Security Camera Systems – What I want

If you saw my previous experiment with Zmodo Mini Wifi, you realize it was just one step in my figuring out security camera systems.

Why do I want a security camera system? Because security camera systems can be implemented that cause little or no impact to your life. I’ve had old fashioned alarm systems and frankly have had sub par experiences regardless of how simplistic or sophisticated they are supposed to be. Not because of the engineering or design, but because of the users (room mates, spouse, off spring, and visitors) unwilling to learn and use the systems. Of all the security systems I’ve had, the only person I could count on to actually use them was myself. And basically that meant they were useless.

However, with a security camera system, there is no active arming or disarming. It normally won’t cause an alarm to go off and scare someone off, but it certainly would provide a means to prosecute
someone. And, after setting up the necessary parameters, the only thing I would need to do is manage the video memory. I wouldn’t have to count on anyone else to ensure they arm a system or check a zone or choose the right option, etc. Movement alerts would be ideal. Movement alerts I can adjust are far better. And the more discrete and functional the cameras are the better.

That’s my logic for wanting a security camera system.

With the experiences I’ve had, I would like to have a set of IP addressable cameras where the streaming or pictures are captured to a NAS in my own network. If cloud storage is inexpensive enough, I’d be game for that so long as the price and retention are long enough and the

I don’t want to deal with proprietary code or strain my tech skills to crowbar a solution in place. I can handle straight forward DIY efforts that don’t require significant skill, but I’ve played around enough to realize that the time invested relative to the quality and benefit are significantly not in favor of a DIY solution inside my skill set.

That’s a simple run down of what I want and some of my logic.

Nexus 7 Resurrection – Again


3 October 2017 – This will be my second post related to my old Google Nexus 7 (Grouper) and bringing it back to a usable state. I previously touched on it with this article.

So let’s bring things up to date. CyanogenMod’s Nexus 7 revisions worked great initially. Then updates continued on a regular basis, but also accomplished the same end game that Google updates did. The tablet just bogged down to a crawl in performance as the updates rolled out.

For about 9 months, I relegated it to performing as a picture frame. Always on and scrolling through family photos on my desk.  And it was frustrating knowing that this old tablet had more storage than more modern Android devices.

But it was always there. Staring at me. Showing me photos that were important to me. And I always felt it had more potential. When I finally came across some free time, I started scouring the searches and found this Top Best Custom ROMs for Nexus 7 (2012)”. Exactly the kind of article I was looking for.

Once again, I don’t recommend this for those who may suffer impatience, ignore instructions or are unwilling to attempt this more than once. And remember, although improbable, there is a chance to ‘brick’ your device.

Do your homework in advance and be organized. As a reminder, I already had TWRP loaded from the first resurrection so I was a bit ahead of the game. I performed a factory reset and wiped the DALVIK during the process. Of course, all the data was backed up except for the OS. I made sure that I reviewed the key steps for all the elements and had links to alternatives (like GAPPs) in case links were out of date.

Ultimately I chose AOSP. It’s Android 6 and includes the 2016 September security fix, which covered one of my concerns. But it wasn’t so current that all the ‘next great ideas’ created excessive bloat. Going through the load, I actually had to attempt it twice, but was finally successful after ensuring I completed both a factory reset and wiping the DALVIK.

I’m not concerned with regular updates for the bleeding edge roll out because this old tablet just can’t hack newer stuff.

Dolphin browser was a part of the OS and I was very surprised at how well it works. The OS reminded me that this was a good tablet and I was right to hang onto it. Putting it on an older skinnier OS without a lot of the progressive add on’s and enhancements that come with normal tech growth really helped.

So, what do I do with it? It will be an alternate tablet. I use it as an eReader, media streamer, news tablet, and podcasts. And I’ll still use it as a digital photo frame. I love the reminders of good things. 

Kaizen – I did that!?

I’ve been working incrementally on me.

And without realizing it, I was doing something that has a cool name like Kaizen.

I’ve been working incrementally on me.

And without realizing it, I was doing something that has a cool name like Kaizen.

What is Kaizen? The best explanation comes out of an episode by the Art of Manliness hosted by Brett Baxter and his guest, Robert Maurer called “The Kaizen Method — Get 1% Better Each Day”

Basically Kaizen is a form of continuous improvement in an incremental fashion. Originally brought to public attention through corporate culture to improve Japanese manufacturing after World War II, the podcast discusses how it can be applied individually.

