Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Cure for CRS

                A Cure for CRS
                                                                By Jim Silvania
As my 68th birthday approaches I thought I might pass along a tip for dealing with the dreaded aging process commonly known as “CRS” or “Can’t Remember Stuff”. Others of you may define this dilemma by a different “S” word but for the purpose of this publication we’ll use “stuff”.
                Microsoft offers a data base product called Access. There is similar software available on the market that accomplishes the same task but since I use Microsoft Office 2010 I decided to just stick with Access. There are also scanners which provide their own filing software and make the task I’m going to recommend even easier.  And last but not least there is investigative software that offers some of the same features.
                One of the newer products out there is called Neat Desk which is a self-contained scanner and data base software; you therefore only need to make one purchase. But if you already have an all-in-one printer, fax, scanner there is little need to purchase additional hardware.
                If you happen to be investigating a major fraud case IBM® i2® Analyst's Notebook® can be helpful. It offers a visual intelligence analysis environment that enables government agencies and private sector businesses to maximize the value of the mass of information that they collect. It allows analysts to quickly collate, analyze and visualize data from disparate sources. It’s advertised to reduce the time required to discover key information in complex data and to deliver timely, actionable intelligence to help identify, predict, prevent, and disrupt criminal, terrorist, and fraudulent activities.
                In my 45 plus years of investigating throughout Ohio I have written numerous summaries and investigative reports and gathered data from newspapers and magazines that predate most commercial data bases: “stuff” that may be hard to track down again.   No doubt we all have numerous files and documents in our offices, basements and storage facilities that have remain un-indexed and therefore unlooked upon for years.
                It was my fortune or misfortune to spend about 13 years of my law enforcement career assigned to an intelligence unit where everything written was indexed, analyzed and filed away to provide a written history or forwarded to the powers to be to provide decision making information.
                What we now do in the private sector is no different than what intelligent operations or agencies do today. We gather information though research and forward that information to our clients so they can make an informed decision.
                But what happens to all the documents and reports after one is finished with a particular investigation? And what happens ten years down the road when you’re asked about a name or an incident that you investigated? Will you have to admit you can’t remember?      
                An easily overlooked investigative tool to defeat “CRS” is called “link analysis”. Some data bases offer this service at an extra cost but the basics are easy and can be applied to every investigation you conduct.
                The rules are easy:
1.       Read the document and underline all proper names and business
2.       An unbroken line for proven association, a broken line ( -----) for suspected association
3.       Use a circle for people and boxes for businesses
4.       No crossing of lines.

Ok, you don’t have to draw a link analysis for every investigation, but you need to at least apply rule number one to every document you write, underline every proper names and business. Next, provide an index or file number for that document and using Microsoft Access or whatever data base you chose to document those names you’ve underlined to a data based index. Thereafter you can recall an individual or a business entity by a simple click of a mouse and you never have to say, “I don’t remember.”
                     Another helpful benefit of this system is that someday you are likely to come across the same individuals or business entities in another investigation and thereafter you’re only a click away from either simplifying your task or knowing that your current investigation may be more than you first thought.
As a side bar here, it’s better to underline than to highlight the documents; that is if you want to PDF them into your computer or onto a CD or DVD. When you use a highlighter it may block out or redact the name you have indexed; thereupon rendering the process as useless. Also check out which PDF program you’ll use for this indexing process as many now allow you to turn a PDF document into a Microsoft Word document. Turning that PDF document that you’ve indexed and saved into a Word document makes it easier to cut & paste into a new investigative report.
                All of the above can be completed at little or no cost depending upon the tools your chose to accomplish the task. But at what cost is it to you to be constantly be saying, “I don’t remember.” And when you die, or move on to other pursuits, or retire, your files will remain forever.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Helpful IPhone Apps

Helpful IPhone Apps  

 Hour Bill - - (free) time billing software/features quick data entry, hourly rate can be set independently for each account, lots of features.  

I Field Notes - - (free) quick and simple note taking app to keep track of field notes, time  stamps each entry, can also add date and GPS coordinates Keeping track of field notes

I Crime Fighter - - (free) investigation and evidence gathering tool designed for police and investigators. Can capture photos, record videos, record interviews, write field notes and save case by case email or upload to your iTunes.

Theodolite by Hunter ($3.99) multifunction photo app, compass, GPS, map & zoom camera. Can take geo tagged photos showing date, time, longitude latitude, altitude, horizon, azimuth bearing up to 4X zoom. Used by engineers, architects, military, search and rescue workers.

Evernote - - (free) lets you take notes, capture photos, record voice reminders, create to-do lists/all searchable and sync able

Turbo Scan - - (free) turns your phone in a multipage scanner for documents/receipts/notes, etc., store or email, has sure scan for sharper scans to 3X

Google Translate - - (free) translate words and phrases between over 60 languages

Speedometer - - (free) provides mph, km/h and knots display in vehicle you are traveling include planes.

Plane Finder AR Free - - (free and $2.99 version) point camera at plane in the air and fine our flight #, aircraft registrations, paid version includes destination and departure airport, aircraft speed (Ship Finder is also available in another app)

Flight View - - (free) flight tracking upcoming and in-air flights, receive status alerts, check gate assignments, delays and cancellations, covers all flights with one end in the US.   

Aero Weather - - (free) current and precise weather conditions (METAR) and weather forecasts (TAF), used by pilots, sunrise, sunset, time zone, etc.

My Radar - - (free) weather radar, has optional hurricane tracking, displays animated weather radar around your location, good for thunderstorm and tornado activity.

Weather Bug - - (free) network of real-time weather sensors for forecasts, alerts, advance early warning system, hourly forecasts.

Gas Buddy - - (free) find cheap gas prices near you, by zip code.

Google Earth - - (free) 3-D interactive earth map

Zip Code Tools - - (free) look up zip code, find zip code on map, zip code distance calculator, locate post office, etc.

Apps for photography>>>

Camera+  - -  (free) acts like a high quality SLR lens/has touch exposure and touch focus with one finger screen touch; can set focus separately from exposure with two finger touch, other advanced features.

Frame Magic - - (both free and .99 cents version) - customizable layouts and collages.

 Foto EXIF - - (free) pictures easy loaded from photo album to see EXIF data such as  shutter speed, date and time a photo was taken, focal length, exposure compensation, metering pattern and if a flash was used.

Good utilities apps>>>

Vindriven - - (free) scans vehicle identification bar code and receive detailed vehicle, recall notices, and vehicle history info.

Promptware Plus - - (free) turns phone into a professional teleprompter for video blogging, podcasts, location reporting, education, corporate video, production, corporate meetings, infomercials, public speaking events and presentation narration.

Trig Touch - -  (free) - calculates triangles

Ted - - (free) TED Conferences, described as "riveting remarks by remarkable people."

Sky Week Plus - - ($2.99) day-to-day calendar to view night sky, provides special alerts of events, can sync with regular calendar.

Converter Free! - - (free) calculator to convert metric, mortgages, loans, fuel consumption, all currencies.

Red Laser - - (free) bar code scanner

Color Capture by Benjamin Moore Paints - - (free) snap photo of any color and get a match from Benjamin Moore, create custom color combinations, etc.

Pocket Wave Pad - - (free) audio recording/edit, add effects, voice or music, easy to store or send, works with multiple files.

Parking Time - - (free) GPS tags location of car where you parked, tells how much time left on the meter and sends you a message when it is feeding time.

Lamp LE - - (free) color light or white light