Sunday, December 10, 2017

Home Security



Your home is your castle...or is it? Is your home really safe once you leave for work or school? Your home is considered a sanctuary where you should feel safe. Your home is the only environment where you have control over who can get close to you or your family. Protecting your home and family from criminal intrusion should be high on your list of priorities. See my web site on Family Security Tips for more information on protecting your family from harm.

Home Burglary

By far, the most common threat to our home is burglary. According to the FBI, a burglary occurs somewhere in the United States every 15.4 seconds. By definition, the crime of burglary is a non-confrontational property crime that occurs when we are not at home. However, becoming a burglary victim can leave a family feeling vulnerable and violated. To avoid becoming a burglary victim, it is important to first gain an understanding of who commits them and why.

The majority of home and apartment burglaries occur during the daytime when most people are away at work or school. The summer months of July and August have the most burglaries with February having the fewest crimes. Burglaries are committed most often by young males under 25 years of age looking for items that are small, expensive, and can easily be converted to cash. Favorite items are cash, jewelry, guns, watches, laptop computers, VCRs, video players, CDs and other small electronic devices are high on the list. Quick cash is needed for living expenses and drugs. Statistics tell us that 70% of the burglars use some amount force to enter a dwelling, but their preference is to gain easy access through an open door or window. Ordinary household tools like screwdrivers, channel-lock pliers, small pry bars, and small hammers are most often used by burglars. Burglars continue to flourish because police can only clear about 13% of all reported burglaries and rarely catch the thief in the act.

Although home burglaries may seem random in occurrence, they actually involve a selection process. The burglar's selection process is simple. Choose an unoccupied home with the easiest access, the greatest amount of cover, and with the best escape routes. What follows is a list of suggestions to minimize your risk by making your home unattractive to potential burglars.

Doors and Locks

The first step is to harden the target or make your home more difficult to enter. Remember, the burglar will simply bypass your home if it requires too much effort or requires more skill and tools than they possess. Most burglars enter via the front, back, or garage doors. Experienced burglars know that the garage door is usually the weakest point of entry followed by the back door. The garage and back doors also provide the most cover. Burglars know to look inside your car for keys and other valuables so keep it locked, even when parked inside your garage. Use high quality Grade-1 or Grade-2 locks on exterior doors to resist twisting, prying, and lock-picking attempts. A quality deadbolt lock will have a beveled casing to inhibit the use of channel-lock pliers used to shear off lock cylinder pins. A quality door knob-in-lock set will have a 'dead latch' mechanism to prevent slipping the lock with a shim or credit card.
Use a solid core or metal door for all entrance points
Use a quality, heavy-duty, deadbolt lock with a one-inch throw bolt
Use a quality, heavy-duty, knob-in-lock set with a dead-latch mechanism
Use a heavy-duty, four-screw, strike plate with 3-inch screws to penetrate into a wooden door frame
Use a wide-angle 160° peephole mounted no higher than 58 inches

The most common way used to force entry through a door with a wooden jamb is to simply kick it open. The weakest point is almost always the lock strike plate that holds the latch or lock bolt in place followed by a glass paneled door. The average door strike plate is secured only by the soft-wood doorjamb molding. These lightweight moldings are often tacked on to the door frame and can be torn away with a firm kick. Because of this construction flaw, it makes sense to upgrade to a four-screw, heavy-duty, high security strike plate. They are available in most quality hardware stores and home improvement centers and are definitely worth the extra expense. Install this heavy-duty strike plate using 3-inch wood screws to cut deep into the door frame stud. Use these longer screws in the knob lock strike plate as well and use at least one long screw in each door hinge. This one step alone will deter or prevent most through-the-door forced entries. You and your family will sleep safer in the future.

Sliding-Glass Patio Doors

Sliding glass doors are secured by latches not locks. They are vulnerable to being forced open from the outside because of these inherently defective latch mechanisms. This can be easily be prevented by inserting a wooden dowel or stick into the track thus preventing or limiting movement. Other blocking devices available are metal fold-down blocking devices called "charley bars" and various track-blockers that can be screwed down.

