Friday, December 19, 2008

Cobra XRS R10G, R8 & Cobra XRS 9960G, XRS 9955 GPS-Enabled Radar Detectors


Cobra XRS 9960G & Cobra XRS R10G

Cobra XRS R10G/Cobra XRS R8 & Cobra XRS 9960G/Cobra XRS 9955 New GPS-Enabled Radar Detectors

Update: 08 MAR 09

Our Full Review: Cobra XRS-9960G Review

It's clear to me that GPS-enabled radar detectors—able to alert to the presence of nefarious speed cameras and red light cameras—are here to stay and Cobra certainly gets this as evidenced by their introduction of new gps-enabled radar detectors, including the Cobra XRS R10G and Cobra XRS 9960G.

For 2009, Cobra will continue following the lead established by Escort (two years ago with the Passport 9500i) with the introduction of newer, smaller, and more capable GPS-enabled radar detectors than previous Cobras, including their new flagship Cobra XRS R10G and Cobra XRS 9960G.

These new detectors, like the Cobra XRS 9960G ($389) and Cobra XRS R10G ($469), will feature Cobra's proprietary and extensive Aura photo enforcement (red light camera & speed camera) database covering the United States, Canada, and Europe with claimed 100% verification of fixed speed cameras, red light cameras, known speed trap locations, and dangerous intersections.

The accretive Aura Camera and Driving Hazard database is the latest incarnation of the former U.K. company Performance Products Limited's technology—whose highly regarded Snooper® European GPS models were equipped with the enigma database—which was acquired by Cobra in 2006.

Like other gps-enabled detectors offered which utilize another proprietary and highly regarded Trinity database (Beltronics GX65, Escort Passport 9500ci, Escort Passport 9500ix, Cheetah GPSMirror, Cheetah C100), these new Cobra models promise to provide a much higher level of accuracy and lower false rate as compared to those offered by devices relying on hobbyist provided data, since proper identification and classification of photo enforcement technology really requires trained professionals to do well.

These new GPS detectors will utilize newer, much smaller, and easier to use/update GPS modules that directly connect to the detectors and is a far more elegant solution as compared to the earlier Cobra XRS R7/Cobra XRS R9G and Cobra XRS 9950 models which required a separate cable and windshield-mounting location for their larger external GPS modules.

These smaller GPS modules (RDA GPSL55) offer the convenience of being directly connectible to your PC (via a direct USB port connection) for automated updating (SYNCing) from Cobra's online web portal on as frequent as a daily basis without the need for the entire radar detector to be removed from the vehicle, to do so. (Beltronics and Escort models have their GPS capability built-into the detectors themselves to take up less space on the windshield and are a "cleaner" approach as a result, but require the complete detector to be connected to the PC for updating).

A total of 10 radar detectors will be able to benefit from the incorporation of the Aura camera database: Cobra XRS 979, Cobra XRS 999, Cobra XRS 9845, Cobra XRS 9945, Cobra XRS 9955, Cobra XRS 9990, Cobra XRS 9860G, Cobra XRS 9960G, Cobra XRS R8, and Cobra XRS 10G.

The three Cobra models ending with a G designation, the Cobra XRS 9860G, Cobra XRS 9960G, and the Cobra XRS 10G include the GPS module and come with a lifetime subscription to the Aura camera database at no additional charge, a very nice feature, indeed.

The other seven models, the Cobra XRS 979, Cobra XRS 999, Cobra XRS 9845, Cobra XRS 9945, Cobra XRS 9955, Cobra XRS 9990, and Cobra XRS R8 will require the purchase of the GPS locator which retails for $99.95 and will require an annual subscription fee of $29.95 for continued database updates after the initial 12-month period of free updates, expires.

If you expect the need for GPS detection anytime in your future (you should), then I would recommend the purchase of one of the G designated models as the cost savings, over time, will be signficant.


Cobra's Information-Packed OLED Displays: Industry Class Leaders

Several of these Cobra radar detectors are in a class by themselves when it comes to display panels with the incorporation of the latest advancements in display technology—the OLED—which can be easily configured to suit the color schemes of most vehicles.

I only hope that the high-gloss display (which has been far too reflective)—on the windshield-mounted radar detectors—gives way to a more low-glare surface that will be easier to view in a wider variety of lighting conditions.

Cobra will also join the ranks of Beltronics, Escort, and Whistler with the augmentation of voice alerting into several of their new models.

Getting A Lot Of Things Right

If these new Cobra models continue to show real-world performance improvement with police radar, police laser detection and false-rejection (not an unreasonable expectation considering the somewhat lofty price points) I would expect them to have the potential of being compelling offerings.

In any event:

GPS-enabled radar detectors are the wave of the future.

Frankly, everything else is beginning to feel outmoded.

Happy and Safe Motoring!

Trustworthy Purchasing Source:

Related Discussion:
Veil Guy

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ray LaHood as Transportation Secretary

Ray LaHood as Transportation Secretary

According to news reports this morning, president-elect Obama has tapped Republican Illinois Representative, Ray LaHood to be the Secretary of the Department of Transportation.

At this moment, it is unclear to me what Ray LaHood's position is vis-a-vis photo enforcement or what the potential impact of his appointment as Transportation Secretary will be on efforts to expand the use of photo enforcement, nationally. At any rate, Mr. LaHood will inherit a transportation department and its related administrations (such as RITA) that have historically positioned themselves as proponents of automated photo enforcement.

Here's a brief bio of Ray LaHood:

Ray LaHood, Obama's favorite Republican to be Transportation Secretary

I can only hope that if he is charged to rebuild the nation's transportation infrastructure as a primary task, that he does so honestly, without the coercion of RedFlex paid lobbyists, and without the use of revenues generated by the expanded nationwide usage of automated photo enforcement such as red light cameras and speed cameras.

