Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Ring! Ring! Who’s There? *handcuffs*

Cnet has a report on how police departments are being inundated with false alarms from Amazon Ring alerts because people have freaked out over the camera footage of innocent activities. In one case someone called to report footage of themselves walking into the door!

I’m reminded of a case that happened nearby just a month ago. In Manhattan Beach (near Los Angeles), police from five cities — and an LA Sheriff’s helicopter — descended on a neighborhood because someone panicked over Ring footage of a food delivery sent to the wrong address. It took them an hour and a half to confirm that there was no crime in progress.

The story basically filled a bingo card:

  • IoT doorbell camera (and of course it was Ring)
  • Gig/app delivery service
  • Upscale neighborhood
  • Paranoid reaction to, you know, people
  • NextDoor posts quoted in article (because of course they are)
  • Massive police over-response
  • SMS alerts sent to neighboring cities

It was absurd. Fortunately no one was hurt or arrested, so it remains an absurdity, but between the waste of resources, the increase in fear, and the risk that something could have gone wrong, it fits right in with these other cautionary tales. As Fight for the Future puts it:

Ubiquitous, privately owned surveillance camera networks are NOT going to make our neighborhoods safer. They just make us all paranoid. Soon we’ll be snitching on our neighbors Red Scare style. Enough

Snow Above Los Angeles (Feb 2019)

The winter storm of the past few days is over, leaving a thick coat of snow on the higher parts of the San Gabriel Mountains and a thin dusting on the lower parts, even the mountains behind the Hollywood Hills, still lingering though mid-morning.

By mid-afternoon, most of the snow in the second photo appeared to have melted, and the patches on Mt. Wilson (barely visible to the left in the first and third images) had mostly faded. The next ridge back was still thoroughly covered, though!

I left work just before sunset, to make sure I could get some photos of the reddish light glinting off of the still snow-covered mountains.

Earthquake Warning System: Now in Los Angeles!

Because seismic waves are slower than internet signals, it’s possible to send an alert after an earthquake starts, but before the shaking reaches you. A few seconds’ warning is enough to pull over to the side of the road, climb down from a ladder, step away from a high shelf or window, put down a scalpel, etc.

Mexico and Japan both have systems like this, and Los Angeles has launched a pilot program with apps for both Android and iOS.

Catching up on photos

Somehow this year has just gotten away from me as far as posting general photos. Oh, I made sure to post albums from events like comic conventions and hiking trips. But the random one-offs and two-fers? I’ve been tossing them up on Instagram, Pixelfed, and/or Mastodon, but I haven’t been maintaining my Flickr gallery.

Part of that is just that this has been a weird year. Part of it, I think, has to do with unexpectedly replacing my phone back in February when my previous phone died without warning. (Almost everything was backed up, at least.)

Whatever the reason, I’ve got eight or nine months of random photos, some just barely interesting enough to share, some really good (IMHO), that I haven’t been curating for Flickr. And the longer I go without posting them, the less it becomes a cool thing to do and the more it becomes a Task To Be Done.

So I sat down tonight after putting the kid to bed, hooked up my camera and my phone to my computer, and started moving and categorizing photos. I eventually got tired of it, but I freed up a lot of space. Even though I’m not quite done with that stage, I went through all the photos I’ve got so far and picked out the ones I want to highlight.

There are enough that I’m breaking them into categories to upload in small batches over the next week or two. If you upload more than three at a time, Flickr will only show the most recent three to your followers. Hopefully they’ll be interesting enough to convince them to click through to the rest of the batch, but I’ve noticed that the top three in a batch always get viewed more than the rest, and always get more feedback. A lot of the more serious photographers I follow won’t even post batches bigger than two or three at a time.

The first batch went up tonight: It’s Los Angeles cityscapes. Continue reading