How does it relate to my situation? Because all of the personal changes small and large, have come about in a very incremental way. I would identify one thing that I didn’t like and set about to address that one thing.  Continue reading “Kaizen – I did that!?”

Day 365 Flew By and ….

July 6th 2017 was the 365th day of not having a single drink of anything with alcohol in it.

As I sat back and looked at how different things have been in the past year, I’m very thankful for quitting.

Things I’ve been accomplishing:

  • I’ve been running an organized 5k a month for the past six months with a goal of 12 continuous months.
  • As a result I’m definitely in better shape.
  • I blog more often than before.
  • I go fishing a lot more. At least a couple times a month.
  • I’m better able to cope and let go of the pressures of life.
  • I’ve lost some weight. Right around 20 pounds from my worst a year ago.
  • My gut health is much better, where I measured gut problems on a weekly basis and now it’s been twice (due to my own self abuse) in the past year.
  • I’ve had no sinus infections since I quit and only one possible cold that I shook off quickly. Previous years I suffered almost like clock work every two months as average.
  • I read more often. Magazines, books on fiction or non-fiction. I realized that I wasn’t reading anything of substance.
  • I’ve begun a routine of becoming much more organized.
  • I listen to pod casts and audio books actually remembering the gist of them, rather than through the muddle of blurry memory.
  • I listen to audio books, both fiction and non fiction. Not only to be entertained, but to learn and retain something.
  • I call family more often. I believe that I’m more regular in trying to be in touch at least once a week.
  • I now participate in a local civic philanthropic organization and expect to continue.
  • I’m much more mindful of where my head is and what I find fulfilling. I’m much more able to appreciate where I am and devote the small continuous efforts to stay more centered for myself and others.

Continue reading “Day 365 Flew By and ….”

Why I run

I have so many reasons why I run or jog. In middle school I liked track and field at school, but it wasn’t an organized sport. So I tried football for a couple years, finishing that up my freshman year of high school. This was the mid-1970’s and whenever we were running laps for conditioning or punishment, although some guys hated it, I enjoyed it.

I became enthralled with the 1976 summer Olympics and went for the Cross Country team. Continue reading “Why I run”

“Embrace the suck”

It’s one of those phrases I picked up in the military. It’s simple enough, but behind it is a lot of meaning.

For many, it’s simply another sarcastic piece of acidic humor with similar roots to ‘suck it up buttercup’.

However, it’s core principle is much deeper. Basically, don’t fight the stuff you can’t control. Better to embrace it, deal with it as it is and move on. Continue reading ““Embrace the suck””

Limitations ..

Nothing sums up the gist of this post better than this old classic Clint Eastwood scene.

 

What do I mean by that? You have to be self aware and honest enough with the person in the mirror to see what’s going on, what’s good and right for you, and then live within those limitations.

Take the time to self examine, identify your weaknesses and your strengths and decide the best way to cope with them.

As I’ve gone through my journey, I’ve literally done that. I’ve stared at my self in the harsh bright white light, staring at my own face, noticing the imperfections and blemishes, attempting to look into my own eyes in search of the soul within. Trying to see inside myself.

I’ve done it in regards to many things. Whether it’s drinking related, hard decisions I’ve had to make, facing my own mortality as friends, coworkers and acquaintances have died, attempting to simplify things so I don’t get overwhelmed with the complexities of life. I’ve done it with many things.

One of the greatest benefits of this exercise, is that eventually, you should begin to see the truths of who you are and what’s important.

When it comes to some issues, I’m truly lazy and don’t want to face a lot of hard work. With other issues, they truly matter to me and I may go overboard with my efforts. I faced the reality that I am inconsistent with my interests and how I spend my time. I’ve also faced the harsh truth that I have limitations.

I can’t drink as I used to and ever hope to be as healthy as I believe I want to be. I can’t drink as I used to and still avoid the traps I’ve seen others fall into, destroying their health physically and mentally. I can’t drink as I used to and believe that I’ll be around to get to know my grandchildren. I can’t put myself in trigger situations with drinking without first becoming personally resolved and strong enough to say “no” with honesty, conviction, and without decrying those around me. I don’t want to allow myself that one drink, because I know my drinking brain believes if one drink is good, a dozen are better. And if a dozen are better today, a dozen tomorrow would be just as good and the backward slide begins to erode all the progress I’ve made.

So those are some of my limitations. Have you found yours? Like Dirty Harry says, “Man’s got to know his limitations”.