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2005 Yonge St
Toronto, ON

416-482-8588

Canada's first spy shop.  Spy gadgets including electronic security, counter surveillance, video cameras and GPS tracking devices.  Online shopping available for Canada.

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Spytechblog

As a business that sells somewhat unusual products, we recognize that any additional information we provide can benefit not only our customers, but casual readers as well.  Since the owners and staff at Spytech have accumulated decades of collective experience in the business, we have decided to share our knowledge through this "Spytechblog".

Jack Reacher Prize Giveaway

Hans School

Spytech Blog is proud to offer a Jack Reacher prize pack thanks to our friends at Paramount Pictures Canada.  We will give away ONE exciting prize to a randomly chosen entry.  To enter, just leave a comment on our Facebook page, stating the name of your favorite spy, either real of fictional.  There is no wrong answer.  No purchase necessary.  In order to receive the prize you must be able to provide the following if you win:

  1. A shipping address in a Canadian province for us to send the prize to.
  2. Your comment must be dated before the midnight Jan 30, 2017 to be considered during the draw.
  3. Each individual profile is only entered once for the draw - there will be no multiple entries for commenting multiple times.
  4. If you are contacted as the winner, and do not respond within 24 hours with a valid shipping address, we will assume you have declined the prize and will award it to another person, with another random draw.
  5. Comment must appear on our official Facebook Page to qualify: https://www.facebook.com/spytechcanada

The "Jack Reacher Prize Pack" consists of a "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back" Blu Ray DVD, a Jack Reacher toque, and a Jack Reacher multi-tool flashlight.  Approximate value about $40.00 CAD.  Winner will be announced on our Facebook page.

Odds of winning are 1 in however many different people leave a comment.

Enter your comment before the end of Jan 30, 2017 to qualify.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back will be available for purchase on Blu Ray, DVD and digital on Jan 31, 2017.

Spy Products that Can Help Elderly People

Hans School

In these times of accelerating advances in technology, the world only becomes gradually more alienating to people as they get on in age.  Communicating with your family members requires knowledge of several types of ridiculous phone apps, shopping for gifts can be like navigating a minefield of online scams, and sometimes new technologies you have never even seen before are turned against you.  All of this stress just adds to the health problems that already accompany old age.  As we see in the Hieronymus Bosch depiction above, elderly people were targets for criminals even in 1502, although over the centuries technology has replaced the magic from that painting.  As much as I have now denounced technology as an enemy, let us turn the tables, and investigate how we could instead embrace modern technology to help elderly people.  Isn't the easiest way to eleminate an enemy to make it your friend?  Here are some spy gadgets that our elderly customers have found useful.

A Miniature Tracking Device

Click on picture to see the product page

Click on picture to see the product page

There are various memory issues we may encounter in our lives, at any time, but they become much more common as we age.  These memory lapses are usually remedied by a loved one taking over certain tasks, like making sure medication is not forgotten, and such.  There is a much more difficult problem when the person with the memory issue is mobile enough to get lost.  The solution would either be to limit their mobility to keep them safe, or provide them with a tracking device, in case they do end up lost.  Our tracker not only allows you to locate the person when they have wandered away, but it even has a SOS button, so the lost person can notify you when they feel they are in danger, probably before you even realize they have gotten lost.

A Granny Camera

One of the biggest issues for the elderly is that they are targeted constantly for crime.  Over the decades, our customers have been buying various types of hidden camera for this exact application.  Capturing some kind of video is especially helpful in cases where the elderly person has trouble communicating or remembering.  Whether it captured an abusive nursing home worker, or some thieving relative, the video footage allows the victim to put an end to the activity much quicker than would be possible without any hard evidence.  You can check out our previous blog about "granny cameras in retirement homes" for more details.

A Telephone Voice Recorder

If modern technology has made communication easier then the awful side effect is that it has made fraud easier as well.  Today, con artists can work their magic from a safe distance, contacting more and more potential victims with every new generation of technology.  A loved one will usually step in to try and secure the elderly person's communications, report phishing emails, and block some of the shadiest social media contacts.  In many cases our customers have purchased a home phone recording device as well, to document any suspicious telephone communication.  It can help to have a record of all phone conversations in case there is any kind of claim of a verbal contract.  You can simply replay the conversation and check if the details are accurate.  Consequently, you may just end up with recorded proof of a telemarketing scam!

Home Security Devices

Click to see electronic dog product...

Click to see electronic dog product...

Humans have known forever that dogs are the greatest security device.  However, these dogs require a lot of care, and that isn't good for elderly people who may find it harder to move around freely.  Instead of walking a dog every day, and lugging around 20 pound food bags, we like to suggest simply plugging in an electronic dog in a box.  While not as effective as the real thing, it is obviously less physically demanding than a live dog, and possibly less messy.  Of course, various types of home alarms, and a decent quality door lock, would all add security to any home as well.

Links

If your situation is not addressed by any of these gadgets, or if you need to talk to somebody who specializes in the problems of elderly people, then here are a few suggestions.

