Dave The Web Guy

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Picking An Online Expression Platform


If I were going to coach someone on which type of online expression platform to choose, I am not entirely sure how I would go about arranging the logic and subsequent conclusion.  I suppose it would look something like this:

Traditional Blog

You have dynamic ever-evolving content that is fortified by your own drive for new questions in need of new and different answers.   You're planning on leading a world conversation (not just participating in one) and are satisfied by constructing and presenting it without much count for attention, laud, or subsequent dopomine rushes.  Cuz', nobody gonna read that blog in 2023 like they might have in 2005.


You've no patience for writing and have the advantage of good verbal communication skills.   Maybe you're physcially attractive (read: "Cute girl does anything" to become lead YouTube voice in her subject -- though not to be sexist;  it's really a question of charisma).  You went to film or media school, or just dabbled your way to working with the tools well.  YouTube isn't typically considered a "circle of friends only" medium, so as with blogs there's a presumption of wanting to flaunt your specific perspective to a wide audience.

Social Media

The channels of social media require perhaps the least amount of investment or any type of ramp-up with respect to proficiency.  Social media tools are meant to be driven from mobile phones by people who will have little skill beyond something like texting or placing a Facetime call.  But this low barrier friction-free interface means that you'll be more able to "be yourself" and more importantly expose you to millions of people just being people who get a little janky too.  If you want to participate but don't want to stand out unless proven worthy by a viral act of one sort or another, keeping it to Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, or whatever the in thing is today, is probably the answer.  

Message Forums, Comments

Believe it or not, being an avid commentator has evolved (strictly in my opinion but I stand by its accuracy) into a type of expression platform albeit a very fragmented one.  You can gratify your need to publish and be known by being a consistent and thoughtful commentator on meaningful message boards, and possibly even rising to the level of a moderator, administrator, or the whole enchilada.   You can build a message forum online just as you might a regular website or a blog.  If what you say is rich and insightful, entertaining and thought-provoking, you'll gain respect as a great writer but also a potent authority.  And all on someone else's hosting dime.  Can you say reddit?


Most people don't realize that Wikipedia isn't just a major website for digging up shifty research facts, it's also a publishing framework that anyone can start on their own.  If you've got a niche hobby or perspective and don't care to pontificate more than you do to intellectually develop by allowing others to help fortify, starting up your own Wiki might be the thing to do. 

In all cases it is possible to monetize or seek patreon support of one sort or another to fund what you are doing or profit by what you are doing - if the latter is what you're in it for.  All platform modes have neat dashboards rife with charts and stats that give anything you're doing that "gambly/stockbroker/crypto-tracking" vibe so that you can watch an audience grow and figure out how to keep one happy and coming back.

And, keep in mind, if you're more interested in brand building than expressing, you're actually going to have to do all of these things (well, except maybe Wiki, though, I have seen that done).  Being a marketer or entrepreneur entails expression, true, but getting across a story or delivering yourself to the world for the sole sake of doing som is different. 

You pick one platform and you make it yours to master.

  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Rumors of Looting Might Not Be Exaggerated


Rumors are circulating that businesses (and in particular the Aaron's Rental on Grant Street, a few blocks up) in my neighborhood are being looted.  If so, that might be one explanation for things like this my Arlo camera caught this afternoon. 

I'm being wary though - I also suspect these folks and the stream of folks that came before and after them with goods, are just helping friends move.  I mean, it is Christmas after all.  These could just be gifts.

I conclude and therefore I judge nothing.

  By Dave for for BuffScan.

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The Night Chicago Encrypted


ABC 7 Chicago Video Embed

The profit press is catching up to arguments against public safety radio encryption that I carried on about in the 90s.  I find that great, though, a bit late on their part. 

Maybe paying attention "way back when" to this idiot blabbering online about being unable to listen in on police calls would have lent to a more cohesive response before firm anti-open-broadcasting policies had time to cement.

But anyway. 

I am still not entirely impressed.  I can't lie of course, there is some feeling of "validation of the cause" whenever, these days, I encounter polished mayonnaise news coverage about one or another agency going encrypted, and woah, what a real bad thing that is for our would-be "free" society.   

But there is a big problem with most of this coverage.  It's not honest, and if the outcome were as I imagine, it could actually be worse.

Take Chicago press's reaction to the Chicago police department's recent flipping the encrypt key.  They aren't actually arguing that society at large should be able to continue monitoring open police radio traffic.  They're arguing that they the accredited media, should.  Them - not you.

The point they make, of course, is that they are somehow more responsible than regular people when it comes to handling the information that a standard dump of radio scanner traffic affords.

Never mind that most of media is profit-driven. That, as a monied industry, it is prone to control information, manipulation, and to sensationalize what information it gleans.

I suspect that what "media coallations against police encryption" really want is the control and exclusivity of information access that, if they achieved that in the grand opportunity of becoming the exception to being tuned out, would combat the erosive effects that the internet, the world wide web, and social media, have all had on the relevance of their industry.

The CNNs of the world love the prospect of encryption, by effect.

It is tempting to enjoy the "media military armanent" working against the tide of police encryption, but it can be a perversed damnation of the open broadcasting principles if all that's really being talked about is a refshuffling of the stacked deck against regular people.


