My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

How Jerome Campbell's ArrowEX CodeApp App makes 10 Digit dialling transition easy


“I quickly realized that this was an opportunity, because to change out the numbers manually would be tedious. So, CodeApp was a pre-emptied solution to the problem. There are other international apps out there but I still wanted to put my app in the game”

Jerome Campbell, 31-y-o developer and app designer for the CodeApp

The date for the transition to 10 digit dialing came and went without much fanfare in Jamaica.

 10 Digit dialing took effect on Thursday May 31, 2018 with little or no problems as noted in the article “Mandatory 10-Digit Calling Takes Effect Today”, published Thursday May 31, 2018 by Romario Scott, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This is because the Telecom Providers made sure that whenever anyone made a call without either the 876 or 658 dialing codes, they were told that they had to add those digits in front of the number in order to make the call.

Still, many were caught off guard despite being told about it since last year as reported in my blog article entitled “OUR, NANP 658 area code for Jamaica heralds MVNO Telecoms for Digicel and FLOW”.

Some jamaicans, however, who did not have the time to add the new area codes, turned to the Google Play Store on their smartphones, seeking a solution.

They soon found one brilliant Jamaican software developer Jerome Campbell, who had developed the CodeApp App, which many Jamaicans have since downloaded as reported in the article “‘App-Solutely’ Jamaican - UTech Graduate Creates One Of The Most Popular 10-Digit Converters Available In Google Play Store”, published Sunday June 17, 2018 by Carlene Davis, The Jamaica Gleaner.

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So who is Jerome Campbell? What is 10 Digital dialling? And how does the CodeApp Apphelp?

CodeApp App - 10 Digit dialling App clocks 50,000 downloads

CodeApp App, was developed by a 31-year-old Jamaican information technology specialist and app designer named Jerome Campbell. The app, which is mentioned on his CodeApp Websiteis the second highest rated country code converter in the Google Play Store, clocking in at more than 20,000 downloads and boasting a 4.5 rating out of five.

The CodeApp App is currently available in the Google Play Store in the formats:

1.      Free
2.      Premium

The iPhone version is still in development and will be available by June 30. A very popular app, its clocking in at about 50,000 downloads thus far, making money mainly from Google Adsense, to quote Jerome Campbell: “At the current rate I’m expecting 50,000 downloads by the end of this month, it’s making a bit of money, it’s building”.

For persons thinking that after the numbers are converted the app is useless, Campbell had this to say, quote: “The app has value added features to check data and credit balances, send please call me and please credit me messages and other (quick) codes. Its download size is less than four megabytes”.

This means that the app is a value buy, helping many smartphone owners in Jamaica to switch to 10 digit dialling as heralded in my Geezam blog article entitled “OUR’s 10-Digit Dialling means MVNO and Competition coming to Digicel and FLOW”.

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And no, according to the developer, he's not collecting your data to resell to a third party advertiser, quote: “In this age of scamming and hacking, persons might think that Jamaicans are not tech-savvy, but we are very aware and very cautious, as opposed to other apps, which we don’t know who is behind it, I’m putting my reputation behind this app, so that is a guarantee that I’m not harvesting the contact information”.

Jerome Campbell's CodeApp App –Lecturer ArrowEX, Inc on the Rise

A Lawrence Tavern native who grew up with both of his parents, he was quite an earlier achiever. After having attended Lawrence Tavern Primary and Oberlin High schools, he then went to UTECH (University of Technology) at the age of 15 years old.

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Currently an adjunct lecturer at the VTDI (Vocational Training Development Institute), he teaches Mobile App Development along with other information technology based courses to young students. Thus this company is a quite a feat considering that when he went to UTech, he had no idea what a programmer was, muchless that he could make a career out of it, quote: “When I entered UTech, I didn’t know what a programmer was; I was told there were a lot of jobs working with computers, so my mother encouraged me along that line. Programming came naturally to me and I just began to become good at it.”

Several years later, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from UTech and a Master of Science in Computer Science from the University of the West Indies. Unable to find a job, he started his company called ArrowEX, Inc which is incorporated in Delaware in the United States.

His company currently has global reach and multinational invests, with all the development being done in Jamaica by Jamaicans. He started the company due to the fact that he was unable to get a job immediately after leaving university.

