Interesting Article on Hard Drive Failure

All video systems that record images or data, have hard drives for storage (unless you still use a VCR.) This article gives you the Hard Drive Failure Rate by Manufacturer. This is some good to know information, to better select the recording device and the drives inside.
https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-drive-reliability-q3-2015/

 

 

 

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Have you been receiving unsolicited phone calls from USA Security Promotions offering “Free 3-in-1” Security Systems

It as come to USA Security’s attention that USA SECURITY PROMOTIONS, LLC has been auto dialing customers from the following numbers: (360) 474-3278, (971) 220-1121, (260) 969-9387, (253) 246- 8573, (406) 219-2103, (206) 496-0439, (503) 457-1367, (859) 757- 2867, and (503) 468-5110 offering free 3-in-1 home security systems.  Many of the homes dialed are on the National Do Not Call Registry.  USA Security has been called several times by individuals contacted by USA SECURITY PROMOTIONS, LLC, stating that they were harassed, treated rudely, and repeatedly called back after asking to opt out of the program.
 
USA Security (US, WE) are not USA Security Promotions, LLC, and WE are not autodialing home owners.   WE are doing everything in our power to rectify the situation.   Below is the legal complaints USA Security has made toward Robert Newkirk III, ISI Alarms, and USA SECURITY PROMOTIONS, LLC. 
 
  
TO: Robert B. Newkirk, III
Registered Agent
USA Security Promotions, LLC
P.O. Box 2536
19810 W. Catawba Ave., Suite E
Cornelius, NC 28031
Managing Principal
USA Security Promotions, LLC
310 N. Front Street, Suite 3-340
Wilmington, NC 28401

Re: Unlawful Telemarketing Campaign on Behalf of USA Security Promotions, LLC and lSI Alarms NC, Inc.

Dear Mr. Newkirk:

I am counsel for USA Security, Inc. – a Minnesota-based, nationally-renowned, business that has been providing residential, commercial and enterprise customers with security solutions for the past ten years. In recent months, my client has been forced to respond to angry consumers who have received telemarketing calls from a company purporting to be “USA Security.” Because USA Security, Inc. has never engaged in any telemarketing activities, it is impossible that these consumers were contacted on behalf of my client.

Our investigation into the telemarketing calls at issue has revealed the following details:

