Tag Archives: Technology

ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 I WAS ON A PLANE

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On September 11, 2001 my mom and I were on our way home from a long European vacation.


I remember sitting in the terminal at Gatwick Airport re-living the prior two weeks in my head.  My mom and I had visited Ireland, Russia, France and England. I had the time of my life and was just disappointed that it was all coming to an end. I was headed back to Atlanta for another week of selling vitamins and gold cards at my GNC store that I managed in Buckhead. I recall wanting to be closer to home.  Spending time with her made me realize just how much I missed Tennessee.

We loaded up on our Boeing 777 Delta flight 11 traveling from Gatwick to Atlanta.

As we made our way into the air my mind drifted. I just felt something tugging at my heart.  I put my head phones on and fell asleep.

I don’t recall exactly how many hours had passed, but I do know that we were over the ocean coming into United States airspace.   The music in my headphones was temporarily interrupted. It was the voice of a noticeably shaken pilot.

What happened next will be etched in my mind for the rest of eternity.

“Ladies and Gentlemen….I need……you… to listen to me very carefully. There has been an attack on the United States. Two commercial planes have flown into the World Trade Center. The United States airspace has been closed and we are being diverted to another location.”

The terror I felt over every inch of my body was intense. I thought I was going to die. I knew we were close to New York because we had the GPS system playing on our screen. He mentioned two planes. Could our plane have hijackers on it? Was this a full scale attack on America and here I was sitting right in the middle of it?  If I died what would happen? Could I survive a plane crash?  These are not questions that I ask myself every day.  A few moments later the pilot came back on and gave us additional information. We were flying to St. Johns Newfoundland until further direction from the United States was given. I was scared.

St. Johns NewfoundlandWe landed in Canada. This Canadian airport was an international airport. It serviced one international flight per week. 27 international Jumbo jets were now sitting on her tarmac.  How long would we have to be on this plane? The pilot only told us to try and relax. I had my video camera and videotaped fighter jets in the air and soldiers with machine guns guarding each plane. I am sorry but relaxing is not what I was doing.  Mom and I were on the phone with my sister Andrea and she was really shook up.  We didn’t know what to tell her because we really didn’t know anything.

I was asking myself a lot of questions.  I had a long time to answer these questions, because the pilot came on the PA system and told us that they were going to unload one plane at a time. They had to search each plane and each passenger. This would take around an hour per plane from smallest to biggest and we were one of the biggest planes that had been diverted there. Well, 19 hours passed before we greeted Canadian soil.  We were carefully brought off the plane. Security was at high alert.  We were greeted by armed guards, some with machine guns.  After making it through customs they loaded us all on buses where they transported us to the local hockey arena which they were using as the central transportation center for all diverted passengers.

When we walked into the arena it was the first time any of us had seen it. There it was on the jumbotron. You could see the planes slamming into each building. The planes looked eerily similar to our plane.  Most Americans watched this horrific tragedy in the comfort of their own home. Mom and I were on uncomfortable seats, had been awake for two days, and had just spent over 20+ hours on a plane.  We still had NO idea what was going on. My heart sank for those who were killed.  I could not even imagine how horrific it was for the families.  My heart aches for them to this day.

Each plane was assigned a section of seats in the arena. We had time to get to know some of our fellow passengers. There was the Director of Communications for Coca Cola UK. There was a VP for a Video Tech company in America. There was a couple that was on their honeymoon. There were so many others but these to just name a few.

Finally we were told that they would transport us to our Hotel. Actually, it was Holy Heart High School. Not really a bed and breakfast. The people were amazing there. The care and love that they showed us made it abundantly clear that God was in control.

We were assigned to the Science room on the second floor. We had about 15 or so people in our room. We were so exhausted so we decided to try and sleep for a few hours. I couldn’t sleep because A) The floor was hard B) The snoring and C) I felt like I had been skinned alive and thrown into the ocean.

