My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: June 2013

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Kickstarter Project Embrace+Bracelet lights up for your smartphone notifications - Inspiration for our local Innovators to Shine Like a Diamond Rihanna Style

Social Networking trends are very nascent yet viral in nature, often occurring in short quick spurts. The recent adoption of #Hashtags by Facebook is one such example as stated in the article “Facebook adds hashtags, mends missing link to pop culture”, published June 12, 2013 10:47 AM PDT by Jennifer Van Grove, CNET News.

But with all this Social Networking, it becomes really annoying when talking to someone and in mid-sentence, they zone out by going their smartphones and check their updates on FB Twitter, Instagram or whatever…


Enter the Kickstarter project by Paul and Rudy (I’m assuming Rudy’s a girl) to develop a Social Networking Bracelet called the Embrace+ Bracelet that’ll solve this most annoying problem as explained in the article “EMBRACE+, the wristband that glows when you get texts, notifications”, published May 27, 2013 by Mike Flacy, DigitalTrends. This device is so clever and simple, that this article will also be clever and simple as well.

It basically a rechargeable bracelet that changes colour based on the type of notification you are getting. With Facebook taking Hashtags Mobile as noted in “Facebook boosts #hashtag presence with mobile”, published June 27, 2013 6:25 PM PDT by Dara Kerr, CNET News.

A project whose simplicity that’s sure to be an inspiration to local innovators planning to post their videos and paragraphs describing their projects on local crowdsourcing website I Support Jamaica that was set up by the JN Foundation and the JNSBL (Jamaican National Small Business Loans)  as described in my blog article entitled “JN Foundation and JNSBL launches Jamaica's first Crowdfunding website, i Support Jamaica - Local Crowdfunding to the rescue of Jamaican Innovators so you don't have to be The Lone Ranger

According to the Team, their funding target of US$210000, which according to their Embrace+ Bracelet Kickstarter Page, they have long surpassed. They plan to out two (2) versions of the Embrace+ Bracelet:

1.      10 minutes to charge and lasts 10 days on a single charge
2.      A grooved version
3.      A Rounded version
4.      Alarm Clock (on your hand
5.      Alerts you if you leave your smartphone behind, essentially a Bluetooth Tether
6.      Connects to your smartphone over Bluetooth 2.1 or 4.0
7.      Controlled via an App that’s compatible with Android 2.3 and up as well as iOS5 and iOS6
8.      Customizable colours for different alerts for different Social Networks and occasions
9.      Recharged via micro-USB but at launch will be upgraded to Inductive Charging
10.  Timer to show the Current Time and Date
11.  Waterproof (but mus’)
12.  With a planned retail price of US$49, it comes packing some interesting features for so simple a device:

The device hasn’t launched yet I know it’s gonna be a hit by Christmas if not September 2013. This as it neatly solves in a very simple and elegant way the issue of young people answering their smartphone notification in public thereby making it unnecessary to back out your smartphone unnecessarily. And it’s definately coming with Inductive Charging as they’ve surpassed their funding goal.

I especially like the Bluetooth Tether feature as I’m terribly forgetful person. I also like the fact it’s packing a Developer SDK (Software Developer Kit) for the tinkerers among us. Looks like the smartwatch by Apple, Samsung, Google, LG and Microsoft as predicated in my blog article entitled “Samsung’s apparently into Wristwatches along with Google and LG as smartwatch-smartphone Tango Catches Fire” will have competition by a device that neatly solves the problem of anti-social checking of Social Networking update checks using colours.

Look out for the Embrace+ Bracelet in July 2013 of this year. Inspiration for our local Innovators to Shine Bright Like a Diamond Rihanna Style!

Here’s the link:

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Adventists want Ban on Vehicle Pollution as Smoking Ban looms on Monday July 15th 2013

“The ban on smoking is a huge step in the right direction of having the health and well-being of our society put at the forefront of nation building, but they (the Government) need to go further”

Excerpt from a Press Release from Health Ministries Director of the Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh Day Adventists Dr Milton Gregory on Thursday June 27th 2013

The Ministry of Health has scored decisive victory against smokers and on behalf of non-smoker on Tuesday June 25th 2013 as I’d reported initially in my blog article entitled “Minister of Health calls for Public Support for ban on Smoking in Public Spaces - How to kill mosquitoes using a Carbon Dioxide Generator Mosquito Trap”.

