My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica


Sunday, December 17, 2017

Why Ministry of Health and WHO are experimenting with PrEP HIV Vaccine

“In terms of trying to strengthen the HIV programme to reduce the impact of the epidemic, we are looking at all the recommendations that have been given by the World Health Organization (WHO), and PrEP is one of those. We are trying to get a feel of what the public thinks about PrEP, and also to do our internal piloting in various spaces, and based on the outcome of that, we would say to the Ministry of Health's wider directorate that we recommend that this be implemented in this way”

Director of the HIV and STI unit at the Ministry of Health, Dr Nicole Skyers, commenting on the PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) pill.

Jamaica is fighting a silent and growing battle against the HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) due to low condom use. So can a pill help?

That is the assertion of Ministry of Health, which is currently mulling the idea of a PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) pill as explained in the article “'Magic Pill' For Ja? - Gov't Looking To Introduce Preventive Drug To Reduce The Spread Of HIV”, published Sunday October 15, 2017 by Ryon Jones, The Jamaica Gleaner.

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This is on the heels of the current controversy over the human papillomavirus (HPV), which I personally suspect is an experiment as opine in my blog article entitled “Why the Ministry of Health must vaccinate Jamaican Boys and Girls against the Human papilloma virus”.

Like that vaccine, the PrEP pill would protect HIV-negative individuals (low-risk people who do not they have HIV Virus active in their bodies) from contraction of the virus and eventually developing AIDS (Aquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome). This may be a silver bullet that prevents the further spread of HIV given the stark stats in the 2014 Global AIDS Response Report:

1.      30,313 Jamaicans were living with HIV
2.      25% unaware that they were infected

Already the Ministry of Health is conducting a quarterly HIV/AIDS/STD National Knowledge, Attitudes, Beliefs and Practice Survey in all parishes asking Jamaicans if they had previously heard about the PrEP medication and would they be willing to take the pill daily. WHO is banking on the results of 4 randomized control trials, which show the drug works best when used as directed. 

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But is the PrEP pill a good idea? Or is this another experiment by the WHO (World Health Organization) using Jamaica as a proxy for a Drug Trial?

Ministry of Health, the WHO and PrEP – How to use Jamaicans to do Drug Testing

It's a well known fact that condom use in Jamaica is low.

So low in fact that legalizing prostitution may have to be considered in order to treat prostitutes, who are most at risk from such sexual encounters as noted in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “Why Jamaica must legalize Prostitution as Ministry of Health dealing with silent HIV-AIDS and STD’s Outbreak”.

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Hence the reason for the PrEP pill as argued by Director of the HIV and STI unit at the Ministry of Health., Dr Nicole Skyers, quote: “Everybody knows that condom use is way below what it ought to be within our context, so you have to look to say do we do it (PrEP) with everybody or do we do it with our populations that are high at risk of HIV infection. So if you are a low-risk person, maybe PrEP is not necessarily for you”.

Still a PrEP pill, which is aimed at such high-risk persons in Jamaica, comes with some side effects:

1.      Worsening of hepatitis B infection
2.      Too much lactic acid in blood
3.      Kidney problems
4.      Severe liver problems
5.      Bone problems

This means that the PrEP pill cannot be taken by infants, children, older persons and anyone with medical complications that has resulted in them having a weakened immune system. Persons taking the PrEP daily will reduce their risk of contracting HIV by 90%.

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Still, regular check-ups are still required if you are using the PrEP pill as pointed out by Dr Nicole Skyers, quote: “Persons on PrEP need to be tested every three months for HIV and STIs, and they need to have their liver and kidney functions tested”.

If the survey comes back indicating that Jamaicans are interested, then with the support of donor funding, the HIV/STI/TB Unit will recruit a consultant to conduct a PrEP pilot in 2018.

After all, the guinea pig trials need to be done under the watchful gaze of the WHO, to quote Dr Nicole Skyers: “So it's not just to say we're implementing PrEP; here is your pill. It's not that simple. We have to do a pilot to see what the best avenue is for it within our context. The WHO has two arms - where you stay on the pill every day and there is also the option of using it around exposure to that risky sexual act - so we have to determine what the best fit for our population is if we decide to go down that road”.

If this is not an experiment, I don't know what is. Still, action needs to be taken, as the silent HIV epidemic will kill many in Jamaica unless we take control of our sexual activity.

Friday, December 15, 2017

How to get a GO 1402 Smartphone and a Bluetooth speaker from FLOW Jamaica

FLOW Jamaica is up to all night till Midnight on Friday December 15th 2017!!

