The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Small Business]
2017-11-20 16:27 by Karl Denninger
in Small Business , 88 references
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For a bit of background see this article, or check out the page at http://homedaemon.net

The software now has had added to it a quite-complete Amcrest IP camera interface.  It is capable of triggering events on any of:

  • Motion
  • Audio (either "any" or "above threshold")
  • SD card removed (if you have one in the unit)
  • Dry contact (these cameras have a user-selectable normally closed or open input on the back; quite useful for things like a door or window switch, for example.
  • Attempted hacking (e.g. repeated authentication failures)

These capabilities should be functional against any "modern" Amcrest IP camera with reasonably-recent firmware.

In addition at any time (not just on the triggering of these events, but any event HomeDaemon recognizes) each camera can be instructed to take a snapshot with optional motion to a pre-set point occurring first.  The snapshot can be taken as a "regular" (subject to roll-off) or "protected" (in a folder not subject to roll-off) image.  The software has configurable limits for the maximum number of snapshots to keep and the minimum file space that must be available on whatever device is used for same, and it will manage space as required to remain within those limits.

The snapshot and "grab" functions are all implemented over "https" (and require it) since the provision of a username and password to the camera is required and while the cameras supports "digest" authentication (better than "Basic", which Amcrest recently removed -- thank God!) MD5 digests are not particularly secure.  It is strongly recommended that the storage volume for retrieved snapshots not be on the system boot device (e.g. a plugged-in USB stick is appropriate) to prevent the possibility of trouble with that device causing problems for the running system.  Once stored having a timed job or listener transfer images as you wish to an offsite location is a matter of trivial implementation since there is a full FreeBSD operating system running under the HomeDaemon-MCP code and the files stored are standard .JPGs with names based on the camera name, date and time.

Finally, all of this, like the rest of HomeDaemon MCP's operational capabilities, takes place under a high-performance multi-threaded implementation so as to be able to transact against multiple cameras at once.

Since the system includes certificate-based authentication already building in rights management (either on a subscription or purchase basis) would be quite easy to suit whatever business model you may have in mind.

Come check out the description and more info -- this code is for sale, all-rights and in source (written entirely in "C"), should you be looking to either establish to expand a home control firm with a security-related focus.  Click on the contact links on the right sidebar to get ahold of me -- and thanks!

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2017-11-16 15:03 by Karl Denninger
in Small Business , 58 references
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HomeDaemon-MCP has now had added to it's bag of tricks an interface to Amcrest IP cameras.

It can now "sense" motion or other events (as defined on the camera) and trigger events on HomeDaemon.  Among other things Amcrest is nice enough to expose a simple HTTP-based API that allows you to move the camera to a given preset and take pictures.

This makes trivial interfacing and extending HomeDaemon's existing capabilities in providing an "alarm" service to include taking of pictures, using the camera's motion sense capabilities as a "trip" and, of course, securely copying them to your private file storage on or off your local network.

This functionality should work with all Amcrest camera devices on the market of reasonably-recent vintage and firmware. I have verified that it is fully functional with both the 1080p (one revision back) and 2k (current) models.

There is no longer a need to trust anyone else with said images other than yourself, ever.  It is trivial to, for example, have the system take images on a timed basis and upload them somewhere, whether that "basis" is predicated on an event (e.g. motion detected somewhere, not necessarily in the immediate area of the camera), to take a picture once a day of your pool water level and email it to you (nice if you are worried about evaporation being a problem so you can ask the neighbor to come turn the hose on for a couple of hours, etc) and more.

See here for more information.

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2017-11-13 14:22 by Karl Denninger
in Small Business , 109 references
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The other day I posted an article on the potential for someone who has a "brighter view" of the political and business environment than I do to take advantage of a market that currently is under-served and over-spied.

I have now updated the images on the HomeDaemon web page for the Raspberry Pi2 and Pi3 to the current "free look-at" versions of the code (which have no encryption in them) for anyone who might be interested in taking a look.

Head on over and see what 'ya think -- and drop me a note using the email links on the right sidebar if you have an interest in pursuing a transaction....

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I've talked about HomeDaemon-MCP before.

It's still here, of course, but has continued to be refined and developed.

The current version is 3.0.0 and runs the place.  What's distinct about it compared against other choices?

First and foremost, it has no "central site" requirement at all.

In other words nobody but the owner has access to it and what it controls and monitors.  It uses SSL certificates both to secure your login (via a simple https interface) and to control slave connections between units (of which it can support an effective infinite number of.)  It will talk seamlessly to Zwave devices (including secure ones using AES encryption) and, for those who insist or have legacy devices, X10.

