My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: June 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Broadcasting Commission's JA$15 Million Payola Fines - Show Me The Money on The Road to Damascus

Forbidden fruit a flavor has
That lawful orchards mocks;
How luscious lies the pea within
The pod that duty locks!

Emily Dickinson, Poems, 1

Looks like the Broadcasting Commission finally got serious with a part of its rhetoric with the imposition of a JA$15 million fine for accepting bribes to play Music on Free-To-Air Radio Stations, otherwise known as payola as stated in The Jamaica Observer article entitled “Broadcasting commission pushing for hefty fines for payola”, published Friday, June 24, 2011 by MARVEL GORDON Observer writer, The Jamaica Observer.

The Jamaica Gleaner makes it a bit more obvious, declaring that payola is now a criminal offence as stated in the article “Payola To Be Made A Criminal Offence”, published Thursday June 23, 2011, The Jamaica Gleaner. The RJR News Online Report is a bit more stoic in its declaration of the new rules from the Broadcast Commission entitled “Broadcasting Commission recommends $15M payola fine”, published Tuesday June 21, 2011 10:25pm, RJR News Online.

This News is a follow-on, West Indies Cricket Style of what was reported previously as to the Broadcasting Commission intentions as stated in the article “Broadcasting Commission wants payola a criminal offence”, published Saturday, November 13, 2010, The Jamaica Observer.
Guess this officially ends the debate on payola being illegal and unethical as presented in the argument in the articlePayola in Jamaica: Illegal and unethical or standard practice?” published Sunday, April 17, 2011,The Jamaica Observer. One can now tick “all the above” on the test sheet, with a JA$15 million Sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of the Radio Station Managers and Disk Jockeys, who now have to more carefully peruse what is being selected before it goes on Air as well as have stringent guidelines as to how it gets on Air.

This is in addition to being careful not to play songs that are sexually explicit or violent content, which also attracts a hefty fine as stated in my blog article entitled “Increase Fines and Taxation for the Music Industry”. My blog article entitled “Jamaican Music Industry 2 Years post-Ban - How Artiste and Booking Agents Launder Money” chronicles the current problems that are plagueing the Music Industry as a whole.

The Criminalization of Payola was part of a raft of measures being implemented by Dr. Hopeton Dunn, Chairman of the Broadcasting Commission, along with DSO (Digital Switch Over) and getting Free-To-Air Broadcasters to pay Spectrum Licenses for their used Broadcast Spectrum as stated in my blog article entitled “Telecom Providers, 100MBps Broadband and the Broadcasting Commission - Redemption Song”.
It is hoped that the Disk Jockeys will comply, or they not only will find themselves out of a job, but their Radio Station may be sanctioned to the tune of JA$15 million.

Whether musicologist Dennis Howard accepts it or not, Payola is affecting the Music Industry despite his arguments to the contrary in the article “Payola does not affect Music quality says Dennis Howard”, published Monday, Stephen Jackson, April 04, 2011, The Jamaica Observer, as evidenced from the proliferation of unknown talent thus far unearthed by Digicel Rising Stars and other Reality Television programs on Television Jamaica, a local Free-To-Air Television Broadcaster.

Speaking at a recent seminar hosted by the BCJ (Broadcast Commission of Jamaica), musicologist Dennis Howard spoke, quote: “To blame payola for decline in Music is to take the easy way out. It presupposes that good artistes don't engage in payola. Technology has liberated the listeners from the clutches of top 40 Radio and of the bad artistes. I myself don't listen to Radio. I listen to CDs and Youtube (internet site). Payola is not the major dis-function in the industry. (Youths) are totally immersed with technology and cellphones. They do not rely on broadcast Media to determine what they listen to. It puts traditional Media on the bottom end. Youtube, Facebook, Last-fm and are major areas of choice.....The gentech nation (youths) is making their own choice.”

Dennis Howard is partially right, as most Millennials [ages 18 to 28] and Generation X’ers [ages 29 to 45] do indeed consume their Digital Music and Videos from the Internet as the article “DIGITAL MUSIC SALES UP - Marley dominates local ringtone charts”, published Friday, April 08, 2011 BY STEVEN JACKSON Observer staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer provides him with some support.

But contrary to his words, Millennials and Generation X’ers do listen to the Free-To-Air Radio for the latest hits. It is upon hearing them, that the young uns’ (myself included!) scour the Internet to download for free from KickassTorrents and The Pirate Bay that which is the hottest tune on the Airwaves as I had observed and chronicled in my blog article entitled “UWI and Piracy - The Real Pirate Bay” and the follow-up “UWI and Piracy - Release the Kraken”.

These musings of mine are based on my anecdotal observation of Millennials and Generation X’ers on campus while doing my Degree in Electronics and Chemistry (2005 to 2009) at the University Of The West Indies.

Note: for free, including streaming for Free, DropBox and YouTube Style!!

Even the CD, Blu-Ray and DVD as a storage format for Music is a bit behind times, with most MP3 and MP4 Players being SSD (Solid State Drives), with these formats serving as backups only as stated in my blog article entitled “Netflix & the Death of Blu-Ray - Rise of the Machines meets Chicken Run”!

Plus Millennials and Generation X’ers are not the target market that Reggae and Dancehall Artiste go after via the greased palms of payola, but Sound Selectors and Disk Jockeys for clubs, who can promote their tunes in the Dancehall Venues and Nightclubs after having heard it on the Free-To-Air Broadcast Media that is Radio. It is at that point, also, that the Millennials and Generation X’ers decided to download the Music and share with friends.

As old fashioned as Free-To-Air Radio Broadcasters may be, teetering on the brink of extinction in the face of a growing panoply of free Media Music streaming options as my blog article entitled “Broadcasters, Radio and DSO - What will be the Fate of Radio after DSO”, its resonance with those who frequent the Dancehall Venues and Nightclubs to listen to the popular Reggae Tunes and the latest Dancehall Rhythms is still strong.