On that date Minister of Health Dr. Fenton Ferguson announced in the House of Representatives a coming band on cigarette smoking on Monday July 15th 2013 as stated officially from the Horses’ mouth, the Jamaica Information Service in the article “No Smoking in Public Places as of July 15”, published Wednesday, 26 June 2013 10:47 by Latonya Linton, The Jamaica Information Service.

The Jamaica Observer  and The Jamaica Gleaner also carried this groundbreaking announcement in their respective articles “Smoking ban in public spaces takes effect July 15”, published Wednesday, June 26, 2013 BY KIMONE THOMPSON Associate editor — features, The Jamaica Observer and “BUTT OUT - Gov't announces smoking ban in public spaces”, Published Wednesday June 26, 2013 by Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

It even came on CVM TV as the Top New item!

Minister of Health Dr. Fenton Ferguson implemented the Public Health (Tobacco Control) Regulations 2013 using Section 14 and 15 of the Public Health Act.  Public Health (Tobacco Control) Regulations 2013 is guided by the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005.  The Smoking Ban effectively makes it illegal to smoke in public places defined as mainly:

1.      Areas specifically for use by children
2.      Athletics and recreational facilities
3.      Educational facilities i.e. Schools and Universities
4.      Enclosed places e.g. Restaurants, shops
5.      Gatherings such as Bus Stops and Waiting lines
6.      Government buildings
7.      Health facilities
8.      Public transportation
9.      Sports facilities
10.  Workplaces

Fines are hefty according to the article “Big Fines for Smoking Ban Breaches”, published Thursday, 27 June 2013 10:45 by Alphea Saunders, The Jamaica Information Service. If caught, the Fines are as follows:

1.      JA$50,000 or three (3) months in prison for the first offence
2.      JA$500,000 fines and/or a 12 months Jail term for a Second Offence

A sure deterrent to smoking and equivalent to the fine imposed on burning Garbage in a public space as per the article “Public smoking ban: $50,000 fine for first offence”, Published Wednesday June 26, 2013 12:48 pm by Monique Grange, Assistant News Editor – Radio, The Jamaica Gleaner. Statistics from tracking Tobacco production and its other by-products are part of the plan, with the Legislation also including provisions for counseling Smokers on how to quit smoking.

Interestingly too, if you’re the owner of one of these public places, you are liable for the actions of non –compliant smokers in your public space and you may also be fined as well according to statements by Legal Officer at the Minister of Health Sheryl Dennis, stated in the article “Non-smokers could also face the heat”, Published Thursday June 27, 2013, The Jamaica Gleaner and “Owners, manager of public spaces face smoking ban prosecution too,” published Thursday, June 27, 2013 BY INGRID BROWN Associate editor — special assignment, The Jamaica Observer.

So not only is this Smoking ban in keeping with WHO treaties, it’s enforcing a healthy lifestyle habit on Jamaica for the greater good of all, both smokers and non-smokers, despite qualms over invasion of privacy and the GOJ becoming a “Nanny Government”. Curiously enough, there’s nothing in the new Public Health (Tobacco Control) Regulations 2013 that speaks to Electronic Cigarettes and their regulation as noted in my Geezam blog article entitled “The Electronic Cigarette – Puff the Magic Dragon.

This as E-Cigarettes can be modified to smoke Marijuana and Crack Cocaine in Public and you wouldn’t able to tell the difference as predicted in my blog article entitled “Carerras and e-cigarettes - THC Thanks You for Smoking The Next Big Thing”. Trust me, from just the comments from my friends from ACCENT Marketing, I know it’s an Uptown Private Party trend that’s on the rise in Jamaican among Millennials (18 to 28) as noted in my Geezam blog article entitled “Jamaican use of E-Cigarettes usage set to rise as CAF placed on Tobacco Products”. 

But it’s a recent call by the Seventh Day Adventist Conference, the representative body in Jamaica for Seventh Day Adventists that is now of interest to all and may have motorists running scared, if Dr. Fenton Ferguson takes note of their arguement. This as they’re proposing the enforcement of 1938 Road Traffic Act, Section 43 (2) that imposes a JA$4000 fine for smoking Vehicles as stated in the article “Ban smoking cars too, say Adventists”, Published Friday June 28, 2013, The Jamaica Gleaner.

