to the Chicago Loop area to personally deliver the goods and perhaps get that Hollywood career jump started. I made sure that German had everything they needed to make things work including power supply, wiring and connectors.

A better than average Friday afternoon rush hour helped make things run smoothly and soon German took the hand off from Gabriel and was delivering the much anticipated equipment to the movie set. At 7:57pm I received a text message indicating Operation Transformers was completed. A little more than 3 hours after the call, our U-Spy team accomplished our mission. Damn good on a Friday afternoon!

Did we save the movie? Probably! Would the movie have figured out a way to continue shooting and production without The U-Spy Store? Probably not! Is the movie going to get 4 stars, 2 thumbs up and favorable reviews because The U-Spy Store saved the day? Absolutely Yes! In fact I am personally endorsing this movie right now by stating this will be the Movie of the Year!. Any questions of payoffs should be discussed with our legal team as soon as the trail of our former governor is complete.

So the moral of this is, when you need something fast and hard to find, give The U-Spy Store call. Even when shooting a B movie, The U-Spy Store will transform that script into an Academy Award winner. Or at least a movie that was saved by The U-Spy store and not in the editing room. And remember to keep an eye out for those panning cameras and remember who saved the day? The U-Spy Store!

U.S. & Russian Spy Rings Mimic Hollywood

If you’ve been reading or watching the news lately, you undoubtedly know that the United States and Russia are in the midst of a so-called spy swap.  On June 27, the FBI arrested 10 people on charges that they were deep-cover spies working for the Russian government but living for years in the United States. Their job, according to the DOJ, was to determine U.S. “secrets by making connections to think tanks and government officials.” Continue reading

Setting Up Remote Access

So you were enticed to buy a DVR because you see that it remote accessible. Great! Just plug that puppy into a router and a way we go. Right? Not so fast.

The DVR side is fairly simple. Just change or make sure your setting is DHCP (automatic assigning of an internal IP address) and check whatever the IP address was signed. That’s the easy part. At least now you can use the IP address assigned to use for IN-Network access. This means you will be able to see your cameras by using the appropriate browser or software to log into your cameras. But wait! You want to see your home from work or see your work from home. Or see your cameras from anywhere in the world.

Now comes the hard part. Your router now needs to be configured to allow the traffic requests from the outside. You will need to port forward whatever ports your DVR designates. Each DVR is different and most are changeable. The reason they are changeable is that there may be conflicts on your network so when port 80 does not work, you can change the setup to use port 80.

Inside your router, depending on which router, you will need to setup the router to ROUTE traffic for this port to the DVR i.e. the internal IP address that was assigned.

If you have no idea what I mean, you best hire us or an IT professional to handle the rest. But in case you are adventurous or just want to learn how to do this, here are a couple of free tips DVR network setup for you.

Make sure that your Internet provider is not blocking ports. This means that they may be blocking anything you do so no matter what you do, your camera or DVR signal will not make it through your provider’s firewall. Test this by visiting http://www.canyouseeme.org. Test various ports to see if traffic is allowed. If it is great. If not, you may need to call your provider to ask them to allow access to specific ports. Or you may need to buy what is called a Static IP address.

If you have setup the router and configured the remote access successfully, you may still have a lot of work ahead. If you are using Internet Explorer, you may need to add certain add ons to make your browser work. These add ons are mini programs or active X modules that will make the video visible to you. And your browser settings may be set too high to allow this. So you may need to go to Tools – Internet Options – Security Settings – Custom Level. Here you will need to either set everything to either Allow or Prompt (if allow is not secure) and apply the changes. This change now allows your browser to install what it needs to see the video.

If you prefer to use the DVR software, then do that as there are no security issues with that part. That software is usually headache free but it too may need certain settings such as antivirus anti spyware or other settings adjusted to make it work.

U-Spy offers this service to all customers and installers with special discounts. We also offer a Dynamic IP forwarding service for $24/year that will allow you to keep the cheaper Dynamic Internet service instead of the much costlier Static IP setup.