It is STILL the first point of contact between Reggae and Dancehall Artiste and their Fans. Digital Distribution, folks, as CD gather dusts in Music Stores and Record Shops all about the island, with Sound Selectors opting only for 45’s and CD’s if the Reggae and Dancehall Artiste only distributes in that format!!

But Dr. Hopeton Dunn, Chairman of the Broadcasting Commission stood his ground on his point of the effect of payola on up and coming talent, quote: “People who are creating good quality Music do not get the opportunity to get on Air. This practice has to stop. We feel that payola is a criminal practice (and are recommending) stiff fines up to $5 million should we be able to catch any participant in this bad practice. We are of the opinion that the great majority of Media are honest professional persons but because this issue has not been tackled it has been accepted as the norm and the way to go”.

Broadcasters, both Radio and Television, in complying, unwittingly know that they wield a strange double-edged sword in the form of Reality Programs such as Digicel Rising Stars, Dancing Dynamites and Digicel Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall, which gives a window to unearthing those very same people that payola prevents from making it on Air.

Thus by cutting through the petty politics of a Disk Jockey’s allegiance to those who Show Me the Money (TV Series 2006) and Pay to Play with these hefty fines, it puts Free-To-Air Broadcasters on the Road to Damascus (2004) to their eventual regularization and DSO (Digital Switch Over) by 2015AD.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Carerras and e-cigarettes - THC Thanks You for Smoking The Next Big Thing

The Piper he piped on the Hill-Top
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
Till the cow aid “I die,” and the gooses said,
And the Dog said nothing, but searched for fleas

C.S. Calverley, The Ballad of the Period

Up until August 2010AD, Carrerras Group of Companies, makers of several brands of Cigarettes such as Rothmans and Craven A, were staring an ELE (Extinction Level Event) in the face as chronicled in the article “Carreras preparing for Public smoking ban”, published Friday, August 27, 2010, The Jamaica Observer.

This idea of a ban on cigarette smoking in Jamaica is nothing new. It has been in the news since a GTYS (CDC/PAHO Global Youth Tobacco Survey) in 2006AD revealed that:

  1. 82% of Millennials [ages 18 to 28] support a ban on smoking in Public places
  2. 33% of Millennials live with a parent that smokes
  3. Four hundred (400) chemicals are present in cigarette smokes
  4. ETS (Environmental smoke) the scientific name for second-hand smoking, causes lung cancer in those to whom it is exposed
  5. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) risk is increased if the pregnant mother is exposed to ETS
  6. Children who are exposed to ETS have higher levels of a chemical associated with ETS called cotinine than those living in environments where they are not exposed to ETS
For those trying to quit smoking, stop here and read this handy guide: “The Ultimate Quit Smoking Guide”, viewed Saturday January 1 2011 by Lindsworth Deer, Quit Smoking Guide!

Back to my argument!

These statistics was gleaned from the article “Students want smoking ban in Public places”, published Wednesday May 30, 2007 by Ellen Campbell-Grizzle, The Jamaica Gleaner and serve a very interesting starting point for cigarette smoking’s demise – and ironically its saviour!

Jamaica was and still is poised to ban cigarette smoking in Public places by December 2011AD making the many guilty party in New Kingston, the Corporate District of Jamaica look like stray waifs wandering about in car parking lots, puffing away on their lunch breaks to get their Nicotine fix.

But there is logic to the Government of Jamaica actions!

The Government of Jamaica realizes that Remittances are on the rise after a 12% decline in 2009AD, based on the findings of the World Bank study entitled Migration and Remittances Factbook 2011  as stated in the article “Remittances to Caribbean making healthy recovery, World Bank”, published Friday, November 12, 2010 by CMC, The Jamaica Observer.

Thus, the Minister of Finance Audley Shaw, logically reasons, should translate to increased spending power among local Jamaican people, which means they are ripe for taxation as the US economy is on the upswing!

Hence the taxes increases imposed by the Government of Jamaica in the Fourth Quarter of 2010AD in a bid to discourage smokers and raise new taxes as stated in the article “Government of Jamaica eyes sin tax”, published Tuesday November 30, 2010, The Jamaica Gleaner and the article “Tobacco products, alcohol hit with more taxes”, published Wednesday, December 01, 2010 by Alicia Dunkley, The Jamaica Observer seem to not be working.

A logical move to tax cigarettes and alcohol: they are linked to lifestyle diseases such as cancer, cirrhosis of the liver and Heart disease. By taxing them, a so-called Sin Tax, the Government of Jamaica collects tax revenue from what is effectively products that have a negative effect on the members of the State and Society.

Thus curbing its abuse is fulfilling the mandate of the Ministry of Health in its push towards a ban on smoking in public places while widening the Tax Net as per the Matalon Report as stated in the article “Widening of online tax net captures more revenue”, published Tuesday September 14 2010, The Jamaica Observer

But it appears that the Government of Jamaica has made a slight miscalculation as it relates to Jamaican people.

If anything, this Sin Tax is creating more headlines about people smuggling cigarettes and liquor to satisfy the still-addicted craving for Nicotine and Alcohol as stated in the article “Police want help in counterfeit cigarette case”, published June 19 2011, The Jamaica Observer. JA$350,000 dollars worth of counterfeit cigarettes, to be precise as stated in the article “Cops caught with counterfeit cigs”, published June 18 2011, The Jamaica Observer.

How ironic, Alanis Morissette’s Ironic style!

This recent news comes on the heels of Managing Director of Carreras Jamaica, Richard Pandohie prediction of a surge in illegal cigarette trading thanks to the Government of Jamaica 100% increase over a three (3) year period on locally made cigarettes as stated in the article “Taxes burn Carreras”, published May 30 2011, The Jamaica Observer.

