Not All Thieves Are Stupid

Ramon Thomas Motivational Speaker South AfricaThis gives us something to think about with all our new electronic technology.


A couple of weeks ago a friend told me that someone she knew had their car broken into while they were at a football game. Their car was parked on the green which was adjacent to the football stadium and specially allotted to football fans. Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which had been prominently mounted on the dashboard.

When the victims got home, they found that their house had been ransacked and just about everything worth anything had been stolen. The thieves had used the GPS to guide them to the house. They then used the garage remote control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house. The thieves knew the owners were at the football game, they knew what time the game was scheduled to finish and so they knew how much time they had to clean out the house. It would appear that they had brought a truck to empty the house of its contents.

Something to consider if you have a GPS – don’t put your home address in it.. Put a nearby address (like a store or gas station) so you can still find your way home if you need to, but no one else would know where you live if your GPS were stolen.


I never thought of this…….

This lady has now changed her habit of how she lists her names on her mobile phone after her handbag was stolen. Her handbag, which contained her cell phone, credit card, wallet… Etc…was stolen.

20 minutes later when she called her hubby, from a pay phone telling him what had happened, hubby says ‘I received your text asking about our Pin number and I’ve replied a little while ago.’ When they rushed down to the bank, the bank staff told them all the money was already withdrawn. The thief had actually used the stolen cell phone to text ‘hubby’ in the contact list and got hold of the pin number. Within 20 minutes he had withdrawn all the money from their bank account.

Moral of the Story

  • Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list.
  • Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad, Mom, etc….
  • And very importantly, when sensitive info is being asked through texts, CONFIRM by calling back
  • Also, when you’re being texted by friends or family to meet them somewhere, be sure to call back to confirm that the message came from them. If you don’t reach them, be very careful about going places to meet ‘family and friends’ who text you.

The Curse of BBM

CrackBerry - BBM BlackBerry Addiction South AfricaBBM users claims it revolutionised the way they communicate and stay in touch constantly. MXit users have known this for a few years longer. However, BlackBerry started out focusing on business users, corporate customers before becoming a quasi-status symbol for with numerous celebrities seen in public with their BlackBerry phones. This has created a false sense of superiority for them.

BlackBerry uses is a private network separate from the mobile Internet. This has allows them to offer unique services like the push feature for email to the devices and also the always-on BBM instant messaging service globally. The universal Inbox is a dream come true for long-term users of email and messages services. In most other devices you have to check multiply applications on your handset to get your messages. Your email is separate from your chat programs like Whatsapp or MXit.

In scientific studies there is growing consensus that multitasking leads to more errors among middle age people, as well as younger people. They have found it leads to partial continuous attention and this behaviour results in tasks taking longer to complete, more postponement and a misguided sense of efficient. Dr Gary Small is one of the leading neuroscientists actively looking at this radical behaviour shifts taking place due to new technology and always-on Internet.

So the recent problems experienced by Research In Motion globally has shows the strength of this mobile provider is also its Achilles Heel. The fact that your email and browsing goes via their private network, not the Internet itself like most other service providers creates a dependency, which was exposed as a weakness. This is a reminder the Internet was designed to be open not closed. The unlimited free Internet in South Africa is no longer a big deal with the cost of mobile broadband coming down as new players continue to innovate in their offerings. Cell C now offers free data + SMS every time your recharge. Telkom’s 8Ta has an offering of 10GB for only R199 per month, the ideal option for iPads or iPhone type devices.


How to Use Skype for Mobile and Smart Phones

Skype is a VOIP or voice over internet protocol software that supersedes the cellphone networks. It allows people to communicate over long distances instead of using mobile phones and using airtime. It provides services similar to telecommunication providers except that it uses the internet as its primary mode of communication both for text chat and voice chat.

As long as you have on your smart phone and use one of the recommended mobile data packages or then you will be able to make calls that you normally cannot make when using the services of your local telecommunication companies. You can even make complete free Skype-to-Skype calls when you are using wifi networks in the South Africa or elsewhere.

Skype mobile is a new feature developed by the makers of Skype in order to make phones such as Android phones, Blackberry phones together with iPhone and iPad units compatible with the Skype software application. In order to know more about this brilliant new feature, it is necessary to discuss it per phone.

