Archive for category Technology

Mobile Apps: The Tactical Radio Mobile App?

This is one of those posts where I thought, why hasn’t anyone in the tactical industry or law enforcement industry developed a mobile app that can convert your smart phone into a 2 way radio? Because according to this article, private industry has already created three mobile apps that turn your phone into a basic 2 way radio.

So for this post, the idea is basic. Create a similar 2 way radio mobile app, but ‘tactify’ it. lol Get it encrypted and secure, and give it functions that would be applicable to military/police/contractor uses. Or just have basic switches on the mobile app that allow a user to customize the app to suite their needs.

The top mobile app for turning your smart phone into a basic 2 way radio according to this article below is Voxer Walkie-Talkie. If you would like to play around with it, and maybe use it for hunting or none tactical purposes, here is a link to check it out. Here it is on iTunes, and below is the description of what it does.

Description
Featured by Apple in 50+ countries
Turn your phone into a Walkie Talkie.
Don’t waste time on phone calls and voicemails.
Voxer® is a Walkie Talkie app for smartphones. Send instant Audio, Text, Photo and Location messages to one friend or a group of your friends. Your friends can listen to your message while you talk or check it out later.
-LIVE WALKIE TALKIE
-Cross Platform Messenger
-VOICE, TEXT, PHOTOS and LOCATION
-GROUP CHATS
-EVERYTHING is FREE
-No annoying advertisements
-Works over WiFi, 3G and any other data network
-Get notifications for new messages
-Create messages even offline
-Play voice messages faster
-Connect with Facebook friends on Voxer
Voxer turns your iPhone/iPad/iPod touch device into the ultimate Push To Talk (PTT) real-time Walkie Talkie.

The other thing I was thinking about with a Tactical Radio Mobile App is that companies could save money by not having to buy expensive handheld two way radios. They could just depend upon an internet connection locally or 3G/data networks, and have a team work off of that. So instead of depending upon a repeater, you are depending upon a diversified array of ‘repeaters’. Or you could have this as your back up to your pre-existing communications system.

Another angle is to create a Garmin Rhino style mobile app. Something that turns your smart phone into a basic Garmin Rhino, complete with blue force tracker style capability and two way radio functionality.

On the downside would be battery life. So along with the mobile app, you would probably have to get hardened cases with extra battery juice installed, to further extend the radio’s life and durability through a shift. Although I think the market has plenty of sources for this type of thing. I would think a power source that would give your phone enough juice to last a 12 hour shift would be acceptable. Rechargeable would be necessary as well. Pretty neat and I hope someone out there is able to take this idea and run with it. Maybe do a kickstarter for it? –Matt

 

 

Smartphone? Presto! 2-Way Radio
By DAVID POGUE
September 5, 2012
Cave drawings, smoke signals, letters, Pony Express, telegrams, phone calls, text messages. From the dawn of civilization, man has experimented with different modes of communication, each with pros and cons. Smoke signals, for example, contribute to far fewer car accidents than text messages. Text messages, on the other hand, leave much less soot.
You might think that we’ve exhausted every variation on electronic communication — text, audio, video — but you’d be wrong. A new one is quietly winning over millions of gadget fans. They’re free apps with names like Voxer, HeyTell and Zello, and they really do mess with the rules of the game.
Nobody’s settled on a good name for this communications category. But if we call them voice-texting apps, or walkie-talkie apps, you’ll get the idea.
They work on iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches, Android phones and Windows phones. You open the app, tap someone’s name, hold down the big Talk button and speak. A second after you start talking — yes, even before you’re finished — your voice bursts to life, extremely clearly, on your friend’s phone, wherever it may be in the world.
Your buddy can respond to you by pressing his own Talk button, and the conversation is under way.
Now, before you roll your eyes — “These youngsters today! Why do they need so many different ways to talk!?” — consider all the ways these apps improve on existing modes of chat.

