My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: July 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Apple and the Copyright Office - Developers Christmas bonus up in smoke

“Same thing again”

Comment by Assassin as Agent Sasko in the song Same Thing Again

It seems that the Black Sabbath of Apple has now become a Troubling Tuesday for Apple, with a ruling being handed down by the Copyright Office in the United States of America in favor of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) that reinterprets the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

This makes it perfectly legal to “jailbreak” your Apple iPhone or any smart phone for that matter as stated in the article “Feds say mobile-phone jailbreaking is OK”, published July 26, 2010 10:31 AM PDT by Declan McCullagh, Politics and Law - CNET News and further elucidate in the article “On Call: Go ahead an jailbreak, its legal now”, published July 27, 2010 2:20 PM PDT by Kent German, CNET News - Dialed In.

This is a very Dark Day for Developers, both internationally and in the United States of America, as Developers live all around the world, even in Milk River, Clarendon in Jamaica, home to myself and at least three (3) other Developers on the Google Android Platform.

Jail breaking allows the more technically savvy among us who for some strange reason dislike the Apple iPhone to remove the software restrictions on the operating system that restrict users for installing Third Party application on the Apple iPhone, effectively opening up the normally closed platform to competition.

This differs from unlocking, which specifically relates to removing the SIM Locking on the smart phone as it relates to being able to access only one Telecom Provider, that being Telecom Provider AT&T.

Personally, John Public, who is a software Developer and Blogger rolled into one, is of the view that if you want to have an unlocked phone, you should buy one and not buy a locked phone and unlock it, as you are in violation of your contract with your Telecom Provider no matter if your service is a Postpaid Contract, Prepaid (Postpaid in Jamaica) or Pay-as-you-go (Prepaid in Jamaica) as this is just plain wrong.

Worse, you phone can end up “bricked”, an American colloquial expression effectively referring to you pricey phone becoming an expensive paperweight. This I would venture to say is the first time that CNET News’s opinion as stated in the article “What the iPhone-jailbreaking ruling means (FAQ)”, published July 27, 2010 4:00 AM PDT by Erica Ogg and Declan McCullagh, CNET News - Circuit Breaker is not of value to me

In my eyes, they [Copyright Office] have let down CEO Steve Jobs, all the Apple Engineers and Developers who have devoted much time and effort in the perfection of our craft as from the soundings of all of this, it will also affect Apps being built for the Apple iPad, effectively killing my Christmas Bonus from this new device platform, which John Public created to save newspapers and encourage reading in the first place.

Oh, snap!

The media seems to be glamorizing the fact that the removal of the legal cloud over ones head as it relates to criminal prosecution is a win for the customer, despite still being bound by the contractual obligations to Apple as it relates to their Apple iPhone Software License Agreement that still voids the warranty on the phone is jail broken, as obviously they cannot be liable for any problems with their device afterwards.

Thus it seems the onus is being placed on Apple Engineers to devise new methods of preventing their products from being jail broken, as the previous iOS updates are just not working.

Worse, it is unfair to us Developers, as it will allow persons to install Third Party Apps that may make the Apple iPhone unstable and thus degrade the functionality of an otherwise excellent instrument, which is now making billions for both Apple and it core of Developers.

It may see an erosion of our 70% of the retail price derived from the sale of the Apps and 60% from the advertising revenue with iAd. Quality of the user experience will be severely affected, as Developers for Apple who sell their Apps under the Apple Apps store are bound by contractual restrictions as diverse as:

  1. An effective ban of the use of Adobe Flash or the porting of Apps that were originally coded in Adobe Flash
  2. Poking fun at public figures
  3. Pornography as opposed to nude pictures or “art”

On this basis Sports Illustrated and Playboy Apps are allowed to remain as stated in the video news report “CNET Buzz Report”, aired March 1 2010, by Molly Wood, CNET News.

With the Apple iPhone 4.0 and Apple iPad selling like hot cakes since Apple debut the Apple iPad on the weekend of Saturday April 3rd and Sunday April 4th 2010 and the Apple iPhone 4.0 on Thursday June 24th 2010 and Tuesday June 29th 2010 with serious component shortages as stated in the article “White iPhone 4 faces manufacturing woes; iPad too”, published Friday July 24 2010 by  Ben Patterson, Technology Writer, Yahoo News and confirmed by the article “LG overwhelmed by iPad display orders”, published by July 23, 2010 9:56 AM PDT by Erica Ogg, CNET News - Circuit Breaker.

Everyone was definitely looking forwards to a Christmas bonus from the record breaking sales of these two (2) new devices.

The other smart phone platform is beginning to look even less attractive, as Google Android OS is affected by the ruling as well and has lax, less quality standards baked into their development process and is running on so many smart phones, making it very difficult to design Apps for the various screen sizes and operational parameters.

Not to mention whispering of its Apple-killing capabilities, which as far as I am concerned, are quite plausible but not slated to occur any time soon as stated the article “Out-of-stock Droid X is Best-Selling Android Phone”, published Tuesday July 27, 2010 by Adam Dickter,, Yahoo News, which may explain Telecom Provider Digicel adoption of the Motorola Droid for their network.

Then again, the gravy train ride of a US$1 billion dollars in 2009 as stated in the article “Apple's Endless expanding app universe”, published Monday April 26, 2010 By Peter Burrows, Businessweek - FEATURES to Developers was bound to come to an end soon, and this is but the first nail in the coffin for Developers.

Christmas may be bright for everyone except for Developers, with Death now staring us in the Face with this recent ruling that will see the destruction of the Apps Universe that CEO Steve Jobs built.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

JDX and Banks - Money, Money, Money in a Rich Man's World

“Bankers come from a special school; their schooling says to protect their investors' money.”

Lok Jack at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business's “An Evening with Lok Jack” forum

The recent news of NCB (National Commercial Bank) lowering of their base lending rates by three (3) percentage points from 20.75% to 17.75% as stated on Prime Time News, aired Thursday July 25th 2010, Television Jamaica and confirmed in the article “NCB cuts as loan portfolio declines”, published Sunday July25 2010, The Sunday Gleaner.

