My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: January 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

How to Find Printer Drivers XEROX, Samsung, HP, EPSON, CANON, Brother and other Printers

On the road, I encounter situations where I have to find Drivers for Computers that may be very old, a trend that forced me to pen the Geezam blog article entitled “How to locate Missing Drivers for Older Laptops and Computers”. But from time to time I come across something that’s more difficult to find a Driver for; Printers.

Printers, antiques of the Computing age, are still around and still relevant here in Jamaica, despite out American Friends going Gaga over Tablets and apparently killing them off along with the mouse as noted in my Geezam blog article entitled “How the Apple iPad killed Ultrabooks, Printing and the Mouse as the World Rediscovers Tablets”.

In fact, it’s best to keep the original OEM (Original Equiptment Manufacturer) CD for the Printer that you purchased. But many times I’ve come across people who just simply didn’t seem to get the memo when it comes to storage of these important CD.

Possibly it may be because of our culture as Jamaicans. We don’t seem to put a value on Digital information, especially CD’s or DVD’s. I’ve come across people who store their CD in stacks, rubbing on top of each other; should any dirt or ingress get in-between, they’d go bad in an instant.

Worse if they’re kept in a hot or damp environment that will cause moisture to gather on the CD.

Best to keep them in Jewel Cases in a environmentally controlled environment or better yet, back them up on a External Hard-Drive as noted in my blog article entitled “How to do Physical Backup using DVD and CD and a Listing of the best software Burning DVD and CD’s”.

The fact is CD storage in their current format is not safe for the Data. But a customer are not that forward thinking, then it means that I have to be proactive and walk with downloaded copies of Printer Drivers or at least know the location of the resources from which to download the Printer Drivers.

How to locate Printer Drivers – Company Websites and other Resources

So how do you find Drivers for Printers? Quick answer: Google albeit it isn’t as straightforward as that. Printer Drivers are needed in any Computing and Networking environment, as many time Computers will have to print. First, get the name of the Printer, the Serial Number and the Operating system of the Computer upon which the Printer Driver is to be installed.

Most printers are made by one of the following manufacturer, making this a great list to keep handy as it lists almost every possible Printer imaginable:

1.      Brother
2.      CANON
3.      Casio
4.      EPSON
5.      HP
6.      Konica Minolta
7.      Kyocera
8.      LEXMARK
9.      Mitsubishi
10.  Panasonic
11.  Pantum
12.  Ricoh
13.  Samsung
14.  Sharp
15.  XEROX

The Model number is needed to find the exact Driver, as without that information, you’ll end up having to wade through a huge list of different Models. Some Printer manufactures require that you have the serial number in order to ensure that you’re really someone who had purchased a Printer from them.

This information can be found either on the front of the Printer or look at the back on the nameplate sticker that will have the Model number and serial number affixed. Armed with this information, search the above websites for the Printer Driver.

Another great resource is my eternal favourite, Softpedia. They have an ENTIRE page dedicated to Printer Drivers. Bookmark this website for future usage, as they enable great coherent downloads from multiple Servers online.

Remember to do the Test Print after the Printer is installed to demonstrate to the customer that the Printer is working. Using this list and my habit of keeping organized copies of all software that I come across, any Printer Problem is easily fixed. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Telecom Regulator finally coming by July 2014 - New Telecom Provider looking for stability in the Jamaican Telecoms Market post-LNP and MNP by May 2014

“We have established a six-month time frame for a report which will indicate the legislative and regulatory changes necessary to have a single ICT regulator”

Minister of State, Julian Robinson addressing the opening ceremony for the 30th AGM (Annual General Meeting) of the CANTO (Caribbean Association of National Telecommunications Organization) in Montego Bay, St James on Sunday January 26 2014

Looks like eighteen (18) lucky individuals will have the chance to earn the dubious distinction of becoming a Consultant to the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining as it relates to the idea of establishing a single Telecom Regulator as noted in “Gov't to consider single regulator for ICT”, published January 28, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner.

The AGM CANTO started on Saturday January 25th 2014 and lasted for about four (4) days. The theme for this shindig which was “Strategic Alliances for Sustainable Broadband Development” was anything but about the topic of conversation.

He going to be very well paid apparently; the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining has even swinging for some funding, (most likely a loan!) from the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) to pay for his expertise!

According to this announcement, it’s slated for launch sometime in July 2014, with the Consultant being hired long before. This implies that he may already be chosen and will commence working by the start of February 2014. Clearly no love is lost on Valentine’s Day, I suppose!