I am all for the re-investment into our roadway and transportation systems (including high-speed rail), but I would also like to see the implementation of sound traffic safety guidelines (and consideration of alternative approaches to enhancing traffic safety) as an essential part of this process.

What we don't need is more heavy-handed enforcement (with a predisposition to blaming 'speed' as the primary cause of accidents) with ginned-up studies supporting such tactics.

If new revenue streams are needed to finance such an ambition, I'd personally prefer to see an increase of the federal gas tax (which is low by other countries' standards) by an additional $1.00 per gallon, provided that the funds would be used solely for infrastructure-related improvements.

Not only would this fairly distribute the "burdens" to all users of the transportation system, it would continue to incentivize smaller and more fuel efficient vehicle use, now that fuel prices have dropped precipitously and incentives to otherwise do so, may have abated if even for the short-term.

Since big money and politics will invariably be involved, I suspect this will be impossible to achieve.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More Redflex Photo Enforcement PR Misinformation Masquerading as News

Redflex CEO, Karen Finley.

Manipulated and Exploited News Anchor: Howard Beale
Updated: 29 Nov 2008

Redflex (photo enforcement vendor) is clearly a master of exploiting and manipulating news organizations to promote whatever PR nonsense they desire in an unrelenting effort to maximize their company profits.

Here's the latest Redflex photo enforcement PR pablum that has been picked up by Reuters news.

After reading this Redflex self-published nonsense, it really makes me wonder: is there any integrity left in our news media outlets? (Text in yellow, may be fact. Text in red, complete self-created PR B.S.):

REDFLEX Traffic Systems (http://www.redflex.com), the largest provider of photo enforcement systems for roads and highways in the U.S., announced today Director William Bell of the Arizona Department of Administration's decision to order a stay vacated for the award of the Arizona statewide photo enforcement contract. This decision allows for the resumption of the execution of the largest program for speed enforcement on state highways and roads in the United States. The contract, which was first awarded to REDFLEX by the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) in July, 2008, will utilize both fixed and mobile applications of REDFLEXspeed(TM) and REDFLEXred(TM) cameras. REDFLEX state-of-the-art, FCC Certified mobile speed van units are in use across the nation in over 15 different cities, more than twice of that of the trailing photo enforcement vendor.

"We are ready to serve the State with our advanced, certified technology and have desired for delays caused by contentious protests from the unsuccessful bidder to end so our work on this landmark safety initiative can begin," said Karen Finley, CEO of REDFLEX Traffic Systems.

"We are committed
to working with the State of Arizona to keep our roads safer through the wider adoption of our proven digital photo enforcement technology." REDFLEX has been, and continues to be, a leader in the utilization of automated traffic enforcement to solve traffic safety problems throughout the country.

REDFLEX runs the longest running traffic safety program for Paradise
Valley, Arizona which celebrates 20 years of traffic safety this year.

In 2006, the city of Scottsdale, Arizona, in cooperation with DPS, Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and REDFLEX initiated a six fixed system speed enforcement pilot along a 7.8 mile stretch of the 101 loop surrounding the city of Phoenix.

The findings were further evidence that superior
technologies result in a meaningful positive impact to the community served.

A study conducted for this trial determined:
-- Speeds were reduced by -9 mph
-- Total crashes were reduced by 44% to 54%
-- Injury crashes decreased by 28% to 48%
-- Annual estimated community dollar savings between $16.5[M] and $17.1[M] including lost productivity, wages, medical costs, etc.

About REDFLEX Traffic Systems

REDFLEX Traffic Systems Inc. is the largest provider of digital red light and speed enforcement services in North America, with photo enforcement programs in over 200 U.S. communities. With headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, and offices across the United States, the company provides traffic safety technology and administrative expertise that helps reduce deaths and injuries resulting from traffic collisions. REDFLEX, which partners with public safety officials in state and local governments, has created many of the technology and processing methods that are now standard in the photo-enforcement industry. Founded in 1986, REDFLEX Traffic Systems is the longest consistently operating company in the industry. For more information visit http://www.redflex.com.

SOURCE REDFLEX Traffic Systems Inc.

Shoba Vaitheeswaran of REDFLEX Traffic Systems, +1-623-207-2403, or cell, +1-480-440-0647, shoba@redflex.com

-------

Notice the smooth reference to a 'study.'
  • Who's study?
  • Who paid for or had influenced with it?
  • What assumptions were made?
  • What kinds of baselines were used, if any?
  • Were there any environmental variances that could affect outcome (like construction, lane restrictions) during the study's test periods?
  • How long was the actual study conducted and over what periods?
  • Were there sufficient empirical data collected?
  • Were these stated 'reduction' numbers actually observed and measured?
  • What conclusions were derived using calculated, estimated, or projected numbers using complicated math formulae (knowing that with statistical analysis 'regression to the mean' often leads to mistaken conclusions* and results can vary dramatically with small changes in assumptions)?
  • How were these 'conclusions' substantiated?
  • To what degree did attributional bias and cognitive bias impact findings?
  • Where's the reference to the underlying 'study?'


Redflex Sales Presentation Despite Their Own-Cited Reports' Recommendations and Occured Just Two Months
After Preliminary Findings of Arizona's Test Program and Before 'Final' Report. Other Presentations were made to Scottsdale, Arizona City Council for continuation of Speed Camera Program.


This report was likely the preliminary report
—by professors Simon Washington (Ph.D.), Mr. Kangwon Shin, and Mr. Ida Van Shalkwyk (of Arizona State University)—which was created to be used as a sales blueprint to peddle Redflex's products/services throughout the country well before the actual (and heavily massaged) 'final' report was to see the light of day.

