My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Twitter rolls out Group DM and 30 Second Vines - How TweetDeck's Scheduled Tweets now with Group DM is addictive

Twitter is now upgrading their services, finally, as promised as per their article “How your Twitter feed will change in coming months”, published November 12, 2014 5:29 PM PST by Michelle Meyersm, CNET News!

Their last upgrade, where they became more like Facebook back in April 2014 was so lacklustre and lacking in imagination that I did an article focusing on how to steal twitter photos as explained in my blog article entitled “How to Download Twitter user Pictures as Twitter makes Facebook Timeline changes”.

This time they've decided to on a real upgrade; a new Twitter App introducing Group Messages and 30 second videos as reported in the article “Twitter launches group messages, 30-second video sharing”, published January 27, 2015 5:35 AM PST by Ian Sherr, CNET News!

Honestly, I haven't tried them, but I can tell you I prefer Tweetdeck more than Twitter itself, then good News, this feature is coming on Tweetdeck as well as per the article “Now on TweetDeck: group Direct Messages” published Tuesday, January 27, 2015 By Amy Zima, Product Manager, TweetDeck Blog!

So what are these services like? Stellar on Tweetdeck!

Twitter rolls out Group DM and 30 second Vines – Tweetdeck integration shot, albeit I really expected more from Twitter

The 30 second videos within twitter are a no-brainer; it’s just Vine with longer videos. Apparently 4 seconds enough time to really tell a story. Like Duh!

But the Group DM is like dope, y'all, especially on Tweetdeck! Note: I don't take coke or anything, just that if done right, it can be as addictive as the White Lady!

In essence, you can now send a DM to a group of people instead of just one person on Twitter as well as in Tweetdeck! Great, just what I needed, more DM (Direct Messaging) to complicate my life along with Facebook Messenger, which already does a great job as a Standalone Messenger.

Still, I’m disappointed!

I was hoping for something like a Twitter Groups App similar to Facebook's Group App introduced in November 2014 as per my blog article entitled “Introducing Facebook Groups App – How to connect to your Facebook Groups on your Smartphone or Tablet

Even a 90's style secret chartroom similar to anonymous Facebook Rooms that was introduced later in October 2014 would be nice as described in my blog article entitled “Facebook launches Facebook Rooms - The 90’s Return as Facebook faces competition from Anonymous Mobile Social Networks”.

Twitter rolls out Group DM and 30 second Vines - How TweetDeck's Scheduled Tweets combines all these features

But I guess this is the best Twitter can do, as after all the only have roughly 284 million users as noted in the article “Twitter's user base keeps growing, particularly on mobile devices”, published October 27, 2014 1:29 PM PDT by Ian Sherr, CNET News!

So will I be using this latest feature? Not as long as Tweetdeck exists!

Currently I'm still testing out Tweetdeck and I like it much more than Twitter, as it's a great complement to Twitter. I especially like the Schedule Tweet feature, as that's helping to automate my twitter feed. If they're great enough, you'll see me tweet pictures of these features on my Twitter feed.

Ciao. Link me at @lindsworthdeer on Twitter

Here’s the link:

Min. of Education Ronald Thwaites and Teacher's Colleges - TIS Project Tablets for Mico Teacher's College, Mandatory Special Education and Free Early Childhood Retraining

Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites seems to have finally remembered the Teacher's Colleges.

He was a no-show at the launch of the Samsung smart School room at the Dunhaney Park High School on Friday January 23rd 2015 as note in my Geezam blog article entitled “Samsung's Smart School are Tablets for VARK Hexagons of Learning”.

But he was front and center at the Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange on Monday January 26th 2015 as noted in the article “All teachers' colleges to get tablets”, published Tuesday, January 27, 2015 BY ANIKA RICHARDS Online/health co-ordinator, The Jamaica Observer.

This as he's announced that they too would be getting Tablets as part of the TIS (Tablets in Schools) project as well along with a raft of equally strange pronouncements at the Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange at the newspaper's Beechwood Avenue headquarters in Kingston on Monday January 26th 2015.

