My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica

Friday, April 14, 2017

How Jamaicans can set up a Paypal account to make money online

Setting up a Paypal account is the easiest business decision you'll ever make.

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There are two (2) types of Paypal accounts:

1.      Personal
2.      Business

So here are the steps to follow in order to set up a Paypal account

1.      Go to the Paypal website i.e.
2.      Click Sign Up at the top of the page.
3.      Select the type of account you would like to open i.e. "Personal" or "Business"
4.      Click Next.
5.      Provide your email address
6.      Create a password and click Next.
7.      Fill out your personal information
8.      Click Agree
9.      Create Account.

Note: If you’re going to do business online, choose the busnesss Paypal account, which gives you the option to create buttons as well as shopping Carts for your website or blog. Paypal will then ask you to verify your account by adding a Prepaid Scotia VISA or CIBC VISA VISA Debit card as per the video below. 

This is to verify your identity; Paypal will refund you the money. At that point you're verified and good to go!!!

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My next article will focus on using Paypal as a means of enableing Jamaicans to do e-Commerce via a blog or website. Sharing is caring so share this with as many of your friend interested in a Paypal account.

Here’s the link:

How to Hard Reset the FLOW or Digicel Huawei Y3 Series smartphones

So you purchased a Huawei Y3 smartphone and it decided to freeze on you or viruses have decided to take up residence. Worse, if you forgot you password lock code.

Fret not, you have a couple options.

You can always root the smartphone mount it like a harddrive using a portable antivirus as listed in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “13 Portable Antivirus to remove any Virus or Malware on Laptops, smartphones or Tablets”. 

An alternative is to simply do a hard reset and wipe the phone clean as in the case of the Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 smartphone as detailed in my blog article entitled “How to Hard Reset the FLOW or Digicel Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 smartphone”.

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This reset the phone back to factory if you unlocked the phone, you’ll have to pay to do that all over again!

At this point, before you do a Hard Reset, it would be good if you backed up your Google Android contacts and data i.e. images, files, music and videos as explained in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “How to backup and export Google Android contacts before you lose your smartphone”.

Otherwise you may have to recover the data form you wiped SD Card as noted in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “How to recover deleted Data from internal memory of an Android Smartphone or Tablet”. 

How to do a Hard Reset on a Huawei Y3 Series smartphone - Great for removing Pattern lock

The steps are simple and easy:

Power down the phone using the Power button. Then press and hold Power button and then the Volume Up + for about 3 seconds

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The use the following steps:

1.      Release the keys held as soon as the Huawei logo 
2.      Choose wipe data/factory reset using Volume buttons option to scroll up and down
3.      Confirm using the Power button
4.      Select Yes--delete all user data using Power button to select
5.      Select reboot system now to restart the phone 

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At this point the Huawei Y3 Series smartphone is unlocked. Not only that, but the password lock is also removed as pointed out in the video below.

Sharing is caring so share this handy Huawei Y3 Series Hard reset tutorial with as many of your friends as you can.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

How Jamaicans can use WhatsCall App to make Free International Landline and Mobile calls

“Traditional messaging apps, and other tools that enable us to talk via the internet, rely on data connections from both parties and smartphone notifications being switched on. WhatsCall doesn't require a recipient to have a data connection, the same app, or live notifications”

David Wu, VP of global app marketing at Cheetah Mobile explaining how WhatsCall works

So you want to make Free International Calls?

While FLOW Jamaica allow you 3Mb and upwards on their new FLIW Lyf plans to make WhatsApp voice Calls as noted in my Geezam blog article entitled “FLOW Lyf Data Plans wins over WhatsApp, Deezer and FLOW Sports Fans”, this requires that the persons have a Smartphone with a data plan or access to Wi-Fi.

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There are very few apps that allow you to make calls directly to ordinary cellphone and landlines, such as the Call+ and MagicApp Free Calls as detailed in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “How to make Free International Calls to Landlines and Mobiles Anywhere in the World”.

So is there another alternative?

WhatsCall - IP-PSTN Bridges a divide powered by Advertising and subscriptions

WhatsCall is that alternative.

