Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Algorithm: a full-length movie about hacking

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Algorithm is a full-length movie about hacking. It centers on a group of local hackers who stumble upon a covert operation that eventually gets several of them incarcerated, interrogated and killed. It serves to illustrate the extent to which hackers can go and to what ends.

One of the reasons why I believe that hackers hold an important part in free speech and the future of freedom is the fact that they seek open, free flow of information. The average hacker lives to uncover secrets and lies.

I'm not speaking of criminal hackers, but purists who's ideals are such that profiting from their skill is not in their belief system. This drive toward purity on the Internet is what I admire and support, although I have never hacked a computer myself and never will--simply because I do not have the necessary skill sets to make that happen.

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Hacking, along with graffiti artistry, may one day be the only means we have to read the real news of the day as governments and corporations seek to censor what we read, hear, and watch on a daily basis, and that censorship will only increase over time.

So, without ado, I present the movie, Algorithm.


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Copyright©2014/Allan B. Colombo
www.alcolombo.us / al_colombo@hotmail.com
(Permission is given to republish blog posts providing
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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Know Who's Knocking Before Unlocking

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In my last blog post I talked about keeping your family safe and I provided a 10-point list of things you can do to help in that mission. Today, I'd like to discuss the means whereby you can fulfill some of those points, specifically items 1 through 4.

There are many types of intercoms to choose from. Working our way down from the top two categories we're looking at:

  1. Professionally Installed, and
  2. Do It Yourself

First, allow me to say that professionally-installed intercoms are usually of better quality and they usually look better and work more proficiently than their do-it-yourself counterparts. For example, where the former will involve the routing of wires into the basement through the walls, the latter will usually not. In other words, unless you're a pro, it's unlikely you'll be able to hide your wires.

The next decision that you will have to make involves the following:

  1. Hardwired, or
  2. Wireless

Do-it-yourself intercoms are available that are hardwired as well as wireless, the latter using batteries for their method of power. The cost of this type of system is relatively high by comparison, but you will save on hiring a pro by installing them yourself. The drawback to this, however, relates to the on-going need to replace batteries and the eventual risk of corrosion and the destruction of the metallic elements inside the battery compartments.

Another possible choice is video, in addition to an intercom. Cameras come in all shapes and sizes and they offer you a unique service--they allow you to view the person(s) at the door without their knowledge. Obviously, if the caller is brandishing a gun, if there are several people and you don't know any of them, you might not want to answer the door at all. Instead, you may want to dial 911 in order to get ahead of an event that may still occur. Cameras can be installed anywhere on the house in order to watch from various approaches.

Cameras are available that contain infrared LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) that light an area in front of the camera. There are cameras available that can see 30 feet ahead while there are others rated for 100 feet. The farther the distance, the more the camera will cost. If you're looking at the doorways, a 30-foot model will usually do the job quite fine.

Another choice is that of a video intercom where both intercom and camera are contained in the same system. The fact that both are contained in the same unit makes it easier for you to look and talk. It also means less muss and fuss on installation because instead of a camera mounted on the overhang, now it's in the outdoor intercom unit next to the door. Instead of two sets of cable to install, one of them through the attic, now there's only one.

The outdoor video intercom unit looks like a common intercom, with the exception that there's a large black section behind which there's a camera. Some criminals will know that there's a camera there, but many won't.

No matter which way you decide to go, having a means of communicating and viewing the caller is critical to your safety. Even having a simple through-the-door lens/viewer will give you a leg-up on who's standing on the other side BEFORE you unlock and open the door.

All products shown are made by Aiphone and Samsung


For the serious researcher:
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Copyright©2014/Allan B. Colombo
www.alcolombo.us / al_colombo@hotmail.com
(Permission is given to republish blog posts providing
my contact information and copyright notice are included.)

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How to Assure the Safety of Your Family at Home

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As times get tougher we're going to see more and more crime occurring in the streets all around us. Those of you who live in the city will be especially vulnerable to criminals as well as others who may be out of work and in need of food to fee their families. I know this sort of thing is unpleasant to chat about, and I know that no one really wants to think about it, but this is a reality even now as I write this blog post.

Protecting yourself and your family is an important aspect of being a husband, a mother, or a father. It's frustrating when we fail to do so, and even worse, it can be devastating wen we fail to do so and something terrible happens because of our own ignorance or thoughtlessness.

A good example of this recently took place in Indianapolis, Indiana, where two women and three children were shot by three men. Police say the shooters were already inside the home when the shooting took place, which may or may not mean they were given access to the home by those inside.

The following list offers some advice on how to stay safe and sound in your own home:

  1. Never open the door to someone you don't know. Find out who it is before unlocking the door.
  2. Install some means whereby you can easily and quickly discern who it is that's knocking at the door. One suggesting is a simple battery-operated intercom.
  3. A camera will give you visual confirmation that a) the person is who he/she says they are, and b) that there's no one else with them.
  4. You also can install video intercom units that have both an intercom and a camera.
  5. Use a chain latch on the inside of the door to give you that extra margin of safety in case the person you're expecting is not the one you thought he was or he suddenly decides to do you harm.
  6. Install a quality deadbolt lock on all doors leading into the home. Be sure to use a single-cylinder lock with a thumb turn on the inside of the door to assure rapid escape in case of a fire.
  7. A wireless panic button worn around the neck will enable you to gain the help of others in the neighborhood as well as police and paramedics when ans where needed.
  8. If it's a service man and you were not aware of his coming to your home or apartment, ask for the name of his supervisor, call his company, and ask for the super to describe his man. If you are still unsure, ask him to come back when your husband or a friend is present.
  9. If your children walk to school, you need to be with them. Walk them to and from school every day.
  10. Have quality lighting installed outside of each entrance and make sure it works. Burglars and robbers do not like light and that will make them go elsewhere to burglarize.
There are many more possible things to do at home or at your apartment to reduce your crime risk. In the coming weeks I'll offer additional suggestions.

Al Colombo


For the serious researcher:
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Copyright©2014/Allan B. Colombo
www.alcolombo.us / al_colombo@hotmail.com
(Permission is given to republish blog posts providing
my contact information and copyright notice are included.)

Subscribe

Be sure not to miss each and every blog comment by subscribing to my email service. Every time I publish a comment or an update, you will be the first to know. To sign up, enter your email address in the email subscription box on the top right of this page. Thank you!

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