The Government of Jamaica has underestimated the resourcefulness of Jamaicans and how they react in adversity, especially as it threatens their one source of joy in a country of hardships. So Jamaicans resort to buying their cigarettes and liquor from SME i.e. bars nightclubs that are owned by Drug Barons or Drug Dons in Jamaica.

Businesses which these Drug Dons use to launder their ill gotten proceeds from crime i.e. money from the sale of narcotics and racketeering, La Cosa Nostra style as stated in the article “Prohibition of Alcohol during the Great Depression”, viewed Sunday December 5 2010, Living history Farm!

This as Drug Barons in Jamaica, thanks to Recession, based on logic and to some extent anecdotal evidence, have seen a drop in revenues coming in from their various illegal activities, mainly revolving around laundering their drug money obtained from the sale of crack, cocaine and Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) and its derivatives through various SME (Small and Medium Enterprises).

Thus they have resorted to illegal activity of selling contraband that has been banned or made more expensive due to the high level of taxation, namely cigarettes and liquor, as it now presents itself as an attractive product with which to launder drug money. It also is attractive to those persons who wish to make some fast cash, such as the three (3) Police Officers in the feature story.

All of these developments are not surprising. This is a classic case of the kind of illegal activity or Black Market activity that takes places during a Recession as stated in the article “Definition of the Black Economy”, viewed Sunday December 5 2010, Business Dictionary.

So is there a way to satisfy both the Government of Jamaica gluttony for taxes and the anti-smoking lobby and Carrerras Group of Companies and its merry band of Cigarette smokers all hopped up on Nicotine and can’t seem to get the monkey of their backs?

Like Senator Barack Obama, President of the United States of America as noted in the article “Doctors Tell Barack Obama to quit smoking”, published Monday 1 March 2010 01.29 GMT by Ewen MacAskill, The UK Guardian?

Seems there is, as like Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, there is quote “Change You Can Believe In”: e-cigarettes.

This should come as no surprise, as with the US boom in Internet usage in the 80’s, and the rise of Broadband Internet in the 90’s and the first decade of the 21st Century, came the adding of the letter “e” to make it hip with the Technology that is set to make even the Traditional Media extinct as stated in my blog article entitled “Traditional News Media vs Broadband Telecoms - GigaOM's Avoiding ELE After Deep Impact”.

So we ended up with email, e-newsletter, e-Learning and the recently revived e-books.

Most of these services have stood the test of time, with e-books getting a boost from the rise in popularity e-Readers such as the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes and Noble Nook as stated in my Geezam Blog article entitled “Piracy and E-books in a Tale of Two Cities”. Especially among women, as my blog article entitled “Women adore the Barnes and Noble Nook Colour – Free e-reader Home Improvement”!

So it is now time for the noble cigarette to get the “e” designation (means “electronic”) and become an e-cigarette and rise above the persecution facing its less civic minded cousin, the Traditional cigarette.

This is not a new product by the way, should you be wondering to yourself, as I remember seeing e-cigarettes as far back as 1998AD, when I was but a student doing Electronics and Telecoms Engineering at the University of Technology (1997 - 2000). And herein lies the saviour for Carrerras Group of Companies.

The e-cigarette is a necessary adaptation by smokers in the United States of America who wish to continue smoking in Public by virtue of the fact that the device does not produce second hand smoke, but pure steam i.e. water vapor to be precise. And there is no associated smell. The smoker, however, is instead smoking refillable cartridges filled with liquid Nicotine.

Thus they get the full effect of a cigarette, like a Nicotine patch, but with the natural smoking action and none of the soot, tar and carcinogens associated with smoking. Long term, it helps them to kick the habit as well, and it is a bit cheaper on the smoker’s pocket long term after the initial purchase of an e-cigarette!

But more importantly, it means earnings for the cigarette barons, who instead of making Traditional cigarettes, can instead utilize a Vacuum Evaporator combine with a suitable organic solvent on the masticated Tobacco leaves to extract the Nicotine as a liquid, which can be further crystallized.

These re-usable cartridges could, in the future, potentially replace packs of cigarettes and be “safely” smoked, with the smoked being assured of a nice dose of Nicotine with puffs of steam to simulate the natural smoking action – and none of the lung cancer effects as well as ETS complaints that would ban Traditional cigars and cigarettes.

It may not have the prestige of the real thing. But what it lacks, it makes up for in cool satisfaction. And customizability, available in any flavour you choose.

But many do not see it that way, as they still see smoking as an addiction to drug Nicotine. So interest groups within the US have come up with arguments in an attempt to ban the e-cigarette, claiming that the water vapor may possess carcinogens anyway as stated in the article “E-smokes gaining steam amid calls for a ban”, published Wednesday, September 08, 2010, The Jamaica Observer.

That was September 2010AD! New year 2011AD, same story!

This time the interests groups want further research into the contents of the steam to be absolutely certain it contains no carcinogens that can increase the risk of diseases related to ETS as stated in the article “E-cigs: No smoke, but some areas are banning them”, published Wednesday, June 08, 2011, The Jamaica Observer, before e-cigarettes can be exempt from the ban!

Plus there is a general, unspoken fear that the clandestine nature of e-cigarettes means that they can be smoked by teenagers, being as they produce no smoke or smell that parents can detect in their homes. All the coolness of smoking, including the addiction high but none of the telltale signs!

They wish to ban e-cigarettes just as regular cigarettes, the real problem, have been banned in Public places. But such unfounded concern may be on the money to some extent, as the ban is gaining increased traction.