This appears as a direct response to the impassioned pleas bordering on threats of Senator Audley Shaw, Minister of Finance as stated in the article “Come on, commercial Banks!”, published Friday, July 16, 2010, BY PAT ROXBOROUGH-WRIGHT, The Jamaica Observer is a trend that hopefully other of the Big Three (3) Banks, namely BNS (Bank of Nova Scotia) and RBTT (Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago) will follow.

This is especially true after they had all given their assent to the JDX (Jamaica Debt Exchange) which the same Senator Audley Shaw, Minister of Finance, had declared a success as stated in the article “JDX ends at 99 per cent; Minister says thanks”, published Thursday, February 25, 2010, The Jamaica Observer. It seems that like the Big Three (3) Telecom Providers and coming of MNP (Mobile Number Portability) and the Big Three (3) Broadcasters and DSO (Digital Switch over), the Big Three (3) Banks only move when their investors [Directors, Depositors] money is in danger.

Despite not being able to achieve the Energy Sector Liberalization so much desired by the Private Sector and being championed by Senator Phillip Paulwell, Opposition Senator on Telecoms and ICT due to the Jamaica Public Service Company’s (JPS Co.) exclusive ten (10) year contract to supply power to Jamaica as stated in the article “Follow my Blueprint - Paulwell pushed for breakup of JPS Monopoly”, published Friday April 30 2010, Mark Titus, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner, there are options.

All of these options, however, points to Distributed Alternative Energy Power on the part of the Government of Jamaica and Venture Capitalists and increasing the efficiency of Energy Usage of the Private Sector Companies as it relates to Electricity and Motor Vehicle fuel.

This of course was a follow-on after a well played stroke by the Minister who also made calls for both MNP (Mobile Number Portability) and Liberalization of the Energy Sector as stated in the article “Paulwell calls for number portability”, published, Wednesday April 21, 2010, Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner and called for a divide in Parliament in an attempt to force Senator James Robertson, Minister of Mining and Energy to declare the progress on the Liberalization of the Energy Sector.

Senator James Robertson, Minister of Mining and Energy, declared was in the process of being changed as stated in the article “Government, Opposition wrangle over energy”,  published Saturday April 3, 2010, The Jamaica Gleaner.

However, all of these options require money. The Banks, Credit Unions and other lending institutions are the only local source of funding, as Jamaica does not fall under the watchful eye of Venture Capitalists, owing to our high salary levels and strengthening Jamaican Dollar which make the country increasingly unattractive for foreign investment.

Not to mention the reported spike in the murder rate now that the State of Emergency has abated as stated in the article “State of Emergency 2?”, published Sunday July 25th 2010 by Gary Spaulding, The Sunday Gleaner. Which everyone, despite the loss of their personal freedoms, agree worked and both the Private Sector as stated in the article “Army, police regret end of State of Emergency”, published Sunday July 25th 2010, by Alesia Edwards, The Jamaica Observer

Even expatriated Jamaicans were upset as stated in the article “US J'cans upset over end of State of Emergency”, published Sunday July 25th 2010, By Harold Bailey, Sunday, The Jamaica Observer.  

This is the result of a lack of a bi-partisan agreement to pursue the Crime Strategy to its zenith in a bid to give the police more powers to route out the criminals and gangs as was evident on Prime Time News, aired Wednesday July 21st 2010, Television Jamaica and now confirmed in the article “PNP discus lost ground on State of Emergency”, published Sunday July 25th 2010, The Jamaica Observer.

Even production for export to earn foreign exchange requires borrowing from the Local Big Three (3) Banks for investment and expansion which most companies are currently doing as stated in the article “Small businesses post JA$96 billion sales decline – Firms borrowing more and commerce worsens”, published Sunday June 2010 by Avia Collinder, Business Writer, The Sunday Gleaner. Even with the intention to export as suggested by the Jamaica Exporters Association(JEA) president Titus Evans in the article “JDX makes exporting more attractive”, published Wednesday, April 21, 2010, The Jamaica Observer.

Thus we are in a pickle. Interest rates, inflation rates are down and are thus good bell weathers for investment but crime is slowly on the rise, thanks to the non-extension of the State of Emergency, but in order to have growth, the Energy Sector Liberalization must proceed.

But even if Energy Sector Liberalization were to occur, the interest rate spreads by the Banks are too high to encourage Private Sector, for as Lok Jack states in the article  “Lok Jack defends Banks' conservative lending”, published Friday, July 16, 2010 BY ARETHA WELCH, The Jamaica Observer:  “Bankers come from a special school, their schooling says to protect their investors' money.” Like John Public said, a pickle.

Thus the reduction of the NCB (National Commercial Bank) base lending rates by three (3) percentage points from 20.75% to 17.75% as stated on Prime Time News, aired Thursday July 25th 2010, Television Jamaica and confirmed in the article “NCB cuts as loan portfolio declines”, published Sunday July25 2010, The Sunday Gleaner, is promising. This is a trend set to increase as reports abound of an increasingly stable interest rate spread that the Governor of the Bank of Jamaica, Mr. Brian Wynter is lowering on a monthly basis into single digit territory.

The Bank of Jamaica appears to be confident, signaling further rate cuts in the coming months to enter into and stay in single digit territory as stated in the article “Interest Rate cut signal Bank of Jamaica optimism” published Sunday June 2010 by Sabrina Gordon, The Sunday Gleaner.

All that is needed being a CBD (Credit Bureau Database) as being urgently requested by the Governor of the Bank of Jamaica, Mr. Brian Wynter as stated in the article “Credit rating bureau needed quickly - Wynter”, published Friday January 22 2010, The  Daily Observer, by Alicia Roache, The Jamaica Observer.

The Commercial Banks, namely RBTT (Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago), BNS (Bank of Nova Scotia) and the NCB (National Commercial Bank) seem reluctant to lower their interest rate spreads, as the losses incurred due to the JDX possibly still hurt and they are at least trying to ride out the difference between their rates to make up for the short term losses due to the surrender of their short term (read 30-day, 90-day, 180-day) Government of Jamaica Bond instruments, as those days are over for them as well, as it is back to the traditional business of Banks – loans and borrowing.