Still that a relief; I don’t have to buy a tablet; I’ll be getting one subsidized, probably costing some JA$9000. For me this was expected, being as it was announced back in November 2014 that the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining had signed a JA$114 million with Book Publishers for e-book and Web content for the Tablets as reported in my blog article entitled “JA$114 million spent on Content for TIS Project Tablets - JA$76 million on Math, English and Science Content by January 2015 to stop Teachers Padding Book-lists for Commissions

So to reassure Teacher's Colleges, Sam Sharp isn't all that special having gotten some 250 Tablets under the TIS (Tablet in Schools) Project back in October 2014 as noted in the article “Sam Sharpe Teachers' College Gets 250 Digital Tablets”, published Saturday October 18, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner.  

To quote Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites: “In the pilot, the Ministry of Education didn't choose the schools, but Sam Sharpe was one of the teachers' colleges that got tablets. This year, all of the teachers' colleges will, because you can't have the students getting it and the teachers are not”.

However, it’s what he said about the Grade that will be getting e-books and web apps, Special Education and Early Childhood education that has me shocked.

But one chock at a time! So which grade will be getting these e-books on their Tablets?

Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites and Teacher's Colleges - Grades receiving e-books on Tablet revealed

Along with that bit of information, he also revealed which grades will be getting e-book and Web apps from both the approved and supplementary lists for 2015/2016:

1.      Grade one to three will be receiving all books with the exception of textbooks for mathematics
2.      Grades four to thirteen (Third Form) will be receiving some books

Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites has plans to increase this by next academic year 2015/2016 quote: “Putting the textbooks in electronic format will result in savings for the ministry, by eliminating the need for book repairs as well as the cost associated with transportation. This will include all books at grade one to three, except for math texts. Some texts at grade four to six and seven to 13 will also be available in e-format. The ministry is currently in discussions with publishers, so this number could increase by the start of the next academic year”.

Publisher no doubt do not like this Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites plans, as they'll potentially lose money, especially as the boys can hack the tablets as noted in my blog article entitled “Male Student hacks TIS Project Tablet as Distribution Expands - Tablets Problems require Creative Jamaican solutions to deliver Lessons to the Learners We Teach”.

Negative effects of TIS Project - Special Education to be made Mandatory for Graduation

But the bombshell was later down in the interview. he first revealed that Tablet were being used for other unconventional usages, such as accessing pornographic websites, quote: “Family members are using the tablets at home to show blue movies for hire, causing us to question the whole (thing). The teachers, by and large, don't understand the system as well as plenty of the students”.

Like duh, Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites, if you have a Tablet and free Wi-Fi in the ghetto, what do you thinks gonna happen?  

But the shocker was what he said at the very end (or was it in the middle!?) that’s shocking!

Special Education will now be mandatory for ALL Teacher's College graduates, meaning that they'll have to do an entire course on Special Education i.e. dealing with students with Dyslexia, Autism, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), quote : “One is that every teacher from now on will not be graduating unless they do, not just a module, but a whole course in special education......It is absolutely critical that our teachers, who are the first responders, learn to identify a special need and not run away from it at the earliest stage; and the second thing they have to do is they have to become far more digitally competent”

There is also going to be an emphasis on Early Childhood education, as there seems to be a shortage there as well as per the article “Educators hesitant as Education Ministry moves to improve early childhood sector”, published Monday, January 26, 2015 5:26 PM , The Jamaica Observer.

In fact, Minister of Education  Ronald Thwaites is offering to retrain teacher for Early Childhood Education if they’re unable to find work, quote: “We have surplus teachers in the system who we are now trying to persuade, where they are not adequately serving, to come into early childhood…we will retrain them,”

Holy mackaroni!

Disclaimer: As a teacher in training at the MICO University College doing a Professional Diploma in Teaching, I think I just got set up, pepper Steak and Bag juice and all as noted in my blog article entitled “Cooking Restart at MICO - How to Cook a Meal in under 30 minutes and make Drinks with Bag Juice”.

Tablets coming but in order to get that as a Teacher, I must do Special Education, as via the fiat declaration of Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites, this is a must as apparently there is a shortage of Special Education Teachers.