The blocking devices described above solve half the equation. Older sliding glass doors can be lifted up and off their track and thereby defeat the latch mechanism. To prevent lifting, you need to keep the door rollers in good condition and properly adjusted. You can also install anti-lift devices such as a pin that extends through both the sliding and fixed portion of the door. There are also numerous locking and blocking devices available in any good quality hardware store that will prevent a sliding door from being lifted or forced horizontally. Place highly visible decals on the glass door near the latch mechanism that indicates that an alarm system, a dog, or block watch/operation identification is in place. Burglars dislike alarm systems and definitely big barking dogs.
Use a secondary blocking device on all sliding glass doors
Keep the latch mechanism in good condition and properly adjusted
Keep sliding door rollers in good condition and properly adjusted
Use anti-lift devices such as through-the-door pins or upper track screws
Use highly visible alarm decals, beware of dog decals or block watch decal

Windows

Windows are left unlocked and open at a much higher rate than doors. An open window, visible from the street or alley, may be the sole reason for your home to be selected by a burglar. Ground floor windows are more susceptible to break-ins for obvious reasons. Upper floor windows become attractive if they can be accessed from a stairway, tree, fence, or by climbing on balconies. Windows have latches, not locks and therefore should have secondary blocking devices to prevent sliding them open from the outside. Inexpensive wooden dowels and sticks work well for horizontal sliding windows and through-the-frame pins work well for vertical sliding windows. For ventilation, block the window open no more than six inches and make sure you can't reach in from the outside and remove the blocking device or reach through and unlock the door.

In sleeping rooms, these window blocking devices should be capable of being removed easily from the inside to comply with fire codes. Like sliding glass doors, anti-lift devices are necessary for ground level and accessible aluminum windows that slide horizontally. The least expensive and easiest method is to install screws half-way into the upper track of the movable glass panel to prevent it from being lifted out in the closed position. As a deterrent, place highly visible decals on the glass door near the latch mechanism that indicates that an alarm system, a dog, or block watch/operation identification system is in place.
Secure all accessible windows with secondary blocking devices
Block accessible windows open no more than 6 inches for ventilation
Make sure someone cannot reach through an open window and unlock the door
Make sure someone cannot reach inside the window and remove the blocking device
Use anti-lift devices to prevent window from being lifted out
Use crime prevention or alarm decals on ground accessible windows

Be a Good Neighbor

Good neighbors should look out for each other. Get to know your neighbors on each side of your home and the three directly across the street. Invite them into your home, communicate often, and establish trust. Good neighbors will watch out for your home or apartment when you are away, if you ask them. They can report suspicious activity to the police or to you while you are away. Between them, good neighbors can see to it that normal services continue in your absence by allowing vendors to mow your lawn or remove snow. Good neighbors can pick up your mail, newspapers, handbills, and can inspect the outside or inside of your home periodically to see that all is well. Good neighbors will occasionally park in your driveway to give the appearance of occupancy while you are on vacation.

Allowing a neighbor to have a key solves the problem of hiding a key outside the door. Experienced burglars know to look for hidden keys in planter boxes, under doormats, and above the ledge. Requiring a service vendor to see your neighbor to retrieve and return your house key will send the message that someone is watching. This neighborhood watch technique sets up what is called territoriality which means that your neighbors will take ownership and responsibility for what occurs in your mini-neighborhood. This concept works in both single family homes communities and on apartment properties. This practice helps deter burglaries and other crimes in a big way. Of course for this to work, you must reciprocate and offer the same services.
Get to know all your adjacent neighbors
Invite them into your home and establish trust
Agree to watch out for each other's home
Do small tasks for each other to improve territoriality
While on vacation - pick up newspapers, and flyers
Offer to occasionally park your car in their driveway
Return the favor and communicate often

Lighting

Interior lighting is necessary to show signs of life and activity inside a residence at night. A darken home night-after-night sends the message to burglars that you are away on a trip. Light timers are inexpensive and can be found everywhere. They should be used on a daily basis, not just when you’re away. In this way you set up a routine that your neighbors can observe and will allow them to become suspicious when your normally lighted home becomes dark. Typically, you want to use light-timers near the front and back windows with the curtains closed. The pattern of lights turning on and off should simulate actual occupancy. It’s also comforting not to have to enter a dark residence when you return home. The same light timers can be used to turn on radios or television sets to further enhance the illusion of occupancy.