The certificate-based security model means it's trivial to set it up either a "buy it once, get a certificate good for what amounts to lifetime service" or a "buy a certificate good for a year" sort of model (e.g. subscriptions) on the retail side.

In the present political environment I have no interest in retailing it or developing the business structure to either put forward a distribution model or a retail sales model.

But you might.

Oh, and there's a provisional patent related to it that I will file (obviously before I tell anyone what that is or how it works) and it will go with the code, if someone buys it from me.

Yes, this is a "one check" sort of deal, but as you can imagine it might be a fairly large check.

If there's interest use the links on the right to email me and I'll get back to you promptly.

This is what the "monitor" page looks like on my cellphone:

And this is what's running all of that except for the pool gear (it'll run on essentially any system that can run FreeBSD; the Pi happens to be nice and cheap!)

The pool gear has another Pi with a handful of inexpensive ADC (commodity "adafruit" modules for analog sense and relay) ports to switch the valves, pump VFD and spa heater, enclosed in an inexpensive outdoor-gasketed sprinkler-controller enclosure.  It connects over a machine-certificate secured SSL link via WiFi, appearing as a seamless part of the whole.

No more spying, no Alexa, and if you're wondering how stable it is here's your answer -- the last downtime was due to me voluntarily turning the power off to do some work on the rack underneath it..

HD-MCP Controller
Private System; unauthorized access is punishable by law.

$ uptime
2:57PM up 144 days, 17:16, 1 users, load averages: 0.19, 0.18, 0.13

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Go read this article folks.

Now let this sink in: Everyone says that entrepreneurship is how the economy grows, right?

Grows for real, that is.

In order for someone to have a reason to engage in an entrepreneurial pursuit they have to have some sort of way to compete with those already in the market, whatever that may be.  At the end of the day everything, more or less, comes down to price.

When I started MCSNet in the 1990s in Chicago we were literally the second company (by one day at that) selling consumer internet access.

A couple of years later there were one hundred competitors in our local market.

Needless to say the only way to keep your head above water to find ways to do more with less.  Well, the only honest way.

We had no debt or Wall Street financing.  We also never turned a negative number on the bottom line, nor did we have any way to cross-subsidize one thing with another.  Either the products and services we sold made a profit all-in or we were crazy to keep doing whatever that particular thing was.

Today, on the other hand, the argument made for "entrepreneurship" is for me to come into a market and sell a good or service against a competitor that is running a negative twenty percent margin on the sale of everything they merchandise, and that's before their marketing and SG&A expenses!

In other words just on the direct cost of their goods they sell plus their fulfillment (getting the goods to you) cost their gross margin on those sales of goods is negative 20%.

That in turn means I can't beat them on SG&A and win, I can't beat them on marketing effectiveness and win, and since they're larger than I am the odds of me being able to beat them on COGS is an effective zero since Robinson-Patman says that said supplier(s) can't discriminate between customers buying like kind and quantity with a goal or effect of decreasing competition as a supplier if the product travels in interstate commerce.

The fact is that anyone who tries to "compete" with such a merchant is simply going to take a large amount of money and turn it into a much smaller amount of money and the longer they do it the more they lose.

This is the "secret" of Amazon in the retail space and what's happening to everyone else -- they intentionally sell at a loss to destroy competitors and in fact they are doing so at an ever-increasing percentage of loss in order to drive even more people out of business.  They're not beating everyone else by being "more competitive", by having "better marketing" or anything of the sort -- they're simply selling at an intentional and ever-increasing (both gross and on a percentage terms) loss.

This is not "loss leader" pricing or a temporary thing to clear inventory on some set of products that are obsolete it is across the board and has been going on at an accelerating rate for over a decade.

That sort of activity should not be tolerated by either Wall Street or regulators, but it is -- and in fact it's cheered on by both, including some 60-odd cities now trying to institutionalize screwing every other retail business by getting the firm's "second" headquarters building!

I will tell you this, right up front:

There is no ****ing way anyone with more than a IQ of 60 would contemplate entering an entrepreneurial endeavor where their much-larger potential competitor has been running accelerating negative gross margins for ten years and yet not one single thing has been done to declare such activity an unlawful and unfair competitive practice and even worse it is being supported by outright LIES both of commission and omission from Wall Street investment houses, while the President of the United States cheers on the scam and destruction of entrepreneurs because it makes the "stock market" go up.

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