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Mobile Apps: Theodolite–Turning Your Smart Phone Into A Precision Survey Instrument

Now this is cool and a big hat tip to Soldier Systems for putting this one out there. This mobile app basically converts your smart phone into an actual theodolite or surveying instrument.  Why is this cool? Because this device not only has application for cheap and quick surveying of land, but can also help in military operations where surveying, targeting, and reconnaissance is vital.

The other thing I was thinking about here is something like this could quickly help land owners settle disputes over boundaries. So instead of hiring a survey group to do this, two parties can just pull out their smart phones and confirm together where the boundary is between their properties. In the west where folks have all sorts of surveying assets to call upon, this is not too big of a problem. Although I could still see folks using such a thing to confirm or use as a preliminary survey tool.

But in poor countries with minimal resources, having an ability to determine borders and boundaries cheaply can mean the difference between life and death.  Many wars and conflict start because of boundary disputes between two parties. Especially in places with very weak legal systems, or non-existent legal systems.

The other thing I was thinking about here is the ability to take an app like this and download it into a ‘smart scope’. Or basically take an optic like an EOTech and design it so that it can put this data in the view if you want it–and all with the press of a button. Or you could cycle through your reticles for whatever application (like grenade launcher, machine gun, etc.). Anything that helps the soldier with targeting and making the optic useful.

I also like the idea of using this tool to help in setting up a remote site or combat outpost/FOB. From lining out the Hesco barriers, to setting up defensive positions and fire plan sketches–having a survey tool like the Theodolite mobile app is incredibly useful. –Matt

 

Theodolite is a multi-function augmented reality app that combines a compass, GPS, map, photo/movie camera, rangefinder, and two-axis inclinometer. Theodolite overlays real time information about position, altitude, bearing, range, and inclination on the iPhone’s live camera image, like an electronic viewfinder.??Uses are endless, and Theodolite is great for outdoor sports, hiking, boating, hunting, golf, sightseeing, photography, and navigation. The app is used in the field every day by surveyors, geologists, architects, engineers, military personnel, competitive sportsmen, and search and rescue workers.??Theodolite set a new standard for augmented reality navigation apps when it debuted in 2009. It has been featured numerous times in iTunes (including honors as a “Rewind 2010” app), and has been the #1 selling Navigation app in iTunes stores around the world.

Theodolite works on any iPhone or 4th generation iPod Touch with OS 4.1 or later.?Compass requires iPhone 3GS, 4, or 4S. iPhone 4 or 4S, or iPod Touch 4 required for gyro and Retina Display support.
Features
Ability to take geo-stamped and geo-tagged photos, screenshots, and movies from the app, with 2X and 4X zoom, buffered background image saves, plus an option to write custom notes on photos and movies. Integrated map with standard, satellite, and hybrid views, compass rose, and bearings. Manage location markers on the map and share with other users via SMS text messaging or e-mail. Optical-mechanical gyro/accelerometer calibration. Zero angle reference mode. A-B survey calculator for height, distance, heading, triangulation, position, and angles. Data logging. E-mail data export with KML. System-wide clipboard integration. Percent grade display. Six different optical rangefinders. Mils. Night vision lens filters. MGRS, UTM, and six lat/lon formats.For use on an iPad, check out Theodolite HD.

What’s New in Version 3.0
NEW! Movie recording, with optional screen/watermark overlays and multiple video quality settings. Three large-format stadiametric rangefinders (sniper/artillery/hunter style, showing distance multipliers, yards, or meters). Revised position formats with new decimal minutes option. Larger font sizing for photo data stamp watermark, with three color options. Onscreen indicator for magnetic declination errors. Bug fix to e-mail export URLs. Numerous performance improvements and tweaks.
Website here.
Purchase at iTunes here.

 

 

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Technology: Google Declares War Against The Cartels!!

Eduardo Guerrero, a Mexico City-based security consultant, wasn’t optimistic that technology alone can disrupt narcotraffickers.
“You should never underestimate the power of these guys,” Guerrero said. “They’re probably even aware of what’s going on here, and will figure out a way to use it to their advantage.”
Even Google’s Schmidt conceded that better use of information isn’t enough.
“I think at the end of the day, there really are bad people, and you have to go in and arrest them and kill them,” he said.

Check this out. It looks to me like Google is picking a fight with the cartels down south. lol Thanks to Borderland Beat for posting  this story and this will be interesting to watch. Especially if they can actually come up with a sound anonymous tip line service that is completely safe and easy to use.

Google’s ideas include creating a network so citizens can safely report cartel activity without fear of retribution. It wants to make sharing real-time intelligence easier among police in different regions. It can identify how individuals are connected to each other, to bank accounts and even to corrupt government officials. It can create community Web platforms for citizens to share information and name and shame criminals.

‘Name and shame criminals’ or to ‘safely report cartel activity without fear of retribution’ would be a pretty big technological hit on the cartels. Let’s just hope that Google has posted close protection agents around those individuals tasked with coming up with this stuff. lol Because to the cartels, the weakest point and the easiest way to counter this stuff to them, is to kidnap the guys who figured it out and force them to give up the secrets. Or bribe, steal, or whatever. There are no rules with these guys, and everything is fair game.

Either way, I wish Google luck and I look forward to seeing these tools in action. –Matt

 

Google searches for ways technology can harness Mexico’s narcotraffickers, global crime
July 19, 2012
Google, so far, has won the search engine wars. Now it wants to target international crime, including Mexico’s powerful drug cartels.
Eric Schmidt, Google Inc.’s executive chairman, has taken a keen interest in Mexico, where more than 47,500 people have been killed in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against the cartels in 2006. Schmidt recently visited most of Mexico’s most violent cities, Ciudad Juarez, where civic leaders asked if he could help.

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Gear Review: The Surefire P2X Fury–The 500 Lumen Compact Flashlight!

Now this is an awesome little light or should I say ‘spot light’. lol At first I couldn’t believe the thing could actually put out 500 lumens worth of light, but it does. What is also nice is that you can switch it to the 15 lumens setting to extend the life of your batteries. Then switch it to the high output setting when you need some serious illumination.

This particular light also fits in Surefire’s Polymer Speed Holster, but only on the handle portion. The bezel is too wide for it to be inserted that way. So for that, I would contact some of the custom kydex folks out there and maybe have them produce something that will fit this light.  You can also use the nylon holster they sell. (The package this light comes in does not have a holster)

If you want a good price on this thing, I saw it for sale on Amazon for as low as 108 dollars, and I have put it in the Jundi Gear locker if you ever want to find it. Or you can follow the link below and explore all of the options of buying it, because it is sold at several places on Amazon. Also check out Surefire’s website for any goodies that come with this thing.

Another great feature of this light is it’s size.  It is just amazing how much power they have put in such a small package, and this light is a great light for security work.

The width of the light is the standard Surefire size, and you can buy any number of weapons light mounts that accept the other Surefire lights. I personally like the Viking Tactics weapons light mount, but I am sure there are others out there you can go with that will work just the same. Either way check this thing out and watch the video below if you want a good idea as to what this light can do. –Matt

Buy the light here.

 

 

Specifications
Output / Runtime — White Light
High 500 .0 lumens / 1.5 hours*
Low 15 .0 lumens / 46.0 hours
Tactical Runtime* 1 .5 hours
Length 5 .40 inches
Bezel Diameter 1 .37 inches
Weight w/Batteries 5 .7 ounces
Batteries 2 123A (included)
*Runtime (at highest setting for multiple-output flashlights) until output drops below 50 lumens
Description
P2X-B-BK
The P2X Fury uses a high-efficiency, virtually failure-proof LED to deliver your choice of either 15 or 500 lumens of perfectly focused light, the latter qualifying the Fury as a pocket-sized searchlight. The 15-lumen level is excellent for general work at close-to-medium distances, and also lets you greatly extend the runtime per set of batteries, a valuable option when you’re miles from civilization.

