My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: April 2016

Saturday, April 30, 2016

How White Space Testing by Microsoft at Park Hall Primary and Infant School heralds 80 MBps Competition in Jamaica

Fellow Jamaicans, we may soon have a New Telecom Provider in Jamaica to challenge Digicel and LIME.

This as testing work is currently being carried out by Microsoft at Park Hall Primary and Infant School in Trout Hall, Clarendon. What's special here is that the test is being done to provision the use of White Space Frequencies to deliver Internet services as shown below.

This video comes to us courtesy of the twitter account of PNP (People's National Party) Senator Julian Jay Robinson ‎@julianjay  as shown below.

Clearly, it demonstrates that it is possible to use White space Spectrum in Jamaica without DSO as pointed out in my blog article entitled “Norway to Switch Off FM Radio – How Efficient Digital Audio Broadcast mandated by @BCJamaica is coming to Jamaican Broadcasters”. 

So aside from this exciting video, what are White Space Frequencies?

White Space Frequencies Primer - UK is ahead and the world is yet to follow

White Space Frequencies are the unused guard band frequencies in-between NTSC (National Television System Committee) analog television frequencies and prevent cross interference between channels. This guardband is usually the 4 GHz block of frequency in-between the 6 GHz block of spectrum allocated for NTSC analog channels.

White Spaces can also refer to recently freed up spectrum that is made available when a country transition to DTV (Digital Terrestrial Television) or even from FM to Digital Radio as Norway plans to do in 2017 as reported in my blog article entitled “Norway to Switch Off FM Radio – How Efficient Digital Audio Broadcast mandated by @BCJamaica is coming to Jamaican Broadcasters”.

In February 2015 OfCom, Britain's Telecom Regulator approved the use of White Space Frequencies which corresponds to the block of unused spectrum located between TV Channels 61-69 (798-862MHz) as explained in my blog article entitled “OfCom approves White Spaces usage in Britain - Why Digital Switch Over in Jamaica is Necessary for Unlicensed White Space Frequencies”. 

As for the US of A, Broadcasters as of Friday April 29th 2016 have finally decided to submit to the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) auctioning their White Space spectrum as reported in the article “Feds say wireless auction off to a good start”, published April 29, 2016 by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News

So is Jamaica really planning to allow White Space Telecom Providers in Jamaica?

White Space Telecom in Jamaica - More Spectrum license options for Incumbents

It's a possibility, considering that Telecom Provider Digicel may soon be launching their 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) service in Jamaica on ITU (International Telecommunications Union) as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day on Tuesday May 17th 2016. 

I know this as current testing of 4G LTE in Bahamas by Digicel Bermuda and CellOne is ongoing as reported in my Geezam blog article entitled “How Digicel’s and CellOne LTE in Bermuda means 75 Mbps speeds coming to Jamaica”. 

As for the use and testing of White Space Frequencies, it proves what I've been saying in my blog article entitled “OfCom approves White Spaces usage in Britain - Why Digital Switch Over in Jamaica is Necessary for Unlicensed White Space Frequencies”; you don't need DSO (Digital Switch Over) for the use of license and unlicensed testing of white space Spectrum.

Albeit no official word has come from the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, it is possible that if such testing is being undertaken by Microsoft in Jamaica, it may lead to our White Spaces spectrum being mapped. Very soon, the SMA (Spectrum Management Authority) may announce a round of auctions for White space Frequencies for Telecom Providers to come to Jamaica to provide High speed Broadband Services.

This would add to the twelve (12) spectrum licenses for MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) that exist in Jamaica as reported in my blog article entitled “@TheOURja MVNO Licenses – How Telecom Providers benefit and Why MVNO are a source of Product Innovation”  opening up Jamaica further to competition.

Already WhatsApp in January 2016 may have signed an agreement with FLOW Jamaica to provisioning their service on unlocked smartphones as described in my blog article entitled “How possible MVNO Telecom Provider heralds WhatsApp, FLOW Jamaica, Digicel, Huawei and Lasco partnership”. 

So more Telecom Provider options, especially using this very plentiful White Space spectrum, would be welcome!

How C'estec Foop Portable Garden makes Japanese Hydroponic IoT Gardening Easy

Japanese people, it seems, have a penchant for making very weird gadgets.

Take the Food, a portable desktop garden made by Japanese company C'estec as detailed in the article “The Foop lets you grow a garden in your kitchen”, published April 28, 2016 by Adam Bolton, CNET News.

The toaster oven contraption has a name that's an acronym of “food” and “people” and costs US$360 (¥38,800). It weights roughly 8 kg (16 pounds) and has dimensions of 498mm by 326mm by 320mm.Despite its odd cradle look, this contraption lets apartment-bound Japanese people grow their own vegetables indoors. 