They're having a sale on the GO 1402 Smartphone from 8pm-12am. Cost: only $4,200+GCT and it comes with a 30 Day Flow LYF plan.

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Best of all, you stand the chance of getting a free Bluetooth Speaker with purchase while stocks last.

So says their FLOW Twitter Page as shown below:

The sale will be at the following locations as listed below on FLOW's Facebook Page:

Here is the full list in plain view of all the FLOW Stores participating in this midnight sale!!!

1.      Flow Clocktower- Shop 10, Bargain Mall, Clocktower Plaza, Kingston 10
2.      Flow Half Way Tree Road-  47 Half Way Tree Road, Kingston 5
3.      Flow Fairview Shopping Center- Shops #11 & 12, Fairview Plaza, Alice Eldermire Drive, Montego Bay
4.      Flow King Street- 81B King Street, Kingston
5.      Flow Waterloo- Megamart WholeSale Club, 29 Upper Waterloo Road, Kingston 10
6.      FLOW- May Pen- Shop#8 , 39 Main Street, Bargain Village Plaza, May Pen
7.      FLOW- Ocho Rios- 50 Main Street, Sony's Plaza, St. Ann
8.      FLOW- Port Maria- HiLo Plaza, 7-11 Stennett Street, Port Maria
9.      FLOW- Port Antonio- 13-15 Harbour Street, Port Antonio
10.  FLOW-Portmore Mall- Portmore Mall Shopping Center, Portmore
11.  FLOW- Savanna la mar- Shop #6A, Beckford Plaza, 32-35 Beckford Street, Savanna la mar
12.  FLOW-Sovereign- Shop #45 Sovereign Center, 106 Hope Road, Kingston 6
13.  FLOW- Sagicor Plaza- 17 Burke Rd, Spanish Town
14.  FLOW- Cross Roads***- Shop 6, Cross Roads Shopping Complex, 2B Half Way Tree Road, Kgn 5
15.  FLOW- Tropical Plaza- Shop #11 Tropical Plaza, 12-14 Constant Spring Road, Kingston 10
16.  FLOW- CMV Plaza Linstead- Shop # 1, 45 King's Street, Linstead
17.  FLOW- Old Harbour- 16 East Street, Old Harbour
18.  FLOW-Island Plaza- Shop #A13-15 Island Plaza, Ocho Rios
19.  FLOW- St. Ann's Bay- Main St, St. Ann's Bay
20.  FLOW- Catherine Hall- 101A-101B Catherine Hall, Montego Bay
21.  FLOW- Trinity Mall- Shop #16 Trinity Mall, 3 Barnett Street, Montego Bay
22.  FLOW Bay West Shopping Center- Shop #F202B Bay West Shopping Center, Montego Bay
23.  FLOW- Westron Plaza- Shop #13 Westron Plaza,17 Harbour Street, Montego Bay
24.  FLOW- Duhaney Park- Shop #12 Duhaney Park Plaza, Kingston 20
25.  FLOW Santa Plaza- Shop #40 Santa Plaza, Santa Cruz, St. Elizabeth
26.  FLOW- Willowgate Plaza- Shop #9 Willowgate Plaza, Mandeville
27.  FLOW Brumalia- 2 Perth Road, Brumalia Town Center, Mandeville
28.  FLOW Falmouth- 3 Lower Parade Street, Falmouth
29.  FLOW Morant Bay- Shops #10-11 Walkers Plaza, 11A Wharf Rd, Morant Bay
30.  FLOW Papine- 204-206 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6

Hurry now as this one ends at Midnight tonight!!!

Here’s the link:

How PCJ and NWC Floating Solar Plant on the Mona Reservoir may mean an end to Water Lockoffs

Looks like the Mona Reservoir may soon be covered in PV (Photovoltaic) if the PCJ (Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica) have their way!!!

The PCJ has issued an invitation for companies interested in providing consultancy services to study the feasibility of a grid-connected floating PV plant as noted in the article “Jamaica’s oil company PCJ plans floating PV project at water reservoir”, published December 5 2017 by Emiliano Bellini, PV Magazine.

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The study will provide the PCJ and Jamaica’s National Water Commission (NWC) with the necessary technical, financial, and environmental assessments on the floating PV project. Once approved, it would be the first of its kind in the country, if not the Caribbean. Interested consultants will have to submit their offers by January 12, 2018.

A big of background is in order.