The may be right. In an analysis piece on the e-cigarette, I postulated an interesting trend that maybe on the rise among Millennials [ages 18 to 28] and Generation X’ers [ages 29 to 45]: the use of e-cigarettes to smoke everything from liquefied Salvia, like Miley Cyrus as stated in my blog article entitled “Salvia, THC and shared Dreaming - Altered States meets Inception” to even Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) as stated in my Geezam Blog article entitled “The Electronic Cigarette – Puff the Magic Dragon”.

And it’s not hard to achieve, as all that an interested Drugs Don, or a smoking enthusiast would need is a Vacuum Evaporator and knowledge of the process of masticating Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) to extract the THC (Tetra Hydro Cannabinol). Filling cartridges to load into e-cigarettes would be the next challenge, easily overcome, as their should be by now a secondary market for refillable e-cigarette cartridges!

No solution as it relates to smoking cigarettes be they the Traditional or electronic, can ever be accepted by the Public. But locally here in Jamaica, a middle ground can be reached by Carrerras Group of Companies doing research into the contents of the vapor released by the e-cigarettes to clear the air (pun definitely intended!) on its chemical makeup.

Thus Carrerras Group of Companies can ensure the Public that the e-cigarettes contain only water vapor and they contain no carcinogens and can be safely “smoked” in Public places post Cigarette Smoking ban. A study preferably done by an independent body chosen by both the Ministry of Health and the Carrerras Group of Companies, such as the University of the West Indies is the first plan of action to be taken by the pro-Smoking Groups

Carrerras Group of Companies would then commence retooling their factory to make e-cigarettes and design cartridges that cannot be mimicked by unscrupulous Drug Dons, who may try to mimic the design and resell cartridges filled with liquefied THC (Tetra Hydro Cannabinol), the active ingredient in Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa).

Carrerras Group of Companies, the ball is in your court as to how you wish to survive an ELE of a similar magnitude to that being experienced by Palace Amusement, whose Movie Theatre revenues is also under threat by the ongoing Recession and the decrease spending power of the Public with little disposable income to enjoy themselves.

Thus Palace Amusement has responded by upgrading their Movie Theatres islandwide to 3-D as stated in my blog article entitled “Palace Amusement and the 3D Movies - Lady Gaga's 3D Mui Mui and Dolche & Gabbana

If Carrerras Group of Companies plays their card right, like Palace Amusement, they may be able to pat themselves on the back for surviving an ELE and Thank You for Smoking (2005) e-cigarettes, The Next Big Thing (2001) in Nicotine and THC (Tetra Hydro Cannabinol) addiction.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Boeing and the HELTD Direct Energy Weapon - StarShip Troopers Death Star in Revenge of the Sith

I prefer the most just peace to the most just war that was ever waged

Cicero, Letters to Atticus

Looks like Boeing is getting serious about Directed Energy Weapons with the upcoming demo of the HELTD (High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator) Truck Mounted Directed Energy Weapon, or “Laser”, Austin Powers: The Spy who Shagged Me (1999) style as stated in the article “Zap! Boeing builds truck-mounted laser weapon”, published JUNE 27, 2011 4:18 PM PDT by Tim Hornyak, CNET News - Crave.

Please note, due to the Star Wars and Death Star associations with Hollywood, Military types dislike the word “Laser”. As this word, really, is a general purpose acronym for Light Amplified by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Still I can help but poke fun at comparisons to the Death Star “Laser” that appears being partially built at the end of the movie Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)!

Quick note for the avid trucking fans: it’s an eight (8) wheeler HEMTT (Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck) as shown in the picture below:

And here was I thinking it was only RayTheon who had been developing Directed Energy Weapons! 

RayTheon’s entrant was a modification of the ship based automated 20mm anti-aircraft Phalanx, a ship based variant of the Centurion system developed by RayTheon. Their design modifications was to remove the 20mm anti-aircraft cannon and upgrade the Radar Guidance system, nicknamed R2-D2 due to its domed shape and add on a Directed Energy Weapon or “Laser”.

Clever hack, as this means all US Navy ship with the existing Phalanx system can get a Directed Energy Weapon with all the advantages of unlimited ammunition (unless your Nuclear reactor runs out of power!) and silent weapon firing without giving away your position on the cheap.

This as the recoil exhaust heat and gun noise paints a bright pictures at nights during armed night conflict. Not to mention engine noise as well as engine heat signature.

This I had written about in my blog article entitled “Telecom Providers and Raytheon - Star Wars on the high Seas”. Boeing possibly realizing this, may thus be reviving their Directed Energy Program, as after all, they do more than just make airplanes and make plans to conquer space as evidenced from my rash of blog articles mentioning Boeing, in order of appearance:

  1. Telecom Providers and Raytheon - Star Wars on the high Seas
  2. Telecom Providers and Satellite Calling - For Your Eyes Only
  3. Alternative Energy and All-Electric Cars - Wargames
  4. Alternative Energy and the Ion Drive Engine - Star Trek and Andromeda
  5. Alternative Energy and Daedelus - Avatar and Planet Gliese 581g Next Door
  6. Alternative Energy and Virgin Intergalactic - District 9
Thus this article is no “flake, to paraphrase the foot-in-mouth insinuation by Fox News host Chris Wallace's with regards to the seriousness of Senator Michele Bachmann (R-Minn) bid for the US Presidential nomination on the GOP ticket as stated in the article “Bachmann dismisses Fox host's apology for "flake" question”, published June 27, 2011 12:36 PM By Lucy Madison, CBS News.

I have been following Boeing for quite some time now, being as I have been an avid follower of anything that relates to the Aerospace Industry and their use of Alternative Energy and Telecommunications Systems.

So I am anticipating this latest test by Boeing of what appears to be a revival of the Laser Avenger from 2009AD in the form of the HELTD (High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator), as its is the next step in making Directed Energy Weapons portable, moving from Ship-mounted to truck-mounted and STILL packing a punch!

