Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Spectre IV, Spectre IV + now on sale in the U.S.

Today, it became official. Applied Concepts (aka Stalker Radar) is now making the Spectre IV RDD, and Spectre IV + RDD radar detector detectors for sale to U.S. law enforcement.

Craig Peterson (author of Driver's Guide to Police Radar) had tested these new and improved Spectre RDDs against the top selling radar detectors of the leading radar detector manufacturers, Beltronics, Cobra, Escort, Valentine, and Whistler some time ago and came away with some surprising results.

The new Spectre IV + RDD has advanced filtering capabilities— that heretofore, where not provided by the earlier models of Spectre RDDs (Spectre II, Spectre III).

Instead of detecting poorly shielded (ie; noisy and cheap) radar detectors (ie; noisy) at 5,000 feet and driving the officer nuts with an interminably long audio/visual alert, the new Spectre IV + RDD singles out these "cheap" radar detectors and dials back sensitivity.

This translates into several hundred feet of range, more than enough, and a much briefer alert. Sensitivity and target range of other radar detector models are unaffected.

To read more about Applied Concepts' Spectre IV and Spectre IV + new product announcements:

Spectre IV, Spectre IV + now on sale in the U.S.

Veil Guy :

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Arizona photo enforcement citation loop holes result in a reported 20% dismissal rate

Arizona Photo enforcement loophole (flaws) dismisses 1 in 5 tickets (20%)

I was recently contacted by an Arizona ABC News affiliate, ABC 15 News (KNVX-TV Phoenix).

It would appear that I am not the only one who has been receiving flawed photo enforcement citations which fail to meet the long-established standards of due process of law, as codified in our U.S. Constitution's Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

The good news is, a high percentage of flawed photo enforcement traffic citations are being tossed out, as reported by ABC 15 News investigative staff, Dan Siegel (investigative producer) and Joe Ducey (investigative reporter).

The bad news is, this is only the beginning of what most assuredly will be a long-battle between individuals utmost concerned about their civil liberties and the political "climate" of where the promises of "safety" come before everything else (except.. of course, corporate profits and budget short-falls).

I am confident that the powers-that-be, will continue their fight to further erode our already fragile civil liberties.

KNXV-TV Phoenix, further reports that Arizona is one of only four states where photo enforcement tickets (ie; photo radar speed camera) count against the licensed driver of the vehicle, although no detail was provided as to how a rear-view photo of a vehicle's license plate can be used to accurately identify the driver.

It's been reported that Arizona, requires that photo enforcement tickets need to be personally served, by process servers, within a 3-month period (90 days) before becoming invalid (dismissed).

While the Arizona Governor, Janet Napolitano, may have managed to ostensibly make a 'valid' argument for red light cameras, speed cameras on the notion that the implementation of these technologies provide reductions in man-power [of law enforcement personnel, which can be used for other law enforcement duties, as does the City of Philadelphia], when this claim is examined more closely, it appears to be a disingenuous claim, especially when one considers the additional man-power required to serve, by individuals, these automated photo enforcement tickets.

When will the "insanity" end? The answer is Arizonans are going to have to put up with these disingenuous safety measures until the 2010 election year. Let's hope that when the time comes, the voters of Arizona will decide its time for a positive change from business as usual. Perhaps, Arizonans, should call for an immediate referendum on this matter, before Phoenix ends looking like London, England (the rich irony of this situation!)

I hope both Dan and Joe, of ABC 15, will continue to dig deeper in their ongoing investigation of the full impact photo enforcement has upon the residents of Arizona and our nation, at large.

Big Brother, our should we call her Big Sister

Fair warning, guys, prepare to be intimated by certain legislators, lobbyists, politically-minded law enforcement officers, and yes, Janet Napolitano's own administration—who are hell-bent on implementing these speed cameras and related technologies at whatever the "costs" (to our individual freedoms), without a full and proper public vetting processes, and most importantly without regard to the safety and well-being of the voters. And, I am not just talking about traffic safety.

The full text of Dan and Joe's article, can be located, here:

Arizona Photo enforcement loophole dismisses 1 in 5 tickets (20%)

Bottom Line: Expect further erosions to your civil liberties by the likes of Arizona Governor, the state's legislative and political arms to further erode of Arizona residents' right to due process of law, as a means to close this "loophole."