Lord, if you exist, have mercy upon my soul!!!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Australian Matthew Carpenter sells ShipYourEnemiesGlitter for US$85,000 – How the Trend of Glitter Bombing started before Valentine’s Day

The San Francisco Zoo has sprung up with their own special version of Hate Mail dedicated to your ex-lover this Valentine's Day.

Want to start a business this February 2015 just in time for Valentine’s Day that already research and has a built in market as specified in my blog article entitled “20% of Jamaican MSME's Fail to get Bank Loans - Why MSME's need Business Plans, Marketing Plans and Market Research”.

Why not start a Glitter Bomb delivery service to anonymously deliver the hate straight to your enemies! Or better yet, a cockroach and scorpion Delivery service this Valentine’s Day to show your ex-lover how much you really dislike them?

San Francisco Zoo’s idea this Valentine's Day is for you to anonymously send your ex-lover a stuffed Scorpio or Cockroach, the least liked of creatures on the zoo, to your ex-lover as explained in the article “San Francisco Zoo offers way to get even with exes, Monday”, January 26, 2015 9:15 AM, The Jamaica Observer. Really, this is their idea and for a price too; it’s all in a bid to raise funds to take care of the other animals.

Their prices seem a bit reasonable to express you loathing of your ex-lover:

  1. US$20 to send a stuffed Scorpion native to the Southwest US
  2. US$50 to send a stuffed Madagascar Cockroach 
Seem like the thing to start doing, after 22 year old Australian Mathew Carpenter, was forced to sell his highly successful website business ShipYourEnemiesGlitter for US$85,000 as reported in the article “Ship Your Enemies Glitter site sells for $85,000”, published Thursday 22 January 2015 10.11 GMT by Alex Hern, The UK Guardian.

Why exactly did he do such a thing?

Matthew Carpenter and ShipYourEnemiesGlitter – How the trend of Glitter bombing started before Valentine’s Day

Apparently his website, ShipYourEnemiesGlitter, which he launched on Tuesday January 13th 2015 as a joke, became so popular that within 24 hours he had to be begging people on Facebook to stop using his website as reported in the article “The Founder Of 'Ship Your Enemies Glitter' Is Begging People To Stop Using His Service”, published JAN. 14, 2015, 2:34 PM by TAYLOR LORENZ, BusinessInsider.

What exactly was the business that this website promised?

As the name says, you can ship a spring-loaded tube full of Glitter, described on his website as the “herpes of the craft world” to your enemies.

Note here “enemy” means anyone you really dislike i.e. ex-husband, ex-girlfriend or annoying sister anonymously for a mere US$9.99, similar to the one show below. Something tell me this is going to become the trend for Valentine’s Day 2015 and the rest of 2015!

His website description even indicated that a note would be added to increase the spillage of the stuff. From my own experience as a Part-time Evening Professional Studies student here at MICO University College is nearly impossible to clean off any surface…..unless you have a small pressure hose handy. By the way, if you’re interested, here’s how to build a Glitter bomb!

Apparently a lot of persons found this idea so enticing that they flooded him with some requests, resulting in the website receiving some 1,000,000 hits in the space of 24 hours.

All told, by the time he figured out how to suspend orders on his website, he had amassed some US$20,000 or orders for roughly about 2000 Glitter bombs during the four (4) days after launch that he ran his website up to Sunday January 18th 2015.

He needed to start hiring people to makes them and apparently being as he probably has a day job or worse lived with his parents, this was not a good look. Not to mention the global media attention!

The man who purchased ShipYourEnemiesGlitter from him was apparently a customer that had shelled out some US$83,000 in Glitter bombs. Apparently he had so many enemies or he was just simply trying to swamp him with so many orders, that he eventually called it quits. Well it worked; this anonymous owner now owns the ShipYourEnemiesGlitter domain name.

His is an example of a business so successful that he had to abandon it, as he couldn’t stand dealing with the Glitter. Now his accidental success has inspired a few copycats, including the San Francisco Zoo, who are more than willing to step up to the plate to take the orders of his hands in their respective countries, namely:

1.      Glitterbombs in Britain
2.      Mat Won’t But We Will in the US of A

Now two weeks later and US$85,000 richer, his overnight success has inspired copycats. By doing the research via experimentation, any Jamaican who want to make a Glitter bomb business or any delivery business that involves delivering outrageous and unpleasant gift to the ex-lover you hate this Valentine’s day can do so. Scorpions and Cockroaches and any other insect you can think of included!