This last bit about the Credit Bureau may be what is heavily weighing on the minds of the Big Three (3) Banks, as the Credit Reporting Bill is yet to be ratified in Parliament, coming as it does on Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s introduction of a Cyber Crime Bill to make online transactions more secure as stated in the article “Move to Tackle CyberCrime - Hacker got Golding”, published Sunday  February 14, 2010 by Philip Hamilton, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Increased Taxation and Financial Transaction Security by the introduction of a Cashless Society via these two Acts of law would allow the Government of Jamaica to literally modernize Jamaica overnight is coming, thus explaining the giddy excitement among the Big Three (3) Banks of late, as Debit and Credit Card adoption would surely come, reducing the money loop to merely a inter-bank or intra-bank Monetary Transfers. A Cashless Society, in effect akin to the much beloved United States of America – and a sure attraction for the greedy money-loving investors.

Credit and Debit Cards, however, are easy marks and popular targets for online hackers as well as unscrupulous merchants who utilize skimmers to steal Debit and Credit Card information, as Credit Cards often have no PIN numbers.

Thus it would seem the security features being implemented by the Bank of Nova Scotia involving JPS customers who exercise the option to use the internet to pay their bills (voluntarily?) keying in their the credit card numbers on SSL (Secure Script Layer) websites as stated in the article “As fraud grows, privacy erodes”, published Sunday March 21st 2010 by Avia Collinder, Business Reporter, The Sunday Gleaner, and storing them in the Bank’s Database will not work.

This is especially true if the Database Server is not an Oracle DB Database housed on a Sun Solaris Server running a Linux Distribution Operating System with access terminals also running a Linux Distribution with Open Source Firewalls and Authentication (Login and Password) and Biometric and Machine ID Verification (fingerprints, retina scans of assigned users and MAC addresses of Ethernet Modems and Computer Name or Motherboard ID) Security protocols for all Laptops for Database Administrators, Computer Terminals and Servers

Also the Servers and Computer Terminals connected over a private Network are very vulnerable to outside intrusions, both in terms of hackers remotely accessing their Servers, Laptops for Database Administrators and Computer Terminals or accessing the computer being used by the Credit Card holder over the internet via scam websites, key logging software and other “phishing” techniques. Thus Microsoft software is not an option, as it is notoriously hacker friendly – which of course one assumes to be information that the Network and Database Administrators at BNS are well aware.

The same level of security required for the Credit Bureau Databases (CBD) is also required for the Credit and Debit Card Transactions over the Internet as well as via mobile Phones, deserving of a separate article on security. Worse, Telecom Provider’s Networks are not secure as German security expert Karsten Nohl indicated at a Hackers convention press conference in German that he had decrypted the A5/1 codebook, which uses a 64-bit encryption key, as stated in the article Q&A: Researchers Karsten Nohl on Mobile eavesdropping”, published January 1, 2010 4:00 AM PST author Elinor Mills, InSecurity Complex – CNET News.

For the layperson, this means that conversations on Telecoms Providers networks that still use the A5/1 codebook are not only intercept able but decodable. Decryption was possible years ago with the right gear, but this equipment was specialized and required security clearance and registration and was very expensive. With this breakthrough, thanks to the Open Source Community, GSM Mobile conversations can no longer be considered private and confidential, as now embassies and politicians will soon realize that persons with laptops and the right off-the-shelf gear can intercept their conversations as far as a kilometer away.

Once the Bill is ratified and the Credit Bureau Database (CBD) is set-up with Servers and Workstations and Laptops running a Linux Distribution, preferably NOT connected to the Internet with Authentication (Login and Password) and Biometric and Machine ID Verification (fingerprints, retina scans of assigned users and MAC addresses of Ethernet Modems and Computer Name or Motherboard ID) would have to be set up in a manner akin to the United States of America.

Except with more control to police the prevalent of bad debt and reduce internal and external hacking threats to the Banks, Credit Unions and other financial lending agencies which would thus see a revival of their Debit and Credit Card business as stated in the article “Banks hold rates, eye bad debt in credit-card revamp”, published Sunday July 18 2010 by Avia Collinder, Business Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This is in light of recently advertised attempts to introduce Mobile Internet Banking via Mobile Smart phones in an attempt to reduce the cost of banking as well as to introduce these modern services that customer are showing an increasing level of interest not only in online purchases as stated in the article “E-Commerce growth boosts business for Customers”, published Friday June 25th 2010 by Avia Collinder, Business Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.  

Most of their e-commerce banking being done via the mobile smart phones as stated in the article “Customer spur bank competition online”, published Friday, June 25, 2010 By Alicia Roache, The Jamaica Observer.

Were the Credit Reporting Bill to be passed into Law, John Public suspects that the Big Three (3) Banks agree to more drastic cuts. The Credit Reporting Bill well as other relevant legislation as it relates to enableing Merchant Accounts to do online transactions i.e. buying and selling or goods and services via websites set up by entrepreneurs and Private Sector as well as Offshore Banking.

It would make the Big Three (3) Banks more amenable to the idea of lowering interest rates, even purchasing the recently issued lower rate Government of Jamaica Bond that Senator Audley Shaw, Minister of Energy and Mining is actually chiding the Banks to take up.

The bank’s investors would already be satisfied with lower lending rates and the ability do financial transactions over the Internet, both accepting and receiving payments would shore up their sagging loans portfolios and lackluster Credit and Debit Card Businesses, making their money earn foreign exchange.

This increased level of security for their deposits under a Credit Bureau Database (CBD) would encourage investors to take up the 8.52% 30-day, 60-day and 90-day Government of Jamaica instruments in a bid to stabilize the continued appreciation of the Jamaica Dollar, the “third lever” in this now nascent recovery that the Governor of the Bank of Jamaica Mr. Brian Wynter has pulled in an effort to pull in more Jamaican dollars and thus stabilize its appreciation.