*As these reports, themselves, state:
  • Their 'safety impact' conclusions may be invalid or overstated
  • Crash-types are often swapped (as opposed to crash-rates reduced) with the implementation of these photo enforcement 'safety' programs
  • Rear-end accident rates actually increase at RLC intersections & speed camera locations
  • It's more prudent to implement simpler engineering improvements (like re-timing or establishing more appropriate speed limits)
Question: When do 'findings' of a preliminary report serve as a basis for establishing policy?

Answer: When big money is at stake.


Despite the unprecedented meltdown in the global economy and the global markets, Redflex's stock closed today at merely 9% off of its 52 week high. Compare that result to most other stocks currently being traded, many of which are off nearly 10 times as much!

The blatantness of their despicable intent is breathtaking, the willingness of government and institutions of "hire" learning to be complicit partners, unfortunate, and the fact the news media hasn't picked up on it, shocking.

Veil Guy

Sunday, November 23, 2008

License Plate Scanning/License Plate Recognition (ALPRS): More Big Brother-Like Privacy Destroying Technology

License Plate Scanning/License Plate Recognition Systems: Harmful to Privacy


As readers of my blog already know, I have been spending a lot of time discussing the growing use of automated photo enforcement systems—red light cameras and fixed/mobile speed cameras—and the negative impact these systems are having on our civil liberties and rights to privacy.

I have been focusing on this issue as now is the time to defeat the proponents of these systems before we end up like our friends across the pond in the U.K., other parts of the E.U., or like Singapore that have already resigned themselves to the widespread use of such heavy-handed mass-surveillance tactics.

The situation in our own country is about to get even worse.

Why? Because there is yet another technology that is quietly in the process of coming online and once again, Janet Napolitano's Arizona is leading its push (along with California and New York). Why this administration is Hell-bent on creating a police state, is beyond me (and it is alarming to consider the implications of Napolitano as the next head of DHS).

The technology to do it is called automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) or license plate scanning and is being incorporated into police vehicles (as mobile license plate recognition systems) to scan a vast amount of vehicles.

These license plate scanning/license plate recognitions systems are no longer being restricted to scanning parked vehicles. As with most new technology introduced for one purpose, license plate scanning/license plate recognition systems are being re-tasked to provide additional mass surveillance capabilities.

Apparently there is also a push to collect and data-mine this vast amount of information for the purposes of potentially tracking the day-to-day movements of a vast amount of law-abiding citizens.

Furthermore there appears to be little in the way of formalized procedures controlling how the data collected will be used and maintained.

According to the Arizona Republic's 23 Nov 08 article on license plate scanning/license plate recognition systems, it appears license plate scanning/license plate recognition systems have already scanned 1.2 million license plates since their "limited" introduction and which have reportedly lead to 122 felony arrests for auto theft—approximately .01 percent success rate, that's right 1/100th of one percent (assuming the reported numbers are, in fact, accurate).

Beyond installation into patrol vehicles, license plate scanning/license plate recognition systems are designed to be mounted in fixed positions on overpasses to simultaneously scan multiple lanes on our highways.

Using advanced OCR software algorithms, I expect there are no technical limitations to adding this capability into existing camera/video systems such as traffic cameras and, of course, red light and speed camera photo enforcement systems—as a back-end process.

I don't know about you, but between existing technologies—like GPS-enabled cellular phones, OnStar Navigation systems, red light cameras, and speed cameras—having yet another technology used to potentially track our day-to-day movements is troubling.

Our rights are being eroded each and every day, a little bit at a time and I continue to be surprised by our citizens' and news media's complicity.

At some point the "cure" is worse than the 'disease' and in the case of all of these dehumanizing automated photo enforcement technologies, the same can be said.

Like their cousins of automated photo enforcement, the technologies generally (but not exclusively) appear to be imported and the companies providing them, foreign-owned:

According to an automotive journalist friend of mine who recently attended the 115th Annual IACP Conference and Exposition at San Diego a couple of weeks ago, license plate recognition/license plate scanning (ALPR) systems were being marketed as the 'next big thing' in photo enforcement/surveillance.

Fortunately these new systems utilize infra-red imaging systems (to avoid visible flash disturbances), which means they've inadertently created another benefit of using Veil—anonymity—as Veil G4 can now be used to preserve and protect your privacy from their invasive nature.

VEIL'd License Plate, Completely Black and Unreadable to IR Imaging

We'll continue to monitor the growing use of this technology.

Big Brother continues to appear alive and well, but fortunately, so is American ingenuity.

Related Article(s):
Related Discussion(s) (New):
Veil Guy

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Janet Napolitano Head of Homeland Security (DHS): Bad Idea

Janet Napolitano: Homeland Security Secretary (DHS), USA (United Socialists of America)








While much of the buzz with the news media has been surrounding the possible appointment of New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the reporting today concerning the appointment of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano as the replacement Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS), by the incoming Obama administration, is an extremely troubling preview of the kind of change that may be coming to Washington, DC and to our nation.

Is Napolitano, as the head of Homeland Security, the kind of 'change' we believe in?

This is the same Janet Napolitano that has been a long champion of increased levels of civil rights robbing technologies of photo enforcement such as speed cameras and red light cameras.

This is the same Janet Napolitano that has been an advocate of foreign corporate profit taking at the expense of the hard-working taxpaying American citizen.

This is the same Janet Napolitano whose adminstration has used law enforcement to intimidate journalists who have questioned the legitimacy of their reported findings, their 'safety campaigns,' or 'public' outreach programs.

The is the same Janet Napolitano that has embraced Totalitarianistic tactics in an attempted control of Arizona's taxpayers day-to-day behaviors.

Janet Napolitano's appointment to Homeland Security Secretary would certainly further erode our civil rights in a post 9/11 world and likely be a harbinger of ever increasing mass surveillance.

With Janet Napolitano as the Secretary of Homeland Security, expect her cronies at RedFlex and American Traffic Systems to have unprecedented levels of access and influence who push hard to take their 'safety' campaigns nationally.

