Monday, February 23, 2015

Convergence: The Inevitability Factor

<<---------- Scroll down for news. ---------->>

One of my favorite things to do for fun as well as work is watch TED Talks. Although I am a YouTube junkie, I have to say that TED has had some of the most stimulating, enjoyable "talks" on a variety of extremely interesting topics that I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

This morning, about 3 a.m., I couldn't sleep as the cold and sore throat my wife had has finally made its way to my side of the bed. So I got up for a drink of water and a few minutes of computer time, which will end up to be hours as I'm working on a writing project for a well known national security company.

While in my office, I pulled up TED and watched an extremely interesting video presentation by Pranav Mistry (India) called The thrilling potential of SixthSense technology. I have not figured out how to stream video from TED, as I commonly do in conjunction with other video platforms, so you'll have to go to the TED website to watch it, but please allow me to have a few minutes of your time in which to share with you a little bit about this video, the man behind it, and his invention.

Pranav Mistry is an inventor, but even more, he's a visionary in every sense of the word. I would put him in the category of the late Steve Jobs who founded and propelled Apple into stardom. He was 28 at the time of his TED Talk, which was in 2009.

Mistry, who was practicing his wizardry at MIT at the time he made this video, invented a computer-based system that is mobile, will interact with the gestures and objects in the environment, as well as project and connect intent between digital and the real world. Mistry calls his invention SixthSense, "a wearable gestural interface."

According to Mistry, his intent was to bring the physical and digital worlds together in as intimate a manner as possible. Because people wear his invention, they can take it with them anywhere they want. I'd call this mobile computing at its best. But even more so, his invention solves several problems at the same time, which seems both efficient and sensible on its face.

First, it allows us to combine our laptop, camera, modem, cell phone, and any number of other items into a single, cohesive system. In a word, it lightens our load which can be extremely helpful to some. Secondly, it keeps us in contact with our email, cell phone, text messages, as well as our computer files and all the functionality inherent in a PC.

The Inevitability Factor
As a futurist myself, I see patterns in society and our technologies. Not only do I see patterns, but I see trends and I see something I like to call inevitability. Here's the inevitability where it relates to human-kind and our digital infatuation with technology:

One day in the future human kind has a rendezvous with these technologies as the various computerized gadgets we now commonly use migrate into the human body.

Where some might call this a marriage in heaven, others would call this convergence the work of the devil. I'm certain the truth lies somewhere between the two extremes. But for just a moment, let's project outward--let's use our ability to visualize a world where our cell phone, lap top, and a million and one other things have converged with human-kind. Are there patterns, trends, and an inevitability factor beyond this point?

To me, the answer to this question is a resounding yes.

For this moment, please take the time to watch Mistry's work via TED. Think about a world where convergence finally takes place and the inevitability of that marriage and what the implication on society might be.

Weigh everything you know about human-kind, about politicians, about rich men of great power, and think about the governments they pay big bucks to control... and we'll revisit this subject on my next weblog posting. I'll give you my thoughts on the matter, but in the mean time, please give me yours.

Al Colombo


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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Showing Our Age

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Whether I admit my age here or anywhere, I can assure you it won't matter when looking for employment. Recruiters and employers seem to just know your age range and so often, whether we want to believe it or not, their decision to promote or hire is often determined by age. Yes, I know it's illegal to discriminate on the basis of age, and that's a great law to have on the books. However, whether we want to accept this or not, I can assure you that age discrimination is alive and well in the United States.

For more than 45 years, I've been gainfully employed by a good number of employers in a good number of capacities. For more than 45 years I've never had a problem moving from one job opportunity to another--until I was 62. In February of 2012, I married a woman who lived 3 to 4 hours south of me. I ended up resigning from a great job, one that I would still be doing if it had not been for my marriage. I moved south to live with my new wife and together we bought a house in the Columbus, Ohio area.

