Spy Camera Scenario: Simple CCTV for a Technophobe

Scenario- As a lifelong technophobe, phrases like “motion detection”, “video compression” and “connectivity” are about as appealling to me as reheated trifle. Unfortunately however, I may soon be forced to confront them. A recent spate of break-ins on my street has led me and my neighbours to be concerned about our security, and we have accepted that it is now time to invest in a basic home security system. The budget is limited though, so it will have to be simple enough for a luddite like myself to get up and running! Not only that, but there are severe limitations on space for any recorder. Looking at the options out there I must say I’m a bit daunted- is there a simple CCTV system you could recommend that would fit the bill?

4 camera home cctv system with 960h DVR

Our complete CCTV systems include everything you need to get them up and running

Continue reading

CCTV News: London Met Police to trial body worn cameras

This post from May last year has been updated to cover recent events in America and France

In one of the first moves of it’s kind for UK forces, London’s Metropolitan police has started a trial scheme to equip many of it’s officers with body worn cameras. Two fast response teams from each of the city’s boroughs will be equipped with the compact cameras, with 500 being rolled out across the force. The kits- purpose built by self defense equipment firm Taser- include tiny pinhole cameras that mount to the lapel or the frames of glasses, as well as a separate unit that controls and stores recordings. A central archive then allows the footage to be easily recalled for use as evidence.

Met Police officers demonstrate the new body worn cameras.

Met Police officers demonstrate the new body worn cameras. Image: Yui Mok/PA via The Guardian

Continue reading

6 of the strangest farm animals and produce you will ever see

A Silkworm farm

A Silkworm farmer in India image via

It’s the time of year for new life and switching on one of our farming kits ready for lambing and foaling season. There’s all manner of preparation and activity happening on British farms right now so we thought we’d take a look at some farms and animals you may not be so familiar with.

There are a whole host of busy farmers out there getting very unusual produce from animals you would never even think of farming, let’s take a look at a few.


Elephants

Elephants are farmed on the Black Ivory farm in Thailand, not for their ivory or any type of hunting but for their dung. Yes, the Black Ivory Coffee Elephant dung farm collects the droppings of these wise and gentle beasts as they mosey around the farm eating coffee beans. The theory is that the elephants process the coffee beans by digesting them which removes bitterness and improves flavour. However if you are tempted to try this particular roast I am sorry to inform you that it is probably the most expensive coffee in the world costing upwards of $1,100 a kilo (around $50 a cup) and is only available at four select resorts in the whole world. Bad luck there.

Myotonic Goats

Thanks to YouTube many of us are now familiar with the Myotonic or “fainting” goat. These little chaps have a strange mechanism in their bodies causing all their muscles to freeze up for around ten seconds when panicked meaning they topple over in rather an humourous fashion. This amusing quirk is probably the main reason they are farmed now, for our amusement, but originally they were farmed for a rather more cruel purpose. When farmers had large flocks of animals in fields and a predator would approach the fainting goats would get scared and collapse meaning they were easy prey for the predator and the rest of the flock could escape. Using the poor little fellas for a decoy is very cruel indeed and I am glad to say nowadays we farm them just for slapstick comedy purposes.

Swiftlet Birds

Mainly found in the tropic and sub-tropic regions of the world this small bird produces what is probably the most highly priced farm produce in the world; it’s nests. The nests are believed, particularly in Chinese culture, to have medicinal qualities able to improve many health issues from one’s digestion to singing voice. Swiftlet birds are farmed in huge caves where they make hundreds of nests (each generally taking around 35 days) which are then harvested. The main use of the nests is bird’s nest soup, a prized delicacy where the nest is dissolved in hot water and eaten, I have to say it doesn’t appeal to me too much but people have been eating it for 400 years so perhaps they are onto something. My singing voice could probably use some help too.

A huge mass of Swiftlet Bird nests image via

Leeches

Easily the least appealing farm animal on our list today but the humble leech has doing it’s bit to help mankind since the medieval times. Of course we don’t prescribe them in quite the way we used to, but a farm in Swansea is still producing 60,000 leeches a year for medical research in Europe. At one point owning your own leech was seen as aspirational and anyone who had to borrow one from a doctor would be seen as being of a lower status. While they have waned in popularity these days the industry of producing them for laboratory research and experiments is worth well over a million pounds a year and they seem to be still helping us out with our medicine all these years later.

