Catch package delivery thieves on your porch

Classic use case for a home security camera. Posting the pictures or video to social media and sharing with the police can lead to the perp’s arrest.

Porch thief apprehended

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windows phone store, app of the day, gotya

How to get your app featured on Windows Phone Store

In the last two and a half weeks (since July 9th), Gotya has been featured on Windows Phone Store seven times in forty-five countries, including today in the U.S. as the Featured App Of The Day. In addition to the App of the Day promo slot (for as the name implies, one app), there are also the  App Icons (three apps) and the Spotlight (eight apps) promo slots.

See this Windows Phone Developer Blog post including a video from Inside Windows Phone, to see what criteria Windows Phone Store merchandising team uses to choose which apps to feature on the Windows Phone Store. In other words, “what is a quality app” ?

We’re thrilled that the Windows Phone Store merchandising team has deemed Gotya to be a high quality app, and just as thrilled that with nearly 200 reviews globally averaging 4.5/5 stars, our users feel the same way.

lumia 900 windows phone

7 Things You Can Do With Your Old Smartphone

Consumers have several options for what to do with their old phone when they upgrade to a new one,  something that is happening more often than ever with programs like T-Mobile JUMP!  that encourages customers to upgrade their smartphone as often as every six months with a credit for up to half of the old phone’s original cost.  The other big mobile operators in the U.S. have similar programs having followed T-Mobile’s lead.

  1. Sell it to an end user consumer on EbaySwappa, or other used phone websites/marketplaces. If your phone is still in good condition,  fully functional with a clean ESN and ready for activation you can get a decent price. For a Nokia Lumia 900, if your phone meets all their selling criteria, the avg selling price on Swappa for June is listed at $55. If your phone is damaged or broken, you can try and salvage something by selling it on the Swappa Boneyard.
  2. Sell it to a used phone dealer/business. Trade it in at a mobile operator store or operator website  for a promotion card good for buying more stuff from the operator,  or get a credit to your mobile phone bill. Or sell it to Gazelle. You’re going to get a lot less money this way. See the screenshots below.
  3. Pass it on to a (junior) family member
  4. Destroy  it with a hammer or back over it with a car (or whatever your preferred demolition method) so that it’s unusable/won’t power on, and then take it to an electronics recycler. It’s better to destroy it before recycling to ensure that your personal data on the device won’t fall into the wrong hands.
  5. Throw it in the trash. But that wouldn’t be very environmentally friendly now would it.
  6. Put it in a drawer and forget about it.
  7. Extend its useful life with a utility/tools type app, such as a security camera, music player, or a flashlight.

With options 1-2 there is the risk of not properly wiping your phone (specifically, doing a factory reset which you would think would be enough but isn’t – on Android devices, you also need to turn on encryption) and thus leaving your data (pictures, emails, text messages, address book, and so on) vulnerable to hacking.  With option 2. there is also the question of how much money you’ll get. In the case of the Lumia 900 according to the AT&T Device Trade-In Appraisal tool, the absolute most it’s worth in good/normal use condition is $10 in the form of store or website credit. At Verizon, their maximum price is $11.

used smartphone, lumia 900

Used Lumia 900 maximum price AT&T will pay

At Gazelle, it’s worth $0 with a cracked screen (as shown in the featured image at the top of this blog post). On the plus side, they do provide a link to recycling resources.

Lumia, Windows Phone, motion detection camera

Lumia 900 w/cracked screen worth nothing to Gazelle

 

If you’re not comfortable with the data vulnerability issue or can’t get the price you want via 1. or 2. and don’t have a suitable family member to give your old phone to, option 7. is not a bad one. Certainly better than 4., 5., or  6., one would think.  Especially if it’s got a cracked screen, a not uncommon ailment of used phones.

See the cracked-screen Lumia 900 reborn as a Gotya security camera! Even though the screen is cracked, it functions perfectly well as a motion detection camera.

motion detection camera, lumia 900, windows phone

Lumia 900 w/cracked screen gets new lease on life as a motion detection camera

If you’ve recently upgraded your phone, let us know in the comments what you’ve done or plan to do with your old one.