Exterior lighting is also very important. It becomes critical if you must park in a common area parking lot or underground garage and need to walk to your front door. The purpose of good lighting is to allow you to see if a threat or suspicious person is lurking in your path. If you can see a potential threat in advance then you at least have the choice and chance to avoid it. Exterior lighting needs to bright enough for you to see 100-feet and it helps if you can identify colors. Good lighting is definitely a deterrent to criminals because they don't want to be seen or identified.

Another important area to be well-lighted is the perimeter of your home or apartment especially at the entryway. Exterior lighting on the front of a property should always be on a timer to establish a routine and appearance of occupancy at all times. Common area lighting on apartment properties should also be on a timer or photo-cell to turn on at dusk and turn off at dawn. The practice of leaving the garage or porch lights turned on all day on a single family home is a dead giveaway that you are out of town. Exterior lighting at the rear of a home or apartment are usually on a switch because of the proximity to the sleeping rooms. The resident can choose to leave these lights on or off. Security lights with infra-red motion sensors are relatively inexpensive and can easily replace an exterior porch light or side door light on single family homes. The heat-motion sensor can be adjusted to detect body heat and can be programmed to reset after one minute. These security lights are highly recommended for single family homes.
Use interior light timers to establish a pattern of occupancy
Exterior lighting should allow 100- feet of visibility
Use good lighting along the pathway and at your door
Use light timers or photo-cells to turn on/off lights automatically
Use infra-red motion sensor lights on the rear of single family homes

Alarm Systems

Alarm systems definitely have a place in a home security plan and are effective, if used properly. The reason why alarms systems deter burglaries is because they increase the potential and fear of being caught and arrested by the police. The deterrent value comes from the alarm company lawn sign and from the alarm decals on the windows. Home and apartment burglars will usually bypass a property with visible alarm signs and will go to another property without such a sign. Some people, with alarm systems, feel that these signs and decals are unsightly and will not display them. The risk here is that an uninformed burglar might break a window or door and grab a few quick items before the police can respond. Also, don't write your alarm passcode on or near the alarm keypad.

Alarm systems need to be properly installed and maintained. Alarms systems can monitor for fire as well as burglary for the same price. All systems should have an audible horn or bell to be effective in case someone does break in. However, these audible alarms should be programmed to reset automatically after one or two minutes. The criminal got the message and will be long gone but your neighbors will have to listen to the alarm bell, sometimes for hours, until it is shut off. If you use a central station to monitor your alarm, make sure your response call list is up to date. Home alarms, like car alarms, are generally ignored except for a brief glance. However, if you have established and nurtured your neighborhood watch buddy system, you will experience a genuine concern by your neighbor. It is not unusual to have a neighbor wait for the police, allow them inside for an inspection, and secure the residence. A good neighbor can also call the glass company or locksmith to repair any damage, if pre-authorized by you.

The greatest barrier getting to this level of neighborhood participation is taking the first step. You can get help by calling your local crime prevention unit at the police department. Most police departments in large cities have neighborhood watch coordinators to help you set this up. You should invite your adjacent neighbors over to your home for coffee and begin the information exchange. You'll be amazed how the process runs on automatic from there.
Alarm systems are effective deterrents with visible signage
Alarm systems to be properly installed, programmed, and maintained
Alarm systems need to have an audible horn or bell to be effective
Make sure your alarm response call list is up to date
Instruct your neighbor how to respond to an alarm bell

Home Safes

Since the prices of good home safes are falling, having a safe in your home is a wise investment. Home safes are designed to keep the smash and grab burglar, nosey kids, dishonest babysitter or housekeeper from gaining access to important documents and personal property. Home safes need to be anchored into the floor or permanent shelving.
Use the safe everyday so it becomes routine
Protect the safe code and change it occasionally
Install it away from the master bedroom or closet
Operation Identification

This is a program supported by most police agencies. They recommend that you engrave your drivers’ license, not your social security number, on televisions, stereos, computers, and small electronic appliances. They suggest this so they can identify and locate you if your stolen items are recovered. I suggest that you go way beyond this step

