Hijackers get smart with GPS

By Thandi Skade

Imagine surviving the trauma of a hijacking, only to come home a
few days later to find your house has been broken into and ransacked.

Your initial thoughts may be that it's a coincidence or perhaps
a case of seriously bad luck.

But this may not necessarily be the case if you are the owner of
a global positioning system (GPS), a device that is quickly gaining

popularity among motorists around the country.

People who have difficulty reading a normal road map describe it
as a "God-send" as signal information from 24 satellites in orbit is

transmitted straight to the device, which then calculates the
user's exact location and displays it on the unit's electronic map.

But as useful as the device is in helping motorists to find
their way, criminals have now found a way of using the device against
its owner.

ADT Armed Response has issued a security alert to all GPS owners
urging them not to programme their home addresses into the device, as

hijackers are now using the device to figure out where their
victims live.

"Hijackers are now identifying victims' residences by simply
selecting or typing the word 'home' as a destination," said ADT Joburg's managing director Roy Rawlings.

"This results in GPS systems directing hijackers straight to
victims' houses."

Instead of programming your home address onto the system,
Rawlings suggests that you programme a nearby location, such as a petrol
station or shopping centre.

In this way, criminals will have no way of figuring out your
physical address.

Rawlings further advises GPS owners "to activate the lockout or
security feature of their GPS system, which will help prevent anyone
else from operating it.

"This means that when you switch off your car, your GPS system
will also shut down.

"When the vehicle is restarted and the GPS system is
reactivated, a pin or code will be required," making it impossible for a
criminal to access your information.

This article was originally published on page 9 of The
Star on January 29, 2008


Another Gatiep one

Gatiep and Karools are sitting on death row. Gatiep says to the Warder,
does this take long and is it painfull? Warder says no they just strap
you in and flick the switch and its over.

Karools is called in, moments later Gatiep hears screeming shouting and
this carries on for quite a while.

Gatiep says to the Warder I thought you said it was quick and painless.

Warder replies that as result of the load shedding they have to now
use candles.

SA's current power cuts

Power cuts, or load shedding as they call it, is happening country wide
on a daily basis. We were without electricity on Saturday afternoon and
Monday evening, the latter being for 3 hours. This is having a major
impact on the economy as businesses (those that don't have back-up
generators) have to close down and obviously lose a lot of revenue.

Traffic lights also get affected and trying to cross intersections gets
extremely dangerous because of the lack of courtesy from other drivers,
particularly the taxis.

It is estimated that this is going to be an on-going problem for between
5 - 8 years until new sources of power can be introduced. Oh happy days.
The following happened yesterday:

By Louise Flanagan

Michael Bevan was undergoing a complicated operation on his carotid
artery when the power went off.

"At the most important point, the power went," said cardiologist Farrel
Hellig, who was carrying out the procedure on Thursday at Netcare
Sunninghill Hospital in Sandton.

"The consequences could have been a massive, severe stroke or death."

Hellig said the back-up power came on within 10 minutes, but for those
few crucial minutes he was unable to do anything for his patient.

"The timing of it was at the worst possible moment."

He was inserting a stent into the carotid artery - the artery that
supplies blood to the brain - in Bevan's neck because the artery was
dangerously narrowed.

"The critical point of the procedure is the positioning and release of
the stent, which is a metal mesh tube used to scaffold the blockage, to
keep it open," said Hellig.

"We couldn't complete the procedure and had to leave all the equipment
in the artery for 10 minutes."

Bevan, who is 69, wasn't under general anaesthetic.

"The patient is awake during this procedure, so the patient is aware of
all the stresses that the staff are under and is aware that there is a
problem," said Hellig.

Bevan said he was conscious of what was happening but wasn't nervous,
partly because the back-up power came on soon and partly because the
medical team didn't panic. He said the operation started at 7am and
lasted until the power cut at about 10am.

"Eskom has to tell you what's going on, and the hospital has to take
action before the power switches off," said Bevan.

Hellig said he had heard "at the last minute", after the operation had
started, that a power cut was imminent. The team were trying to finish
before the power went off, but rushing through such a procedure is not wise.

Dr Farrell Spiro, an interventional radiologist, said he also had a
procedure interrupted by the power cut.

"I had to stop the procedure because it was just too dangerous."

Spiro said he usually phoned Eskom each day to check on the planned
cuts. However, when he called initially on Thursday, nobody answered,
and then the phone was picked up and put down.

He said Eskom didn't always keep to its schedule, which made it
difficult for doctors to plan.