Skype for android is an application made especially for the Android platform. It is compatible with both Wi-Fi connection and 3G connection, allowing you to make large scale calls via both connections. You can easily connect to other android phone users by using the Wi-Fi connection of the local mall or store situated in your area. You can also make full use of the 3G services being provided by Vodacom, Cell C or MTN if you are located in Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth or Pretoria. All there is to it is to install the android based Skype in order to get started.

Blackberry is another mobile phone type that is being widely used in a global scale today. Whether you are situated in Cape Town, Durban or any other major city in South Africa, you will surely be able to see people using blackberry phones. This prompted Skype to develop Skype for Blackberry, an application that is perfect for the blackberry phone with models 2009 and up. This version of Skype allows Blackberry phone users to freely use the Skype application similar to any other Blackberry based application being widely used today.

Skype is also available for the iPhone and iPad. For iPhones, it is already compatible with the first releases as long as the iPhone is 3G compatible. You can also opt to go for the newly released iPhone 4 in order to use the much faster 4G connection for easier calls worldwide. You can also use Skype for iPad. Depending on your accessories you can use either or both text chat and voice chat with this powerful tablet pc or personal computer from the Apple Mac brand.

Whether you have the Skype for Android or Skype for Blackberry or Skype mobile, you will surely be able to make full use of the Skype application wherever you are, whenever you want to. As long as you have a good internet connection then you can easily download and install Skype for any compatible device. You can also buy credits using your mobile or internet plan or via your debit or credit card, whichever you prefer. The best part here is that the credits will already reflect on your Skype balance in as fast as 10 minutes!


Report On Cellular Payment Systems In South Africa

This report is republished with permission from the author, Reuel Leach. You may contact him for more advise on saving money when using cellphones and Internet access on his cell 082 211 2619

Do you know what you are paying on your cellular bill every month. Maybe you do, but have you ever wondered what the networks costs are? Would you like to see something published on this subject? Read on. Its time that people started to get answers to these questions.

Lets start off with GSM. It’s a radio signal just like any radio frequency. You have a radio? You have a television, you pay a licence which is a minimum cost to get messages ( or Signals with information) to your home, office or car. With a radio frequency you choose which signal you want to pick up the messages you want to listen to or “watch”.

So what frequencies are there? Here are but a few common ones:

1.Short wave
2.Medium Wave
3.Frequency Modulation (FM)
4.Wi-Fi (Wireless)
9.UMTS (3G) which consists of data for internet and 3G video calls

Lets focus now on the formats of some of these signals. What do I mean by that? Well, you listen to a CD with music of your favourite artist and its recorded in WAV format. You might be familiar to the more common format used called MP3. Now lets make a comparison with these two formats. WAV will give you 700 megabytes over 80 minutes and MP3 gives you about 70 MB ( megabytes ) over 80 minutes. When you record something with your cellphone, you might use AAC or a similar format which might give you around 2-4 megabytes an hour.

The format of GSM is AMR, it could be similar to AAC, but this is where the interesting part comes. Lets look at the speed of these frequencies. These are true speed real life situations, not what they tell you at the shops

True Speed example in South Africa

  • GSM – 6 to 13 kilobits per second
  • GPRS 1 to 6 kilobits per second
  • EDGE 6 to 25 kilobits per second
  • UMTS 30 to 120 kilobits per second
  • HSDPA 50 to 200 kilobits per second

But if you tried to do a voice call over GPRS or EDGE you might find it a bit choppy. Ok here is the first big issue. A voice call can be easily done one EDGE using Skype or MSN and the maximum you will use is around 2.5 MB an hour. At the current data rates an unbundled GPRS? EDGE? 3G connection will cost you R2/MB which is the most expensive DATA rate. If you use a data bundle you will go as low as R0.19/MB so an hours call on Skype voice to voice will cost you in the region of R0.46 and R5 an HOUR! But if you use your normal Cellular phone for the same time, it will cost you R90 to R180 an Hour! So lets compare R0.46 to R180 an hour which most people are paying. Are you going to do something about this….

