Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How to Scan and Fax Documents Using Your Camera Phone

What can't you do with a cell phone these days? The latest models allow you to take pictures, record movies, watch TV, play music, browse the Internet, send e-mails and even make the occasional phone call.

But what if you want to use your cell phone's multimedia technology for more than just entertainment? What if you actually need to get some work done? No problem. With a simple camera phone and some new software, you can turn any mobile phone into a scanner, fax machine and copier.

camera phones
© Photographer: Alexander Kolomietz | Agency: Dreamstime
­Camera phones are more popular than ever -- there are more than 1 billion used worldwide.

Camera phones are everywhere. According to 2007 statistics, 79 percent of cell phones sold in the United States had a built-in digital camera [source: RCR Wireless News]. An estimated 1 billion camera phones are in use around the world [source: ComputerWorld]. The picture quality of these phones is improving quickly. Some cell phone manufacturers have already released five-megapixel camera phones and there are rumors about a 10-megapixel model hitting the shelves any day now [source: AsiaMedia].

Scanning and faxing from a cell phone works through the same technology as Internet faxing. A document, in this case a digital photograph, is e-mailed to an Internet fax service that converts the digital photo into fax data. The fax service then sends the fax to the recipient over a phone line. For more information, read How Internet Fax Works.

The cool thing about these new cell phone "scan and fax" services is that they can optimize and compress camera phone images into clear, readable PDF documents. Using special imaging algorithms, the cell phone scanning software can take a photo of an open book -- with shadows in the crease and curved pages -- and turn it into a flat image with uniform background color and sharp text. The software also simplifies the image, getting rid of unnecessary digital noise to make the file smaller and easier to send over a cellular data network.

What exactly do you need to scan and fax documents with your cell phone? Does it work on all camera phones? Is it expensive? Read on to find out how to get started scanning and faxing from your cell phone.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How Radio Scanners Work

Scanner Features

Scanner FeaturesRadio scanners can be either portable, with rechargeable battery packs, or desktop, like a regular radio. Scanners are gaining popularity with consumers. With the huge popularity of NASCAR racing, many people now use scanners at auto racing events to eavesdrop on the crew-driver communications at races. At a typical race, there are hundreds of frequencies in use. Each team has two or three frequencies, while race control, the sanctioning organization, the medical, fire and track crews and many others each have assigned frequencies during the race.
Some of the recently released scanners are capable of tracking municipalities and police frequencies in the 800-megahertz (MHz) range. This is known as trunk tracking of computer-controlled trunked radio networks.
Higher-end scanners can be controlled by the serial port of a personal computer using special software. This helps the user with the logging of stations as well as with duplicating the scanner controls within the software application.
Many models receive the NOAA weather radio broadcasts. This can be a very useful feature during pending tornadoes or hurricanes.
The controls on a radio scanner can vary, but practically all of them have:
Squelch - This is an adjustable control that keeps the speaker muted (quiet and free from static) when a station is not transmitting. It works whether the radio is scanning, searching or manually stepping through stored frequencies. CB radios also have this control.
WX button - This is common on some newer models. This button typically does a mini-scan of some factory-written frequencies that receive the nationwide NOAA weather broadcast reports.
Numeric keypad - This is used for entering frequencies or in combination with the "Limit" button, used for entering upper and lower ranges of a search between two frequencies. The keypad also lets you enter frequencies found during a search. More expensive models automatically store frequencies found during a search.
Buy a copy of "Police Call" (you can get a used one for next to nothing at or the CD-ROM version at Radio Shack) to get some frequencies for your area. See these Frequently Asked Frequencies, too.
Useful BookScanners & Secret Frequencies by Henry L. Eisenson and Bill CheekThanks to frequency synthesizers, most scanners can receive frequency bands in the 29-MHz to 512-MHz range. If you enter a frequency outside that range, you typically see an error indication on the display. More expensive models often have a higher range and often include military aircraft frequencies. (Earlier scanners did not have numeric keypads and required the owner to purchase individual crystals manufactured for a given frequency. Most early scanners only held six or 10 crystals. The cost of filling up a scanner with individual channel crystals often approached the cost of the scanner, much like buying ink cartridges for today’s low-priced color inkjet printers.)
Search button - This starts the scanner on a continuous loop between two frequency limits, finding unknown frequencies within a given range. The searches typically are in the same automatic increments that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) assigns for the given frequency band being searched. U.S. scanners cannot search the frequency bands assigned for analog cellular telephone calls.
If you were at a car race, for example, you could do a search from 460 to 470 MHz and note when the scanner stops (or look in the race program for assigned frequencies). You could make a note of the displayed frequency or store it at that time, and then continue the search. The instruction manual that comes with a scanner typically shows what frequency bands are for government, business, aviation, and other users.
Manual button - This lets the user manually step through a range of frequencies stored in the scanner. Modern scanners have 100 to 300 channels for storing frequencies in the built-in memory. More expensive models have even more.
Scan button - This starts the scanner on a continuous loop through all of the frequency banks (containing stored frequencies). The scanner stops when it detects a radio signal on a stored frequency; it moves to the next stored frequency when the radio signal ends. The user can typically enable or disable certain banks of frequencies for scanning. Each bank can hold 10 to 30 frequencies, depending on the brand and model of the radio scanner. Often, banks contain frequencies according to the type of radio service. Types include emergency, police, fire, aviation, marine and business.
Delay button - This makes the scanner stall for a short duration on a frequency before moving to the next one. This delay helps the user hear the other part of the radio conversation on that frequency.
Lockout button - This temporarily disables the radio scanner from stopping on a stored frequency. For example, you might want to lockout the frequency of a busy airport tower at peak travel time during the day when you're really trying to hear the traffic helicopters in your area.
Radio scanners usually come with small whip antennas as well as an external antenna connector. An outside antenna or attic antenna enables you to hear more transmissions at a greater distance.
Scanners cannot hear everything. The typical consumer-grade scanner cannot listen in on 900-MHz cordless phones that use digital spread spectrum (DSS) technology. Analog cell phone frequencies are also blocked by law on all scanners.
Cop CodesYou might hear the police conversing in the 10-codes.Some law enforcement agencies also use audio inversion and other scrambling technologies to prevent the reception of sensitive communications. You will not be able to decipher these conversations.
Even so, there is an unbelievable number of radio services that use frequencies most scanners can hear.
Until you buy your own scanner, you can try out scanning frequencies on Web-controlled receivers.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cellular Phones

