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Keeping Safe, VERY Safe Over the Holiday
project crimefootage media
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Click for the complete story.

Check out the news piece that Spectrum TV News put together about my, maybe unhealthy, obsession with security cameras. Sure, I've gone a little over the top but I really do enjoy the opportunity to push a strategy of frustrating criminals with off the shelf technology like cameras.

The spot is focused on ways to keep your property and cars safe in general, and in particular over the July 4 holiday, but gravitates toward my use, and apparent effectiveness, of using security cameras here, there, and, just about everywhere.

I'm particularly happy that the spot mentioned my Crime Footage Index web project.

The project is not well developed and is meant, for now, to be nothing more than a demonstration to police jurisdictions about web services they could run that give people an 'official' depot to submit the footage they gather. The idea is that it would give police a crowd-sourced investigative tool that would not require the taxation of a police report or any expectation of immediate action. Factors I believe exist that prevent them from making such a channel available now.

On De-Centralizing Internet Platforms
kudos openweb
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You have to be the kind of person who cares about this sort of thing in the first place to appreciate these remarks but Eli The Computer Guy's comments on de-platformitization are spot on. He draws a picture of Facebook (as an example) being a church where everyone is corralled to for an easy match-toss to burn them all up.

Eli discusses his primary object to centralized platforms.
Link to full length video.

It's frustrating that a well defined movement to return to the days of 1000 websites by 1000 publishers instead of 1000 publishers on one website doesn't exist -- at least any that I've absorbed personally. But there sure needs to be one.

By the way, the irony of the guy making these comments on a centralized video platform is not lost on anyone. You have to be more engaged at his website to know that he is in fact dismantling/weaning away from it. Check out how he is monetizing off platforms with his own personality tech site, which is an impressive model for doing so.

In Creepers Versus Cameras, Creeps Win
crimefootage video passingthought
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Care-free creeper checks the car doors.

After our burglary last year I went a little nuts on the house camera system. After awhile it became clear that the building out of such an extensive surveillance system was probably done more as a hobby and frankly (and pathetically) no small degree of ego gratification since footage tends to equal great share content. It's hard to tell where my genuine appreciation for frustrating bad guys ends and my deplorable need for online attention begins though I imagine it's a pretty fuzzy one.

Burglar loots my room in May 2018. The recounting.

Creeper footage is not just great Facebook fodder though -- the potential of technology, and in particular off the shelf consumer technology, to combat crime problems once considered 'just the way things are' is a personal genuine fascination. 'Combating crime' is of course done on a number of different fronts starting most fundamentally with making sure civilizations have a robust and just social fabric that encourages empathy between humans, provides reasonable safety nets, authentically educates, and that they exhibit compassion throughout all of their institutions. This array is followed quickly by prevention techniques and then in some short order, effective control, penal, and rehabilitative measures.

We will have achieved utopia when the only crime left is that which is motivated by pure impulse or some degree of mental illness. And we will of course never reach utopia. The limitations of our human brains leaves this reality window open as an effective fact of life to criminals horrific and more benign, like creepers.

Creepers as I deem them are people who are grounded down so far in life that they take to preying on the unguarded by slinking about probing unlocked cars, garages, and yard gates for loose treasure or any measure of sustenance. My over-investment in cameras catch these people in action and it's incredible to see how far they will go and the risks that they take - to the extent that they consider what they do 'risky'. It seems that as home camera systems have begun to proliferat these folks have become somewhat ambivalent.

There seems to be good reason. Based on my own experience in all this, as well as on the postings of creeper videos by others in social media or within proprietary camera network (such as Ring's Neighbors app), some things have become apparent.

Ring is a mission-driven company with an app.

First, it's amazing to me how having a real-time eye on places using all this great technology rarely translates into an intercept or in-time capture of various perpetrators (like this rare exception which is awesome). I am not sure I have a good understanding of why just yet but it seems to boil down the simple fact that while our cameras can be 24/7, our attention kept in sync with them, cannot be. The burglar in my apartment last year rummaged almost 20 minutes in clear view of my camera and was not challenged the least by it, tangibly or even psychologically. As I toiled away at work, my camera app tried to notify me, repeatedly, but I didn't notice.

Other people consistently and almost exclusively post video in social media of porch pirate and other illicit activity, but it's always video after the fact by hours or even days.

So bad guys are learning that no matter what they do in front of the camera's eye, the chances of a homeowner bounding out with a shotgun are probably nil. The same goes for anyone part of a social media group. Hundreds of people can be notified but the chances of certain confrontation are still low enough to mute the creeper's concern.

In fact, this Allstate Mayhem ad pretty much exemplifies the futility of notification.

Even watching live is not enough sometimes.