  • A North Carolina-based company called USA Security Promotions LLC is behind the telemarketing campaign at issue.
  • Records on file with the North Carolina Secretary of State indicate that you helped form USA Security Promotions LLC on March 5, 2013.
  • These records further indicate that you currently serve as the company’s registered agent.
  • Separate records on file with the North Carolina Secretary of State indicate that you also helped form a company called lSI Alarms NC, Inc. on May 23, 2006. These records indicate that you still serve as lSI Alarms NC, Inc.’s registered agent.
  • Beginning sometime prior to April 2012, LSI Alarms began making telemarketing calls to consumers throughout the country (most of whom were on the Do Not Call Registry) from multiple numbers including (360) 474-3278, (971) 220-1121, (260) 969-9387, (253) 246- 8573, (406) 219-2103, (206) 496-0439, (503) 457-1367, (859) 757- 2867, and (503) 468-5110. During these calls LSI Alarms would offer to install “free” home security equipment in exchange for the homeowner’s agreement to place a promotional sign in front of the home. The overwhelming majority of people who were contacted as part of the telemarketing campaign viewed the ,calls as aggravating, harassing and frightening. During these calls, lSI Alarms stated that it had received consumer contact information from local law enforcement because of high crime rates. lSI Alarms also used the names “Honeywell Security,” “Security Promotions,” “General Electric Security,” and “Security Call Center” as part of its marketing efforts to unsuspecting consumers.
  • In or around April 2012, the security division of Honeywell nternational was informed about the telemarketing campaign being perpetrated by lSI Alarms. Upon information and belief, Honeywell’s legal department was forced to deal with lSI Alarms over the course of the next several months to prevent any future unauthorized use of Honeywell’s name in connection with the ilegal telemarketing campaign.
  • Due to Honeywell’s efforts, and the consumer backlash that arose throughout Internet consumer protection websites, lSI Alarms was forced to alter its operating plan. Specifically, it appears that USA Security Promotion LLC was formed six months ago as a specific means of concealing the true origin of the ongoing, unwanted telemarketing activities by lSI Alarms NC, Inc.
  • Over the past six months, USA Security Promotions LLC has been using automatic telephone dialing systems and pre-recorded marketing messages to contact consumers throughout the country (most of whom are on the Do Not Call Registry) from multiple numbers, including but not limited to (815) 687-8487, (857) 444-5657, (210) 571-1334, (214) 396-5520, (302) 257-5917, (302) 394-9976, (402) 952-4444, (404) 719-4368, (409) 316-6010, (410) 575-1863, (425) 999-4085, (480) 635-8400, (651) 333-4193, (815) 687-8527 and (857) 444-5657. The pre-recorded message identifies the calling party as “USA Security” -rather than USA Security Promotions LLC – and states, consistent with the marketing campaign fostered by isi Alarms, that callers have been chosen in connection with a special offer for home security equipment. Again, the overwhelming majority of people being contacted as part of the telemarketing campaign view the calls as aggravating, harassing and frightening.
  • When consumers return calls to the aforementioned numbers (e.g.,(815) 687-8487), they receive a message that says “Hi, if you’re calling to learn more about the offer for a free 3-in-l wireless home security system for your home, please press 1 to speak with a representative. If you would like to be taken off of our calling list, please press 2.” If consumers press 1, they are told by a representative that the alarm system is the “2013 General Electric system,” and that a specialist wil visit their home to discuss monthly fees upon installation. If consumers press 2, the call terminates without any confirmation that the consumer has been removed from the calling list. In fact, many of the consumers who press 2 continue to receive unwanted calls up to ten (10) times per week from USA Security Promotions LLC.
  • On more than one occasion consumers have discovered your affiliation with USA Security Promotions LLC and have contacted your office in an effort to remove themselves from the automatic telephone dialing system. Ironically, in these instances you not only publicly disavowed affiliation with USA Security Promotions LLC, you threatened consumers with harassment lawsuits if they continued to call your office.
  • As a result of the disingenuous denials you posted online in response to consumer concerns, many individuals have taken to the Internet to obtain more information about “USA Security.” My client’s website is the first result listed when consumers perform a Google search for “USA Security.” Consequently, my client has spent an inordinate amount of time (1) explaining that it is not responsible for the calls, (2) confirming that neither it, nor its various partners (e.g., Honeywell), have any affiliation with the telemarketing campaign, and (3) attempting to protect and/or restore its goodwil and reputation within both the security industry and the public at large.

Based upon the foregoing details it appears that USA Security Promotions LLC and/or lSI Alarms NC, Inc. are in violation of numerous laws, including but not limited to the following:

  • USA Security Promotions LLC is actively violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (47 U.S.c. § 227) by, among other things, using an automatic telephone dialing system to make repeated, unwanted pre-recorded commercial calls to residential and cell phones belonging to consumers on the Do Not Call registry;
  • lSI Alarms NC, Inc. changed its name to USA Security Promotions LLC in a concerted effort to confuse the public by illegally trading on USA Security, Inc.’s longstanding name, goodwil, reputation and vendor relationships in violation of the Lanham Act (15 U.S.c. 1125(a)), North Carolina’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act (N.C.G.S. § 75-1.1) and Minnesota’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act (Minn. Stat. 325D.44);
  • USA Security Promotions LLC is actively violating and the Telemarketing Sales Rules (15 U.S.c. § 1601 et seq. and 16 C.F.R. § 310) by misrepresenting its affiliation with, or endorsement or sponsorship by, USA Security, Inc.; and
  • USA Security Promotions LLC is actively violating and the Telemarketing Sales Rules (15 U.sc. § 1601 et seq. and 16 C.F.R. § 310) by engaging in abusive telemarketing acts that deny or interfere with consumers’ rights to be placed on do no call lists.