You should resort to these forms of technology:

  1. Skype
  2. Google Talk
  3. Mxit
  4. Nimbuzz

Heres the real shocker! Do you know what the most expensive form of communication in the world is. And it probably in South Africa. Its called SMS. Yes you thought it was cheaper than a call. Think again. Here is the simple price plan comparison

Let me explain this bit by bit. 1 sms is 160 characters. That includes the spaces in between. I you type an A4 page there is place for approximately 3680 characters with a font of 10 on it. Divide 3680 into 160 and that gives ou 23 sms messages. If you pay the normal day time rate it will cost you at 85 cents R19.55 PER PAGE and after hours at 35 cents an sms it costs you R8.05 so its far more than a page.

Let compare this to Skype or mxit this one page will be only 27 Kilobytes and at R2 per megabye it will cost you R0.05 cents per page and if you are using a data bundle then it will be as low as R0.005 per page!

Ok so what does an SMS cost us per Kilobyte?
1 sms = 140 bytes = 7.3142 sms = 1kb
85 cents x 7.3 = R6.21/kb

What does an SMS cost us per Megabyte?
1024 x R6.21 = R6359/mb
(normal data costs between R0.19 to R2.00 per megabyte)

What does an SMS cost us per Gigabyte
1024 x R6359 = R6 511 656 per GIGABYTE

So if you were to write or type a 2 page letter and put it in an envelope it will cost you around R2.50 to R3.00 depending on paper and stamp costs. If you had to type the equivalent in SMSs you will pay for a 2 page letter:- R39.10 so its R40 to send a letter.

No why are the networks so expensive. If technology has become so cheap, why have they not given us the GPRS SMS function which almost every cellular phone has the function of? It will cost us a few cents only. If you connect your cellular phone to a PC or had Skype capabilities you could do a full skype call on 3G or HSDPA signal for between R0.39 and R5 per hour or a video call at R2.34 and R24 per hour!

If you had to send someone a full WAV cd over the internet at R0.19 per megabyte it will cost you 700 x R0.19 which is R133.00 and that’s 80minutes of music. If you spoke at the average cellular call of R2.50 (hidden costs excluded) at 80 minutes you will pay R200 for the call. Your bit rate for the wave 8MB per minute and your cellular call is 0.360mb per minute! So the intensity and quality is much better!

I suggest that people all cut off their smss, get Mxit and Skype and call over those mediums to make calls and send messages until the networks in the future.

I reckon that Wou-daar-Kom and Empty-N don’t pay more than R0.39 to R0.40 per hour for your call!
If they are paying more than that they should discontinue this old technology and give us the better faster stuff I mentioned above!

You may download the original report with graphics using this link: Report on Cellular Pricing Reuel Leach.


How to deal with increased abuse of MXit or Facebook

Recent media reports indicate another spike in MXit related incidents ranging from teen abductions to children spreading pornography. On the business side MXit is entering online payments and mobile banking arena and will probably continue it’s relationship with MNET Idols reality TV show facilitating voting for the contestants. Families, schools and communities have always been up in arms over the last three years. In my public talks to schools and church groups I have tried my best to explain both the pro’s and the con’s to my audiences.

When children get access to technology like cellphones or the Internet at an early age, they often do so without any guidelines. So it becomes very important for parents to understand what those guidelines are and to adopt them from an early age. If not they run the risk of these online incidents that take place on MXit or Facebook for that matter to spill over into their daily lives. The incidents appear to be on the increase because MXit user base has continued to grow and now has over 11 million registered users. The number of international users are also on the increase, which wides the possibilities for abuse from people in other countries with your children in South Africa.

Unlike computers there is no software available to block or track what people do on cellphones. Each make of a cellphone practically runs a different operating system, which makes it difficult for software developers to create these software so freely available on the Internet for PC users. Both Vodacom and MTN have some limited mechanism for parental control. In all cases I encourage parents to install those options where avaialable. Please remember it will not block or control what children can do on MXit. The MXit platform exists outside of these parent control measures. So it sounds like you’re back to square one.