Rather than plant your seeds in soil, the Foop comes with moisture-rich sponge pods to make thing grow, kind of like a hydroponics garden as described in my Geezam blog article entitled “Solar Powered Organic Farming for Jamaica’s Food Security”.

So how is this better than you growing your veggies in a backyard garden?

C'estec Foop Portable Gardens – How Apartment Dwellers can grow their food organically

Remember, this is for people who have no backyard space to grow stuff in the first place.

Still, I can cut some glass bottles and make a hydroponics Wick Garden housed in a wooden box as described in my blog article entitled “How to Cut Glass Bottles to make a Rooftop Garden Wick-Based Hydroponic System”.

It also appeals to the smartphone generation, as the Food has LED lights that are controlled by a Smartphone App. It's bristling with other sensors such as an environmental regulation fans, CO2 sensors and a small hand pump to pump water. The Foop App also control the humidity an as well as the temperature, allowing you to precisely grow up to twenty (20) different plants.

Looks like growing you own vegetables is in our future, especially as we'll all be living in cities by 2100 as noted in my blog article entitled “How Bio-Bean is making Biofuel F Coffee Waste as Coruscant looms”. 

So like it or not, Agricultural towers may be in our distant future as noted in my blog article entitled “How IGES Canada Ltd Vertical Hydroponic Aquaponic Towers make low cost Organic foods”. 

I guess in the future, this may be how people grow their food organically.

How Jared Wright's Kush Kandy is a neutraceutical that will make Sevy's Special Brownies legal

Well it was bound to happen sometime soon, so why not now?

I'm of course referring to entrepreneur Jared Wright plan to sell cannabis oil laced candy called Kush Kandy as reported in the article “Man quits UWI to sell ganja products”, published April 29, 2016 by Rosheika Grant, The Jamaica Star.

The 23-year-old dropped out of his final year of his Bachelor of Law degree at the University of the West Indies to expand on his business selling Kush Kandy. A Marijuana advocate since fifteen (15) he already has a Kush Kandy Facebook page and Kush Kandy Twitter page. So far he's got some impressive stats:

1.      JA$200 per bag
2.      Three (3) candies per bag
3.      18-25 age group are his main market

However, he's doing this as his market is expanding as even people up to age 65 like his stuff. It's gotten to the point that he can't handle school and Kush Candy anymore, quote: “Every time I had the decision to do something for Kush Kandy or to make something for school, it was always easy to choose Kush Kandy”.

But the big question on everybody's mind is quite obvious; is this even legal.

Jared Wright's Kush Kandy - Neutraceutical that can open up the specialness products floodgate

Well technically, he's in the clear.

This is because of the amendments to the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 decriminalized the possession of 2 oz of Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) as reported in my blog article entitled “Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 now an actionable Law - How Marijuana being Decriminalized only benefits Politicians”. 

So long as his product is below 2 oz of cannabis oil, it's legit. Also acute psychosis isn't possible as described by Dr. De La Haye, quote: “We have to be careful not to allow edibles such as candy because when it gets into your bloodstream, it can be problematic and cause conditions such as acute psychosis”.

FYI: psychosis is what happened to Sevy as described in Sevy's Secret Channel on YouTube.

So what does he have to fear?

Medicanja vs Kush Kandy – Neutraeutical kettle set to open specialness floodgates

His main problem is competition.

The only thing he'll probably need to do is to register his product as a neutraceutical. This as Jared Wright claims his product gives you a slight buzz without you getting high and has the following benefits:

1.      Soothes euphoria
2.      Eases pain
3.      Relieves stress
4.      Removes indigestion
5.      Soothes sore throat
6.      Improves circulation
7.      Builds the immune system

Effectively his product is challenging the pharmaceutical and neutraceutical industry that Dr. Henry Lowe's company Medicanja is pushing into by going IPO (Initial Public Offer) as reported in my blog article entitled “How Dr. Henry Lowe Medicanja's parent BTRDI launching IPO in 2015 as Hemp and Marijuana cure 84 ailments”. 

So being “illegal” because of a misinterpretation of the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 is the least of his troubles as public opinion as well as UTECH and UWI professors already are pushing for legalization of marijuana altogether as reported in the article “Holness Government urged to be bold and legalise ganja”, published Tuesday, April 26, 2016 by Anika Richards, The Jamaica Observer.

He's really problem will be the competition from Dr. Henry Lowe's company Medicanja as they'll challenge his product possibly infringing on their copyright.