The HELTD (High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator) is to be tested at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico sometime in the latter part of 2011AD, to crib from the above article. Of greater interest to me is the fact that this Laser, which appears to be capable of shooting down manned and unmanned vehicles as was its predecessor the  Laser Avenger as stated in the article “Boeing Laser Avenger Shoots Down Unmanned Aerial Vehicle in Tests”, published January 26, 2009, Boeing.

Back then, Vice president and program director of Boeing Directed Energy Systems Gary Fitzmire, did his speech thing about the Laser Avenger's capabilities and advantages in battle, quote: “Small UAVs armed with explosives or equipped with surveillance sensors are a growing threat on the battlefield. Laser Avenger, unlike a conventional weapon, can fire its laser beam without creating missile exhaust or gun flashes that would reveal its position. As a result, Laser Avenger can neutralize these UAV threats while keeping our troops safe.”

Just like Raytheon’s modified Phalanx “Laser”!

This would mean that the Power Source is very efficient and compact and the guidance system on par with that of RayTheon’s, only smaller. Most likely too, the Diesel Generator or Flex-Fuel Generator, typical of the US Military will be gutted from the HEMTT (Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck).

This as the rash of development of Directed Energy Weapons points to more use of Batteries, Fuel Cells, mini-Nuclear Reactors and Alternative Energy to achieve portability in an Alternative Energy mix as part of the US Military’s push away from a dependence on Fossil Fuels that may be blocked during future military conflicts.

Thus in their design:

  1. Li-Ion (Lithium Ion) Batteries or better would power the onboard electronics and Radar Guidance systems
  2. Fuel Cells would power the Vehicle in a Range extender configuration with a Flex Fuel Engine
  3. Mini Nuclear Reactor to power the Laser (possibly I am going overboard on that one!!)
  4. Solar panels and possibly a mini wind turbine integrated into the Trucks design to recharge the batteries and power an observation post
With these modifications, not only will the design constraints be met in terms of weight and efficiency in the battlefield, but the modified HEMTT (Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck) and its HELTD (High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator) would be rendered invisible to IR and Radar.

I foresaw Directed Energy Weapons in my April 2009AD chat with Shurpower Engineers en route to put generators on autostart, such as RayTheon’s design.

But Boeing has taken it to the next level by miniaturizing it down to truck size! Only a matter of time before the shoulder launched Human-portable versions of these Directed Energy Weapons appear, Starship Troopers (1997) style.

Great design, Boeing!

This design would generate no distinct heat signatures or be of any considerable mass to be deemed as nothing more than a simple army transport truck – unknowingly packing a Death Star Laser Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) style!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

FourSquare's American Express Discount - Geo-Location Fast Five 10 million Strong

For the good are always the merry,
Save by an evil chance,
And the merry love the fiddle,
And the merry love to dance.

W.B. Yeates, The Fiddler of Dooney

Good News in the Social Networking sphere, it seems, comes in pairs. FourSquare has secured another US$50 million in VC (Venture Capital) funding as stated in the article “Foursquare gets $50M to 'make the world easier to use'”, published JUNE 24, 2011 2:27 PM PDT by Liz Gannes, CNET News - Digital Media and the article “Foursquare checks in to $50M in fresh funding”, published June 24, 2011, 3:06pm PT By Colleen Taylor, GigaOM.

Add to that the fact they have also gotten an endorsement deal with AmeX (American Express), which basically is really an over glorified discount program with Geo-Location thrown in.

This as stated in the article “Foursquare looks to AmEx to further loyalty program ambitions”, published June 23, 2011, 8:16am PT, by Ryan Kim, GigaOM and the article “Foursquare, AmEx team up for deals”, published JUNE 23, 2011 8:18 AM PDT by Lance Whitney, CNET News - Digital Media.

Not bad for a LBS (Location Based Service) start-up that burst onto the scene at the SXSW (South by South West) two (2) years ago in March 2009AD as stated in the article “LBS Startups to Keep on Your Map”, published March 31, 2009, 5:04pm PT by Stacey Higginbotham, GigaOM.

FourSquare was seen as being unlikely to get support as slyly hinted in the article “Foursquare unveils its SXSWi arsenal”, published MARCH 9, 2010 11:37 AM PST by Caroline McCarthy, CNET News - The Social, due to its offending idea of sharing one’s Location via a smartphone's built-in GPS (Global Positioning Satellite). Effectively, a loss of your privacy, Enemy of the State (1998) Style!

FourSquare CEO Dennis Crowley certainly has put a lot into developing the Geo-Location concept, despite the naysayers. This latest crop of endorsements is testimony enough.

His concept is somewhat similar to a Mobile Geo-Location Social Network concept I once proffered back in the Fourth Quarter of 2003AD, when I was a Network Maintenance Technician at C&W (now Telecom Provider LIME!) being interviewed by Nurse Gunning for the purposes of a Redundancy Exercise.

At the time I suggested a basic idea for Geo-Location using mobile cell towers, but it got shot down, as C&W, I later discovered, did not like investing in something untried, but preferred the idea of letting others rent access to their Network and offer such Geo-Location services, namely Guardsman Alarms here in Jamaica.

Typical lazy Telecom Providers! Ready markets instead of investing in research and promotion to develop the market’s interest in their products as opine in my blog article entitled “Asus Transformer & Asian Tablets vs Apple iPad - Vybz Kartel's Straight Jeans & Fitted Big Trouble in Little China”.

I did, however, give away the idea of a similar promotion concept in that same Redundancy interview with Nurse Gunning in 2003AD called I Spy Rewards that was based on Geo-Location using Mobile Triangulation from Cell Towers as described in my blog article entitled “Brown Dawg and I Spy Rewards- Geo-location rewards system for Mobile Social Networking”.