What parents can do is focus on open and regular dialogue with your children. All I’m saying is the basics of parenting. One specific thing I encourage parents to do is to begin using MXit themselves. In the first place it begins to demystify the technology for the parents themselves and it also shows the kids that parents are willing or able to learn and understand.  In many cases I believe children are very open to showing their family members how to benefit from these fun technologies. In most cases the approach from the parents is one of control because of a lack of understanding.

Anyway here’s some basic guidelines to follow from MSNBC slightly adapted.

Teach your children to:
# Think before they click: With whom are they chatting (MXit) or e-mailing (Facebook), what are they saying and how are they saying it? Will the person on the other end know they are joking?
# Walk away from the computer or put the cellphone down and “Take 5” before responding to something that upsets them online
# Avoid spreading rumours, assisting in cyberbullying or sharing private communications online.
# Follow the golden rule of cyberspace: Don’t do anything online that you wouldn’t do in real life!

Follow responsible safety practices yourself on your computer:
# Install spyware and adware blocking software on your computer
# Make sure you have a working firewall on your computer
# Install anti-virus software and update it regularly
# Take advantage of spam-blocking tools offered by your Internet provider or e-mail software


Mobile phone radiation damages memory: study

Exposure to mobile phone radiation worsens the short-term memory of rats, according to a new Swedish study.

A doctoral dissertation carried out at Lund University also found that groups of genes involved with behaviour and memory undergo changes due to repeated doses of radiation from mobile phones, the Sydsvenskan newspaper reports.

Doctoral candidate Henrietta Nittby and her adviser, Leif G Salford, are in agreement that studies involving mobile phones must continue.

Nearly a decade ago, Salford was involved in a separate study which revealed that the electromagnetic radiation from mobile telephones created openings in the blood-brain barrier.

The openings allowed the blood-borne protein to leak into the brain, which caused a small percentage of brain cells to die.

In Nittby’s study, rats were exposed to electromagnetic radiation twice a week for 55 weeks. While the rats’ behaviour remained unchanged, their short term memory worsened when compared to a control group which had not been subjected to the radiation.

In addition Nittby discovered that, while individual genes didn’t change, groups of genes in brain cells involved with behaviour and memory did display a number of small changes.

Currently, no one knows for certain whether radiation from mobile phones is harmful to human beings.

Several countries have nevertheless issued warnings cautioning children from talking too much on mobile phones and to use hands free devices.

Source: The Local/TT/David Landes (


SMS Dictionary – show kids that you seek first to understand

Elzaan Rohde from Sentient Communication passed this tip onto me from a Google Alert:

I am a very big fan of cell phone SMS (aka text) messages because of my voicemail. I can send SMS with one hand, driving and not even looking at my screen, switching between predictive text and normal typing. Heavy users of SMS messages developed their own shorthand way of talking and not only teenagers use it. In fact there’s a long history of abbreviations from the earliest chat platform on the Internet, IRC. This is because SMS text messages are limited by the cell phone company to 160 characters. So abbreviations are a must if you expect to do any serious communicating. Here’s a cool site, originally mentioned on, that gives you a list of many known SMS abbreviations – or you can use their dictionary translator to type in regular words and see what their SMS abbreviation might be…

SMS Dictionary from
SMS Dictionary from

MXit responds to offensive lists of shame

In May 2007 the South African blogosphere was shook to its core with the abusive allegations from the SA Male Prostitute Blogger. Patricia de Lille, leader of the Independent Democrats party, took this personal and raged a campaign against blogging and MXit to be controlled. Now the lists of shame that has been circulating on MXit is likely to cause a similar outcry from authorities, parents and the community at large.


In May 2007 the South African blogosphere was shook to its core with the abusive allegations from the SA Male Prostitute Blogger. Patricia de Lille, leader of the Independent Democrats party, took this personal and raged a campaign against blogging and MXit to be controlled. Now the lists of shame that has been circulating on MXit is likely to cause a similar outcry from authorities, parents and the community at large.

My question to you is whether this reaction may be justified?

How would you feel if the same of your son or daughter appeared on such a list? Whether it is true or not, often the damage done by this uncivilised behaviour can have a lasting impact on the teenagers involved. At that peculiar age of development the sensitivity to outside criticism is higher than before or after.

