Data Doctors: Tips for buying DIY security cameras

Data Doctors: Tips for buying DIY security cameras



The options for security cameras that are easy to install, set up and monitor via your smartphone can get overwhelming for even the most tech-savvy consumer.

Q: What should I consider when choosing a DIY security camera?

A: The options for security cameras that are easy to install, set up and monitor via your smartphone can get overwhelming for even the most tech-savvy consumer.

Several variables will help you determine the best fit for your situation, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution for this growing category.

Location and Infrastructure

The area of your home or business that you want to surveil may quickly narrow your search, as the available infrastructure may limit your options.

If there aren’t any electrical outlets in the area, you’ll likely want to opt for one of the many battery-operated units that can be mounted just about anywhere.

Similarly, if your Wi-Fi signal is weak or nonexistent in the area where you intend to mount the camera, you’ll want to shop for cameras that can connect to a cellular network or extend your current Wi-Fi network to allow for a reliable connection.



Replacing wired doorbells or floodlights with integrated security cameras eliminates the need to run electrical wires or go with a battery-operated unit.

Wired vs. Wireless

Any security camera that doesn’t require an electrical outlet and can connect via Wi-Fi is considered a truly wireless camera, but there can be some downsides.

As with anything that relies on a battery, it’s just a matter of time before you’ll have issues related to battery life.

Some cameras use special batteries that are designed to last a year or so, but ultimately the life of the battery will be determined by the amount of activity the camera senses.

All security cameras use motion sensors to alert you to activity, so if you point the camera in a direction with lots of activity, you could be replacing expensive batteries much more often.

There are cameras that have solar panels to help keep the battery topped up, but even those batteries have a finite life that can be shortened if you live in a very hot climate (heat is a huge enemy of batteries).

Generally speaking, wired is superior to wireless as it pertains to your power source because it eliminates a point of failure that will eventually require maintenance, especially if you have to install the camera in a place that won’t be easy to access in the future.

Cloud vs. Local Storage

Another consideration is how your security video is stored whenever an incident is recorded. Some systems allow you to store the video locally, while others push the video to the company’s servers via the internet (the “cloud”).

Cloud-based storage can be limited unless you pay a monthly or annual fee, so it’s important that you understand what your options are before committing to a specific device.

Existing Platforms

If you already have other ‘smart devices’ such as a thermostat or smart doorbell, the same company likely offers various security camera options that will allow your devices to be monitored from a single app on your smartphone.

If opening multiple apps for your various smart devices isn’t a deal breaker, the existing platform won’t be a factor.

If you want to extend your security monitoring to doors, windows and garage doors, you’ll want to explore the package options that most every company offers.

Ken Colburn is founder and CEO of Data Doctors Computer Services. Ask any tech question on Facebook or Twitter.

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Florida parents upset by Michelangelo’s ‘David’ force out principal

Florida parents upset by Michelangelo’s ‘David’ force out principal



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A Florida charter school principal said she was forced to resign this week after some parents complained about their sixth-grade students being shown images of Michelangelo’s “David” statue in class, with one parent believing the art lesson on the Renaissance masterpiece amounted to pornographic material.

Hope Carrasquilla of Tallahassee Classical School in Leon County, Fla., said she offered her resignation during an emergency school board meeting on Monday after she was given an ultimatum by the board to resign or be fired, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. The principal said she was not given a reason she was asked to resign, but believes complaints the school board received from parents over the lesson on the Michelangelo statue played a role in what happened.

“It is with a sad heart that my time as the principal of Tallahassee Classical School has come to an end,” she wrote in a Thursday letter to the school board that was obtained by The Washington Post.

Barney Bishop III, the chair of the school board and a lobbyist, confirmed to The Post that he gave Carrasquilla an ultimatum following complaints from three parents who believed the material on “David” was “controversial” and not age-appropriate for their children. Bishop, who did not give a reason he asked for Carrasquilla to resign on the advice of the school’s lawyers, told The Post that there were several issues with the principal, including not notifying parents ahead of time that their children would be shown the Renaissance art.

“She wasn’t let go because of the artistic nude pictures. We show it every year to our students,” Bishop said, adding that Carrasquilla “voluntarily resigned.” “The problem with this particular issue was the lack of follow-through on the process.”