  By Dave for for BuffScan.

buffscan openpscomms

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What this Thing Would Look Like


In noodling what a group of people roaming the city in search of public safety activity, it is true that I dread getting off my own duff to actually demonstrate it.

But consider that there are countless examples of energized populations that do very similar things -- albeit not for police scanning.

These groups would have some of the qualities, re-formulated a little, of all these:

  • Volunteer firefighting groups
  • REACT teams (of the day, but I believe they are still active - or not)
  • Independent content creators - as individuals (cobbled together they might be the basis for a loose federation, but they tend to be "independent" in their nature and identify more as freelance journalists)
  • Shomrim groups

What I would hope is that the love for a structured communication order and radios, cheap ones, would draw those personalities to begin thinking about forming such groups.

The re-formulation would result in such an operating group looking like a "club", perhaps with a rented headquarter office, meeting place, that is not only a place to administratively maintain the group, but a physical place for members to socialize, organize and host charity events, and so on, and so on. They would be radio-centric ala REACT and GMRS radio groups, be driven to find and report on public safety activity -- safely -- and have the blessing of local public safety who if not outright embracing them, would at least tolerate them (ala Shomrim), understanding the important social work that they accomplish. There would probably always be some degree of chaotic tension but ultimately I feel these groups are a thing I think they would cope along with just fine in the end.

In an enriched area with a strong group like this, the passive consumers who would prefer to just listen to police scanners as they always have, would use police scanners to listen in on the teeming activity of the active ones.

Regurgitation of my post in a Radio Reference thread.  Please review my regurgitation policy.

  By Dave for for BuffScan.

buffscan openpublicsafety

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Great Balls Of Non-Encrypted Fire


Encryption if it is an available technology is tough to de-justify. The best justification for not encrypting in American law enforcement is that open broadcasting was part of the original fabric of police radio communication technology.

Early AM radios were capable, indeed marked with tuning guides, to specifically tune into city wide police broadcasts.

You bought a floor radio and it was expected that you would be able to listen in to police calls as easily and directly as you would to Amos N' Andy.

However unintentionally and however wrought by lack of technical sophistication this was possible, it's because of this that open public safety broadcasting has been a fundamental component of policing, reflective of our culture's commitment to individual liberty and our angst against the potential for government tyranny and totalitarianism, for most of time.

There are excellent reasons to not encrypt if you first accept American exceptionalism as a real thing in terms of freedom and liberty.

Any other nation on earth with the technology to encrypt its public safety communication would logically and immediately seek to do so -- assuming affordable. The same cultural consideration we have in the USA simply doesn't exist to such level elsewhere. Even early UK radios probably had the ability to listen in to police calls, but they never had the American spirit that led to us splitting up from them in the first place.

Open public safety communication is one of America's unappreciated birthmarks. It makes little sense to foreign countries who balk at our liberties and independence. I would expect encryption to swell within all other nations, but I would expect the fight to NOT encrypt to roar in the United States.

Like anyone reading this, I am not optimistic. What I have concluded and what I am now promoting is a flat-out balls-to-the-walls replacement for police scanning, which would involve the evolution of a parallel human network of enthusiasts, working journalists, activists, and good people roaming or spotting in their cities and regions, and reporting on public safety drama in a very concentrated and channeled way. These spotters would have their own openly broadcast radio network that would be scannable by regular people everywhere and anywhere.

Regurgitation of my post in a Radio Reference thread.  Please review my regurgitation policy.

  By Dave for for BuffScan.

buffscan deauthorizethemedia openpublicsafety

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New Online Police Scanner for Buffalo


For as long as YouTube allows this, this thing is up.

I recently acquired the SDS 200 with one of several goals in mind to provide some degree of online broadcasting of the Buffalo City area police scanning activity (understanding of course that there has always been the Broadcastify option -- but I mean in a full GUI context).

That system is now online for your subscribing pleasure.

While I believe "police scanning" needs to be replaced by a human network of radio and digitally connected participants for reasons I'll be covering at the BuffScan blog over time, I believe that the movement will be sourced from those that enjoy police scanning and who understand the importance of its role in keeping our society free and open.

It is important to understand that I operate the online scanner as a direct reflection of personal preference, and (for now), on a shared server with all of my other digital expression projects.

First, this means that those things I find interesting beyond the usual public safety channels are included in the feed. These personal preferences may not jive with everyone's idea of "scanning fun".

For example, my feed might on occasion include things like the airport bus shuttles or random businesses that I'm curious about.

It's important to know why this matters. While I do operate it as a service, it is also in the context that "you're scanning along with David" rather than "you're scanning efficiently".

I like to think that I am efficient of course but may fray at the edges when compared to your specific tastes.

Second, the entire system operates on my personal web server which hosts the gambit of my original online digital expressions. So, in those times that I am maintaining the server or tweaking things (including the radio programming), you'll likely see all of that if you're watching long and consistently enough.

There will be other times where because of this I will need to temporarily stop the YT feed to work on things that might be considered private or related to security.

With those caveats in mind, without going into the boring details of my home infrastructure, I will tell you that the system is resilient. For as long as YouTube allows continuous livestreaming without restriction (which may not be forever), and my heart is beating, this feed is up. You can subscribe and count on it.

Enjoy! And begin thinking how we are going to replace police scanning with a human network.

  By Dave for for BuffScan.

buffscan openpublicsafety

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