Here’s 5 suggestions if your children’s names appear on such a slut list:

  1. Remove their cellphone for a week or two because the more they look at it these messages, the worse they feel. And get them doing other activities where cellphone is not important. Avoid the Internet because they are bound to Google this shame lists.
  2. Encourage them to stay in doors with family or get their friends to come over and visit at your house because the more they go outside, people will keep asking them how they feel. And telling people how bad you feel has never made anyone feel good. Give them a break from the barrage.
  3. Ask the Principal for a week or two leave of absence from the school and get a doctor’s certificate if necessary. You must protect your own sanity and your children’s during this delicate stage.
  4. If you can, send them away on a holiday to another city where nobody knows them and get their mind off the nasty things being siad in the messages.
  5. Report this to your local police department and get a case number. Also report it MXit and ask for a track number or reference number. They current are currently revamping their call centre (0861-00-6948) so send email to

Anyway here’s the official press release from MXit about these issues I discussed on Channel Islam last Friday. They issued this just before going on air and it was read out by the host of the show to help calm down the outrage in the communities.

Continue reading “MXit responds to offensive lists of shame”


The Mobile Menace – Cellphone Matters

Please pick-up a copy of the current issue of Drum magazine, 24 July 2008, and read the two pages 44 and 45 for the article “The Mobile Menace“, which has the following 7 tips I share with parents.

1. Don’t buy cellphones for your child below 13 years old. Electronic wireless devices like cellphones emit radiation that can impact badly on your child’s growing brain. Please read how cellphones develop impacts your child’s developing brain on International Parenting Association website.

2. Limit the amount of time your child spends talking or listening to music on their cellphone. The brain needs a rest and should not be constantly bombarded with stimuli. The same goes for TV as well. Switch them off when not in use, especially while sleeping or doing homework.

3. Lead by example. For instance, do not talk on the cellphone while driving or answer a call in the middle of conversations. You can read more cellphone etiquette tips from BulkSMS.

4. Teach your children phone manners from the moment they are given their first cellphones. Most children and adults have not been taught how to use their cellphones appropriately. Good manners include switching off your cellphone at events like church, family gatherings and if you must, excuse yourself and move into another room.

5. Use technology as a topic of conversation with your children and learn more about it. Ask your children to teach you about the hi-tech world they live in. You may be surprised at how articulate they can be about things they spend most of their time using, thinking about, dreaming about and talking about. Learn more about communicating in terms of other people’s values from Dr John Demartini.

6. Don’t let technology be a substitute for parenting or experience. Spend time with your children doing other activities so they can learn how to do them and in the process bond with you. Technology like television has been described as replacing experience i.e. you would rather watch the days of other people’s lives than live your own life.

7. Don’t be afraid that your children won’t know how to use technology if they are not exposed from the youngest age. If your child is self assured, has high self-esteem and confidence in their own abilities, they can learn anything they put their mind to.

Now if you are concerned as most parents or teachers are about the constant challenges for children in school, you may want to read the 6 Lesson Schoolteacher essay by John Taylor Gatto who will be visiting South Africa for the first time in 2009.


The beginning of MXit spam and chain letters

Cellphone spam on the increaseI have been getting more and more of these types of messages sent by my friends on MXit. Maybe they do not realise its spam or chain letters. The same types of chain letters that are sent around the global a gazillion times a day by innocent, unsuspecting people who believe they are doing a good thing. Simply put these messages are a hoax in 99.999% of the cases. Even if that little girl or little boy really looks like they lost a limb or have some incurable disease. There’s very little you can do in the form of attaching your name to a list on an email.

Anyway I’m reposting a common message being circulated on MXit here:

Microsoft has introduced a new mxit mail tracking system in an effort to ensure mxit remains the most popular chat room on the market. This message is a beta test of the new software and microsoft has generously offered to compensate those who participate in the testing process. For each person you send this message to, you will be given R5. For every person they give it to, you will get R3. For every person they send it to you will receive R1. Microsoft will tally all the messages produced under your name over a 2 week period and then message you with more instructions. I know you hate forwarded messages, and i was skeptical myself until last week when i got a real check in the mail for R821. Seriously , it really works. I wanted you to get a piece of the action. You wont regret it.