My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: 2012

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Friday, December 21, 2012

GOJ to introduce Solar or Wind powered LED Streetlights in 2013 - Amour for the Jamaican Les Miserables Energy Sector Liberalization



Looks like the GOJ (Government of Jamaica’s) gotten hip to the idea of LED (Light Emitting Diodes) as a means of reducing their JA$2.8 Billion Electricity Bill for the estimated 93,000 Street Lights across the length and breadth of Jamaica as per the article “Gov't seeks to reduce costs for street lights”, published Thursday, December 20, 2012, The Jamaica Observer and “Cabinet approves policy to cut street light bill”, published 2012-12-20 08:49:38, Go-Jamaica. This came to light in a Jamaica House Media Briefing chaired by Information Minister Sandrea Falconer on Wednesday December 19th 2012.

And without it being said, I already have an idea who the Contractor may be: American-based Green RG Management LLC (Green RG) as per my blog article entitled “Solamon Energy Corp & Green RG invest in Jamaica's Alternative Energy Future - Let the Cheaper Energy Hunger Games for Latin America Begin”. 

About time too that GOJ’s made news on this necessary upgrade public. Since November 2011, the GOJ’s been saddled with an ever increasing Electricity Bill mainly due to Mercury Incandescent Bulbs used in Streetlights. Even worse, most of them have malfunctioning photocells and are still on in the daytime burning current as noted in Day-Burning Street Lights Costing JPS”, published Sunday November 20, 2011, Gary Spaulding, Senior Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Back then in my blog article entitled “Alternative Energy Contract for JPS Co Streetlight Upgrade Coming - JPS Co Winsome Callum's Bourne Supremacy”, I’d suggested the GOJ may have a massive contract up their sleeve to change out all Streetlights to LED Lamps powered by Solar Panels or even mini wind Turbines, taking the GOJ off the JPS Co Grid altogether. Traffic Light could be next, many of which already use LED but could be taken off the grid using Solar or Wind Turbine Technology from Green RG.

Green RG already has deals with the GOJ to be Guinea Pigs for their Technology with the aim to get the various Ministries of Government off the Grid as discussed at length in my blog article entitled “Solamon Energy Corp & Green RG invest in Jamaica's Alternative Energy Future - Let the Cheaper Energy Hunger Games for Latin America Begin”. 

More recently I’d posited the same idea as well along with a raft of other suggestions in anticipation of the introduction of Prepaid Power from JPS Co in my blog article entitled JPS Co to introduce Prepaid Power and other Services by 2013 - Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn 2 Signals Coming Competition from Alternative Energy”.

Those measures for reducing Ja’s consumption of Electricity and prevent the dumping of inefficient Products in Jamaica are:

1.      Air Conditioning Units that are not Inverter based AND Solar Powered
2.      Solar Panels manufactured Jamaica. Cheaper due to the reduced damaged and transportation costs as argued by Dwight Cousins, Energy Solutions Department Manager at Isratech Jamaica Limited in his letter to Editor entitled “More on Isratech's solar operation” published Sunday November 11, 2012, The Jamaica Gleaner
3.      Incandescent Bulbs. They should have been banned a long time ago and replaced with LED (Light Emitting Diodes) and Fluorescent Bulbs as suggested in my blog article entitled “JPS CEO Damian Obiglio wants Incandescent Bulb ban - Jamaican in the Twilight Zone
4.      Removal of Duties on the importation of Wind Turbines and Solar Panels, the price of which has been falling thanks to Economy-of-scale production in China as explained in “Solar power comes of age”, published Wednesday, April 11, 2012 BY PAUL RODGERS Business Editor, The Jamaica Observer
5.      Implementation of a policy of Net Billing Building Code Regulation to have all houses fitted so that they’re ready for customer to install Solar Panels to resell power back to JPS Co as per my blog article entitledPhillip Paulwell makes Net Billing official with 11 licenses issued - JPS Co invited via Mavado's Come Round a Mi Yard

The GOJ’s gotta reduce its massive Electricity Bill as had been promised since 2011 by the then JLP-led Administration as noted in my blog article entitled GOJ and Government Ministry's Energy Usage - Senator Audley Shaw and the Langoliers”.

The GOJ may even end up producing excess power that they can resell to JPS Co via a Net Billing Arrangement as described in my blog article entitledPhillip Paulwell makes Net Billing official with 11 licenses issued - JPS Co invited via Mavado's Come Round a Mi Yard, as the Li-Ion Batteries inside of the Solar or Wind Turbine powered LED Streetlights don’t take long to recharge.

Good to see the PNP-led GOJ’s championing LNG and are now making progress towards the start of the SJPC (South Jamaica Power Company) LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) Power Plant. This LNG Plant begins construction in the Second Quarter of 2013 as reported in my blog article entitledSJPC, the Marubeni, EWP and JPS Co consortium's to begin LNG Plant Construction in Q2 of 2013 - Jamaica's On A Mission towards The Impossible Promised Land”.

However, despite all this apparently coordinated Energy Saving Activity, one thing is still true; cheaper Electricity is pointless if Electricity Consumption habits and importation of Technology that’s not Energy efficient continues without tighter GOJ regulation. To this end, a PR (Public Relations) Drive via JIS (Jamaica information Service) has to be done to educate the Public (yet again!) on Energy Saving tips as explained in the article “Dry your tears and wipe those bills”, published Sunday November 25 2012 by Camilo Thame Business Co-ordinator, The Jamaica Observer, to reduce their Electricity and Water Bills, being as the two are interconnected.

Ditto too JPS Co introduction of Prepaid Electricity as per my blog article entitled my blog article entitled JPS Co to introduce Prepaid Power and other Services by 2013 - Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn 2 Signals Coming Competition from Alternative Energy”. Like using a Prepaid or even a Postpaid phone with fixed minutes from one our local Telecom Providers, you’ve gotta resist the temptation to top up unnecessarily and use only when needed.

Solar or Wind powered LED Streetlights is Amour (2012) for the Jamaican Les Miserables (2012) Energy Sector Liberalization.

Amazon patents Fall Prevention Technology for smartphones and Tablets - The Research begins with Amazon’s patent that’s Hyde Park on Hudson



Back in August 2011, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos filed a rather bizarre patent for an airbag for smartphones and Tablets as described in the article “Amazon's Bezos files patent for Phone Air Bag”, published August 12, 2011 12:39 PM PDT by Jay Greene, CNET News and “Amazon's Bezos envisions airbag phone, files patent”, published August 14, 2011 by Nancy Owano, PhysOrg. As silly as the idea sounded back then, it now has merit; these gadgets are expensive, costing as much as a PC up in the JA$50,000 range.
They’re in need of protection from falling; apparently innovators like Apple aren’t too into that, as Apple iPhones and Apple iPads “haffi mash up” for persons to continue buying new products each year and for the Technicians to “eat a food”.

But it’s patents, licensing and insurance that’ll make the money for Amazon, should this product make the light of day. Not to mention a reduced need to replace Amazon Kindle Fire HD Tablets broken from “accidental” falls. Currently there’s no way to prove the customer isn’t abusing Amazon Replacement Policy by trying to “pull a fast one’ on Amazon. After all, shouldn’t you have some form of protection in case of damage to your Tablet due to falls, both over dry land or over a body of water, for BOTH the customer and Amazon?

Insurance against Data Loss is as simple as executing a Daily and Weekly Backup of your Data as described in my Geezam Blog article entitled “How to transfer Phone Contacts and Data from your Blackberry to your Apple iPhone or Google Android smartphone or Tablet” allows you to bounce back and get on with your life after the death or theft of your phone. But it’s expensive, costly and your new phone just ain’t the same.

So what about technology to break a fall? If cars have airbags and seatbelts and US Fighter Pilots have Parachutes, why not your smartphone or Tablet?
These questions as well as the issue of insurance for what may be a significant investment in time and money may have weighed in on the US Patent Office who eventually granted Amazon the patent for this unique and offbeat idea as stated in “Amazon wins its insane gadget-airbag patent”, published December 11, 2012 4:14 PM PST by Josh Lowensohn, CNET News and “Forget 4G and GPS; future phones could have airbags!”, published August 12, 2011 - 9:00AM PT By Kevin C. Tofel, GigaOM.

A much needed patent as smartphone screens are set to hit the 5” mark by 2013 as reported in in my blog article entitled “SHARP and JDI making 5-inch 1080p Smartphone Screens -  Here Comes the Boom  as 1080p Screens, Quad-Core the next Big Thing for Apple iPhone”, albeit it by 2015, I’m predicting they’ll shrink back down to feature phone size. More on that prediction in an article coming on the Geezam Blog!

So the logic behind having Fall Protection for your Smartphone and Tablet aside, how would such Fall Prevention Technology aka Jeff Bezos’ Airbag for smartphones or Tablets work?

Based on the Patent filing, the system would be built into reusable cases for smartphones and Tablets. The principle behind its function is no different from an airbag in a car and uses the following sensors that are now standard on all smartphones and Tablets:

1.      Gyroscope
2.      Internal Chronometer
3.      Magnetometer
4.      Accelerometer
5.      GPS
6.      Camera

Based on the Data processed from the above standard inputs, the following can be ascertained:

1.      The point of flight and in free-fall in three dimensional space
2.      When the gadget went into free-fall
3.      Where in terms of location and position in three dimensional space the gadget went into free-fall
4.      Direction of the fall under accelerating due to gravity, i.e. if straight down or in a curve or if thrown up and then falling
5.      If the fall is taking place over dry land or over a body of water
6.      Reason for the Fall; this is of greatest interest to insurance companies, Telecom Providers and companies like Amazon who have to foot the bill to repair or replace the gadget

At that point it would then do of the following based on the above Data:

1.      Bi-chemicals reactions would create a non-flammable Gas that would be used to create Gas jets, reorienting the gadget in such a ways as to minimize a fall. This would be for a fall from a distance below 4 feet
2.      Bi-chemicals reactions would create a non-flammable Gas that would be used to rapidly inflate compressed airbags at the sides of the gadget. This would envelope the gadget with an airbag or even rubberized foam if the fall’s detected to be over a body of water. This would be for a fall from a distance above 4 feet to 6 feet
3.      Bi-chemicals reactions would create a non-flammable Gas that would be used to rapidly deploy a parachute or flotation device in case of fall into a body of water i.e. river of the sea, thereby creating drag and slowing down the fall of the gadget. This would be for a fall above 6 feet
4.      Send Data during or after the fall to an AWS (Amazon Web Services) Server viewable by the customer post-fall on a Cloud-Based platform regarding all the details of the fall. This can serve as a record that the user as well as Amazon can peruse at their leisure with regards to reasons for the fall and what to do to prevent it in the future

Again, albeit this sounds a bit silly, it’s a sound idea that needs refining. If it’s possible to fit such a large airbag into a car’s steering wheel without adding any significant bulk, also a significant investment on the part of the owner to protect your life in the event of a crash, how difficult can it be for a smartphone or Tablet Case?

Mums the word from Amazon on whether this’ll make it into any of their Case Designs for the Amazon Kindle Fire. Right now Amazon Kindle Fire HD series of Tablets are red hot must-have stocking stuffers this Christmas as predicted in my blog article entitled “Amazon launches a pair of Kindle Fire 2 - ACS-Xerox Call Centers in Jamaica ramp up as Kindle Fire begin to Sparkle”.

One thing is certain; the real money’s in patents, licensing and insurance should Amazon successfully develop such a Fall Prevention Technology for its line of Tablets and possibly smartphones in the future in its line of cases without adding bulk. With 2013 looking to be the Year of the Mobile Computing as it slowly poisons and kills off the PC, Printing and Console Gaming as concluded in my Geezam blog article entitled “How the Apple iPad killed Ultrabooks, Printing and the Mouse as the World Rediscovers Tablets” insurance premiums to ensure these breakable screens’ll go up for sure.

Thus having airbags in the cases for your smartphone or Tablet, just like making a Backup of your smartphone or Tablets Data is one sure way to reduce or even eliminate the cost of insuring your “precious” with which you spend so much time, a plus for consumers. Amazon stands to make even more money licensing the Fall Prevention Technology for use in Third Party Case makers for not only smartphones and Tablets but potentially for any gadget that costs a lot and is too expensive to ensure.  

But the immediate benefit is in reducing false claims for accidental crack due to falls or “dunking” in water. Amazon merely has to make it mandatory that the Fall Prevention Technology built into its cases and be in use at the time of the fall on land or in a body of water. If the incident occurs without the gadget having a case with the Fall Prevention Technology actively working, Amazon’s not liable to replace your gadget, as it’s your fault!

As for the future of this Fall Prevention Technology, how about anti-gravity; instead of hitting the ground, it just floats in mid-fall after falling a pre-set distance above the ground! The research begins with Amazon’s patent that’s Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Why Minister Omar Davies killed the JRC Passenger Train Service and Islandwide JUTC Bus Service



“This administration is actively pursuing the resuscitation of the railway......It (Enterprise Team) is moving full speed ahead to entertain requests for proposals and consider these requests, and we expect a railway operation in the future of this country and indeed in the future of this Administration”

Finance Minister Dr. Peter Phillips comments in Parliament on Tuesday December 11th 2012 while seeking the Upper House’s approval for North-South Link of Highway 2000 by the National Road Operating and Constructing Company Limited

I am today both confused and elated in one go. This as the GOJ’s (Government of Jamaica) made yet another strange announcement as summarized above and thus far only reported by The Jamaica Observer in the article “Now Gov’t wants to revive train service”, published Sunday, December 16, 2012, The Jamaica Observer. In short, the GOJ’s planning to revive the JRC (Jamaica Railways Corporation) Railway Passenger Service as described in my blog article entitled “Jamaican Transport Sector and Railways - The Money Train is Coming with Senator Mike Henry”.