Sunninghill Hospital has back-up generators, but doctors said there was
a critical period between the power cutting and the generators kicking
in, which left patients in limbo.

In addition, the generators are not able to run all the equipment
because some machines require too much power for them.

There were two power cuts at Sunninghill on Thursday, and several dips
in the power.

In each dip, equipment switches off and staff are unable to monitor
patients undergoing procedures until computers and other machines turn
on again.

This has happened daily for the past week.

The hospital also houses a world-renowned cardiac unit for children,
which takes referrals of extremely ill youngsters from around the
country and from other African countries.

The doctors said the power cuts were putting ill children undergoing
procedures at risk.

*This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star
<http://www.thestar.co.za/> on January 18, 2008 *

Article from The Times

This week I felt as if I was a participant in the popular TV reality
programme, Survivor.

Rather than being dispatched to an exotic island in the Pacific with
lush surroundings, unspoiled beaches and crystal clear water — I was
dumped in the rain- soaked northern suburbs of Johannesburg; the
challenge being to endure a working week without the comfort of a
dependable source of electricity or water.

Monday was trouble free, but the pressure began to mount on Tuesday
afternoon when Waverley suffered its first power outage.

To Sasfin's credit they had the foresight to instal generators some time
ago, but demand linked to the bank's growth and a minor technical
problem confined the energy supply to critical functions only, such as
computer applications. Our lights and air-conditioning were deemed

I'm fortunate enough to have an office with windows, but it's south
facing. By late afternoon the sunlight had faded making it impossible to
read anything clearly.

With two radio reports to file I faced a dilemma.

Unruffled I deployed a practice that I had picked up from Alec, the
London investment banker whose adventures are documented daily in a
cartoon strip in Business Day — I used my BlackBerry to project light on
my notes.

On Wednesday morning I returned sweaty from my morning run to find that
our water had been cut off.

It is a common occurrence in my suburb. For the past six months we have
experienced regular problems with decaying pipes in the area, the
consequence of years of neglect and poor maintenance by the relevant

Last year I was forced to book into the Melrose Arch and Wanderers
Protea Hotels a few times, at great expense, to shave and shower to be
in time for important meetings.

I have since discovered that it is more economical to take out an annual
membership at the Virgin Active Gym in Melrose Arch and use their
bathroom facilities in case of an emergency .

Under pressure to reach the office by 8am on Wednesday morning, though,
I changed tack. I bathed in my swimming pool and used hot water from an
Aquazania dispenser to shave and sponge down.

Not ideal, yet without the need to pack a bag, sign in and out of the
hotel, I was able to keep my appointment.

Though we experienced no further power cuts on Wednesday and Thursday,
problems in other areas, notably Rosebank, began to disrupt our work flow.

Load shedding interfered with the normal functioning of a number of
servers supporting vital applications, such as e-mail, the Internet and
our accounting system.

When power was cut on Friday afternoon in Waverley, the small problem
with our generator had been repaired, enabling the restoration of all
functions in our applications other than the air conditioning plant,
which is a huge consumer of kilowatts. The only inconvenience suffered
was that with windows open the raucous din emitted by the diesel-driven
generators made it gruelling to communicate by phone.

By Friday evening I felt I was on top of the game. I had navigated my
way through the worst of the storm without having to delay a meeting,
miss a deadline or cancel a transaction.

Believing that Eskom would only "load shed" on the weekend if the
situation turned critical, I was confident that I would complete my
first week of Survivor as one of the frontrunners. But it was a bizarre
incident that set me back, though the consequences would have been more
costly had it been a working day.

I had made an arrangement to meet a friend for breakfast at 9.30am on
Saturday . Without warning, my home power was cut at 9am.

Fortunately my electric gates operate on limited battery power to cover
emergencies, but not my garage doors, which have to be set to manual by
disengaging the mechanical gears.

Unfortunately when I pulled the lever to release the mechanism the rope
snapped making it impossible to open the door until the power was
restored. With my car trapped in the garage I was forced to cancel my

Next week my generator arrives. It's a small machine driven by diesel
that will provide enough power to boil a kettle, run an electric plate,
watch TV (including satellite) and light a room or two.

I've stored five 50-litre drums of water in my garage for drinking and
bathing, and I have the swimming pool to fill the toilet cisterns.

I am all set to face the future, which, by all accounts, remains ominous.

© 2006 onwards The HMVH Corporation BBS Online.
Any part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission... ons gee nie 'n fok om nie!