The community came together and put their collective arms around us.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the way we were treated. They brought us food, sang for us and invited us into their homes. They took us on a tour of their beautiful city which we learned was the eastern most city in North America. They even took us on a boat to show us around.  I found out that the remains of the Titanic were only a short boat trip away. There was actually a group docked in St. Johns that was shooting a documentary about it.   It was the director for the movie Titanic and some other folks.

I had several days in Canada to reflect on my life. What had I accomplished? I was the Region 2 #1 Gold card seller at GNC. I was ranked nationally for my sales per hour and profit margins. But what had I really accomplished.  I could feel God tugging at my heart. He had something in store for me which wasn’t completely clear yet.

So after 4 days we were finally given word that we would be going home. I had mixed emotions. I really didn’t want to get back on a plane, but I really wanted to go home to my apartment in Atlanta.  A week in the bed and several bags of cheetoes is just what I needed.  There was thunderous applause as we lifted off the ground.  The trip home was very solemn. I felt relief and terror all at the same time. The last four days felt like four years. We were the first diverted plane to arrive back in to Atlanta. When we touched down we all cheered and whistled as if we had just scored the winning touchdown to beat Florida in overtime.   As we taxied back to the terminal the Delta employees clearly wanted us to know just how much they cared. There were hundreds of Airport employees lining our route as we taxied in with flags and banners that said, “WELCOME HOME” and “WE LOVE THE USA.” I could not help but to cry, as did most the passengers on the plane. Seeing those American flags and people cheering made me feel safe. Unfortunately, the victims and their families will never feel safe again.  I pray every day for the families.

This was a major moment in American history. It was also a major moment in Kevin’s history. I needed something to change.  I had made changes in my life, but there was something more that I needed to do and God was showing me.  I believe that God was calling me to come back home to Tennessee.  I had lived in Atlanta for over 3 years and I had my Aunt and many friend here.  I needed time to collect my thoughts and let God show me the way.

Then something amazing happened.

I received a job opportunity in Knoxville. With the counsel of my Mom, Dad and those around me, I decided to jump on it.

I came home in April 2002. God works in such amazing ways. I started my new job on May 1, 2002 and my future wife, Pam, started two weeks later.  We started dating in August and I proposed to her one year to the day after our first date, August 11, 2003. We got married on December 20, 2003 and then found out we were having our first child on October 21, 2004. Olivia was born on June 6, 2005. We found out that we were having a little boy on June 18, 2007. Patrick Callaghan Rhea was born on February 22, 2008.

I owe all of this to God. He had a plan for me. Part of His plan is for me to share with Olivia and Patrick the love and Grace of our Lord. His Grace is so incredible in my life. I have problems like the rest of humanity. I have anxiety, loneliness, fear and times of hopelessness. The difference today is that I have a purpose. That purpose is becoming clearer, but part of it is to share His love with others.  I need to get out of my shell and spread the Good News…God has a plan for you too!

September 11 is a day of remembrance for us all. I also use it as a time to reflect on my life.  Where have I been and where am I going.  I regularly get off track and I constantly need to be reminded that God loves me no matter what. It’s easy to let life take over and I start to forget what is most important in my life.

My prayers are with all of the family members who are still suffering with the events of that day. I pray that they may find peace and understanding from a world that knows not these things. I pray for the salvation of a nation that does not know the Truth. Not the truth about worldly things, but the Truth that God loves them.

To all of my fellow passengers in life: I hope and pray that along this journey I might be able to give something back to you. Maybe a kind word or encouraging smile is what you will need. Whatever that is, I hope that God, not me, is in the middle and you have the window seat.

God Bless

Air Date 11/17/12- Fire Prevention and Awareness!

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Presented by:

Mortgage Investors Group Logo

This is one of the most important shows The Housing Hour has done:

….it could save you and your family’s lives!

Fire Prevention and Awareness:  Will your Smoke detector work?

Did you know that Thanksgiving Day is the number one day for cooking fires?

Knoxville City Fire Department Captain DJ Corcoran joins our show and discusses everything from the top things that can cause fires during the holiday season to smoke alarm detectors.