Please be advised that, by copy of this letter, I am alerting the following individuals/organizations to the activities carried out by isi Alarms NC Inc. and USA Security Promotions LLC:

  • Lois Greisman, Associate Director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Marketing Practices Division;
  • Federal Communications Commission, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Inquiries & Complaints Division;
  • Tom McKay, Vice President and General Manager at RNC Telecom Services of Ilinois, LLC (to advise about USA Security Promotions  LLC’s use of RNC Telecom Services telephone numbers for purposes of conducting the aforementioned telemarketing activities)

On behalf of USA Security, Inc., I hereby demand that USA Security Promotions LLC immediately refrain from all future use of “USA Security” as part of its telemarketing script, discussions and/or materials. Any further use of USA Security, Inc.’s name in connection with USA Security Promotions LLC’s unlawful telemarketing activities will result in immediate legal action. Please contact me by 5:00 p.m. CDT on October 18, 2013 to confirm receipt of this letter and USA Security Promotions LLC’s intent to forego from any further use of my client’s name. If I do not hear from you by that time, USA~ will proceed accordingly.

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Boston Bruins, World Wrestling Entertainment, and the American Spirit

The American National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner,  is easily recognizable to anyone who has seen at least two NFL Super Bowls.  The song espouses the American values of freedom and bravery and illustrates the fighting spirit and courage that made this country an independent nation.  In my lifetime, the National Anthem has been relegated to the  opening of sporting events (and gold medal placement at the Olympics). And every year, the NFL holds the (world’s?) biggest sporting event: the Super Bowl.  The singing of the national anthem is always a big deal and the musician / star selected to do so is quite well known or famous.

But at the Super Bowl,  the Star Spangled Banner seems like just part of the show.  Its packaged, its scripted, its overly rehearsed.  The singing of the National Anthem on the country’s largest stage, always seems to fall short of generating the real swell of pride or emotion it is supposed to.

Two times in my life I’ve been moved to tears by our country’s national anthem.  Neither was a Super Bowl.  The first was sung by one woman, in the middle of a wrestling ring, performing for 16,000 Texans, and 25 men in tights. But it was at a time when the nation needed to  hear it most.  The most recent was sung by 16,000+ Bostonians in a genuine show of spontaneity and patriotism, again, at a time when the country needed to hear it.

 

4/17/2013

Two days after the bombings at the Boston Marathon, the Boston Bruins returned home to the TD Bank Garden. Singer, Rene Rancourt had the honor of singing the National Anthem at a time when certainly Boston, and maybe America, needed to hear it.  In a sports world that has become more prepackage and scripted in every form of its presentation, this was a genuine moment.  Mr. Rancourt started the song off “Oh say can see, by the dawns early light? What so proud…” and that was it. The Boston crowd, in an exemplary moment of unity, carried the song, the emotion, and the strength of an entire nation as we all mourned together.

9/13/2001

September 11th 2001 was the most horrific act of terrorism, and the most fatal acts of war ever perpetrated on American soil.  Americans were scared, angry, hurting, and mournful.  The attack, undoubtedly, changed America, and the world forever.  September 12th, then President, George W Bush implored the American people to try to return to life as normal.

World Wrestling Entertainment’s Vincent Kennedy McMahon is a lot of things to a lot of people, but one thing that can not be disputed is Vincent Kennedy McMahon loves America.  The September 13th 2001 SMACKDOWN episode was the first mass public gathering since September 11th.  What better way to open the show than with the National Anthem for the country and the world to witness.  Men like Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock, who made their living by portraying themselves as tough guys, showed real emotion for the moment.

 

Are there any genuinely important performances of our National Anthem we are overlooking?

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Cameras as a Fail Safe

We at USA Security have the privelige of working with customers in all fields and all industries on a myriad of project types.  Typically, the initial reaction to a camera sales presentation is that of theft or building security. As our customers find out, the opportunities are so much greater.