Elder abuse resources: 

Senior fraud resources:

Suggestions about wandering seniors: 

New Product - Live GPS Tracker

Hans School

The newest Live GPS Tracker, now available at spytech.com, is the upgraded 3G models from Trackimo.  For many years our customers have been requesting a tracker that could be used for applications other than just vehicle tracking, and we believe this new product has just the right balance of size and function to be useful for multiple purposes.  Trackimo also has a terrific reputation as a reliable product according to multiple third party product reviews.

Tracking Vehicles

Our previous trackers were generally used to track vehicles because they were too large for many other applications.  The new model will also work as a vehicle tracker, and it should be easier to install with its smaller size, but this smaller size also translates to a slightly shorter battery life.  There is a magnetic box available for sale to make this tracker easier to use with a vehicle.

Tracking People

The biggest advantage of this smaller sized tracker is that it can be used to track more than just vehicles.  Many times, customers have asked me if there was a way to track an elderly parent, or a special needs adult, or even a child that likes to wander off.  This Trackimo 3G is just small enough to attach to a person's clothing, or clip onto their belt, without causing a major discomfort.  Thanks to all the alert options available in the Trackimo app, you can have updates about the person's movements sent to your mobile phone any time.  Pressing the SOS button sends an alert to a pre-set contact, which is especially helpful if the person using the Trackimo 3G is frightened, lost, or cannot use a phone.

Tracking Belongings and Pets

"My luggage is WHERE?"

"My luggage is WHERE?"

As with humans and vehicles, you can also put one of these little trackers inside a shipment you send out, in your luggage while on vacation, attached to the collar of a pet that likes to run away, or attach it to pretty much anything else you may want to locate in the future.  The battery life can last a few days, but you can even extend this a bit by only activating the tracker when you really have to.  This flexibility allows you to use this product as a "just in case" tracker.

Monthly Fee

At the time of this article these new 3G Trackimo devices come with a mobile phone app, and one full year of tracking usage, all for free.  The price after one year is $5 per month in US dollars.  The only feature that costs extra is SMS messaging.

New Products - Night Vision Scopes

Hans School

An example of how Generation 0 night vision works - IR light illuminates target

An example of how Generation 0 night vision works - IR light illuminates target

For centuries, early humans were envious of other animals.  Fish could breath under water, birds could fly in the sky, bees could make honey, and of course cats could see in the dark.  Once we got intelligent enough to invent inventing, we humans could finally emulate these animals we have always jealously observed from afar.  Scuba gear allowed us to become fish.  Airplanes allowed us to become birds.  Sugary junk food allowed us to become bees.  Then, during WWII, night vision technology was invented and finally humans could see in the dark just like cats.

Gradually, the bulky "Generation 0" machines of WWII were replaced by hand held 1st Generation night vision scopes, which were widely used during the Vietnam War.  These devices were capable of amplifying ambient light to create a natural night vision image that somewhat resembles our own eyesight.  In other words, the amplified light would make everything around you visible, as far as the eye could see.  Today's 1st Generation scopes still use the same technology, but with several decades of image quality advances, and much needed decreases in size and weight.  The old Generation 0 gimmick of using invisible IR light to illuminate your target has also be implemented into modern 1st Generation devices.  This option is most useful in conditions where there is no ambient light at all, which would diminish light amplification functions, but then your visible range would become limited by the brightness of your IR light source.

1st Generation scope amplifies ambient light to generate this familiar green image

1st Generation scope amplifies ambient light to generate this familiar green image

2nd Generation and 3rd Generation night vision scopes were invented during the late 20th century.  Even though these advancements were superior for their time, they were prohibitively expensive to buy, and often hindered by many government trade restrictions, paricularly outside the USA.  Therefore, 1st Generation technology was continually improved over the decades, and has actually never become obsolete.   Newer variations, such as thermal vision (heat vision) have become more popular, since they bring a completely different ingredient to the table.  Of course, it is always interesting to read about the even more advanced night vision technologies being researched today, but they won't be available for decades to come.  When night vision contact lenses are finally released to the public, be sure to check this blog for more information.

1st Generation Night Vision Scopes are available in our online shop. 

If you are interested in 2nd Generation or thermal vision devices please contact Spytech stores for a quote:

stproductinfo@gmail.com

(416)482-8588 - Spytech Toronto location

source - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_vision_device

New Products - Cameras with Wifi

Hans School

One example of a WiFi camera

One example of a WiFi camera

Here at spytech.com, we have recently introduced a few cameras with WiFi, mainly due to customer demand.  The reason we have been resisting this feature is simply because there seem to be a few misconceptions out there about how WiFi cameras operate.  In this blog I will explain the basic functions of these cameras as well as debunk a few myths that seem to be confusing people I have talked to.  If you are not sure what WiFi cameras actually do, please read on and learn, before purchasing any of these products.

The Different Meanings of "WiFi Camera"

Generally you will find there are three major ways that a "WiFi Camera" could operate:

  • Camera connects to a local phone or tablet but not to the internet

The first type of camera has the advantage of a private local connection, which can only be accessed within a few feet, which makes it quite secure only because of its own limitations.  Of course it cannot be viewed over the internet which is the feature most people are looking for.