Scientists at work in the Biopharm Leech Farm in Swansea. Photo: Biopharm Leeches

Scientists at work in the Biopharm Leech Farm in Swansea. image via

Virus Chickens

Arguably the least appetising edible creature on our list we come now to; Virus Chickens. These particular Chickens are specially farmed for use in laboratory research to learn about diseases such as influenza and their accompanying vaccines. The chickens have their eggs propagated with viruses at the embryonic stage allowing scientists to monitor the viruses growth and progress as they eggs grow. This then allows the scientists to extract vaccines from these eggs which help us all to stay healthy. Thanks Virus Chickens.

Spider Goats

Not in fact a new animal superhero, the Spider Goat is a genetically modified goat which has had Spider genes added to it meaning it’s milk contains the proteins to produce spider silk (it does not unfortunately have 8 legs). Definitely the strangest animal on our list the Spider Goat’s milk can be spun into a material ten times stronger than steel which is used for experimental scientific purposes. Perhaps even more amazing than the goat itself is the fact that it’s silk has been successfully combined with human skin in an experiment to make bullet proof human skin. If, like me you find this hard to believe you can find details here

So there we go, I feel like we’ve all learned something today. If this has inspired you or you have unusual farming ideas of your own, one of our farming camera kits will help you keep an eye on your critters. After all the last thing we want is escaped Elephants or Spider Goats roaming around.

 

Spycam Scenario: Trouble shooting wireless farm CCTV

Scenario: I run a medium sized sheep farm, and after struggling for years to stringently monitor my Ewes 24/7 during foaling season, I finally saw the light and purchased one of your wireless 4 camera farm CCTV kits to help me keep an eye on them. It has already been a massive help, letting me monitor one of my sheds from right in the farmhouse, however I appear to have a bad signal on two of the cameras. This is confusing, as the distance to each of the cameras is around the same, it’s just how they’re positioned around the barns that is different. Can you help me figure out what could be causing these wireless problems?

Solution: Whilst it allows CCTV systems with much more flexible installations, there are a few unique things that can cause Wireless CCTV issues that it’s important to be aware of before setting up a system. First things first, it’s important to go through this checklist to make sure the area you want to monitor is suitable.

  • Power must be available at both the camera’s location, and where you will install the receiver
  • The total distance in a direct line-of-sight between the transmitter and receiver’s aerials must not be longer than 300m
  • There must be a clear line of sight between the transmitter’s aerial and the receiver’s
  • Neither device should be located underneath or in the vicinity of overhead power lines

In addition to this, there are a few common problems that can arise when choosing camera and aerial locations, but these can often be overcome by adjusting your set up slightly:

Wireless - What Won't work-01 Continue reading

Security trends from CES 2015

Earlier this month saw a migration of the world’s tech journalists and bloggers to the barren, sun baked wastelands of Las Vegas, meaning only one thing- it was time for the annual Consumer Electronics Show. The behemoth of a trade show is the first opportunity in the year for the major manufacturers to show off their wears for the coming year. Everything from concept pieces to market-ready products were on display at CES 2015, so it was one of the best places to gauge upcoming trends for everything tech. Regrettably, the blogging budget here at SpyCameraCCTV towers doesn’t quite cover all expenses paid trips to Vegas (especially once Roulette losses are taken into account), but not to worry, as I am here to digest all of the news from the show, and pick out some of the biggest tech and security trends for this year!

curie

Intel’s Curie microcontroller module. (image via Intel)

Continue reading

Are Council and Police Funding Cuts Crippling CCTV?

Just a quick one today, as I thought I’d highlight & share a great article on by the BBC that I’m sure lots of you guys will find interesting. In a detailed report for their magazine section entitled “The end of the CCTV era” they go into detail about how the post-austeritylocal council and police funding cuts have resulted in a slew of cutbacks to public CCTV monitoring across the country. Examples include forces in Denbighshire, Powys, Derby and even metropolitan Birmingham, where CCTV cameras will no longer have round the clock monitoring.

