New VA Moped and Motorcycle Laws

June 28, 2013 – 12:43 pm



Beginning July 1, 2013, Virginia law requires every moped driver to carry a government-issued photo ID (does not have to be a driver’s license but ideally will show name, address and date of birth) and every driver and passenger must wear a helmet while riding a moped. Drivers must also wear a face shield, safety glasses or goggles unless the moped has a windshield.

Virginia law also requires mopeds operated on Virginia roadways to be titled and registered by July 1, 2014, but moped owners can jump start the process this summer. DMV will begin titling and registering mopeds on July 1, 2013. A moped title is $10. The annual registration fee is $20.25. DMV will issue one license plate to be displayed on the rear of the moped.

These requirements address the law enforcement community’s concerns that under current law, the lack of any identifying information on a moped makes them nearly impossible to recover after theft and complicates identification of the vehicle and operator in the event of a crash. While studying this issue, one of your fellow officers recounted a situation where it took a few days to identify a victim who had died in a moped crash because there was no identifying information on the victim or moped.

Requiring titling and registration of mopeds will allow you to better track mopeds that are stolen and/or used in the commission of crimes and allow you to more effectively deal with moped crashes.


The Virginia General Assembly approved a measure that changes motorcycle classifications on new applicants’ driver’s licenses. The new motorcycle classifications will specify if new riders can operate two-wheeled or three-wheeled motorcycles.

With the popularity of three-wheeled motorcycles on the rise, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is changing how motorcycle road skills tests are administered for two-wheeled and three-wheeled motorcycles, emphasizing the skills and maneuvers necessary to operate each type.

Starting July 1, 2013, riders applying for a motorcycle classification on a driver’s license will be required to certify the type of motorcycles they operate. The appropriate classification will be marked on the driver’s license. Riders who successfully complete the road skills test for two-wheeled motorcycles will receive an M2 classification. Riders who successfully complete the road skills test for three-wheeled motorcycles will receive an M3 classification. Riders who successfully complete the road skills tests for both two-wheeled and three-wheeled motorcycles will receive an M classification.

Experienced riders that received a motorcycle classification prior to July 1, 2013 will not be required to make any changes.

Miranda: The Definition of Irony

June 8, 2013 – 19:57 pm

Ernesto MirandaAfter several decades, Ernesto Miranda, the namesake of the “Miranda Warnings”, is still probably one of the better known modern criminals. His case, which was combined with several other similar cases being brought before the U.S. Supreme Court, resulted in the necessity to inform suspects that they have a right to remain silent, have an attorney present during questioning, etc.

Ironically, Miranda was murdered upon his release from prison and the suspect that the police apprehended invoked his “Miranda Rights.”  Since there was no confession, the prosecutor elected not to file charges.  As a result, no one has ever been prosecuted for the death of Mr. Miranda. Karma wins again.

Autodialing Extension Numbers With iPhone

March 25, 2013 – 10:36 am

Dialing Contact ExtensionsSome of the numbers that you have listed under your contacts may require the use of extension numbers to reach the contact. Fear not, iOS can automatically dial those extension numbers for you if you know how to set up your contact.

All you have to do is launch your Contacts application and select a person who requires an extension number. Tap the Edit button, then tap the contact’s number to bring up the keypad.

In the lower left corner of the keypad is the symbols key. Tap the key to reveal the pound and star characters you need to dial typical extensions. In addition, remember the + key is used in front of international numbers.

If the system you are dialing requires you to wait a few seconds before you dial the extension number, you can use the pause or wait command to help you customize the setup for different kinds of automated answering systems.

The Pause command is a comma (,) which causes a two seconds before continuing to dial. You can enter more than one pause if you need to. The Wait is a semicolon (;) which halts dialing until the Dial button is tapped again.

Now, let’s see how you would use this technique. First, add an extension number by inserting a the pound symbol before the extension number #200. If a simple pause will work, enter ,#200 after the main number ((540) 731-5501,#200). This will cause a 2 second pause before dialing the extension number after the telephone number is dialed.

If you find that a pause is not sufficient, the wait option may be the way to go. Just enter ;#200. This will cause a Dial button will appear on your screen with the extension number stored in it (200 in our example). You can manually send the extension when it’s appropriate, but you don’t have to remember the number.

Just give both methods a try to see which one works best for your situations.

Safely Click On Shortened Links

March 25, 2013 – 9:50 am

decryptlinks.comMicro-blogging sites like Twitter limit the length of messages so it is a common practice to shorten web links using services like TinyURL. However, hackers can also hide malicious websites or programs behind these generic links. Unfortunately you won’t know until you click. Before you click on a shortened link, run it through DecryptLinks first. Just copy and paste the tiny address into the Decrypt field.