Adjusting for cultural differences of course, being as glitter is essential for any Carnival costume or women’s nail polish…….delivery of Goat Dung would seem an appropriate alternative to Glitter here in Jamaica, once you can kill the smell.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Dr. Chunlei Guo's Hydrophobic Surfaces - Nanoscopic Architecture imparts Musical properties at a Nanoscopic Level

Captain America, AntMan and Mr. Atom fans all over the world will finds this bit of News very exciting. Queue the movie Trailer for Captain American, The Winter Soldier.

Researchers at the University of Rochester have developed a way to make Metal hydrophobic by tracing a pattern at the nanoscopic level using a Laser as reported in the article “Laser-generated surface structures create extremely water-repellent metals”, published Jan 20, 2015, Physorg.

Their research, published in the Journal of Applied Physics, was led by Dr. Chunlei Guo and his colleague at the University's Institute of Optics, Anatoliy Vorobyev involving the use of Femtosecond Lasers to carve intricate patterns on the Metal surface.

Yes, in case you're a fan of my blog My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica these past years, these are the same Femtosecond Lasers used in Research done by Dr. Jingyu Zhang at the University of Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Center and Eindhoven's University of Technology to write Data to naturally occurring Quartz Crystal back in July 2013 as chronicled in my blog article entitled “University of Southampton and Eindhoven's University write and read Data to Quartz Crystal - Eternal Storage borrowed from Superman Man of Steel”.

FemtoLaser, more correctly called Femtosecond Lasers, are Lasers that pulse rapidly on and off with a period of 1x10−15 seconds or a frequency of 1000 THz. According to their Research, during each pulse the amount of energy release per pulse is equivalent to the power requirements of the entire US of A, yet it’s powered from a Wall socket.

So how does this Femtosecond Lasers makes Metal and potentially any surface have these properties? Apparently a capacitor is involved, as I’ll explain later.

Dr. Chunlei Guo Patterns on a Metal – Making Music on the Surface at a Nanoscopic Level

This super powerful yet apparently portable Laser is used to blast out a pattern on the surface of the Metal that looks like quilted Downy Toilet Paper, making the surface ultra-smooth and flat, with few large nanoscopic mountains on the surface as shown below, only gentle rolling hills at least 20 to 50 Atoms across.

The resulting pattern on the Metal becomes a permanent part of the Metal’s surface, unlike coating like Liquipel that merely coats a given surface with a hydrophobic organic polymer as noted in my blog article entitled “Waterproof and Water-Resistant with Liquipel 2.0 – How to make your smartphone Water-Resistant to even Toilet Water”.

In fact, the surface is so hydrophobic that water literally bounces off the surface, collecting dust particles as it rolls around, making such a surface easier to clean and impossible to get dirty.

Even more impressive is that the angle at which water will roll off such a surface is only 5°.
This is much lower than the 70° angle required to make water roll of a source coated with PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) commercially known as Teflon and the substance used to coat non-stick Metal or Ceramic Frying pots.

Best of all, it doesn’t rust!

University of Rochester and Hydrophobic Metal – Mr. Atom becomes an Architect at the Nanoscopic scale

Strange as it may seem, scratching an intricate, precise pattern on a metallic surface using a high precision Femtosecond Lasers imparts incredible properties to the Metal.

This shouldn't come as a surprise as if the Laser is a powerful as advertised in the Journal, at that power level it can create Quantum Dots of Metals on the surface of the Metal at an atomic scale.

Effectively, this is the equivalent of dropping atomic bombs on the surface of the Metal to move mountains of Atoms to create intricately precise machined structures.

Another way to look at it is that it’s no different from someone shrinking down to the size of an Atom, like Mr. Atom. Then that person or Team of Atom sized individuals, armed with pickaxes, shovels or better yet a Caterpillar backhoe and other earth moving equiptment like dynamite and pneumatic drills at that nanoscopic level, would dig into the Metal surface.