CCTV is ubiquitous on our high streets, but is facing cutbacks across the country. image via

Forces understandably face pressure to make savings, with a significant weight of cuts falling on their unprotected budgets. To many forces, the “back room” CCTV expense is an easy target to axe when compared to front line assets- they need to keep the bobbies on the beat! Unfortunately though, forces across the country have increasingly been relying on CCTV as one of the primary ways to gather evidence, with an astonishing 95% of Scotland Yard’s murder convictions using some form of video evidence. Proponents of cutting back CCTV- including many privacy advocates- point to the studies that suggest it has little effect on crime statistics on a city wide level, but there is much less information on how beneficial it is to conviction rates. In addition there is solid evidence that it definitely helps cut down crimes against property such as car theft and vandalism.

One thing is for certain though- the fewer police run CCTV systems are in operation, the more police and victims will have to rely on privately operated home and business security systems to gather evidence.

So…an understandable necessity of our national belt-tightening, or a shortsighted budgeting exercise- what do you think? Get in touch to let us know!

Expanding your bird box camera kit

As we often like to mention, our tiny Bird Box Camera Kits are an ideal Christmas gift, and fly off the shelves in this season, ready to be installed before the birds move back into nesting boxes in the Spring. And now that we’ve upgraded each camera’s sensor to 700TVL they are more popular than ever! As people get their camera’s up and running, one question that we’re often asked is whether it is possible to get a second camera that can run using the same system? This would allow them to have multiple boxes in one garden, or even have them installed in a larger container such as a Rabbit run. Luckily, this is indeed possible, but the best way to achieve it depends on the type of camera you are using…

Nest Box Cam with Night Vision and 20m AV cable, Perfect Bird Box Pack

Our wired bird box camera kit

Continue reading

Spy Camera Scenario: Who’s sneaking down my chimney?

Scenario: I have a security situation that seems to reoccur every year, and I am at my wit’s end to find a way to prevent it. Every year without fail, in the last week of December someone has been breaking into home and leaving things behind- seemingly as a way of taunting me. After the first couple of years I began leaving little traps to see if the doors or windows had been opened, without any success. This leaves only one possibility- that the nefarious intruder has been somehow gaining access through my chimney via the fireplace in my living room. They have even taken to eating mince pies that I had left out for myself in the room. Is it possible to use CCTV or spy cameras to catch this intruder in the act?

Mince pies going walkabout? You might need some CCTV! image via

Continue reading

The perfect Christmas gift for wildlife lovers

Naturally, it’s that time of year again when we panic to look for that perfect gift idea- the unique and quirky present that shows you know what they really like. Well if you are looking for something a bit different then we may have the ideal thing! For 2 years running now, our most popular product by far has been our wireless bird box camera kit- the ideal Christmas gift for wildlife lovers, gardeners or kids with an interest in animals.

Wireless Bird Box Camera with Night Vision - Perfect for your Garden

Our ever-popular bird box kit!

The tiny camera can be easily fixed to the interior of any bird box, birdhouse or nesting box, where it transmits wireless video and audio back to the receiver in your house. This then plugs straight into your TV, letting you watch live images of the brooding birds and chicks in your garden, all from the comfort of your sofa. Because the camera uses wireless transmission, all you have to do is connect it to the included power supply- no need to run trailing cables to your TV! Despite the camera’s tried-and-tested design being as popular as ever, we’ve gone all out this Christmas to add a couple of improvements to make sure you get the most for your money… Continue reading

7 Reasons to avoid the high street this Black Friday

It’s that time of year again, the day after Thanksgiving in America and time for certain shoppers worldwide to go into a frenzy, literally in some cases. We thought in this week’s blog we would take a look at Black Friday and how it has grown to the extreme shopping event we know today.

Traditionally the first shopping day after Thanksgiving in America; “Black Friday” is so named because retailers would be swamped by shoppers on this particular day, making huge sales and be “in the black”. We start off with a compilation of some typical Black Friday madness showing the huge numbers of bargain hunters allowing the stores to make these huge profits.

Continue reading