Over-thinking and over-complicating SJC perimeter security

As originally reported in this blog post, perimeter security at Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) needs some serious beefing up, and we suggested a simple solution – put in cameras with motion detection and alerting capabilities and make sure they cover all areas of potential intrusion. 

“…he picked a spot where cameras didn’t pick him up”.

“Once on the airfield, security cameras captured an image that appeared to be the boy, airport officials said, but apparently no one monitoring the closed-circuit video system saw it.” 

Hence the need for motion detection and alerting on all perimeter cameras at SJC and ensuring they cover 100% of the perimeter. And of course, if not blatantly obvious already, make sure the cameras have night-vision.

The alerts can be in the form of SMS text messages backed up by audible alerts to the companion mobile app for the cameras being used. The text message can contain a link to a short video clip or high-res snapshots of the moving object and the security personnel can then react accordingly, immediately, without having to constantly watch video monitors. Many  cameras have two-way audio capability (as well as audio-triggered alerts in addition to motion) so warnings could be immediately made (shouted or barked) to the intruder that they’re about to be apprehended.

Does it really require bringing in a national non-profit safety group to figure this out? We’re with San Jose councilman Sam Liccardo who called it a “straightforward challenge” akin to building a better mousetrap that should be no problem given the airport’s location in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Come on SJC, get on your horse.

Gotya reviewed on WPCentral

We’re fortunate enough today to have the good folks at Windows Phone Central do a thorough hands-on review of Gotya for Windows Phone.

We’ve studied the review and appreciate the positives and the negatives as it will help us improve the Gotya app and Cloud Service.

We also really like the cool pic of the annoying leaping squirrel that was taken by Gotya running on a Lumia 520.

Thanks to George Ponder at WPCentral for the well-written review.

Get Your Own Barking Watchdog While You’re Away On Vacation

Summer vacation season is in full swing and lots of people will be away from their homes at their favorite vacation spots. Here in the U.S. this 4th of July weekend, the AAA estimates more than 41 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more.

People away from their homes on vacation can get peace of mind by using a home monitoring/surveillance system app on the smartphones and tablets they have with them  to see what’s happening at their homes, get photo or video records of movement, and get alerts when motion is detected so they can respond accordingly.

Gotya is a low-cost way to monitor your house or apartment while you’re away enjoying your vacation and to automatically take pictures of moving objects. Set up Gotya cameras at the points of entry or approach to your home – pathways, doorways, gates, and windows  – and if anything moves in those areas,  Gotya will automatically take pictures and send you email, picture, and sound alerts so you always know what’s going on.

You can set your Gotya camera to play an alert sound as a warning to trespassers or potential  intruders that they’re being watched. Crank up the volume on your device to full blast or even hook it up to external speakers to blast the Gotya warning sound whenever they move to make them think twice! This is the next best thing to having a barking watchdog dog at your place while you’re away!

motion detection camera

Turn on alert sound to warn potential intruders

 

In addition to the Gotya alert sound, you can also fire the camera’s flash as a visual warning to potential intruders. When something moves, Gotya fires the camera’s flash, blasts the alert sound,  takes a picture, and sends you an alert. With Gotya taking multiple pictures per second, the intruder will see a series of flashes and hear a repeating alarm sound.  With today’s bright LED and super bright Xenon flash on devices like the Nokia Lumia, it’s sure to catch the interloper’s eye, make them nervous, and think seriously about leaving, fast.  It’s like having a Cujo-like dog with flashing eyes watching your home while you’re away!

motion detection camera

Turn on Flash to fire as a warning when motion is detected

 

motion detection camera

Lumia 822 Gotya camera watching front pathway with Flash set to on

 

motion detection camera

This is what it looks like to somebody moving in front of the camera

 

Let us know in the comments how you’re using Gotya to watch your home while you’re away on vacation. Have a good one!

Featured image courtesy of http://blog.ricardoarturocabral.com/