  • Camera connects to a DVR and the DVR is connected to the internet

Ever since the DVR replaced the VCR in the surveillance industry, it has been possible to connect it to the internet.  Whether you have hard-wired cameras from the 80s, or modern IP cameras that connect to a DVR through a wireless network, you could always have online access to those cameras because the DVR has always had the functionality of a video router.  These surveillance systems work great if you are covering a building with several cameras, but they may be overkill if you just want to monitor one room on your phone.

  • Camera connects to your WiFi router and then it is on the internet

These are the WiFi cameras we prefer.  You can put one camera in one location and see it on your phone along with controlling any other features it may have.   The location needs to have some kind of wireless internet service for the camera to broadcast to.  Obviously, you cannot put these cameras in a location without having complete access to the WiFi there.  There should be no additional charges to use your camera if you just use your own WiFi, except whatever your high speed internet plan might charge for bandwidth usage, if you aren't on some kind of unlimited plan.

Memory for Recording

Again there are many ways that a WiFi camera can be recorded.  Some cameras record to an online "Cloud" memory which conveniently requires you to pay monthly fees to access.  Others have to record on a local computer hard drive.  Some cameras have no recording ability and just act as a streaming video device.  The cameras we carry will record onto a SD memory card which you can physically take out and store anywhere you want.  This way you will not have to pay a monthly fee for memory because you could permanently own all the memory you want, in the form of SD cards, even if you just want to use one card and keep erasing it whenever it fills up.

Additional Features

Since there are hundreds of different WiFi capable cameras on the market, you can probably find just as much variety when it comes to features.  There are bigger cameras that have pan and tilt motors to move around.  There are cameras with 2-way voice communication through the internet.  Some cutting edge cameras now use facial recognition software to identify family members and strangers.  All of these fancy features can be convenient for the right application, but may only add unnecessary functions to a device that is already quite complex.  Of course in today's market, anyone looking for even the most unusual feature, would still find a handful of cameras on the market that do what they want.

The features our cameras have are the ones that would be associated with a "Spytech" theme.  We sell small sized or hidden WiFi cameras instead of large bulky cameras.  They have a motion activation record feature.  They generally have some kind of "push notification" to warn the user whenever the motion activation is triggered so they can log in and take a look at the video stream.  There should be a way to access the SD card online and view any recordings that may have happened while your phone was off.  These features and others will vary from one product to another, so it is better to actually read the specific details of one particular WiFi camera instead of a vague summary of all of them.

What Does the User Provide?

Indeed, these cameras don't just appear on your mobile device through magic.  As I mentioned before, there may be all kinds of other charges to use a WiFi camera, but let us focus on the cameras we carry at spytech.com to keep things simple:

  • High speed wireless internet for the camera

I'm not sure why anyone would be shopping for a WiFi camera if they don't already have this.  So let's say, as a point of reference, your current internet should work well if you can watch online videos without a lot of interruptions.  If you can't watch online videos very well, you probably need to upgrade your internet in order to watch your camera.  You might have a monthly bandwidth cap, which can become an issue once you add a camera that provides high definition streaming video.  Of course, this all depends on how much time you plan to spend watching your cameras over the internet.

  • High speed internet and some kind of mobile device for the user

Your mobile device would need to have an internet connection to connect to the camera.  Whether you want to use your costly "data plan" on video streaming, or simply connect to the free WiFi inside your favorite coffee shop, you will need some kind of internet access to use the camera app.

  • Memory

SD cards are sold separately.  Our cameras don't require any kind of cloud storage subscription.

  • Installation

Well, as you can see from the product pages, some of these cameras just work as soon as you plug them into a power outlet, while other models need to be mounted on a wall or ceiling.  The amount of installation required is pretty much up to you.  All of them will require you to download a free app (available in Android or IOS) on your mobile device, which allows you to control and view the camera.  You will have to figure out how to access your own WiFi and what the password is in order to connect the camera to the internet.  If you have ever had to connect a tablet, or smartphone to your WiFi, then this process will be pretty familiar.

This WiFi camera is disguised as a USB charger

This WiFi camera is disguised as a USB charger

So all of these requirements are pretty much part of the average urban household these days.  However, if you are thinking of using a WiFi camera in some place like a cottage, or other isolated areas, please make sure you actually have access to the type of internet service described above before purchasing a device like this.  In more populated areas, you can likely use one of these cameras with your current wireless internet without adding any kind of new monthly fee to your stable of bills.

Safety and privacy

The WiFi cameras we carry do have a secure connection and offer password protection in order to access them.  Please be sure to change the default password to something unique once you have set up your camera because the default password can be easily hacked.  If you really want to ensure your privacy, you can increase your router security and disconnect all your WiFi cameras (and webcams for that matter), any time you are not using them.  If you do take all these steps, then the WiFi cameras will be more secure than any other part of your local network.

Did we forget anything?  Do you need more detailed information?  If you have further questions please feel free to contact spytech.com at:

stproductinfo@gmail.com

(416)482-8588 - Spytech Toronto location