Cellular Phones
Your cellular telephone has three major security vulnerabilities:
Vulnerability to monitoring of your conversations while using the phone.
Vulnerability of your phone being turned into a microphone to monitor conversations in the vicinity of your phone while the phone is inactive.
Vulnerability to "cloning," or the use of your phone number by others to make calls that are charged to your account.

Before discussing these vulnerabilities, here is a brief tutorial on how cellular phones function. They send radio frequency transmissions through the air on two distinct channels, one for voice communications and the other for control signals. When a cellular telephone is first turned on, it emits a control signal that identifies itself to a cell site by broadcasting its mobile identification number (MIN) and electronic serial number (ESN), commonly known as the "pair."
When the cell site receives the pair signal, it determines if the requester is a legitimate registered user by comparing the requestor's pair to a cellular subscriber list. Once the cellular telephone's pair has been recognized, the cell site emits a control signal to permit the subscriber to place calls at will. This process, known as anonymous registration, is carried out each time the telephone is turned on or picked up by a new cell site.

Vulnerability to Monitoring

All cellular telephones are basically radio transceivers. Your voice is transmitted through the air on radio waves. Radio waves are not directional -- they disperse in all directions so that anyone with the right kind of radio receiver can listen in.
Although the law provides penalties for the interception of cellular telephone calls, it is easily accomplished and impossible to detect. Radio hobbyists have web sites where they exchange cell phone numbers of "interesting" targets. Opportunistic hobbyists sometimes sell their best "finds." Criminal syndicates in several major U.S. metropolitan areas maintain extensive cell phone monitoring operations.

Cell phones operate on radio frequencies that can be monitored by commonly available radio frequency scanners.

If the cellular system uses analog technology, one can program a phone number, or a watch list of phone numbers, into a cell-monitoring device that automatically turns on a voice-activated tape recorder whenever one of the watch listed numbers is in use. Computer assisted, automatic monitoring allows monitoring a specific phone 24 hours a day, as the target moves from cell to cell, without any human assistance.

