Top tips on home safety

DUDLEY residents can get home security tips from a new film launched by West Midlands Police.

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The innovative new burglary advice film highlights a number of tips which everyone can put in place to help them avoid being a victim of crime.

The video shows a crime prevention officer visiting someone’s home to give them advice on their home security.

It takes the viewer through the house, looking at security on doors and windows and also tips for outside the home such as security lighting. It also looks at shed security and how to protect valuable items.

Crime reduction officer Sergeant Andy Gregory, who appears in the film, said: “By filming this from the resident’s perspective, we are hoping people recognise some of the areas which may be vulnerable in their own home.

“The advice in this film is very clear and concise and the measures we suggest people put in place are not difficult or expensive things to do. They literally take a few minutes of your time and could have a massive positive impact on your home security. It may be the difference between you becoming a victim or not.

“In the West Midlands, burglary rates have fallen dramatically, but we still need to take every opportunity to remind people how to protect their property.”

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Report: Handheld replicator can copy car keys by scanning lock in seconds

Key Transponder

Key Transponder

Locksmiths and car thieves can both get excited over a new handheld device that electronically maps the inside of car locks and then provides the key code within seconds via USB cable connection to a computer. The key code, matched to the make of the car, allows key-cutting machines to churn out a replacement key. Popular Mechanics reports that the key replication only works for Ford vehicles so far — news that may leave bemused expressions on the faces of Ford owners.
Electronic Key Impressioner (EKI) comes with common vehicle keyway inserts, a USB cable, and lock mapping software. That software connects to a database full of updated key codes, which also allows the system to remotely “brick” devices that have fallen into the wrong hands. But car manufacturers may not accept that reassurance, even as the EKI creators hope to expand their device’s ability to work with a wider range of cars. Unhappy automakers could render it useless by changing their lock technology completely.
Another caveat is that the system mainly works for old-fashioned keys, as opposed to newer car keys that contain transponders. But tools already exist for locksmiths or less savory characters to crack the transponder codes.
Either way, look for this magical key replacement (or Grand Theft Auto) device to come your way late this year.

Locksmiths and car thieves can both get excited over a new handheld device that electronically maps the inside of car locks and then provides the key code within seconds via USB cable connection to a computer. The key code, matched to the make of the car, allows key-cutting machines to churn out a replacement key. Popular Mechanics reports that the key replication only works for Ford vehicles so far — news that may leave bemused expressions on the faces of Ford owners.

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A Locksmith Horror Story

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What can make a day even more bad than having to go to work and when you are ready to go (you have your teeth brushed, read your local newspaper, had your American yummy breakfast) and your car ignition key got jammed? Well I will tell you my locksmith horror story for you to take precautions!

After I realized that my car ignition got jammed, I first tried to fixed by myself because I wanted to get to my job as quickly as possible because  I get paid by commissions and every single minute means  money gained or lost, the ignition key wasn’t turning the lock cylinder so I tried to twist the key a little bit harder and that was the second mistake (the first one was to try to fix it myself without any clear knowledge about I was going to do and how), the key got broken and now I was in a more serious trouble.

At this point I didn’t know what to really do, and didn’t want to expend a lot of money fixing it but I had to go to my work the earliest possible, so I figured out that a cheap locksmiths would be the ideal solution (bad idea), I googled for a local and cheap locksmith the first top 10 locksmiths that I found on google was charging me not a fortune but a considerable amount, I decided to look on further result pages until a find a proclaimed very very cheap locksmith service.

I make the call and they picked-up the phone, they put me on hold for some minutes and then a lady introduce himself and ask me what is the problem and how they can help me, I explained the problem by phone and I got from her an estimated service fee, wow $30 for the work and they promised that the locksmith will be here in 10 minutes, I didn’t doubt to accept the offer, I gave my address and my car model and the lady told me to wait for the locksmith that was very close to my location.

After I hang up the wait started, thirty minutes later I was still waiting for the locksmith, so I decided to give a call to the lady, she said to me that the locksmith was basically on the corner and that in 5 minutes he should be there, thirty more minutes later the locksmith finally arrived to my location.

He start to wiggle the wheel back and forth for some time without any results, after that he finally bring his tools and started to do whatever he was trying to do with the starter ignition switch, I watched him for over an entire hour, and after some minutes later he told that I was ready and that the entire reparation fee was for $300, I literally yell at him “What??” I explained to him that the lady on the phone told that the estimated fee was for $30, then he told me that the estimated fee that the lady give me was that just an estimate, I was pissed off but I couldn’t do anything, so I paid him the money and in a flash he disappeared, well at least now I could go to my work.