However, if Jared Wright wins, it'll open up Jamaica to the idea of cannabis-laced candy with “specialness” in them and challenge the rich people who are trying to make money from marijuana as argued in my blog article entitled “Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 now an actionable Law - How Marijuana being Decriminalized only benefits Politicians”. 

Excuse me dear reader, I think I have to check the kettle.....

Tel: 546-8804

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How Herzog's US$500 million Jamaican Railway Plans threatened by Highway 2000 and Squatters

“The plan is to have the trains up and running in December. That is the view of Minister Mike Henry. Herzog is in Jamaica now doing preliminary work to do the resuscitation”

Communications Department at the Ministry of Transport, Vando Palmer on Wednesday April 20th 2016

Looks like the railways are coming in December 2016 after all as Minister of Transport and Works Mike Henry has promised.

United States-based Herzog International has plans to fix the railway tracks to launch a downtown Kingston to Linstead journey on the trains as reported in the article “Herzog Set To Resuscitate 207 Km Of Jamaican Rail”, published Sunday April 24, 2016 by Steven Jackson, The Jamaica Gleaner.

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The Jamaican Government, then led by the PNP (People's National Party) received a revised plan from United States-based Herzog International in December 2015. This plan involves:

1.      Fixing nearly two-thirds of Jamaica's rail network
2.      Restarting the Railway service targeted by December 2016
3.      Initial Launch of downtown Kingston to Linstead leg by September 2016

This turns out to be some 207 kilometres of the 334.9km rail track as stated in the Fiscal Policy Paper 2016-17, quote: “Herzog has undertaken necessary due diligence, and at December 2015, the company submitted a revised business plan to rehabilitate approximately 207 kilometres of the 334.9km rail track. The work will be undertaken on a phased basis”.

Hopefully this will include seating and railway cars made out of Bamboo and come with free Wi-Fi as predicted in my blog article entitled “How Mike Henry's Railway Revival means Wi-Fi and Bamboo Train Carriage seats by September 2016”. 

Herzog International Inc and the Jamaican Railway Network - How US$500 million investment may be derailed by Highway 2000 and Squatters

It’s good to note at this point that the Railway's revival isn't a PNP or JLP Proposal; both political parties have floated this idea in one way or another.

In fact, Herzog International Inc had been negotiating with the Jamaican Government and had plans to privately invest some US$500 million in the Jamaican Railway Corporation as noted in the article “Henry rails Government over train service”, published Monday, January 04, 2016, The Jamaica Observer.

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The real problem is the compensation of some 2000 squatters who live on lands owned by the Jamaica Railway Corporation. They are Jamaican citizens too and have to be compensated, especially if they've been on the land longer than 12 years and can furnish documents to prove this as noted in the article “How To Apply For Title By Adverse Possession”, Published Monday December 15, 2014 by Sherry Ann McGregor, The Jamaica Gleaner.

However, there is no problem with the developement of the Railway as it relates to the Highway 2000 Project. Despite an agreement to not build any other modes of transportation that would compete with the highway due to the concession agreement for Highway 2000, the DBJ (Development Bank of Jamaica) says that this isn't an issue.

In fact, they point out that any in highway revenues that can be attributed to any new transportation system that give people an option to the Highway would result in the Government of Jamaica compensating the High operators.

The level of compensation would be determined by the an independent traffic adviser mutually agreed between the National Road Operating and Construction Company that represents the Jamaican Government and TransJamaican Highway, the developer and concessionaire for Highway 2000.

This was considered recently when improvements wee being considered to improve the Mandela Highway ability to handle traffic and flooding due to rains as noted in the article “Mandela Highway Upgrade Could Trigger H2K Compensation”, published Sunday November 1, 2015 by McPherse Thompson, The Jamaica Gleaner.

It'll be interesting to see if their plans to launch by December 2016 will be achieved. And hopefully, with free Wi-Fi and Bamboo Train Carriage seats for a trial run in of the downtown Kingston to Linstead leg by September 2016!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Why JCAA Special Aerial Work Permit needs to be adjusted to promote Professional Drone Racing

The Drone Industry in Jamaica is dying a slow death in Jamaica.

It's been a year since the JCAA (Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority) issued guidelines on the use of drones in Jamaica as described in my blog article entitled “JCAA Drones Regulations - Why GOJ Double-Standard suggest Commercial Drone Pilot Licenses are coming”. 

Now a year later, these regulations are still in effect and compliance is high as reported in the article “Drone Operators Abiding By Guidelines, Says JCAA”, published Thursday April 21, 2016 by Sherine Williams, The Jamaica Gleaner.