Ironically, I Spy Rewards concept was based on a scaled down version of a much grander suggestion I had made while doing an interview with Telecom Provider Digicel back in 2002AD named Brown Dawg as mentioned in my blog article entitled “Audia Granston, Jack Abaramoff and the Spirit of Creativity and Innovation in Jamaica”.

FourSquare was also an idea that I endorsed that popped up during the conversation in April 2009 based on GPS Geo-Location. This was roughly a month after FourSquare had gone live at SXSW as stated in the article “Foursquare unveils its SXSWi arsenal”, published MARCH 9, 2010 11:37 AM PST by Caroline McCarthy, CNET News - The Social .

So to be clear FourSquare is NOT my idea!

But Brown Dawg was a concept similar to FourSquare, based on Mobile Triangulation instead of using the GPS in smartphones, only now being fully documented online in my blog:

  1. Brown Dawg, a Mobile Social Network based on Mobile phones
  2. Brown Dawg and A So di Ting Set - An API tool for User preferences and avoid backlash
  3. Brown Dawg and I spy Rewards - Geo-Location rewards system for Mobile Social Networking
  4. Brown Dawg and Se'et Deh - Behavioural Targeted Marketing Ads
Coincidence, but fortunately so, only in reverse? Perhaps….

Albeit not their first endorsement, it is by far the most significant and the largest. Quite fitting too, having hit the ten million (10,000,000) membership barrier some four (4) days prior as stated on their blog post entitled “Wow! The foursquare community has over 10,000,000 members!”, posted June 20 2011, The FourSquare Blog.

It also signals that more Brick-and-mortar companies in the US of A are getting hip to the idea of partnering with start-ups run by young people, mostly Millennials [ages 18 to 28].

This as evidenced from the recent partnership of VISA with SME Credit Card support Start-up Square, the Silicon Valley Start up headed by Twitter co-founder and Chairman Jack Dorsey as stated in my blog article entitled “VISA and Jack Dorsey's Square - Leena's TechCrunch of SME's Mad Money”.

Google Wallet is a more memorable example that comes to mind as stated in my blog article entitled “Google Wallet & Offers vs Square & PayPal - SME's International FlashDance”. This as it may be coming to Jamaica via a Texas-based startup named Mozido Jamaica Limited as stated in my blog article entitled “Mozido Jamaica Limited and Mobile Payments - Plants and Zombies say the Gods must be Crazy”.

And there are possibly hundreds more, albeit mostly acquisitions as oppose to partnerships, News of which dot the Silicon Valley landscape.

So what is the explanation behind the rise of Geo-Location Social Networks and LBS (Location Based Services), once derided as being a Social Networking risk by virtue of your total lack of privacy? 

For one, kudos goes to the FourSquare team in ensuring that the privacy snafus that plague the constantly evolving FaceBook as mentioned in the article Facebook to simplify privacy controls amid unrest”, published Wednesday May 26th 2010, Yahoo! News were not a part of the FourSquare culture.

To wit:

  1. Only your friends know your exact Location, unless you choose to make it public
  2. Unlike FaceBook, friend of your friends have to become your friend before they can see your FourSquare profile, which by default is set private
  3. Unlike FaceBook, FourSquare advises you of changes before they, as Audia Granston would say “dash it pon you without warnin’”!
  4. FourSquare gives you the option to set warnings for when certain friends are nearby. Great for dodging a friend you’d rather not meet
  5. Though the FourSquare Platform is accessible via a Computer on a browser, actual tracking of people is not possible without being their friend.
  6. FourSquare doesn’t disclose you Location to law-enforcement without your permission. Great News for criminals looking to rendezvous a la FourSquare
FourSquare leaves security up to one (1) individual: you. You choose your friends and make sure they are genuine friends, much as is the case with FaceBook. Except with a more secure Platform not prone to the vagaries of the privacy problems that plague FaceBook!

Thus, with their privacy secured and a Geo-Location Social Network of like minded individuals toting about expensive smartphones, FourSquare at it inception, was effectively a uber-exclusive club.

Now with smartphone penetration at 50% as stated in the “Verizon iPhone helps U.S become a smartphone Majority”, published April 28, 2011, 6:55am PT by Darrell Etherington, GigaOM and the attraction of discounts and free offers, this exclusive club expansion came as no surprise.

FourSquare’s winning formula from day one has been to make the entire experience of a Geo-Location Social Network into one Big Game. Participants receive what were the equivalent of Scout Badges for achieving certain milestones in terms of check-ins as mentioned in the article “Social-media games: Badges or badgering?”, published MAY 3, 2010 4:00 AM PDT by Caroline McCarthy, CNET News - The Social.

The more often or frequent the check-in or rare the check-in, the more Badges you earn. An example is if you are a frequent visit of a certain locale, you earn a Mayor Badge.

Other partnerships with local American SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) soon came about based around the check-in behaviour of its members as stated in the article “Foursquare Builds More Bridges to the Real World”, published September 23, 2010, 3:15pm PT By Mathew Ingram, GigaOM.

Most famous of which was with GoGo Inflight Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) as stated in the article Foursquare and Gogo Form Their Own “Mile High Club”, published August 2, 2010 by Jennifer Van Grove, Mashable in which the traveler gained free-Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network Access by checking in and becoming the Mayor (of an airplane?).

FourSquare grew from strength to strength, reaching five hundred thousand (500,000) users by March 2010AD as stated in the article “Foursquare Turns 1 With Half a Million Users”, published March 11, 2010, 12:12pm PT By Liz Gannes, GigaOM. FourSquare hit the three million (3,000,000) members mark five months (5) later by August 2010AD as stated in the article “Foursquare Now 3 Million Strong”, published August 29, 2010 by Leena Rao, TechCrunch.