He began developing apps for himself, with CodeApp App being among the successes among his 20 apps he's developed thus far. So what will he develope next?

Stay tuned as we go through the adjustment to this new paradigm as we'll soon run out of area codes in the next few years!

Here’s the link:

For more information, please contact the:
Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR)
36 Trafalgar Road
Kingston 5
Telephone: 876-968-6053, 1-888-CALL-OUR (2255-687)
Fax: 876-929-3635
Website: http://www.our.org.jm
Email: consumer@our.org.jm

Thursday, May 24, 2018

My Thoughts and The Jamaican Rabbit I Love Physics Free Ebook Promotion


Want to get a free Physics Textbook to help you with CSEC Physics in High School? There are tons of free books at various websites as listed in my MICO Wars Blog entitled “How Students and Teachers can find free Reference and Fiction books”.

But it just so happens that I have written a decent set of CSEC Physics and Chemistry Text as shown below. So I’ve decided to make them available for free in my first inaugural My Thoughts and The Jamaican Rabbit I Love Physics Free Ebook Promotion!  

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Currently these ebooks are being sold on my Sellfy store, The Jamaican Rabbit. But as part of my promotion for the rest of 2018, I can give you a free copy of ONE of these Physics books listed above.

All you have to do is Follow my blog via My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica Google Plus Link using the link image below. You can also follow me on Twitter at The Jamaican Rabbit Lives. Once you follow, post the comment “I Love Physics” and your email. 

My Thoughts and The Jamaican Rabbit I Love Physics Free Ebook Promotion

I'll then send you the Physics book of your choice via email. I plan to publish more ebooks, so stay tuned to my The Jamaican Rabbit Sellfy store, as I get hopping to making more ebooks!!

Sharing is caring, so share this with all of your friends who love Physics!!!


Here’s the Link:



Saturday, May 19, 2018

IEA 5.6 billion Air Conditioners Globally by 2050 heralds the rise of Solar Powered Air Conditioners


“Growing electricity demand for air conditioning is one of the most critical blind spots in today’s energy debate. With rising incomes, air conditioner ownership will skyrocket, especially in the emerging world. While this will bring extra comfort and improve daily lives, it is essential that efficiency performance for ACs be prioritized. Standards for the bulk of these new ACs are much lower than where they should be.”

Director of the IEA., Dr Fatih Birol, the Executive, commenting on their report The Future of cooling - Opportunities for energy-efficient air conditioning

The Earth is getting hotter due to Global Warming. So the demand for cooling is going to skyrocket.

So says the IEA (International Energy Agency) who are predicting that by 2050, global energy demand for air conditioners is expected to triple as reported in the article “Air conditioning use emerges as one of the key drivers of global electricity-demand growth”, published 15 May 2018, IEA.
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Their report, titled “The Future of cooling - Opportunities for energy-efficient air conditioning” projects that by 2050, there will be 5.6 billion air conditioners in buildings. This is more than the current 1.6 billion today, of which 50% are in China and the United States.

In practical terms, that 5.6 billion air conditioners translates to 10 new ACs sold every second for the next 30 years, as pointed out in their IEA YouTube video.


So what implications does this have for our modern way of life?

The Future of cooling - IEA AC prediction tempered by the rise in Solar PV Power

On way to look at this is in terms of the demand for energy these power hungry devices will bring.

This is not new really as Dr. Michael Taylor, Climatologist and Head of the Department of Physics, Pure and Applied Sciences, University of the West Indies has been pointing this out for some time as noted in my blog article entitled “Dr. Taylor's states Global Warming increasing Jamaica's Energy Bill - Vybz Kartel's Summertime Soylent Green”.

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The current stock of air conditioners and electric fans use 10% of all global electricity consumption today. As more Jamaicans and other people living in countries lost to the Equator and in the Temperate zones “step up inna life”, they'll begin to spend more on air conditioners and fans.

AC use is expected to be the second-largest source of global electricity demand growth. It'll trail the industry sector, and the strongest driver for buildings by 2050.

Interestingly, by 2050, the IEA also predict that Solar PV (Photovoltaics) may beat out coal in terms of providing electricity to supply all this rising demand for energy as explained in my blog article entitled “IEA says Solar PV is fastest growing Energy source while Jamaica is adopting LNG”.  

