My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica


Thursday, July 20, 2017

How Jamaicans can Network Unlock the Apple iPhone 7 Plus and older versions

The Apple iPhone 7 and 7 plus are the latest iteration of Apple' successful smartphone brand.

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Alas, they are expensive smartphone, often being locked to a specific Network, a troubling problem as you might want to use it on another network.

Relatives importing them may notice that they have to get them Network unlocked for as high as $12,500 or use an RSIM, a SIM replacement over their originals sim costing $6500.

So is there a way to unlock the Apple iPhone 7 Plus and older versions for free using software?
Fortunately there is….and all it requires is patience.

How to unlock the Apple iPhone – Patience truly is a virtue

There are 2 procedures that I've successfully tested:

1.      # Key method
2.      1 Key method
3.      Apple Server Method

Before you begin make sure you have a VPN Set up so that it makes you appear as if you are in the United Kingdom as noted in my MICO Wars Blog article entitled “How Jamaicans can find reliable free VPN to work anonymously online”.

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First is the # Key method, which simply requires that you continuously press the # for 30 minutes. This method works on all smartphones include the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. I've tested it myself and it does indeed work.

The next method is aptly called the 1 Key method and work best for an out-of-the-box iPhone. At the very beginning where you choose languages, you double press the Home key until you get Emergency Call.

Then you select start again and press the Home key once. Then select the Emergency call and continuously press the 1 key for 15 minutes.

This method works esclusively on the Apple iPhone 6s and 6S Plus and older...not so sure about the Apple iPhone 7 Plus.....but you can always try and tell me how that goes.

Finally there is the Apple Server Method.

That's it! Sharing is caring so share this with all of your friends!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

How Pittsburgh and Temple University used CRISPR-Cas9 to eliminate HIV-1 in Mice

“The next stage would be to repeat the study in primates, a more suitable animal model where HIV infection induces disease, in order to further demonstrate elimination of HIV-1 DNA in latently infected T cells and other sanctuary sites for HIV-1, including brain cells. Our eventual goal is a clinical trial in human patients.”

Comment by co-author of the study Dr. Khalili on using CRISPR-Cas9 to stop HIV from replicating

Infections from the HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) may soon be a thing of the past.

This as scientists from University of Pittsburgh and Temple University's Lewis Katz School of Medicine have developed a technique to remove the virus that casues AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) using CRISPR-Cas9 as declared in the article “Scientists can eliminate HIV infection in mice using CRISPR”, published May 03, 2017 by Marcia Galluci, Mashable.

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First published in the journal Molecular Therapy under the title In Vivo Excision of HIV-1 Provirus by saCas9 and Multiplex Single-Guide RNAs in Animal Models, the team demonstrated that they were able to completely remove all traces of the HIV virus within mouse organs and tissue.
But stopping a virus in its track is a huge breakthrough and opens up the possibility of using CRISPR-Cas9 against every disease known to man.

University of Pittsburgh and Temple University and CRISPR-Cas9 -  Stopping HIV-1 from reproducing

CRISPR-Cas9 (Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) has already being used by researchers to do some remarkable things.

It already had shown great potential in eliminating Congenital disease in humans as noted in my blog article entitled “Netherland's Plan to create Artificial Wombs, improve invitro-fertilization and eradicate Genetic Diseases”.  

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Currently suffers from the symptoms of HIV have to take toxic concoction of antiretroviral medications to suppress the virus from replicating. The researcher, however, demonstrated that it was possible to use CRISPR-Cas9 to remove the HIV-1 DNA from the genetic code from infected cells, effectively stopping the virus from replicating.

What the team did was genetically inactivated HIV-1 in the mice, by stopping RNA, the genetic messenger that relaying the toxic information, from expressing its viral genes by 60% to 95%.

So how did they do it?