Four million (4,000,000) members was a milestone reached two (2) months later in October 2010AD as stated in the article “Foursquare Hits 4 Million Users”, published October 21, 2010, 9:17pm PT By Om Malik, GigaOM. Today, they stand at a decent ten million (10,000,000) customers some eight (8) months later as stated on their blog post entitled “Wow! The foursquare community has over 10,000,000 members!”, posted June 20 2011, The FourSquare Blog.

ComScore’s Statistics stand as testament to FourSquare’s pulling power, as they indicate that Geo-Location based Social Network and LBS are definitely on the rise as stated in the article Nearly 1 in 5 smartphone owners use check-in services”, published MAY 13, 2011 10:47 AM PDT by Lance Whitney, Digital Media - CNET News.

This is best illustrated in the included table of ComScore’s Stats:

Sixteen Million, seven hundred thousand (16,700,000) smartphone customers used location-based services on their smartphones phones in March 2011AD, with twelve million, seven hundred thousand (12,700,000) check-in on various Geo-location social Network Platforms March 2011AD, according to ComScore figures.

The most prevalent users of Geo-location based Social Networks appear to be people in the age range 25 to 34 years old, the lower range of the Generation X [ages 28 to 45] followed closely by Millennials covering the age ranges of 18 to 24 years old

ComScore senior vice president of mobile, Mark Donovan puts meaning to the numbers, quote: “Although still in their relative infancy, location-based mobile check-in services are seeing rather impressive adoption among smartphone users. The ability to interact with consumers on this micro-local level through special offers, deals, and other incentives provides brands with the real-time opportunity to engage consumers through their mobile device.”

Already, competition in the form of Facebook Places and AT&T ShopAlerts exist as stated in my blog article entitledAT&T and ShopAlerts - Confessions of a Geo-Location Shopaholic” and my Geezam blog article entitled “AT&T ShopAlerts and BB for Everyone”.

Proximity Geo-Location Augmented Reality Photo Sharing Social Network Color (need to work on that title description!!) may become competition in the future if they could team up with a company that offers Augmented Viewing discount coupons. Such as ValPak’s Virtual Coupons as opined in my blog article entitled “Color Social Network & Valpak Virtual Coupons - Augmented View's True Colours”.

Ditto too for Google News, also a Proximity Geo-Location Social Network, but based around delivering local News, with the possibility of it being annotatable by the reader as suggested in my blog article entitled “Geo-Location Rise and Google News - Vybz Kartel's News Minority Report Color-ing Book”.

Look like Generation X and Millennials have something Social Networking related in common. This as ComScore Stats indicate that they are BOTH behind this Geo-Location phenomenon (‘cause it’s no longer a trend!) and may be driving it on to further success, in a Geo-Location race, Fast Five (2011) Style!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

How Apple iPhone Infrared Camera Sensor Patent may herald end to filming at Live Concerts

The public be damned

W.H. Vanderbilt, Reply to Reporter, 1883

Computer crash is my trotted out excuse for two days of absence of daily posts on my blog, which I made sure to point out to my fans on my Facebook Page. Thanks for the concern shown!!

So here I go jumping on yet another technology hot button topic with regards to Apple’s recent patent filing that enables people who don’t want to be photographed to remotely disable the Apple iPhone Camera via infrared sensors as stated in the article “Apple Patent Aims to Shut Down iPhone Camera Recording in Venues”, published June 17 2011, Mashable via Yahoo! News.

But first, the news!!

Buju Banton sentenced to 10 years - Not an Easy Road Wakeup call

Mark Myrie, otherwise known by his stage name Buju Banton, has been sentenced to ten (10) years in the FCI prison facility in Miami as stated in the article “UPDATE: Buju gets 10 years”, published 23 June 2011, The Jamaica Observer.

Ten (10) years was the sentence handed down by US Magistrate Jim Moody Sam M. Gibbons in the courtroom in Tampa, Florida. A heavy cross to bear as Buju Banton states in the article “Buju says he has courage to deal with despair”, published 23 June 2011, The Jamaica Observer.

But one which he should have been aware of before he turned to dealing in and smuggling cocaine as stated in the article “No an easy road - Buju Banton held for cocaine possession in the United States”, published Sunday, December 13, 2009, by Livern Barrett, The Jamaica Gleaner.

I have no sympathy for Buju Banton.

He and his fellow Reggae and Dancehall artiste knew the consequences of Hate Speech, the common consensus in the Court of Public opinion as to why this evil has befallen him. Plus, he is wealthy enough to afford trial lawyers to defend himself, which many Jamaicans cannot even resort to when wronged by government or wealthy people.

This should be a wakeup call to the Reggae and Dancehall community: hate lyrics will make you a “target” of the authorities of these foreign countries, especially their Gay and Lesbian Lobby as my blog article entitled “Jamaican Music Industry 2 Years post-Ban - How Artiste and Booking Agents Launder Money” opines.

Dancehall under attack - Sexually explicit and violent songs

Many of these Reggae and Dancehall Artiste, aside from singing songs that are sexually explicit and violent songs under the guise of Freedom of Expression as per Section 3 aka the Offences Against the Person Act of the Jamaican Constitution are also tax dodgers both locally and abroad as explained in my blog article entitled “Pass the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or Jamaican Music will be banned”.

It seems that increased fines and taxation against Radio Stations that play sexually explicit and violent lyrical content and Reggae and Dancehall Artiste who continue to spew hate music as stated in my blog article entitled “Increase Fines and Taxation for the Music Industry” is not having an effect.

Worse in a country, Jamaica, that is signatory to the UNCHR (Unite Nation Charter on Human Rights) but is yet to pass the required sections of the Charter that give legitimacy to Homosexual and Heterosexual relations, sexual relations which I abhor, but rights for which support on the basis of principle.

