Not long ago Americans were glued to their TV viewing seats, watching video images of huge meteors streaking across Russian skies. What made it all the more amazing was the source of some of these images: Dash mounted video cameras owned – not by law enforcement types – but by civilians. Is there a future dash cam for your RV?
What's a dash cam? It's a small electronic gadget that records motion pictures, and at times, audio. "Dash cam" may be a misnomer, because more dash cams are mounted on sun visors and windshields than on dashboards, but the moniker works.
Why would you want to have a dash cam? Well, they've proven to be great for recording meteor incursions, but they have some other practical uses as well. For example, you're moving on down the road in your motorhome, when out of the blue, some yo-yo on a motorcycle (or car, truck, whathaveyou) cuts you off, slaps on the brakes, and woops, now its a matter of "He said, she said." Or is it, "Dash cam says . . ." which holds a lot more weight when it comes to settling accident statements. Here's another: You come back to the campground and find somebody's tried to break into your rig. Your itty bitty dash cam, cleverly stashed up and pretty much out-of-sight, caught images of the vandals and their auto license plate when they rolled in front of your rig. Or it could be you're putting together a video presentation to show the folks back home of your travels – a little bit of "road footage" can make quite an impression.
So where do you shop for a dash cam, and what do you look for? Let's take the last question first. There are several criteria to keep in mind when dash cam shopping.
Video quality: The higher the definition, the better the picture. Shoot for at least 720p or 1080p or higher. Asking for reasonably high definition imaging doesn't automatically translate to a high cost.
Recording angle: A wider image is typically better than a narrower or telephoto-type image. Not all manufacturers list the lens angle.
How well does it hide? Having a discreet dash cam is a good idea. Small is good, and don't pick a dash cam with a jazzy, "look at me!" color. Tucking it up on the sun visor can make the thing seemingly vanish. Sticking it on the windshield with a suction cup begs for trouble.
Power cable length: Make sure the power cable is long enough to reach from your desired mounting location to a "hot all the time" 12-volt power outlet. And a longer cable is better – you'll want to route the cable around corners, not have it drag down in front of the windshield.
Continuous loop/cycling: Since a dash cam records onto a microchip or memory card, when the card is "full up," it should automatically start recording over the "oldest" material on the card. Consider whether the memory is large enough to keep a reasonably long record. Remember, the cam should be on 24/7 to guard your rig.
LED lights: Some dash cams come with LED lights, said to help them make a better recording in darkness. More likely those lights will glare off the windshield and end up creating image problems. Since the LEDs really do little do improve night shots (they're too dim), make sure if the dash cam has LEDs that they can be switched off. Also, LEDs will simply call attention to your dash cam – not something you want as a security feature.
Look before you leap: When shopping, it's good to review videos shot with the model you're evaluating. If you can, it's best to look at a video on the Internet from an end-user, rather than the manufacturer. Pump up the video to "full screen." While most all dash cams will produce a reasonable image in daylight, the real test is what kind of image is rendered at night.
Where can you buy a dash cam? Presently most dash cams are imported from Asia, China, Korea, and Taiwan being the giants in the manufacturing. There are so many flooding the markets, it's difficult to keep them all straight. You'll find them retailed all over on the Internet. But where to buy?
One dash cam expert says at this time, one of the best places to buy a dash cam is on the big Internet auction site, eBay. It's said that most eBay sellers are concerned enough about their reputation that they'll stand behind their products, and eBay's buyer protections can help with that.
We recommend you check out a unique Internet site, dashcamtalk.com. This outfit not only provides a "comparison page," and reader forum, they don't sell dash cams, nor do they accept them for review, so they're more likely to be unbiased in their information.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Monday, May 6, 2013
By Kent Lawson
American consumers love tablets and so do hackers. The 2013 Javelin Strategy Research Identity Fraud Report found that tablet users in the U.S. are 80 percent more likely to be victims of identity fraud than all consumers – 9.6 percent compared to 5.3 percent.
“I put the iPad into sleep mode at 1 a.m. . . .I wake up this morning and turn on my iPad. . . I entered my four-digit passcode to unlock the iPad and I clicked the Safari app in the dock and nine pages of history automatically opened up to sites i had never been to. . . I checked my email and sadly someone had ordered around $8,373 through my Amazon.com account … How could this happen?”
“Need help. Have two tablets, Android. Today it was like someone was using my tablet without my notice. When I looked at the screen it was typing and opening, this quite scary. . . is it a hacking virus. . . have installed three [anti]virus programs but nothing to find when I scan.”
Tablets: Great for Connecting on the Go but Not Secure
More than half of tablet users in the United States say tablets are their favorite devices, according to Adobe data. But what users don’t understand is that, while tablets can do more than smartphones – making them a better choice for laptop replacement – they’re not any more secure than smartphones. Yet a 2011 Harris Interactive survey revealed that nearly one out of every two tablet users transmits sensitive information — including credit card, personal, financial, and proprietary business information.
Even worse, a 2012 report from Juniper Research found that only five percent of tablets and smartphones worldwide have security software installed. That raises a huge red flag for organizations that have a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy – especially when their employees use tablets at WiFi hotspots.
And that’s exactly what they’re doing. More than one out of every six hotspot connections is made from tablets, according to a 2012 report released by the Wireless Broadband Alliance. Because most public WiFi networks are unsecure, that means cyber-criminals can use them to grab your sensitive information if you do nothing to protect yourself.
Make Sure Your Tablet Doesn’t Get You Into Trouble at Hotspots
Hackers know tablet owners are less likely than laptop owners to keep their devices secure. They also know that adult tablet users are more affluent on average than laptop users and they spend more when they shop online. That makes them especially vulnerable to identity theft and credit fraud at WiFi hotspots.
So, if you’re a tablet user, make sure you have the most up-to-date operating system version and, where possible, antivirus and anti-malware software.
Hackers use sophisticated tools to crack passwords. So only use long, strong passwords composed of letters, numbers, and symbols. If you’re thinking of downloading apps to increase your tablet’s functionality, remember that hackers can use bad apps to install malware on your device. So only download apps from trusted sources. Tweak your tablet’s settings so that you have to manually, not automatically connect to new WiFi networks.
Make sure the hotspot you’re connecting to is the real one, not a fake designed to steal your data. And turn off your WiFi when not in use. Finally, never expose your sensitive information at WiFi hotspots without using VPN software. A Virtual Private Network gives you a secure way to surf the Web by encrypting all the data traveling to and from your device.
The simplicity and portability of tablets have revolutionized the way we connect to the Internet and communicate for work and play. That’s why tablet sales are expected to surpass laptop sales for the first time this year. But unless tablet users take the time to secure their devices, the number who become victims of identity theft and credit fraud is likely to be even higher in the coming years.
This article is from PRIVATE WiFi, a personal VPN software that encrypts a user's data in public wireless hotspots. Visit PrivateWifi.com for more information.
Posted by Staff Report at Monday, May 06, 2013
Monday, April 29, 2013
How does it work? On location step outside your rig and orient your compass by strolling around a bit. One user suggests walking around in a "figure-8" sort of way. When your Android device has you located, the app provides several displays to help you "see" and point your antenna to TV stations in your area.
Those lists are:
1) A scrollable list displaying all nearby TV signals ordered from strongest to weakest.
2) A compass that displays the stations at their correct heading from the current location.
3) A map displaying the current location and the location of all nearby TV signal towers.
TV Antenna Helper Free tells you channel numbers, station call signs, signal strengths, compass bearings to the transmitting antennas, distance, and more. Free TV Antenna Helper here.