CRISPR-Cas9 used to stop HIV - First Mice next humans

The scientists used their CRISPR-Cas9 tool in three (3) scientific models

They used it on genetically modified "transgenic" mice in which they introduced inactivated the HIV-1 virus by reducing the RNA expression of viral genes. This means the RNA in the HIV-1 virus could not reproduce as it couldn't relay its viral code

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The other two (2) models were mice that had been engrafted with human immune cells, including T cells, making them the closest thing to a human model possible. Finally a third batch of mice were infected with a latent HIV-1 that would have minimal effect on the mice, with the virus lying dormant in their cells.

Using CRISPR/Cas9, researchers were able to block replication of the virus. They demonstrated that they could potentially prevent systemic infection, affairs in the medical field. they also successfully removed viral fragments of the infected human cells embedded in mouse tissues and organs.

Human trial may take years, especially as  HIV-1 virus can hide in the the Immune system and the brain as pointed out by Dr. Khalili, quote: "a more suitable animal model where HIV infection induces disease, in order to further demonstrate elimination of HIV-1 DNA in latently infected T cells and other sanctuary sites for HIV-1, including brain cells. Our eventual goal is a clinical trial in human patients.”

Human trials might take years to conduct, with primate being the first human-like test subjects. if they are successful, we may not need a cure for HIV; we may make ourselves immune by disable the HIV-1 virus from being able to replicate in the first place.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Drone Adventures Ltd to sell DJI Drones in Jamaica

Drone Adventures Ltd is pleased to announce their new showroom in Montego Bay is open.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) also referred to as ‘Drones’ is the latest technology that brings enormous benefits to Jamaicans as well as private/corporate enterprises and government entities.
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Located on the ‘Hip-Strip’ in Montego Bay at 31 Gloucester Avenue, also known as Bottom Rd, Drone Adventures will is open 7 days a week from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM Monday through Saturday and Sunday Noon until 5:00 PM. Clients may also schedule an appointment for before or after hours.

Drones combine the pleasure and enjoyment of model aviation with aerial photography for the individual as well as performing multiple roles for the private sector including surveying, crop management & spraying, security to just name a few.

Drone Adventures - Selling, Renting, Repairing and Training UAV Pilots

Drone Adventures will not only be selling drones they will also provide flight training, service & repairs, rentals and contract services within many sectors.

“We have aerial drones for the entry level consumer as well as professional aerial platforms used by film makers and movie studios,” says Communication Manager, Reta Johnson. “Our industrial drones are geared towards agriculture, farming, fishing, construction, security and national defense.”

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“All of our prosumer and commercial/professional drones come with 1 hour Free Training to insure the owner has an understanding of the JCAA regulations, flight safety and technology.
Our staff has more than 55 years’ experience in model aviation, including fixed wing, helicopter and drones,” Johnson states, “our training is geared to the first-time owner/pilot as well as the more experienced model aviator.”

Drone Adventures and DJI - Partnership to promote Quality UAV's in Jamaica

 “DJI is the recognized world leader in drone technology and we are Jamaica’s authorized dealer for DJI products as well as several other manufacturers,” Johnson continues. “We have also partnered with the leading consumer warranty provider in the United States to offer Extended
Warranties and Service on drone purchases. This provides the owner with piece of mind in the event of a crash, malfunfunction or unforeseen accident with no questions asked. Best of all it will be repaired or replaced here without it being sent back to the manufacture or somewhere off the island.”

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Drone Adventures will also be offering 3D Printer technology. A process used to create a three-dimensional object in which layers of material are formed under computer control to create an object.

“We’ll soon be adding the latest in new drone technology as well, with Unmanned Underwater Vehicles or UUVs. This exciting new drone is capable of going to depths of up to 100 meters while taking photographs and video 4K video quality.” Johnson adds.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Jamaica Computer Society and Ministry of S.E.T. fears AI will eliminate Call Center Jobs in 2021

“AI does not flourish without the help of the programmer and architects behind the scene,”

Technology Minister Dr Andrew Wheatley speaking at the symposium organised by the Jamaica Computer Society held on Friday June 9th 2017

The symposium organized by the Jamaica Computer Society at the regional headquarters of the University of the West Indies may have some people working in the BPO Industry on edge!!