Apple and its products - When Supply and Demand twain can meet

Winter lingered so long in the lap of Spring, that it occasioned a great deal of talk

Bill Nye, Spring

It seems everyone is upset at the end of the State of Emergency as stated in the article “Army, police regret end of State pf Emergency”, published Sunday July 25th 2010, by Alesia Edwards , Sunday Observer Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Observer and as stated in the article “US J'cans upset over end of State of Emergency”, published Sunday July 25th 2010, By Harold Bailey, Sunday Observer Writer, The Jamaica Observer.

People are also alarmed at the rise in crime as stated in the article “State of Emergency”, published Sunday July 25th 2010 by Gary Spaulding, The Sunday Gleaner, despite the positive economic indicators of an increasingly stable interest rate and inflation rate, now trending into single digit territory.

John Public is aware that a State of Emergency is an experiment whose aim is to demonstrate the fact that all that is needed is a coordinated effort between the Police and the Jamaican Military as well as the relevant Crime Legislation to give them the necessary powers to effectively go after criminal gang elements.

But as far as John Public is concerned, the brouhaha being created by the politicians is no more than another storm in a teacup with the aim to gain political mileage, which is as obvious as the chocolate dribbling on my nose (I am a messy chocolate eating person!!) as already the PNP (People’s National Party) has already begun cranking up the Election Campaign rhetoric.

Making the average Jamaican realize that with the statements coming out of the political parties, most of the political representatives from either Party have no interest in a continued State of Emergency! Jostling as they are for the affections of the people, preparing for yet another election year come 2011.

Even the Emergency Meeting of the Cabinet today as stated in the Midday News, aired Monday July 26th 2010 by Simone Clarke Cooper, Television Jamaica is of little interest, as unless it is another 30-day State of Emergency, the rate of crime will continue to spiral. In the words of Dancehall Artiste Assassin, “Same ting again”.

Thus again John Public turns to the other storm in a teacup in a galaxy far, far away in Silicon Valley, the land of the Venture Capitalists and Technology Mavens, specifically the issue relating to smart phones and tablets, namely the Apple iPhone 4.0 and the Apple iPad, which seem to be selling, as the Americans would say, like “gangbusters”

This there are now serious component shortages since Apple debut the Apple iPad on the weekend of Saturday April 3rd and Sunday April 4th 2010 and the Apple iPhone 4.0 on Thursday June 24th 2010 and Tuesday June 29th 2010 as stated in the article “White iPhone 4 faces manufacturing woes; iPad too”, published Friday July 24 2010 by  Ben Patterson, Technology Writer, Yahoo! News.

Ditto in the article “LG overwhelmed by iPad display orders”, published by July 23, 2010 9:56 AM PDT by Erica Ogg, CNET News - Circuit Breaker.

Component shortages are even affecting the competition as stated in the article “The summer of the smart phone shortage”, published July 13, 2010 4:00 AM PDT by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - Signal Strength and confirmed by the article “HTC Evo 4G, Incredible Shortages make Room for Droid X”, published Monday July 12 2010 by Jared Newman, Yahoo! News.

These potential Apple iPhone killers all have designs having the same large hand sized 4” screen form factor that John Public had suggested along with a meatier 8.0 Megapixel camera:

  1. HTC Evo 4G on Telecom Provider Sprint 4G Wireless Broadband Network
  2. HTC Droid Incredible 4G on Telecom Provider Verizon 4G Wireless Broadband Network
  3. Motorola Droid and its cousin the renamed Motorola Droid X on Telecom Provider Verizon 4G Wireless Broadband Network.

International Smart phone shipment for the second quarter of 2010 have jumped globally by 43% compared to the corresponding period for the same period from 2009, according to research strategy firm Strategy Analytics as stated in the article “Smartphone shipments jump 43 percent”, published July 22, 2010 12:34 PM PDT by Lance Whitney, CNET News- Wireless.

With nearly sixty million (60,000,000) smart phones being sold and not surprisingly Nokia is leading the charge with nearly 40% of the smart phone market, leaving second and third place respectively to RIM and Apple, with Google Android nowhere on the scene.

Locally, Telecom Provider Digicel  has now begun hyping the Motorola Droid rechristened as the Motorola Milestone (not Mainstream as previously opined) as announced by one of Digicel ’s Brand Managers on Smile Jamaica TVJ on Friday July 9th 2010, Television Jamaica after the launch of their Jus Buss Promotion on Thursday July 1st 2010 and confirmed by the article “Digicel launches the new Motorola Milestone, published Sunday”, July 18, 2010, The Jamaica Observer.

Surprisingly, Telecom Provider Digicel , based on a report from a friend of mine, is also carrying the HTC Google Nexus One, Google’s answer to the Apple iPhone running their custom Google Android 2.1 OS, which one assumes is upgradeable to Google Android 2.2 or Froyo via over-the-air updates, albeit the article speaks nothing of the phones support for Digicel WiMax 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network.

Something tells me that this support for 3G phones on a network soon to launch WiMax 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) is a jab at Telecom Provider CLARO, which so far has failed to increase the sales of its Apple iPhone and is yet to announce support for the Apple iPhone 4.0.

Much less the Apple iPhone 3GS now severely discounted in the United States of America and available on a US$99 two (2) year contract as stated in the article “Get a new 16GB iPhone 3GS for $97”, published May 25, 2010 5:18 AM PDT by Rick Broida CNET News - The Cheapskate.

Even Telecom Provider LIME is in on the touch screen craze, opting for support of long-time partner RIM and its newly minted BlackBerry Storm 2, retailing for JA$24,000.00 and even carrying the Apple iPad as a prize in it 100 Days of Summer Promotion, also launched on the Thursday July 1st 2010.

Interestingly, India, king of Reverse Engineering and redesigning First World Gadget for a third World Market, such as the 100,000 rupee (US$2,127) Tata Nano and the world’s cheapest car and Open Heart surgery for US$2000.

Throw in a commercial strength water purifier made of coal and carbon dust for 749 rupees (US$16) and now a US$35 Tablet built from one circuit board with integrated processor, memory and cameras and using a SD Memory Card as a Hard-Drive, and you have a surefire Apple iPad killer on the basis of cost alone as stated in the article “India unveils prototype of $35 Tablet computer”, published Friday July 23 2010 by ERIKA KINETZ, AP Business Writer, Yahoo! News.