Tallahassee Classical, which follows a curriculum from Hillsdale College, the conservative, Christian institution in Michigan that has helped launch dozens of “classical” charter schools nationwide, is required to teach Renaissance art to sixth-graders. The lesson featuring “David” also included images of “The Creation of Adam” fresco painting and “Birth of Venus” by Botticelli.

Carrasquilla acknowledged in the letter to the school board that she did not notify parents about the lesson before images of “David” were shown in class. The former principal noted to the Democrat that while two parents were bothered by not being notified, one parent thought their child was being exposed to pornography.

Her husband, Victor Carrasquilla, rejected the school board’s action in forcing out his spouse in a short phone call with The Post, describing his wife as “a strong evangelical Christian” who should not have been forced to resign.

The parental backlash over “David” comes at a time when the state’s K-12 and higher education is possibly being reshaped through a spate of new Republican-sponsored bills that have been championed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2024.

Cries to remove books from classrooms and library shelves is nothing new. Some of what has shifted are the storylines, characters and authors being silenced. (Video: Allie Caren/The Washington Post, Photo: Illustration: Brian Monroe/The Washington Post)

Debates have surged nationwide since the pandemic over what and how children should be taught about race, racism, gender and sexual orientation and the rights of transgender students — as well as the appropriateness of books available in school libraries and classrooms. Although the conflicts have touched at least half the country, inspiring 25 states to pass 64 laws reshaping what children can learn and do at school, Florida has been a particular hot spot. DeSantis has won national political attention and praise for his hard-line stance on eradicating what he calls “woke” left-leaning ideologies from schools.

DeSantis has enacted two high-profile bills on education: One that limited education on gender identity and sexual orientation to fourth grade and above and another that prohibited certain ways of teaching about race. DeSantis and his Education Department also rejected an Advanced Placement course on Black history, declaring it had no educational value and promoted left-leaning political and social views.

Among the bills filed in recent weeks by Republican lawmakers is House Bill 1069, which would grant parents greater power to read over and object to school instructional materials, as well as limit their child’s ability to explore the school library. The bill sponsored by state Rep. Stan McClain (R) would also require that instruction on sexual health, such as health education, sexually transmitted diseases and human sexuality, “only occur in grades 6 through 12.” The proposed sexual health bill gained attention last week after McClain acknowledged that the proposal would ban girls from talking about their menstrual cycles in school.

Florida bill would ban young girls from discussing periods in school

When Tallahassee Classical opened in the fall of 2020, the K-12 school stated on its website that its mission was “to train the minds and improve the hearts of young people through a content-rich classical education in the liberal arts and sciences, with instruction in the principles of moral character and civic virtue.” Tallahassee Classical had been advised by Hillsdale College, which has raised money by pushing back on what the institution describes as “leftist” academics teaching a “biased and distorted” view of U.S. history, according to the New York Times. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas once called Hillsdale College “a shining city on a hill,” and the school hired his activist wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, to help establish a full-time presence in the nation’s capital.

Hillsdale College dropped Tallahassee Classical last year as a member school for not meeting its improvement standards, but the Florida school did regain its curriculum status.

A longtime resident of Tallahassee, Hope Carrasquilla was named principal of Tallahassee Classical less than a year ago after serving as the dean of curriculum and instruction. The school celebrated her 27 years of teaching experience, including 10 years of classical education experience, in her biography, which has been removed from Tallahassee Classical’s website.

“She is excited to help shape the hearts and minds of the young scholars at Tallahassee Classical School for the sake of making our community and country a better place,” the biography reads.

Among the art lessons to sixth-graders was one on Michelangelo’s “David,” a sculpture built between 1501 and 1504 by one of the Renaissance’s greatest artists that has long been a symbol of the strength and independence of the Florentines, according to the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze, home of the statue in Florence.

Bishop said he does not think “David” is controversial, noting that he studied Renaissance art in Italy 50 years ago. He added that while 97 percent of the parents had no problem with the art class, Bishop emphasized that parents’ rights and concerns on what their children are being taught trump whatever he thinks about the lesson.

“I listened to what the parents had to say and have been in communication with them constantly, but I didn’t ask what was controversial, and I know I’m not going to change their opinion on that,” he said.

The lack of communication to parents was part of a litany of issues against Carrasquilla, Bishop claimed, saying he was not required to get into his concerns with the former principal. However, some parents were surprised when a last-minute emergency board meeting was scheduled for Monday at 7 a.m. to determine Carrasquilla’s fate, saying it was part of a larger “paradigm shift” at the school.

