Townie the computer spy

“Big Brother is watching you,” I said to neighbour Jan over morning coffee on my stoep.
Issue Date: 31 October 2008

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“Big Brother is watching you,” I said to neighbour Jan over morning coffee on my stoep.

“As he died years ago you must be seeing his ghost,” came Jan’s irritated reply.

Having got Jan wound up, continued, “He can see your every move. Not inside your house, fortunately for you, but everywhere else you go.”

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“Townie, never had you down as a clairvoyant. There are no such things as ghosts. When you’re dead, that’s it. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust as the Bible says.”

“So you don’t believe the spirit lives on in some form or other?” taunted. “You’ll come back as a rampant bull, I’m sure.”

“what’re you on about this morning,” he asked.

“If you watched more TV, you’d know,” replied. “Big Brother is a satellite roaming around the sky called Google Earth. It takes photographs of every nook and cranny of our planet. Dial it up on a computer and you can zoom in on a city, even closer on a street, and see the people walking around on it. So if you think don’t know where you are and what you’re doing every minute of the day, think again.”

“You’re having me on, Townie.”

“No, I’m not Jan, come into my office and I’ll show you.” dialed up Google Earth on my computer, honed in on Johannesburg and zoomed to the city centre. All the landmark buildings were there to see.

“I want to see my farm,” said Jan. “This is expensive Jan so I’ll switch off now, but think I’ve proven my point.” Jan’s eyes were out on stalks. I wasn’t about to tell him the technology hadn’t yet gone so far as to access close up, remote areas of our land. Imagine if it had. I could see Jan, idly scratching his bum under a thorn tree, when he claimed he’d been furiously cutting his lucerne. “I got my eyes on you Jan. You won’t be able to go anywhere or do anything without me knowing. Big Brother will be watching you!”

“This is nothing short of an invasion of my privacy. have no right to spy on me,” said Jan testily, storming off my stoep. I let him stew for a day or two before telling him he was safe from prying eyes as the technology was not there yet. “But when it is, Townie, I’m going to learn computers too so can keep tabs on you. Just think we could run our farms from Earth, check on staff and stock without moving from the office, with a Klippies in one hand and a mouse in the other, and my brother’s ghost looking on in amazement.” – Derek Christopher |fw