Tag Archives: detect

I Spy With My Little Eye – But iSpy Open Source Webcam Security Goes One Better

imageI watch you – you watch me. And, we all live together – happily – sort of. We live in a surveillance society, and whether that’s a good thing, or not, is open to much debate. We’ve discussed this issue here a number of times and, the consensus of opinion as expressed by readers is – Thumbs Down! – to surveillance in public spaces.

From a personal perspective, I have to admit to conflicting emotions. As a recipient of a  Neighborhood Watch award (back in the mists of time), I’m a strong supporter of the philosophy that we all share a responsibility to safeguard our personal environment. And, personal Web Cam surveillance, it seems to me, is an acceptable defense against hooligans intent on causing havoc.

I am NOT in favor, however, of broad scale deployment of security cameras by law enforcement based on the theory that doing so reduces crime. Survey after survey concludes that this is an urban myth. Worse yet, voyeuristic surveillance, such as this, is an assault on personal freedom.

But, on to how you can take advantage of a superb free (Open Source) Web Cam surveillance solution that includes a ton of built-in features. iSpy, last updated January 25, 2012, is an open source application which uses your webcam(s) and microphone(s) to detect, and record, motion and sound. And, a lot more besides.

Typical usage – click on graphic to expand.

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Fast facts:

Connect and monitor as many cameras and microphones as you like. Import and export object lists to share with colleagues.

Connect multiple computers in a group and manage over the web.

Install iSpy Server and publish your webcam to other instances of iSpy, over your network and to the web.

Detect, highlight, track and record movement.

Detect loitering.

Customize movement detection areas on your cameras.

Detect and record sound.

Run any program or send an email or SMS alert when movement or sound is detected.

Run any program or send an email or SMS alert when movement or sound is not detected (monitor machinery or staff activity).

Receive email movement alerts with attached frame grab images from your webcams.

Periodically receive image grabs via email from your webcams.

Connect to any device, even webcams attached to other computers with JPEG, MJPEG, IP Cam, webcam and AVI file support.

Watch live and recorded media over the web (through this website) and also via mobile devices.

Access and control iSpy remotely.

Password protect iSpy and hide it in the System Tray.

Schedule sound and video capturing to start and stop automatically.

Time-lapse record from any camera.

Motion track and count moving objects.

Connect multiple instances of iSpy and iSpy server running on different computers to this website and view all aggregated media online.

Create groups, invite friends and share access to your webcams and microphones.

The following review is based on an older version of  iSpy –  January, 2011. The version currently running on my system.

Setting up iSpy while relatively uncomplicated, was not quite as easy as I would have liked. On the other hand, additional features often lead to more complexity.

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As the following screen captures indicate, you’ll be presented with a smorgasbord of fine tuning choices.

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Languages: English, Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, Deutsch, Español, Française, Hrvatski, Italiano, Magyar, Nederlands, Русский, Polski, Português and 中文

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7. Microsoft .Net framework will be installed if required. Windows media player 9 VCM codecs – will be installed if required.

Download at: iSpy Connect

iSpy user guide available here.

I’ve tested this application extensively and overall, I’ve been very pleased with its performance. If you’re looking for a free (Open Source), Web Cam surveillance solution, iSpy may be just what you’ve been searching for.

If you don’t need all of the features built into iSpy, (some of the bells and whistles are just that – bells and whistles), I’ve previously reviewed Secure Cam, an open source surveillance application which should meet your basic  surveillance needs.

Rise Cam, an application also covered in that review, is no longer available.

1 Comment

Filed under downloads, Free Surveillance Applications, Freeware, Software

Who’s Tracking Your Internet Browsing? – Find Out With Ghostery

imagePicture this – you’re at your favorite grocery store and you can’t help but notice – no matter which aisle you’re in, you’re actions are being observed surreptitiously by a herd of people.

Each one carries a clipboard, in order to keep track of everything you throw into your grocery cart. On top of that, every grocery product you look at is noted and written down. Sound a little farfetched?

Alright, then try this – you’re cruising on CNET’s (download.com) Windows home page, and your every action is being observed – every action you take, every motion you make,  is noted and written down. Sound a little farfetched?