“It’s starting to feel like the school is becoming part of an agenda,” Carrie Boyd, a parent who has two children at Tallahassee Classical, told the Democrat.

Bishop, who said the lessons on “David” would continue to be taught at the school with proper notification to the parents, did not push back that the school was aligned with DeSantis’s vision for education in the state.

“I applaud the governor, and we support the governor on his educational agenda in Florida,” Bishop told The Post. “Parental rights are supreme.”

Critics such as Jen Cousins of the Florida Freedom to Read Project, which fights against schoolbook challenges in the state, told The Post that the principal getting pushed out constitutes needless censorship of classical art.

“This is more of the same overreach restricting our kids’ educations,” Cousins wrote in a text message. “Are fine arts the next thing on the chopping block in Florida?”

Tallahassee Classical announced to parents this week that Cara Wynn would be its interim headmaster, the third principal at the school since it opened, Bishop said.

In her letter to the board, Carrasquilla said that the issues with the board run much deeper than the concerns over “David,” and urged the schools leaders to adhere to the state’s Sunshine Law to govern proper public meetings in cases like hers.

“I have always desired good for Tallahassee Classical School,” she wrote. “I am not about promoting myself or a political agenda.”

As the story unfolded this week, many observers online noted how “The Simpsons” predicted long ago what a parental backlash against Michelangelo’s famed statue would look like. Some pointed to the question posed by the character Kent Brockman about “David” as a summary of what’s happening at Tallahassee Classical: “Is it a masterpiece or just some guy with his pants down?”

Valerie Strauss contributed to this report.



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Florida House Bill 999 won’t ban historically Black fraternities and sororities from state universities

Florida House Bill 999 won’t ban historically Black fraternities and sororities from state universities


Opponents of the bill, which seeks to bar Florida colleges from funding programs that promote diversity, equity and inclusion, call it vague and unconstitutional.

Some historically Black fraternities and sororities, including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, are worried a proposed bill moving through the Florida House during the 2023 legislative session would ban them and similar organizations from public universities in the state.

In March, multiple viral social media posts claimed that historically Black, Latino and other multicultural organizations could potentially be eliminated from college campuses if Florida House Bill 999 is signed into law. The posts alleged that language included in the bill’s text could prohibit university spending for these organizations if the funds are used to promote diversity, equity and inclusion.

Several VERIFY viewers want to know if these claims are true.

THE QUESTION

Will House Bill 999 ban historically Black fraternities and sororities from Florida universities?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, House Bill 999 will not ban historically Black fraternities and sororities from Florida universities.

WHAT WE FOUND

Florida House Bill 999 (HB 999), titled Postsecondary Educational Institutions, was introduced by Florida state Rep. Alex Andrade (R-Pensacola) on Feb. 21, 2023. The proposed legislation, as originally written, intends to bar public colleges and universities in the state from funding programs or campus activities that promote diversity, equity or inclusion (DEI) or “Critical Race Theory rhetoric.”

HB 999 would also prohibit majors and minors that teach about race, gender studies and intersectionality at Florida colleges and universities. The bill would also increase the authority of the Florida Board of Governors, the governing body for the state university system, and give university boards of trustees the power to hire faculty members and review their tenure at any time.

Black fraternities, sororities and other student-led multicultural organizations are typically funded through initiation or membership fees but sometimes they may receive additional funding for certain programs or activities through partnerships with state colleges or universities.

In the original text of the bill, line 341 said that colleges and universities in Florida would not be able to use funds to “Promote, support, or maintain any programs or campus activities that violate s. 1000.05 or that espouse diversity, equity, and inclusion [DEI] or Critical Race Theory rhetoric.” That language fueled fears that Black fraternities, sororities and other student-led multicultural organizations could potentially be eliminated from Florida campuses under the legislation.

But Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Andrade have both said the bill would not ban historically Black or other student-led multicultural organizations from colleges and universities in the state.

During a legislative meeting with the House Postsecondary Education and Workforce committee on March 13, state Rep. Yvonne Hinson, a Democrat whose district includes the University of Florida, asked Andrade how HB 999 would impact Black sororities and fraternities and their ability to host social justice events and voter registration events on university campuses.

“It does not. It does not affect them at all,” Andrade replied.