My only grouse with homosexuals is their view that homosexuality and lesbianism is “normal” and “natural” when in fact God’s creation, according to my deceased Seventh Day Adventist girlfriend, Audia Granston, comes in a rainbow of diversity, which may include means of reproduction that may appear homosexual, as it may involve animals of the same sex.

But, as Audia used to argue with me, quote “It is God’s and Nature’s way” for creatures to reproduce, be it sexually or asexually!

As such, ascribing “sexuality” or even “sexual orientation” to creatures that have no higher brain function than us humans who are vertebrates, have a highly developed brain and walk on two (2) feet is silly and cannot be used to justify homosexuality among humans on the basis of it being “normal”!

Irregardless of this argument, homosexuals do have rights, as often their Right to Privacy is constantly being broken.

Privacy of Celebrities - People are always spying on you

But like Miley Cyrus, Buju Banton also had, in a sense his Right to Privacy breached: being filmed during the drug Sting operation that was used as evidence against him in the trial.

I know this all too well, as I suspect now, with evidence strongly mounting in my favour, that the ideas I expressed in April of 2009 to a bunch of Shurpower Engineers was captured on a hidden camera, possibly in the vehicle.

Paparazzi, I brush off this buzzing insect, as the few ideas that they got from me, I have thousands more. Like Thomas Alva Edison, my mind is a wellspring of creative ideas: I have more ideas than have even hands or time to write them out!

Miley Cyrus know this all too well also, having vented her disgust with the paparazzi in her song Fly on the Wall, at the very end of which she unknowingly is being filmed via an installed camera.

In real life, being filmed by her friends (friends! Really Miley Cyrus) when she was completely “stoned” [American colloquial] while using Salvia as noted in my blog article entitled “Salvia, THC and Shared Dreaming - Altered States meets Inception”, which by the way, is legal in California, was the highlight of her paparazzi film career!

So I guess Buju Banton, Miley Cyrus and myself have something in common and thus would fall into the majority of people in the world who thus will welcome what I have to argue in the following short stanzas.

Apple patent to disable iPhone Cameras - No bootleg filming at Concerts 

In the Mashable article entitled “Apple Patent Aims to Shut Down iPhone Camera Recording in Venues”, published June 17 2011, Mashable via Yahoo! News, it speaks of an Apple Patent filed in January of 2010 that disables the Apple iPhone via the use of an Infrared Sensor on the Apple iPhone. 

Ironically, this is one of my many ideas expressed in my conversation back in April 2009, when I was on my way with a bunch of Shurpower Engineers to a cell site in order to set the generators on autostart!!

This is quite interesting, as this appears to be the latest weapon in the arsenal of the public in a continuing battle in the saga as it relates to people being filmed on camera without their knowledge via smartphones and their Right to Privacy.

Often teenagers or college students can relate if not realize that this is a common problem.

Stories of fellow classmates caught doing things on camera, which is then uploaded to YouTube and causes them much trauma, resulting in many resorting to suicide, after becoming the target of hateful speech, due to being harassed by peers. 

A gross violation of their Right to Privacy, with deadly consequences!!

Apple, this, is playing the responsible adult. Rather than create a sound on the camera that sounds off when the camera feature is in use or video is being filmed as is the case on most feature phones, Apple now is giving the power to you, the victim.

This patent is blessedly simple. An infrared sensor will be installed in the same location as the camera flash.

When you are being filmed (or suspect you are being filmed), you can disable the cameras in the field of view via an infrared signal that is coded to be interpreted by the Infrared Sensor on the camera. This either shuts down its function or scrambles the recorded images, audio or film on the Apple iPhone doing the filming.

Blessedly simple!

Paparazzi and Film recorders beware – Apple Patent may become an international Standard

Handy for those pesky Paparazzi, I am sure Miley Cyrus would agree and is basically as stated in the alternate view on this Apple patent in an earlier article from CNET News entitled “Apple patent suggests infrared sensors for iPhone”, published Tuesday June 2 2011, CNET News.

Ditto too for concert organizers and even movie studios who suspect that their films are being recorded by hidden Apple iPhone Cameras (who does that anyway?) before wide releases, as such activity robs promotes of valuable revenue from streaming video rights, both live and recorded.

This as the Apple iPhone can be used as a streaming Video Camera. But it is really people who suspect that they are being filmed in private by conventional cameras for which this Apple patent holds much hope.

Regular Analog Cameras, now the big Summer of 2011 trend among Millennials [ages 18 to 28] which is set to take off as stated in my blog article entitled “Analog Photography a hit with Millennials - Digital Cameras in Katy Perry's Teenage Dream” and Digital Cameras, such as SLR’s and those found on smartphones, may begin to adopt Apple’s approach.

If this Apple patented feature makes it onto the Apple iPhone 5, about which the rumour appear to have no end as stated in the article “Drawings show big changes for iPhone 5”, published June 21 2011, CNET News, then it would effectively give Concert Organizers and Media Personalities and Hollywood Stars a very large fly swatter (read fly = Apple iPhone paparazzi)

Apple’s technology, in the sincerest form of flattery, may be duplicated by Analog and Digital Camera makers as US and hopefully International standard requirement for all smartphones and Analog Cameras.

After all, Press Freedom and Freedom of Speech, ultimately are superseded by the Right to Privacy, as we are not movie stars like Miley Cyrus and do not want to be forced to take our lives due to being overexposed (analog camera pun very much intended!)

Hopefully this device that beams out Infrared to disable all Apple iPhones in visible range come in a small portable version, preferably in hot pink, as I suspect a lot of women will be buying.

This as it would combat the growing problem of people being filmed and having the information being used against them. We the Public may not stars like Miley Cyrus, but we do share her sentiment as it relates to what we would love The Adjustment Bureau (2011) to do about the Fly On The Wall filming us at our moments of indiscretion.