Since my resignation from my operations management job, I've had nothing but trouble finding gainful employment. How do I know it is my age, you ask? Because early on someone from a business where I applied for a job called me, made me promise not to repeat what I'm about to tell you, and then he told me that I did not lose the job opportunity because of my skills or credentials, but rather because of my age. No, I won't reveal who this employer is because I won't jeopardize this man's job.

This morning, while watching Giraldo Rivera on Huffpost Live, I decided to talk about the age factor in relation to employment. My goal here is to help the younger generation understand that the generation gap, which didn't start any day recently, is not what it appears. Rivera spoke of the young millennials who disregard, even disrespect the older generation and I was inspired by what he had to say because he was subjected to this type of stereotyping while on Donald Trump's show. It felt good to know that I'm certainly not alone.

I remember with utter clarity the day one of my young daughters, during the apex of my life (30's), informed me that I wouldn't understand what is happening today, that "things are different then when you were my age," she said. This was in reference to an evening when they slept out in the camper and I caught two boys in there with them. My reply was simply this, "My generation invented promiscuity, free love, and all the rest of what you see today! Do you think I've had my head in the sand ever since I was your age?"

I'm not sure that they truly understood, but I know it had to help them appreciate the fact that older people ARE aware, ARE capable, ARE in the know. When I saw this video, I knew I had to share it. It's in another language, but the meaning of the words are provided in closed captions at the bottom. Please watch it, and if you are a millennial--truly meaning you are young and inexperienced (certainly not as experienced as YOU might think), you especially need to view it:

What is it I hope to gain by sharing all of this with you? If you're young and in control of a business, I hope you stop and think about how you got where you are today, how others older than you probably provided you with the opportunity you now have. It was not their intent that you forget your roots, forgetting who taught you, nurtured you, mentored you, and helped you gain your position.

In a word, don't forget those who gave all this opportunity to you. Provide them with a chance to earn a living, too. Give it forward because we gave it all to you.


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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Shifting full-time work onto temps, free-lancers, and contract workers

<<-- Are we heading back to the 19th century? -->>

As I began writing this blog entry at 5:00 p.m. ET on my personal weblog, I thought back to all the years I've personally been in the workforce here in the United States. I began my work at the age of 12 in a greenhouse when I was in 7th grade. I believe it was 1962. My wages began at $0.50USD per hour and my hours were after school and on Saturdays. Tim M, a neighbor boy, made $0.75USD doing the same job, but I was okay with that.

Before I took that job, I actually began my own business in 1958 at the age of 8 years old. I had my dad make me a shoe box and we filled it with the general shoe polishes of the day, brushes, etc., and I set up shop at a local outdoor ice cream shop where I shined shoes for a "Dime a shine!" Polish was 30 cents in those days, so after three shines, the rest was shear profit.

I began playing music professionally in bars and clubs at the age of 18. My main instruments were trumpet, 6-string guitar, and bass guitar. I also sang vocal back-ups. I played on and off for nearly 25 years often playing three or four nights a week, minimum two. This was in addition to a full-time job, I might add.

Unions were big at the time and I have belonged to a number of them. In my full-time factory work, which I began in 1969, I belonged to the AFL/CIO. As a musician, I was a member of the Canton Federation of Musicians, Local 111, which is part of the American Federation of Musicians based out of NY. And, many years later, as an operations manager in the security and life safety markets, I belonged to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 540 in Canton, Ohio.

The Adverse Effects of Obamacare

Until recently, full-time employment was a given as every legitimate business needs full-time workers. But since the advent of Obamacare, this need has waned as more and more employers are moving toward part-time, contract workers. Why? Because of a portion of the Obamacare law that exempts these employers from buying health care coverage for those employees who work 29 hours or less.

The blog post from the World Economic Forum cited below is headed in the right direction in their assessment of the current employment trend. I'm not so sure, however, that the author has taken account of the Obamacare law and its affect on full-time employment.