Hinson and Florida state Rep. Michelle Rayner-Goolsby (D-St. Petersburg) both said they submitted amendments to HB 999 that included language that would have explicitly protected multicultural student clubs and historically Black fraternities and sororities on college campuses in Florida. But they said those amendments were rejected.

However, after facing pushback from some members of historically Black fraternities, sororities and other student groups in the state, the text of the bill was updated on March 15. The legislation now reads:

“… Student fees to support student-led organizations are permitted notwithstanding any speech or expressive activity by such organizations that would otherwise violate this subsection, provided that the public funds must be allocated to student-led organizations pursuant to written policies or regulations of each Florida College System institution or state university, as applicable.”

On March 20, Andrade also told VERIFY partner station First Coast News that historically Black fraternities, sororities and other student-led multicultural organizations would not be eliminated from college and university campuses in Florida.

“I would never do anything to harm or infringe or do away with the opportunity for students coming up behind me,” Andrade said. “Regardless of what [a] student-led organization espouses, believes in, [or] promotes, the restrictions in the bill regarding DEI do not apply to them.”

Instead, Andrade said HB 999 would do away with DEI administrators. According to Andrade, DEI administrators and departments in the state have used diversity, equity and inclusion to shut down speech they do not agree with and inject “arguments for discrimination in the name of equity.” He said the bill would also “review and remove” majors and minors that “don’t meet the statutory mission and directive of the state university system.”

Many opponents of HB 999, including the American Historical Association, the American Council of Learned Societies, the ACLU of Florida and the American Political Science Association, have issued statements claiming the bill undermines academic freedom in higher education. Others say HB 999’s wording is both vague and unconstitutional. 

Joe Cohn, the legislative and policy director at the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) told VERIFY that although HB 999 would not eliminate historically Black fraternities, sororities or other multicultural organizations from Florida colleges and universities, he did say the bill, as currently written, is “unconstitutional.”

“HB 999 is an unconstitutional bill that would double down on last year’s ‘Stop WOKE Act’ that injected the state government into deciding what ideas could and could not be taught in the classroom,” Cohn said.

“It isn’t going to ban student organizations that are associated with minority groups. What it does do, though — which is still a problem — is that it prevents the university from entering into partnerships with those organizations on events that promote ideas that the government thinks are bad,” Cohn continued.

According to Cohn, the updated text in HB 999 would still let the state of Florida decide whether or not they will allow a college or university to partner with student-led organizations, which sometimes need additional funds to hold certain programs, activities or events on campus.

“Whether it’s room reservations, printing up flyers or sending organizations to conferences, under this language, while the student organizations are using their student activity fees, those activities will be permitted, but they’re not going to be eligible for any additional help that other organizations, including organizations that hold the opposite views, will be eligible for,” Cohn said.

NR Hines, a criminal justice policy strategist at the ACLU of Florida, called HB 999 “a vaguely written bill.”

“Unfortunately, it seems that the vagueness in this bill will lead to a kind of subjective application,” Hines told VERIFY. “The [Florida] Board of Governors is being basically put in charge, and allowing appointees that are politically appointed to have the power over this is troubling.”

VERIFY reached out to the National Pan-Hellenic Council, including eight of the nine historically Black fraternities and sororities it represents, as well as the National Multicultural Greek Council for comment but did not hear back by the time of publication.

The VERIFY team works to separate fact from fiction so that you can understand what is true and false. Please consider subscribing to our daily newsletter, text alerts and our YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Learn More »

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Man drives into pedestrians inside German airport garage

Man drives into pedestrians inside German airport garage



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BERLIN — A motorist drove into several pedestrians Friday in a parking garage at Cologne-Bonn Airport in western Germany and injured at least five of them slightly, police said.

The man allegedly drove straight at people inside the garage, but most were able to avoid him, German news agency dpa reported.

One pedestrian who tried to run away was squeezed between two other vehicles and injured.

No one’s life was in danger, police said, and the injuries were considered mostly minor. The suspect also drove into several cars, dpa said.

The 57-year-old driver was detained and taken to the hospital. Police said there were indications he had mental health issues.

Two police officers also received slight injuries when the suspect allegedly resisted his detention.

Police later said the man allegedly stole a van from a rental car company in the airport’s parking lot. It was not clear how he got the keys of the car, but dpa reported that it had just been been returned and was about to be cleaned.

The suspect then drove across the parking garage, apparently targeting pedestrians and cars, shifting gears, going forward and backward over and over again until police stopped him, dpa reported.



