Category Archives: Cameras

When was the last time the media hyped a “drone sighting”? I can’t even remember.

Reports to the FAA of “drone sightings”, used by Congress and the FAA to drive forth draconian remote identification and mandated national surveillance networks using drones, with the goal of pricing drone flying out of the public’s reach – were based on bad data and media hysterics, much of which was false reporting.

  • Remember the Aeromexico flight in late 2018 that had a collapsed nose cone? The media blamed that on a drone. Six months later the official investigation found it was due to a maintenance defect on the nose cone.
  • Remember the Gatwick Airport fiasco? The only confirmed drone sightings were of the fleet of surveillance drones operated by the Sussex Police over the airport.
  • Remember the temporary Newark Airport closure due to a “drone sighting”? That drone report was from 20 miles away from the airport and may not have even been a drone at all.

Take a look at this – drone sightings have magically disappeared: Drone Sightings: The Actual Non-Hyped Numbers Analyzed (Graphs, Trends, etc.)

After awhile, when the FAA isn’t stealing Youtube content, they seem to have been busy making up fake drone reports to justify a remote ID proposal that mandates all drones be connected to the Internet cloud, in real time, and used as part of a massive national surveillance program, collecting imagery and telemetry and potentially sending it to China. Brilliant. Not like any drones would so something like that.

The FAA’s primary goal is to make hobby flying of radio control model aircraft so expensive and cumbersome as to eliminate it entirely. The reason is to clear the low altitude airspace for AmazonGoogleUPS delivery drones. The FAA asserts that it and it alone owns the airspace in your front and backyards from the ground up. Literally, the airspace below your head when you stand outside is controlled by the FAA and they intend to use it for corporate delivery and surveillance networks. (See my comments to see how that works.)

Web cams remain in short supply

The video-call boom means that, months into the pandemic, it is still hard to buy many webcam models.

Source: No end to Covid-19 webcam shortage – BBC News

I suppose you might be able to use a USB-equipped traditional video camcorder, or an older HDV video camera with firewire port and firewire adaptor on your computer. I’ve done that in the past but no idea if would be suitable now. I still have my old HDV camcorder though.

Facial recognition’s 96 percent false positive rate

Close enough for government work, eh?

“If we would use the software only [to identify subjects], we would not solve the case 95-97 percent of the time,” Craig said. “That’s if we relied totally on the software, which would be against our current policy … If we were just to use the technology by itself, to identify someone, I would say 96 percent of the time it would misidentify.”

Source: Detroit police chief cops to 96-percent facial recognition error rate | Ars Technica

YouTube reviewer Sean Cannell made $40,000 in April from Amazon

This is why there are numerous review channels, especially for high value items like cameras – affiliate marketing is lucrative:

Sean Cannell makes tens of thousands of dollars a month as a professional Amazon reviewer. As part of the Amazon Affiliate program, Cannell reviews camera gear on his Think Media YouTube channel and makes a cut of every sale those reviews generate on Amazon. Here’s what his life is like.

Source: YouTube reviewer Sean Cannell made $40,000 in April from Amazon

Continue reading YouTube reviewer Sean Cannell made $40,000 in April from Amazon

Lenovo Mirage Camera With Daydream VR180 Review

Source: Lenovo Mirage Camera With Daydream VR180 Review  – Guide to VR 3D Photos and Video

This VR camera, shooting VR 180 3D, looks very interesting. I enjoy shooting and viewing 3D still and video photography. This item could make it easier to create – and view 3D content. Ever since YouTube dropped their online 3D video player, viewing opportunities have migrated to VR viewing systems. But shooting 3D for VR is hard – VR 180 is an excellent solution.

Total information surveillance society

Law enforcement agencies are now using systems, even mobile devices, that automatically and quickly perform facial recognition of subjects. This data is being stored into databases to create dossiers that could eventually track all of us as we go about our daily lives.

Without restrictive limits in place, it could be relatively easy for the government and private companies to build databases of images of the vast majority of people living in the United States and use those databases to identify and track people in real time as they move from place to place throughout their daily lives. As researchers at Georgetown posited in 2016, one out of two Americans is already in a face recognition database accessible to law enforcement.

Source: Face Off: Law Enforcement Use of Face Recognition Technology | Electronic Frontier Foundation

The tech industry arrogantly believes everything in life is a tech problem that can be solved with the application of more tech. Systems like this, however, will always be plagued with significant false results. At some point, you will hear the tech promoters say something along the lines of “that is the price we must pay to be safe”. Watch and see.

Autonomous self driving cars’ sensor arrays may be used for intensive public surveillance

Autonomous self-driving cars are continuously surveying their surroundings using an array of sensors and recording this to memory.

In the event of an accident of malfunction, this data can be retrieved for analysis.

However, this data could also be retrieved as surveillance data – even when the vehicle itself has not been in an crash.

Consider, a bike versus human driven car crash at an intersection. Two other vehicles at the intersection are autonomous vehicles and they have recorded the entire scenario, in detail, including subject and object positions and travel speeds.

All of this data is available to the police. Police agencies that today operate their own license plate readers and intersection surveillance cameras might choose to contract with autonomous vehicle companies for use as public data collection systems. When your autonomous vehicle is connected to your EV charging station, it might communicate over WiFi to upload collected data to a master database.

This is not particularly difficult or far fetched and police may already have the legal authority to pursue this collection.

Source: Why cops won’t need a warrant to pull the data off your autonomous car | Ars Technica

Vayyer’s 3D Sensors for home applications, sensors that see through walls

Sensors could also be utilized for advanced security and safety features in case of fire or intruder. AlertTracks the real-time movement of individuals inside the home and pinpoints and locates people in a structural fire or if home security has been breached.

Source: 3D Sensors To Make Your Home Smarter And Safer (Image of IC, above, is from the Vayyar web site.)

Their web site does not  yet reveal much about what their technology is about. Presumably their technology uses low power wireless signals with powerful software to interpret reflections. This would enable them to provide a “3D sensor” that sees through walls, providing position information. Perhaps like Kinect but using wireless RF signals.

If my interpretation is correct, this technology could have many useful applications in construction, repair and perhaps even imaging of humans.

Update: A separate tech article from a year ago, describing a product that uses Vayyar technology, suggests the above is exactly what this is about. Basically, this is a low power radar imaging system technology.

The Internet of Things is all about sensors, data collection, data analysis, and actuators/stepper motors and what not. The Vayyar technology adds a new capability to sensing by seeing through surfaces in 3D.

Hacking embedded systems: Camera hacking the Canon PowerShots

Source: CHDK Wiki | Fandom powered by Wikia

If you have a Canon PowerShot camera, a great and fun software hack is available – for free – called the Canon Hack Development Kit or just CHDK.

CHDK is software that runs on your Canon PowerShot camera to add additional features and capabilities; which features are supported depends on which PowerShot camera is used.

When I had a Canon PowerShot SX1, I used CHDK especially for its motion detection feature. This hack added a feature to detect motion in a scene and then fire the shutter – which was perfect for photographing lightning. Yes, its detection is so fast that you could use it to photograph lightning bolts.

In addition to a set of features added by CHDK to the PowerShot cameras, CHDK also adds “scripting”. This is a feature that let’s you write a set of commands (similar to writing a program) to use and operate various camera features.

The hack is installed by copying files to a specially prepared mini SD card. When the camera is turned on, the hack software is pre-loaded, together with the camera’s own, original software.

I sold my SX1 (a great camera for macro shots due to its macro feature and small sensor size). Since then, I have missed being able to play with CHDK. I am thinking about buying a used Powershot with a larger 1/1.7″ sensor so I can play with CHDK again 🙂