In fact, they predict that global renewable electricity capacity to rise by more than 920 gigawatts, or 44%, by 2022. So with enough power to supply all global demand coming from Renewable resources, why the need for conservation?

Global Warming and AC - Photovotaics cannot handle increase in AC Power Demand

Supplying power to these ACs comes with large costs and environmental implications. The report identifies key policy actions.

In an Efficient Cooling Scenario, which is compatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement, the IEA finds that through stringent minimum energy performance standards and other measures such as labelling, the average energy efficiency of the stock of ACs worldwide could more than double between now and 2050.
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This would greatly reduce the need to build new electricity infrastructure to meet rising demand.

Making cooling more efficient would have multiple benefits such as:

1.      Making energy more affordable
2.      Making Energy more secure
3.      Making Energy more sustainable
4.      Saving US$2.9 trillion in investment, fuel and operating costs

The stats are also against increasing energy capacity just to meeting cooling:

1.      90% of households have air conditioning in the United States and Japan
2.      8% of the 2.8 billion people living in the hottest parts of the world have air conditioning

That is less than 30% of hired of global households owning an air conditioner. Such a sharp increase among households in AC usage could see electricity loads on power grids spike as much as 45% in 2050.

Surprisingly, the rise in Solar PV cannot meet that demand, as electricity well also be needed to power everything else from the Internet to Electric Vehicles, which Developing World households are sure to want as predicted in my blog article entitled “Why JUTC going Hybrid indicates removal of 60% import duty on Electric Vehicles”. 

 ACs sold in Japan and the European Union are typically 25% more efficient than those sold in the United States and China. Efficiency improvements could reduce this future energy monster.

Mandatory energy performance standards will have to be used to force manufacturers to make more energy efficient AC, such as the Samsung Wind-Free Air Conditioners as explained in my Geezam blog article entitled Samsung Wind-Free Air Conditioners is Cooling without the Breeze”. 

Samsung’s AC's use R32, an environmentally-friendly refrigerant alternative, to keep in line with the strengthened environmental regulations in Europe! When compared with the standard R410A refrigerant, R32 has only one-third of its global warming potential (GWP) and is characterized by its high-efficiency even in lower quantities.

So what if all AC’s became energy Efficient? Would that stem the rising demand in AC?

Mandatory Energy Efficient AC Standards - The Quest for Solar Powered Air Conditioners

Short answer is no, as the IEA is wrong. The demand for electricity is going to grow faster than expected, as Fans may be the go-to device for cooling rather than AC.

Instead I predict the rise in AC usage will be in motor vehicles. Motor vehicle AC, which are not included in this report, will have an impact on motor vehicle fuel economy. This translates to increased demand in electricity, as electric generation will have to increase when Electric Vehicle becomes more mainstream.

One simple way to make Air conditioners more efficient, be they for households or for motor vehicles, is to simply not connect them to the grid.

A law needs to be passed in third world countries such as Jamaica so that once any AC is being sold, it must be sold with its own Solar or Wind Based power source or even some type of Hydrogen fuel cell such as the one described in my blog article entitled “Intelligent Energy Hydrogen Fuel Cell for Apple - How Hydrogen can give Apple products weeks of battery life by 2017

This so that the device doesn't have to be tied to grid power – and yes, it is possible to power AC's using Solar Power as this video indicates.

       

Director of the IEA., Dr Fatih Birol, points out that by making AC more efficient, we reduce the need for new sources of power to fuel our cooling passion, quote: “Setting higher efficiency standards for cooling is one of the easiest steps governments can take to reduce the need for new power plants, and allow them at the same time to cut emissions and reduce costs”.

This will leave more of that new Renewable Energy capacity to fuel Electric Vehicles and do other things besides keeping our houses and cars cool.

SRC 5th Biennial Conference & Exposition allows Young Jamaican Scientists to Shine


Do you have a Jamaican research paper that you want to have published? Always wanted to present your work in a public space and not have it restricted to a Scientific Journal that few read?

Then the SRC (Scientific Research Council) 5th Biennial Conference & Exposition may be the forum you've been seeking.



