Category Archives: About Technology

Protecting Your Computer from Malware

How to Protect Your Computer from Ransomware and Other Malware

virus-protection-conceptWhat if you didn’t have to worry about ransomware or any other viruses? Unfortunately, cybercrime has become a major problem for the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) who is tasked with protecting the company’s computer systems, as well as the CEO who has to deal with the consequences of an attack. Large corporations such as Merck, Mondelez, Sony and DLA Piper have been infected by malware. Hospitals and organizations around the world have not been spared. It has become a global problem.


There are a number of virus protection programs that attempt to block malware from entering the system, but none of the solutions work all the time.  A good solution is to be more careful with email, but it is hard to control everyone in the organization. An extreme solution is to take the computer off the Internet, but this prevents access to people who need the data.

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Detection, Recognition, Identification: The New Criteria

The Real-World Resolution Requirements

I was not sure what to call this article. I first thought it should be titled, “Why The Johnson Criteria is Wrong.”  We use this criterion to predict how far away we can see something using a specific camera and lens.  The criteria define the threshold for detection, recognition, and identification (DRI). The industry has used this criterion since World War II. It has not been updated to reflect today’s technology and resolution requirements.


Better criteria can help us select the right long-range camera for an application.  It can be used to predict the working distance of long-range thermal and optical camera systems.

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Comparison of Security Provided by Door Access Systems

What Is the Most Secure Door Access Control System?

Door Access ControlHow secure are door access control systems?  Pricing can range from less than $100 for a single door to over $1100 per door. What do you get for the money? In some cases, the security level provided can be crucial to your safety.


How can we stay ahead of miscreants that are dedicated to breaking through our security systems?  This article summarizes the various levels of electronic security provided by different door control systems. Level 1 provides the least overall security while level 4 provides the highest level of protection. We compared the cost against the effectiveness of each type of system.

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Comparison of Panoramic IP Cameras

How far can you see with an IP panoramic camera?


A panoramic camera provides a very wide unbroken view in all directions. The panoramic view can be achieved using a single sensor or an array of sensors (or cameras). Single-sensor 360-degree or fisheye cameras have been around for many years. The problem with panoramic cameras has always been the lack of detail available at a distance. The latest high-resolution cameras and multi-sensor cameras provide much better resolution. They can be used in standard surveillance applications, as well as situational awareness. I define standard surveillance applications as situations where you want enough resolution to identify people in the view.


This article describes how to determine the viewing distance of different panoramic IP cameras. It compares single-sensor, multi-sensor, and multi-directional IP cameras. Multi-directional cameras are not considered to be true panoramic, but in many cases, can be used in the same applications.

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Access Control and Fire Alarm System Integration

How to Integrate Access Control with Fire Alarm Systems


Door access control systems control the electric locks. They allow authorized people to enter through the controlled doors. However, what happens in the event of a fire? The access control system could prevent people from escaping or prevent the fire department from entering the building. Many municipalities provide rules for how the fire alarm integrates with the door access system. This article describes how to integrate access control and fire alarm systems.

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How Long Range Access Control Systems Work

Long-Range Access Control Readers

Long-range access control systems are similar to the standard IP door access control systems. They read a credential and determine if the door or gate should be opened. While the standard systems have a very short range, measured in inches, the long range readers can operate at a range of over 25 ft.  When you want to open a gate to a parking garage from your vehicle, you really can’t use a standard reader. You need a system that provides a much longer range.


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Elevator Control Using Door Access Readers

Elevator access control determines what floors the elevator can go to


elevator-access control-conceptElevators In multi-floor buildings can be made more secure by adding elevator access controls.  These controllers determine who can reach certain floors. For example, we can assure that only the approved people can get to the 3rd floor where the IT department is located.

With this type of system installed, the people who work in accounting only have access to the third floor, while people in advertising can only go to the 5th floor. Floors that contain general areas such as cafeteria or fitness center, would typically be available to everyone. We can also program the system to allow certain people, such as the executives to go to any floor.

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How to Design Your IP Paging System

The secret to designing your sound system is to start at the ears.


IP Paging DesignThe design of an IP paging system starts with the sound level required for people to hear an announcement. Once we know the right sound level, we can define everything else.


The sound level we hear is affected by the background noise, the distance from the IP speaker, and if we are indoors or outdoors.


We require different paging equipment if the system is used in an office building, or a noisy manufacturing plant. We select different IP speakers and amplifiers when we are inside a classroom, or when we are in the hallways of the school. This article describes how to calculate the speaker, the power required at each speaker, and the best place to mount the speakers.

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The Intelligent IP Camera

Intelligent IP cameras are providing advanced detection capability.


Intelligent IP CamerasWould you like to know the moment when someone takes your laptop?  Would you like to know when someone screams in the lobby of your building? How about detecting a gunshot?  The latest IP cameras have quite a lot of built-in intelligence.  They help protect people and assets. They notify you of dangerous situations, help deter terror attacks, and even tell you how many people have visited your store.


The first video cameras consisted mostly of analog electronics. They were mostly amplifiers, filters, and power supplies. Today’s IP cameras are digital and include powerful computers. The computers provide many different functions from processing the video image to connecting the IP camera to the Ethernet network.


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How ALPR Works

How Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) Works


ALPR-Camera-License-ReaderYou may not have realized it, but Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) technology is all around us. It is used for toll collecting, to control access to parking lots and even to capture criminals. The technology has improved over the years and has become more economical.


Besides the analytic software that converts the image to computer characters, the system requires a good IP camera. It also requires proper lighting and the correct physical placement of the camera. The analytic conversion software is similar to optical character recognition (OCR) software.  ALPR is available as a standalone LPR system or included as an option with some IP camera video management systems.

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