First the confused part!

A strange about-face from their previous held position some six (6) months after the Minister of Transport and Works Omar Davies made the decision in Parliament on Wednesday June 20th 2012 to abandon the Railways as reported in “The train's not coming, baby!”, published Thursday, June 21, 2012 by Ingrid Brown, The Jamaica Observer. At the time, the argument was that it was seen as being too costly to maintain, losing some JA$2.5 million per month.

So by this about-face again, the GOJ’s tacitly agreeing with former Minister of Transport and Works Mike Henry’s statement that, quote “Let us hope to God that we don't think it is not viable or important in the development of the country as no modern world develops without the railway system” as per the article “Don’t abandon rail service, warns Henry”, published Wednesday, August 15, 2012 BY TANESHA MUNDLE Observer staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

For those with very short memories it was under the former Minister of Transport and Works Mike Henry watch that the Passenger Railway Service had been revived, officially inaugurated on Saturday April 16th 2011AD as stated in the article `“Spanish Town excited about train service”, published Tuesday April 12 2011 17:28:47, Go-Jamaica and “Train coaches roll into Old Capital for Test Run”, published Wednesday April 13, 2011, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Now for the Elated part!

GOJ’s decision means that the Multi-Modal Transport concept of Planes, Trains and Aeroplanes necessary for easy travel islandwide as prognosticated in my blog article entitled “JRC Trains and JUTC Buses coming in Fourth Quarter of 2011AD - Fifth Dimension's Up, Up and Away” is on track to be fulfilled.

Eventually the market sellers and Farmers from Clarendon along with School Children may one day be able to travel to Kingston with Freight making up the bulk of traffic back into the island’s interior as envisioned in my blog article entitled “JRC, Scotts Pass and Senator Mike Henry –  Molly Wood Keeping up with the Kardashians”.

Hopefully too, this announcement by the Finance Minister Dr. Peter Phillips, curiously based on advice by the same Minister of Transport and Works Omar Davies, also includes further development of the Downtown Municipal Transport Centre and expanding the JUTC’s (Jamaica Urban Transport Center) service islandwide as reported in my blog article entitled “JUTC and the Downtown Municipal Transport Centre - Planes, Trains & Automobiles”.

This multi-modal concept is not just for FDI (Foreign Direct Investors) and Jamaicans to have options for easier in transportation to the Rural interior and back to civilization in Kingston or Montego Bay. It’s mainly, in my eyes, to aid the continued development of our Jamaica’s Future: our Education System and the many children having difficulty traveling to school in the rural Areas.

A Well-developed robust Multi-modal System aid in lowering the cost and makes it easier for them to travel; making this of interest to the Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites as it would eliminate this idea of not being able to go to the school of your choice because of lack of transportation due to expense and safety issues as noted in the article “Expensive and Unsafe”, published Tuesday December 11, 2012, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This time around, too, I hope the GOJ finds a suitable FDI (Foreign Direct Investor) via an open bidding process and replaces the current Trains with Trains that use LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) as described in my blog article entitled “JUTC, Challenger and LNG - Journey to the Center of the Earth”. This would reduce maintenance costs associated with the JRC Trains, making them more efficient by avoiding the use and consumption of Bunker “C” Oil or Heavy Diesel used in Trains currently and easily fouls the Engines.

Throw in contracts for Freight from Private Sector companies interested in reducing their transportation costs. Even making them partners in the JRC by having them own Trains in much the same way you can own a container should generate enough Revenue for the venture to be successful and eliminate the JA$2.5 million in monthly maintenance costs, thus making the Railways break-even, if not profitable.

The GOJ’s change of mindset as it relates to Trains is a good step back in the right direction, and puts the Multi-Modal approach to Transportation in Jamaica back on track, pun very much intended.  Hopefully, it will also be reflected in a change of mindset as it relates to an islandwide rollout of the JUTC to replace the confused system of JATOO affiliated taxis and buses as predicted in my blog article entitled “JATOO and the Transportation Revolution in Jamaica - Babylon By Bus”.

Proving in the long run that the GOJ isn’t Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away (2012) but has revived this necessary service so it does Not Fade Away (2012)! Folks, stay turned to my blog as I track this breaking development as the GOJ gets back on track with the Multi-Modal Transportation concept.