While the first scenario is just my imagination in overdrive, the second  certainly isn’t.

If you had Ghostery, the Firefox and Chrome add-on (which is designed to protect your privacy, by identifying who’s tracking your browsing) installed, you’d have access to the following information.

Screen shot of the trackers on CNET’s Windows home page.

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Screen shot of the CBS Interactive individual links.

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I’m not focusing on CNET particularly – you can expect to encounter this type of tracking on virtually every Web site you visit. This intrusive behavior is common, and should be expected.

It shouldn’t be common, but with little resistance being offered by the “sheeple”,  and a failure by regulatory authorities to enact appropriate consumer protection laws, we can expect privacy intrusions , like this, to accelerate. How sad is that?

If you object to this type of intrusion into your privacy, then consider installing Ghostery, and give these intrusive jerks the heave-ho. It may not be a perfect solution but, it’s a step in the right direction.

Fast facts:

DETECT – Ghostery sees the “invisible” web, detecting trackers, web bugs, pixels, and beacons placed on web pages by Facebook, Google Analytics, and over 400 other ad networks, behavioral data providers, web publishers – all companies interested in your activity.

LEARN – After showing you who operates behind the scenes, Ghostery also gives you the opportunity to learn more about each company it identifies, including links to their privacy policy and opt-out options.

CONTROL – Ghostery allows you to block scripts from companies that you don’t trust, delete local shared objects, and even block images and iframes.

Download for Firefox at: Mozilla.

Download for Chrome at:Google.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

11 Comments

Filed under Browser add-ons, Browsers, Chrome, downloads, Firefox, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Privacy, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

Free PC Decrapifier – Bloatware Begone!

imageYou might think that a reader comment that goes something like this, is unusual – “I don’t know how this program ended up on my computer. One day, it just showed up.” Surprisingly, this is not an unusual comment.

In almost every case, the reader is referring to the trial ware (crapware, bloatware), commonly preinstalled on major manufacturers computers. This is the type of thing that drives users buggy, since trying to figure out how to get rid of trial ware is not as easy as it should be.

Luckily, there is a free application designed to specifically uninstall these annoyances – and that’s PC Decrapifier. It’s been a couple of years since I last posted on this terrific application, so today, I’ve taken another look.

The program does not need to be installed; simply run the executable. Or, if you prefer, you can run this application from a USB drive. You choose the items to be removed from a preconfigured list, and you can create a restore point (highly recommended), to undo any changes.

Note: Since PC Decrapifier is written in a scripting language, you may get an security application warning. This warning (if you receive it), can safely be ignored.

The application, while designed to uninstall crapware, has additional functionality – as the following screen capture suggests. More on this in a moment.

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Anytime changes are being considered, creating a restore point is always good practice.

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In the following screen shot, you’ll notice the application has detected an application it considers crapware on my machine.

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The following screen shot illustrates a relatively unknown aspect of PC Decrapifier – its ability to act as a bulk uninstaller. The user simply checks off those applications which are no longer needed; clicks “Next”, and the application will launch the appropriate uninstallers. A slightly better solution than the Add/Remove Program applet when uninstalling more than one application, I think.

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Working with PC Decrapifier requires no particular skill. The application is “follow the bouncing ball” straightforward.

The following is the current list of software and items that PC Decrapifier can detect and remove. The list is generated from the items the program detects on your computer, and you then choose the items to be removed by the program automatically. What could be simpler than that?

Targeted applications:

AOL Install
AOL UK AOL 9.0, UK Version
AOL US AOL 9.0, US Version
BigFix
Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo XI
Corel Photo Album 6
Corel Snapfire Plus SE
Corel WordPerfect
Dell Search Assistant
Dell URL Assistant
Digital Content Portal
Earthlink Setup Files
Earthlink Setup Files
ESPN Motion
Get High Speed Internet!
Google Desktop
Google Desktop
Google Toolbar
Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer
HP Rhapsody
Internet Service Offers Launcher
Internet Service Offers Launcher
McAfee
Microsoft Office Activation Assistant 2007
Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007
Microsoft Office Standard Edition 2003
Microsoft Office Standard Edition 2003
MS Plus Digital Media Installer
MS Plus Photo Story 2LE
MusicMatch Jukebox
MusicMatch Music Services
muvee autoProducer 5.0
My HP Games
MyWinLocker
Norton AntiSpam
Norton AntiSpam
Norton AntiSpam
Norton AntiVirus 2005
Norton Ghost 10.0
Norton Internet Security
Norton Internet Security
Norton Protection Center
Norton Security Center
Norton Symantec Live Update A common component of Norton Symantec products
Office 2003 Trial Assistant
Orange Internet
PC-cillin Internet Security 12 Trend Micro
QuickBooks Trial
Quicken 2006 Possible Trial Version
Remove Empty Program Folders Looks for and removes empty ‘Program Files’ folders
Reset IE Home and Search Pages
Roxio Express Labeler
Roxio MyDVD LE
Roxio RecordNow
Sonic DLA
Sonic RecordNow Audio
Sonic RecordNow Copy
Sonic Update Manager
Tiscali Internet
Travelocity Gadget
Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 14
Vongo
Vongo
Wanadoo Europe Installer
Wild Tangent Games
Yahoo! Music Jukebox
Yahoo! Toolbar for Internet Explorer

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, and Win 7.

Download at: Download.com

Note: PC Decrapifier is free for personal use only. If the application is used in a commercial environment “you will require a commercial license. The cost is $20 per “technician” (not per PC)”.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

6 Comments

Filed under Computer Tools, downloads, Freeware, Portable Applications, Software, Uninstall Tools, USB, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Free PC Decrapifier – Use It As A Bulk Uninstaller

imageYou might think that a reader comment that goes something like this, is unusual – “I don’t know how this program ended up on my computer. One day, it just showed up.” Surprisingly, this is not an unusual comment.

In almost every case, the reader is referring to the trialware (crapware, bloatware), commonly preinstalled on major manufacturers computers. This is the type of thing that drives users buggy, since trying to figure out how to get rid of trialware is not as easy as it should be.

Luckily, there is a free application designed to specifically uninstall these annoyances – and that’s PC Decrapifier. It’s been a couple of years since I last posted on this terrific application, so today, I’ve taken another look.

The program does not need to be installed; simply run the executable. Or, if you prefer, you can run this application from a USB drive. You choose the items to be removed from a preconfigured list, and optionally, you can also create a restore point (highly recommended), to undo any changes.

Note: Since PC Decrapifier is written in a scripting language, you may get an security application warning. This warning (if you receive it), can safely be ignored.

The application, while designed to uninstall crapware, has additional functionality – as the following screen capture suggests. More on this in a moment.

image

Anytime changes are being considered, creating a restore point is always good practice.

image

In the following screen shot, you’ll notice the application has detected an application it considers crapware on my machine.

image

The following screen shot illustrates a relatively unknown aspect of PC Decrapifier – its ability to act as a bulk uninstaller. The user simply checks off those applications which are no longer needed; clicks “Next”, and the application will launch the appropriate uninstallers. A slightly better solution than the Add/Remove Program applet when uninstalling more than one application, I think.

image

image

Working with PC Decrapifier requires no particular skill. The application is “follow the bouncing ball” straightforward.

The following is the current list of software and items that PC Decrapifier can detect and remove. The list is generated from the items the program detects on your computer, and you then choose the items to be removed by the program automatically. What could be simpler than that?

Targeted applications:

AOL Install
AOL UK AOL 9.0, UK Version
AOL US AOL 9.0, US Version
BigFix
Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo XI
Corel Photo Album 6
Corel Snapfire Plus SE
Corel WordPerfect
Dell Search Assistant
Dell URL Assistant
Digital Content Portal
Earthlink Setup Files
Earthlink Setup Files
ESPN Motion
Get High Speed Internet!
Google Desktop
Google Desktop
Google Toolbar
Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer
HP Rhapsody
Internet Service Offers Launcher
Internet Service Offers Launcher
McAfee
Microsoft Office Activation Assistant 2007
Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007
Microsoft Office Standard Edition 2003
Microsoft Office Standard Edition 2003
MS Plus Digital Media Installer
MS Plus Photo Story 2LE
MusicMatch Jukebox
MusicMatch Music Services
muvee autoProducer 5.0
My HP Games
MyWinLocker
Norton AntiSpam
Norton AntiSpam
Norton AntiSpam
Norton AntiVirus 2005
Norton Ghost 10.0
Norton Internet Security
Norton Internet Security
Norton Protection Center
Norton Security Center
Norton Symantec Live Update A common component of Norton Symantec products
Office 2003 Trial Assistant
Orange Internet
PC-cillin Internet Security 12 Trend Micro
QuickBooks Trial
Quicken 2006 Possible Trial Version
Remove Empty Program Folders Looks for and removes empty ‘Program Files’ folders
Reset IE Home and Search Pages
Roxio Express Labeler
Roxio MyDVD LE
Roxio RecordNow
Sonic DLA
Sonic RecordNow Audio
Sonic RecordNow Copy
Sonic Update Manager
Tiscali Internet
Travelocity Gadget
Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 14
Vongo
Vongo
Wanadoo Europe Installer
Wild Tangent Games
Yahoo! Music Jukebox
Yahoo! Toolbar for Internet Explorer

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7.

Download at: Download.com

Note: PC Decrapifier is free for personal use only.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

13 Comments

Filed under Cleaning Your Computer, downloads, Freeware, Software, Uninstall Tools, USB, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Kick the Crap out of PC Crap with Free PC Decrapifier!

Is your Windows XP or Vista machine loaded with preinstalled crap? Tired of trying to figure out how to get rid of it? Then you’re in luck. Read on.

PC Decrapifier is a free uninstall utility that is specifically designed to remove nearly all of that trial and promotional software that’s been driving you buggy.

The program does not need to be installed, simply unzip and run, or if you prefer you can run this application from a USB drive. You choose the items to be removed from a list, and you can also create a restore point (highly recommended), to undo any changes.

The following is the current list of software and items that PC Decrapifier can detect and remove. The list is generated from the items the program detects on your computer, and you then choose the items to be removed by the program automatically. What could be simpler than that?

Targeted Applications:

  • AOL Install
  • AOL UK
  • AOL US
  • Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo XI
  • Corel Photo Album 6
  • Corel Snapfire Plus SE
  • Corel WordPerfect
  • Dell Search Assistant
  • Dell URL Assistant
  • OpenDNS Blog
  • Desktop Icons Removes Unnecessary Desktop Icons
  • Digital Content Portal
  • Earthlink Setup Files
  • ESPN Motion
  • Get High Speed Internet!
  • Google Desktop
  • Google Toolbar
  • HP Rhapsody
  • Internet Service Offers Launcher
  • McAfee
  • Microsoft Office Activation Assistant 2007
  • Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007
  • Microsoft Office Standard Edition 2003
  • MS Plus Digital Media Installer
  • MS Plus Photo Story 2LEMusicMatch Jukebox
  • MusicMatch Music Services
  • muvee autoProducer 5.0
  • NetZero Installers
  • Norton AntiSpam
  • Norton AntiVirus 2005
  • Norton Ghost 10.0
  • Norton Internet Security
  • Norton Internet Security
  • Norton Protection Center
  • Norton Security Center
  • Norton Symantec Live Update
  • Office 2003 Trial Assistant
  • Orange Internet
  • PC-cillin Internet Security 12 Trend Micro
  • QuickBooks Trial
  • Reset IE Home and Search Pages
  • Roxio Express LabelerRoxio Easy Media Creator
  • Roxio MyDVD LE
  • Roxio RecordNow
  • Sonic DLA
  • Sonic RecordNow Audio
  • Sonic RecordNow Copy
  • Sonic Update Manager
  • Tiscali Internet
  • Travelocity Gadget
  • Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 14
  • Unnecessary Startup Items
  • Vongo
  • Wanadoo Europe Installer
  • Wild Tangent Games
  • Yahoo! Music Jukebox
  • Yahoo! Toolbar for Internet Explorer

Download at: Download.com

17 Comments

Filed under Cleaning Your Computer, Freeware, Portable Applications, Slow Computer, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools