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Tiny Wireless Video Cameras

By MindMesh in Op-Ed
Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 10:59:48 AM EST
Tags: Security (all tags)
Security

I'm so happy that X10 has decided to grace the internet community with their ads for 'tiny wireless video cameras'. People everywhere are celebrating their newfound sense of security and protection these devices provide. When enough people order this product and set up cameras in their houses, offices, cars, and when the government plays its part and covers all public areas, we truly will have a secure environment. No criminal or snoopy roommate will dare cross us because they will be recorded and busted. We will be so safe and secure that it won't matter that we've lost our privacy. What's the value of privacy anyways compared to safety and security?


These women use their wireless video cameras to "capture special moments on video" and for "home security." They feel so secure that their houses aren't going to be broken into by perverts now that they have their cameras installed that they are comfortable lounging around the house in their underwear and X10 wants you to know it.

Here a woman is so excited about being able to see what she's been missing that she's dancing around with her thumbs down her pants. I bet she finds the new pan and tilt option so exciting that she just can't handle it anymore and must close her eyes and celebrate.

Who are they kidding? X10 may get some of their sales from people concerned with home security, but the bulk of their sales are coming from voyeurs and people who stand to gain from spying. These are the people they're really targeting in their ads. Being a 23 year old guy, I have less reason to think I'm targeted by these devices than if I were an attractive woman or girl. Sex sells and X10 pulls no punches in their marketing as this collection of some of their more revealing ads shows. Expect to see the unexpected!

X10 and their "Tiny wireless video cameras" can kiss my ass, assuming they're not already recording my ass in a public restroom, swimming pool, office, gym shower, or even my own home. If the ads for these devices are all pervasive on the internet, how common are they in the physical world?

Privacy is dead,. In April of 2001, X10 was the most-visited e-tailer on the Web behind Amazon.com! X10's ads have appeared on the L.A. Times website, the New York Times website, and now in the last several months are all pervasive on yahoo.com's services as well. Every time I visit the site I see one or 2 ads for X10 that I haven't seen before. "We don't care how many visitors we get, we just care about revenue," CEO Wade Pfeiffer said. "What we care about is convergent visitors: converting them into dollars." Mr. Pheiffer obviously isn't concerned about your privacy either, not when encouraging people to violate it will make him a buck.

At least CEO Pheiffer's product doesn't work as advertised and got a 2 out of 10 review. I hope everyone who orders this camera intending to spy on their neighbor has as many problems as the techextreme reviewers.

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Poll
Tiny Wireless Video Cameras
o Are great for home security. I think I'll order one today. 3%
o Make me nervous 1%
o Piss me off 18%
o Frighten me 1%
o Excite me! Now I can see what that cute lesbian couple next door is up to! 43%
o Can fit up my *&^$% 3%
o Are a rip-off 9%
o Can kiss my ass 16%

Votes: 53
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Yahoo
o X10
o These women
o Here
o collection
o Expect to see the unexpected!
o swimming pool
o Privacy is dead,
o most-visit ed e-tailer
o review.
o Also by MindMesh


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Tiny Wireless Video Cameras | 20 comments (20 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Ironic that they are billed for security (4.16 / 6) (#1)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 12:52:22 AM EST

They aren't secure. All you need is the receiver base and you can find out exactly what your neighbor is using his or her camera to view. Each camera broadcasts on only one of four channels. ;)

That said, I bought one. Not for security, not for voyeourism (sp?), but because I'm lazy. It only gets turned on when I tell my daughters to go clean their room. It is far easier to pull up XawTV to check to see if they are cleaning or reading books than it is to trundle upstairs. Not to mention that my wife is mobile only with the aid of a wheelchair. Checking on the youngest in her room upstairs is only possible for her due to the X-10 cam.

In all honesty, there are a plethora of good uses to put these things to. If I had had one on my front door when two young schmucks waltzed into my house and stole my laptop last year, the police would have nailed them that much sooner and the elderly couple they terrorized by breaking into their house with a hammer wouldn't have been put through such a trial.

What I'd really like, though, is some resources to comparibly priced dealers with equivalent merchandise. I like the way X-10 products work. (And so does my disable wife. Remote controls for lights and small appliances at $10 an outlet is dirt cheap.) I don't like their lack of quality and I don't like their policy of SPAMMING their own customers.

Regards,

Lee Irenæus Malatesta

Occurs to me (4.00 / 5) (#2)
by truth versus death on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 12:59:50 AM EST

How do you deal with the issue of making your children aware they are potentially on camera in their bedroom?

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
[ Parent ]
Well . . . (4.80 / 5) (#3)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 01:09:16 AM EST

They watched me put it up, turn it on, test it out. I figure they are smart enough to figure it out.