I wholeheartedly agree with this suggestion by Health Ministries Director of the Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh Day Adventists Dr Milton Gregory, whose Press Release on behalf of the Seventh Day Adventist Conference points out that, quote: “Every day, thousands of Jamaicans breathe heavily polluted air, which is filled with poisonous vehicular smoke emissions consisting of pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, suspended sulphates, sulphur dioxide, nitrates, lead, dirt and soot”.

I agree with Dr Milton Gregory that it would help to boost Jamaica’s Transition to Flex-Fuel i.e. LPG, Bio-Diesel and even All-Electric Vehicles in Jamaica as argued in my blog article entitled “GOJ buys SUV's for Ministers of Government from Toyota Jamaica - All-Electric Vehicle Importation Support is needed from GOJ to be The Master of our Fuel Consumption”.  The JA$4000 fines from the imposition of 1938 Road Traffic Act, Section 43 (2) could be used increased to JA$10,000 in order to act as a deterrent to such vehicles that are not roadworthy and in the process Fund the following:

1.      Forcing large vehicles such as Coaster Buses and trucks to become compliant with emission standards set by the Ministry of Health via the Bureau of Standards and the Vehicle Licensing and Fitness Depot to be taken off the roads
2.      Enforcement of Weighting of Vehicles as described in “Too heavy to halt!”, Published Sunday April 14, 2013 by Tyrone Reid, Senior Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner as most of the Vehicles that emit the Noxious gases as described tend to also be overweight and thus the Engine labours and burns Fuel incompletely
3.      Development of a Bio-Fuel Industry, particularly centered around the recycling of Used Cooking Oil as stated in my blog article entitled “UWI and YCWJ team up to Recycle Waste Cooking Oil - Yendi Phillipps on How to make National Bio-Diesel Production from Waste Cooking Oil Insidious Chapter 2

This as suggested by Dr. Milton Gregory, quote: “What needs to be done to stem the tide of this threat to public health is to make provision for more emission sites to do testing. Ten sites in the Corporate Area are just not enough to cope with the volume of motor vehicles that crowd our busy streets daily, (and) furthermore, best practices in terms of air-quality management, which includes alternative fuels”.

I personally, however, would like a ban on Mosquito Destroyer importation. The Ministry of Science, Technology Energy and Mining, the Ministry of Agriculture could  partner with the Ministry of Health to explore the large scale production of Lemon Grass (Fever Grass) to make Citronella Candles, Evaporators, spray on repellants as explained in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to make Environmentally Friendly Citronella (Lemon Grass) Oil for Mosquito Repellant Lotion and Candles”.

With the use of Hydroponics in Greenhouses, Solar Farming Methods as well as Recycling of Wastewater and the use of low-cost labour, Citronella Production would be economically feasible and competitive to replace local Mosquito Destroyer importation as well as become an export product.

So while I congratulate the  Minister of Health Dr. Fenton Ferguson on this landmark piece of Health Legislation, it’s has really opened up a can of related worms as it relates to Environmental Smoke:

1.      Burning Garbage to Vehicle Pollution to Mosquito Destroyers can be further regulated and fined, with the funds being used for the development of a Bio-Fuel Sector
2.      Development of Lemon Grass (Fever Grass) to replace Mosquito Destroyers to make this export-ready product in partnership with the Ministry of Science, Technology Energy and Mining, the Ministry of Agriculture partner with the Ministry of Health
3.      The development of Emission Standard by the Bureau of Standards as it relates to Motor Vehicles in Jamaica thereby giving the GOJ yet another tool by which to block the importation of certain vehicle into Jamaica
4.      Increased importation of Flex-Fuel i.e. LPG, Bio-Diesel and even All-Electric Vehicles in Jamaica

So folks and friend who smoke, gear up and stock on your smokes for private use at home as the ban comes into effect by Monday July 15th 2013. Adventists want Ban on Vehicle Pollution actually means that Dr. Fenton Ferguson's Public Health (Tobacco Control) Regulations 2013 is an Escape Plan (2013) that leads to All-Electric Vehicles, Bio-Fuel and Citronella Candles.