Tuesday, April 15, 2014

FIVE now supports around 70% of proprietary formats on the market

Yesterday, Amped Software announced a significant update to FIVE. Here's what's new and improved:

  • Video Loader: if format is not properly decoded, tries to apply the DVR conversion
  • Video Loader: added buttons to panel for DVR conversion
  • Video Writer: fixed rounding error which was not always setting the precise output frame rate
  • Component Separation: additional parameter to extract a specific channel without the need of an additional filter
  • Software protection: corrected bug on systems with multiple Amped dongles (only the first was recognized) [I noticed this when leaving dongles in for FIVE and Authenticate]
  • Filter Settings: on/off button icon changes when toggled
  • DVR Change Container To AVI: improved support for proprietary DVR formats conversion (now supports around 70% of formats on the market)
  • DVR Change Container To AVI: if the input file path is not writable (e.g. DVD) it saves the converted file on the Desktop
  • User Interface: improved Filters panel mouse over behavior to avoid inadvertently change filter group
  • Video decoding: avoid crash for videos that have a frame rate of zero (variable frame rate), setting it to 1 as default.
With the conversion of format being the bulk of my current work, this is huge news. FIVE is a great time saving tool given that you have the proprietary file preserved - and most times the investigator just needs a quick look to see if the video is relevant.

UFED Phone Detective for your Android Phone

This just in from the folks at Cellebrite: "The UFED Phone Detective mobile app is a fast, easy way to view forensic extraction and decoding capabilities, as well as connectivity methods, for any mobile device profile supported by UFED 4PC/Touch/Classic.

Use the UFED Phone Detective mobile app to search vendors and mobile device names. If needed, easily drill down to specific support information, including whether the extraction can bypass the device's lock."

Pretty cool idea. Now you can ditch that crazy spreadsheet.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Senate Commerce Committee Approves Bill Ensuring Forensics Practices are Based on Best Science

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation approved the Forensic Science and Standards Act of 2014, establishing scientific review and standards for forensic sciences, Wednesday. The bill, which was introduced by Committee Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, was unanimously voted out of committee by a bipartisan voice vote and clears the way for the bill to be considered by the full Senate.

Unvalidated and improper forensic science is one of the greatest contributors to wrongful convictions, playing a role in nearly half of the 316 cases later overturned by DNA evidence. The landmark 2009 National Academy of Sciences’ report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, found that there is a desperate need to improve the validity and scientific quality of forensic evidence.

The Forensic Science and Standards Act would employ existing scientific agencies to develop and direct forensic research and set and implement standards for the forensic disciplines, helping to ensure that these disciplines are based on solid, reliable research.

Here's some interesting quotes from the text of the bill:

"The term forensic science means the basic and applied scientific research applicable to the collection, evaluation, and analysis of physical evidence, including digital evidence, for use in investigations and legal proceedings, including all tests, methods, measurements, and procedures."

"… the term applied scientific research means a systematic study to gain knowledge or understanding necessary to determine the means by which a recognized and specific need may be met."

"Forensic science standards
(a) Establishment
(1) In general
The National Institute of Standards and Technology shall—
(A) identify or coordinate the development of forensic science standards to enhance the validity and reliability of forensic science activities, including—
(i) authoritative methods, standards, and technical guidance, including protocols and best practices, for forensic measurements, analysis, and interpretation;
(ii) technical standards for products and services used by forensic science practitioners;
(iii) standard content, terminology, and parameters to be used in reporting and testifying on the results and interpretation of forensic science measurements, tests, and procedures; and
(iv) standards to provide for the interoperability of forensic science-related technology and databases;
(B) test and validate existing forensics standards, as appropriate; and
(C) provide independent validation of forensic science measurements and methods."

Three cheers for the Senate Commerce Committee.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Photoshop works great for creating composite images

As an artistic tool, Photoshop is awesome for creating composites. But, if you want to know why the courts are increasingly concerned with the use of artistic tools, watch this video. Photoshop Principal Product Manager Bryan O'Neil Hughes explains how to add people to images in this helpful episode of Photoshop Playbook.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Avid news

Good news. I had a brief e-mail exchange with the folks at Ocean Systems. They assure me that the dTective tools will work in the new version of Media Composer that will soon be released.

A lot of folks out there rely upon their Media Composer on a daily basis. For me, Media Composer is more of a trial support specialty tool. There are some things that it does quite well and it's been a life saver on several occasions. And, I know it can be an expensive solution, but it's better to have it and not need it that need it and not have it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

RIP LAPD Motor Officer Christopher Cortijo

Los Angeles, April 9, 2014 - On behalf of all members of the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL), President Tyler Izen responded to the tragic news that the Los Angeles police motorcycle officer who was struck by a DUI driver in Sun Valley on Saturday has passed away. The accident occurred at the intersection of Saticoy Street and Lankershim Boulevard around 5:34 p.m. Motor Officer Christopher Cortijo was stopped a traffic light when he was struck from behind by a red Chevrolet Blazer traveling at a high rate of speed. The officer ended up pinned between two vehicles.

“Our hearts are broken,” Izen said. “The LAPPL is saddened to learn of the tragic death of Officer Christopher Cortijo who was killed upholding the oath he swore: To protect his community. We extend our deepest condolences to the Cortijo family, friends and coworkers. Officer Cortijo paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to his community. We ask that the community please keep Officer Cortijo and his family in their prayers, and remember the sacrifices paid by law enforcement officers to keep our communities safe.