Using those theoretical nanoscopic tools along with other miniature tools, these Atomic sized miners can move and pile the Atoms into intricate patterns that in turn, impart properties to the metallic surface. Best of all, because it’s at a nanoscopic scale using the Atoms from the surface of the Metal, these changes are a permanent part of the metallic surface, imparting, as I said, different properties to the metallic surface.

If my theoretical miners at the Atomic scale were to dig up Atoms on the metals surface and pile the Metal Atoms into slanting vertical columns that resulted in photons begin reflected back down to the surface of the Metal, they could create internal reflection.

Such structures could be channels with covered archways that had small slit-like openings or even skyscrapers with very smooth reflective surfaces.  What would happen is that photons of light reaching such a nano-sculpted surface would continuously reflect light back down to the metallic “surface”, making it appear permanently black.

This is what Dr. Chunlei Guo’s Research Team at the University of Rochester did back in November 2006 using a Femtosecond Lasers to create a surface that absorbs light, actually reflecting and refracting it on the surface so well that it's permanent black, as noted in the article “Ultra-intense Laser blast creates true 'black Metal'”, published Nov 21, 2006, Physorg.

To quote Dr. Chunlei Guo in his own words back then, quote: “We've been surprised by the number of possible applications for this. We wanted to see what would happen to a Metal's properties under different Laser conditions and we stumbled on this way to completely alter the reflective properties of metals”.

Similarly, if our atomic Miners were to dig up Atoms on the surface of the Metal and make little parallel trenches at least 20 Atoms and separated by walls at least 40 Atoms wide going in one direction, this system of canal ways would basically be a nano-capillary system.

Using Van Der Waal's forces of attraction at the Nanoscopic scale to attract liquid, making it possible to overcome the liquids Atoms own internal covalent and Van Der Waal forces of attraction and causing it to climb up any surface.

This is what Dr. Chunlei Guo’s Research Team at the University of Rochester did back in June 2009 using as Femtosecond Lasers to create a surface that can attract water and make it go uphill  as reported in the article entitled “Scientists create Metal that pumps liquid uphill”, published Jun3 02, 2009, Physorg.

This would be the opposite of the surface that is hydrophobic; Dr. Chunlei Guo’s Research Team effectively created a hydrophilic surface that attracts water and make it go upwards, against the force of gravity in a manner very similar to the Leidenfrost Effect, but sans grooves and heated surfaces.

Again, to quote Dr. Chunlei Guo own words back then, quote: “Imagine a huge waterway system shrunk down onto a tiny chip, like the electronic circuit printed on a microprocessor, so we can perform chemical or biological work with a tiny bit of liquid. Blood could precisely travel along a certain path to a sensor for disease diagnostics. With such a tiny system, a nurse wouldn't need to draw a whole tube of blood for a test. A scratch on the skin might contain more than enough cells for a micro-analysis”.

Nanoscopic Patterns on Atomic Scale – Everything is possible with the Art of the Laser

Different patterns on the surface of the Metal create different properties, no different from etching a Processor in as Fabrication Lab at Intel. The different here is that the fabrication process is done using a high-energy Laser that puts out as much every per femtosecond as the US of A in a single blast in an area about as small as the point of a needle on a Metal surface.

This is possible thanks to using a high capacity Capacitor that stores energy and discharges in rapid bursts to power the Femtosecond Lasers, scorching and moving the reshaping the landscape at a nanoscopic scale, Atom by Atom. And as this technique has been done for years on semiconductor silicon using chemical and UV Light, so too can Femtosecond Lasers be used on other materials other than Metal.

Just be prepared to wait 1 hour to do a piece of Metal surface 1 inch square.

The University of Rochester’s Team is working on a way to speed up the process and scale it up to as manufacturing process, making it possible to build surfaces with different properties based on the type of patterns that coat the surface. Even secret messages can be store on to the surfaces, invisible to the naked eye.