The two (2) day Expo and conference is slated to take place on November 19th to 20th at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston. The Theme for this year's expo is ST&I in Business:Facilitating Trade & Global Competitiveness.

Take a look at the conference from 2014 to get an idea of what to expect!!


Also, here is a quick corporate profile of the SRC.


Ok, so I am interested. What are the topics that I present papers on?

SRC 5th Biennial Conference & Exposition – A Platform for Young Jamaican Scientists to Shine

Submissions for papers are being invited for the following Topics:

1.      Cyber Security & Data Management
2.      Global Security & Market access
3.      Global Challenges in Science
4.      Innovation Management Systems
5.      Socio-Economic Impact of Science
6.      Adaptive Strategies in Climate Change
7.      Innovation in Science Education
8.      Emerging Technologies in Neutraceuticals and Cosmeceuticals
9.      ST&T Supporting Business and Entrepreneurship

To be considered for the Conference, you need to submit a 300 word abstract to conference@src-jamaica.org by June 29th 2018.

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Sharing is caring so share this information with your friends, as the SRC 5th Biennial Conference & Exposition is a platform for the Young Jamaican Scientist to Shine!

Here's the link:

SRC (Scientific Research Council) 5th Biennial Conference & Exposition
Email: conference@src-jamaica.org, yolandab@src-jamaica.org
Tel: 1-876-927-1771 ext 2314




How PCJ's Solar Lamp Project eliminates Kerosene lamps and heralds inner-city Solar Power


“This is only one solution of many and at the end when we review this pilot project we will be in a position to see if it’s worth taking it islandwide.

Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness at the launch of PCJ's Solar Lamp project

The Home Sweet home lamp may soon be on exhibit in a museum for your future children to be reminded of the good...and bad days.

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This as the PCJ (Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica) has launched a pilot project to provide 5,000 Solar Lamps to residents in inner-city communities across St Andrew as noted in the article “Gov't Launches Solar Lamp Pilot Project”, published Monday April 30, 2018 by Paul Clarke, The Jamaica Gleaner.

The aim of the project is to reduce house fires caused by people living in the inner city using candles and lamps. Often when these are lit, they are left with children unattended. The children play and turn over these candles and kerosene lamps, setting their bed linen, curtains and then the whole house on fire.

The blaze quickly razes many of their dwelling, which may be nothing more than a wooden shack with a zinc roof.  This is something that the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness deals with in his constituency, quote: “Almost every year, as a representative, I have had to deal with burnouts; someone’s home will be destroyed by fire. It’s not arson; it’s that we have an aging housing stock that is made primarily of wood. Some people also make their houses out of cardboards and baggas”.

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The Solar Lamp Project, which is expected to address and prevent this problem, is been overseen by the PCJ, as pointed out by the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness: “With simple and inexpensive actions, the Government can make a difference in the lives of energy-poor households, and particularly and significantly reduce or virtually eliminate the risk of these tragic fires”.

This Solar Lamp project is a realization of a dream by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who had requested in January that PCJ fast-track the program as noted in the article “Holness Wants To Fast-Track Programme To End Kerosene Lamp, Candle Use In Homes”, published Saturday January 27, 2018, The Jamaica Gleaner.

So how well do these Solar Lamps work?

PCJ's Solar Lamp Project – Solar will save inner-city kids home alone

According to the PCJ Chairman, Russell Hadeed, this fits their long term plan to:

1.      Promote energy efficiency
2.      Fix the problem of house fires

The Solar Lamps have a lifespan of 2 years and require eight (8) hours in the sun to be fully charged. After that, they can provide up to 20 hours of light on the low beam feature and roughly six hours when used on the high beam feature.

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This is more than enough to last the night and is actually a lot better than my lap, as shown below, which requires 2 hours to fully charge but lasts only 6 hours on the low beam feature and to 8 hours on high beam setting.

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Determining who really needs these Solar Lamps may be a problem as pointed out in the article “PM Says 5,000 Solar Lamps Will Be Distributed to Energy-Poor Households”, published March 22, 2018 by Alecia Smith, The Jamaica Information Service.