George Orwell's gloomy look at one possible future: off by just 25 years!

Message to the Obama transition team and other supporters of such an appointment of Napolitano as the head of DHS (ie; Arizona Senator John McCain, now concerned about his 2010 election):

Freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens' lives. Ron Paul, Aug 04.

It's going to be interesting to see who is going to be tapped to head the Department of Transportation. This appointment should also give us further indication of what 'change' may come (in the name of improving 'safety').

Change we can believe in? Yes! I Love Big Brother.

For all of our sakes, contact your state's U.S. Senators and tell them to reject this appointment!

Additionally, you can directly reach out to Obama's transition team (of which Janet Napolitano is a member!) and voice your concerns as they're soliciting input.

Related Reading:

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Speed Cameras Promote Economic Fascism, Not Safety


Speed Cameras Promote Economic Fascism, Not Safety

Updated: 04 Nov 08

Arizona's state government [Gov. Napolitano (D)] embarks on fulfilling the promises and profit projections made by foreign-owned speed camera operating companies, like RedFlex, by installing 40 mobile speed cameras and 60 fixed speed cameras (with the potential of another 100 speed cameras to be added later) with the intention of saturating the major east-west and north-south travel corridors of Arizona for the purposes of generating substantial revenue on the backs of the taxpaying public.

As I was driving home from the south Jersey shore area and through the City of Philadelphia (which like Phoenix, photo enforcement companies have setup shop with the anticipation of expanding their deployments of speed cameras—with the profits from their operation—throughout the rest of the state of Pennsylvania [Ed Rendell (D)]), I was giving some thought to one of the potential implications of their speed camera deployment, that has not been publicly discussed: these speed camera systems are set to grossly excessive and unfair "fines."

For the purposes of exploring this implication, I will cite two similar circumstances, each with a vastly different outcome:

Imagine you are traveling to work (as the responsible tax-paying and productive citizen you are) from Mesa to Sun City (two cities just outside of Phoenix) and your route takes you on the highways of Interstate-10 and Loop 101. Let's say you left at about 6am as you wanted to get a jump on rush hour traffic.

In this first example, when you are on the highway, you get into the left lane and set your cruise control to 66mph and proceed to safely travel to your destination in this manner.

Since its early enough, you find you are moving nicely along with the normal flow of traffic (which is close to the optimal 85th percentile speed of travel).

Now let's assume that a traffic patrol officer has observed your driving for several minutes and through the course of several miles (perhaps 'running' your plate in anticipation of a traffic-stop) decides to cite you for speeding (unlikely, if the traffic was generally moving at similar speeds).

In this example, you'd eventually be pulled over and perhaps be given a warning or cited for speeding. The fine for your 'indiscretion' would probably amount to roughly $100.00, you would have been detained at least 10 minutes, and experienced an immediate deterrent from the officer to actually slow down the rest of your morning commute.

In the second example, you drive in the identical manner, but this time, there is no actual law enforcement officer there are, instead, a high density automated photo enforcement speed cameras installed along your route.

During your travel you manage to unwittingly trip 10 or more of these speed cameras strategically positioned (placed for maximum revenue) on the highway in "speed zones" where the speed limits are reduced (well below sound scientifically determined thresholds of the 85th percentile speed surveys*). *Source: individual close to speed camera industry.

In this second example, again you were moving along with the flow of traffic (which may not now be as smooth as speed cameras cause traffic porpoising) but, this time you received no immediate deterrent from 'speeding' from these speed cameras, for your 'small transgression', and you make it to work in a nice amount of time.

Several weeks later you receive 10 or more speeding tickets in your mailbox, all at one time, and amounting to more than $2,000.00!

This scenario is not far fetched, as each speed camera represents its own unique violation, even if they come within very close distances and in close time proximity.

If you further exceed Arizona's speed cameras 'small' overage allowances (10mph on highways and 5mph in school zones) by a greater speed, those fines will increase dramatically, potentially exceeding $500 for each speed camera violation*! *Source: Speed Camera Company Violation Portal.

Can you imagine getting $7,000 in "speeding tickets" for one morning or $14,000 for just one morning and evening commute to and from work?

And you'll be subject to this every day of the year (that's 365 x 24).

Put another way, these unrealistically high fines would be for driving merely 11mph the posted limit of 55mph—66mph—for a single duration of about 15 minutes. Ever done that before?

Sound absurd? Don't think it's possible? I wouldn't bet on it, at least in the short-term, not if Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and her cronies at RedFlex have their way (that's their pipe-dream, as clearly articulated in their past annual shareholder reports).

Consider that Arizona imposes a fine, not to exceed $2,500 for a Class 1 misdemeanor*. *Source: Arizona misdemeanor fines.

It only takes one, with a reasonable level of intelligence, to see that these speed camera fine structures make no sense (but they do make a Helluva lot of money). To wit, RedFlex's earnings rose 25% for FY '08 and their operating profits rose an even more dramatic 45%, during the same period. (Source: RedFlex's 2008 Annual Report)



These results are even more telling when one considers that many economists agree that our economy has been in a recession and that these results do not take into account the additional revenue (ie; profits) from the statewide deployment of 100-200 new speed cameras that Arizona is just now beginning to undertake.

RedFlex's 2008 Annual Report Excerpts (with my annotation and emphasis):

Again new records have been set, by substantial margins, in relation to all standard measures of financial performance. More specifically, record results have been achieved in terms of revenue, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), net profit before tax (NPBT) and net profit after tax (NPAT). It is particularly pleasing, and worthy of note that such record increases were achieved despite significant adverse foreign exchange conditions. Approximately 80% of the company’s business is based in the USA. Between the start and the finish of the financial year the US dollar declined in Australian dollar terms by approximately 13%. That being the case, the financial records established by Redflex are all the more commendable. Since the end of the 2007/2008 financial year, there has been a significant improvement in the foreign exchange situation, from a Redflex viewpoint at least which hopefully augurs well for the balance of the current financial year.