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Technology: Thermal Matrix ACT 2

Wow, this is some cool technology. Thermal cameras are not new, but it’s still technology that is being played around with by various vendors and modified to be useful. I like this system because it gives you the ability to scan folks from a distance and it is very sensitive and tuned in for this specific task of finding things on people. That is great for Entry Control Points in war zones, where doing a preliminary screen of individuals before they enter your search area or holding area is essential.

I mentioned the Taliban’s efforts to attack contractors and others during this spring offensive, and tools like this could help to see what guys are hiding under their clothes. Things like pistols in their shoes or suicide vests/weapons could be detected from a distance with this camera system. I emphasize ‘from a distance’, because this gives you more time for your OODA.

You could also use this to scan high traffic areas of cities, and identify those locals that are carrying weapons on their person. Once you find someone like that, and they are not soldiers or police, then that might be a person to watch and see where they go.

If you would like to investigate this system and see what it is all about, here is a link. –Matt

 

 

ACT
ACT System by Thermal MatrixThe ACT (Access Counter IED Technology) System by Thermal Matrix is a concealed object threat detection system, using sensors combined with sophisticated computer technology.

The system electronically analyzes situations and identifies multiple threats including explosives, concealed guns, knives and other weapons. In addition, ACT detects threats a metal detector cannot reveal. They include plastic, liquid, and gel explosives, weapons made with non-ferrous metals, and contraband including illegal drugs.

Because it is portable and easy to operate, the ACT System is ideal for both commercial applications as well as domestic law enforcement security. The system is lightweight, and only requires a single operator. The hardware consists of a thermal sensor mounted on a tripod, connected to a laptop computer. Altogether it weighs less than 20 pounds, and can be set-up and operational within 15 minutes
The ACT System is excellent for use in a number of situations, including: ACT System uses for Law Enforcement

Event Security

Check Points

Entry Control

Perimeter Security

Crowd Surveillance

Loss Prevention/Theft

The heart of the ACT System is exclusive Thermal Matrix software, which uses advanced algorithms to analyze the thermal signature of a scene. The software automatically detects subjects and isolates them from the background. Subjects are then tracked using target recognition software. Advanced filtering enhances the image of the subject, allowing for greater detection by the operator.

The software also employs touch-screen, Graphical User Interface (GUI) controls, so the operator can analyze a scene just like using a DVD player. The operator can easily pause, rewind, zoom-in, and enhance the picture using multiple filter

Much like a digital video recorder (DVR), the computer continuously records the most recent 10 minutes of every scene. When the operator finds something suspicious, one push of a button will automatically archive that scene on the hard drive.

The ACT System is the most advanced, portable, easy-to-use concealed object detection system in the security industry.

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Technology: Dr. Regina Dugan Speaks At DARPA Cyber Colloquium, Sam Quint Reponds….

Boy, after listening to this, I am wondering if DARPA is reading the blog? I have talked about the Cyber Lance in the past, as well as Cyber Privateering and the issuance of the Letter of Marque, and the language I am hearing in this talk sounds a lot like Offense Industry talk to me. All I know is she really wanted to emphasize the complexity of the commons called cyber space, and that ‘capability’ must be explored for the defense and offense in such an environment.

I say offense industry because DARPA has been really exploring the possibilities for bounties. They also use rewards for contests as a prize for innovation. I know they are aware of the Letter of Marque concept because Michael Hayden brought it up in a speech, and myself and the Morgan Doctrine have been bringing it up in posts.

What is really interesting is that Dr. Dugan is heading off to work for Google. Google would be a fantastic place to work at, to truly explore the various ways to combat cyber criminals and enemies. She would also get an inside view as to what Google thinks is the answer.

As to my commentary on the whole thing?  I think I will let Sam Quint speak for me below…. lol –Matt

 

 

The honorable Sam Quint replies….

 

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