So I was ready to go and surprise although the broken key was extracted and everything seems ok, the car doesn’t start! (and yes the duplicated key was ok), I called again to the lady and in some minutes the same locksmith arrives to see what was the problem, he got to the conclusion that the starter ignition switch was broken and it must be fixed, the switch was ok so I know that the locksmith literally broke the starter ignition switch, I called the lady and claimed a reimbursement of my money and a fully reparation of the car ignition switch and surprise they weren’t insured and they refused to pay me my money.

Don’t let this happens to you, always check that your locksmiths is insured, assured and fully bonded, so that you don’t have to experienced this kind of nightmares.

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The best electronic key is the one you always have with you

“The best camera is the one you have with you” is an old photography adage, and Apple may be looking to extend that principle to its iPhone. And it’s not about the iPhone as a camera, either—if you always have it with you, an iPhone could serve as a remote control device for any number of uses, including as a wireless electronic key.

A cheesy iphone Ad made by Me.
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Using the iPhone as an electronic key is part of a recently published patent application titled “Motion Based Input Selection.” It’s important to remember that the patent application itself merely describes a unique way of using motion detection to generate an input, such as turning a virtual combination lock-style dial. Still, it’s the suggested uses of a unique numerical sequence or other combination of input that is generating excitement.

The Telegraph says that the patent is already being referred to as the “iKey” patent, based on the suggestion that a “device” such as an iPhone could use the motion-based input method to generate a combination which is then “transmitted to an external device to unlock the external device.” Such an external device could be anything, including an “electronic lock that may be used to access a door, car, house, or other physical area.”

The patent in particular describes methods in which the input could be selecting combinations of numbers, letters, colors, or images, or even a combination. In fact, if the external device is suitably capable, it can send an application the necessary configuration of input needed to unlock it. The possible inputs can also be randomized, and the transmission between the mobile device and the external device could encrypted for greater security.

Since the iPhone is the kind of device you tend to always have with you, it could be a great all-in-one control device. For instance, Apple also recently filed a patent application for using the iPhone as a sort of advanced universal remote—one that can dim the lights, adjust the surround sound, switch the TV to “cinema mode,” all in preparation for watching a movie at night. The company already offers an app that can control iTunes or an Apple TV remotely, and other apps exist to control home automation systems or a DSLR tethered to a WiFi-equipped computer. Car security firm Viper also offers an app to lock, unlock, and remotely start a vehicle that has the company’s SmartStart electronics installed.

Though many remote applications already exist for the iPhone—including one that locks and unlocks a car—perhaps Apple could leverage the patent’s motion sensing to build an app with a consistent interface that is designed to communicate with a wide variety of lock devices, making the iPhone an out-of-the-box electronic key.

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Hitch Safe Truck Security Gadget

It never fails: you drive into a parking lot and a sign warns you not to leave your valuables in the car. Well, maybe you’re going swimming or jogging or something where you don’t want to tote your purse/wallet/etc. with you. What then?

A parking lot in Manhattan, United States with...
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Perhaps the solution is theHitch Safe.

This tiny safe slides into any standard 2″ hitch receiver, so your car/truck/SUV/van may already be ready for t

he gadget.  It’s secured via two bolt retaining bars inside the Hitch Safe.  The hitch receiver already acts as a solid steel vault, and the safe offers a way to lock it up with a secure combination entry.

While the little automobile safe isn’t exactly going to be roomy, it offers space enough for spare car keys, cash, driver’s license, and credit cards, so it may be all you need.

You can purchase the HitchSafe Key Vault for $70 at Amazon or look for it at your local auto shop.

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Angie’s List: picking a good locksmith

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment
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A locksmith opens 159-year-old safe!

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment

A locksmith has managed to open a 159- year-old safe from Nevada that baffled other professional safecrackers and an expert from MIT.

City of Longview
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In 2 1/2 hours, Alex Gorfam of Longview got the safe open by spinning the dial and feeling for grooves to get the combination, a technique called manipulation.

“You’ve got to have a lot of patience, and concentration doesn’t hurt,” Gorham said.

Gorfam trekked to Astoria, a town about 40 miles west of Longview and 70 miles northwest of Portland, Ore., to try his luck with the 1- ton safe found during renovation at a cannery there. The cannery’s owner, Floyd Holcomb, wanted it opened without damage.

Gorfam and his wife, Kelly, also a locksmith, asked to try after watching a television report on unsuccessful attempts to open the safe. He said an expert from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had tried, as did another professional locksmith who gave up after 14 hours.

Holcomb won’t reveal what was inside until he tells the cannery’s board next month, Kelly Gorfam said.

Maybe here in Plano we don’t have a 159 year-old safe to open, but we are pretty sure that we have some real challenges around here.

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