Whilst Redflex is clearly a high growth operation, it is pleasing to record that corporate maturity and stability continue to evolve. Encouragingly, the company’s senior management, which has served us so well, has remained in place as a committed unified team albeit with some valuable additional appointments being made in light of the company’s rapid growth. Hopefully such managerial stability will be maintained in years to come.

USA LEGISLATIVE ENVIRONMENT


Nationally, the legislative environment is becoming more favourable and the overall level of political resistance is receding as the technology grows more widespread and familiar [as government desperately attempts to fill severe budget shortfalls during this recessive period]. The most likely scenario is that this trend holds in the year ahead, although reversals remain possible.

The following is a review of legislative activity in the USA over the past financial year:
  • In Arizona, despite significant threats, including a ballot measure to ban the use of automated speed enforcement on state • highways, and complex budget issues, legislation was passed which included a state-wide freeway enforcement program. This leadership position by the State of Arizona opens the landscape for other states to replicate this state-wide model for speed and red light automated enforcement.
  • Efforts to restore operations in Minnesota [Gov: Tim Pawlenty (R)] and Iowa [Chet Culver (D)] with enabling legislation have not yet been successful. Redflex will continue these efforts in the next legislative session and will endeavour to garner improved support from cities and the police unions for the safety benefits that are offered.
  • Despite numerous competitive vendors’ efforts, enabling legislation in Florida [Charlie Crist (R)] has not yet been enacted. Legal opinions indicate that automated enforcement in the State of Florida remains illegal. Some competitors have proceeded at risk with early programs.
  • Ohio [Ted Strickland (D)] was relatively trouble-free compared to recent years in the state. A bill covering signage and yellow light intervals, which Redflex did not oppose, was passed in June.
  • In New Jersey [Gov: Jon Corzine (D)] legislation allowing pilot programs was passed and signed into law.
  • Massachusetts [Gov: Deval Patrick (D)] is also considering enabling legislation, and at this time the session continues and the outcome remains unknown. Redflex’s retained lobbying resources are working closely with cities to win passage of the legislation.
  • The Texas [Rick Perry (R)] legislature sits in session only every other year and 2008 was an off year. An opponent is planning another legislative attempt to ban the technology in 2009, and Redflex continues to engage support in that state.
  • A difficult period in New Mexico [Bill Richardson (D)] stabilised with the passage of legislation to channel excess funds from automated enforcement programs to a state level safety program. A panel was assembled mid-year in Albuquerque to determine the efficacy of the city’s safety program. Preliminary data [ie; cooked 'results'] that the Redflex program is improving community safety.
The percentage of camera systems which are currently not operational as a result of legislative and legal issues has decreased to less than 5%, from around 8% last year.

So there you have it, RedFlex, in no uncertain terms, is crafting a framework to expand their operations, revenue, and profitability to other states, suggesting as Arizona goes, so does the rest of this great nation.

For them, the United State's taxpayer is their target demographic (with the explicit enablement/encouragement by the government). Notice how RedFlex characterizes 'threats' [to its profitability].

It is clear that the of ultimate objective photo enforcement companies is speed camera revenue—with red light cameras (which can also be tasked as speed cameras with speed-on-green technology) as their initial foot-hold.

At a time when government is intruding more and more into our daily lives, our economy is in a free-fall, and many taxpayers may be struggling to make ends meet this is exactly what Arizona, RedFlex, and ATS intend to do: absolutely bilk, the taxpayer.

I believe eventually the public will ultimately reject these nefarious government/private business relationships and create a climate that is untenable to the would-be supporters of these corrupted relationships, but it will take time.

I, for one, am doing my part to blow the whistle on these guys (and gals) and expose them for what they truly are: economic Fascists.

Consider that certain government and private individuals connected with these systems deployment have been reported as having their own license plate registrations exempted from the fines these red light camera/speed camera systems automatically generate!!!

The sooner more people become aware of the facts and circumstances behind these ostensible 'safety' programs, the sooner we will rid our society of these evil and dehumanizing systems.

Faces of Evil Perpetrated for Greed:









For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. Timothy 6:10

If you work for these organizations, consider forgoing the high salary/compensation plans and pursue a more noble path...you'll sleep better at night.

If you don't, please get involved, spread the word, vote the supporters out of office, pressure the media to report the real-facts and expose their fraud.

We owe it—not only to ourselves, but to our children, and to the memory of our nation's forefathers—the kind of society we leave to/for them.

Tomorrow is the day of an historic election and will likely mark a new era of even BIGGER GOVERNMENT (regardless of the outcome).


Vote the proponents of these companies (regardless of party affiliation) OUT OF OFFICE.

Freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens' lives. Ron Paul, Aug 04.

Related Reading:
©2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Speed Cameras & Photo Enforcement Cause Crashes/Accidents: The Other Side of the 'Safety' Campaign

Photo Enforcement & Speed Cameras Cause Crashes & Increase Accidents

Not withstanding my long campaign against the profit-driven motives of photo enforcement companies like RedFlex and ATS (among others) to co-opt willing cash-hoarding and due process, civil rights destroying administrations such as that of Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, I have also expressed concerns about the negative effects of photo enforcement itself which create additional hazards from their use (stemming from asymmetrical situational awareness) for drivers on the road and the inability of supporting administrations to be truthful with their voting constituencies.

Case in point, just recently, a story (demonstrating speed cameras cause crashes) has surfaced on the Internet suggesting that the internationally acclaimed BBC squashed a story that they prepared which addressed a European speeding crackdown which is utilizing speed cameras (in this instance, photo lidar-based speed cameras).




