My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

How Digicel Data Doctor prevents Jamaican smartphones users from losing credit


“We made a commitment to listen. We made a commitment to change. Our dynamic team of tech-savvy Data Doctors knows the ins and outs of smartphones and how mobile data works, so our customers can feel confident that they will get all the help they need with even the most complex issues, always with a friendly greeting and a warm conversation”

CEO of Digicel Jamaica., Justin Morin, on the reintroduction of the Digicel Data Doctor 101 toll-free hotline

Is there a Data Doctor in the House?

Digicel has been on a roll, of late, having launched Destination Data and Free Data Nights as noted in my Geezam blog article entitled “Digicel gives all Prepaid Customers in Jamaica a Christmas Gift”.

Now they're decided that they need to reintroduce their Data Doctors to provide 12-hour call support each day as reported in the article “Digicel ‘Data Doctors’ Back On Call”, Published Friday February 9, 2018, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Customer can now dial 101 toll-free for a Data Doctor.

So what are the Digicel Data Doctors?

Digicel Data Doctors - Digicel ups the Ante with Better Customer Service

The Digicel Data Doctors are a team of customer care agents dedicated to answering questions on the following.

1.      Understanding the features of their smart-phone or Internet-enabled device
2.      Getting the right settings for their device to operate at peak performance while using data
3.      Selecting the best mobile data plan that suits their lifestyle and budget

The 101 toll-free lines will operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and is dedicated to dealing exclusively with for data matters. This is in addition to their 24/7 Customer Care Call Center, which is also located at their Headquarters on the waterfront!!


This is great as many Jamaicans need help with using their smartphones, being as they are mainly gifts from friends and family abroad but come with no instruction manuals. Worse, accessing Digicel Website requires that you have internet at home or you log on at an internet cafe, something very few Jamaicans actually do.

Interestingly they're already placed some helpful information on their Digicel YouTube Channel. Here are a few very helpful videos!

First, How to Activate & Renew a Data Plan.....


Next, How to Activate the International Calling Plan


Also, how to Ensure Your Phone Can Browse the Internet


And my personal favourite, how to Prevent Your Phone From Losing Credit...


Despite these videos, Digicel created this line based on customer feedback to offer simplified offerings, transparent charging and ways to prevent unwanted data usage as described in my blog article entitled “How to stop FLOW Jamaica or Digicel smartphone using your Mobile Data and Credit”.

Best of all, you can win smartphones such as the Samsung J5 Prime ever since Free Data Nights have become a permanent part of Digicel Data plans since January 2018 as I'd pointed out in my blog article entitled “How to get Digicel’s Free Data Nights and win a Samsung J5 Prime”.

So I guess this idea might soon put Digicel back in the No. 1 Spot, as they're the only telecom Providers providing this information instead. Sharing is caring so share this video with your friends!!!




Friday, February 9, 2018

How a Ban on Styrofoam, Plastics needs Recycling Initiative to save the Jamaican Environment

“One thing is certain, the paralysis of how we have approached items of our environmental protection throughout our history ... is at an end.”


Government senator Matthew Samuda commenting on changes coming from the Jamaican Government on a potential ban of Styrofoam and plastic bags

Justice is coming for the Jamaican Environment.

This as the Jamaican Government will be taking measure to limit the use of Styrofoam and single-use plastic bags as reported in the article “Gov't To Take Action On Styrofoam And Plastic Bags - Senator Samuda”, published Friday February 9, 2018 by Edmond Campbell, The Jamaica Gleaner. 

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This action is the result of the work of Government senator Matthew Samuda, who had championed the idea for the ban of Styrofoam and plastic bags when a motion was finally passed in the Senate on Friday October 7th 2016 as reported on my blog article entitled “How Plastic Bottles and Styrofoam may soon be banned in Jamaica”.

A working group, chaired by the Director, Mona GeoInformatics Institute, University of the West Indies, Dr Parris Lyew-Ayee, completed their task in October 2017. Dr Parris Lyew-Ayee canvassed the opinions of several Jamaicans via an online petition as reported back in August 25 as reported in the article “Last Day For Feedback On Proposal To Ban Plastic Bags”, Published Friday August 25, 2017, The Jamaica Gleaner.