According to JCAA's Deputy Director General for Regulatory Affairs, Rohan Campbell, professional drone operators can apply for JCAA's Special Aerial Work Permit which is free of cost. The process to get a permit takes two (2) days whether sent by letter or email but it isn't as straightforward as it might sound.

JCAA's Restrictive Special Aerial Work Permit - Why Drone Industry is inevitable as Ministry of Agriculture

First, the JCAA has to check the location where the drones are to be flown. If on checking the area they discover there is a potential for a breach in guidelines, they permit will not be granted.

Even more annoying is that you have to have a permit for every event. This means that if you applied late, you won’t get your permit in time, something that is a thorny issue for many professional Drone Operators as noted in the article “Drone Operator Says JCAA Guidelines Are Restrictive”, published Thursday April 21, 2016 by Sherine Williams, The Jamaica Gleaner.

So guess my Jamaica Drone Developer Competition will not ever become reality, as the skies are not open for FPV (First Person Viewing) Racing as described in my blog article entitled “How Luke Bannister won the UAE's inaugural World Drone Prix as World Future Sports Games in December 2017”. 

however, the Jamaican Police are interested in using drones for fighting crime as evidenced form their use in St. James in their eyes in the Sky Project as noted in my blog article entitled “Eye in the Sky Project in Montego Bay – How Drones reduce Crime in St James in 6 months as NAITS Initiative gets Rebooted”. 

Still, with the Ministry of Agriculture seeking to use Drones for surveillance for Honduran fishermen in the Pedro Banks as noted in my blog article entitled “@agriministryja Poacher Spotting Drones – Ministry of National Security to Determine How Drones can Fly Farther” a Drone Industry is inevitable.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

How Jamaica's going Nuclear can revive Bauxite, Manufacturing and Telecoms with Cheaper Electricity

Jamaica is finally getting serious about Nuclear power. And the IAEA (International Energy Atomic Agency) is here to help.

The idea of Nuclear power has the support of both the PNP (People's National Party) and the JLP (Jamaica Labour Party) as noted in the article “Nuclear Gets Positive Energy - Government And Opposition Agree As International Agency Offers Help Whenever The Country Is Ready”, published Sunday April 10, 2016 by Ryon Jones, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Yukiya Aman, while speaking after touring ICENS (International Centre for Environmental and Nuclear Sciences) at the UWI (University of the West Indies), declared that IAEA would assist Jamaica in going Nuclear, quote: “If you decide to use nuclear power generation we will help you to use it safely, securely and sustainably”.

The Minister of Energy, Science and Technology Andrew Wheatley has given support or the idea of using Nuclear power, but has given not timeline for it implementation. A serious public-education campaign has to be done to ensure Jamaica will not go down the same road as the Fukushima Nuclear accident in Japan that occurred on Friday March 11 2011 as detailed in my Geezam blog article entitled “Japan Nuclear Reactor Meltdown is the Asian Tiger Chernobyl

They're have to identify serious investors, as building a Nuclear Reactor is very expensive.

Aside from support from the IAEA, we've already passed a Jamaica passes Nuclear Safety and Radiation Act on Friday July 17 2015, paving the way for Nuclear Energy as predicted in my blog article entitled “Jamaica passes Nuclear Safety and Radiation Act - Why ICENS Slowpoke is being upgraded and How Nuclear Power may mean Cheaper 4G LTE”.

So why is Nuclear Energy of interest to Jamaica all of a sudden?

Jamaica considering Nuclear Energy - Why JPS Co does not need Nuclear Power as LNG is ok

For one, it can't be for generating electricity for Jamaicans.

JPS Co CEO Kelly Tomblin as declared that the cost of electricity has fallen some 7% for the month of April 2016 when compared to March 2016 as noted in the article “Seven Per Cent Cut In Light Bills This Month”, Published Wednesday April 20, 2016, The Jamaica Gleaner

Still, the rates we're getting are some of the lowest in the Caribbean:

1.      US$0.19 per kilowatt hour for householders
2.      US$0.14 per kilowatt hour for industrial manufacturers

We’ve basically gone back in time some 10 years to when we last paid less than US$0.20 per kilowatt for electricity. This thanks to the price of oil falling to rock bottom at US$26 a barrel, mainly thanks to Iran now agreeing to cut output as noted in “Top oil countries fail to reach deal on production freeze”, published April 17, 2016 by Charles Riley and John Defterios, CNN Money

However, that was last week and things change really fast on Wall Street.

We're now in the midst of a two week rally as the price of oil is climbing again as noted in the article “Oil Producers Lock In Once-Snubbed Prices”, published April 24, 2016 by Timothy Puko and Erin Ailworth, The Wall Street Journal

It’s now at US$43.73 and climbing, which means that the prices we're experiencing now from JPS Co for electricity may soon rise. Still, these are some pretty low prices; production in Jamaica should increase even as investors hedge their bets on higher prices in the future as demand ramps up.