BBC Report: Speed Cameras Cause Crashes & Increase Accidents

A segment of their story also included some real video footage, taken by these photo-lidar systems, in which inattentive speeding drivers (and their poorly maintained vehicles) crashed as a result of their over-reaction to their approach to these systems.


Instead of giving its viewers a balanced look into the resulting circumstances, the BBC (under what I assume was undue pressure from camera proponents) killed the report.

Even more disturbing is another UK-transport department report that suggests that "panic" braking is a common driver response and that crash rates have increased by a whopping 55% along corridors where photo enforcement speed cameras are implemented.




Speed Cameras Cause Crashes & Increase Accidents

But what is most disturbing are the reports that the department attempted (unsuccessfully) to prevent their report's findings from becoming available to the public.

Arizona would be wise to consider this, as they embark on a most "ambitious" photo enforcement program to saturate certain highways with an unthinkable level of both fixed and mobile speed cameras to augment an already exorbitant amount of red light cameras and speed-on-green cameras, which are not only inefficient/ineffective systems for improving traffic safety, but actually create the same kind of dangerous safety hazards—which stem from asymmetrical situational awareness—which results in the cyclical disruption of normal traffic flow (traffic porpoising).

Unfortunately, I suspect the power of greed will continue to overwhelm sensibilities.

When greed is combined with a false (falsified) ideology, truth is often the first casualty.


In a time when we're all experiencing a global economic crisis and the likely expansion of government involvement and control in our daily lives, I can only hope the day will soon come when these administrations see the error of their (fascist/totalitarianistic) ways.


Freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens' lives. Ron Paul, Aug 04.


I wish PBS Frontline would conduct a thorough examination of photo enforcement...

Related Reading:

© 2008

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Ultimate $1000 Windshield-Mount Radar Detector

I have been thinking about posting this one for quite some time and given that Beltronics is soon to release their new BEL GX65 radar detector and that we will soon be entering the extended holiday (shopping) season, I feel perhaps now is the time to post this entry as an addition to my short Santa's list.

Other than the Nikon D3X (or Nikon D4) that I would love to find under my tree this season—as the Hasselblad H3DII-50 is just a bit outside of my price range—I wish Beltronics would finally offer, what I would regard, the ultimate radar detector (in a windshield-mount).

This supreme radar detector would possess the following attributes:
  • The Dual LNA Antenna of the STi Driver/STI-R that would enable the detector to remain invisible to Spectre RDDs while providing unimaginable levels of performance
  • The incorporation of the GPS abilities of the Beltronics Pro GX65 and Escort Passport 9500ix which includes the Cheetah Trinity Database of Red Light Cameras and Fixed/Mobile Speed Cameras w/lifetime subscription to updates
  • The auto-learning and un-learning of identified false locations
  • The absolute reception capability of the Beltronics STi-R
  • Police lidar/laser reception on par with the new Bel GX65
  • The silky-smooth alert ramp-up of the Escort Passport 8500 X50
  • Ka-Band segmentation as currently provided in the Beltronics STi-R
  • Incorporation of the four different metering display options (borrowed from both Beltronics and Escort Passport models)
  • The magnesium chassis of the STi Driver as well as its second-to-none packaging.
  • All of the ergonomic advancements which we have all come to know and love from both Beltronics and Escort models including the nice new double-tone auto-muting at speeds below 20mph.
  • The ability to incorporate with the Cincinnati Microwave Laser Shifter ZR4
  • The potential to alert via a blue-tooth link into new automobile sound systems and/or other mobile devices
I believe there exists a place in the Beltronics line-up for such a radar detector and I suspect that place would be at the $999USD price point.

Such a radar detector could fulfill the vision of providing an incremental approach to buidling a system along the lines of an Escort Passport 9500ci without undermining the positioning of any of the other products offered by either Beltronics or Escort.

In my opinion, such a radar detector could be universally regarded as the most sophisticated and capable (dare I say perfect?) windshield-mount radar detector, yet conceived.

Santa (aka: Beltronics), I don't know if you are listening, but...

I know I am not in Iowa, but I do believe that if you build it, they will come...

Veil Guy

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Beltronics Pro GX65 Review: Another GPS-Enabled Winner from BEL

Updated: 03OCT 08

I had the distinct pleasure of being able to put the new Beltronics Pro GX65 (BEL Pro GX65) through its paces this past weekend with some real, real-world miles—throughout several states which employ police radar operating at X, K, and Ka as well as police laser (lidar) and my initial impressions are that Beltronics has another winner on its hands.

Expected to start shipping later this month (or early October), the Beltronics Pro GX65 appears poised to sit-atop of the Beltronics professional series of conventional windshield-mount radar detectors and certainly picks up where the Beltronics Pro RX65 (BEL Pro RX65) left-off.

Like the Escort Passport 9500ix—the Beltronics GX65 is also based upon the incorporation of GPS and the North American Trinity Database of red light cameras and speed cameras that are rapidly proliferating in the country—the Beltronics GX65 Pro (BEL GX65) is, I believe, representative of the most sophisticated windshield-mount radar detectors yet conceived which maximize driver situational awareness not only to police radar and police laser, but photo enforcement, as well.

Incorporating some of the nice-touches from the Beltronics STi Driver, like auto-dimming and button illumination, the Beltronics GX65 Pro also provides a more natural sounding male voice alert (as opposed to the Escort Passport 9500 series of natural-sounding female voices).

I would prefer that Beltronics renames the GX65's AutoScan mode since it actually acts in the identical fashion to the Auto Sensitivity modes of the Escort Passport 9500i, Passport 9500ix, and the Escort Passport 9500ci—varying its sensitivity to X-band and K-band radar in real-time depending on the rate of travel. Naming this feature AutoScan may blur the meaning of that function—which appears on the existing radar detector models from both Beltronics and Escort.