Again, I remind my readers:

"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. Liberty has meaning only if we still believe in it when terrible things happen and a false government security blanket beckons."
Related reading:

Veil Guy

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Beltronics STi-R (BEL STiR) and Escort Passport 9500ci Remote Radar Detectors : CES 2008

Update 14 May 09: Veil Guy's Full Long-term Beltronics STi-R Review
These Are Exciting Times for Radar Detector Owners!

For many, the big news at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show was the bombshell announcement by Warner Brothers that they were dropping support of HD DVD while committing to Sony's competing HD media format: Blu-ray.

As big as this news was, in my book Warner Brothers announcement ran a distant second to the formal announcements made by both Beltronics and Escort for the upcoming 2008 radar detector model year.

As my long-time readers already know, Beltronics and Escort have produced serious innovative enthusiast driver safety tools in the form of two ground-breaking products for 2006 and 2007—the Beltronics STi Driver radar detector and the Escort Passport 9500i radar detector.

Refusing to rest on their laurels with these two benchmark-setting radar detectors, both sister companies have raised the ante, for 2008, with their respective flagship windshield models to achieve even higher performance thresholds in two remote-vehicle-installation packages, the Beltronics STiR and Escort Passport 9500ci.

Beltronics STiR

While the Beltronics STi-R has been available abroad for several months now, the BEL STi-R is just now making its U.S. debut. Like its windshield-mounted counterpart the BEL STi Driver, the BEL STi-R will be undetectable by all radar detector detectors (RDDs) such as the mighty SPECTRE/Stalcar Mk. III.

Improvements to the Beltronics STi-R platform comes in two primary forms, segmented Ka-band reception and improved police laser (lidar) reception.

Taking their Beltronics RX-65 Pro, Ka International, feature to the next performance level, the Beltronics STi-R's user-selectable multi-segmented Ka reception should further improve Ka detecting/alerting reception quickness by allowing the user to selectively turn on/off up to 10 portions of the Ka police radar and thus, reduce the time it takes for the radar detector to fully listen/sweep this very wide Ka-band.

This capability should appeal very much to existing European users of another very popular remote radar detector in their market—the Beltronics Vector 975Rr, which also provided selective Ka reception—and since the fines and demerit points for getting caught using a radar detector in some countries abroad can be very very steep, indeed, the stealth nature of the Bel STiR provides a distinct advantage over its older cousin the Bel Vector 975R.

While our European friends will want to enable Ka 34.0Ghz and Ka 34.3Ghz reception for Gatso/Multanova radar speed traps (and externally mount the antennae vertically to maximize their reception to vertical polarized police radar), we North American drivers can selectively disable those reception bands (and externally mount the antennae horizontally) to focus only on the ones currently being used in our part of the world—namely 33.8Ghz, 34.7Ghz, and 35.5Ghz Ka.

With the ability to turn-off reception to every other Ka frequency, we drivers should achieve even higher levels of Ka reception performance while at the same time dramatically cut down on Ka-falses (from other "junk" radar detectors).

This capability has the potential to be one of the hottest features to ever appear in a radar detector and may position the Beltronics STi-R as the first universally effective radar detector in the world!

I hope Beltronics will give serious consideration to incorporating this innovative capability into their windshield-mount BEL STi Driver!

Given the already astounding levels of reception performance by the Beltronics STi Driver, the performance envelope of the Beltronics STi-R promises to exceed everything we have ever seen, to date.

Laser reception should also dramatically improve over the windshield-mounted Beltronics STi Driver, if for no other reason than the proximity of the BEL STi-R's frontal laser reception module will be closer to the primary aiming points of your vehicle—the license plate and headlights.

The Beltronics STi-R consists of five primary components—the control module, display module (red LED), the Interface module, the combined radar/laser receiver, and an amplified speaker.

At a suggested retail of $1099.95, the Beltronics STi-R may very well be the smartest investment to driver safety enhancement we can choose, for many years to come.

Escort Passport 9500ci

What do you get when you combine the hardware reception platform of the leading radar detector model with the advanced filtering capabilities of the first GPS-incorporated radar detector—the Escort Passport 9500i—in a remote vehicle installation package?

You get the Escort Passport 9500ci, of course (the "ci" stands for custom installed).

Expected to retail at just under $2000.00, the Escort Passport 9500ci is the new flagship offering of Escort and combines the performance of their new laser jammer (laser shifter), the ZR4 (more on this later).

Unlike the Escort Passport 9500i, the Escort Passport 9500ci uses the hardware reception platform of the Beltronics STi Driver to provide its owner with a completely stealth/undetectable radar detector which remains invisible to the likes of the SPECTRE/Stalcar Mk. III radar detector detector (RDD).