If the cellular system uses newer digital technology, it is possible for a price affordable by most radio hobbyists to buy a digital data interpreter that connects between a scanner radio and a personal computer. The digital data interpreter reads all the digital data transmitted between the cellular site and the cellular phone and feeds this information into the computer. 2
It is easy for an eavesdropper to determine a target's cellular phone number, because transmissions are going back and forth to the cellular site whenever the cell phone has battery power and is able to receive a call. For a car phone, this generally happens as soon as the ignition is turned on. Therefore, the eavesdropper simply waits for the target to leave his or her home or office and start the car. The initial transmission to the cellular site to register the active system is picked up immediately by the scanner, and the number can be entered automatically into a file of numbers for continuous monitoring.

One of the most highly publicized cases of cellular phone monitoring concerned former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich. A conference call between Gingrich and other Republican leaders was "accidentally" overheard and then taped. The conversation concerned Republican strategy for responding to Speaker Gingrich's pending admission of ethics violations being investigated by the House Ethics Committee. The intercepted conversation was reported in the New York Times and other newspapers.
Pagers have similar vulnerabilities. In 1997, police arrested officials of a small New Jersey company, Breaking News Network, that was monitoring pager messages to New York City leaders and police, fire, and court officials, including messages considered too sensitive to send over the police radio. They were selling the information to newspaper and television reporters. The offenses carry a penalty of up to five years in prison and fines of $250,000 for each offense. 3
Vulnerability to Being Used as a Microphone
A cellular telephone can be turned into a microphone and transmitter for the purpose of listening to conversations in the vicinity of the phone. This is done by transmitting to the cell phone a maintenance command on the control channel. This command places the cellular telephone in the "diagnostic mode." When this is done, conversations in the immediate area of the telephone can be monitored over the voice channel. 4
The user doesn't know the telephone is in the diagnostic mode and transmitting all nearby sounds until he or she tries to place a call. Then, before the cellular telephone can be used to place calls, the unit has to be cycled off and then back on again. This threat is the reason why cellular telephones are often prohibited in areas where classified or sensitive discussions are held.

Vulnerability to Cloning

Cellular telephone thieves don't steal cellular telephones in the usual sense of breaking into a car and taking the telephone hardware. Instead, they monitor the radio frequency spectrum and steal the cell phone pair as it is being anonymously registered with a cell site.
Cloning is the process whereby a thief intercepts the electronic serial number (ESN) and mobile identification number (MIN) and programs those numbers into another telephone to make it identical to yours. Once cloned, the thief can place calls on the reprogrammed telephone as though he were the legitimate subscriber.

Cloning resulted in approximately $650 million dollars worth of fraudulent phone calls in 1996. Police made 800 arrests that year for this offense.5 Each day more unsuspecting people are being victimized by cellular telephone thieves. In one case, more than 1,500 telephone calls were placed in a single day by cellular phone thieves using the number of a single unsuspecting owner.
The ESN and MIN can be obtained easily by an ESN reader, which is like a cellular telephone receiver designed to monitor the control channel. The ESN reader captures the pair as it is being broadcast from a cellular telephone to a cell site and stores the information into its memory. What makes this possible is the fact that each time your cellular telephone is turned on or used, it transmits the pair to the local cellular site and establishes a talk channel. It also transmits the pair when it is relocated from one cell site to another.

Cloning occurs most frequently in areas of high cell phone usage -- valet parking lots, airports, shopping malls, concert halls, sports stadiums, and high-congestion traffic areas in metropolitan cities. No one is immune to cloning, but you can take steps to reduce the likelihood of being the next victim.

Cellular Phone Security Measures

The best defense against these three major vulnerabilities of cell phones is very simple -- do not use the cell phone. If you must use a cell phone, you can reduce the risk by following these guidelines:
Because a cellular phone can be turned into a microphone without your knowledge, do not carry a cellular phone into any classified area or other area where sensitive discussions are held. (This is prohibited in many offices that handle classified or sensitive information.)
Turn your cellular telephone on only when you need to place a call. Turn it off after placing the call. Do not give your cellular phone number to anyone and don't use your cell phone for receiving calls, as that requires leaving it on all the time. Ask your friends and associates to page you if they need to talk with you. You can then return the page by using your cellular telephone.
Do not discuss sensitive information on a cellular phone. When you call someone from your cell phone, consider advising them you are calling from a cell phone that is vulnerable to monitoring, and that you will be speaking generally and not get into sensitive matters.
Do not leave your cellular telephone unattended. If your cell phone is vehicle-mounted, turn it off before permitting valet parking attendants to park the car, even if the telephone automatically locks when the car's ignition is turned off.