I recommend that you photograph your valuables in their locations around your home and make a list of the make, model, and serial numbers. This is very important for proof when filing insurance claims. You should keep this list in a safety deposit box or with a relative for safe keeping. Keep receipts of the larger items in case you need to prove the value of the items for insurance purposes. Beyond that, I recommend that you photocopy important documents and the contents of your wallet. You will be thankful that you took these steps in case your home is ever destroyed by fire or flood, is ransacked, or if your wallet is lost or stolen.
Identify your valuables by engraving your drivers’ license number
Photograph and record the serial numbers of all valuables
Photocopy the contents of your wallet and other documents
Store the copies in a safe deposit box or with a relative

See MIGHTY MULE MM360 best gate opener for security

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Best Rechargeable D Size Batteries & Chargers



The best rechargeable D size batteries are the new LSD Ni-MH (low self-discharge Nickel-Metal Hybride) cells. These new Ni-MH rechargeable batteries are able to retain a charge for a year, making them suitable for using in flashlights and other low-term applications.These new Imedion batteries by PowerEx “low self-discharge” Ni-MH batteries were released last year. They boast improvements in the self-discharge rate by retaining a charge capacity of 90% after 6 months and 85% after 12 months, which makes them ideal for storing and for use in flashlights or other low-drain devices.

They come pre-charged and have a capacity of 9,500 mAh (milli Amp hours). Compatible with Ni-MH chargers, they can be charged up to 1,000 times. A pack of 2 sells for around $30.

The Imedion D-size batteries are available from Amazon. They also come in C-Size.

Update: There is now a “low self-charge” D-size batteries available: the Tenergy “Centuron” (8000 mAh) However, the Imedion is still our top choice, due its high capacity and good track record.
Best Standard Ni-MH D Battery: Tenergy D Size Rechargeable Batteries

If “low self-discharging” batteries are not important to you, these Tenergy Rechargeable D size batteries are a Ni-MH battery that offer a long running life and high capacity of 10,000 mAh. According to Tenergy, these batteries can be recharged up to 1,000 times. They can be recharged via a smart charger or universal charger. A standard charge takes 15 hours at 800 mA or they can be rapid charged in 3 hours at 4,000 mA.

A pack of 8 Tenergy D size rechargeable batteries is available from Amazon for about $55.
The Longest Run Time & Highest Capacity Rechargeable D Batteries: Maha PowerEx


MAHA POWEREX RECHARGEABLE D BATTERIES

These Ni-MH batteries from PowerEx offer the longest run time and highest capacity of the rechargeable D size with 11,000 mAh, slightly more than the Tenergy and the Imedion batteries. Note these batteries are regular NiHM so they have a higher self-discharge rate. They can be recharged up to 1,000 times using a Ni-MH charger. A pack of 2 costs about $30.

The Maha PowerEx rechargeable D batteries sell on Amazon.
D-Sized Battery Chargers

The Best Overall: Maha PowerEx Ultimate Professional Battery Charger


MAHA POWER X ULTIMATE BATTERY CHARGER

The ultimate professional battery charger by Maha/PowerEx has been designed for the high capacity C and D batteries. Charging time for an 11,000 mAh D size battery is around just 5 hours. You can charge any combination of AAA, AA, C, or D batteries at the same time with up to 8 stations. Each battery is individually monitored via an LCD display to show charging status.

The Maha charger features a soft and rapid charging mode, will automatically shut off when a full charge is reached, and runs at a low temperature. It’s powered by an AC adapter.

You can get it on Amazon for around $85.00.


The Most Versatile (NiCad and NiMH Compatible) – Ansmann Deluxe “Energy 16” Charger

Ansmann is a German company known for their range of high-end, intelligent battery chargers. Ansmann’s “Energy 16” charger can handle both NiCad and NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) rechargeable batteries. When the batteries are inserted into the charger, they are analysed, and batteries needing reconditioning are automatically restored by several cycles of charging and discharging. The charger will also indicate if a battery has been damaged and cannot be charged.

This charger has ten charging positions: six for AAA, AA, C or D sized cells, and four for 9V cells. The six top positions can handle two AAA or two AA cells or one each of the larger C or D cells.

A LED display shows the state of charging for each cell.

This charger can be used worldwide — it accepts 100-240V 50-60Hz AC.