The Escort Passport 9500ci consists of nine primary components including three laser jamming heads, a blue LED display module, and a color-coded interface module supporting modular connections to all of the Escort Passport 9500ci components to enable DIY and professional installers a much easier and streamlined installation.

The Escort Passport 9500ci incorporates a new "intelligent" filtering mechanism called Adaptive Signal Processing (ASP) which automatically "learns" recurring fixed radar sources by GPS coordinates and will auto-mute out these learned "falses" without driver intervention while retaining reception sensitivity to any other bonafide police radar sources.

While the hardware platform is now shared by both remote radar detectors, they will retain their individual reception personalities that have traditionally forged each brand.

In otherwords, the Beltronics STi-R will continue to perform like a Beltronics radar detector and the Escort Passport 9500ci will continue to perform like an Escort/Passport radar detector.

What do I mean by this?

Having driving many miles [over many years] with the Beltronics RX-65 Pro and the Escort Passport 8500 X50, I can attest that both of these radar detectors are distinctly different, even though they too shared electronic components.

It's interesting to note that even certain other formal review[er]s have missed these nuances in their "objective" field tests. These "subjective" differences can only be fully appreciated after extended seat-time in the real-world. The same goes for the Passport 9500i and the Beltronics STi Driver and will most certainly go for the Escort Passport 9500ci and the Beltronics STi-R.

If basically comes down to the different philosophies of each brand.

I personally liken the performance of Beltronics to that of BMW and of Escort to that of Mercedes—both exceptional coach builders, each however, with a distinct personality.

I have never cared for the expression "Belscort" because I believe such [often pejorative] references to the individual Beltronics and Escort brands are not only inaccurate, but only serve to blur the distinctions which clearly exist in each.

No one in their right mind would confuse a Cadillac CTS-V with a Chevrolet Corvette Z06, even though they are both GM products and share some components. The same goes for CM (Cincinnati Microwave) and their individual Beltronics and Escort models.

Whichever brand you ultimately choose, you can rest assured that with either one, you will be treated to the highest level of performance available from two companies which are passionately committed to "raising-the-bar" in the performance of driver safety equipment.

I am looking forward to the time when I can share my first-hand real-world driving experiences with each of these fine products.

Trusted Purchasing Source(s):

Related Reading:

Friday, February 01, 2008

Effect of Speed Camera Enforcement—According to the IIHS Status Report: Speed

Updated: 22 NOV 08, 1351 EST

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) just released a special issue status report on speed, which 'promises' the 'positive' effects of speed cameras while ignoring its negative ones.

The overriding sentiment of their report is simply SPEED KILLS, and automated photo enforcement (red light cameras, speed on green, speed cameras) effectively reduces speeds and therefore promotes highway safety, slower drivers, and reduces collisions and fatalities. Sounds nobel (automated speed reductions), indeed, but...

This report ignores key societal implications (privacy concerns of red light cameras) and officially "green-lights" red light cameras and other automated enforcement technologies in the US, such as speed on green and speed cameras while ignoring a host of other larger contributing factors to these fatalities, the profit-motive behind the companies (mostly European) which promote their use in this country, the automotive manufacturers equipment safety improvements, roadway conditions, along with poor/reckless/careless driving behavior, and most-importantly the corrosive impact of the application of these emerging technologies have on our long-cherished civil liberties.

Nor does IIHS status report address the technical flaws (let alone the legal flaws) in these systems as they are currently deployed (described in the following three reports):

This report also sources France, a socialist society, which has not historically sponsored an individual citizen's Bill of Rights.

For those interested in reading more, please refer to the following article:

IIHS Status Report: Speed—Effect of Speed Camera Enforcement

If you are a US Citizen, not familiar with a pesky old-document—your bill of rights, may I suggest a refresher*?

At least we now know where the (for-profit) insurance industry stands on this issue.

If you are too young to remember WWII, can you say neo-fascism?

Since we're collectively living in a post 9/11 society, let us not forget these sacred words:

"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. Liberty has meaning only if we still believe in it when terrible things happen and a false government security blanket beckons."

Veil Guy

*Is the reason we are forgetting our country's Founding Fathers, because the Bill of Rights is fading**?

**Perhaps this is something made to order for Lou Dobbs (of CNN).

PS: I hear the faint whispers of George Orwell (author of Animal Farm and 1984), please let us let his soul rest in peace.

Update: 01 FEB 08, As Reported by Google News
Related Reading:

Do speed cameras actually increase accident/crash rates?

© 2008