Judging by the number of times I've turned it on to see one of them looking straight at the camera contorting their face and hissing, "YOU ARE SO MEAN, WHY DO I HAVE TO CLEAN MY ROOM?!!!", I think that my estimation of their intelligence is justified.

Not to mention that for some reason the camera frequently gets unplugged from the AC adapter even though the wall outlet is in a low traffic area and there is no reason that adapter ought to keep falling out of the receptor. . . .

As they grow older and start to care about privacy, I'll gladly take the camera out of their room and put it over the front door of the house or something. Right now, though, in a less than ideal house the camera fills a good niche. If my wife weren't disabled and we lived in a ranch style house or if I didn't have a severe hearing problem we'd likely never have put in the camera for use as a baby monitor.

Regards,

Lee Irenæus Malatesta

[ Parent ]

They already care about privacy (3.75 / 4) (#6)
by MindMesh on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 01:17:12 AM EST

as evidenced by the fact that they're already sabatoging your equipment! If you don't get the hint, maybe they'll squirt it with water and try to short circuit it next time instead of just unplugging it. Surely when they are able or when they think about it, they'll try to permanently disable your artificial eye.
I thank you for being honest about what you've done in your household though. That's brave, and I expect you'll take a lot of heat for it...

[ Parent ]
yeah, yeah, yeah (4.25 / 4) (#8)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 01:27:06 AM EST

(1) Disabling a camera by unplugging it is hardly sabotage. Sabotage involves the harmful disabling of equipment, not the mere unplugging of equipment from the wall socket.

(2) It isn't a hint. Unless you have kids the same age as mind you probably don't get it. (Notice the probably, I'll fully allow that you may.) There is a lot of stupid parent crap that I never really understood until I was actually a parent.

(3) My children are smart enough that I doubt that they would permanently damage something that they enjoy playing with.

(4) As for taking heat. . .

Well, I'll just shut up now.

[ Parent ]

Cameras in their bedrooms? (3.20 / 5) (#4)
by MindMesh on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 01:10:08 AM EST

I am very glad my parents didn't use video cameras to make sure my brother and I were cleaning our rooms or doing whatever our parents told us to do. It just seems creepy to me. I hope your daughters realize they're being denied privacy because of your laziness and feel comfortable enough to talk to you about it. Cameras in their bedrooms? How would you feel if the situation were reversed?

[ Parent ]
Where do you draw the line? (4.66 / 6) (#7)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 01:20:46 AM EST

Is a baby monitor in an infant's room creepy? How about one with a video display?

Did you read the part about my wife being disabled? Do you think a four year old mature enough to play entirely unsupervised on a floor of the house that cannot be reached by the only adult in the house for a good deal of the day?

Does it matter that without the microphone and the amplification provided by the system that I couldn't hear my children yelling for help in case of a fire or a cat burglar because of a hearing loss?

Would it creep you out if our house had thin walls and I had excellent hearing and could hear everything that went on in the other rooms?

My daughters are not being deprived of privacy. They both have plenty of places to go in the house that are not monitored by cameras. They both know how to enter the bathroom and lock the door behind them. Not only that, but they also both know the camera is there and know how to unplug the camera from the ac adapter.

And I trust them both enough to talk to either me or my wife if they have a problem with the camera. As they mature and are no longer so young that they need adult supervision, I'll move the camera to some place more entertaining such as the front door to our house.

Or does grabbing pictures of everyone that comes to the front door of our family residence creep you out too?

Regards,

Lee Irenæus Malatesta

[ Parent ]

My goodness... (1.60 / 5) (#10)
by scanman on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 01:55:54 AM EST

Wait until they're about 13 or 14, casually leave a book like "everything you ever wanted to know about sex" lying around, and fire up ffserver!

"[You are] a narrow-minded moron [and] a complete loser." - David Quartz
"scanman: The moron." - ucblockhead
"I prefer the term 'lifeskills impaired'" - Inoshiro

[ Parent ]

A worry (3.66 / 3) (#15)
by wiredog on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 09:49:30 AM EST

How secure is the data stream from those cameras? Wireless isn't noted for security? How hard would it be for someone from outside your house to tap into the stream? There are people who would love to get access to a video stream coming from some little girl's bedroom.

The world is full of sickos man, might want to keep that in mind.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]

No worry (5.00 / 1) (#16)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 12:57:07 PM EST

How secure is the data stream from those cameras?
It isn't secure at all as I made mention of in my post.
How hard would it be for someone from outside your house to tap into the stream?
Only as difficult as tuning a receiver into the correct channel. Same as all older cordless phones, some new cordless phones, all analog cell phones, some PCS handsets, wireless baby monitors, some "closed" video circuits, etc., etc., etc.
There are people who would love to get access to a video stream coming from some little girl's bedroom.
Probably, but the camera does have an off switch and typically I only turn it on when myself or my wife need it. Most of the time it is on, the video signal consists of a black screen (after lights out when it serves as an audio monitor) or two young girls cleaning up their room.