This as it was revealed at the symposium organised by the Jamaica Computer Society held on Friday June 9th 2017 that AI (Artificial Intelligence) is a threat to those people employed in the BPO sector as argued in “Artificial Intelligence Posing A Threat To BPO Jobs – Wheatley”, published Friday June 23, 2017, The Jamaica Gleaner.

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So important was this event that the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology @MSETGovJM tweeted the event as it happened:

Technology Minister Dr Andrew Wheatley admitted as much, as AI systems such as the IVR (Interactive Voice Response), or “Ivy” as employees at FLOW's Call Center fondly refer to their Voice activated system that assist with customer queries.  

Already FLOW Customer Care handle 911 and other Emergency queries as predicted in my blog article entitled “How OUR can fund FLOW Jamaica Emergency operator service using Stay Alert App, Mobile Money and Advertising”.

This system isn't artificially intelligent, but rather is a knowledge database that takes input from your phone keypad and provides the appropriate output either in voice or via a text to the customer with the information requested. Potentially AI, the modern day version of Automation, can potentially take away 50% of all jobs in Jamaica, starting with Customer Service Representatives!

But what if in the future it could be made to respond to voice conversations, even answering the customer in a unique voice?

AI and BPO - 200,000 jobs at risk in 2021

 In Jamaica the  BPO sector employs some 22,000 people, with the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) aiming to reach 200,000 by 2021.

The BPO sector has the highest potential for generating job opportunities for those high school leavers. Call Centers are also a reality for University Graduates who are unemployed, albeit you have an advantage if you speak another language such as Spanish as noted in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “PM Andrew Holness says Spanish is Jamaica’s Second Language as UWI makes it compulsory”. 

In other countries, AI-based systems are becoming an attractive option to replace humans in repetitive, boring or sometimes even dangerous jobs. There are AI systems that can answer calls and solve certain problem-solving functions, but they are not yet human enough in their interactions with people to replace a human CSA's.

So what is the solution?

Dr Wheatley and Computer Programmers - train Jamaican people as programmers and software developers

These AI systems are getting better as Dr Wheatley, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology admitted at the symposium organised by the Jamaica Computer Society. still  he did stick to being passive and optimistic in his approach as noted in “Gov’t Set Sights on Artificial Intelligence”, published June 23, 2017 By Douglas McIntosh, The Jamaica Information Service.

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He pointed out that presented an opportunity to train Jamaican people as programmers and software developers as I've long suggested in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “Why Coding in HTML and CSS3 and speaking Spanish needed in Jamaica”. 

I'd even go as far as to suggest Land and attractive housing to talented programmers as West Rural St Andrew Member of Parliament Paul Buchanan had suggested in June 2015 as noted in my blog article entitled “Computer Programming the Future of Jamaica – How Paul Buchanan plans to jump start the ICT Revolution”.
The demand for coders is especially strong in:

1.      Germany
2.      Japan
3.      China
4.      United Kingdom

More reason to learn a foreign language in the future as most of the coding jobs are in non-English speaking countries as I've pointed out in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “How Jamaicans can make money from Coding and Foreign Languages”.

Minister Wheatley is correct; Jamaica needs to become producers of solutions rather than being consumers. Learning a foreign language at Grade 9 is a start as I've pointed out in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “Ministry of Education to make Foreign Languages compulsory up to Grade 9 by 2017”.

As such, Dr. Wheatley plans to re-tool computer science graduates for high level BPO jobs involving programming and software developement, quote: “We must, therefore, look to increase the number of computer science graduates from our tertiary institutions, so that we can take advantage of the clear opportunities that will come from the new demand for highly skilled programmers”.