The coming of the long vaulted Telecom Regulator has been long indeed. In fact going back as far as 2011 when then Prime Minister Bruce Golding, then leader of the JLP (Jamaica Labour) declared the need for one such as reported in my Geezam blog article entitled “New Telecom Act Coming for Jamaica – Providers surprised with their Own Regulator”.

Currently the ICT Sector is shepherded rather inefficiently by the following trio of actors:

1.      SMA (Spectrum Management Authority)
2.      BCJ (Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica)
3.      OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation)

Most likely the Consultant that they'll hire will merely recommend taking the functional parts of the three and cobble them together hosted in a building somewhere in New Kingston. Already many of the elements necessary to satisfy the FDI (Foreign Direct Investors) Telecom Providers will be in place by May 2014.

This in a bid to prevent another embarrassing snub by the International Community of their 700MHz Spectrum offer as noted in my blog article entitled “Jamaica's 700MHz Spectrum Auction fails to attract bidders on Friday October 11 2013 - Jamaicans Lack interest in Broadband Internet and no Telecom Regulator for the Sector”.

Already, signs are inkling to indicate that no-one is interested in the alternative Spectrum for AWS (Advance Wireless Services) and WiMaX (Worldwide Interoperability for microwave Access) as indicated in my blog article entitled “GOJ and MSTEM auctioning WiMaX and AWS Spectrum by Monday December 5th 2013 - AWS for Point-to-point, Point-to-Multipoint Networks and Residential WiMaX for Economic Prosperity”.

These blocks of fallow unused Spectrum are as follows:

1.      66 MHz in the 1800 MHz Band
2.      92 MHz in the 1900 MHz Band
3.      130 MHz in the 2.5/2.6 GHz Band
4.      50 MHz in the 1700/2100 MHz Band 

First there’s the coming of additional Area Code for Jamaica to facilitate Telecom and Dialup Services if a New Telecom Provider is to come into the island as stated in my blog article entitled “OUR applies for new Area Code for Jamaica - Competition in Telecoms in the coming Hunger Game Catching Fire of Mobile Computing”. No timeline has been mentioned in the Media when this will be.

The coming of MNP (Mobile Number Portability) and LNP (Landline Number Portability) by May 2014 as reported in my blog article entitled OUR sets Cross-Network Rates at JA$1.10 as of Monday July 1 2013 - Everything is Possible as we’re Zombies for Data World War Z  will also satisfy any New Telecom Provider seeking to come to Jamaica and compete. 

Now all that’s need is for Jamaicans to really have an interest in Wireless Broadband Internet. This development is worth tracking and I’ll keep following it as much as I can as it’ll be interesting to see if this Consultant will be another politically connected appointee or a foreigner paid with IDB Money.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Why Min. of National Security having Jamaican Police with Body Cameras is INDECOM ‘s Eyes and Ears

“The purpose of this project is to improve the collection of evidence of criminal activity in an effort to prosecute and reduce such activity, improve the transparency of JCF activities when interacting with the public, to encourage JCF officers to act in accordance with the force's professional standards to include the appropriate use of force, and to create a record to protect JCF officers from unfair allegations of violations of JCF professional standards”

Minister of National Security Peter Bunting commenting on the move to have JCF Police wear Body Cameras as announced at the Post Cabinet Press Briefing on Thursday January 22nd 2014

Well, sorta….. as I’ve been biding my time and watching this story, waiting for more details of Minister of National Security Peter Bunting plan to emerged. So here goes nothing!

This as Minister of National Security Peter Bunting has come off his knees seeking divine intervention and has man-up to the task by declaring that select JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force)  aka the Jamaican Police are to get Body Cameras by July 2014 as reported in “Body Cameras for Policemen”, published January 24, 2014 By Alphea Saunders, The Jamaica Information Service.

The move is really a response to the complaints about extra-judicial killings, making it much different from CCTV Cameras, which are mainly aimed at deterring Crime to quote Minister of National Security Peter Bunting: “However, the Administration views the issue of extra-judicial killings with the gravest concern and is committed to the police being accountable for their actions, and that every use of lethal force must be independently investigated, explained and justified”.

But the same logic applies, only this time the Cameras are on the Policeman Body as well as on their Patrol Vehicles. Clearly to, this will help to improve the image of the Police as note in his further statement on the matter, quote: “The Government of Jamaica is committed to reducing the level of crime and violence that has taken a terrible toll on this nation. As part of this commitment we will be taking all necessary steps to ensure that the JCF becomes one of the most trusted and respected institutions in Jamaica”.

