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More on gov's mansion

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Friday, June 20, 2008
Texas Department of Public Safety officials talked about their investigation into the blaze at the Texas governor's mansion yesterday and said: Only 13 of 20 security cameras were working; although two troopers were requested to be on duty, only one had been assigned; the trooper on duty was not adequately trained to monitor the security system. He happened to be looking away from the monitor, using a computer, when the arsonist torched the mansion.

Untitled

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Friday, June 20, 2008
I'll probably post once or twice more before I head down for ESX in Nashville, but I thought I'd take some time today to get you people pumped up for the trip (assuming you're going - and why wouldn't you?). Basically, this is the first major event on the security calendar that's been in a city I actually care to go to since I've been working here at the paper. So far, I've been here for shows and events: Las Vegas: horrible, horrible place where I get into way too much trouble. San Diego: nice weather and all, but pretty boring as a city goes. New York: obviously, great place to visit, but I go there all the time, so not as cool a place to go on business. Chicago: if PSA-TEC was actually in Chicago, this might be cool, but it's a 45-minute drive outside the city. West Palm Beach: is there anyone under the age of 50 that actually goes there for anything other than business? Dallas: actually, it's getting better and better, but pales in comparison to Austin, so seems lamer than it is. Baltimore: whoops! Didn't actually go there ... Orlando: especially fun in June! Glad I'm not going to that NRF show ... Miami: see above, although Americas Fire & Security makes it even better and runs the show in July! DC: unless you're a history junky, not much to do there and it's kind of hard to get around. So, you get my point. Hence, me being totally geeked to go to Nashville, aka music city, where there's a club on every corner and a band in every window. Let me expound. First of all, people who aren't excited about Marty Stuart playing the Big Bash the NBFAA and CSAA are putting on need to watch the following. Marty rips up the guitar with Earl Scruggs and Roy Husky (and he's even better on the mandolin). I have no idea what he'll be playing at the Bash, whether new-school electric guitar country or his bluegrass stuff, but I'm hoping for the latter. Then there's the pub/clubs. If you want to know what's going on, the Nashville Scene is the place to look. It's an arts paper that really knows what's up. Check all the music listings here. Some things that look appealing: Tues., June 24, Grand Old Opry Cherryholmes, fantastic bluegrass band, headline the show. Steep at $36, but worth it. Wed., June 25, Ryman Auditorium Merle Haggard. Seriously. He's getting a bit up there in years, but he's a classic. Wed., June 25, 3rd and Lindsley the Wooten Brothers. Victor Wooten has been Bela Fleck's sideman on the bass for years and these guys together bring the funk. Thurs., June 26, Wildhorse Saloon the Gin Blossoms. I'm actually kind of amazed this band is still together, but for power pop, they do a nice job. Thurs., June 26, Ryman Auditorium Earl Scruggs! The father of modern banjo playing teams with the Infamous Stringdusters. If you've to a chance to get away for this, do it. Fri., June 27, Exit/In Same as it Ever Was, a Tribute to the Talking Heads. There's actually a lot of great music happening tonight, including Marty Stuart playing with Trace Adkins, but I love the Talking Heads, and these kinds of tributes are usually really good, with a bunch of pro musicians playing their favorite band. So, Thursday's looking like a barn burner, hitting the Big Bash with Marty at 5, then jetting over to Ryman to catch old Earl, then teaming up with the TBFAA for the pub crawl. Whoo! That's a long night.

Monitoring in the spotlight

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Thursday, June 19, 2008
So, for those loyal readers out there who were likely missing my posts last week, I was off partying at Bonnaroo in Tennessee. That's right, I drove from Portland, Maine to Manchester, Tennessee despite current gas prices just so I could hang out with thousands of people under the blazing Tennessee sun. The music was great, the people watching even better. I was seriously 50 yards from Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam under the clear night sky and a nearly full moon. It was an amazing moment. Funny though, I'll be heading back to Tennessee, this time to Nashville for the ESX show, but for that trip my expenses will be on the company card, so hopefully I won't be sleeping in a tent and paying $10 for a 15-minute cold shower (I mean, really). Anyway, it's back to work and our August edition is all about central stations and the monitoring industry. So, as the monitoring maven, it's my responsibility to get all you folks to contribute our Source Book listing which will be a resource for dealers and integrators to find providers of contract monitoring services. And, it's free. Yup, that's right. If you're a contract or third-party monitoring station, follow the link to fill out a survey so you can be included: Central Station Survey link The deadline is June 26, so no procrastination.

Is this exhibit for you?

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Are your summer travels taking you to Washington DC? Do you like modern architecture and cool furniture? And most important, do you like to do security-related stuff while on vacation? If you answered yes to ALL these questions--or just the first two, I have just the activity to add to your itinerary. It's a new Eero Saarinen exhibit showing now through the end of August at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Saarinen designed some classic modern furniture such as the womb chair, but this show is focused on his architecture. Here are some fun examples of that: the TWA terminal at JFK (does it say flight to you?) and the St. Louis arc, the "gateway to the West." Here's the security-related part: the global sponsor of this exhibit is Assa Abloy. I like any company that supports the arts like this, so I'll include the promotional blurb that Assa Abloy sent me: "Like Saarinen we too believe in utilizing the newest technologies, materials and aesthetics available in our products to enhance the safety, security and the “living” experience for the people who inhabit buildings. We believe that all of a building’s parts, including the door opening, contribute to this bigger experience especially as seen in technology and access control." And here's the National Building Museum's Web site with more information.