The Housing Hour has learned that under certain conditions the smoke detector in your home could fail to go off.

Common home Smoke Detectors Failing:

Also, we have discovered another study regarding Children under 10 and smoke alarms…we discuss this study and will be posting a video on the study. Every parent with small children must see this video!

Also, on a lighter note….we will be posting video a comical video regarding fires caused by Turkey Fryers.

Please join us for this very important show!

Fire Prevention Website

Kevin Rhea shares 9/11 story with Hallerin Hilton Hill

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Kevin Rhea, Host of The Housing Hour, was asked by his friend Hallerin Hilton Hill to come on his show and share his and his mother’s story from 9/11. Kevin and his mother were aboard a plane as the first plane then second plane struck the twin towers on that fateful day. Kevin describes the feelings and emotions as the spent over 20 hours sitting on the tarmac in Canada

Stay Secure on Line!

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 How exposed are we?

What can we do?

Safer Internet Day: How we help you stay secure online

February 5, 2013

Technology can sometimes be complicated, but you shouldn’t have to be a computer scientist or security expert to stay safe online. Protecting our users is one of our top priorities at Google. Whether it’s creating easy-to-use tools to help you manage your information online or fighting the bad guys behind the scenes, we’re constantly investing to make Google the best service you can rely on, with security and privacy features that are on 24-7 and working for you.Last year, we launched Good to Know, our biggest-ever consumer education campaign focused on making the web a safer, more comfortable place. Today, on Safer Internet Day, we’re updating Good to Know to include more tips and advice to help you protect yourself and your family from identity theft, scams and online fraud. You can also learn how to make your computer or mobile device more secure, and get more out of the web—from searching more effectively to making calls from your computer. And you can find out more about how Google works to make you, your device and the whole web safer.

For example, we encrypt the Gmail and Google Search traffic between your computer and Google—this protects your Google activity from being snooped on by others. We also make this protection, known as session-wide SSL encryption, the default when you’re signed into Google Drive. Because outdated software makes your computer more vulnerable to security problems, we built the Chrome browser to auto-update to the latest version every time you start it. It gives you up-to-date security protection without making you do any extra work.

Even if you don’t use Google, we work hard to make the web safer for you. Every day we identify more than 10,000 unsafe websites—and we inform users and other web companies what we’ve found. We show warnings on up to 14 million Google Search results and 300,000 downloads, telling our users that there might be something suspicious going on behind a particular website or link. We share that data with other online companies so they can warn their users.

We know staying safe online is important to you—and it is important to us too. Please take some time today to make your passwords stronger and turn on 2-step verification to protect your Google Account. Talk with friends and family about Internet safety. And visit our new Good to Know site to find more tips and resources to help you stay safe online.

Posted by Alma Whitten, Director of Privacy, Product and Engineering Google

Air Date 02-02-13: Today on The Housing Hour!

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Energy Efficiency Series

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Contact
Alec Blaine, Principal Broker
Cell: 865-548-5799
ablaine@schaadcompanies.com

Kevin and Mark go live at 8am:

moving on 98.7

Presented by:

Mortgage Investors Group Logo

New Station: NewsTalk 98.7

New Time: 8am!

Every Saturday!

On The Hallerin Hilton Hill Morning Show!

The Housing Hour on the Move!

NewsTalk 98.7 Saturdays 8am to 9am starting February 2st!

Over the last year The Housing Hour has become an enormous success.  We have established ourselves as the leading experts on housing in our area and have had fantastic guests sharing their knowledge and expertise.  We are here to help keep our clients and listeners informed on the latest housing news and issues. The Housing Hour and Mortgage Investors would like to give a special thanks to WNOX and David ‘Shyne’ Thompson (our show producer) for their tireless work and dedication to our show.

With that being said THE HH is on the move!  We are very excited about this move and look forward to working with our new radio family and support staff at WOKI!