The site will reveal the long version of that address so you know if the location is legitimate before you click. It is a free service so check it out.

Time To Update Adobe Acrobat and Reader

February 22, 2013 – 20:14 pm

AdobeBoth Adobe Acrobat and Reader are vulnerable exploits right now that allow hackers to load viruses onto your computer.

The virus can communicate with a remote computer that will cause your computer to start sending spam, commit fraud etc.

Use the links at the below to patch the security holes. Scroll down to Version 11.0.02 and click the link to download.

In order to download and use them, you must have a version of the program already installed. Be careful during the install because Adobe might also try to install Google Chrome and an Adobe toolbar during the update process.

Another way to avoid this problem is to just dump the Adobe Reader and go with Sumatra, Nitro PDF or Foxit Reader. They are all free so just Google them.

Update Links:

Adobe Reader for Windows

Adobe Reader for Mac

Acrobat for Windows

Acrobat for Mac

ESA-VA Scholarship Opportunity

January 22, 2013 – 11:48 am

ESAThe Virginia Chapter of the Electronic Security Association is inviting high school seniors that intend to enter college next fall to submit an application for the ESA-VA’s 2013 Youth Scholarship Program. Since 1996, the have participated in this national program, and in that time, they have provided many bright and high-achieving young adults with financial support to help offset the rising costs of higher education.

ESA-VA serves the electronic security systems industry throughout the Commonwealth and has five distinct regions. Each of those regions will select one winner and award him or her a $500 Scholarship. The applications of each regional recipient will then be judged to determine one statewide winner who will receive an additional $1,000 Scholarship. Statewide winners are then automatically considered for the national scholarship which now awards four scholarship prizes: first place – $10,000, second place – $5,000, third place – $3,500 and fourth place – $1,500.

Awards are based on a combination of academic achievement, national test scores, extracurricular participation and an essay. Students are awarded up to 25 points for GPA, 30 points for ACT/SAT scores, 25 points for an essay and 20 points for extracurricular activities. Points are awarded through a combination of earned academic points and judging by committee members.

To be eligible to apply for the scholarship, students must be between 15 and 20 years old, a graduating high school senior, and have been accepted for admission to an accredited college or university. For the third consecutive year, home schooled students will be eligible to compete. All applicants must provide a transcript with a calculated cumulative GPA through 11th grade to be eligible.

Each eligible student must have a father, mother or natural guardian who is an active duty, full-time police officer, fire fighter or volunteer fire fighter. Students will be required to write an essay titled, “What it means to me to have my parent or guardian involved in securing our community.”

Click on the link below to download an application. The deadline for submission is March 29, 2013.


Revolutionary Security With Master dialSpeed Lock

December 16, 2012 – 9:36 am

dialSpeedOver the years, I have bought, examined and evaluated a wide variety of tech gadgets. It is becoming increasingly more difficult for a new gadget to make me think, “This thing is Kool!” But the new Master lock dialSpeed electronic combination lock is definitely “Kool”. I use a MacBook for both my work and home computing needs because I like the intuitive design of Apple products. In fact, I am so spoiled that when I try a new product, I prefer to just pick it up and start using it. I am willing to read a short Quick Start page of instructions but if I have to read a manual to get started, it is dead in the water as far as I am concerned. Although, the dialSpeed is more of a revolutionary than evolutionary product, getting started was a breeze.

These days we have so many numbers and passwords to remember, it is wonderful to eliminate the need to memorize the number combination of a traditional combination padlock. The dialSpeed lock uses a combination of just four “characters” – up, down, left and right arrows. These arrows are displayed on the backlit keypad, and are each matched up with a group of letters and numbers. This arrangement makes it easy to set up codes that correspond to words or acronyms. I think for most folks this will be the way to go. However, I prefer to use a touch pattern system like “up/up/down/down/right/left.” I have used keyboard patterns to remember telephone numbers for years.

Programming the lock is a breeze. It comes with its own factory-set code but the user can reset it and program in up to three “guest codes” to allow different people use the same lock. I have several old combination locks laying around because I can’t remember the combinations. If you forget the code on the dialSpeed you can recall the original factory code from the Master lock website. That is a good thing because using bolt cutters on the dialSpeed’s shackle would be tough since it is made from cut-resistant hardened boron carbide.

There are a couple of issues that that need to be pointed out. First, the dialSpeed can only be used for dry indoor purposes. In addition, it is powered by a (CR2032) watch battery that needs to be replaced after about five years. On the upside it does have a low battery indicator so you will have a warning before the lock dies.

In the final analysis, I give the dialSpeed a big thumbs up. Check it out on the Master Lock website where it sells for $24.99.

Coupon Codes Make Holiday Shopping Merrier

November 26, 2012 – 6:04 am

Cyber Monday
If you are going to do your shopping online this year, online codes can help you maximize your holiday purchases. Check out KeyCode and CurrentCodes. Both have simple layouts that will take you right to codes for your favorite online stores. You can shop by a specific store, shopping category or even alphabetically to find amazing deals.

If you want more than just codes, check out CouponCabin and RetailMeNot. Not only do these sites have thousands of codes, but a network of users and bloggers that will help you save in additional ways. Both sites also have mobile apps for your smartphone.

Text From Your Computer Or Tablet

November 10, 2012 – 7:22 am

ZipwhipI love my iPhone and I have friends who swear by their Android phones. But, it is funny how we covet the features one phone has but the other may not. I must admit that I recently discovered an Android service of which I am jealous – Zipwhip.

Zipwhip enables you to send and receive SMS and MMS messages on your desktop or laptop. It uses cloud texting to share messages with your own phone number on multiple devices. You can also receive photo and video texts, and get alerts when you have a new message.

Unfortunately for us iPhone users, you must have an Android-based phone in order to use the program because it syncs with your text messaging service. Your regular texting rates will apply.

Once you install it on your computer or tablet you can send and receive text messages using a real keyboard. How great is that? It works on computers and tablets using every version of Windows from XP to 8, Mac OSX, and Android. Best of all the service is free as in beer. Check it out.

Click Here To Download Zipwhip

Fix Your Shaky Crime Scene Videos

October 30, 2012 – 7:41 am

vRevealWhether you are processing a crime scene or trying to capture your kid’s birthday, it is very difficult to capture smooth handheld videos without using an expensive tripod.

We have come a long way since I bought my first camcorder that rivaled a television camera in size and weight. Our modern cameras and smartphones are convenient and they produce high quality video but the videos can be ruined by an unsteady hand.

That’s where vReveal comes in. This free software can fix your shaky videos with one click. It also corrects camera noise, color and contrast, and fix white balance. You can also turn your video into panoramas instantly.

vReveal works with Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 so check it out.

Cick here to download vReveal

Critical Upgrade For Flash Player

October 15, 2012 – 6:38 am

Flash PlayerFlash is required for much of your Web surfing, including online training. Adobe has patched some serious software flaws in Flash that could let hackers take over your computer. It is very important to download and install this critical upgrade.

Download the Flash Player

The Best Youtube Channel In History

October 14, 2012 – 10:28 am

History Crash CourseFace it, normally is a time sink where you go to watch silly jackass outtakes and cute kitty videos. However, I finally found a channel on YouTube that may just give it some socially redeeming value. It’s a regularly updated, fast paced series of history lessons taught by author John Green. Remember those boring history classes when you memorized a bunch of useless facts? Yeah, well this isn’t like that.

You’ll find a series of funny, yet informative videos teaching history from around the world starting at the Agricultural Revolution. Hey, if you are gonna waste time, you might as well learn something while being entertained. Remember the old adage, “Those who don’t learn from history are destined to repeat it.” Check it out.

Visit World History by Crash Course

Is Your iPhone Watching You?

October 12, 2012 – 11:16 am

iPhoneApple’s iOS 6 on the iPhone has given advertisers a new way to track your Web surfing via an Identifiers for Advertisers, or IFA. When you upgrade your iPhone – or buy a new iPhone 5 – your phone will be assigned a random IFA number. When you visit a Web page or an app, an advertiser can see your number and the site you were browsing. This allows them to target ads to based on your interests. Its also kinda creepy.

Figuring out how to turn it off is difficult also. To turn it off go to Settings>>General>>About>>Advertising. Look for the section labeled “Limit Ad Tracking” and slide it to “On.”

Zotero Research Paper Help

August 21, 2012 – 9:25 am

ZoteroThe summer of fun is over for students and it is back to the grindstone. That means research and writing papers will be filling the evenings for both students and parents. Of course, citing sources is a necessary evil for any research paper.

Fortunately, today’s budding scholars have Zotero to help them collect and organize all their sources.

It can grab the proper documentation from most websites and research databases. Not only can you use search and save online sources from the control center, you can customize your citations and bibliographies for use in your paper.

Zotero works with both Windows and Mac computers and it can be synced across machines for access from multiple computers, which makes taking notes and collaborate a breeze. Zotero is available as a Firefox add-on or a standalone program so check out the filenames on the Downloads page to find the right one for your computer.

Best of all – it is FREE (as in beer). Check it out at