Otherwise AI will come to Jamaica by 2021....and take away all of those jobs.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

How University of Bath CSCT biodegradable cellulose microbeads can replace plastic microbeads

“Microbeads used in the cosmetics industry are often made of polyethylene or polypropylene, which are cheap and easy to make. However these polymers are derived from oil and they take hundreds of years to break down in the environment. We've developed a way of making microbeads from cellulose, which is not only from a renewable source, but also biodegrades into harmless sugars. We hope in the future these could be used as a direct replacement for plastic microbeads”

Dr Janet Scott, Reader in the Department of Chemistry and part of the CSCT, commenting on the idea of using cellulose to replace microbeads

Want to get that clean refreshing scrub but without the guilt of polluting the environment?
Scientists and engineers from the University of Bath CSCT (Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies) may have the answer; biodegradable cellulose microbeads as detailed in the article “Scientists make biodegradable microbeads from cellulose”, published June 7, 2017, Physorg.
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They have published their results in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering that details how the microbeads replacements are made from cellulose, the same material found in wood and plants.

Biodegradable cellulose microbeads from a sustainable source could replace harmful plastic ones that have been banned by the US of A in 2017 as noted in my blog article entitled “How US microbeads ban by 2017 means NEPA ban coming to protect Coral Reefs”. 

So how did the scientists make the cellulose into a microbeads replacement?

Microbeads in the Environment - Biodegradable cellulose microbeads

Microbeads are little spheres of plastic less than 0.5 mm in size.

They are added to personal care and cleaning products including cosmetics, sunscreens and fillers to:

1.      Give them a smooth texture
2.      Help remove dead skin by their scrubbing action

A single shower can result in 100,000 plastic particles entering the ocean, or eight million tonnes of plastic entering the ocean every year. They present an environmental problem as they are too small to be filtered by sewage filtration systems. The plastic particle can absorb pesticides and toxins and upon being consumed by fish in the aquatic food chain.  Ultimately, we humans may end up eating microplastic in our fish, with deadly results.

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The process involves recovering cellulose from various sources such as from the paper making industry. The cellulose is then mechanical milled and made into a fine powder with the same level of granularity as corn meal. The solution of cellulose is forced through tiny holes in a tubular membrane. This creates spherical droplets of the solution which are washed using biodegradable vegetable oil. The beads are then collected, set and separated from the oil ready for use in a variety of products.

The CSCT has largely achieved their goal of a replacement for microbeads that manufacturers can use, to quote Professor of Chemical Engineering and part of the CSCT, Davide Mattia: “Our goal was to develop a continuous process that could be scaled for manufacturing. We achieved this by working together from the start, integrating process design and chemistry optimisation, showing the strength of the multi-disciplinary approach we have in the CSCT”

Already plans are the works to develope biodegradable cellulose microbeads for use in:

1.      Cosmetics and personal care products
2.      Slow release fertilizers

Physical techniques can be used to make the biodegradable cellulose microbeads harder or softer. With the help of £1 million by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council, a team, led by Dr Scott and including Professor Davide Mattia (Chemical Engineering) and Professor Karen Edler (Chemistry) plan to make porous beads, capsules and microsponges.

It also presents some interesting applications for other chemical researchers in Jamaica, as biodegradable cellulose microbeads can be used in cleaning products, both for home cleaning as well as personal hygiene e.g. toothpaste and body washes and soaps.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Jamaican Hackers attack JDF, JCF as Science, Energy and Technology Ministry predicts more Ransomware

“Yes, the country security entities, the JDF and the JCF, were affected by a malware threat earlier last week. Luckily we were monitoring our systems, as is usually done, but now with much more vigilance since the recent worldwide ransomware attacks which affected over 100 countries and which crippled so many important systems”

Ministry of National Security statement on reports of hacking of the JDF (Jamaica Defense Force) and the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force)

Hackers are now attacking JDF (Jamaica Defense Force) and the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force).

What's interesting here is that these hackers are Jamaicans or at least reside in Jamaica as noted in the article “Attack on police, army”, published Sunday, May 28, 2017 by Karl Angell, The Jamaica Observer.