Still, parents cannot get away from their responsibility, as this really eliminates the risk factor associated with open flames and lamps, to quote the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness: “While this programme will remove one of the risk factors in such fires, ultimately, however, parents and guardians are responsible for the safety, care and protection of their children. We must educate, support and empower our parents, so that those who want to do better will, while ensuring that the organs of State are in a position to protect children from those parents who refuse”.

Eliminating the open flame will save inner-city kids home alone. Hopefully, too, this may expand to solar power being used to power entire homes, lighting and all.


Sunday, May 13, 2018

How Mozilla Firefox Quantum support for WebAuthn and USB-based security keys kills passwords


“WebAuthn is a set of anti-phishing rules that uses a sophisticated level of authenticators and cryptography to protect user accounts. It supports various authenticators, such as physical security keys today, and in the future mobile phones, or biometric mechanisms such as face recognition or fingerprints.”

Mozilla explains Firefox “Quantum,” version 60.0 support for Web Authentication standard and USB-based security keys

Finally, a browser is jump-starting the password-free logins concept on the Internet!!

Firefox “Quantum,” version 60.0 is rolling out support for Web Authentication standard and USB-based security keys as reported in “Firefox 60 is the first browser to support password-free internet logins”, published May 11 2018 by Kevin Parrish, Digitaltrends.

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USB-based security keys such as Yubico’s YubiKey ar a part of that mix. Yubico offers standard YubiKeys USB-A and USB-C models that remain plugged into your PC (full-size or nano). Their “Neo” models are key-chain danglers that use USB-A and NFC connectivity for PCs and Android phones. Their “FIPS” models are for government and regulated industries, so options abound for every type of customer.

Now with Firefox support, a web-based account using a one-time registration token enables your YubiKey USB Key, eliminating the need to enter a password as long as it's plugged in.  With support for face recognition and fingerprint scanning in the pipeline, you may only need to have clean digits or look you best to access you computer!!!

Yubico are physical USB keys that replace typing in passwords. So how does Web Authentication work, exactly?

WebAuthn - E2EE encryption between a Browser to a Server

The alternative, WebAuthn (Web Authentication), is equally interesting.

WebAuthn uses encrypted public and private keys; there are no passwords stored in a website’s database. Even more interesting there are no passwords for hackers to scoop on a compromised website. This is because no data is transmitted from your PC to the website.

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WebAuthn stores your login and password credential in an encrypted form and await instructions from the user, also encrypted, to access a password protected website. This way no password data is being passed from data passed from your PC to the website; only instructions to the server to authenticate you on the website you are logging into using encrypted public and private keys.

Effectively, this is E2EE encryption between a Browser to a Server and then to the website you are logging into.

WebAuthn goal is to authenticate account owners using biometrics i.e. face or fingerprint. This is harder to hack than letters, numbers and characters hackers could eventually discover. This may mean you will have to soon invest in a fingerprint scanner and a web camera. But if web security is important to you, then this should not be a problem.

So when do you start using this? And what about Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge Browsers?

Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge Browsers - Break from centuries old passwords

WebAuthn is in its early rollout stages and currently only supports desktop web browsers.

Eventually WebAuthn will support smartphones, giving a boost and possibly replacing Two-step authentication long used by developers and companies. Chrome 67 will reportedly offer support later this month, followed by Microsoft Edge, so if you’re a fan of those browsers, you don't have long to wait!!!
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The latest Firefox release provides other noteworthy features as well:

1.      A wider layout on new tabs
2.      A larger Top Sites menu sporting eight icons
3.      Larger Highlights icons.
4.      The Pocket’s recommendation section now displays an occasional sponsored story as well

Mozilla claims their Pocket product isn't selling associated sponsors your browsing history and making recommendations based on that data as Facebook was doing as noted in my blog article entitled “How the Facebook Data Scandal involving Cambridge Analytica is a Storm in a Teacup”.

Enterprise customer planning on deploying Mozilla 60 can now enjoy:

1.      IT to customize the browser for the office
2.      Rapid Release build that auto-updates roughly every six weeks
3.      Extended Support Release that updates once per year

Customization can be performed using the Group Policy tool on Windows, or through a JSON file supporting Mac, Linux, and Windows.

Still, the Web Authentication standard and USB-based security keys is a Quantum leap forward and represent the future where E2EE and authentication using biometrics replaces centuries old passwords!!!