Albeit not a game changer, it will make Nicholas Negroponte principal founder of the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology's) Media Lab (2005) which he introduced the One Laptop Per Child Program to get children in Third World Countries access to computers, think a bit more innovatively and cost effectively as to how he fabricates his next project.

Which ironically, is a Tablet PC, as already he has competition from India, which has set its sights on making the Tablet PC drop to even dizzying lows of US$10!

Surprisingly, it was the overpriced US$100 laptops under the One Laptop per Child Program that eventually morphed into the popular Netbooks that drove the adoption of 3G internet on Telecom Provider AT&T 3G Broadband Network.

The recent development of the Apple iPad, now seen as a game changer and predicted to kill of the Netbooks as stated in the article  “ iPad, tablets expected to dampen Netbook sales”, published April 6, 2010 8:17 AM PDT by Lance Whitney CNET News – Crave and “Netbook Sales Sag as the iPad Arrives” published April 7, 2010, 12:27AM EST By Cliff Edwards, CNET News – COMPUTERS event which is now coming to fruition stated in the article “Apple ponders iPad cannibalization of PC's”, published July 20, 2010 8:43 PM PDT, by Brooke Crothers, CNET News Nanotech - The Circuits Blog.

Speculation about the Apple iPad beating out the Amazon Kindle were killed from early when it became apparent that the Apple iPad was the first device of its kind, basically a Tablet PC and its less ambitious aim of beating out the Amazon Kindle is a bit over hyped.

The Amazon Kindle was and still is aimed at the eReader market and is part of Amazon’s strategy to encourage and build-up its book purchasing base by making a device that made books more portable, a strategy that has worked thus far as their book sales as stated in the article “Wasn't the Kindle supposed to be firewood?”, published July 22, 2010 2:45 PM PDT by Caroline McCarthy, CNET News - The Social.

Plus, books cannot be read in the sunlight using the Apple iPad as stated in the article “Users say the iPad, sun don't mix”, published Tuesday April 6th 2010, 2:18 pm ET, Yahoo! News.

One thing is for certain, however, the demand for these smart phones and Tablet gadgets is increasing beyond the wildest imaginations of its creators and John Public, the originator of all of these design suggestions, sent in via email, as it is now a case of supply exceeding demand

Analysts are now ramping up their numbers exponentially as the feeding frenzy for these pricy gadgets continues unabated, making one wonder, if this continues till Christmas of 2010, what other Gadgets, aside from the Apple iPhone 4GS and All-Electric Vehicles will be awaiting us in the Spring of 2011?

Will Winter still be in Spring arms, keeping up it’s technology conversation till 2011AD? Stay tuned………

Alternative Energy and Aviation - Of Airplanes and the Sun God Ra

Some ladies now make pretty songs
And some make pretty nurses
Some men are good for righting wrongs
And some for writing verses

R. Locker-Lampson, The Jester’s Plea

The Zephyr is a game changer, like the Apple iPad. It seems new world records are going to be in the Record Books, which is worth a bottle of Guinness, pun deliberately intended, as this next news article leaves me without words to write or speak. 

History has been made folks!!

The longest unmanned flight ever in history was achieved by a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), the Zephyr, designed by Qinetiq Company out in the Arizona Desert right beside the Farnborough International Airshow in July 2010 AD as stated in the article “'Eternal plane' returns to earth”, published 23 July 2010 last updated at 14:48 GMT, BBC News, Science and Environment.

Return to Earth John Public must as this is unbelievable. Three hundred and thirty six hours and 24 minutes (336 hrs, 24 min) of unmanned, un-refueled flight, beating out the thirty hour and twenty four minutes (30hr 24min) unmanned, un-refueled flight set by Northrop Grumman's RQ-4A Global Hawk in 2001 and even the manned, un-refueled flight in the Voyager a bicycle/solar powered flight by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager in 1986 of two hundred and sixteen hours (216 hrs).

Andre Borschberg became the first person to pilot a manned un-refueled solar plane through the night as stated in the article “Solar 24-hour test flight starts”, published Wednesday July 7th 2010, BBC News which ended successfully as stated in the article “Solar plane's night test success”, published Thursday July 8th 2010, BBC News a foreboding of things to come.

 It speaks of a world of flight using solar power and if anything, this early test with a successful night flight may bode well for the development of commercial aircraft that are completely solar powered in the future. No doubt the solar panels are designed to use ambient light from the Visible Spectrum as well as Radiation in the UV (Ultra-Voilet), IR (Infra-Red) and other non-visible spectrum, unless the aircraft plans to fly in the upper stratosphere all the time above the clouds where the Sun is always shining.

An ancient wrong that started with the engine powered flight by the Wright Brothers in 1888 has been righted: we are truly like the birds again.

This bit of history occurred on a week full of news of Apple and their bumpers (who knew a complementary smart phone must-have that Blackberry already gives away free could make the news?) and Apple analysts, suppliers and Analysts themselves still surprised at the amazing demand for their latest toys, all deserving of a separate article by itself.

The history part is in aviation, a technology treasure trove that for me was pretty much unexplored until news began surfacing of Aviation going Alternative in terms of its fuel source. As is always the case, the US Military has the jump on everyone, being the ultimate early-adopters, with the development of their fuel-cell powered spy plane back in 2009 as stated in the article “Fuel efficient spy plane for sale”, published August 6, 2009 7:51 AM PDT by Candace Lombardi, CNET News - Planetary Gear.

This year, a similar development seen as a herald for the era of aviation without the need for conventional fuels was seen with the flight of the Phantom as stated in the article “Phantom Eye 'spy plane' unveiled”, published Thursday July 15 2010, BBC News in the same class but not even close.

It seems that the stars always come out to shine at the Farnborough International Airshow, the annual carnival for those into Aviation Technology and now a new arena of interest for John Public, as the lines of Alternative Energy and Aviation are being crossed, with some promising results thus far. The Qinetiq Company’s flight of their solar powered UAV, the Zephyr, in a non-stop, two (2) week flight over a US Military Test range will go down in history as being the longest endurance flight of all time, both for a manned and an unmanned vehicle.