To ensure a more efficient install, USA Security bench tests all products prior to job-site

To ensure a more efficient install, USA Security bench tests all products prior to job-site

 

Here is an application that is outside the typical realms of safety, security, even productivity and quality control.  Here is an application that deals with critical plant operations and machine down time:

This particular customer is an animal rendering plant.  Biproducts are trucked in all day and turned into new usable substances.  Prior to our camera installation, all machines were monitored by computers.  If a machine went down, there would be alerts and repairs and corrections would be made.  As a part of an effiecency initiative and building expansion, cameras were added to all critical areas of potential back up for more interactive video monitoring.   An Avigilon 2.0MP Dome was placed above each “pit” or conveyor and recorded using Avigilon ACC VMS.  The operator station was equipmed with and Avigilon two monitor workstation and (2) 55″ LCD Monitors.

On this particular day, all computer systems reported normal. The conveyor was running and reporting back to the operator software as such.  However, the camera system showed the transfer mechanism from the holding bins to the conveyor was not operating properly (even though computers indicated they were) .  The operator was able to get the proper personel out to the equipment to get it working.  The video verification saved not only costly downtime, but saved unneccssarry man hours from having a disgusting mess to clean up.

IMG_5123

Full holding bins, empty conveyor

 

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Top Interests / Concerns Gaming Professionals Have in Avigilon VMS:

USA Security, Avigilon, and Gallager, teamed up to demonstrate state of the art IP / Megapixel sureveillance and Access Control integration to a group of gaming and commercial professionals.  Thanks to Canterbury Park, this was truly a unique opportunity to install an Avigilon system over their entries, parking, and tables, even Avigilon’s  state-of-the-art License Plate Recognition software.

USA Security kicked off this morning’s demonstration by surveying surveillance managers and technicians about what they were hoping to learn or curious about Essentially, why are they here?

Here are there answers

Video:

  1. Video Skipping
  2. Life Cycle of products
  3. O.S Shutdowns
  4. When to get into a technology
  5. Random System Shut Downs / Video Loss
  6. Unreliable bandwidth stability

Access Control:

  1. Video integration options
  2. Database systems shutdowns
  3. Data communication drops

 

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Hard Drive Info and Updates

As many know, this past October, Thailand experienced its worst floods in over 50 years.  These floods caused horrific loss of human life, homes, infrastructure and business to the people of Thailand.  Secondary to that horror, the world sustained substantial loss in the Hard Drive Disc market.  Thailand is one of the global leaders in the manufacturing of hard drives.  Companies such as Seagate, Western Digital, Apple, and Cisco, just to name a few, all receive product from Thailand.  Hard drive pricing increases and surcharges are being seen all over the technology landscape and will continue at least into 2012.  The security world with DVRs and NVRs is no exception.

 

 

For  a comprehensive timeline of  information from industry leaders regarding the effects of this flooding, please refer to this Associated  Press article

Several of USA Security’s product  partners have had to add surcharges or increase hard drive pricing such as Salient Systems ($10 per TB) and Honeywell Security (from $100 for 250GB on DVRs and $80 for 2TB SATAs on NVR).  Others include  While USA Security’s primary products, NUVICO and Avigilon (w/ Dell towers and servers) have not yet raised pricing.  POINT OF CONVERSATION:  While USA Security does not sell GANZ or INTERLOGIX, they have not yet announced price increases either.

 PRE PUBLISH FOLLOW UP: The following was sent to us from Alarm Products Distributors prior to publication. 

Western Digital has one factory up and running.  Below is information on general hard-drive production, not specifically related to the video grade drives that we sell.

 The company believes that hard drive industry shipments in the December quarter will be limited to approximately 120 million units due to production and supply constraints related to the floods. This number includes units that were in inventory at the beginning of the quarter. The company believes that demand for the December quarter is in the range of 170 million to 180 million units. The company believes that shortages will continue in the March quarter and beyond.

 They should be able to get a second factory pumped dry in the next 10 days, and will have to decontaminate and refurbish it.

 As they clean up these factory’s we should get more a more concise timeline.”

