Security

DIY Home Security Part 2 – Configuring Motion Alerts

The heart of my home security system is motion detection and alerts. As I mentioned in the first post, I selected Blue Iris software as a desktop controller. It more than compensates for the shortcomings of the surveillance alert features that are missing from the D-Link camera and for the poor D-Link (free) Windows software supplied with the cameras (D-Cam View). For reasons I don’t understand, the more expensive DCS-942L camera does not have an email motion alert function. The less expensive DCS-932L does, but it is pretty limited.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The image above show the D-Link email setup.

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DIY Home Security

Late last year, I decided that paying ADT $40 a month wasn’t worth it. I had 10 year old security equipment and they wanted a lot of money to upgrade to the latest and greatest systems.* I looked around and it became obvious that do it yourself home automation and home surveillance was something I would need to research. There weren’t any “kits” and local retail stores didn’t carry any electronics that I would want.

My first decision was on what kind of technology to use. My first step was video surveillance that included motion sensing and alerts. Looking around, there wasn’t much of a choice for configurable, functioning equipment. The only affordable player that qualified was d-Link. So, I picked up a few D-Link IP cameras. Two DCS-932L’s and two DCS-942L’s. In retrospect, I could have gone with all 932L’s. These are easy to setup if you just want to view them from within your own home and if you have no advanced needs. I will detail what I learned in another posting. Setting up to fulfill home surveillance needs was not trivial. That process alone will be a separate blog post. I can also tell you that while D-Link offers a free web based viewer for web browsers and a free app for the iPhone, you won’t want to use these. D-Link includes D-Cam Viewer software for Windows on their CD’s which is a real joke as it requires you to turn of UAC.

I settled on desktop controller from Blue Iris software that, while costing $50, does everything I could ask, including scheduling triggered alerts via email or SMS, etc., and it is viewable over the Internet with authentication protection. And there is a free iPad as well as an iPhone app that works beautifully with these cameras.

After setting up my cameras, etc., here is what I can see via a web browser accessing the Blue Iris controller remotely:

 

Each camera can be put on a schedule for triggered alerts. If one of the motion sensors is triggered, an email and/or SMS can be sent. I am quite happy with the video surveillance system.

*Note: I left the local ADT alarms intact, and shut off the monitoring service that cost $40/month, so if someone tries to come in through doors and windows when I have armed the ADT system, an ear-splitting alarm is set off.

Fixed: IE9 “Only Secure Content is Displayed” warning

For a very long time, it seemed as through every site I visited with IE9 created an annoying prompt about secure content and encourage me to show all content. I’ve seen fixes that involve lowering your security etc., but never thought THAT was worth the risk. I had an “Ah HA!” moment while troubleshooting a similar annoyance with a wordpress plugin. It turns out that this issue occurs if you are logged into Facebook using https (and you should be using https) and have elected to always stay logged in that since nearly every site in the world has a Facebook Like button or some tie in to Facebook.

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My solution? (Edited 8/9/2011) Stay logged into Facebook with Firefox, but NOT with IE. And strictly use Firefox for Facebook. (And note that this warning does not happen when I use Firefox to browse other sites while still logged into Facebook because Firefox is displaying mixed content by default.). Microsoft has other solutions posted, but they involve allowing mixed content to kill the prompt, or not allowing it ever (which kills the prompt) and even adding Facebook’s https site to the trusted zone. I prefer to use IE for financial sites and keep prompts and elect to only display secure content. And I am not by any means advocating dumping IE9.

I’m almost always running at least two browsers, but I just had not figured out what was causing OE to behave this way. There may be similar situations with other Facebook type sites or plugins, but with Facebook being by far the most widespread, my solution solves 99% of the problem for me. Now I know, and if you didn’t know this before, I hope this is helpful.

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Defy Hackers with Routers with Captcha

D-Link has once again one-upped the wannabe hacker community by adding a feature that will make it a whole lot harder for the script kiddies to break into your router  programmatically.

The current crop of Extreme N routers now have updates available that add CAPTCHA to the login page.

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You can’t be too secure.. Right?

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