The PCJ announced its intention to enter the renewable energy sector in mid-October. They'd also issued a tender for a rooftop PV project for the DBJ (Development Bank of Jamaica).

This is very similar to their intention to install Solar systems at several Public Primary and High Schools as noted in my blog article entitled “PCJ to install JA$62 million Solar Panels Systems - 15 Schools and 3 GOJ Institution”.

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The PCJ is also getting funding from the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) as part of their Deployment of Renewable Energy and Improvement of Energy Efficiency in the Public Sector Project to set up solar Systems at six public hospitals in a bid to reduce the Electricity Bill of the Health Sector.

So how will this work, exactly?

PCJ and NWC - Solar Powered Hydroelectric Plant may mean an end to Water Lockoffs

The idea is that a grid-connected floating PV plant could produce power to supply the grid. Any excess power could be used to pump water to keep the reservoir full, as a form of energy storage.
Then at a time of peak power demand, the water would be let out, turning water turbines, effectively a form of stored Hydroelectric power.

This concept has a lot in common with the JPS Co's (Jamaica Public Service Company) plan to store excess generate power in Li-Ion Batteries and Flywheels as explained in my blog article entitled “How JPS Co Hybrid Storage Plant Prevents Islandwide Outages as Solar Power usage increases”.

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This is basically storing excess KE (Kinetic Energy) in a form of PE (Potential Energy) that can be extracted on demand.

It is also similar the 40 MW, 160,000 panels floating Solar Farm in an artificial coal mine lake in central Anhui province in China as explained in the article “Floating solar farm reflects China's clean energy ambitions”, published Wednesday, June 14, 2017 , The Jamaica Observer.

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Good to note that unlike the Floating Solar Farm in China, the Mona Reservoir is the main source of water for the Kingston metropolitan region, Jamaica’s capital. This may sound like the PCJ want to play with your drinking water, but rest assured, there is no risk of water contamination, as the water store there is purified afterwards.

It also has the advantage of reducing surface evaporation from the Mona Reservoir, which combined with the pump system to pump water directly from the river, will make drought and Water Lockoffs in the Kingston area a thing of the past.

How to win Samsung and Caribbean Airline Prizes in Digicel’s Gift of Christmas Promotion

Digicel is rolling out the Red carpet this year with their latest promotion, the Gift of Christmas Promotion.

The Gift of Christmas Promotion will run from November 23, 2017 – December 31, 2017. All customers who carry out a qualifying activity will receive five (5) entries into the Promotion to win daily, weekly or weekly grand prizes.

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To qualify, all Digicel customer have to do are the following:

1.      Single top ups of $100 or more using any Digicel Top-Up method that includes
2.      Flexcards, Flex-e, DirectFlex, BankFlex, DataFlex, WebFlex, Phone 2 Phone, Direct Top Up, Digicel App Top ups, Digicel International Top Up and Digicel Online Top Up.
3.      10 minutes of accumulated talk time within 24 hours by Postpaid GSM customers
4.      Activation (new or renewal) of Quick Bundles by prepaid customer or sign up of new plans by Postpaid customers
5.      Purchase of handsets and SIMs in authorized dealer stores
6.      New Digicel Home Entertainment customers that purchase a package and existing customers that pay their bills on time and in full or purchase add-ons
7.      Minimum of thirty (30) seconds on an International call (incoming/outgoing) by prepaid or postpaid GSM customers

Good to note here that Credit U and Digi Loan do not qualify as top-up methods. Cumulative top ups do not count towards entry into the Promotion e.g. a customer who makes 2 top-ups of $50 each within 24 hours will not receive an entry.

So what are the prizes? And how do you win?

Daily Prizes in the Gift of Christmas Promotion - Credit Giveaways and Quick Pick Bundles galore

There are daily and weekly prizes but in order to win, customers will be asked “What is Digicel Jamaica’s tagline”. They then have to give the correct response of “Jamaica’s Bigger, Better Network” to win prizes.

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Winners must present a valid Government issued photo ID (passport, voters’ identification card or driver’s license) and the Digicel SIM card to which the credit was added or the calls were made from.