Although the performance of the Beltronics GX65 appears similar to the Escort Passport 9500ix (which is a very good thing), it retains enough of the Beltronics "personality" to distinguish itself.

The laser reception performance of the Bel GX65 appears to be noticeably improved over the Bel Pro RX65 which was tested nearly years ago.

As with the Pro GX65's cousin, the Escort Passport 9500ix, the Beltronics Pro GX65 introduces a new auto-muting function which makes the radar detector even more easy to live with around town: If your vehicle is moving at a rate of less than 20mph and you encounter either police radar or police lidar, the Pro GX65 will briefly tone alert with a double-tone which varies based-upon the type of reception.

At first blush, I thought there was an issue with my Pro GX65, until I read page 11 of the owner's manual which describes this new innovative feature.

Unlike the Beltronics STi Driver, the Beltronics Pro GX65 can be directly interfaced to the Cincinnati Microwave Laser Shifter ZR4, externally mounted front and rear laser jammer.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's really wonderful to see both Beltronics and Escort really flex their engineering muscles.

Without a doubt, these two companies are currently producing the most sophisticated radar detectors yet conceived.

My hat's off to both engineering teams! One plus one does equal three!

This new detector is expected to ship within two weeks.

Trustworthy purchasing source(s):


Veil Guy

Friday, September 19, 2008

Beltronics Pro GX65 Review: New BEL Pro GX65 Radar/GPS Detector

beltronics gx65 professional series detector

UPDATED: 27 SEP 08

Beltronics GX65 Review/(BEL Pro GX65) Preview:

In the continuing evolution of high-end radar detectors offered by Beltronics, GPS capability (from the Escort Passport 9500i and Escort Passport 9500ix) comes to Beltronics in the form of the new Beltronics Pro GX65.

The Beltronics Pro GX65 to be somewhat of a hybrid of both the Escort Passport 9500i (which provided GPS capability and manual-marking of false and other noteworthy locations, like VASCAR speed traps) and the Escort Passport 9500ix (which adds the additional capability of autolearning fixed false locations and being able to alert to red light camera, fixed speed camera and mobile camera locations, by incorporating Cheetah's Trinity database).

Currently available with red LED display model, the Beltronics GX65 to slot in between the retail pricing of $449 of the Escort Passport 9500i (Red) and $499 of the Escort Passport 9500ix (Blue) sporting a suggested retail of $469.

For those of us who have valued the performance of the venerable Beltronics RX65 Pro and Beltronics engineering design, the Beltronics to be a natural evolution of "conventional" (ie; non-Spectre immune) Beltronics windshield-mount radar detectors (in contrast to the Spectre undetectable Beltronics STi Driver)

Having become accustomed the auto-learning feature provided by the new Escort Passport 9500ix and Escort Passport 9500ci remote installed radar detector, this feature, if not fully implemented in the BEL GX65 Pro, will be missed.

When one considers the cost differential of just $30 can put you into an Escort Passport 9500ix which provides auto-learning capability along with a cool blue LED display the "positioning" seems pretty tight, quite frankly (especially when $30 historically separated models simply by the display color—red or blue—albeit in the same model line, and did not bring increased functionality).

Perhaps the positioning of this new radar detector is a precursor to the eventual phasing out of the Escort Passport 9500i which remains in the red display model version (purely speculation on my part, but I believe logical nonetheless).

Fortunately the BEL GX65 can be software updated via a PC USB cable and perhaps additional features will ultimately appear on the Pro GX65 via some future update; my vote is for the inclusion of the auto-learning feature.

At any rate, being a long-time fan of Beltronics radar detectors, I am very pleased to see the continued development of the Beltronics Pro series.

They'll be more to come on this exciting new detector once we have accumulated some significant real real-world miles with it and documented in the following: Beltronics GX65 Review.

In the meantime, join our discussion of the new GPS-enabled Beltronics Pro GX65 and other Beltronics engineered products online.

Trustworthy purchasing source(s):

Pro GX65 at Buy Radar Detectors

Veil Guy

Friday, August 29, 2008

Cheetah C100: GPS Mirror Capability in Small Form Factor

New Cheetah C100 GPS Detector

For viewers who watched Al's recent news interview about the Cheetah GPS Mirror , you know that Cheetah hinted of a new smaller unit.

Well today, it was made official: Cheetah is further enhancing their product offering with a new smaller GPS detector (red-light camera, fixed camera, mobile speed camera) that mounts (like a radar detector) to your windshield/windscreen and provides the same performance capabilities and interfacing abilities as their Cheetah GPS Mirror.

Suggested retail for the unit is $249USD, but unlike the radar detectors from Escort/Passport (Escort 9500ix and Escort 9500ci) which offer an update subscription service (for a fee) to the Trinity Database, the Cheetah C100 includes a lifetime subscription update service as a no cost option.

This is a very compelling product offering, as the Trinity Database should be updated on Trinity Database-enabled detectors on a monthly basis due to the fluid nature of changing red light camera, fixed camera, mobile speed camera locations as greed-driven photo enforcement companies and cash-strapped municipalities routinely look to extract the most revenue out of carefully selected locations.

For frequent airport-bound travelers like myself, the new Cheetah C100 will certainly be something I will pack and use in my rental cars in unfamiliar towns.

Veil Guy

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Spectre IV US Distributor Stalker Elects to Misinform Law Enforcement about its Radar Detector Detectors (RDDs)

UPDATED: 05 Aug 08

A friend of mine from down under (who apparently was the catalyst behind the recent story about the Spectre IV RDD not being able to detect certain radar detectors) has informed me that the US Distributor (Stalker) for the Spectre IV and Spectre IV+ radar detector detectors (RDDs) has decided (likely under "external" pressure) to revise their product information page about the new Spectre IV series of RDDs and remove an acknowledgement that their latest and greatest RDD, the Spectre IV can detect 'all but two' radar detectors (actually it's three/four), the Beltronics STi Driver, its sibling abroad,: the Beltronics STi XR, the Beltronics STi-R, and the Escort Passport 9500ci. Futhermore, the Whistler XTR-695 and Escort Passport 9500i/Escort Passport 9500ix, as well as a number of other radar detectors, also appear to do very well against the Spectre in one particular test: Spectre IV vs. Radar Detectors.