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Sam Altman didn't take any equity in OpenAI, report says

Sam Altman didn't take any equity in OpenAI, report says


Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator, pauses during the New Work Summit in Half Moon Bay, California, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 25, 2019.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

OpenAI’s ChatGPT unleashed an arms race among Silicon Valley companies and investors, sparking an A.I. investment craze that proved to be a boon for OpenAI’s investors and shareholding employees.

But CEO and co-founder Sam Altman may not notch the kind of outsize payday that Silicon Valley founders have enjoyed in years past. Altman didn’t take an equity stake in the company when it added the for-profit OpenAI LP entity in 2019, Semafor reported Friday.

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OpenAI launched as a non-profit model in 2015 with backing from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who committed $1 billion to OpenAI, Semafor reported. But Musk was unhappy with OpenAI’s growth, which he assessed as “fatally behind” Google‘s work in AI, Semafor reported.

In early 2018, Musk proposed assuming control over OpenAI and running it himself, Semafor reported, an offer that was rebuffed by Altman and the company’s other team.

The private rift reportedly prompted Musk’s departure. Musk reneged on a publicly announced funding arrangement, providing only $100 million of his planned $1 billion in support, according to the report.

Altman was already independently wealthy given his long career launching or investing in tech startups. That played into his decision to not seek equity when the transformation was underway, people familiar with the matter told Semafor.

Months after adding a for-profit entity, in Jul. 2019, OpenAI took a $1 billion investment from Microsoft, which has since embedded the company’s technologies into its products.

While Altman’s lack of initial equity reportedly gave investors pause in 2019, the fanfare associated with ChatGPT’s launch has likely tempered those concerns.

OpenAI is now looking to tender shares at a $29 billion valuation, more than double what it was worth in 2021, The Wall Street Journal reported.

OpenAI and Musk didn’t immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Read more at Semafor.

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Israeli AG warns Netanyahu defied conflict of interest rule

Israeli AG warns Netanyahu defied conflict of interest rule



JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s attorney general on Friday warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he has violated the Supreme Court’s…

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s attorney general on Friday warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he has violated the Supreme Court’s conflict of interest ruling, which barred him from direct involvement in his government’s divisive plans for a judicial overhaul.

Netanyahu’s far-right government has barreled ahead with plans to weaken the Supreme Court and grant politicians less judicial oversight in their policymaking despite massive protests from across Israeli society — including an uproar among business leaders, top legal officials and military reservists. On Thursday, just hours after his coalition passed a law that would protect the Israeli leader from being deemed unfit to rule because of his corruption trial and claims of a conflict of interest, Netanyahu defiantly pledged to proceed with the overhaul.

Netanyahu contended that stripping the attorney general of the power to remove him from office was necessary to clear the way for him to participate in the negotiations on the judicial overhaul in spite of her instructions, and try to “mend the rift” in the polarized nation.

“Until today my hands were tied,” Netanyahu said in a prime-time TV address Thursday, referring to the change in the law on removing a prime minister.

Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara thoroughly disagreed, sharply criticizing him in a letter Friday for violating a conflict of interest agreement that had allowed him to continue leading the country while charged with corruption, bribery and breach of trust. The deal Netanyahu was pressed to sign in 2020 prevented him from being involved in legislative issues or key judicial appointments that could affect his ongoing trial.

“Your statement last night and any further actions by you that violate that agreement are completely illegal and in conflict of interest,” Baharav-Miara wrote in Friday’s letter. “The legal situation is clear — you must avoid any involvement in measures to change the judicial system.”

The contentious law that makes it harder to remove Netanyahu from office, passed late Wednesday by a slim majority of 61 in the 120-seat parliament, does not undo the court’s earlier conflict of interest ruling, Baharav-Miara said. The consequences of Netanyahu’s violations of the agreement were not immediately clear.

Netanyahu, on an official visit to Britain, did not immediately respond to her letter.

The Movement for Quality Government in Israel, a good governance organization, warned of a constitutional crisis. It pledged to file a petition urging that Netanyahu be held in contempt of court. “A prime minister who does not obey the court and its orders is an anarchist,” the group said.

Supporters of the judicial overhaul say it will restore power to elected legislators and make the courts less interventionist. Critics say the move upends Israel’s system of checks and balances and pushes it toward autocracy.

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