It’s available from Amazon for around $120.


A Smaller and More Affordable Version – Ansmann Deluxe “Energy 8” Charger

Ansmann’s “Energy 8” charger has all the features of the “Energy 16” charger, but has 8 charging points instead of 16. It has four AAA/AA/C/D and two 9V positions.

It’s available from Amazon for around $70.
A Smart Charger – Tenergy Universal Smart Charger for Rechargeable D Batteries


This universal smart charger from Tenergy will automatically detect the size and type of battery placed in the slot and charge them individually or in a group. With two charging bays, it can charge 2 9V batteries or 4 of any combination of AAA, AA, C, and D. It can charge both Ni-MH and Ni-CD batteries. Each battery is individually monitored with an LED light to indicate discharge, fast charge, and trickle charge. You can mix batteries within the charger.

Sensing when the battery has reached a full charge, it will shut off or switch to a standby battery. It can also detect when a battery has reached the end of it’s life. Powered by an AC 110v-240v adapter, this charger can recharge a D size battery of 1200 mAh to 10,000 mAh in 3-10.5 hours.

The Tenergy Universal Smart Charger is sold on Amazon for about $22.00.
USB Port Feature Included – Tenergy Super Universal LCD Battery Charger With USB Port


TENERGY SUPER UNIVERSAL LCD BATTERY CHARGER WITH USB PORT

Another selection from Tenergy, this universal charger can recharge a combination of 1 to 4 AAA, AA, C, or D sized Ni-MH batteries and 1 to 2 9V Ni-MH batteries. For a D size battery of around 9,000 mAh, the charging time will take about 7.5 hours. The blue LCD display shows individual battery status: charge, discharge, full, and bad.

This charger also features a built-in USB port to power your personal digital devices, though it can’t be done at the same time as the batteries. Comes with a 100-240v AC adapter and offers short circuit protection.

The Tenergy Super Universal LCD battery charger is available from Amazon for about $37.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Wildgame Innovation Camera Reviews



Wildgame innovation cameras are well known for their impeccable quality. They are reliable, simple to use and designed to suit all hunting needs. The cameras can be divided into – Razor, Crush and Commander Series. With a total of 14 cameras, Wildgame innovation has one of the most extensive collection of trail camera (for example: MOULTRIE M-40 GAME CAMERA ) These cameras just change the way you hunt, they make it better!



Wildgame Innovations Blade X6 Trail Camera



Looking to blend your trail camera into the background? Then the low cost Wildgame Innovations Blade X6 Trail Camera is just the one you’re looking for with its Bark casing. Not only does it look just like a piece of a tree, but animals won’t be able to tell the difference when they are out and about. The camera uses a 36 piece Black LED infrared flash to take photos and videos. The videos are 480p, so although not high definition they are still respectable and easy to make out. This includes daytime and nighttime videos, with a 50ft. invisible IR flash range and only a 1 second trigger speed.

Eight AA batteries will last the camera up to a year, even with all features activated. Max supported SD card is 32GB, and should cover thousands of pictures and videos combined. Accessories bundled with the package are bungee cords so that you can place it anywhere, getting that perfect position on the first try. The casing is both water resistant and weather durable, so expect a lot of use out of this product. And with the time lapse technology from Wildgame, a large area can be covered by this small camera, saving you both time and money. A nice alternative for buyers that don’t need true HD, this camera will give you plenty of good years.




Wild Game Innovations Buck Commander Nano 16 IR Camera



Specializing in the low cost camera, the Wild Game Innovations Buck Commander Nano 16 IR is another micro cam that is touted as one of the smallest in the entire market. This gives buyers more options for mounting or hiding it, where other cameras would be a hassle to. The exact dimensions are 3×2.25×3.25 and it uses an improved version of their Bark casing called TRUbark HD. This is even more realistic looking than the original and will really be the benchmark for the company moving forward with its Bark designs.

The FlexTime and time lapse technology have been improved considerably, giving you full control of the camera on a schedule and when it should take shots. With the correct setup you could even extend the life of the camera beyond the norm by optimizing picture taking and power saving schedules according to your need. And if you need something that covers a wider range, they have a 19:9 aspect ratio option for the images that will really bring out the detail. Small and incredible powerful, buyers will fall in love with this camera right out of the box.