It's one thing to not always be ready for intercept; most of us are not poised to attack criminals all day long after all. People kind of 'get' that camera systems exist just as much, if not more in reason, to document evidence of a crime, not trigger an instant armed response. But even on this point the cameras are not particularly aggravating to swines.

At least for the 'creeper' ilk, where clear criminal intent exists but no (serious) criminal event actually winds up taking place, it seems that law enforcement attention is practically non-existent. Again in my personal experience, but also by an observed lack of engagement by police or others in the online forums where these things get posted. One may have the idea that police would take a keen interest in any video showing someone prowling about and that they would breathlessly integrate those postings into their daily patrol efforts. But if they are they aren't telling.

So, bad guys in this era of the constant eye are learning that even as an erection of some giant red flag about their existence, it's a flag that will be ignored. All this means that at the end of the day we have non-confrontation and lack of follow up in their favor. Cameras be damned.

I am of course guilty of daring to muse about all of this with no clear solution to propose. Creepers are a dime a dozen, rarely impact anything seriously aside from an intangible sense of safety perhaps, and police and for that matter the time in the lives of ordinary people, are too strapped to take every creep action as seriously as this blog post sort of asserts.

Even so, I still find it incredible that as a society we now have the means to build a literal video database of inclined behavior, yet we seem uninterested in doing anything with it other than gaff over the audacity of certain people's behavior in social media.

Wrapping Up My 2019 New York Gallivant
NYC photos
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Here I sit about to check out of the hotel, thus ending my 2019 gallivant to New York.

Link to Google Photo Gallery

Nothing too exciting happened on this run. As seems to always be the case, my pleasure seems to come mostly from time spent in the very fabric of this cosmopolitan place. I'm pretty much unworthy of 'cosmopolitan' status myself but I still like floating among people who are. Maybe I live vicariously by placing myself in such a direct position.

The gallery link above is a slight pictorial (I needed to take more pictures, but didn't) with captions for each pic.

Is the De-Monetization of Breaking News At Hand?
openness groundnews livestreaming
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I'm jaunting around New York this weekend which gives me the opportunity to try out the Citizen App. It's an app that facilitates the ability of everyday people to transmit news of accidents, fires, and, more to the talent of Citizen App, the more granular things such as 'guy passed out on sidewalk'.

People could already do this on Facebook or Twitter, as examples, but the Citizen App brings all the tools into a focused single stream of people who both care as individuals around such events, and who also have the impulse to act as informing broadcaster. It's like Next Door but much more fluid and designed to be 'ready at the hand'.

The app allows you to broadcast immediately from the scene of an event, as does Periscope or Facebook or Instagram Live generally, which seems to challenge the monetization process typically associated to the acquisition and distribution of exclusive breaking news type events.

If everyone is broadcasting what would otherwise have taken a for-profit news team or an independent, paid, stringer might have, then what is the value of a for-profit news team or the would-be 'night crawlers' who make a living selling footage to TV stations and the like?

In the video I am posting here you can hear that the Citizen App broadcaster is approached by someone who mildly castigates him for broadcasting without the intent to make money. The male voice apparently gives the broadcaster his contact card and reminds the broadcaster that he isn't making any money using Citizen App.

The Ugly Truth About Blogging Today
blogging
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People have long stopped writing about what blogging or personal web pages should exist as in the age of social media today. But that doesn't stop my incessant contemplation or regurgitation on the topic, particularly since I wasn't as attuned as professional bloggers were during the transition period for me to be making running commentary. Mostly, if you were to be checking in on my blog or social media content during the implosion of the craft you saw a lot of pouting and angst -- but not much real analysis.

Today though I find myself asking whether or not I would coach someone to blog or to stick to missives and one-shot picture blasts on Instagram, should they have an impulse to share online at all (I say that because of my suspicion that the rise of the quieter and more private interpersonal web is now at hand -- social media is now about to go away, too).

The problem is that the default blogging concept -- or at least the one circa circa 2000 -- of logging regular updates about yourself and your life has ceded to social media techniques where the ever gratifying exposure and 'reaction action' is. It is easier and more efficient to post bits and pieces of yourself to a news feed that coalesces with the bits and pieces of others doing the same thing than it is to maintain the overhead of a blog. Unless you have a spectacular perspective or skill, nobody is going to take the effort to click out of a news feed to find and engage your random thoughts.

I know that the form itself is superior as topic matter becomes more exclusive and richer. But most people, it turns out, are basically living lives at an uninteresting baseline that doesn't justify blogging at a cadence greater than tweeting. It might 'work' for people who do not require the fuel of exposure or the engagement of audience and who may even thrive off the public solitude. But for the most part if you're still posting things to Facebook, you're for all intent and purposes blogging already, and likely quite happily.

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