Feast of Tabernacles 2011 event by ICEJ

This week I went to the opening night of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem’s Feast of Tabernacles, at a large hotel in the north part of Jerusalem.

I know many of the volunteers that are involved and this is the week they have been getting ready for all year, and probably the most significant event the Christian visitors to the holy land come for.

Sterling effort as usual, some great worship music.

It was also interesting to check out the conference room outside with various different Christian ministries and people from tourism offices promoting places like Nazareth and Beer Sheva as well.

Would of been nice to check out the rest of the event, but it is quite expensive to attend, but quite a bit cheaper for local Israelis or Christians with volunteer visas.

Jon’s IT predictions for 2011

In the old days you turned on the Telly and watched Tomorrow’s World for exciting new developments in technology. New gadgets, exciting products that would bring jobs and boost the economy, and revolutionary medicines and treatments for people in hospital.  Sadly a lot of things on TW never got anywhere, and it was a shame the BBC pulled the plug on this show in the 1990s. Pioneering British inventors like Sir Clive Sinclair, and Trevor Bayliss were often featured.

Heres my predictions for changes in the technology world this year:

Buying things online from a mobile device will start to take off, with extra versions of ecommerce sites available made for phones. I can see that you could go to a night club or live music events and buy songs from your mobile device and the venue could promote and take a percentage from buying songs.   Lots of people would be happy to spend on small impulse type purchased inspired by things they see on a billboard or whatever.

Location based mobile applications start to get much bigger.   Clocking in and out of work would be good by GPS.   How about a real life version of the ‘Tron’ lightcycle game (you may know this game as Snake on mobile phones from the 90s) where you can walk or drive around a location against a friend, hitting that invisible line made by your friend means you are dead. I think location based services have a lot of value for businesses to use a clock in type set up for seeing if employers have got in on time, and compliance with fire services. Because of this there are greater security problems with people being careless with keeping their day to day events online, just like there have been burglaries done after victim said they are away on Facebook.

Microsoft will gradually get businesses taking up Windows 7, but for most IT managers its a case of wait and see how someone else gets on, plus there are too many legacy apps that may not work correctly with XP emulation.

Tablet computers will quietly disappear again as they are just novelty devices for web browsing and little else, people will go back to using laptops, the means to use finger gestures to do actions is clever, but with no keyboard, and in the case of iPads with no USB or SD card slots for cheap flash storage, you can only ‘consume’ information and not create it.   Can you imagine people doing serious work that involve typing more than a few sentences?  Tablets would need to be set on a stand to angle them at comfotable angle.   Its really only half a laptop with no means to pivot the screen into a usable way that doesnt bring on neck or back ache.  I think interest in iPads from Apple fans but will start to wane as well.

Google and other search providers will promote statistics. I think people will want to more figures of what’s being searched for and current market trends. Go on Amazon and try and buy a book that out of print or a CD thats been deleted and you have options to buy a second hand one from a third party seller.   Information could be used to tell book publishers and record labels there is demand for certain things no longer available, and thus could justify a new print run.  In 2010 Google (I think) bought about 20-30 start up companies, they will continue to grow massively, they are already looking out for a bigger office for their Israel operations.

Google’s Chromium laptops get canned. There are not cheap enough, and there is too much competition, people are content with their current laptops, and not enough people are using cloud applications yet.   Its a good ideas but the public aren’t ready to give up using localised apps at the moment.  Dumb laptops for cloud only apps could make it in a few years though.

Mozilla, please market Firefox to grown ups like IT managers and persuade them to drop legacy browsers (Internet Explorer)  the current way Firefox is promoted is like a bunch of hippies in a VW bus selling organic soup or something.

Internet service providers should cut off people with severe malware or virus attacks, so should public hotspots, a feature to alert botnet activity or other activity I would expect could be built into enterprise grade wireless routers.

Digital watches with colour screens. Don’t know if they exist yet, but why not? Plug it into the PC and change the numbers fonts style, change the background, put a personal picture as a background screen, just like those LCD picture frames.  I think kids would love them.

Button MP3 players. Heard this on the radio the other day but also seen them online. A button type badge with a self contained MP3 player you pin on your jacket which you attach your headphones. You have a badge with the name of the band you can make a statement about and listen to the album of songs which are fixed on this simple music player. If these could be offered cheaply, they could be a nice way to buy and listen to music and lend them to friends without any legal problems, I think they would also become collectable as small run volumes of certain albums are produced.  Easy to lend them to friends also with no legal issues.  I think its a fab idea, something that would of been great in 1960s if mp3s where around then.

Autumn in Jerusalem, around town and at work

This last few months has been quite a varied collection of events.

September my good friend John came down from Portsmouth, originally from Malta, John is of Armenian Jewish decent and I do admire his huge amount of energy and enthusiasm for Jesus, and Israel and the Jewish people, he stayed a few days with me and got to visit a few places and walk along the city walls amongst other things.

I also got an extra person for my department at work which means I am no longer having to look after the computer network on my own.   I also made the decision to extend my time for the second time, and I will be volunteering right into the spring of 2011 when my visa runs out.

In October I had a strange stabbing pain my chest.  I originally attributed this to a strange cold I have had for about two weeks which could of spread somehow.   This was really painful so I decided to stay home from work the next day.   I booked an appointment with the doctors which I got with 4 hours notice, which was good.   As I did mention I bruised my hands from falling off my bike, they wanted to xray me in case I had cracked a rib, although I never got any bruising or injuries to my chest.   This results of this ancient xray machine, who the lady technician told me is probably the oldest in the country proved negative.

The next day after forgetting to take my pills for this condition, I found the pain to be completely gone!   Whatever it was, its no longer there and I am really thankful to the Lord for this.

Had a sad farewell to my friend Matthew from Switzerland as he goes back to Basel, actually twice as did one party at mine and one at his, and also to Taylor, volunteer journalist from the ICEJ as she come to the end of her time here.

Have had some really nice surprises with opportunities God has opened up for me with several  Jewish friends and acquaintances who are planning to make Aliyah (immigrate to Israel) one is a friend from my home city.   It will a real honour to put them in touch with people I know that will help them get settled here.   I also have been asked to help with technical set up for a colleague’s son’s Bar Mitzvah early next yet.   All of this is confirmation that I am not meant to get back into regular secular work back in the UK just yet.

I got to go with Christopher my work colleague and a couple from Canada to see some live blues guitar music (a few articles below) and also quick visit to the Mount of Olives and Jerusalem’s biblical zoo, I will cover the zoo visit soon.

This Wednesday I am going up to our food bank warehouse in Karmiel.   This requires a stay with one of the volunteer staff up there, as its 170km bus ride.   Actually I have to get up to Tiberias and get picked up by a van driver and brought up to Karmiel.   The Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning me and my co-worker at there there I hope to do a full back up the server and put on Windows patches, set up wireless routers and sort out a few other things.  Once I get a ride back to Tiberias, I will probably find somewhere to get dinner there before heading home.   I would dearly love to properly explore Tiberias for a few days, being the largest city in the Galilee but this will have to be another time, I only have a few weeks left here.

Work projects at the moment, include a fairly big redesign of our network to sort out the weird kinks that happen sometime, writing up documentation, replace a UPS system, source more memory for servers and a special presentation laser mouse and virtualise a few more PCs that are only used for remote VPN access.

I will probably skip going to the young adults worship event at church as I need pack for a camping trip at the weekend, not sure where it is, but staying somewhere on a beach and going to do some caving.   Looking forward to this.

Overall things are not always easy or go as planned sometimes, but life is good.