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The working group will now submit their recommendations within 100 days of Wednesday February 7th 2018 as reported in the article “Recommendations On Reducing Plastic And Styrofoam Use In Jamaica Within 100 Days”, published Tuesday February 7, 2017, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This will be centered on how to reduce and eventually remove Styrofoam and single-use plastics bags but needs to be expanded to include 500ml plastic bottles. 

Ban on Styrofoam coming - Recycling Initiative needed to tackle plastics already in the environment

My personal recommendation is to pay Jamaicans JA$100 to return 500ml bottles and other types of plastic such as Styrofoam.

This a JA$100 is the overall equivalent cost the NSWMA pays per plastic item to have it removed from the environment as noted in my blog article entitled “How JA$100 for recycling 500ml Plastic bottles and Styrofoam Ban will save Jamaica's Environment”.

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Also the legislation on the collection of Garbage needs to be put in place to force large companies and householders to sort their garbage by type into different bins as follows:

1.      Plastics
2.      Electronics
3.      Organic Waste
4.      Cardboard and Paper
5.      Metals
6.      Glass

A more realistic fine of JA$100,000 would also help to deter the usage of Styrofoam and other plastics as well, including single-use plastics bags and 500ml plastic bottles.

Hoping to hear what this announcement will entail, as albeit a ban is good, we need to tackle the current problem that my recommendations would solve; getting Jamaicans to care about the environment by paying them to keep plastics from getting into the environment.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

How UWI Lecturer's Fourth Industrial Revolution AI doom will usher in UBI for Jamaica


“For a country like ours, that poses a huge challenge because what are our universities going to be teaching people to do when a lot of the things that you previously would hire people to do will be done cheaper, better, faster, and more reliably by robots and AI systems....”

Professor of sustain-able development at the University of the West Indies Anthony Clayton commenting on the coming of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and its effect on Jamaica.

In the next 5 to 10 years, artificially intelligent robots will usher in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, taking way jobs from Jamaicans.

So says Professor of sustain-able development at the University of the West Indies Anthony Clayton, l who says it'll have a really bad effect on Jamaica as noted in the article “Replaced By Robots - University Professor Warns Of Massive Job Losses When The Fourth Industrial Revolution Takes Place”, Published Sunday January 21, 2018 by Jason Cross, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Currently robotic systems powered by AI are restricted in what they can learn and do as pointed out by Dr. Clayton, quote: “There are actually a few things that the new robotic and AI systems cannot do faster, more accurately, and cheaper than humans. This includes a lot of service sector activities. Even in medicine, an area you would think could not be automated, there are AI systems now that are more accurate at diagnosing illness than any human being”.

But when they do, cheaper mass produced items will be coming from the First World Nations, who will use AI to wean themselves off a dependence on cheap Chinese products. But in the process, it'll push Developing World Countries like Jamaica into poverty, as we cannot compete with machines that can do the job of a human at a high quality level and at such a low cost.


AI will mainly disrupt jobs that are repetitive and dangerous such as fast food workers as noted in my blog article entitled “Fast Food Robot taking over by 2017 - How Drones like Amazon and PrimeAir and not Humanoid Robots will be the first Robots by 2015”.

Vehicular transportation might also be affected, as Taxis may be driven by AI, who may be deemed more efficient than humans to quote Dr Clayton: “Look at vehicles and the move to driverless vehicles and how many millions of jobs are going to be displaced, and it has already started. A number of countries, including the USA, the United Kingdom, and others are changing their laws to allow driverless vehicles on the roads. Countries are preparing for this new technological revolution”.

So what can we do to prepare for this coming Fourth Industrial Revolution powered by AI?

Fourth Industrial Revolution powered by AI - Dr. Clayton predicts Job losses as Degrees become pointless

Many will question the relevance of a University education, as AI can do the work better as pointed out by Dr. Clayton:  “What are we going to educate people for? People go to school to learn basic reading and numeracy skills, but after that, what are people getting an education for? Getting an education is, basically, for them to be absorbed into the employment market”.
This video below explains it all and makes the coming reality even more stark.


Already, we are in the early part of the AI revolution, with many working in Jobs that have already been made obsolete; it's really just a matter of time, Dr. Clayton asserts, quote: “It is a profound revolution. We are, potentially, going into a world where most existing forms of work will disappear. I do not doubt that we will invent new and worthwhile things to do. I am sure that people will be getting paid for doing jobs that do not currently exist”.

