Thursday, September 28, 2006

Natural Born Killers

I am not speaking about the movie. I am speaking about my daughter's new pet. I have always been a dog person. I vaguely recall at one time thinking that I will never ever get a cat. But since we live in a unit, after the mice died of cancer, and the fish are not so good to play with, we decided on a cat.

And now I am a changed man. Caterina is six months old, black with white legs, and the predator instinct fascinates me.

After two days of sleeping under our bed, she now sleeps on the bed. And in the morning we get woken up with a miao to indicate she is hungry. After breakfast it is another miao, this time to indicate that she wants you to play with her. And if you ignore her, she can get quite grumpy.

My playing of course is actually something to keep her fit and powerful for catching her first bird one day. I throw her ball up the stairs. Yes, you read correctly, UP the stairs. She is up the stairs in a flash, but sadly she never brings the ball back to me. I have to go and collect it myself.

Or perhaps she is just very clever, and wants me to get some extra exercise...

Why the title then? Because everything she does is primal, all the playing, pouncing, biting and scratching is built in.

I read a few weeks ago them domesticated cats, when ferrel, can comfortably survive in the wild. I believe that. As long as they had enough time with their mothers as babies to learn the ropes, they will be hunters/predators for life.

And me? Well, my reaction times are getting faster as well. I still sometimes lose the reaction game, and do not pull the toy (or my hand) away fast enough. But other times I do.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The hard disk turns 50 years old

We take many things for granted in our lives. Computers are one of them. I acquired my first one in 1990, a 286 with an EGA graphics card. I kept the original keyboard until 2004, when my wife decided that she didn't like the typing action. Fine!

As I am sitting here today, typing away merrily on my Microsoft Natural keyboard, two Dell 1907FP screens staring back at me, 60Gb hard disk, 2Gb RAM, Pentium 2GHz Mobile(roughly 3 GHz), in a portable computer that weighs less than 3kg, lugging it all over the world, making my life easier, quicker, and more productive, spare a thought for where we came from.

Even in the short time I have been using computers, things have changed so much. I am reminded of something I say every now and then: "Technology may progress, but human nature remains the same". We may find more ingeneous ways to kill each other, and to find cures for certain ailments, but because we live in this sinful world, it takes a conscious decision to rise up above the ways of this world.

Luckily God planted in us a conscience, and whether you are a born again Christian or not, the Holy Spirit makes you aware of what is right, and what is wrong.

I think I might have gotten side-tracked there. Back to technology.

So where will we be in 50 years' time? I plan to still be alive, retired, spending time with grandchildren, hopefully have my own plane, and still medically legal to fly it, and computers will be worn as watches, with 3D air-based screens that you look at, think about changes, and the sensors in the watch-sized computer (which also shows the time, of course), types for you, or whatever.

And we will see half the retail stores we have now. Online auction sites like eBay will continue to grow, and many more businesses will sell stuff online only.

So you can measure the accuracy of my predictions in 50 years' time. But I suspect that this text might have been archived by then, never to be seen by another soul. But in 100 year's time, some journalist might be doing research, and finding it again. Who knows...

Monday, September 11, 2006

Another tribute from me

Michael Schumacher has announced his retirement at the end of this season from Formula1 driving. He will, however, remain with Ferrari in an as yet unannounced capacity. I have always been a fan, especially knowing what sort of personality it takes to drive a car to its absolute limit, without exceeding it. I know, because I am not such a man. I kept on thinking about the frailty of the human body, and braked just that little bit too early.

But the current season still has some time to go, and as Michael said, for now it is all about the championship.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Steve Irwin Obituary

One of my role models passed away this week, swimming with a ray in the Great Barrier Reef. A role model, because I wanted to be more of a nature-oriented person, not confined to my office job. Knowing about animals, how to treat them, how not to treat them. How to pick up a snake or scorpion without being bitten - basically all the things a man should know how to survive in the bush. And have some fun wrestling with crocodiles, and such like!

I will miss you, Steve. And my family's prayers will include your family for some time to come. The road ahead will be lonely for some time. Fortunately God sent the Holy Spirit as our comforter, and I hope/pray that Your comfort, which is above our understanding, will impact their lives.