A technical dissection of this achievement is unnecessary, as this vehicle has proven itself beyond a shadow of a doubt, ready to begin its working life. Not only is it a fuel saver for the US Military in terms of its non-usage of fuel and being completely solar powered but interestingly also its wide range of applications, both military and commercial, mainly to do with taking up competitive geo-mapping work from satellites, which are not stationary and must take awhile to pass over a specific target area to take photographs, its main commercial application.

This is not even mentioning its use in aerial reconnaissance and aerial warfare or even the future of aviation, which may involve commercial aircraft that are solar powered, requiring no fuel be it LNG, Jet fuel or even hydrogen for fuel cells.

This, like the Apple iPad for computing and the Nissan Leaf for automobiles is not just a flash-in-the-pan innovation. This is a game changer, as it means there is a future, both in manned and unmanned flight for airplanes without conventional fossil fuels.

A grievous wrong against the skies has been righted, as we are now truly brothers with our flying compatriot’s birds, who as humans we have envied and emulated so long with polluting combustion engine powered flight. Now we are flying freely without polluting our airways.

And ironically Big Oil is nowhere to be seen in terms of the funding for this technology………..

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Telecom Providers and Broadcasting - Mobile Apps the saviour of Radio and TV

It must be so, - Plato, thou reason’st well!
Else whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire
This longing after immortality?

Addison, Cato, V, 1

Indeed, many people think because I speak so oft about the Telecom Providers Digicel, CLARO and LIME that I still work with them – which John Public emphatically denies, as I have long left CLARO since December of 2009 due to the ill health of my girlfriend Audia Granston, who later succumbed to her illness and died, Bastet and her guardians [cats] guarding her simple tomb, in keeping with the tradition of Seventh Day Adventists.

This is the general reasoning of even my online fan base of nearly 800,000,000 emails in my newsletter and my blog, amazed at my still fresh predictions as to what they are up to next:

  1. Big Three (3) Telecom Providers Digicel, CLARO and LIME
  2. Big Three (3) Broadcasters the RJR Communications Group, the CVM Communications Group and LOVE Radio TV
  3. Big Three (3) Banks, namely RBTT (Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago), BNS (Bank of Nova Scotia) and NCB (National Commercial Bank)
  4. Big Three (3) Newspapers, The Herald, The Jamaica Observer and The Jamaica Gleaner

FaceBook, you are so underrated!

Even if FaceBook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, now at the ripe old age of twenty five (25) and a Hollywood icon cum celebrity with his own movie coming out shortly, ever manages to reach one billion (1,000,000,000) users by canvassing the younger set in Russia, The Peoples Republic of China, Korea and Japan as stated in the video CNET Buzz Report, aired Thursday June 24th 2010 by Molly Wood, Executive Editor, CNET News.

Yahoo! Mail and Messenger will STILL be the Newsletter King and Google Blogger the Free Blog Meister, iconic representations of the fastest growing media: email, Messaging and blogging, the original Social Networks and partly the reason for the sustained popularity of the so-call “smart” phone from RIM (Research in Motion), the Blackberry, with its baked in PIN Messaging service and email.

In Clarendon, my status has taken on a life of its own, as were I on the Social Network FourSquare, I would be the Mayor for Amazing PC in Bargain Village.

I am called “Mr. CLARO” or “Soulja Boy” by virtually all who know me in this bustling town, mainly due to the fact that I am notorious for explaining any aspect of CLARO operation, future plans and possible Data and Voice Strategies

This was a fun thing for me, hanging out as I do at the Amazing PC Store in May Pen , Clarendon in at the back of the Bargain Village Plaza, otherwise known as the Baxter Building with the superhero work crew at Amazing PC being the Fantastic Four.

This is of course not to forget mentioning the other “celebrities” on the Baxter Building, the May Pen Socialites who congregate at the Bee Hive Cyber CafĂ© and Bar, its Bee shaped logo stridently emblazoned on the Baxter Building and drinks.

Humour and annoying one liners being served up by the witty twenty (20) year old petite female bartender, another happening and trendy spot for the Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) and Internet surfing crowd on a typical week or weekend night in an otherwise dead May Pen!

Did I forget to mention the Supreme Ventures Gaming Lounge? Or the Jus Bet Sports Lounge, where you can bet on your favourite Sports Teams? Let it not be said that we the young do not have our hang-out place when night falls!! Kingston and Upper St. Andrew, eat your hearts out, Darlings!

The same was true when I worked at C&W as a Network Maintenance Technician, hunched around the Nortel Networks DMS 100/200 Switch Terminals, called MAP (Maintenance Access Positions) Terminals.

Or occasionally going on the road in the C&W Blue and White LiteAce to fix problems with the OPM (Outside Plant Modules), OPACS (Outside Plant Access Cabinet), RLCM (Remote Line Concentrating Modules) and Remote Exchanges.

Be they Toll, Tandem or Gateway, travels in Upper St. Andrew upon which I would encounter persons to whom I would explain the inner workings of Telecom Provider C&W and thus get invitations to events, parties and other social gatherings and thereby get to know Kingston and St. Andrew very well.

Like Gossip Girl, Audia Granston’s favorite show on Cable TV, XOXO. But with the coming of true all-island Wireless Broadband in the form of Digicel’s WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Wireless Broadband Network and Dekal Wireless, a Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network.

Not to mention the proliferations of smart phones and other devise embedded with Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) modems, will this lead to a comeback for Radio as posited in the article “Smartphones make Mobile Radio sing”, published July 12, 2010, 11:49PM EST by Olga Kharif, DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT, BloomBerg BusinessWeek?

John Public examines the issue in detail, for like Gossip Girl, I know the Telecom Provider’s secret: Money……

The impending launch of Digicel’s WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Wireless Broadband Network as stated in the article Digicel quietly testing 4G for August launch”, published Sunday June 27th 2010 by Mark Titus, Gleaner Reporter, The Jamaica Sunday Gleaner will, like myself, be a grab for a household name status and popularity.