When AI becomes fully sentient, they may need to have rights just like humans as well.


As such, they'll have the right to work and earn a living. No job will be spared, especially as with the proliferation of the Internet and so many interconnected databases, the stage is set for AI to really dominate the world as predicted by Dr. Clayton, quote: “AI systems are taking over banking, medicine, and accounting, and we are only at the edge of what these things can do.

Jobs losses will be in millions, making many question the value of a University education, to quote Dr. Clayton: When you come to university, we try to fill your head with knowledge and understanding, but let's say that you have access to an AI system that gives you instant access to outstanding data analytic services to all of the world's libraries, what will you still need to know at university when you can ask your AI system any question and get an instant answer and get analysis behind it as well? There will be the question of why anybody would go to university when the jobs we used to train people for will cease to exist”.

Jobs that require a combination of skills that will include analytic skills and social intelligence maybe the only way to have employment as Dr. Clayton. argues: “You will need a combination of networking skills, social intelligence, the ability to manage complex logistics, to analyse problems and the ability to come with creative solutions because the full impact of it all will be felt in 20 to 30 years”.

Hopefully that doesn’t include teaching, as it may dissuade many from entering the field thinking that machines will take their work!

Jamaican and AI - UBI may become the norm once AI takes over

But all is not doom and gloom as Dr. Clayton claims.

Jamaica will easily adjust, by simply switching to UBI (Universal Basic Income), effectively paying Jamaicans simply to be humans and Jamaican.

This would be possible thanks to the NIDS (National Identifications that will usher in a cashless society as predicted in my blog article entitled “How NIDS coming in January 2018 means Electronic Transactions with GOJ to become standard”.

Giving a UBI of say, JA$100000 per month to each and every NIDS card carrying Jamaican, would become necessary and could be funded via scrapping all of the previous poverty alleviation programs and unnecessary Ministries of Government, which no doubt would also become automated.

Here' a video making the case for UBI


Additionally, sources of funding could come from Oil Mining, which the Private Sector Companies already have a future stake in as pointed out in my blog article entitled “Why Jamaican Private Sector funding Oil Exploration by Tullow Oil for US$300 per barrel in 2020”.

Addition all source of funding for UBI could also come from selling Hydrogen Gas produced via offshore windfarms as predicted in my Geezam blog article entitled “How PCJ Offshore Windfarm may be used to export Hydrogen and Uranium”.

Truly, AI taking away jobs is really a good thing; more time to spend with family and friends, as cheaper AI labour means money shifting back to government to be spend on UBI so that we can afford to live in a world without work.


Doris Engineering Group and Transport and Mining Ministry to test SWAC at Norman Manley International Airport


Seawater can be used for more than just salt from desalination. Turns out its pretty good at keeping thing cool too!

At least that's the premise of a five month study to be conducted on the feasability of a SWAC (Sea Water Air Conditioning) System at the Norman Manley International Airport as reported in the article “Henry endorses sea water air conditioning study at NMIA”, published Friday, February 02, 2018, The Jamaica Observer.

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Doris Engineering Group, a French company, met with Transport and Mining Minister, Lester “Mike” Henry with a proposal for this idea, which the company is ready to start in February 2018. It's already been funded from France; we're just the guinea pig waiting to sign on the dotted line.

Certainly sounds like the Transport and Mining Ministry is coming up with more progressive developement plans in recent months. This includes the planned move towards Hybrid buses by 2020 as noted in my blog article entitled “Why JUTC going Hybrid indicates removal of 60% import duty on Electric Vehicles”.

So what is Seawater Air Conditioning?

Doris Engineering Group and SWAC – Cooling from the ocean applicable to other companies

Seawater Air Conditioning uses deep cold water from the ocean to replace the need for a cooling agent used in most AC units. This deep cold water is pumped from the sea through a heat exchanger and absorbs heat from the building, cooling the air in the process, as would a normal Air conditioning unit.

However, it’s not such a new idea as this explainer video shows; it’s been tried and tested and is already in use.


Cold water from lakes or rivers can be used and it has the added advantage of a reduction in electric consumption of 80% to 90%. Throw in solar power to power the system and this could be a Net-zero operation.