Wildgame Innovations K7B5G Cloak 7-7MP Digital Lightsout Trail Camera



The Wildgame Innovations K7B5G Cloak 7-7MP Digital Lightsout Trail Camera is a low priced model from the company that works well for beginners. An attractive feature on it is the Realtree Xtra Camo that can give you good placement of the camera. It uses an invisible IR flash in combination with 32 high intensity LED’s for optimal daytime settings. Nighttime pictures are a bit grainy, but still great considering the price of the camera.

It powers for a full year on a set of 8AA batteries and can support SD cards up to 32GB. For video uses expect standard definition 480p, but of good quality even at night. Information available for each piece of media to differentiate them is moon phase, time and date stamps. With the included bungee cords and some good positioning hunters can feel confident in the casing being both rugged and weather resistant when things get harsh. This is going to be about as low priced a camera as buyers can get that can handle all of these features, which makes it a good buy overall.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Look out for these 3 things when starting a new business



There are many strings — or risks — attached to starting your own business. Between undertaking basic insurance, recruiting top talent, and developing your marketing strategy, resources are already stretched thin.

That's why we often don't think about the unforeseen circumstances until it’s too late.

Lurking in the corner are the easy-to-miss risks, and though it might be easy to disregard those risks because they seem far-fetched, they’re far more common than you think.

Here are some threats that are easy to overlook, but should be taken seriously.

1. Fraud


According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), small businesses with 100 or fewer employees have lost on average $147,000 due to fraud, making the issue pervasive. Small businesses are much more susceptible to fraud than large corporations. ACFE warns of five types of fraud commonly found in small business: billing fraud, check meddling, corruption — which includes bribery and legal freebies — and expense-compensation fraud.


2. Intellectual-property theft


According to the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), only 15% of small businesses that conduct business abroad realize that a US patent or trademark protects their product only in the US. To protect your product from infringement abroad, you must register for a patent in each country in which you’re conducting business.

Also consider recording your trademark and/or copyright with the US Customs and Border Protection to prevent infringed products from being imported into the US. Registering for patent rights in other countries also helps prevent the exportation of infringed products.

Ultimately, it’s in your best interest to understand how to leverage intellectual property in every aspect of your business — from licensing and product design and development to marketing and exporting.

Remember, you have an abundance of government and private resources to fall back on to protect your proprietary rights.

3. Social media


As if that’s not enough, you also have to deal with social media — the digital fingerprint of your company. And the last thing you need is a social-media mishap that leads to a razed reputation and lingering client mistrust.

Don’t let an ill-thought-out tweet or Facebook post burn your company’s reputation to rubble — because all it takes is one. Consider training your employees on proper online practices and social-media literacy. Cover topics on the company’s social-media guidelines, privacy settings, keeping with the brand voice, and managing confidentiality and security.

Despite all of the safeguards, social-media blunders may not even be your company’s fault. Keep an eye out for imposters who are posing as your company — they’re either using your name and logo, or have created a fake website. Download firewalls, internet-protection services, and any other programs to avoid falling victim to phishing and hackers, who could penetrate your company's gold mine of sensitive information.

Monday, March 6, 2017

How to make your small business appear bigger



Starting your own business is an accomplishment, but it's just the first step. It's even more important to have a company that people take seriously.

Everyone will have an opinion about your business, so it's important to be buttoned up — both online and in-person. If your website doesn't work properly, or if your business' number connects to your personal cell phone — you'll likely turn away potential customers.

Consider these five tips to give your business a more professional look and feel.

Friday, March 3, 2017

5 reasons business owners should never stop learning



As a small business owner, you wear many different hats and are doing whatever it takes to help your company and team succeed. Given the hectic schedule and irregular hours, thinking about taking classes or seminars to further your education can be difficult — let alone finding the time to actually take them.

Although learning something new may seem daunting, the reward goes far beyond personal growth. In fact, furthering your education can benefit your employees, business, and brain. Here are five ways every small business owner can benefit from continued education.

Home Security

Your home is your castle...or is it? Is your home really safe once you leave for work or school? Your home is considered a sanctuary where y...