While USA Security anticipates the pricing of Hard Drives to be higher in 2012 than they were in 2010, We will continue to work with the budgets of the end-user to provide the best solution affordable.

 

 

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Help Me Help You.

Recently, I was called out to a customer site to help them put together  a camera system.  To attempt to narrow the sales pitch, they put together their own “RFP.”  Its clear from the RFP they did this themselves and did not use a consultant.

History

In the fall of 2001, sixteen Vicon digital security cameras were installed at the roof line around the perimeter of our building. A Kollector server was installed to capture images. Fifteen of the cameras had a fixed focus and direction and one of them was the pan, tilt, zoom (PTZ) type.

After a couple of incidences where we reviewed the images captured by the server, we realized that the system did not provide the information we had hoped for. While we could see a vehicle entering the grounds and a person near the vehicle, the images were not large enough nor clear enough to positively identify the individuals through their facial features nor could we be certain of the vehicle’s make, model, or license number. At night, lights were the only thing visible – headlights, tail lights, street lights, and parking lot lights.

In addition, the images captured were not always continuous. We might see a vehicle in the driveway, then in a parking spot, and then a person several yards from the vehicle, but all the action in between was missing. If there were several persons and vehicles moving about in the parking lot at the same time, one could not always be sure of which person belonged to which vehicle.

As time passed, we chose not to maintain a system that was unreliable. The Kollector server is no longer working and so we are not able to determine if any of the sixteen cameras are still working or not. A number of years have passed since the system has had any attention and the owner has now expressed an interest in a replacement system. There is no expectation to use any of the current hardware. On the other hand, there is no objection to using it if it is in good working order and fits into an overall scheme.

Objectives of a new CCTV Security System

At the present time, the owner is interested in only exterior cameras.

The cameras must be able to positively identify persons and vehicles and vehicle license plates in the parking lots and around the building, day and night. It is quite likely that an onsite real-time demo will be requested. The image collection system must be able to provide continuous imaging.

The following shows a couple of aerial views of the building which is 560 feet by 660 feet by 24 feet high. Employee and visitor parking and entrances are on the east side of the building. Receiving docks, generator, and vehicle storage entrances are on the north side of the building. Shipping docks are in an alcove in the southwest corner of the building. While there are no designed traffic areas in much of the area on the west side of the building and half of the north side, cameras will be needed to monitor for any inappropriate activity – graffiti, trash dumping, drug use, etc.”

First off, this is more thought than many of our customers put in to a design prior to meeting.  It’s obvious they have a system that they are not happy with. They know what they would like to do and they know what they don’t want.

Anyone reputable who has put together a system sees lots of flaws in their design. 

1) Just to get them back to reality I suggested that it could easily be $100,000 + to “positively identify persons in … the parking lots and around the building, day and night“.  This was a crucial start point for the customer because it forced them to put a value to their needs.  We were able to eliminate that requirement.  

2) We needed to put a value on “… cameras will be needed to monitor for any inappropriate activity – graffiti, trash dumping, drug use, etc.”  With a standard camera system, you would come in on a Monday morning, check the video, and see that there had been drug use on your property. But what could be done about it?  Without  a perfect face, and suspects already in the system, there is very little police could do with this video.  The better alternative would be to do remote video monitoring based on motion activated cameras.  This could run $175 per month and up.  This posed the question to the customer is it worth $200 per month to catch the occasional drug deal?  This customer decided it was so infrequent (1 time in 6 years) that it was not worth the cost.

3) The customer required “continuous imaging.”  Without properly defining this, integrators could submit proposals based on capturing 5 up to 30 fps, causing quite a disparity in storage needs.  We looked at some side by side comparisons and decided that 8-10 FPS would be acceptable.

This helped the customer stay within their definitions and get a better idea of what to expect from competing bids.  In all actuality, the customer changed their design requirements again to capture license plates only at the 4 entry points, use their existing 14 working exterior cameras for overviews AND add 9 internal cameras.  Originally the customer did not consider interior cameras, however, based on proper explanation, they came to understand that the 9 internal cameras will pay for the whole system.

 

 

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