Avoid using your cellular telephone within several miles of the airport, stadium, mall, or other heavy traffic locations. These are areas where radio hobbyists use scanners for random monitoring. If they come across an interesting conversation, your number may be marked for regular selective monitoring.

If your cellular service company offers personal identification numbers (PIN), consider using one. Although cellular PIN services are cumbersome and require that you input your PIN for every call, they are an effective means of thwarting cloning.

1. Jessica Lee, "Focus Shifts from Gingrich to Taped Call," USA Today, Jan. 14, 1997, p. 5A.2. "How O.J. Simpson was Tracked in his Bronco by Los Angeles Law Enforcement," U.S. Scanner News, February 1995.3. Stephanie Mehta, "Prosecutors Charge Company for Spying on Pager Messages," The Wall Street Journal, August 28, 1997, p. A6.4. "Just How Secure Is Your Cellular Phone?" article in National Reconnaissance Organization newsletter,1997.5. "Running Cell-Phone Pirates Aground," Business Week, October 27, 1997, p. 8.6. Paul F. Barry & Charles L. Wilkinson (Trident Data Systems), "Invasion of Privacy and 90s Technologies," Security Awareness Bulletin, No. 2-96. Richmond, VA: Department of Defense Security Institute, August 1996.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cell Phones! All you need to know to monitor them.

Cell Phones! All you need to know to monitor them.
First off I would like to tell you that listening to any wireless phone conversation is now illegal. New laws were passes back in the 90's to keep manufactures from making and selling scanners capable of receiving the cellular band. I don't care what you have been told, it is illegal to listen to ANY phone call. It's quite legal to own a cell capable scanner which was made before the laws were passed but it's illegal to listen to cellular phone calls. Two totally different things. Its kind of like owning a legal gun, but it's illegal to kill someone just cause you want to.Ok, down to the good stuff! First off you need to know that analogue cell calls are in the 869.040 to 893.970 MHz range. This is the tower side of the conversation. The actual cell phones transmit in the 824.040 to 848.970 MHz range. There is a 45 MHz split in the phone and the tower. You can hear the tower side for about 5 square miles and the phone itself for only about a mile or two at best. Lets say you were using a frequency counter and someone walks by you talking on a cell phone. Your frequency counter would show something like 824.600 MHz. You can add 45 Mhz to this and listen to the tower side of the conversation which usually has both sides of the conversation at 869.600 MHz.Some scanners pick up cell phone conversation in other parts of the band. This is known as "imaging" and most dual conversion scanners will pick up images 21.7 Mhz above or below the actual frequencies. Lets say you have a cell blocked scanner but your picking up calls at 901.690 MHz. If you minus 21.7 MHz away you would get 879.990 MHz. This is where the real conversation is taking place. Triple conversion scanners have better front ends and eliminate most "imaging". There are some out there that do pick up images in the 1100 to 1200 MHz region like the PRO-2035.If a person is traveling down the road, the phone will switch from cell site to cell site as the signals weakens and they get closer to the next tower. You will have to stay close to them with a frequency counter to keep getting the frequency as the phone switches or you can get a Oki-900 cell phone and a CTEK cable and trunk track them. That's right, follow the calls instantly as they change from site to site. I would not suggest getting caught with one of these because its VERY illegal and it could end you up in prison with bend over Billy as a cell mate! You can also get a Optoelectronics Scout frequency counter and a AOR-8200 scanner (unblocked from Canada or Europe) to track cell calls. The Reaction tune cable lets the Scout lock onto any frequency and tune the scanner to that frequency instantly! The only difference with it from the Oki/CTEK combo is that the Scout/AOR will follow the actual cell phone side and you have to stay close to the phone so that the counter can monitor the RF signal. If you really want to follow the calls, go with the CTEK and Oki combo! Please do not email me asking about where and how to buy this stuff. If you follow the links and do some reading, you will figure it out. Building a CTEK cable is not for the week hearted! You MUST have excellent soldering skills. If you are not sure about building the CTEK cable then just go out and buy a older scanner that was made before the laws were passed and listen to them like most other people do. You can still get new unblocked scanners but you have to take a small risk. Most countries out of the USA sells unlocked scanners. Places like Javiation over in the UK. I have heard many, many good thing about this company and success stories of people ordering unblocked scanners and having no problems getting it. Lets face it folks, the government is more worried about terrorism right now than you listening in on a perverted cell phone conversation. If you purchase one, use your VISA or Master Card. If by chance Federal Customs caught the scanner, play dumb! Your credit card company will probably refund your purchase. I have never heard of anyone getting fined for importing one scanner. Now if you tried to buy 20 or 30 of them to resell and they caught it then you might face some men in black at your front door.Some of you are probably wondering about digital cell phones? I know of NO scanner as of now that will let you listen to them but here is a interesting article that looks promising! Trust me, there are a crap load of analogue cell phones out there (over 70 million). You will have more to listen to than you can handle. In most big cities, you can find many conversation at any hour of the day or night.The most important thing is this: If you DO decide to listen in on a phone call, keep your dang mouth shut about what you hear! Do not go around bragging about it and telling secrets you heard. Not all people appreciate the fact that you can listen in on calls! Shut up and enjoy.