Telecom Provider CLARO is still limping, blissfully unaware that their Wireless Broadband Empire is slowly slipping away from them and Telecom Provider  LIME has just reached Montego Bay as stated in the article “ LIME to build US$40m 3G Network for Montego Bay”, published Sunday June 27, 2010, by Janeta Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer, The Sunday Gleaner.  

This after launching with much fanfare in September 2008, seemingly taking their own sweet time and launching in typical fashion expected of the former Telecom monopolist.

This grab for popularity will be very hard. Dekal Wireless, a Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network, launched in the last week of June 2010 thus firing the first shots in the quietly fought Data Wars which even the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation) is failing to monitor, due to the unavailability of statistical information from the Big Three (3) Telecom Providers as stated in the article Telecom revenue hit record in September Q” published Wednesday July 7th 2010, The Jamaica Observer.

And as John Public sees it, because most of the people in charge as Managers of the Telecom Providers do and still do not appreciate or see Data as a significant growth area in the short term, only in the long term, hence the lack of Data collection on its growth.

Their stealthy launch was so quiet, as Dekal Wireless did not even advertise in the newspaper that they were coming, much less any advertisements on traditional broadcasters such a Radio or Television (not even Smile Jamaica!!!).

Or even the web and would have gone unnoticed had I not been eagle eyed and noticed the construction of an unidentified mast tower atop Young’s Pharmacy that has alpha, beta and gamma sector antennas and microwave antennas.

Nothing odd here, except that these were smaller, about the distance from the tip of my hand to my elbow and the microwave antennas were square, not circular and they were not Andrews or Agisson, suggesting the use of unlicensed spectrum (60 GHz typically) Microwave Repeaters

Mostly likely with no MSC (Mobile Switching Center), probably purchasing head end [Internet Access] from the closest Telecom Provider in each Town in each Parish that they set up shop, Telecom Provider  LIME in the case of May Pen, Clarendon, and most likely ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line).

Enquiries led me to discover that Dekal Wireless is providing Pay-as-you-Go Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) to ANY device with built in Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) at speeds of 4MBps and maxing out at 10 Mbps, for effectively what is an “all-you-can-eat” Day Pass (24-hours) at a cost of JA$180 on the purchase of an access card from Young’s Pharmacy, May Pen, Clarendon.

Thus suggesting the Local Entrepreneurs are probably Americans with former Technicians from C&W, as this is the exact same setup of Telecom Provider AT&T Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n), except not tied to a Telecom Provider.

A missed opportunity for the Big Three (3) Telecom Providers, as ironically they will now have to compete against themselves, oweing to the fact that it is the head end supplied to this company!

Whether in the form of LIME ADSL or FLOW 15MBps Cable Internet or just simply raw T1 head end straight from the Telecom Providers, with the Broadband signal being carried by unlicensed spectrum (60 GHz typically) Microwave Repeaters.

Thus no spectrum licenses required either for the provisioning of the Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) broadcast or the use of the spectrum for the Microwave Repeaters (CLARO RF Technicians call them Radios, Telecom Provider AT&T Technicians call them Backhaul).

All of this confirms my suspicions as I had relayed earlier in my blog article entitled “CLARO and the coming of Municipal Wi-Fi - Shadows of the Empire” of a Local Entrepreneur taking advantage of the fact that the price of Broadband has fallen since the completion of the US$45 million dollar Fibralink Project by FibraLink Jamaica CEO Richard Pardy.

Thereby the fiber optic capacity of Jamaica has increased by a factor of sixty (60) from 2.5 Gbps to nearly 150 GBps as stated in the article “Information highway revolution to hit Jamaica”, published Friday March 3rd 2006 by Keith Collister, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Broadband access which was resold to Local Telecom Providers Digicel, CLARO and  LIME, thus significantly dropping the cost of international calling.

It is a partial explanation of the strange disparity that exists as it relates to the cost of International Voice calling being lower than Local Voice calling rates and the drop in Data Rates from JA$100 per megabyte to JA$40 per megabyte.

Indeed, being one of two (2) licensed Government of Jamaica Undersea Fiber Optic Installers, the other being TCCCL (Tran-Caribbean Cable Company Limited), is no mean feat in itself.

Mr. Richard Pardy, a Canadian, must therefore be thanked for his massive investment in Jamaica, as the laying of fiber optic cable is not a profitable venture, oweing that Telecom Providers usually pay an access cost to use the facility and the cost for laying the link is recovered over a period of time, the faster money spinner being of course the retail of Broadband to Telecom Providers and customers

Hence the partnership between Mr. Richard Pardy, Mr. Michael Lee Chin and fellow Canadian Mr. John Risley, the principals shareholders in FLOW Jamaica Limited, whose investment is partly responsible for the cost decreases in International Voice and Data Calling that we are experiencing now.

Mr. Richard Pardy even made a prophetic statement, which Telecom Provider CLARO and LIME have fulfilled: “Up to now, you have not seen a competitive landscape developing in the delivery of Broadband. You won’t see a huge upswing in Broadband deployment until at least two strong Broadband competitors emerge.” Prophecy fulfilled by Telecom Providers CLARO and LIME………..only to be overturned by Dekal Wireless!

These movements by this silent shark-like predator company, a Shadow of the Former Empire, a reference to Telecom Provider AT&T and C&W style, has even Telecom Provider CLARO, the supposed Crown Prince of the little chronicled Wireless Internet Revolution, scrambling to have Netbooks being sold even in May Pen, Clarendon.

I, John Public, witnessed this for myself when I was at Amazing PC Offices chatting it up with the lovely staff and noticed that their flagship store in May Pen has suddenly begun selling Netbooks, after weeks of shortages of 3G modems and noticeable customer complaints about being overcharged on their modems.

As previously intoned in my blog article entitled “CLARO and its 3G Data Services - Inform people when they exceed their Overage”, this is an easy fix for CLARO via informing wireless Broadband customers via SMS when they are close to exceeding their Data Cap.

This as dropping the speed to EDGE (Enhanced Data Rate for GPRS Evolution) Service, albeit clever, may not be so easily noticed due to their lackluster 3G coverage, which they need to improve in light of the fact that even Digicel CEO David Linehan was quoted as saying “Digicel Broadband will on Day One cover 60 per cent of the population in all 14 parishes”.