But according to Dr. Chunlei Guo, the possibilities are endless in terms of the properties that can be imparted to the surface based on the pattern as well as the resolution of the nanoscopic manipulation of the material:

1.      Surfaces that are Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic   
2.      Surfaces that can reflect and absorb light
3.      Surface that are effectively invisible like the Harry Potters Invisibility cloak
4.      Surfaces that can reflect or absorb sound e.g. like Captain America’s Vibranium shield
5.      Surfaces covered with data, effectively an eternal storage media with infinite capacity

I'm pretty excited about this, as it has immediate applications for the Developing World, to quote Dr. Chunlei Guo: “In these regions, collecting rain water is vital and using super-hydrophobic materials could increase the efficiency without the need to use large funnels with high-pitched angles to prevent water from sticking to the surface. A second application could be creating latrines that are cleaner and healthier to use”.

It also means I can finally get a non-stick Metal or Ceramic pot in the future that won’t scratch off and will be permanently non-stick, great for cooking my favoiurtie meal of Ramen noodles as described in my blog article entitled “Cooking Restart at MICO - How to Cook a Meal in under 30 minutes and make Drinks with Bag Juice”!

Just kidding, but at least it woundn’t rust so fast, thanks to this clever yet innovative discovery by Dr. Chunlei Guo and his colleague at the University's Institute of Optics, Anatoliy Vorobyev!

Ubuntu Snappy Core for IoT – Why Ubuntu is excellent for Girls Who Code Developing Drones and Robots for IoT

“It has never been easier to develop for embedded devices. Ubuntu Core on the cloud is a perfect platform for test and dev; I can simulate my device online and launch thousands of simulated devices on demand”

Device Engineering Manager for Canonical Alexander Sack, commenting on the advantages of Ubuntu Snappy Core

CES (Computer Electronics Show) 2015 has made it clear that 2015 is not just the Year of the Sheep, but also the year of IoT (Internet of Things) as noted in my Geezam blog article entitled “Internet of Things trend in smartphone-obsesed World at CES 2015.

Canonical, known more for their Open Source Operating System Ubuntu, is now taking aim squarely at the IoT (Internet of Things) with their ultra-small Ubuntu Operating system, Snappy Ubuntu Core as reported in the article “Open Source Ubuntu Core connects robots, drones and smart homes”, published January 20, 2015 6:00 AM PST by Rich Trenholm, CNET News.

Drones, smart home appliances and yes Robots that run on ARMv7 and X86 thanks to the addition of a HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) making it possible to work with both system architecture. ARMv7 and X86 chipsets will all be able to use Ubuntu Snappy Core in the future to function and also enable internet connectivity to smartphones as noted in the Ubuntu Blog IoT page.

Hence you can develope and test IoT applications for hardware on an old PC without having the actual Hardware on hand as noted in the article “Ubuntu wants to be the OS for the Internet of Things”, published January 22, 2015 By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, ZDNet.

You can in essence, with Ubuntu Snappy core, focus on the work of Software developement as follows:

1.      Develop the I/O interaction between code and Hardware
2.      Simulate how the code will work WITHOUT the Hardware
3.      Compile, Load and Run their devices

All this in an open Source Package that would other cost thousands of dollars in commercial Grade Robotics Grade Simulation software. Best of all, if allows you to free up your team,  with one set working on Software Development and another set on building the hardware separately.

To quote Canonical's VP of Device Engineering Victor Palau: “If you want to try it on x86, a spare laptop or PC becomes your initial development board. Turn an old PC into a home storage server or prototype your robot app on a spare laptop or virtual machine”.

Ubuntu Snappy Core for IoT – Why Ubuntu is excellent for Developing Drones and Robots for IoT

According to their website, Ubuntu Core is surprisingly lightweight, requiring only a 600MHz Processor and 128 MBs of RAM on a computer, be it simulator or the Device in question.

Ubuntu Core itself uses 40MB of RAM on smartphones and Tablets, and Factory Reset and system Rollback capabilities are possible so long as the devices has 4GB of SSD (Solid State Drive) Flash to spare.

Already, there is an example of the use of Ubuntu Snappy Core, the Erle-Copter educational drone that demonstrates the results of the usage of the Open Source Tools contained in Snappy Core. So yes, it’s excellent for developing not only devices controllable via your smartphones and Tablets, but also Robots and Drones.

This is exciting to tinkerers who build anything from Drones, robots and smartphones such as the members of the fledgling Girls Who Code Club , who can add Robotics coding to their Coding Skills as noted in my blog article entitled “Girls Who Code Clubs Christmas eCard Project - Workshop for Software Coding Females creating Evangelion Pilots passing on their knowledge”.