The Jamaica Gleaner and The Jamaica Observer did a fabulous job of carrying the announcement as noted in “Bunting Announces That Police Are To Start Wearing Body Cameras”, Published Thursday January 23, 2014 12:13 pm, The Jamaica Gleaner and “Police to wear body cameras”, published Thursday, January 23, 2014 6:41 PM, The Jamaica Observer.  When I read it I tweeted on @lindsworthdeer as shown below exactly how I felt:

This announcement was made at the Post Cabinet Press Briefing on Thursday January 23rd 2014 along with the fact that he indeed had the Crime  Monster under control as stated in “Crime Not Out Of Control – Minister Bunting”, published January 24, 2014 By Alphea Saunders, The Jamaica Information Service.

Good to note too that the Minister of Security is also distancing himself from the ‘Education and Crime: Evidence from Prison inmates in Jamaica’ study that’s suggesting that Lower tier non-traditional Schools are a breeding ground for Criminals, as this isn’t necessarily true and is very divisive and stigmatizing and doesn’t help the Schools at all. 

This as he spoke at the 21st staging of the Ministry of National Security’s Annual Devotion, held on Wednesday January 22nd 2014 at the Emmanuel Apostolic Church as stated in the article “Schools Not to be Blamed, says Minister Bunting”, published January 23, 2014 By Shelly-Ann Irving, The Jamaica Information Service.

Worse, it would now appear that the Traditional Media was spinning tales to sell more newspapers and more TV Ads proclaiming that Crime was spiralling out of control!

Jamaican Police endorse Body Cameras – INDECOM ‘s eyes and ears on the Force

But best of all in my book is the fact that the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force)  aka the Jamaican Police with four (4) SSP (Senior Superintendent of Police) voicing support for the move as reported in “Cops support body cameras”, published Friday, January 24, 2014, The Jamaica Observer.

So too does the Jamaica Police Federation, which endorses the move as stated in this *.pdf copy of their Press Release in response to Body Camera Announcement as stated in “Police Federation endorses body camera for Police”, published 2014-01-27, Go-Jamaica.

This is clearly a move to blunt criticism about so-called extra-judicial killing perpetrated at the hands of the Jamaican Police, as he also suggested that he’s also ensure compliance with INDECOM as it relates to investigations from now on, quote: “I have issued directives to the commissioner of police to take immediate steps to address compliance with the Jamaica Constabulary [Force] Use of Force Policy and the INDECOM Act as well as to institute new measures to improve accountability”.

However the head of the NGO (Non Governmental Organization) FAST (Families Against State Terrorism) Yvonne McCalla Sobers isn’t that this will make a difference, pointing out that the Minister of Security has good intentions but spaces on details as noted in “Police Body Cameras Not Enough, Says McCalla Sobers”, Published Friday January 24, 2014 9:07 am, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Video, Audio and Still Picture Evidence – Tamper Proof System to be Admissible in Court

But it will actually. So why am I so hopeful?

This as the Body Cameras may herald the coming of a Separate Telecom Network just for the Jamaican Police to carry all that Video Traffic as I'd explained in my blog article entitled “GOJ to upgrade NWA's CCTV Traffic Monitoring Network to give Police more eyes in Private Places - The Da Vinci Code for Automated Traffic Ticketing System and 1984”.

This is based on the words of Minister Peter Bunting, quote: “There are various versions…some that record, some which transmit from the device back to a patrol vehicle, and some which transmit to a central control…so, there are a number of options” .

Drawing on the parallel with CCTV Cameras, this suggests that the CCTV Camera Network that the Minister Peter Bunting was all hopped up about April 2013 as written in my Geezam blog article entitled “Jamaica’s National Security Ministry plans CCTV Network and Automated Traffic Ticketing System” is going to be built not only for CCTV Cameras but to act as the Wireless Network to carry the Data back to the JCF NOC (Network Operation Center) which may very well be the CCN (Constabulary Communication Network).

Makes sense!

That much traffic from that many Police carrying Compressed HD (High Definition) Video and Audio will clog our current 3G and HSDPA+ Networks for Both of our Telecom Providers, albeit Telecom Provider LIME and Digicel probably wouldn’t  mind, so long as the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) pays on time!

But as such as scheme would be too expensive for the GOJ to undertake, the idea of piggy-backing the Traffic on the E-Learning Fiber Optic Network that’s being built to interconnect the 300 High Schools as well as the NWA (National Works Agency) Fiber Optic Network used to control their Traffic Lights and Traffic Cameras imply a Separate Telecom Network to be built just for the Jamaican Police. 