(Note: Craig's test results were apparently based-upon a early Spectre IV model that was directly received from Stealth Micro Systems and may not be representative of other retail purchased Spectre IV RDDs currently available to traffic enforcement.

According to Speed Measurement Labs most recent Spectre vs Radar Detectors tests, conducted June, 2008, it appears that most (with the
exception of Cobra) of the major "conventional" radar detector manufacturers: Beltronics, Escort, Valentine, and Whistler have made further strides against the Spectre IV as well, with certain tested radar detector models not exceeding an initial approaching detection range of fewer than 400 feet!—results of which to be posted soon at Speed Measurement Labs' official test website. It appears that both Beltronics and Escort are applying some of what they have learned/achieved with their fully immune-radar detectors to their other product lines, which is a very good thing, indeed! And Whistler and Valentine have apparently been busy, as well.)

What possible benefit can come from intentionally misleading law-enforcement about the [lack of] effectiveness of the Spectre III/Spectre IV radar detector detectors (other than, of course, short-term profiteering for its investors)?

The only "benefits" that I can see is that its likely an indication that Beltronics and Escort have actually won the radar detector detector versus radar detector battle once and for all and that this is a sign of weakness (and ultimate vanquishing) of a long-time nemesis to our industry.

The other "benefit" is, if the US distributor for Spectre wishes to now perpetuate a falsehood about their products' effectiveness to law-enforcement, then we drivers who operate these undetectable radar detectors should be further immune (from undue attention from traffic enforcement—since they can't and don't even exist!).

Either way, it certainly appears that the blokes from down-under have been vanquished by the ingenuity of U.S. engineering!

It's likely only a matter of time before the legendary Valentine One goes stealth, itself, as I have actually used one (a specially modified RDD-immune V1) several years ago while I was tooling around the West at very high speeds in a black Dodge Viper (see pics on right-column) with my same friend from down-under!

UPDATE: 05 Aug 08

It appears that Stealth Micro Systems is now aware of this situation and may attempt corrective action...


References:
Related:

Beltronics STi-R, Escort Passport 9500ci, and Beltronics STi XR Score Big Against Spectre IV RDDs Down Under

Veil Guy

Friday, July 25, 2008

Beltronics STi-R, Escort Passport 9500ci, and Beltronics STi XR Score Big Against Spectre IV RDDs Down Under

A recent news item was released in Australia/New Zealand labeling Stealth Micro Systems's Spectre/Stalcar radar detector detectors (RDDs) as 'defective' by not being able to detect the RF emissions of several radar detectors, most notably the new Beltronics STi-R and Escort Passport 9500ci remote installed radar detectors!

In this ever evolving game of one-upmanship, it appears that both Beltronics and Escort have delivered the coup-de-grace to a long-standing nemesis, the Spectre/Stalcar RDD.

New Zealand and Australian traffic control are apparently up in arms over the situation given that the costs for obtaining a Spectre IV is in the neighborhood of A$4000 and NZ$5100.

Even the Whistler XTR-690 was favorably mentioned in the same context.

Given that fines for [being '"caught'"] operating a radar detector approach A$1200 and carry nine demerit points, both Beltronics and Escort have performed a wonderful service to the many hapless motorists who must drive the roadways in other countries which employ Draconian-style state-control over motorists.

My hat's off to both Beltronics and Escort for doing, what many thought was, the impossible—by developing Spectre IV RDD immune radar detectors: the Beltronics STi XR (Beltronics STi Driver as its called in the states) and Escort Passport 9500ci!

The full news article can be found, here:
Aussie police grapple with defective detectors

Veil Guy

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Escort Passport 9500ci Mounting Instructions & Professional Installation Video Guide


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Escort Passport 9500ci Mounting Instructions Video Guide in Four Chapters
Recorded 21,22 May 2008

Back in early May of 2008, I was very fortunate to be one of only three radar detector reviewers to receive an early production shipment of the new Escort Passport 9500ci remote radar detector directly from Escort.

On May 21st and 22nd of 2008 I had the Escort Passport 9500ci professionally installed in my personal 5 series BMW by a high-end automotive audio and electronics installer located in my area, World Wide Stereo. These guys of have been installing high-line home and automotive electronics for a very long time and were my natural choice for the new Escort Passport 9500ci remote for my Bimmer as I was interested in a high-end quality installation that would enhance the value of my vehicle, not diminish it.

This comprehensive video details a how to mount the Escort Passport 9500ci, what a correct professional installation looks like, and should serve as a detailed video instruction guideline for both high-end professional dealer/installers and DIY'ers alike.

For a product like the Escort Passport 9500ci, I would recommend that you select a specialized dealer who is not only intimately familiar with the particulars of this fascinating new remote radar detector, but who has intimate knowledge of your particular vehicle. If done properly, a clean factory-looking professional installation will serve to enhance the resell value of your vehicle as opposed to detracting from its value...So it's very important to choose wisely and price shouldn't be the primary driving factor.

As with many things in life, you get what you pay for...

I would like to thank both Escort and World Wide Stereo of Montgomeryville, PA for making this instructional video possible.

A professional Escort installer/dealer can be located in your area by visiting:

Escort Dealer/Installer Locator

...Keep it between the lines...

To see more related videos, visit Veil Guy Videos on YouTube.com at www.youtube.com/veilguy

Veil Guy