Sex and security systems

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008
LaserShield's massive marketing campaign hit daytime television audiences recently when it was featured on The View as one of several products promoted by Dr. Gadget (you know, that slightly crazed, high energy product promotion guy). Here's the YouTube link: Other than the star power of Dr. Gadget, I'm sure the ratings for that particular episode was fairly high as Sarah Jessica Parker was the featured guest and the Sex and the City movie was hot! So now stay-at-home moms, retired folks and Sarah Jessica Parker fans all over the country will be wanting a LaserShield system. Or that's the hope anyway. And, in typical daytime talk show fashion, everyone in the audience went home with a LaserShield system, too. LaserShield is all over the place lately. I heard an advertisement on XM Radio a few weeks ago and I'm sure they're using all sorts of other advertising channels, too. You don't typically hear about security in your day-to-day activities, but then again, LaserShield isn't exactly typical.

Now this is how you do media

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I've often harped here that security companies need to do a better job of using the media for their own devices. Far too often, criminals are apprehended with thanks to "the security company." But this news report shows you just how the media can get a good story at the same time you get a fine sales tool. And because it's being done by an independent news house, iVerify and ioimage get great validation. No doubt other construction firm owners were quickly googling the two firms after seeing this: It's funny, because this kind of site security seems so obvious with today's technology, yet a phone conversation I had with the people at Vidient has made me think about where the market is really at with analytics and perimeter protection. Vidient has decided to focus on the perimeter security market for its analytics product, generally to the exclusion of other applications. I asked why they would want to limit themselves in that way, when integrators are perfectly capable of coming up with interesting applications for their technology. Vidient sort of disagreed, saying that most integrators needed to be shown how and where to use the analytics, and pointing out that very few new sites are using analytics and video for their perimeter protection. I'd love to see numbers, though I doubt they exist, of how many new facilities are using things like motion detectors and trip wires to the exclusion of analytics and video. Is it true that people still don't trust, or still don't know how to implement analytics for perimeter protection, where it's pretty much a no-brainer? Or does Vidient underestimate the market's advancement?

That's one way to get business

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Sorry to have been away for a few days, loyal blog readers. I took a family vacation to Columbus, Ohio (don't ask why), and then got stuck in Columbus, thanks to US Air's typical crappiness. Seriously, is there a worse airline than US Air? I think not. Further, I'm slightly distracted today thanks to the glorious Celtics victory that went down last night. I watched all 18 of their 18 straight losses last year, so feel extra deserving of some gloating this year. Also, I'm a typical Boston sports fan and am just generally a jerk about such things, so here's a nice photo for y'all (that's Celtic coach Doc Rivers, whom I've called lots of nasty names over the years, in front of long-time Celtics icon Red Auerbach): Thus, my blog entry for the day is a whimsical tale from Scotland of "a security company enforcer who threatened people to get contracts for her firm." That's one way to drum up new recurring revenue. But it gets better: Heavily-built Marion Lang, 50, had earlier been found guilty on three counts of extortion after a nine-day trial. I love how she's "heavily built." As though a small woman couldn't burn down your house or shoot your dog.

Clarification on arsonist's message sought in Texas

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Maybe I should just do what the bumper sticker tells me and not mess with Texas. You know, hit delete like others, who really don't understand how they do things down there. Problem is: I can't delete because this story just keeps getting weirder and more interesting. You know the story: the Texas governor's mansion—which was undergoing renovations including a delayed sprinkler retrofit—was torched by an arsonist about 10 days ago. It subsequently came out that the security system wasn't working properly, and hadn't been for a few weeks. In today's story, the fire marshal surmised that the arsonist was mad about the governor's stance on something, like maybe the death penalty, either that or he was pissed about the renovation of the mansion. Then there's an appeal from the fire marshal to the arsonist, “We do feel you had a message and we would like to hear from you.” In case the angry arsonist doesn't come through with a clarification of his message, they've offered a $50,000 reward for info leading to his arrest.

Security system on the fritz during fire at Gov's mansion

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Monday, June 16, 2008
Does this Texas tale sound just a tad fishy to anyone else? Last week an arsonist set an early morning fire at the Texas Governor's mansion. The mansion was unoccupied because it was undergoing renovations. News reports said that a new sprinkler system had been at the top of the list of renovations, yet eight months into the project, that task had not been completed. In this report, we learn that the security system that protected the mansion (and was monitored by guards on site) hasn't been working lately.

S.C. Gov. vetoes sprinkler bill

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Friday, June 13, 2008
IN a big blow to sprinkler advocates who have been working on an incentive bill here and on the national level, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford waited until the last minute to veto a sprinkler bill that would have provided tax incentives for homeowners and businesses to retrofit with sprinklers. The bill was sent to the governor's desk last week after passing the state senate. He had until June 11 to veto or sign. Had Sanford not signed or vetoed the bill, it would have automatically become law on June 12. Reports said the governor objected to the amount of the incentive (25% from the state, 25% from the local government) calling it more of a "subsidy" than an incentive to invest. The Legislature will reconvene June 25 to take up the governor's vetoes. At that time the Governor's veto could be overridden by a two-thirds vote. If not, the issue is dead until January.

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