So please continue to join us for an information packed hour every Saturday at 8am to 9am on NewsTalk 98.7!

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Air Date 1/26/13- Computer Vulnerabilities

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Listen to last weeks show: How Exposed Are We?

What can we do?

Our Series on Protect Your Family continues:

Kevin Thomas of Knoxville Technology Services and The Housing Hour’s, in-house, IT/computer expert continues our discussion regarding computer vulnerabilities and practical solutions!

Check out last weeks show: Computer Vulnerabilities: How Exposed are we?

Website mention: Netsmarts.org

Home prices post biggest jump in 6 years!

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homeprices jump

Home prices in 20 major U.S. cities were up 5.5% in November compared to a year earlier, their biggest jump in more than six years.

The latest reading of the closely watched S&P Case-Shiller index is another sign of the growing recovery in the long-battered housing market.

The last time prices jumped this much was in August 2006, when the housing bubble was still inflating. Soon after that, prices went into a steep decline that led to a flood of foreclosures. That sparked the most serious economic downturn since the Great Depression.

“Housing is clearly recovering,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Prices are rising as are both new and existing home sales. These figures confirm that housing is contributing to economic growth.”

Housing prices have been helped by a number of factors in recent months, including increased sales of both new homes and previously-owned houses, a drop in foreclosures, and near record low mortgage rates. A drop in the nation’s unemployment rate also is helping.

The rise in home prices is good news for more than just people hoping to sell their home. The higher prices rise, the fewer homeowners that will be underwater on their mortgage, meaning they owe more on their homes than they are worth. That can help many homeowners refinance and save money, which would pump more cash into the economy.

“The ongoing price appreciation is significant, because we expect housing wealth effects to be an important factor driving economic growth in 2013, possibly matching the direct impact on economic output from the rebound in homebuilding,” said Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist for Deutsche Bank.

Michael Gapen, senior U.S. economist for Barclays, said the fundamentals for the housing market are now strong enough that his firm is forecasting another 6% to 7% rise in prices in 2013, and a 5% to 6% rise again next year. He said the tight supply of homes for sale on the market should support continued price increases, and that the decline in foreclosed homes for sale is reducing the drag that those distressed properties had on overall prices.

“I’m not worried about these increases being overdone,” he said. “Home prices over corrected a bit on the downside, and what we’re seeing now is a recovery from that.”

The S&P Case-Shiller index tracks home prices in 20 major markets. The latest reading showed 19 of them posting a gain in prices, with only New York posting a modest decline from a year earlier. Phoenix, one of the markets hit hardest by the housing crisis, posted the biggest increase, with home prices there climbing 22.8%.

San Francisco and Las Vegas, markets that were also hit by the housing boom and bust, also posted double-digit increases, while Miami, another bubble market, posted a 9.9% rise. Detroit, a city where economic problems led to a high rate of foreclosures, enjoyed an 11.9% price increase.

But even with November’s strong gains, the overall index stands 29% below the home price peak reached in the summer of 2006.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

Housing to Drive Economic Growth (Finally!)

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Economists expect the housing market to be the primary driver of growth this year.

The bursting of the housing bubble plunged the economy into a recession from which it has yet to fully recover. But economists say this could finally be the year that housing lifts us out of the doldrums.

Just over half of economists surveyed by CNNMoney identified a housing recovery as the primary driver of economic growth this year. The rest were split fairly evenly between consumer spending, increased domestic energy production and stimulus from the Federal Reserve as major growth drivers.

“Homebuilding activity will likely remain the strongest growing component of the economy in 2013,” said Keith Hembre, chief economist of Nuveen Asset Management. “After several years of excess supply, demand and supply conditions are now in much better balance.”

Home sales rebounded to the strongest level in five years in 2012, as home building bounced back to levels not seen since early in the recession. Near record low mortgage rates, rising home prices and a drop in foreclosures have combined to bring buyers back to the market.