Call 888-338-1881 with questions. We know you will have plenty.

Why IP

The U-Spy Store is building a large selection of IP Cameras to choose from. For those who may think IP is a bodily function, this mailer will help you understand that IP technology is the latest and fastest growing segment of video security. IP stands for Internet Protocol but don’t let that scare you. It simply means your camera is connected by a wire to your network instead of a recorder. This allows you great advantages. First it allows you great flexibility as to where you can view the cameras and where you can record. Imagine a break in at your home and the burglar steals your DVR. All of your evidence is gone. With an IP camera setup, you can record your home cameras at work, your work cameras at home and you can even record in multiple locations. And you can do all this without a DVR! And there is more……

Not only are you getting the flexibility of off site recording and multiple site recording but now with the IP camera, you have the capability of tripling your resolution or more. A 1.3 Megapixel IP camera has about 4 times the resolution of a typical VGA or analog camera. And there is no hope of ever being able to send a better image on the original camera on RG59 or RG6 cable.

What does better resolution mean? Not just better images with ore detail. The higher resolution camera means you can use less cameras and potentially eliminate the PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom) camera. When you record in higher resolution, you have the flexibility to enlarge or zoom into the image at a greater capacity after recording. With an analog camera, you have very limited zooming capabilities. Keep in mind that a 5 Megapixel camera is not uncommon which translates into 12 times the quality of a typical analog camera. There are 16 Megapixel cameras on the market now but at a huge price.

Another great feature of the IP camera is that you will no longer need a DVR to record. Any PC with sufficient storage or even an external hard drive will suffice to record your cameras. And remember, you can configure this recording anywhere in the world with Internet Access.

There are issues to overcome with IP cameras. One issue is network bandwidth. If you are considering more than four 1.3 Megapixel cameras in your home or work network, then you should consider a separate network for your cameras. The heavy data stream from these cameras will big down the network unless you have a sufficient capability.

Another advantage of the IP camera is that most are viewable on a Mac computer. Mac compatibility is always a plus to a Mac user like me. I want to be able to get my Mac Book and view cameras without starting up my Windows software.

Encrypted wireless transmission is another feature on some of the IP cameras. Encrypted or digital signal means you no longer need to fear that your wireless camera will be viewed by others. I am not saying it is impossible, but the chances are greatly diminished since the interceptor would need to hack into your wireless router to do it. It also means no interference from wireless networks and cordless phones. This is a huge benefit to anyone who ever tried using wireless cameras in the cluttered 2.4 bandwidth.

Do You Need a Nanny Cam?

Adding a nanny cam, or in-home surveillance system, used to be for detecting cases of child abuse or endangerment. However, even if you don’t have any concerns over abuse, an indoor surveillance camera and DVR may provide information on your sitter’s, or children’s, accountability.

As technology’s gotten better, the price for in-home surveillance has actually leveled out, or in some cases, prices have lowered. Nanny cams provide piece of mind for parents who work long hours; often, the wireless recorders can be accessed from a work computer, allowing a parent that misses their child to remain in contact with their child’s life.

Child neglect, or abuse, can happen. Some of the warning signs include unexplained bruises or cuts and fear when the sitter, or nanny, arrives. Fussy, or abnormal outbursts are also cause for concern. A child whose disposition has changed drastically may be a child who is being neglected. If you suspect that something is going on that you are not aware of, no price is too much to pay to ensure your loved-ones safety.

Wireless surveillance, and DVR systems, are easy to set up, and are virtually undetectable.  Even if you don’t expect any foul play, an in-home surveillance system is a way to ensure that your child is safe and those who are in your home while you’re away are accountable for their actions. Even if it means feeding the dog while you’re away on vacation.

In most cases, you’ll find that most people act with responsibility and have good intentions. Yet, a casual view, or review, of home activities while away may lead to behaviors that need to be rewarded or addressed. First-hand knowledge of an activity is always the best evidence, and is much more satisfying than conjecture or second-guessing.