Image scanner

Image scanner
In computing, a scanner is a device that optically scans images, printed text, handwriting, or an object, and converts it to a digital image. Common examples found in offices are variations of the desktop (or flatbed) scanner where the document is placed on a glass window for scanning. Hand-held scanners, where the device is moved by hand, have evolved from text scanning "wands" to 3D scanners used for industrial design, reverse engineering, test and measurement, orthotics, gaming and other applications. Mechanically driven scanners that move the document are typically used for large-format documents, where a flatbed design would be impractical.Modern scanners typically use a charge-coupled device (CCD) or a Contact Image Sensor (CIS) as the image sensor, whereas older drum scanners use a photomultiplier tube as the image sensor. A rotary scanner, used for high-speed document scanning, is another type of drum scanner, using a CCD array instead of a photomultiplier. Other types of scanners are planetary scanners, which take photographs of books and documents, and 3D scanners, for producing three-dimensional models of objects.Another category of scanner is digital camera scanners, which are based on the concept of reprographic cameras. Due to increasing resolution and new features such as anti-shake, digital cameras have become an attractive alternative to regular scanners. While still having disadvantages compared to traditional scanners (such as distortion, reflections, shadows, low contrast), digital cameras offer advantages such as speed, portability, gentle digitizing of thick documents without damaging the book spine. New scanning technologies are combining 3D scanners with digital cameras to create full-color, photo-realistic 3D models of objects.

Some Of What U Can Do Once U have BookSnap

Some Of What U Can Do Once U have BookSnap
Scanning stacks of books quickly.BookSnap digitizes books quickly and accurately using two overhead cameras, mounted either side of the v-shaped book cradle, potentially saving hours in book handling time.Make an eBook.BookSnap can output PDF files, a standard format widely supported across the globe, so you can enjoy your favorite books on any device installed with a PDF reader, such as a notebook, PDA, or eBook reader.Great for OCR.BookSnap generates sharp, flat-looking page images superior to the distorted (and sometimes unusable) curved page images generated by conventional scanners (flatbed and overhead types) and thus the efficiency or accuracy of OCR text conversion is greatly increased. See comparison of OCR accuracy using images from BookSnap vs. Flatbeds Create a digital library.BookSnap can be used by educational institutions, companies and individuals around the world to amass content for building digital libraries.