By the 1950s, when 35 percent of private-sector workers belonged to a labor union, they were able to negotiate higher wages and better working conditions than employers would otherwise have been “happy” to provide.

But now we seem to be heading back to nineteenth century.

Corporations are shifting full-time work onto temps, free-lancers, and contract workers who fall outside the labor protections established decades ago.

The nation’s biggest corporations and Wall Street banks are larger and more potent than 2ever. (read it!)

There is plenty of evidence that supports reports from the field that the Affordable Care Act has actually adversely effected full-time employment. Of course, the Obama administration and everyone who works for them continues to maintain that the AFA will actually stimulate jobs, but the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says otherwise.

Of course, to be fair, there's a video in this NBC report that allows Obama's spokesman to give his take of the CBO report. But be sure to read the NBC report. If you cannot see this page below, you can view it by clicking here.


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Monday, February 9, 2015

Smart TV or Spy TV (Dumb TV)

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If George Orwell hadn't died in 1950, he'd be pretty proud of television manufacturers for inventing sets that contain cameras, speakers, and now, speech recognition with the capability of converting audio speech into digital data. I'm speaking of Samsung's smart TV that has the ability to listen in and send everything you say down the wire to others via the Internet.

As far fetched as it may sound, this is only be beginning. Read it for yourself!

The potential privacy intrusion of voice-activated services is massive. Samsung, which makes a series of Internet connected TVs, has a supplementary privacy policy covering its Smart TVs which includes the following section on voice recognition (emphasis mine):

You can control your SmartTV, and use many of its features, with voice commands. If you enable Voice Recognition, you can interact with your Smart TV using your voice. To provide you the Voice Recognition feature, some voice commands may be transmitted (along with information about your device, including device identifiers) to a third-party service that converts speech to text or to the extent necessary to provide the Voice Recognition features to you. In addition, Samsung may collect and your device may capture voice commands and associated texts so that we can provide you with Voice Recognition features and evaluate and improve the features. Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition. (read it!)

Here's another headline, oddly enough from CNN: The camera in your TV is watching you.

I first became aware of this issue when reading a news item some years ago that told of China holding some kind of hack class among young teenagers where they were given an education on hacking. One of the projects was to hack the camera in an Internet-connected television.

Today's high-end televisions are almost all equipped with "smart" PC-like features, including Internet connectivity, apps, microphones and cameras. But a recently discovered security hole in some Samsung Smart TVs shows that many of those bells and whistles aren't ready for prime time.

The flaws in Samsung Smart TVs, which have now been patched, enabled hackers to remotely turn on the TVs' built-in cameras without leaving any trace of it on the screen. While you're watching TV, a hacker anywhere around the world could have been watching you. Hackers also could have easily rerouted an unsuspecting user to a malicious website to steal bank account information. (read it!)

Another story, published as far back as December, 2012, speaks of the same kind of vulnerability:

Smart TVs, particularly Samsung’s (005930) last few generations of flat screens, can be hacked to give attackers remote access according to a security startup called ReVuln. The company says it discovered a “zero-day exploit” that hackers could potentially use to perform malicious activities that range from stealing accounts linked through apps to using built-in webcams and microphones to spy on unsuspecting couch potatoes. Don’t panic just yet, though. In order for the exploit to be activated, a hacker needs to plug a USB drive loaded with malicious software into the actual TV to bypass the Linux-based OS/firmware on Samsung’s Smart TVs. But, if a hacker were to pull that off, every piece of data stored on a Smart TV could theoretically be retrieved.

As if the possibility of someone stealing your information and spying on you isn’t scary enough, according to ComputerWorld, “it is also possible to copy the configuration of a TV’s remote control, which would allow a hacker to copy the remote control’s settings, and remotely change the channel.” (read it)

Not sure I want a smart TV because it sounds pretty dumb to me.

Al Colombo


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Monday, January 19, 2015

Will Obamacare Render Near-Total Control Over an Entire Populous?