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Available in both the Apple ITunes Store as well as the Google Play Store, WhatsCall enables you to call international landline and phone numbers directly. Developed by Cheetah Mobile Cloud, it’s currently a very popular app with over 10 million downloads. The WhatsCall VoIP app offers:

1.      Free international calls to Cellphones
2.      Free international calls to Landlines
3.      Instant messages to your WhatsCall contacts
4.      Sending photos, text and voice messages to your WhatsCall contacts

A cross between WhatsApp and Viber, the app uses Wi-Fi or Mobile Data to make calls by using IP-PSTN, a combination of IP and older, Public Switched Telephone Network, or PSTN, architecture as noted in the article “WhatsCall is a new Viber competitor that works without a data connection”, published October 11, 2016 by Owen Hughes, International Business Times.

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However, it differs in that it allows you to make free direct calls to international Cellphones and landlines. As we all know nothing is free, this is actually possible because the app generates revenue from the subscriber doing various in-app tasks such as:

1.      Treasure hunts
2.      Play games
3.      Subscribe to offers
4.      Clicking on ads

WhatsCall is basically powered by subscriptions and advertising, in exchange for clicking on a few ads, you get 1000 credits upon joining and signing up to do more in-app tasks earning you more credit. The 1000 credits gives you up to 30 minutes of free call time based on the country specific call rate chart of the app.

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An example of this credit based calling system is listed below:

1.      India- 170 credits/min
2.      Saudi Arabia- 1150 credit/min
3.      United States- 120 credits/min
4.      Malaysia- 330 credits/min

The call quality is dependent on you Internet quality and draws upon your contact list to facilitate good functionality and calling experience. So this may be the future of IM Apps; integrating IP-PSTN to bridge the divide between the Internet and older PSTN Networks paid for via advertising and subscriptions.

Here’s the link:

Sunday, April 9, 2017

How Banana Shortage in Jamaica indicates Bananas extinct in Caribbean by 2020

Folks, it’s official; we now have a banana chips shortage in Jamaica.

So says a few select manufacturers of Banana chips in Jamaica as reported in the article “Banana Chips Shortage - Manufacturers Take A Hit As Higher Prices Push Farmers To Tourism”, published Sunday April 9, 2017 by Ryon Jones, The Jamaica Gleaner.

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The banana chips industry is based on using green bananas that did not meet export standards.

However, since 2004 when hurricanes wreaked havoc on the Jamaican Banana sector, farmers have been leaving the Banana Sector altogether as pointed out by David Martin, general manager of JP Tropical Foods, quote: “The country (Jamaica) had seen a series of hurricanes beginning with Ivan in 2004, then there were Dennis and Emily. There were five of them (storms); the last one that took us out of the banana export business was Gustav in 2008”.

Add to that the fact that Banana farmers dislike selling green bananas to banana chip manufactures. They instead prefer to keep them longer and make them ripen to sell to higglers, who pay them twice as much for the same low-quality bananas on the local market. In fact, that sale price triples when they sell bananas to the tourism sector.

Jamaica's banana export market is dwindling, and is now a shadow of itself from its former glory days as pointed out by general manager of the Jamaica Banana Board, Janet Conie, quote:  “We had a large export market in the 1990s and early 2000s when export was in excess of 50,000 tons, sometimes over 70,000 tons, and we were producing the same amount for the domestic market. Now we are not exporting a lot. Last year, we exported 410 tons while our local production was 57,000 tons”.

That’s right folks: 410 tons in 2016 when back in the 1990s and early 2000s, 50,000 to 70,000 tons was the norm.

So what must be done?

Jamaica’s Banana Industry Dilemma – Panama Disease Threatens an already dying Industry

There is a need to increase banana production as pointed out by general manager of the All-Island Banana Growers Association, Donald Elvey, quote: “The real issue is that we need to increase domestic banana production by another 20,000 tons. We are on target to do that, but again, because of the cyclic production, you will find that during the summer months, the farmers have difficulties in selling their banana, so people are averse to further expansion in acreage”.

Their need to be a banana sector geared to supplying banana chip producers specifically, as it has now gotten to the point that Jamaica Producers (JP), manufacturers of St Mary Banana Chips, has been importing banana chips from the Dominican Republic.