In my mind, is a counterweight to Google's Project Ara, which is coming to the Caribbean as Google seeks to jump-start creative work among Hardware and software Developers for IoT compatible devices as noted in the article “Google testing new smartphone project in the Caribbean”, published Thursday, January 15, 2015 9:40 AM, The Jamaica Observer.

Best of all, like Google's Project Ara, its not restricted to smartphone and you can develope IoT Applications for devices that you can publish on Ubuntu's App Store, acording to VP of Internet Things at Canonical Maarten Ectors, quote: “The app store for Internet things is now open on Ubuntu. Ubuntu makes it easy to develop amazing apps for incredible devices on your laptop, test on the cloud and publish straight to a global market of diverse devices”.

So will you be getting Ubuntu Snappy Core? It's an interesting way to program Drones, Robots and any device that you want to be connected to the Internet and be remotely controlled using your smartphone via a Cloud Server.

Here’s the link

Friday, January 23, 2015

20% of Jamaican MSME's Fail to get Bank Loans - Why MSME's need Business Plans, Marketing Plans and Market Research

Getting money to fund your business can be tricky for an MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise).

Especially when Banks are refusing, which leaves you with only VC (Venture Capital) and Crowdfunding as your only options as explained in my blog article entitled “JN Foundation and JNSBL launches Jamaica's first Crowdfunding website, iSupport Jamaica - Local Crowdfunding to the rescue of Jamaican Innovators so you don't have to be The Lone Ranger”.

But what if the problem is with the MSME’s themselves?

This is what CEO of the JBDC (Jamaica Business Development Corporation), Valerie Viera, who point out that the main reason for many MSME being turned down for loans is a lack of documentation and research into the market as it relates to their business as noted in the article “Only 20% Of MSMEs Qualify For Loans - Most Lack Business Plans Other Necessities”, Published Tuesday January 20, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.

In fact, only 20% eventually get a loan from a financial institutions, a question that JBDC CEO Valerie Viera asked during the Jamaica Gleaner's Editor's Forum on Wednesday January 14th 2015, quote: “So is it any surprise that only about 20 per cent of the client group that applies for, or is even granted a loan from a financial institution?”

Dear reader, prepare yourself; this may be my shortest article yet!

JBDC CEO Valerie Viera is packin' the heat with some stats, my favourite thing that lays it bare as to why MSME's fail:

1.      85% of MSMEs do not have a business plan
2.      50% have no marketing plan or even how they plan to market their products
3.      70% have not thought about research and development, much less done any
4.      20% of MSME applicants eventually get a loan from financial institutions

This is no surprise. Many Jamaicans have an idea for a business but do no documentation of any sort, thinking that all that's required is a lot of money, no business plan on paper and word-of-mouth marketing with no advertising budget to get their business going.

If these stats are true, it would seem that her previous sentiments expressed at the Mona School of Business and Management Inaugural Conference at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort, Montego Bay suggest that the main problems that MSME's have is not financing, but a lack of documentation and research, quote:  “I want to be a little radical and say it is not the first obstacle that my clients in the field are facing. I want to first start to say we need to build the capacity of the MSMEs to really be in a position to negotiate for the financing”.

Thanks to this lack of research by MSME’s, most of the products and services being offered have no connection to the market as many MSME's haven't even done any research, resulting in product/market mismatches, to again quote JBDC CEO Valerie Viera: “I often wonder what's the philosophy behind many of the products that the financial institutions are offering because most of them have no relationship to the needs of the client group. If I'm diabetic and you give me a beautiful cake you (are) not helping me. That's exactly what is happening and we need to revisit that”.

Thus a perception is built up in the minds of some MSME's that their being blocked form accessing business loans and Banks only give loans to their “friends” or associates as JBDC CEO Valerie Viera suggests, quote: “Many of our financial institutions speak about ... products for the MSMEs. The truth is that it's the same people who access those funds over and over because it's the same people who qualify for interviews”.

JBDC CEO Valerie Viera stats speak otherwise. The ball is really in the MSME's court to do the one thing many of these businesses aren't doing; actually operate like one!