<< Remember, when someone controls your healthcare,
they control your health. >>

The issue of Obamacare has been a sensitive one for many, especially since it dismantled the very basis of the majority of citizen's health care causing serious increases in the insurance rates. But amidst all the suffering that the overwhelming majority of people are experiencing because of it, there is one pleasurable fact that has come to my attention by way of a Natural News article entitled Harvard professors who helped construct Obamacare are furious that they're not exempt.

There's no clearer indictment of the kind of thinking that was responsible for the creation of Obamacare in the first place -- and the problems associated with its implementation in the real world -- than the recent flap that was engendered when Harvard professors realized that they are not exempt from the changes in their health plans that the Affordable Care Act helped bring about.

The irony is contained in the fact that Harvard is one of the institutions that was largely responsible for drafting and endorsing the Obamacare model. But now that the ivory tower profs are being forced to have a taste of their own medicine (pun intended), they -- like most Americans -- are now claiming that the flavor is somewhat bitter. (read)

You would think that the Harvard professors who helped draft the not-so-affordable care act would have understood that in a free and equal society to which they belong, all of us would be held to this law. Oh, other than a whole bunch of other people, especially those who this "affordable care" was intended.

There are nine exemptions allowable under Obamacare. They are:

  1. Individuals who cannot afford coverage
  2. Individuals with household income below the filing threshold
  3. Members of federally recognized Indian tribes
  4. Individuals who experience a hardship
  5. Individuals who experience a short coverage gap
  6. Members of certain religious sects
  7. Members of a health care sharing ministry
  8. Incarcerated individuals
  9. Individuals who are not lawfully present

Personally, my belief is that the "powers that be" will use the social healthcare system they've just rammed down the throats of America to do an assortment of things that they've wanted to do for a very long time. One of them is the introduction of a small biotransponder chip beneath the skin of every man, woman, and child. They began this effort with our dogs and cats, then they have expanded it to farm cattle. Now, it will be forced on human beings.

Here are a few quotes from an article entitled "The Microchip and the Mark of the Beast," written by Dr. Carl W. Sanders, published in the June-July, 1994 issue of NEXUS (P.O. Box 30, Mapleton, Queensland 4560, Australia). This is actually Dr. Sanders' testimonial regarding his invention of the microchip. He was in charge of its conception and engineering. Dr. Sanders is an eloctronic engineer, inventor, author and consultant to various government agencies and organizations, such as IBM, General Electric, Honeywell and Teledyne. read

Secondly, they will further their vaccine program to include every man, woman, and child, which is what they've been trying to do for decades. Those of you who find it hard to believe any of this won't want to know the reason behind it either. You can click off and go back to sleep now. And if you want to know why you know so little concerning what's really going on behind the scenes, read Silent Weapons for Quiet Weapons.

Listen to this sad story about a woman who, in an effort to share her medical information concerning the dangers of vaccines to children, has been prevented from visiting Australia. As you will see, she was asked to speak at a convention of some kind when the organizers learned that she was headed to Australia at the same time for a vacation.

If you want to know more about Obamacare, Findlaw has an excellent resource available on the Internet that you should consult. To get access, go to: http://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_life/2013/09/who-is-exempt-from-obamacares-mandate.html


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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Today's Terrorism Predicted Thousands of Years Ago

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I'll bet you were thinking, "It's about time he took down those balloons." Quite honestly, when I opened up my blog this morning, I was thinking the same thing.

Today. I'd like to talk about what's ahead over the next 12 months. I'd like to say I see only a year of opportunity, but I truly believe we'll see another year of terrorism. In fact, I see it reaching a point of frenzy by year's end--although I truly pray that I'm wrong.

Break With SOP

Perhaps you noticed, perhaps you didn't, but my usual SOP (Standard Operating Practice) is not to write about "terrorism," "terrorists," or the "death and destruction" they routinely cause throughout the world.

I have traditionally believed that it's better not to give these people a platform through which to express their destructive causes. I do not care how just or valid their cause may be, there is never a legitimate reason to kill and maim innocent people.