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Luckily Jamaica's IT Task force was able to spot the hacking attempts as noted by the Ministry of National Security in their statement, quote: “As a result of this vigilance and our usual checks, we were able to minimise the effects of our malware attack. At this point, I can fairly accurately reveal that our systems, which come with many different and varied software protection, especially firewalls, held up well. Plus, we were able to quickly take action, which assisted greatly in countering the offending malware. Further, I can say that the systems at the Ministry of National Security were not affected by this attack”.

We're also lucky; apparently those local Jamaican hackers were just playing around and aren't into the business of extortion, quote:  “We did think about that aspect when we became aware of the malware attack on our security systems, so we made exhaustive checks, and right now the answer to the question is no, we have not received any ransom requests, but we are still in the process of checking; so right now, the answer is no, no ransom request.”

So is this something Jamaica should worry about?

Ransomware and Jamaica - Expect more in the Summer of 2017

It definitely is as it could have been much worse.

Jamaica's Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley gave an accurate description of ransomeware, quote: “Ransomware is a type of malicious software that carries out an extortion attack on computer files by blocking access to data until a 'ransom' is paid. If users do not pay in time they are threatened with the deletion of their files. The ransomware is usually spread through various means, including e-mail attachments or malicious links within an e-mail”.

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According to Computer Incident Response Team Dr Moniphia Hewling during a presentation to the NSC (National Security Council) on Friday May 26th 2017, Jamaica has lost some US$100 million to cyber-criminal activity. The incidence of cybercrime has been on the rise in Jamaica, prompting chair of the NSC, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, to raise this issue to the level of Cabinet.

His aim is to allocate resources to increase Jamaica's ability to deal with the rising tide of cybercrime. Worse, there are now free Wi-fi hotspots spreading across Jamaica as part of our smart City initiative as noted in my blog article entitled “How Free Wi-Fi and Smart City upgrade coming to New Kingston in Q3 2017”.

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Perhaps a rethink of security measures needs to be put in place. Dr Andrew Wheatley has warned Jamaicans to secure their computer systems. He's predicting more ransomware WannaCry-esque attacks in a few weeks time.

So my fellow Jamaicans, be prepared as a storm is brewing on the internet this summer of 2017!!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

How Juno, NASA’s Jupiter satellite, show Poles have turbulent Ammonia and Water Storms

“What we’re finding is anything but that is the truth. It’s very different, very complex,”
Juno’s chief scientist Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute

Juno, NASA’s Jupiter orbiting satellite, has returned some very stunning images of the planet.

They show storms at the poles of the planet that are just a turbulent a those around the equatorial regions as reported in the article “Amazing pictures show cyclones swirling above Jupiter’s poles Jupiter”, published 26 May 2017 By Timothy Revell, New Scientist

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You can check out the latest on the NASA Juno mission on their Twitter page @NASAJuno.  Also check out NASA Tumblr blog on the Juno Mission entitled “Incoming! We’ve Got Science from Jupiter!

Scientists now have to rethink Jupiter, as the poles were seen as being too calm to have cyclones, being as they are not pointed at the Sun. Thus they should be cooler and have no weather activity similar to other planets and out Earth.

Juno has spotted white ice caps on Jupiter made of ammonia and water and a surprisingly strong magnetic field. Not a nice place to light a match, as the resulting explosion would not go upwards but would smoulder and spread in a blast wave ripple across the surface.

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Already some forty new papers have been published using the analysis of these images which reveal that the Gas giant is far from boring and uniform.

Juno - A mission four years in the making

Juno reached Jupiter on 4th July 2016.

It orbits the Jupiter once every 53 days, taking 2 hours to complete a pass from North to South Pole and back again. 33 planned pole-to-pole circuits in all in a spacecraft built with 1/2 inch thick titanium vault to withstand the high radiation levels expected from the planet.

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Juno’s aim of creating a comprehensive 3D map of the planet with the Great Red Spot, which is scheduled for July 2017.

I'm expecting more exciting thing from Juno by July stay tuned to my blog!!