Regards,

Lee Irenæus Malatesta

[ Parent ]

I bought their $5 intro kit (3.00 / 2) (#5)
by roystgnr on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 01:14:40 AM EST

It had a remote control, a controller base station, and two lamp modules, I think. It was useful, but I gave it to a friend who got more use out of it than I did.

Of course, this was almost 3 years ago, before X10 turned into one of the most famous jackasses of the internet. I've thought about buying more of these things (even at the regular prices) now, but I didn't want to inadvertently fund those atrocious ads. There are a bunch of other sites that sell X10 products; is this an open interface standard or are they just retailing for the annoying company?

X10 is an open protocol (4.00 / 2) (#11)
by ocelotbob on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 02:44:34 AM EST

There are a bunch of other sites that sell X10 products; is this an open interface standard or are they just retailing for the annoying company?

It's an open spec; anyone who wants to make an X10 device can do so without charge. A great source of info is the X10 faq. The protocol itself is fairly useful, it's just a shame that the guys who made it turned into real scoundrels after their patent expired.

Can I be your pet? I promise not to bite (much).
[ Parent ]

First time I saw those ads... (3.75 / 4) (#9)
by ggeens on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 01:43:12 AM EST

... I thought it was some kind of sex site. Naming a product X-cam surely invites people to think so.


L'enfer, c'est les huîtres.


The light controllers are cool, the camera sucks (4.00 / 3) (#12)
by rusty on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 03:58:05 AM EST

I got a pile of this X10 stuff a few years ago. The lamp modules and remotes are very cool, and I still use them for any lamps where the switches aren't easily reachable from wherever you normally want them to be turned on from.

The camera, on the other hand, is the lamest piece of junk ever. That review covers it all. It's not wireless, the picture sucks horribly (think webcam circa 1996, then throw in some snow), and it's a pain in the ass to interface it with a computer. I'm not the least bit worried about privacy issues, because number one, you'd have to be blind not to notice one of these things watching you, what with the power cords and big antenna panel and everything, and number two even if it was surreptitiously recording me, the picture is so bad you can't tell a hawk from a handsaw, no matter which way the wind is blowing.

____
Not the real rusty

I wish they would split 'security' and 'fun' (3.00 / 2) (#13)
by delmoi on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 04:05:21 AM EST

I really wish X-10 would split up their 'security' and 'fun' ads up. It just seems so convoluted to me. They advertize the fuck out of everything, why not split their ads up? I mean, would it kill them?

Bleh, that said. There are better 'tiny wireless camera's out there to buy, ones that are actualy, like, wireless and stuff. X10 is just crap.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
I'm glad you posted this (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by John Thompson on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 08:45:01 AM EST

Those X10 ads have been annoying me for a long time. As you point out, although they are ostensibly sold for "security" purposes, their advertizing suggests otherwise. A year or so ago I configured my Junkbuster proxy to block all X10 ads so at least I don't have to see them anymore...

All hail X-10 (3.00 / 1) (#17)
by keymonkey on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 02:56:55 PM EST

I just downloaded the new version 6 of Opera. It has a nice "Refuse Pop-ups" feature. Living X-10 free is a nice feeling. Anyway, the only legitimate use I've ever heard was small business. If you own a small company, without the budget for elaborate closed circuit security, the X-10 is perfect. Farmers like'em for keeping an eye on livestock, and they've surged in the "nanny-cam" market. Aside from that, I agree,it's all peeping toms and freaks and that's where they will see their biggest sales. So, why shouldn't they market to their biggest demographic? There is no such thing as "business morals"! Don't be surprised if you run across www.yourname.porn one day, which a neighbor set up to get back at you for the loud stereo.

the new junkbuster blocks them too! (none / 0) (#18)
by gps on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 10:32:32 PM EST

the new junkbuster proxy filters out popup ads as well. its great!

[ Parent ]
X10's own link to block the ads (5.00 / 1) (#19)
by Boldra on Thu Jan 17, 2002 at 05:39:34 AM EST

click here, and X10 will set a cookie with the value "x10removeads", valid for a month, which will stop the popup ads appearing.

Apologies if this has already been posted, I searched for it, but not thoroughly.


- Boldra
read this (none / 0) (#20)
by frufru on Mon Jan 21, 2002 at 08:52:53 AM EST

david brin: the transparent society

Tiny Wireless Video Cameras | 20 comments (20 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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