Plus aside from the Technical Requirements which would necessitate a separate Network, there are Legislative changes that would have to be put in place to make Video, Audio and Still picture evidence admissible in a Court of law as evidence in lieu of witness Testimony as stated in my blog article entitled “Handheld Traffic Ticketing Units for Jamaican Police a success but no Automated Traffic Ticketing System - GOJ fears the All Seeing Eyes of CCTV”.

Hopefully along with those Legislative changes will be UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) to save the Jamaican Police on the cost of maintaining their Fleet of Vehicles and even lives by providing an additional pair of eyes in the sky as argued in my blog article entitled “GOJ can develope UAV's as a means of giving the Police eyes in the sky - Inspiration for Aviators in Jamaica via G.I. Joe Retaliation”.

Stay tuned for more details on his Body Camera Initiative and how exactly it will work, as it may be close to what I’ve penned here!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Mandatory SmarterCard Cashless System coming in March 2014 – JUTC Legal challenge NATO over Routes as JA$100 Wi-Fi needed to keep Unruly High School Students Happy

The Saga at the JUTC (Jamaica Urban Transit Company) continues. The new man at the helm Managing Director of the JUTC Colin Campbell has been making waves, shaking the JUTC ship into efficiency.

Now it’s known public knowledge that the new mandatory Cashless SmarterCard Bus System will be coming online by March 2014 as stated in “JUTC Sets March 2014 Deadline For All Passengers To Access ‘Smarter Cards’”, published November 21, 2013 By Alphea Saunders, The Jamaica Information Service.

Under his stewardship which officially began on Monday August 12th 2013, Managing Director of the JUTC Colin Campbell has managed to turn the JUTC around, posting earnings of JA$300 per month, an earning target achieved under his stewardship as noted in “Colin Campbell Says JUTC Revenues Up More Than $300m Per Month”, Published Friday November 22, 2013 5:44 pm, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This is quite an achievement in the space of three (3) months after that initial newspaper article, considering that according to him, the company was posting JA$200 million a month before he came on board. JA$400 million per month is thus an achievable goal, if they go Cashless via the SmarerCard Cashless System and expand outside of the KMTR as opined in my blog article entitled “JUTC to debut RFID & NFC Readable SmarterCard Cashless Bus Ticket System in April 2013 - The Last Stand for a Cashless Society to empower the Multi-Modal Concept

JUTC moves towards Profitability – Maintenance issues solvable via switching to LPG Gas

Their expense bill of JA$600 million per month is still onerous, mostly gobble up by Bus maintenance as noted in the article “JUTC Addressing Auditor General's Concerns, Says Campbell”, Published Monday December 30, 2013 9:36 am, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Maintenance problems which still plagues the JUTC according to the 2012/2013 Audit by the Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis as stated in “JUTC runs up massive repair tab”, published Friday, January 03, 2014 BY BALFORD HENRY Observer senior reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

A problem simply solved by the use of conversion kits to make the Buses run on LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) as opined in my blog article entitled “JUTC SmarterCard Cashless System to be implemented in the Fourth Quarter of 2013 - Upgrade Buses to use LPG Fuel to reduce Maintenance costs”.

We now know that the JUTC’s own employees probably set their own Buses on fire in an act of arson even as they continue to defraud their own company as concluded in my blog article entitled “How to defraud the JUTC and reduce your Bus Fare - Arson and Ticket Fraud means Switchover to the SmarterCard Cashless System before 2014 required”.

This was possibly out of vexation over salaries and the actions of the new Managing Director of the JUTC Colin Campbell, based on the one-day snap protest action of the JUTC Driver on Thursday November 28th 2013 as stated in “JUTC Bus Drivers On Strike”, Published: Thursday November 28, 2013 4:38 pm, The Jamaica Gleaner and “UPDATE: JUTC Drivers Back On The Job”, Published Thursday November 28, 2013 5:28 pm, The Jamaica Gleaner. This is a clear sign that they’d reached a boiling point and may have been the same issues that have led to the Bus Fires and Ticked Fraud perpetrated by JUTC Employees.

Interestingly, JUTC has upwards of 100 Cases of Fraud under investigation as noted in  “JUTC has nearly 100 fraud cases under probe”, published Sunday, December 29, 2013 BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Sunday Observer reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

Already, since November 2013, 10 JUTC Drivers and Mechanics were charged as co-conspirators in the Ticketing fraud as per the article “10 JUTC Drivers/Mechanics Charged In Ticketing Fraud”, Published: Wednesday November 20, 2013 12:07 pm, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Colin Campbell and the SmarterCard Bus Ticketing System – No need for Personalized Bus tokens

I’m not so crazy about the JUTC anymore since November 2013, a month where the JUTC seemed to spring alive. I’ve stopped taking the Bus opting to walk since Sunday November 10th 2013 when the JUTC suspended Bus Transfers as stated in “Bus Fare To Double For Many When JUTC Ends Transfers Sunday”, Published Thursday November 7, 2013 by Arthur Hall, Senior News Editor, The Jamaica Gleaner

An act that basically doubled the fares of people that travel to Half-Way-Tree and would then use the ticket to Transfer unto another Bus without paying more fare as concluded in “Bus Fare To Double For Many When JUTC Ends Transfers Sunday”, Published Thursday November 7, 2013 by Arthur Hall, Senior News Editor, The Jamaica Gleaner

November 2013 was thus the last month I took the JUTC Buses regularly for the very last time; since then it’s been a mixture of Coaster Bus and Taxis to go about my Business or just plain walking, which is healthier for me anyway and give me a chance to unfurl my camera and take pictures! Still the JUTC rings as a disappointment in my mind, as it now costs more than I can afford to spend to travel on a daily basis, forcing me to choose between lunch and Travel on too many occasions.

Since then improvements have been steady as Managing Director of the JUTC Colin Campbell gets more surefooted in his job. On Friday November 1st 2013, the JUTC introduced a new Traffic System to make sure travelers reach to work on time by creating a special Bus lane on the Mandela Highway just for them as stated in “JUTC: Mandela Bus Lane System Working”, Published Thursday November 21, 2013 10:13 am, The Jamaica Gleaner.

It created some traffic headaches but by October 2013 it was smooth sailing from there as noted in “Traffic movement said improved during second JUTC test run”, published Wednesday, October 30, 2013, The Jamaica Observer.

The JUTC also commissioned twenty (20) new Buses into service, increasing their seating capacity by 1,600, increasing the number of Buses in the KMTR (Kingston and Metropolitan Transport Region) to 370 Buses as reported in “JUTC adds 20 new Buses”, published Monday, December 16, 2013 6:47 PM, The Jamaica Observer and “JUTC To Roll Out More Buses For New School Term”, Published Saturday January 4, 2014 9:33 am, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Hopefully too they’d do something about the cockroaches and rats often seen on the Buses as noted in “Roaches Plague JUTC Buses”, published Thursday December 5, 2013, by Alicia Forrest, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner. Ditto too some of the graffiti and advertising inside of the Buses that ruin the tranquil aesthetic of the JUTC Buses.

Albeit moneymakers for JUTC, adverts that are sexual suggestive, despite having the expressed intent to dissuade teenagers from having early sex, may actually be suggesting that sex is ok once they have a condom as noted in “Too Hot For JUTC”, Published Sunday December 8, 2013, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Finally there is a need to get the Unruly Children that occupy the JUTC Transport Center in Half-Way-Tree late into Friday after School is over to go home. Wi-Fi in the Buses and the Half-Way-Tree Transport Center would be a very good solution that would make money for PAMS (Port Authority Management Services Limited) as explained in my blog article entitledUnruly High School Students Making out and having sex in the JUTC Half-Way-Tree Transport Center - How wi-Fi in Buses can lead to Solar Power, LPG and the SmarterCard Cashless System”.

Half-Way-Tree Transport Center unused stores and shops also need to be rented to Canteen Concessionaires to sell food made from the Agricultural Produce of Jamaica i.e. Cooked Food, thus reducing the losses of this white elephant as stated in my blog article entitled “PAMS to debut GOJ branded Food Court in Half-Way-Tree Transport Center - Making revenue from Unruly smartphone toting High School students via Cooked Food and JA$100 a week Wi-Fi Internet”.

JUTC vs the NTCS Coaster Buses – Legal challenge over Routes and 2000 Jobs looming

Managing Director of the JUTC Colin Campbell’s rhetoric hasn’t gone down well with everyone. Coaster Bus Operators have been put on alert as to the coming reality. These new Buses and additional seats they represents logically means that there will be less Routes for them Come Tuesday April 1st 2013  as noted in “JUTC Prepares For Prolonged Coaster Bus Operators Strike”, Published Thursday December 5, 2013 2:05 pm, The Jamaica Gleaner.

The Argument that the JUTC is using to make this possible is that most of the Coaster Buses being operated are older than 10 to 15 years old and may not be roadworthy as noted in “Transport Authority Making Plans To Remove Old Vehicles From System”, Published Friday January 17, 2014 9:32 am, The Jamaica Gleaner. Thus New Sub-Franchises contracts are being drafted which means less Private Coaster Buses and more JUTC Buses, simply put.

Most of the Coaster Buses, however, do need to leave the road. This is true, as I myself have observed some of these Buses aren’t being serviced based on how they drive, often belching black smoke. These Coaster Buses produce the very same vehicle emissions that SDA (Seventh Day Adventists) want banned under the 1938 Road Traffic Act, Section 43 (2) that imposes a JA$4000 fine on Vehicles that produce noxious health-threatening emissions as noted in my blog article entitled “Adventists want Ban on Vehicle Pollution as Smoking Ban looms on Monday July 15th 2013 - Dr. Fenton Ferguson's Escape Plan leads to All-Electric Vehicles, Bio-Fuel and Citronella Candles”.

The Coaster Bus Operators aren’t taking this lying down. Their representative body, NATO (National Association of Transport Operators) have already Lawyer-ed up themselves for a prolonged legal battle against the JUTC as reported in “Group To File Injunction Against JUTC Over Bus Routes Take-Over”, Published Thursday January 23, 2014 9:03 am, The Jamaica Gleaner. The JUTC’s actions threaten to effective put many of them out of a Business that’s a livelihood for many Bus Conductors, Drivers and Touts despite knowing that their ageing unmaintained vehicles that are a health hazard.

So now we have two (2) deadlines. One for Commuter on March 2014 for the mandatory acceptance of the SmarterCard Bus System on a Bus Systems that’s more expensive. The other is the deadline for NATO’s members to accept the new sub-franchises that’ll put many of them out of work. Trust me folks, the JUTC has very few friends among Commuters and Coaster Bus operators.

This Case will be of National Significance. In the meantime, I’m still on the fence as it relates to getting the JUTC’s SmarterCard, which seems to be asking an awful lot of questions just to get a machine-readable Card. This info doesn’t protect the SmarterCard from being stolen and unless it has other uses other than just travelling on the Bus as opined in my blog article entitled “JUTC to debut RFID & NFC Readable SmarterCard Cashless Bus Ticket System in April 2013 - The Last Stand for a Cashless Society to empower the Multi-Modal Concept”, it won’t catch on.

Jamaicans aren’t particularly fond of having their money tied up in Cards; they love live cash in their hands, part of the reason why the Unbanked cohort in Jamaica is so large. Stay tuned to my Blog as for the results of this court case that promises to have more action than the Murder Trial of embattled Deejay Vybz Kartel.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Rovio Juice Cubes is a Freemium In-App Purchase Gold Bar Mine - To get to Level 200, you have to become Goldfinger

If you’re a fan of PopCap’s Bejeweled and iWin’s JewelQuest, then you’re most likely a fan of Candy Crush Saga. BlueStacks App Player frees you of the magical spell your smartphone has over you, transferring your addiction to the PC instead as explained in my blog article entitled “How to download Candy Crush Saga and play it on your Desktop or Laptop - BlueStacks App Player to the Rescue of the non Post-PC Era people”.

All of the above are really the same game but with different treasures After all, I’ve played Candy Crush Saga on Facebook and I totally realize why you just can’t do that; time ticks by and before you realize, you’ve not even achieved what you set out to do online. Damn that addictive game! 

Now comes Rovio’s Juice Cubes, yet another addictive food matching fun game to complement their success in the Bird chucking franchise, that of course being Angry Birds as stated in “Juice Cubes: Rovio's cute take on a familiar puzzle game”, published January 24, 2014 1:44 PM PST by Scott Webster, CNET News.

Watch lines of three or more Juice cubes explode and give you access to harder Levels, 200 to be exact. With a Tropical Backdrop, it's easy to see why Juice Cubes is a game that's hit bound. It's also free like its other Google Play and Apple App store playmates, but works a little differently despite having basically the same gameplay.

The task is simple: string together three or more matching juice cubes horizontally, vertically or even diagonally to make them explode in musical splendor. Like JewelQuest, the longer the chain the higher the score and the bigger the explosion. More stuff gets cleared and progress is achieved faster using your connecting rope, Tarzan style!

Rovio’s Freemium Business Model – To get to Level 200, you have to become Goldfinger

So how does Rovio, which usually makes paid apps, make money from Juice Cubes? By charging you for Gold, the currency needed to move from Level to Level in a game that’s dotted with a lot of subliminal advertising. Thus making this game an example of the increasing popular Gaming model call freemium as described in my Geezam blog article entitled “Smartphones and Apps – Freemium Games are No. 1”, more commonly known as the in-app Purchase mode for mobile Gaming.