Hopefully when the water is returned back to the ocean, no pollutants or contaminants are pumped back, as many of these systems use additives to prevent the seawater from causing the pipes to corrode.

Still, the potential for this system is huge. With such amazing cost reductions, it'll be interesting to see it implemented not only at the Norman Manley International Airport but at government facilities located to the sea.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

360 Netlab discovers hackers using Android phones and smart TV to mine Monero

Hackers have infected thousands of Android phones and smart TVs. Only this time they're using them to mine for cryptocurrency called Monero.

This discovery was made by researchers at Chinese cybersecurity firm 360 Netlab as reported in “Hackers infect Android phones and TVs to mine cryptocurrency”, published February 6 2018 by Laura Hautala, CNET News.

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Apparently, the hackers are taking advantage of open 5555 ports on these devices. Hackers used a worm to create this network of infected devices to mine for more Monero. By interconnecting these devices, the hackers have the computing power of thousands of devices that do not belong to them.

So how does this hack work?

360 Netlab and the hackers - Using spare processing power to mine Monero

360 Netlab found that the attack takes advantage of an open port 5555. Hackers discovered found unsecured Android phones and TVs and infected them with malicious worm. This worm then looks for more devices to infect, effectively creating a botnet.

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Strangely the hackers were able to figure out which phones had open port 5555, as they were not opening themselves as pointed out by Chinese cybersecurity firm 360 Netlab , quote: “The 5555 ADB interfaces of those devices have already been opened before [they're] infected. We have no idea about how and when this port was opened yet”.

Most likely, they achieved this via using phishing emails as described in my blog article entitled “How Islamic Cybergroup Team Emirates hacked the Ministry of Transport and Works

Something tells me that there may be even larger botnets out there mining cryptocurrency, the new wave for hackers. This, after all, is more profitable than deploying ransomeware, as the cryptocurrency is set to rise in value as their potential becomes more apparent.

Still, no harm done but more reason to be careful what you click on!!!


Why JUTC going Hybrid indicates removal of 60% import duty on Electric Vehicles

“We are hoping to start a pilot project next year, using electric buses operated by the JUTC but, of course, that will be dependent on the availability of the funding,”

Minister of Transport and Mining Mike Henry commenting on the JUTC going hybrid by 2020

Resident of Portmore rejoice!

The JUTC (Jamaica Urban Transit Corporation) may soon be going Hybrid after the construction of the Portmore transportation hub.

So says Minister of Transport and Mining Mike Henry, who plans to start a pilot project for Hybrid buses in the next two (2) years as reported in the article “Henry looking at going hybrid way”, published Friday, December 22, 2017 By Balford Henry, The Jamaica Observer.

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Minister of Transport and Mining Mike Henry, who made this announcement back in December 2017, is aiming for an environmentally friendly public transport sector in two years. The introduction of Hybrid buses, which run partly on battery and partly on another fuel, is a part of that long term plan.

This may be CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), as the JUTC is already embarking on a project to power their fleet using this form of LNG (:Liquid Natural Gas) as noted in my blog article entitled “Why the JUTC is adopting LNG and CNG as PCJ need to emphasize Solar, Wind and Biofuel”.

In the process, Portmore will also be transitioning to Smart City Status as pointed out by Minister Mike Henry, quote: “All of this will relate to how soon we can develop the Portmore transportation centre, which will operate as the hub of Portmore as a smart city”.

So what are the benefits of transitioning the JUTC buses from Diesel fuel to CNG and then to Hybrid?

JUTC going Hybrid - Portmore Transportation Hub will facilitate Hybrid Vehicles

As I’d mentioned in a previous article on the JUTC going CNG, a gas based fuel burns cleaner, give better mileage and is more environmentally friendly. CNG is used to power vehicles, mostly buses and trucks. However, the infrastructure for LNG for cooling and compressing, shipping and regasifying into CNG can be extensive and expensive.

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Producing and transporting LNG is also very energy intensive albeit the fuel is cheaper than Diesel a pointed out by Minister of Transport and Mining Mike Henry, quote: “CNG is a cheaper and cleaner fuel than the 'heavy oil' the buses are now using, but there have been queries and we will have to do a pilot project”.

The Portmore transportation hub will be built with Fast chargers for the buses, possibly build by Tesla in collaboration with the JPS Co (Jamaica Public Service Company) as noted in my blog article entitled “JPSCo US$5 million Smart Grid and Tesla Motors Battery Storage Tech Fixes Low Power Periods”.    

However, a hybrid vehicle runs on a gasoline engine and electric motor. The Vehicles wheels and transmission are powered by the electric current from the Li-Ion batteries, with a gasoline powered generator turning on every now and then to recharge the batteries.

Generators are a more efficient in converting chemical energy in gasoline to electrical energy than a gasoline engine is at converting the same chemical energy to mechanical energy. So expect the JUTC buses to be practically zero emission, making them truly environmentally friendly.

Golden Dragons with CNG - An expensive but necessary test run for Electric Vehicles

About 5-7 “Golden Dragon” buses being built in China for the JUTC will arrive fitted with CNG facilitation for the pilot program in 2019. If all goes well, then all JUTC buses will be retrofitted to be CNG, with a potential Hybrid upgrade in 2020.

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To achieve this, the import duty on electric vehicles would have to be removed, facilitating the importation of Li-Ion Batteries or buses already pre-built with Hybrid technology in them.

This may happen as the government may allow Car importers the same latitude they give themselves; importation of CNG and Electric Vehicles by removing the 60% duty in a bid to reduce our importation of oil as predicted in my blog article entitled “JPS, USAID and How removing 60% import duty on Electric Vehicle will reduce Jamaica's Oil Bill”. 

Even more interestingly, the generators used in the Hybrid buses may actually end up being CNG Generators. Interesting times indeed for the JUTC as they go Hybrid in 2020, heralding the coming of Electric and CNG vehicles to Jamaica!


Saturday, January 27, 2018

How NWC Prepaid Water means Digital Water Meters, Rainwater Harvesting Legislation on the horizon

Jamaicans, get ready for prepaid water.

The NWC (National Water Commission) in their push to tackle illegal connections and outstanding debt, plans to introduce prepaid water in 2018 as reported in the article “Prepaid Water Could Be Coming This Year”, published Tuesday January 9, 2018 by Jerome Reynolds, The Jamaica Gleaner.

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This bit of info was revealed during an interview with Corporate Public Relations Manager at the NWC (National Water Commission) Charles Buchanan Power Talk on Power 106 FM on Tuesday January 9, 2018. This is being considered in light of the following facts relating to NWC customers:

1.      NWC has 450,000 paying customers
2.      125,000 accounts are currently disconnected because of outstanding water bills

To translate that in monetary terms:

1.      JA$20 billion is currently owed to the NWC by customers
2.      Majority of the debt is in arrears for more than 90 days
3.      25% of the arrears is owed by customers who have been disconnected for unpaid bills

This may be an extension of a previous NWC initiative to launch Prepaid water based on Water tanks as detailed in the article “NWC Looking into Prepaid Water Tank Programme”, published February 28, 2014 By Rodger Hutchinson, The Jamaica Information Service. Several factors are being considered, such as the type of customer who would benefit from prepaid water.

So how will this be achieved?

NWC and Prepaid Water - Digital Water Meters, Rainwater Harvesting Legislation on the horizon

Since prepaid water would require more accurate billing, it is also an indication of the coming of Digital Water meters as long predicted in my blog article entitled “Why NWC Digital Water Meters means Water Rate Increase coming in 2016”.

This is part of the NWC's plan to reduce the impact of non-revenue water on their system as noted in “Gov’t To Reduce Non-Revenue Water”, published Friday September 22, 2017, The Jamaica Gleaner.

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If Digital Water meters are coming, further legislation for the introduction of Rainwater Harvesting may be in the works as predicted in my blog article entitled “How Rainwater Harvesting Bill means Rainwater Net Billing to end NWC's Water monopoly”. 

Not only would more accurate Digital Meters reduce water losses, it may also make it easier for third-party water providers to enter the market, as explained in my blog article entitled “How NWC’s Water Conservation in Drought 2016 means Rainwater Harvesting with Digital Meters”.

Competition in the water sector is always good; expecting that Prepaid Water will mean more water companies and possibly lower water bills!!!