This magazine killing in France, for instance, is especially stupid and tragic.

How many people have there been who defaced Jesus Christ's picture or His message throughout the 20 centuries since his birth? How many of them in recent times do you know who have died a violent death because of what they said or did to demean or disgrace Him? You can say what you will, but we have never seen anything like this on he heels of a defaced picture of Jesus in modern times. Name one.

Biblical Predictions

Those who truly know me know that I do not attend church any longer. They also know that I am a Christian and that I have long professed that Jesus Christ is Lord. In other words, I am not a religious fanatic by any stretch, but as I've watched and listened, I've been struck with the fact that our Bible, specifically the King James version, speaks of this time in human history:

"And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another" (Matthew 24:10).

On GKO in years past, I mentioned how Jesus gave us the Chronology of the last days in Matthew 24. And low and behold, here we are! Seems eerily on the mark and it was written more than 2,000 years ago!

If we truly want to know what the future will bring, perhaps it's time we all sit down and read Matthew 24. For those who do not believe that any of this has any substance in reality, I dare you to read it, then echo me on your thoughts. If you don't agree, tell me why, not just that I'm wrong. I would like to hear from you.

Al Colombo


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Thursday, January 1, 2015

In With the New, Out With the Old

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It's appropriate that at this time of renewal that we stop and reflect on all the fortune and good that 2014 has brought our way.

Yes, out with the old and in with the new, but with an eye towards making 2015 just a little bit better than the last. This is a lot like writing. Every time you approach a topic for a magazine story, you have to reflect on the last one of its type so you can go just a little bit better.

That can be a tall order after many years of writing, and so it is that the older we get, the more difficult it can become to make things just a little bit better year after year.

This year I am resolved to do more on my blog, to provide more news and usable information so you might just want to come back and visit with me.

If I had a wish list, and I'm sure we all do, my wish is that you might just want to correspond with me, to voice your opinion, your support, your dislike, your ideas on ways to make this blog and the world in general a better place.

All the best in 2015!

Al Colombo


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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Reservations: Sony's Interview Draws Top Dollar

<<---------- Scroll down for news. ---------->>

I have many thoughts on this one, and one of them is that Sony execs realized that the movie needed help, and considering the huge investment they had, they decided to sacrifice a finger for the good of the hand............ hence look at the headline....

So far as gov't operatives supporting the notion it was DPRK hackers, there are those in gov't who support corporations and I' sure that this could be arranged by some means.

Here is what I wrote about this earlier today on Facebook. This links to a story here: Click Here


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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Rubinstein Offers Look at a potentially Dangerous Video Technology

<<---------- Scroll down for news. ---------->>

Michael Rubinstein, in his TED video See invisible motion, hear silent sounds, presents an extremely interesting and possibly dangerous video technology that allows the user to glean silent, invisible information about people, their health, their mood, and what they say to one another in private.

Uncle Sam will want a piece of this, and when he gets it, none of us will see mention of this innovative technology again as it will be buried with so many other Classified utilities like it. So be sure to take a gander at this TED video before it is no longer available.

Other Similar Disappearing Technologies

Another similar technology that has gone underground is that of weather control. During the 1950s and 1960s weather control was the talk of science. Then, quite suddenly, public discussion ceased. Rumors have abounded since the late 1990s that this capability is now a reality through a device commonly referred to as HARRP, also referred to as Highly Active Auroral Research Program.

For additional information on HAARP, refer to the HAARP information page on GKO.


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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

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I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas!

Tomorrow we celebrate the day that Jesus Christ, the Son of the Most High, was born on Earth. That was a day that truly will live forever in the heart and minds of every Christian who will ever live. He brought us a new way, the advent of a new day, and an alternate way to His Father, the Most High.

Jesus is well known even to the Devil and his Demons. May God's most perfect will come to pass today, tomorrow, and for all of eternity. --Al Colombo


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