In-app purchases is the same Payment Method that got Apple in trouble with parent’s kids purchasing everything from smurfberries to go higher in the game Levels as noted in “Apple to refund at least $32.5M for kids' in-app purchases”, published January 15, 2014 9:24 AM PST by Lance Whitney, CNET News. In hindsight as a Jamaican, parents need to NOT give their kids their smartphone password, muchless access to a smartphone in the first place!

Hopefully Rovio’s got some solid security features in place to prevent this mishap, otherwise they’ll be the next Game maker that has to fork over millions to pay for what’s essentially a lapse in good parenting! But back to the Gold Stock exchange that Rovio’s basically set up inside of this game!

Gold pieces range from $1.99 (15 pieces) up to $99.99 (1,200 pieces) and can get you additional bombs, charms, boosters and other tools that make it easy to get through the Levels. So unless you’re playing against some really generous friends on Facebook that can lend you map pieces to progress higher or you can locate the Gold pieces hidden in the game, you'll soon give up in exasperation.

Familiar gameplay in Rovio’s Juice Cubes – Cryto-currency will make the in-app purchases tolerable

If you're looking for a totally free game, Rovio’s Juice Cubes ain't it. Still, I don't mind paying so long as the Levels are difficult enough to be worth shelling out that kind of coinage. Speaking of which, if they accepted crypto-currency such as Bitcoin I'd be quite happy, as I've got a few of them.

They've become the new investment tool and means of payment online aside from Paypal due to their low Transaction rates. But more interestingly game maker Zynga, makers of the popular franchise Farmville, has begun testing Bitcoin payments for game purchase and In-App purchases on Saturday January 4th 2014 as stated in “Zynga begins testing Bitcoin payments for some online games”, published January 4, 2014 10:00 AM PST by Steven Musil, CNET News.

So I’m all for this new Game, so long as I had an idea and guarantee that spending real money on virtual Gold Bars will make it easier for me to get to the higher Levels faster. Also, those better be some really good Levels to be worth shelling out US$1.99 for 15 Gold Bars. If Crypto-currency such as BitCoin or even Dogecoin is added, it’ll be a hit and by the time I reach Level 200, I can basically call myself GoldFinger!

Rovio’s Juice Cubes is available free on Google Play, Apple iTunes and on CNET’s downloads:

Here’s the link to the Games mentioned in this article. Some Torrenting may be required though!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Digicel plans to reward 4000 Subscribers with US$5 Amazon Gift Cards on Monday January 27th 2014 - How Digicel is jump-starting E-Commerce in partnership with Amazon PrimeAir

“We’re always looking for ways to give back to our valued online family – this includes Double Bubbles on offer every day and Triple Bubbles available most weekends. This Monday however, we are going one step further and, starting at 8:00 am, each of the first 4,000 customers who top up online will receive a US$5 gift card. It’s our way of saying thanks, we appreciate your business

Digicel Diaspora CEO, Stephen Bannon, on Digicel' Decision to give US$5 Amazon Gift Cards to some 4000 Subscribers across Latina America and the Caribbean on Monday January 31st 2014

In what I’ve dubbed as the weirdest Promotion by any Telecom Provider thus far, Digicel has announced on Friday January 24th 2014 that they have decided to reward 4000 of its Caribbean and Latin American subscribers who purchase Call Credit on Digicel Jamaica with a US$5 Amazon Gift Card as of Monday January 27th 2014 as stated in the article “Digicel to 'reward' thousands of lucky customers”, published Friday, January 24, 2014 4:14 PM, The Jamaica Observer

In case you’re wondering what an Amazon Gift Card is, just hop over to Amazon and do a quick search for “Amazon Gift Cards” or just simple Google it. It’s basically the equivalent of Call Credit but usable only for online shopping on Amazon as described in my blog article entitled “How to purchase items and subscribe to Magazines online and ship them to Jamaica”; you can buy one for someone who doesn’t know what they want to buy or is difficult to buy acceptable gifts. 

The customer can receive the redeemable Gift Card either via email or via their Amazon Accounts, but despite their name, they’re anything but physical Cards, unless you choose to print them. Thus why Telecom Provider Digicel choose to give away US$20000 just to gift a set of subscribers in the Caribbean and Latin America US$5 Amazon Gift Card which can probably only buy a few US$1 songs for you Amazon Cloud Player remains a mystery.

