Friday, November 7, 2008

Robbers Hit Northgate - While I was there.

Two people were shot and wounded in armed robberies at the Northgate shopping mall today, Friday. Now this might not seem alarming to many, as we are so used to crime now days. But the thing is, I was there in the mall with my family, wife, 2 year old daughter, 11 year old son. It could have been me that was shot, or my wife, or God forbid, my kids.

A man was shot in the chest and was in a critical condition. Four robbers fled the scene in a white Opel Astra. No arrests were made but police were investigating a case of armed robbery and attempted murder.

Last week we were at a steers drive through, when just in the next shopping centre, about 200m away, robbers hit the shopping centre. The same gang might have even hit the petrol station the day before in the same shopping centre as the steers drive through.

A week before that, a high jacking occurred not 200m away from where we stay, a person was shot.

A few months before that we were rocked awake in the early hours of the morning by a loud bang. The ATM at the shopping centre up the road from us was bombed.

These criminals are more and more brazen as they start to attack, rob, high jack, and murder during the day and even at the most populated places.

I am proud South African. The government says that the crime rate is falling. Problem is, I do not experience that. I have been in the vicinity of more dangerous life threatening crime in the past six months than in the last two years.

I married a beautiful British girl. Their parents were forced to move back to Britain because they were robbed while they slept, and held up at gun point in the middle of the day. Two separate incidents weeks apart.

I fear for my life and the life of my family. My wife is always nagging me to move overseas, to England. Where its safe.

With the current crime rate, statistics say, its just a matter of time before something like this happens to me. I do not want to take that chance. With all these crimes going on around me, those stats do not seem so far off.

Yes there is crime all over the world. But the blatant disregard for life in this country is beyond explanation. In England, yes they might rob you, but they won't sommer just shoot you and kill you for nothing.

I am a programmer, I develop websites. My site is Integralwebsolutions. I work from home, and my servers and sites are hosted in the states. I don't need to actually live in this country to carry on working.

But I love this country. I love the weather, I love the sport, I love the law abiding people. But it seems like this country does not love me any more.

Just this week, an armed robbery and high jacking took place in Kempton Park. The black police inspector from Tembisa said, "It's time you whites packed your bags and f***d off." Calling the victims dogs and vowing that he would see to it that the white police woman would be shot in a robbery. Cocking his R5 rifle he told the white victim to pack his bags and F*** off as he refused to arrest the criminal or open up a police case of the robbery and high jacking.

With the current brain drain in the country, the lack of skills, the high unemployment rate, and the high crime rate, it is only going to get worse. With criminals running our country, I mean literally, criminals in the government. One might not be surprised at the way this police officer behaved.

If they want me to leave, if they do not want any web developers and programmers in the country, I might just leave. Over time, I would probably get better respect in England, the state hospitals are better, there is better social support, the crime is not as violent. It sure does seem a tempting proposal.

The only difference is, I got God on my side. AS I look at what has happened over the last few months, I am so grateful that God is with me. I certainly believe that he has protected our family. I certainly believe that if it was not for God, we might have even been part of the statistics.

I am encouraged by the verse: De 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD your God, he it is that does go with you; he will not fail you, nor forsake you.
Yes, God is able to protect us even in the most violent situations.

With the rise in crime, one wonders, has God left South Africa. The answer is no. Its the Christians that have forsaken God. We have stopped praying, stopped obeying, stopped following Gods word. 2Ch 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Such a wonderful verse, but we do not take it literally. It's not the crime line that is going to stop crime, not even the police can stop the crime. It is the praying Christian that is going to stop crime. The problem is, crime is increasing, which probably means that we as christians are not praying or not praying enough or not praying effectively.1Th 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

Are you praying?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Is Google's G1 Better Than The iPhone?

Internet giant Google has launched its much-awaited mobile phone. Many claim a direct challenge to the supremacy of the iPhone.

The G1 was unveiled in New York last month and was put on sale in the UK early November. The G1 has been released exclusively by T-Mobile.

It is stipulated that it will go head to head with other mobile products such as Apple's iPhone, the Blackberry and other smartphones from makers such as Nokia, Samsung.

The G1 uses Google's open source mobile software, Android. Many have stated that it is a phone with the capability of a hand held computer. Is it a phone or is it a palmtop, with telephony as one of its functions?