Each day beginning November 24, 2017, Five Hundred (500) qualifying entries will be randomly selected by the Raffle Manager System. The exact draw days are as follows:
Digicel’s Gift of Christmas Promotion
Qualifying Period
Draw Date
Nov. 23 - 29, 2017
Nov. 30, 2017
Nov. 30 – Dec. 6, 2017
Dec. 7, 2017
Dec. 7 - 13, 2017
Dec.14, 2017
Dec. 14 - 20, 2017
Dec. 21, 2017
Dec. 21 - 27, 2017
Dec. 28, 2017
Dec. 28 - 31, 2017
Jan. 3, 2018

Digicel will call customers (2) consecutive times only. If the Customer’s number is busy/no answer/off, goes to voicemail or if the customer does not want to participate in the Promotion (for example, for religious reasons), another customer will be contacted. If the selected customers from the first draw do not respond correctly or do not wish to participate then the additional back up winners will be contacted in the order in which they were selected.

Credit Prizes will be awarded to the first one hundred (100) customers that respond correctly in the following order, winning Quick Pick Bundles.

But that's just the beginning!!

Weekly Prizes in the Gift of Christmas Promotion - Samsung Prizes and Caribbean Airline Trips

Every Thursday starting November 30, 2017, Fifty (50) weekly qualifying entries will be randomly selected by Raffle Manager at Digicel’s Head Office between 1pm – 6pm.

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These customers will be contacted by a Digicel Representative, with the first four customers who respond correctly on the first attempt, without being prompted, to win one of the following prizes up for grabs:

1.      2 winners of $500,000 cash
2.      1 winner of a Samsung  S8 smartphone
3.      1 winner of a Samsung 43” Smart TV & Wingle

For customers who make or receive an international call for a minimum of thirty seconds, every Friday starting December 8 - 29, 2017, Eleven (11) weekly qualifying entries will be randomly selected by Raffle Manager at Digicel’s Head Office between 1pm – 6pm. These customers will be contacted by a Digicel Representative in the order they were selected will be awarded one of the following prizes:

1.      Winner of a round trip to any Caribbean Airline destination (except Jamaica)
Weekly and weekly grand prize winners will be contacted by a Digicel Representative. Prize winners with the exception of daily winners are required to collect same from the Digicel Head Office at 14 Ocean Boulevard, Kingston or any other location so advised on the date specified. Prizes uncollected after fourteen (14) days from first contact remain the property of Digicel.

So that the wrap for the Gift of Christmas Promotion!!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

How to connect TV to Computer using HDMI, Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter or Google Chromecast

In this era of cord-cutting and 4K gaming, connecting you TV to you computer is an essential skill. This is especially true if you have a very large screen QLED TV and you really want to see the higher resolution details in your graphic designs or a game you love.

So how do you achieve this holy grail of computer-TV interface?

How to connect TV-Computer - HDMI is the best

The easiest way to get your TV hooked up to a desktop or laptop is to just interconnect them. If you PC or laptop has a HDMI port, you can connect a HDMI cable between them as shown below:

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There are a few different HDMI standards; the main thing to consider is the ports, which retain their shape no matter what standard. There is currently a HDMI 2.0, but this is for 4K gaming, which is around the corner but not here yet as explained in my blog article entitled “Why US$39 Amazon Fire TV Stick challenges @Roku and @Google Chromecast Streaming Sticks”. 

All HDMI Cables are the same, regardless of claims of cables being better than others; this is just a sales gimmick to get you to pay more money for the same cable. If you have a computer with a VGA output, best to get one of those HDM Cables with the VGA end or a VGA adapter as shown below.
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Once you've plugged your HDMI cable into the TV, use the HDMI or Input button to list all of the ports currently in use on your TV. Just cycle through them till you find your PC!
But what if you have a short HDMI cable? Then maybe wireless is for you.

How to connect TV-Computer - Wireless via Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter or Google Chromecast

Sometimes a long cable just isn’t enough. So for you, there are a few options. If you’re running Windows 10 on your PC, you can take advantage of the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter.

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The steps to use it are as follows:

1.      Plug the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter into your TV’s HDMI port
2.      Plug the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter little USB jack into one of your TV’s USB ports
3.      Click on your notification center on the bottom-right corner of your screen
4.      Click on the Connect button

Good to note that this option will cost you $40 or $50, depending on where you purchase the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter.

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Also, it's good enough to watch movies, but gaming or anything with more than 30 frames per second gets garbled and becomes unwatchable or unplayable.

You can also use a Chromecast to cast directly to your TV from Google Chrome on MacOS or Windows 10.

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All you need to do is follow the following steps:

1.      Plug your Chromecast into your TVs
2.      Start Google Chrome on your computer.
3.      Click the little sideways ellipses at the end of your search bar
4.      Click Cast.
5.      Select your Chromecast and you are good to go

Remember sharing is caring so share this with your friends trying to connect their TV to their computer.