Wednesday, February 09, 2011

To catch a thief

It felt like he'd just done it moments ago, but he flicked his wrist and took another hard look at his watch again. The Seiko that had been infinitely reliable all these years just reconfirmed what he already knew, that time didn't move that much faster the more he checked on it. In fact, it seemed as though it moved a lot slower.

'Time to get a new watch', he muttered under his breath.

The foam-lined interior of the car was silent. The radio was off, and the only sounds were coming from the vehicles beside him. It gave him a moment of peace as he planned his next move. It wouldn't be easy, nothing ever is, but his training taught him to visualize, strategize, and implement the tactics he already knew and rigorously trained for.

Somebody was about to have the worst day of their life, they just didn't know it yet.

The iPad was mounted on the center console of the vehicle, and the blinking dot provided information in real time. He had been tracking it for almost 2 hours now, looking at the dot move progressively from one point to another, trying to gauge a pattern of some sort. By now he was closing in on it, but it stopped moving. That can be either a good thing, or a really bad one.

The air smelled like the sea breeze mixed with the stench of rotting lumber, as the sun began to set some distance away. The gravel under his boots made a crunching noise every time he took a step, but was drowned out somewhat by the sound of the waves at sea. It was somewhat isolated, with the occasional hired laborer loading supplies into the little motorized boats that ferries to and from the nearby islands.

By now he had already closed in on the target, some 50 metres away, but he wasn't quite sure which as he saw two men, in their youths huddled over with their backs towards him. He placed his iPad back into his backpack, zipped it up and unholstered his Surefire Defender flashlight in one smooth motion, thumb on the tailcap switch as he inched slowly towards them, utilizing every available cover he could as he progressed forward.

The youths hadn't noticed him yet, seemingly engrossed in their own world. He decided that he needed some form of confirmation as he took out his phone and hit the redial button.

This time the phone rang, and that was all he needed to know.

'Hey fellas', his voice a gruff monotone from the lack of sleep and general displeasure at the entire event. That startled the youths as they jumped in alarm. 'Put the phone down, and everybody goes home. Walk away now'. They were just kids, he thought to himself. Barely in their 20s, a look of mischief suddenly crept across their faces as they retorted, 'Or what, Grandpa, you're going to arrest us?' One of them fumbled in their pockets and pulled out a switchblade as he casually walked towards him, the tip of the knife pointed at him the whole time.

By now they were less than 3 feet away, one was armed, the other still had his phone in his hand, unaware, unbothered by the drama unfolding. He looked straight into the eyes of the knife wielder, there was nothing there. No remorse, nor regret - at least not yet, he thought to himself. It felt like a good half hour has passed but it had only been 5 seconds.

'What do you think you can do now, Grandpa?' he said, trying to be more forceful since he hadn't received a response.

'I can't arrest you, I'm not the police'. In that split second he brought up his flashlight as a brilliant white beam flashed into the perpetrator, his other hand grabbing the wrist that held the knife, and swung the flashlight with the crenelated bezel into his throat. The sharp pain forced him to release the knife as he finished him off with an elbow to the side of his head as he watched him fall to the ground, grimacing in pain.

As he turned to look at the other youth, he saw fear. 'Look, just take it back, alright?' as he handed the phone over. He took it from him and placed it in his back pocket, but not letting the perpetrator's hand go. 'You like to steal other people's stuff, don't you now?' he grabbed his thumb and twisted it in an awkward position that his entire arm was now behind his back. 'Look, you got what you came here for, leave me alone!' he pleaded.

'Next time you try this shit again, I will hunt you down, you understand? Wherever you are, I will find you, I will break your legs, you will never see daylight again, do you understand?'

At that point he could hear the sound of snapping tendons, like a raw piece of chicken when you've twisted it past it's natural axis of motion. That was met with an uncomfortable, and if he didn't notice wrongly, a somewhat girly scream. 'I guess that means yes', he said in a calm and almost composed tone, as he thought about chuckling although that didn't seem right.

By now the night traffic had already cleared and it was a nice quiet drive home. He peered over at the passenger seat. iPad and iPhone, together again.

*Find iPhone is now available at the AppStore for the iPad
*Fictional story, attempt at your own risk.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

What you never knew you needed

Much like most things that plague recovering early adopters, the next phenomenal gadget is usually met with ridicule, as we try to list out reasons why it's stupid and we don't need it.

The first thing that crossed my mind when I heard about Apple's iPad was, 'What an unfortunate name to call your product, I hope it doesn't stick'. The problem however, was it did. Pretty soon apps started flooding into the already popular AppStore for the iPad, and people who aren't in the target market started asking questions about it, started *wanting* it. That's how you know how powerful their marketing campaign is, as Steve Jobs says, 'Its not the consumer's job to know what they want'. What you get is a stellar product, and record sales, unfortunate naming notwithstanding.

After holding off for the longest time, I caved when the Apple Store had a one day sale, and that was the beginning of my iPad experience. Ever since then, I really wondered how I had lived without it.

My day starts with the newspaper, only this time its in the form of the International Herald Tribune, delivered and updated in real time. Concise when it needs to be and lengthy when I have the time to spare, I don't remember the last time I picked up a physical newspaper but vaguely recall the last time I did there was nothing newsworthy except for the ads. A quick check on the CNBC app gets me updated on what I need to know for the day, and after that its off to work.

Documents to Go is great for taking my Word and Excel files with me, almost indispensable really. The iPad shines in that aspect, which is being on the go. Emailing, browsing, shopping, Facebook, music, catching up on Hawaii Five-O, you get the point...I have the distinct ability now to remain entertained wherever I am, in any environment, with a full charge of course. Even on 50% I managed to pull through a good half day with some fairly heavy use.

Not bad for something I didn't think I need, and now it isn't going to leave my sight.

Finally back on track

How quickly a year goes by, like a really long blink of an eye everything's changed. Life is different, it smells different, it looks different and you have to decide if you want to embrace that inevitable change.

This blogger interface was taken down after they stopped the FTP publishing services which was the main, and only way I published my stuff for so many years. After that I just didn't bother to use it because I a)Couldn't care less for a address and b)Thought if something works why change it.

Anyway, with a little time since its the Chinese new year lull, I thought I'd check it out and see how the Migration procedure worked. Wasn't as complicated as I thought but however I must note that none of the newer posts will actually be on my website, it will be hosted on Google instead, just like almost everything else that belongs to me will eventually belong to them.

Ah yes, and in the midst of my disappearance I actually signed up for Twitter. Never say never, I guess, but it really re-establishes my point that Twitter was never set up for people who write, or have anything to write about. It is as if someone just decided to create a technology to have everyone's mumbles under their breath or every little thought that they are thinking to be on record for the rest of their life, for all to see.

I suppose it all comes down to our instinctive need for reaching out, to be heard and to be acknowledged. Everyone wants to be recognized, so people tend to find ways to evoke a response, they try to say something smart, something provocative to try to get people to sit up and listen. Time consuming? Probably. Pretentious? Definitely.

This was never meant to be that kind of blog, its just a space for me to observe, to write, to vent. Statistics don't matter to me, what matters is I come back in a few years and read all my old stuff and think to myself, that's pretty good right there.