Even Triple Play Provider FLOW is afraid of Dekal Wireless, having issued Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Routers to its customers to attach to their FLOW Cable Modems so as to utilize their Wired Broadband via Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n).

A logical move!

This seeing as they had already paid for one Internet Service, why shell out additional money for another wireless service?

Not to mention the fact that Dekal Wireless is actually using FLOW’s own low cost Broadband service, as they so often boast in the media to provision their now competitive service

Therefore, do not be surprised that Telecom Providers LIME, CLARO and Digicel begin slashing the prices on their own modems or even begin selling 3G-to-Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Routers or 3G-to-Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Routers on Monthly Plans in a desperate dash to beat out Dekal Wireless.

Once people get wind of the significant price difference and begin dropping the expensive Big Three (3) and their under-hyped overcharged Data Services to utilize Dekal Wireless forever expanding Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Empire.

Dekal already has the major towns island wide covered. Dekal Wireless, who should notice that a lot of these devices being sold by the Telecom Providers come with Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n), and Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) is not disabled on these devices, must therefore be smiling. Smart phones are the fastest growing market for the Big Three (3) Telecom Providers.

Evident from the statements of the Conquering Lion Digicel Group CEO Colm Delves as stated in the article “Digicel looks beyond to expand its 32 markets”, published Friday June 25th 2010 by Al Edwards, The Jamaica Observer and backed up by the article “Telecom revenue hit record in September Q” published Wednesday July 7th 2010, The Jamaica Observer.

Thus the “success” (as John Public is willing to bet at the Jus Bet Sports Lounge) of Dekal Wireless is mainly due the unlocked Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) features in the latest proliferation of smart phones from Mobile Handset manufacturers.

And more devices as coming enabled Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) according to a report that ABI Research published in March 2010, stated in the article “Wi-Fi smart phones to dominate”, published March 23, 2010 3:01 AM PDT by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - CTIA 2010.

The research firm, In-Stat, expands this further, however to a virtual armada of Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) enabled devices. In-Stat postulates that with the prevalence of Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) enabled smart phones, Netbooks and Laptops being projected to increase from five million (5,000,000) to sixty five million (65,000,000) by 2014

This is based on statistical Data collected from Research firm In-Stat in May 2010 as stated in the article “More people buying Wi-Fi enabled devices”, published May 4, 2010 10:03 AM PDT by Lance Whitney CNET News – Wireless

With the strongest growth area being smart phones, projected to be embedded in five hundred and fifteen million (515,000,000) such devices. Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) is now creeping into other devices that never had Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n).

Devices such as 3-D HDTV’s set to launch this Summer of 2010 as stated in the article “Samsung, Panasonic start selling 3-D TV's this week”, published Tuesday March 9 2010, 11:04 am ET, By PETER SVENSSON, AP Technology Writer, AP, Yahoo! News

Game consoles, Receiver Boxes for Broadband Cable and even picture frames, a curious correlation to Telecom Provider AT&T’s plan to connect everything to their 3G, GSM and Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Networks as stated in the article “AT&T connects everything to its Network”, published March 24, 2010 6:55 PM PDT by Marguerite Reardon CNET News - CTIA 2010.  

To add further insult to injury, a Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) modem retails for as little as JA$2,500 in Jamaica, so expect to see significant drops in the price of modems, be they 3G or WiMaX 4G Mobile from the Big Three (3) Telecom Providers as word-of-mouth spreads the news to those people with desktop computers but no built in Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) modem, as it becoming clearer and clearer never to aggressively advertise Data Services.

This success also translates to a new medium for the proliferation of Broadcast Television and Radio, as now the smart phone becomes the new platform upon which to deliver media content, much as it is the case with Hulu for Television, now a paid service as stated in the article “Hulu launches $10 video subscription service”, published Tuesday June 29 2010 by RYAN NAKASHIMA, AP Business Writer, Yahoo! News.

As is already possible with Radio via Pandora, AOL Radio, Yahoo! Radio and Last.FM, all of which have apps for the Apple iPhone, Google Android and Blackberry as stated in the article “Smartphones make Mobile Radio sing”, published July 12, 2010, 11:49PM EST By Olga Kharif, DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT, BloomBerg BusinessWeek.

An analyst, SNL Kagan, even went out on a limb and estimated that by 2015 Mobile Advertising will begin to generate the equivalent amount of money as Internet Advertising via traditional websites currently does for Radio Stations, doubling from US$480 million in 2009 to US$1 billion by 2015.

These are pretty strong estimates for an analyst I have never heard of and it would be interested if a similar development is taking place in Jamaica, based on information garnered from a local independent analyst.

Jamaica being a country which lags behind the United States of America in the adoption of Technology Trends by two (2) years on average, now that the JDX (Jamaica Debt Exchange) has set the stage for a recovery from the Global Recession in the next seven (7) years.

Based on the increasing screen size of smart phones, such as the HTC 4G EVO and the HTC Droid Incredible and the Motorola Droid X, soon be rechristened the Motorola Mainstream 4G (thought this name is subject to change!!) and launched by Telecom Provider Digicel during Sumfest 2010, Mobile Internet is set to take off, with Dekal Wireless being a catalyst.

Much in the same way that newspapers are saved by the Apple iPad, Radio Broadcasting and Television can go Mobile via apps downloaded that enable streaming and can be said to be effectively saved by a combination of Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Networks and 3G and 4G Networks from the Big Three (3) Telecom Providers now dogs fighting over the few bones currently up for grabs.

Radios Broadcasters would do well to have Developers make downloadable apps for both the Apple Apps Store as well as Google Android MarketPlace to allow users to download the app for their respective Radio Stations as IRIE FM, a local popular Reggae Radio Station has done.

Thus allowing them to not only stream their favorite Radio Stations as download podcasts and video casts but also make additional revenue not only from Mobile Advertising.

Geo-location based Advertising as sure as rain is coming, guaranteeing them immortality in the changing media landscape, now that the People’s Republic of China is in Town……………..XOXO.