Still, this is an interesting, albeit off-beat Promo pre-YVA (Youth View Awards) and synchs up with their Supa DigiDealz Promotion as noted in my blog article entitled “Digicel's Supa DigiDealz gives you a DL600 or DL700 free on a Smart Postpaid Plan - YVA 2013 to feature Zendaya as Digicel are the Big Bad Wolves in the Smartphone Wars”. This as the activity on Digicel YouTube Channel has been mostly dedicate to the YVA’s.

Amazon Possibly to Launch in Jamaica and the Caribbean – E-Commerce by Proxy

Possibly Telecom Provider Digicel noticed that a lot of subscribers visiting their website also visited Amazon. Thus they’ve decided to partner with Amazon to facilitate Amazon’s entry into the Caribbean and Latin America.  Possibly too, Telecom Provider Digicel has some E-Commerce Plans in the future involving Amazon.

It may even be the occasion to launch a hosted App Store for their branded smartphones or handling Voucher Credit purchases or even smartphones via Amazon’s website as opined in as opined in my blog article entitled “Digicel's lack of enthusiasm in promoting the DL600 smartphone - How making Apps from their Text Messaging Promotions and helping Jamaicans to design Apps Bridges the Digital Divide

Even more interesting, possibly Amazon, in coming to Jamaica, may reach out to local MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurs) with the chance to host their products and services on Amazon once they sign up with Telecom Provider Digicel for a Postpaid smartphone or Tablet.

Even more possible, is that Amazon may be partnering with Telecom Provider Digicel to launch Amazon PrimeAir in Jamaica to test out Drone Delivery as noted in my blog article entitled “Amazon plans to launch Amazon PrimeAir, their 30 minute Drone Package Delivery Service for Amazon Prime users - Playing Catch-up as Mailpak launches DealBug in Jamaica”. 

Our JCAA (Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority) has no qualms about Drones in Jamaican airspace as the Americans do. This may even be a move to pre-empt Fed-Ex or even UPS for making inroads into other countries in the Caribbean and Latin America where laws are lax as it relates to Drones as stated in my blog article entitled “UPS and FedEx developing their Own Delivery Drones to compete with Amazon PrimeAir - Premium Rush Package Delivery Drones herald the coming of Google's Personal Androids that are Almost Human”.

Even more interesting, possibly Amazon, in coming to Jamaica, may reach out to local MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurs) with the chance to host their products and services on Amazon once they sign up with Telecom Provider Digicel for a Postpaid smartphone or Tablet.

Even more possible, is that Amazon may be partnering with Telecom Provider Digicel to launch Amazon PrimeAir in Jamaica to test out Drone Delivery as noted in my blog article entitled “Amazon plans to launch Amazon PrimeAir, their 30 minute Drone Package Delivery Service for Amazon Prime users - Playing Catch-up as Mailpak launches DealBug in Jamaica”. 

Our JCAA (Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority) has no qualms about Drones in Jamaican airspace as the Americans do. This may even be a move to pre-empt Fed-Ex or even UPS for making inroads into other countries in the Caribbean and Latin America where laws are lax as it relates to Drones as stated in my blog article entitled “UPS and FedEx developing their Own Delivery Drones to compete with Amazon PrimeAir - Premium Rush Package Delivery Drones herald the coming of Google's Personal Androids that are Almost Human”.

I say this as the timing of the tie-up for this Promotion is awfully close to another one by Aeropost, the Delivery partner with Mailpak, to roll out Amazon-styled Lockers throught the Caribbean as described in my blog article entitled “Aeropost to spend JA$150 million introducing Delivery Lockers - Drones are the Missing Variable in the Delivery Equation with advantages superior to Lockers”.

Thus Amazon may be taking this as an indication that the Caribbean is developing an appetite for using Courier Services to shop on Amazon as noted in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to ship things to Jamaica after you’re purchase them online”.

For that reason, an expansion into the Caribbean and Latin America via a promotion with a popular Telecom Provider that provides Broadband Internet would be a foot in the door of a lucrative and growing business of Online Shopping. Especially as it may be driven by low-cost Tablets coming from this region as predicted in my Geezam blog article entitled “Tablets to drive e-commerce this Christmas 2013 in the USA and Jamaica”, a long-range prediction of mine extending from Christmas 2013!

One thing is for certain though; whoever the lucky 4000 are will have to activate an Amazon Account in order to take advantage of this offer. And if I’m reading the tea-leaves right, this may be the perfect setup for E-Commerce, both in terms of buying items online by loyal Amazon Customer and selling on Amazon’s website by MSME’s in Jamaica.

Stay tuned to my blog for any possible announcements come Monday January 25th 2014!