Also, JPS Co is going LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) with the help of American contractor New Fortress as noted in the article “JPS Gets Green Light To Build 190MW Plant”, Published Thursday March 24, 2016 by McPherse Thompson, The Jamaica Gleaner, prices for which is relatively cheap.

Nuclear energy could be something pursued later on when Jamaicans can comfortably live with a Nuclear Reactor on the island as pointed out by Minister of Energy, Science and Technology Andrew Wheatley, quote: “While we might not be ready for it (nuclear energy) now, it is something that is part of the energy policy, and some time down the road Jamaica might find itself in a position where we are able to utilise nuclear energy”.

So who else would need cheap electricity in large amounts?

Bauxite and Alumina Industry - Cheaper Electricity would revive Bauxite and Alumina Industry

A possible candidate would be the Bauxite Industry, manufacturing and Telecoms.

With the potential cost of electricity begin a low as US$0.06 per kilowatt-hour, it would give the Bauxite and Alumina industry a boost and wean us off imported oil altogether, to quote Opposition Minister Phillip Paulwell: “I believe that with nuclear you can get down to US$0.06 per kilowatt-hour”.

This as the cost of electricity, which is mainly produced by Bauxite mining companies from Diesel and Bunker C Heavy Oil is not cost effective enough to make the price of their bauxite competitive. This may have been a contributing factor to NAHC (Noranda Aluminium Holding Corporation), the holding company for Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners filing for bankruptcy in February 2016 as reported in the article “Noranda files for bankruptcy protection, plans to restructure”, published Monday, February 08, 2016, The Jamaica Observer.
A large source of cheap power, such as hydroelectric power from a very large river, Nuclear Power or a very large solar Steam system as described in my blog article entitled “BrightSource Energy Plant Concentrated Solar Rays Killing Birds - Pheromone Traps for Insects a Desert Feast to Keep the Birds Safe” would make mining bauxite, producing alumina and even making aluminium possible.

Nuclear power could potentially be a part of the rescue plan for the Government of Jamaica 51% stake in Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners, which operates Noranda Bauxite Limited on their behalf as noted in “Finance Minister Meeting with Principals of Noranda”, published March 30, 2016 By Latonya Linton, The Jamaica Information Service.

Also, the most likely design would be a Thorium Reactor as opposed to a traditional uranium(IV) oxide (UO2) based reactor as described in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “What is Radioactivity, Half-Life and Radioisotopes”. 

Thorium Reactors in Jamaica – Jamaican Guinea Pig as Telecom Providers might be game

Thorium-90 reactors used in LFTR (Liquid fluorine Thorium Reactors), due to the liquid nature of their nuclear fuel, can be very small, with the Reactor Chamber fitting inside of a four bedroom apartment as pointed out by Opposition spokespersons on Energy, Phillip Paulwell, quote: “It is in the energy policy and I do believe that it will be a viable option, especially because we anticipate that the mini nuclear plants, what we call compact plants, will be fully developed in another five to 10 years”.

Opposition minister Paulwell is however, keeping an eye on them, as they may be the key to US$0.12 US$0.10 per kilowatt-hour in the future, quote: “That will enable us to have facilities that can generate up to 50 megawatts of capacity. Right now, the plants are huge and it wouldn't be therefore appropriate for Jamaica. These prototypes are being developed, we are aware of them and it will enable us to get to less than the US$0.12 US$0.10 per kilowatt-hour that I was fixed”.

Still, LFTR have a long way to go before they become commercially viable as Jamaica has no plans on becoming a guinea pig. However, Private Sector companies, including Telecom Providers, can potentially get a license to import and operate their own Private LFTR Reactor under the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Act as pointed out in my blog article entitled “Jamaica passes Nuclear Safety and Radiation Act - Why ICENS Slowpoke is being upgraded and How Nuclear Power may mean Cheaper 4G LTE”. 

So the Jamaica Government sudden interest in Nuclear power is not to produced cheap electricity for Jamaicans as we're not there yet to quote Minister of Energy, Science and Technology Andrew Wheatley: “Look at what is taking place now in other jurisdictions, especially parts of Europe, we are seeing very, very cheap energy in areas where they use nuclear energy, and we are also excited at the possibility of using it, but we are also mindful that where we are right now, we are not ready for it”.

Rather, it's to keep the Bauxite and alumina industry and eventually the manufacturing industry in Jamaica alive via a cheaper source of power that would make bauxite mining, alumina production and even making aluminum possible.