Bits 'n bytes

March 2006 News & Events

I am doing the proudly South African thing again. In two of our stories this month - `Siemens Security Summit' and `Access control from an electrical engineer's perspective' - mention is made of South Africans' ability to watch, learn, adopt, adapt and implement technologies and/or solutions.

In the words of Jens Wegmann, president of Siemens Security Systems Division, "South Africa is a little way behind some of the other countries, but South Africans are quick learners, they watch the rest of the world adapt over five years, they learn from this and apply their knowledge in five months." Echoing these words was electrical engineer Ken Gafner: "South Africans are very good at implementing leading-edge technology as soon as it has been proved to work effectively, we tend to keep a close watch on international trends and implement them accordingly."

Then I had a touching experience last week, a man in the street outside my house caught my attention, obviously wanting to sell me something. He wanted to paint my house number on the verge of my driveway. I had noticed a few of these in the area in which I live and had wondered a few times who did it. This man was David and he has taken it upon himself to offer this service, which is just what I needed, having had my brass numbers stolen off my wall twice in the last two years...

My daughter and I got chatting to him and his story was along the lines of what some would consider to be typically South African. He worked for a man who went away on business and one of the other workers on the property allegedly phoned 'friends' to go over, 'tie' them up and rob the house. David was badly hurt in the incident. He had a panic button, which he pushed but help never reached him until much later - and not from the company that had supplied the panic button as they had not been able to find the house. Apparently there was no number on the wall.

After a very long stay in hospital David decided what he was going to do: make visible numbers for houses and ones that could not be stolen so that he could, in his own way, try and prevent what happened to him from happening to another person.

I wish David everything of the best in his venture. I could kick myself for not taking his phone number but if you live on Johannesburg's West Rand and he knocks on your door, I would urge you to support him in his fight against crime.

Till next month,

Lynne Larsen


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