The G1 is a touch-screen mobile phone and includes a QWERTY keyboard when you slide the phone open. Included are applications such as Google Maps with StreetView, Gmail, YouTube and GoogleTalk. mmm Lots of Google stuff. Not surprising.

Is it then a phone or a dedicated smart fancy electronic wireless browser? Is it a way for Google not only to challenge iPhone, but in the same breath to capture and increase their Internet user market. Maybe not only are they trying to stick it to Apple, but Yahoo as well. What is Google doing in the mobile market. I thought it was an Internet giant, a search engine. But then again I have been wrong a few times before.

Not only does it have a keyboard, but the G1 also has a trackball for more precise, one-handed navigation. That's not all, it also sports a 3-mega pixel camera.

But despite the popularity of the Google brand, the G1 isn't 'cool'. It does not strike me as a 'Geek' phone. The same coolness and Geekness that the iPhone 3G had which was a massive success for Apple.

One thing though which might sway the masses towards the G1, is cost. The G1 will in fact be cheaper. Over a two year contract the G1 will be in the region of $380 cheaper. Included will be unlimited mobile internet browsing. Some plans will not only include unlimited data but unlimited texting or SMS.

However the iPhone comes to its own when we talk capacity. Sporting a massive 8GB-16GB as opposed to 2GB-8GB for the G1. This will win over the huge music fans, because if you do the math, you can fit more mp3's, more video and more pics onto the iPhone as opposed to the G1. Seems that the iPhone is more geared towards multimedia, despite the 3 mega pixel camera for the G1 as opposed to the 2 mega pixel for the iPhone.

One thing is for certain, the G1 was designed to bring new possibilities to the art of online communication. The problem now is, can you ever say, "I never got that e-mail".

What ever the case might be. Whether you are a iFan or a Gman, the Gadget wars have just begun.

CNN's Hologram. Real or Fake?

CNN made huge waves on Tuesday night by incorporating, what they claim to be, a three-dimensional hologram into its coverage of the U.S. election. The question I first asked when I saw this was, "was it really a hologram"?

I'm sure that whatever it was, it was very sophisticated. But no hologram. The technology is so complex and computing power is so powerful, that we are not there yet.

At about 7 p.m. EST USA, reporter Jessica Yellin, who was in Chicago, spoke with New York based anchor Wolf Blitzer live "via hologram," CNN said.

She seemed to appear a bit fuzzy as her image was apparently projected a few feet in front of Blitzer. The image appeared to glow around the edges as well. "You're a terrific hologram," Blitzer said to her. Making good use of the power of suggestion.

"It's like I follow the tradition of Princess Leia," she said, making reference to the Star Wars character and obviously some reference to the holograms in the movies. Which also seemed to glow around the edges and appear a bit fuzzy. Kind of coincidental, don't you think?

Was CNN playing on our minds and our infatuation with sci-fi and the likes of Star Wars?

Apparently her image was being filmed in Chicago by 35 high-definition cameras. These cameras were set in a ring inside a special tent. The images were then processed and synchronized by 20 computers to the cameras in the New York studio.

Sources tell me that the CNN anchors were not really speaking to three-dimensional projected images, but rather empty space. The images were simply added to what viewers saw on their screens at home, in much the same way computer-generated special effects, like the hologram of Leia, are added to movies, like Star Wars, as suggested in the interview.

These images were tomograms. Tomograms are images that are captured from all sides. Then reconstructed by computers. Finally displayed on screen. Much like what happened in the movie "The matrix".

Holograms, on the other hand, are projected into space.
Sources tell me that holographic images are generally captured and projected using coherent light such as lasers. A laser would need to be more than six feet in diameter to capture a person's image, which I believe is impossible. Probably because such a huge light source would be blinding.

I also believe that our current hologram technology requires some sort of floor pad or plate, which is absent from the CNN footage.

CNN reporting that this is a hologram, was this then a lie or the truth? Where then does the line stand between truth and lies? Should journalists and news companies be able to lie about news and technology, in order to gain viewers or readership? Should they twist the truth to increase their rankings in the viewers poll. Should they be sensationalists with no regard to accuracy and facts.

Why would CNN lie about this being a hologram? Is its cheesy reporting, aimed to capture your attention no matter what the truth might be?

The real question is. Do you really care? Are you actually concerned that this type of deception is going on, or are you captivated by the entertainment?

What do you think about this? Did you believe that it was a real hologram? Were you amazed?

Let me and others know. Leave your comment. what did you think?

BTW, CNN could not be reached for comment.