There is also a need to develope a breed of banana resistant to Panama Disease (Fusarium Oxysporum) which the UNFAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization) says can wipe out Bananas in the Caribbean by the year 2020 as predicted in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “How the Panama Disease can destroy Caribbean Banana Farming by 2020”. 

One of the largest growers of bananas locally, JP (Jamaica Producers), manufacturers of St Mary Banana Chips, established a factory in the Dominican Republic (DR) in 2006 from where it has been importing some of its chips.
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In fact, JP is slowly making the decision to move their banana chip production to the Dominican Republic, to quote David Martin: “We decided we needed two supply options, so we still operate a factory in Annotto Bay, St Mary, and we commissioned a factory in the DR in August 2007. And there have been hurricanes since, as recently as 2012, which flattened the farm here in Jamaica, which we have put back up since then. But when it was flattened the only place we could supply our chips from was the DR factory”.

JP are not alone; Maroon Pride, despite planting their own acreages of banana, still cannot get enough to operate their production facilities for more than three days a week, to quote Manager of Maroon Pride, Robert Chambers: “Right now, we can't operate for five days a week, we operate for two or three days. The production is really low and this is because of the difficulty in sourcing the supply, so we just give thanks that we can still stay afloat”.

A leading banana chips manufacturer in the west, they have to compete with the hotels, whom the few banana farmer that are left prefer to sell their banana.

Chippies, another banana chip brand, is now down to 10% of the market, due to the banana shortage. They can only supply smaller 20ft container worth of the product to their various suppliers, to quote an unnamed company official: “There is a shortage because we are just not getting enough green bananas. We do export a little bit and some of the persons we export to we usually supply them with 40ft containers, but now they have to be taking 20ft containers because we cannot supply. One particular distributor who is on Amazon hasn't received any product for the past month”. 

Jobs are on the line; fewer people are being hired in Chippies' packaging plant, again quoting this unnamed official: “Business has been impacted in a very negative way. We have downsized quite a bit in terms of both factory staff and office staff. We have been doing that for a while because of the whole supply situation. ... So when people leave we don't replace them”.

So urgent action is needed to get the Banana Industry and it periphery industry, the Banana Chip Industry back on its feet. Otherwise we may be facing the extinction of Banana by 2020.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

How to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot on an Android Alcatel Pixi 4 smartphone

So you just purchased a 30 day Data plan from FLOW Jamaica as listed in my Geezam blog article entitled “FLOW Jamaica new Data Plans as FLOW ID, My FLOW App and Streaming Needed”.

In case you've been living under a rock (as have I), you may not know that FLOW Jamaica has changed the price for their Data plans as follows:

Data allocation
Auto Renew
Activation Code
2 day
100 MB
3 days
300 MB
7 days
400 MB
30 days
750 MB
30 days
1.5 GB
30 days
3 GB
Pay per use

So how do you share your 30 Day Data plans with your friends? Hotspot!!!

How to create a Hotspot - Sharing your Data Plan is really caring

Hotspots are especially popular among teenagers at high schools, as it allows them to share data with friends. And the steps are so easy a demonstrated using my little Alcatel Pixi 4 smartphone:

First, you have to be on the homepage of your smartphone.

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Scroll and look for Settings.

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Then click on setting and search for More.

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Click on more and search for Tethering and portable hotspotThen click on Wi-Fi Hotspot.

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Make sure to slide the slider for Keep Wi-Fi Hotspot on. Select Set up Wi-Fi Hotspot.

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Enter the Network name.

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Then enter the Network Password.

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That it! Once saved, you can share the Wi-Fi Hotspot password with your friend nearby. Sharing is caring so share you Wi-Fi Hotspot making tip with your friends

Monday, March 20, 2017

SRC and NEPA has Turnera Campaniflora as hypertension medicine and insect repellant

Looks like we might have a hypertension medication coming from another plant that is found only in Jamaica.

That plant is the Turnera Campaniflora plant, which is believed to fight hypertension as reported in the article “Scientific Research Council To Test Plant For Medicinal Properties”, published Saturday March 11, 2017 by The Jamaica Gleaner.