The economists surveyed also forecast that there will be just under 1 million housing starts this year — roughly matching the 28% rise in home building in 2012. Moody’s Analytics is forecasting much stronger growth — a 50% rise both this year and next year, which it estimates will create more than 1 million new jobs.

“There’s a lot of pent-up demand for housing, and very little supply,” said Celia Chen, housing economist for Moody’s Analytics. “As demand continues to improve, home builders have nothing to sell. They’ll have to build.” She said that growth in building will mean adding not just construction jobs, but also manufacturing jobs building the appliances and furniture needed in the new homes, which in turn drives overall consumption higher.

And economists say the tight supply and renewed demand for housing should lead to higher home values — about a 3.7% increase according to the survey.

“One of the most significant indirect effects from the housing recovery is the ‘wealth effect’ on consumers due to the recovery in home prices,” said Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist of Deutsche Bank, who said better home values can affect both consumer psychology on spending as well as their actual finances.

“Even small moves in home prices can have large effects on consumption, because housing comprises such a significant share of household assets,” he said.

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Hackers Declare War on US!

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Hackers War

Listen to our Show at 2pm: What can we do?

Just Released:1/26

(CNN) — In anger over the recent death of an Internet activist who faced federal charges, hackers claiming to be from the group Anonymous threatened early Saturday to release sensitive information about the U.S. Department of Justice.

They claimed to have one such file on multiple servers ready for immediate release.

The hackers apparently hijacked the website of the U.S. government agency responsible for federal sentencing guidelines, where they posted a message demanding the United States reform its justice system or face incriminating leaks to select news outlets.

The lengthy, eloquently written letter was signed “Anonymous.”

The suicide of Internet activist Aaron Swartz on January 11 triggered the posting of the hackers’ message to the web address of the United States Sentencing Commission, they said.

His death, which they blamed on the justice system, “crossed a line,” the letter said.

A YouTube video accompanied the message, and made use of images from Cold War nuclear scenarios and games of strategy. The letter contained nuclear metaphors to refer to chunks of embarrassing information.

The hackers said they have obtained “enough fissile material for multiple warheads,” which it would launch against the justice department and “its associated executive branches.”

It gave the “warheads” the names of U.S. Supreme Court justices, such as Thomas.Warhead1 after justice Clarence Thomas or Ginsburg.Warhead1 after justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

Anonymous accused the FBI of infiltrating its ranks and claimed the federal government is applying “highly disproportionate sentencing” to ruin the lives of some of its members.

Swartz, 26, was facing federal computer fraud charges and could have served 35 years in prison. Anonymous said he “was killed,” because he “faced an impossible choice.”

His family has issued a statement saying that federal charges filed over allegations that he stole millions of online documents contributed to Swartz’s decision to take his own life. The files were mostly scholarly papers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Swartz’s suicide has inspired a flurry of online tributes and mobilized Anonymous, the loosely defined collective of so-called “hacktivists” who oppose attempts to limit Internet freedoms. Both Swartz and Anonymous have been stark proponents of open access to information and open-source programming.

A review of a cached version of the USSC.gov website showed the Anonymous message on its homepage since at least 1:40 a.m. ET. Efforts to get to the website were unsuccessful by some by 6 a.m. E.T.

Anonymous also posted an editable version of the website, inviting users to deface it as they pleased. Multiple pages — not only the home page — appeared to allow users to alter them.

The “warhead” names appeared as links, most leading to 404 error messages of pages not found, but some leading to pages of raw programming code.

CNN has left multiple messages with the USSC requesting a response to the hack.

The hackers said they chose the sentencing commission’s website because of its influence on the doling out of sentences they consider to be unfair.

Computer Vulnerabilities: What can we do?

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This Saturday at 2pm here or 100.3 WNOX:

What can we do?

Our Series on Protect Your Family continues:

Kevin Thomas of Knoxville Technology Services and The Housing Hour’s, in-house, IT/computer expert continues our discussion regarding computer vulnerabilities and practical solutions!

Check out last weeks show: Computer Vulnerabilities: How Exposed are we?