How the scanner builds the image

How the scanner builds the image

When scanners only scanned in black and white, the actual scanning process was fairly straightforward. The scanner motor would move one step, capture a single horizontal line of the image from the CCD array, save the results, and move on. When color scanners hit the market, there were several possible ways to scan in color, each one with different advantages and disadvantages.
The first color scanners used a black-and-white CCD array and featured three colored lamps--red, green and blue--or used a single white lamp and had three colored filters for the CCD. The traditional way to scan in color was to scan the entire document three times, one pass for each color, and then build up a composite image that was sent back to the computer. This method had some marked disadvantages. If the image moved even the slightest bit during the scanning process, the resulting misregistration of colors would make the scan useless. (It was also slow, since it required the scan to be done three times in a row.)
One-pass color scanning was eventually introduced, although there were several different ways to pull off the same trick, each again with its own benefits and drawbacks. The first method was to simply scan the whole document once in white light with a color-sensitive CCD array--which required a CCD array that may be much more expensive to produce than a single black-and-white CCD. Another method was a variant on the old three-pass system: at each step of the scan, the scanner turned on the red, green, and blue lamps in sequence and recorded the results from each, creating a composite image at each step. Many current LED-based scanners use this method, since LEDs can be switched on and off very quickly.
There are two basic methods for scanning an image at a resolution lower than the hardware resolution of the scanner. Method 1 simply involves taking the output from certain pixels in the CCD. For instance, if you scanned at 300 DPI on a 600 DPI CCD, the scanner would only sample the results from every other CCD pixel. Method 2 involves scanning at the full resolution of the CCD and then downsampling the results in the scanner's own memory. Most better scanners do this instead, since it yields far more accurate results.
When color scanners scan in grayscale, there are also a number of methods used. Scanners with multiple lamps (such as LED-based scanners) often scan in grayscale by switching on the green lamp and scanning that as black-and-white. This does not always yield the most accurate results with colored documents, but works fine for most black-and-white originals and it is slightly faster than taking a three-channel color image and removing the chrominance values from it (which is how some other scanners work).
As we will find, every single one of the elements in this setup is critical to a good scanner. Let's examine each one in turn, starting with the lamp.

Without a bright and consistent light source, no scanner can deliver good results. The vast majority of scanners these days use one of several basic types of lamp:
Cold-cathode fluorescent lamp. So named because they emit very little heat, which prevents image distortion and also prolongs the life of the lamp and other scanner elements.
Xenon-gas cold cathode lamp. Superior to fluorescent lamps, in that they come up to brightness faster and last longer, but they are also considerably more expensive. They also have the advantage of more closely resembling natural light.
LEDs. LEDs are now being used in many inexpensive scanners as light sources. For one, they use very little power, which makes it possible for a scanner to be powered by the USB or FireWire connection, and have a far greater lifespan than cold-cathode fluorescent light sources. LEDs are also much cheaper and more compact, making smaller, lighter scanners possible. The downside is that scanners that use LEDs don't quite provide the same level of richness of color or detail that non-LED scanners do.

Focus and lenses
There's also some variety in the type of lens in a scanner. Most cheaper scanners use a fixed-focus lens--the focus of the lens is set to what is just beyond the surface of the glass and nothing more than that. This is fine if you're putting a flat original on the bed, as is generally the case--although if you are scanning from a book where the spine does not lie completely flat, fixed-focus scanners will not be able to reliably reproduce what's near the spine as well as a scanner with focus control.
The more expensive and advanced scanners have focus control, where the focus of the lens is changed depending on the distance of the document from the glass and mirror. This not only helps you scan a three-dimensional object on the scanner but also provides better control over scans of slides or chromes in slide holders, since the slide holders places them slightly farther away from the lens than other objects. Also, cheaper scanners generally use plastic lenses; the more expensive and professional-quality scanners use genuine glass lenses.
Scanners typically use two kinds of sensor arrays. The CCD, or Charge Coupled Device, is the most common type of sensor, and is usually very precise and accurate. It's also a time-tested technology: CCDs are used in many applications, including video and digital still cameras.
Another variety of sensor is the CIS, or Contact Image Sensor. CIS arrays are much smaller and more compact than CCDs, since the signal-amplification circuitry is placed directly onto the sensor itself. CISs are cheaper, but they also yield less impressive and often noisier-looking results, and the scans from CIS-based scanners often need more tweaking to look good. Most people will want to opt for having a CCD rather than a CIS array in their scanner at this point.
Once the scanner has the data, the information needs to be transferred to the host PC. There are, as you might imagine, a variety of ways to accomplish this--some of them extremely archaic but still being used today.