SRC and NEPA has Turnera Campaniflora as hypertension medicine and insect repellant.jpg

It's related to the Ram Goat Dash along and as such is expected to be used in a similar capacity. The SRC research will begin in another two weeks.

The plan may potentially be another natural insect repellant similar to my combination of essential oils as listed in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “How to make DEET-free mosquito repellant from Essential Oils and iso-propyl alcohol”.  
So where is the plant located?

Turnera Campaniflora - Rescued from extinction at Quaco Rock in Clarendon

The Turnera Campaniflora, which is endemic to jamaica, is located in Quaco Rock in Clarendon. it is critical endangered and the NEPA (National Environment and Planning Agency), who are working with the SRC, had spotted the plant initially.

The SRC then used tissue culture to regrow the plan, which was the star of the show at SRC’s Science in the Gardens event held at Hope Gardens in February 2017. Some 100 plants are to be placed in public gardens across the island.

So expect this plant to be a future treatment for hypertension......or at least a good insect repellant.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Reviving old x86 machines using Ubuntu, Fedora, Zorin, Mint, KXStudio and Tails OS

Have an old x86 machines that's super slow when running Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP or even Windows 7?

A Linux distribution might just be what the doctor ordered for your PC as noted in the Geezam blog article “Linux and Other Open Source Technologies: The Benefits for Jamaica”. Linux is an open-source (and free) OS that can breathe new life into your old machines.

Because it’s based on the Linux Kernel, Linux Operating Systems, which are called flavours, have much lower system requirements and fewer security issues. But with hundreds of flavours of Linux, which one do you choose?

Ubuntu and Fedora – the Obvious Choice for Linux lovers

The most obvious choice will be to use an OS that has the look and feel of Linux and windows and may be capable of running Windows programs.

To this end, I usually recommend Ubuntu OS or Fedora, which can all be installed on the same machine and has some interesting benefits as noted in my blog article entitled “How to install Windows, Fedora Linux and Ubuntu Linux on the same Computer”. 

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After all, Ubuntu is the choice for Xiaomi's US$200 Mi Notebook as I'd explained in my blog article entitled “How Xiaomi's US$200 Mi Notebook is a Linux Ubuntu Laptop for Christmas 2016”, so it's natural.

Zorin OS - Windows paintjob with a heart of a Linux

If you want a Linux OS that looks like Windows then Zorin OS is your best bet.

It has a GUI (graphical user interface) that can be tailored to look like a Mac or a PC. Like Windows it has a Start button in the lower-left corner of the screen with a programs list and search tool, just like Windows.

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In the lower-right corner there's a notification area, clock, volume control, again borrowed from the Windows OS. But aside from the Windows-like appearance, the fact that it comes pre-loaded with WINE as described in my blog article entitled “How to install Windows, Fedora Linux and Ubuntu Linux on the same Computer”  means it can run pretty much any window program with ease.

Mint OS, KXStudio OS and Tails OS - Linux flavours with a Dash of Cinnamon, Music and Privacy

Other distros are more Linux-like and make the transition to Linux that much easier. One such is Mint OS, a great option if you want to dive into Linux. The Linux distro UI (User Interface) comes in four desktop flavours:

1.      Cinnamon
2.      KDE
3.      Mate
4.      Xfce

If you a first time to Linux OS, choose the Cinnamon desktop. Xfce is for the control-loving persons who like menu-configuration options. Xfce is lightweight and will run very well on x86 machines designed to run Windows 95, 98, 2000 or XP.

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If Music is your thing, then KXStudio OS is the Linux Distro for you. It comes preloaded with custom audio applications and utilities. KXStudio OS uses both Debian and Ubuntu software repositories, so updates are never far away.

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Tails OS is for the spies among us who love privacy online and want to remain anonymous and secret. It can run from a USB Thumb Drive, DVD or even a memory card. The tools are also very barebones, with traffic from its browser, email client, instant messenger being routed through Tor Servers akin to how the Tor Messenger works as explained in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “How Tor Messenger Beta keeps your Messages Private”.

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So with so many choices, you can visit the LIVECD list and download a bootable Linux OS and use it to revive you old PC. Sharing is caring so share this with as many of your friends as you like.

Here’s the link: