My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: September 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

MLB testing out Apple's iBeacon to give New York Mets Fans Treats and Free Coupons - iBeacon a challenge to FourSquare

“Your phone can serve as a gateway to all the experiences around the ball park”

Chad Evans, Developer for MLB’s BallPark App commenting on the integration of Apple’s iBeacon Service into the Citi Field, Home of the New York Mets

Baseball Fans who are also Apple iPhone users will be thrilled at this sip of Apple Cider!

MLB (Major League Baseball) has rolled out a Geo-Location Service using Apple’s new iBeacon Service that making some serious waves in the LBS (Location Based Services) field or at least at Citi Field, Home of the New York Mets as stated in “Baseball's beacon trials hint at Apple's location revolution”, published September 28, 2013 12:00 AM PDT by Roger Cheng, CNET News.

MLB, in a trial run, has installed quarter-sized discs all over Citi Field so named as it was built by Citi Bank as the permanent home of the New York Mets Baseball Team. Once you come in range of any of these little iBeacon Discs that may be behind a poster or a landmark, it synchronizes with the BallPark App (Hot dogs anyone!?) via Bluetooth 4.0 on your Apple iPhone and serves up information on the Stadium, the Team and Free Coupons!

This sounds a lot like a Bluetooth based Service called BlueWave back in 2010 that was to be launched by Multimedia Jamaica, a subsidiary of Television Jamaica as explained in my blog articles entitled “Google AI and Broadcasting - Minority Report” and “Broadcasting and Advertising - Why is the Dog's Nose is Cold”.

Same exact concept; Bluetooth discs developed by BlueWave installed all around Kingston. Whenever you approached an object that had a Bluetooth disc embedded, it served up ads from Television Jamaica as well as free coupons and tickets to certain sponsored events.

It would’ve been a hit in Jamaica as persons at the time who had a Blackberry usually walked with their Bluetooth set on “Open” making it easy to push content to them. Most do this on purpose even today, forming ad-hoc networks to allow for instant sharing of music and files on their smartphones!

Why Television Jamaica didn’t follow it through to completion?

At the time Blackberries weren’t as prevalent and as pervasive as they are now. Also Apple iPhone and smartphones, which were more capable of producing the needed coupons, hadn’t caught on as they are doing now as noted in my blog article entitled “Blackberry popularity wanes as Jamaicans go smartphones - Android and Apple's Smartphone Revolution” and my Geezam blog article entitled “Apple iPhone boosts Jamaican smartphone usage as BB goes Chapter 11 Bankruptcy”.

Possibly, this Apple iBeacon Technology is really Bluewave Technologies? Who knows, as they did have a close association with Apple at one point in time! Already several American companies are testing this technology in their business places:

1.      Starbucks
2.      Macy's
3.      American Airlines

So it shouldn’t be long before this service spreads and becomes a competitor to other LBS that are mainly powered by GPS, QR Codes or even Wi-Fi as explained in my blog article entitled “Daqri combines QR Codes with Augmented Reality - Ads and PR Minority Report Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “Mobile Triangulation without GPS - a solution to crime under our noses

Apple iBeacon – Ballpark App respects your right to Privacy

Apple’s iBeacon, which comes built into Apple iOS which 200 million Apple iPhone users from the Apple iPhone 4S to the new Apple iPhone 5S have updated to as stated in “Despite hiccups, early iOS 7 adoption appears brisk”, Published September 19, 2013 9:52 AM PDT by Josh Lowensohn, CNET News by default is private.

It works in the background but only becomes active once you come in range of an Apple iBeacon disc, roughly about the size of a JA$10 coin, installed at various sites across the Met’s stadium as stated in “Welcome to Citi Field (Pictures)”, published September 28, 2013 12:00 AM PDT by Roger Cheng, CNET News.

Somewhat like an Easter Egg Hunt, but only if you’re interested. This as in order to access content, you have to turn on the Ballpark App, essentially a case of you giving permission for the App to alert you. Then even when on, you have to come in proximity of a iBeacon for the App to trigger, synchronizing with the Beacon’s source and thus serve up Streaming content that can range from Video and Audio Clips to Coupons, Free Tickets and offers for Mets Fans.

Apple future of Mobile Payment – iBeacon makes Bluetooth Personal

Apple’s iBeacon neatly solves a problem associated with most LBS while serving up content and Free Coupons: Privacy. Most Americans, despite their love for trying out new Apps, Services and anything Free that’s part and parcel of owning a smartphone, are not so willing to give out personal information. Especially if that personal information is their location, which readily conjures up images of the movie Enemy of the State (1998) and the hassles associated with people knowing your every move.

Americans and by extension anyone else in the world (Jamaicans included!) toting a smartphone, are tolerant of GPS only to the point of being a service they can call upon to give them location i.e. Google Maps or Foursquare to get information on Coupon Deals at your local Burger King as described in my blog article entitled “FourSquare ramps up Business Model with Burger King Discount Deals from VISA and MasterCard - How Telecom Providers MNP helps The Conjuring of Free Calling Credit via LBS”.

So a LBS that’s specific to a location or business places and doesn’t track you after you’ve left the scene sound more like a Personal Bluetooth based LBS service than an all-seeing-eye one that follows you everywhere like an annoying stray dog.

It also gives us a glimpse at what Apple may have in mind for the develomepent of its Mobile Wallet Service to compete with Google’s cumbersome double-tap Google Wallet which is powered by NFC (Near Field Communication) as described in my blog article entitled NFC now supports Device-to-device Data Transfers – Swapping Music in the Castle of My Skin”.


Expect more deployments of Apple’s iBeacons in the next few months in a targeted challenge to the current king of LBS Foursquare that’s built on the popularity of the Apple iPhone as stated in my blog article entitled Apple is Top Gun in smartphones Sales but Samsung generates the most Web Traffic - ComScore Stats for First Quarter of 2013 and StatCounter Stats for June 2012 to June 2013” and more specifically the recent deployment of Apple iOS 7.

Possibly too, Television Jamaica and Multimedia Jamaica can revisit this BlueWave Technologies idea and give it another whirl, this time in partnership with Apple iBeacon. Or even better, a partnership with JCCUL (Jamaica Co-Operative Credit Union League) and Mozido Jamaica’s to use their Mobile Money Service JCUES (Jamaica Credit Union e-Payment Services).

This is the same JCUES described in my blog article entitled “JCCUL get's approval from BOJ to launch their JCUES Mobile Money Platform - JCUES Mobile Money Wolverine (2013) marks the Kick-Ass 2 (2013) beginning of a Cashless Society” which can be used to do the same thing as Apple iBeacon in terms Coupons, free Tickets to Television Jamaica and even buying content i.e. past episodes of shows from their Website Remotely.

Something for Television Jamaica and Multimedia Jamaica to ponder. In the meantime Play ball!

Harvard and MIT create Molecules from Photons - Lightsabers, Optical Quantum Computers and Light Crystals are Possible

“It's not an in-apt analogy to compare this to Lightsabers. When these Photons interact with each other, they're pushing against and deflect each other. The physics of what's happening in these molecules is similar to what we see in the movies.”

Harvard Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin in a Press Release on Thursday September 26th, 2013

Science took yet another step towards the Development of a Quantum Computer or at least the Optical Computer using Light as a Data transfer medium. This as researchers from Harvard and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) working with doctoral student Alexey Gorshkov and MIT graduate students Thibault Peyronel and Qiu Liang at the Harvard-MIT Center for Ultracold Atom under the guidance of Harvard Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin and MIT Professor of Physics Vladan Vuletic has managed to create a new form of matter.

They’ve taken massless Photons, the very same particles that make up Light and made their pair-bond covalently in a new form of matter as reported in “Science trumps the Force to create a real-life Lightsaber”, published September 26, 2013 1:52 PM PDT by Eric Mack, CNET News and “Scientists create never-before-seen form of matter”, published Sep 25, 2013, PhysOrg.

They achieved this by basically freezing Light in its place. Using Supercooled to near absolute zero in a vacuum chamber and a gaseous bundle of Rubidium (Rb) Atoms, they managed to make Photons emitted by weak and extremely low-powered Laser beams bind together covalently and form molecular pairs.

In essence, the scientists created a new form of matter never before seen using a principle known as the Rydberg Blockade based on the publication of their results in the Nature Physics Journal “Observation of collective excitation of two individual Atoms in the Rydberg blockade regime”, published 11 January 2009, Nature Journal.

Rydberg Blockade – Lightsaber and Crystalline Photons

Harvard Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin, who explains it quite simply, quote: “Most of the properties of light we know about originate from the fact that Photons are massless, and that they do not interact with each other. What we have done is create a special type of medium in which Photons interact with each other so strongly that they begin to act as though they have mass, and they bind together to form molecules. This type of Photonic bound state has been discussed theoretically for quite a while, but until now it hadn't been observed”.

The principle behind the Rydberg Blockade is that 2 Atoms can be excited by the same Energy level by the same source. As the Rubidium (Rb) Atoms are in an ultra cool gaseous state, they at their lowest Ground State in terms of Energy. The Team fired single low Energy Photons into the Rubidium (Rb) Cloud and as the individual Photons passed beside the ultra-cool Rubidium (RB) Atoms, they lost Energy in accordance with the Rydberg Blockade.

This resulted in each Photon imparting its Energy to each Rubidium (Rb) it meets, but not to the same Energy Level as the previous Photon before it. As such, for the second Photon coming behind it to excite the previous Atoms that the first Photon excited, the first Photon must move on further into the Cloud and excite other Rubidium (Rb) Atoms, so that it too can excite the Atoms to the same Energy Level.

The Result?

The Atoms travel in pairs like trains, the first Photon pulling the other along and the Second Photon behind it pushing it along as it imparts Energy to the nearby Rubidium (Rb) Atoms in the super-cooled Rubidium (Rb) Cloud. Eventually, they pair up and beginning moving together following behind each other as they lose Energy to the nearby Rubidium (Rb) Atoms.

At this point they become lower in Energy and begin to merge, bonding as would covalent Atoms sharing an electron and behaving as if they’ve acquired a Higgs Boson i.e. Having Mass as explained in my blog article entitled “Higgs Boson Discovery is the Biggest discovery of 2012 - Lay the Favourite for Anti-Gravity, Light Speed Travel and Quantum Teleportation Deadfall”.

But instead of sharing Electrons, they’re sharing Energy, which acts as a glue to bind the Photons together. This fits with Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin explanation of what’s happening, quote: “It's a Photonic interaction that's mediated by the Atomic interaction. That makes these two Photons behave like a molecule, and when they exit the medium they're much more likely to do so together than as single Photons”.

The implication of this discovery of a new form of matter isn’t surprising. It’s already known that you have stars made up purely of Neutrons called Neutron Stars, the result left behind after the collapse of a very massive during a Supernova event as explained in “Neutron Stars”, visited September 30th 2013 by Lindsworth Deer, NASA.

Electrons are also known to do the same thing as well, clumping together in a ball of Electrons and charged ozone plasma known as Ball Lightning. Ball Lightning has been known about since before and after Victorian times in the 1600’s and it’s not uncommon to see etchings from that time period showing this mysterious phenomenon.

It’s often been written about and observed during very violent thunderstorms and is thought to be in some cases related to St. Elmo’s Fire as can be seen in the video below!

But this kind of clumping together of otherwise massless Photons has never been observed before. This is not to say that Photons haven’t been captured and made to stop travelling at the speed of Light, a feat that’s already been done and has implications for Data Storage, particularly Optical Data Switches and more efficient optical to electrical conversion in Fiber Optic Switches in Telecom Networks that don’t require conversion from Light to Electrical to manipulate Data.

Essentially this Rydberg Blockade can be used in an Optical Computer, especially for optical to electrical conversions. A practical version of an Optical Computer is no doubt being developed as described in my blog article entitled “USB 3.0 Standards Promotion Group announced 10Gbps capable USB 3.1 Standard - How PC and Laptop Sales can be revived by going Turbo”, with this recent discovery making the storage of information from Photons lead more to the development of a Quantum Computer.

Storage of Light – From Light Crystals to Light Sabers and Optical Computer Storage

This, literally, however, is a whole different ball of wax! This is really not only a new form of matter, but also has practical applications. If Photons can be made to form molecular pairs, that means it can be made to assume one of the three (3) Standard states of Matter, that being solid, Liquid or Gas.

If so, it has huge implications for Data Storage, allowing Light to be captured and stored even in Crystalline form, as that’s a Solid state that’s possible for any solid under the right conditions. Since Photons are massless, these Crystals would float, assuming “massless” really means negligible mass.

This makes their covalently bonded molecules in a Crystalline lattice mostly filled with air in-between, like Aerogel. In fact, it would look a lot like Aerogel, only giving off luminescent radiation even in darkness and not reflecting or refracting Light it like traditional Crystals.

They’d also lose mass by giving off radiation and more interestingly, it’ll be easy to move them about when floating in the air by simply shining Light on them, as they’d be susceptible to Light pressure i.e. the collision of Photons from a Laser beam could move them around while floating in the air!

They’d also be a great storage medium for Video, which is mostly composed of Light. This is similar to the idea of using Crystals to store data as described in my blog article entitled “University of Southampton and Eindhoven's University write and read Data to Quartz Crystal - Eternal Storage borrowed from Superman Man of Steel”. Due to their delicate nature and the fact they’re made out of Light, assuming a crystalline form would be a very termporaty physical state of matter, as they’re too delicate and fragile to hold the structure for long.

But it’s their other properties that they’ve have once they acquire a charge. Assuming they have a net positive charge as they now have mass due to their attraction for the energy that binds them together, they’d bind and attract Electrons that would form an orbit. Due to their “massless” or negligible mass, these orbiting Electrons would be lightly bound, making it possible for the Electrons to move around within their Crystalline Lattice.

In essence, Light Crystals would have properties similar to a Superconducting Metal i.e. current flow even after applied e.m.f. removed with an E.M.F (Electro Magnetic Force) that could be easily induced by applying a fluctuation magnetic field or a voltage potential. This would result in a Light Crystal becoming energetic and able to produce arcs of Electrons, spitting and crackling like a Tesla Coil but with the Electrons bound to their Light Crystal Lattice in much the same way Electrons flow on the surface of a metal.

This would basically be a Light Saber as seen in Star Wars declares The UK Guardian in excitement in the article “Star Wars lightsabers finally invented”, published Monday 30 September 2013 09.59 BST by Ben Child, The UK Guardian.

The only difference being is that the Light Saber made by this Rydberg Blockade method and any resulting Light Crystals as described above would be very delicate and require a magnetic shielding to reinforce the Crystalline lattice and prevent it from falling apart in a burst of very bright Light.

Remember the Light Crystal is made of covalently bonded Photons. Breaking the lattice would reduce the Photons back to their molecular pairs and then they’d easily react with free Photons in a sudden rapid burst of blinding radiation, causing instant blindness to whomever witnessed it.

So this danger combine with the requirement of absolute zero to make the Photons form covalently bonded molecules and eventually Light Crystals in the first place makes for a fascinating discovery with even more fascinating work to be done to make this practical!

May the Force be with the Researchers at Harvard and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology?).

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Localytics Stats suggest preference for Silver and Gold Apple iPhone 5S over poly-carbonate Apple iPhone 5C - Plastic vs Metallic battle of Telecom Customer Preferences

Ever since the results came out that showed that Apple had sold 9 million Apple iPhones 5S and 5C after their debut on Friday September 20th 2013 and over the weekend of Saturday September 21st 2013 to Sunday September 22nd 2013, I’ve been pining for more detailed statistics as stated in my blog article entitled “Apple iPhone 5S and Apple iPhone 5C sold 9 million units over the Weekend - Apple beats Wall Street's Great Expectations for Christmas 2013”.

Knowing Apple fans, I suspected the popularity of the poly-carbonate (read “plastic”) Apple iPhone 5C as it relates to the more metallic Apple iPhone 5S was not very high. American Customers, used to plastic smartphones from Samsung and HTC, anticipate value for their money from Apple’s high-end brand.

Thus some apprehension in the purchasing habits as it relates to the Apple iPhone 5C, as analyst Localytics on Monday September 23rd 2013 pointed out there were more than three (3) times the Apple iPhone 5S activations than Apple iPhone 5S activations despite its multi-coloured splendor, as stated in “iPhone 5S activations more than triple those of 5C, says report”, published September 23, 2013 5:09 AM PDT by Lance Whitney, CNET News. Apple seem to expect it to, spending more advertising dollars on the Apple iPhone 5C with 2 splash ads so far and hardly any for the Apple iPhone 5S.

Also, there is the matter of the lines this year. Albeit another year of long lines, this may be artificially so because Apple didn’t make the Apple iPhone 5S available for pre-order online as it had done for the Apple iPhone 5C as stated in my blog article entitled “Apple has launched the Apple iPhone 5S and 5C on Tuesday September 10th 2013 - Apple iPhone Strategy is to Go Global to beat Samsung”.

Early statistics based on online Activations of some 20 million Apple iPhones from Friday, September 20th to Thursday, September 26th 2013 based on analysis by Analytics firm Localytics, in the article “The 2 percent: iPhone 5S, 5C find a fast foothold”, published September 27, 2013 5:45 AM PDT by Lance Whitney , CNET News suggests that the dislike for the Apple iPhone 5C and its plastic stylings may be on point.

That 20 million or so Apple iPhones is roughly about 2% of the total number of Apple iPhones activates within the United States and as sales continue to pickup, that number continues to grow. The Graph below illustrates the divide between the Apple iPhone 5S and the Apple iPhone 5C in terms of percentage activations against the total number of Apple iPhones on each Network.

In terms of preference based on Networks, Localytics stats reveal a strange Network Centric bias for each smartphone:

1.      More than 80% of AT&T and Verizon subscribers preferred the Apple iPhone 5S.
2.      46% of Sprint subscribers preferred the Apple iPhone 5C
3.      40% of T-Mobile subscribers preferred the Apple iPhone 5C

I’m not an American, so I’ve no idea what’s causing this. My best guess is that Apple, realizing that they might have a crush of demand on their hands for the Gold and Silver Apple iPhone 5S, decided to push the majority of their stock towards the 2 biggest Telecom Providers in the Country, that being AT&T and Verizon. They then gave the bulk of the Apple iPhone 5C’s to Sprint and T-Mobile, resulting in customer having no choice but to purchase the Apple iPhone 5C in lieu of the more coveted Golden and Silver Apple iPhone 5S.

I’m awaiting more detailed analytics on the sales figures from Apple. Until then, Stay tuned to my blog for more details as the Apple iPhone Sales number and analytics start tumbling out!

China lifts 13 Year ban on Video Game Consoles - Open Floodgates spells opportunity for debutantes Google, Amazon and Apple to enter the Video Game Arena

China is slowly becoming a little more receptive to the demands of its people for the pleasures from the West. After all, it isn’t easy living in an oppressive regime that squashes social freedoms and civil liberties.

This as they’ve now allowed for the importation and sale of Video Games, based in a decision by their highest decision-making body, the State Council as stated in the article “After 13-year ban, China to allow game console sales”, published September 27, 2013 6:01 AM PDT by Don Reisinger, CNET News.

Not even Google can be used in China due to their Communist Government hard-line stance, urging Chinese to use Mandarin Language local based and Chinese owned Baidu as noted in my blog article entitled “Google and Apple - Case to point on Public and Diplomatic Relations”.

But that stance against Western Culture has been showing signs of thawing of late. Most notable is that for the first time, the Apple iPhone, now sporting a Golden Colour that most Chinese people associate with Prosperity is coming to China Mobile, the largest Telecom Provider in China and the world based on subscribers as reported in my blog article entitled “NTT DoCoMo to carry the Apple iPhone 5S and 5C in 2013 - Japan and China will both get their bite of the Apple on Friday September 20th 2013”.

China had also removed restrictions on the use of Facebook and Twitter in the Free Zone areas, most likely because it’s needed for communications among the Multinationals that work there as noted in “China to lift Twitter, Facebook bans in Shanghai free-trade zone”, published September 23, 2013 11:37 PM PDT by Aloysius Low, CNET News.

Video Games and China – Video Games are Bigger Business than Movies

Interesting Fact: The Video Game Console Industry, despite their current problems, STILL makes more money that Hollywood and the Cable and TV Networks. After all, aside from Streaming as stated in my blog article entitled “Parks Research says Roku Streaming Box is Consumer favourite - Traditional Jamaican Free-to-Air Broadcasters in a state of Paranoia over Streaming”, the Video Game Console is the other Device that’s attached to the Television set that’s got everyone attention.

More and more too, Video Game Consoles are showing their capability to Stream Content, act as a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) and even make Video Calls, making them a market that’s hard to ignore. Despite the success of Apple selling 9 million Apple iPhone 5S and 5C’s over the weekend of the September 13th to 15th 2013, in the Video Game World, those kinds of numbers are commonplace.

For example, Grand Theft Auto V hit the US$1 billion mark three (3) days after going on sale on Tuesday September 17th 2013 as stated in “Grand Theft Auto V sales top $1B in first three days”, published September 20, 2013 9:54 AM PDT by Nick Statt, CNET News.

So this most recent development, the lifting of the 13 year band on video game consoles since 2000 means China may be the Last Frontier where Video Game Consoles are not yet being killed off by Tablets as stated in my Geezam blog article entitled “Console Gaming’s Downfall - Future is up in the Clouds” and my blog article entitled “Apple iPad in the Summer of 2010 - The Death of the Video Game Consoles”.

The approval of each Video Game Console is dependent on a submission of a request to the Ministry of Culture. I suspect that may also apply to Game titles as swell, as the Chinese are keen on preventing the corrupting influence of the West damaging their children or suggesting any subversive material to them.

Good to note the Great Firewall of China is still active, so this means Cloud Gaming Platforms such as Steam as describe in my Geezam blog article entitled “Google Chrome to do Console Gaming – OnLive and Steam in the Cloudy Post-Console Era” may have a bit of difficulty getting past Chinese Cultural Censors.

China approves Video Game Consoles - Traditional Gaming Consoles Half Life

This presents an opportunity for traditional Console Game makers such as Sony PlayStation, Microsoft’s Xbox and Nintendo Wii to do legitimate business and fight down the black market for Game Consoles in China.

It’s also a window of opportunity for other Video Game Console Makers a well, such as Google Android based Crowdfunded Boxer8's Ouya Gaming Console and PlayJam's Gamestick Consoles as described in my blog article entitled “Google Android powers Boxer8's Ouya, PlayJam's GameStick and Nvidia's Project Shield - Stand Up Guys are making Open Source and Open Architecture a $ellebrity”.

They’d have to fix their supply constraint and production issues first in order to deal with the demand from China! Demand for Gaming Consoles after 13 years of aces to only Black Market deals with no customer Service Support means a very vicious buyers market that’s willing to spend for quality Western Products!

Google and Amazon are both allegedly planning to debut their own Video Game Consoles as stated in as stated in the article “Google said to be creating game Console and smartwatch”, published June 27, 2013 3:45 PM PDT by Dara Kerr, CNET News and “Amazon may be revving up its own Android game Console”, published August 9, 2013 5:27 AM PDT by Lance Whitney, CNET News.

This is now most likely to happen, as with China now opening up, it presents a ready market for Video Game Consoles in much the same way it has opened up for the Apple iPhone. To wit, if Google and Amazon do end up building a Video Game Console, then Apple will have no choice but to join suit and target that market as well as prognosticated in my blog article entitledApple to launch TV and a Cloud Gaming Console in 2014 - How the Apple iTV and Television Set can kill The Grandmaster in the guise of Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft”.

A legitimate Market opportunity has opened up for Game Consoles Makers to have a Second Half Life and for new Players to flourish in the untamed Wilderness of China.