My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: July 2016

Sunday, July 31, 2016

How US$5 million JPSCo smart meter rollout means CONEC Mobile Money for Tesla Motors Charging Stations

Folks, looks like I spoke to soon!

Jamaica, get ready for the convenience of paying your JPS Co (Jamaica Public Service Company) bill via an app come September 2016 as I'd predicted in my blog article entitled “How JPS Co App for Digital smartmeter means paying Electricity Bill via Mobile Money”. 

On Thursday July 7th 2015, JPS Co launched their National smart meter rollout as reported in the article “JPS Launches Smart Meter Roll-Out”, published Monday July 11, 2016 by Mikhail Williams, The Jamaica Gleaner.

JPS Co is aiming for some 20,000 smart meters to be added to their Network at a cost of US$5 million. This will initially be done in the following parishes:

1.      Clarendon
2.      Kingston
3.      St Ann
4.      St Catherine
5.      St James
6.      St Mary
7.      Westmoreland

During the reaming half of 2016, JPS co technicians will be visiting homes in these parishes to change old meters top the more accurate Smartmeters free of cost. This is in addition to the 50,000 Digital smartmeters already installed at customer premesis to quote Chief Technology officer at JPS, Gary Barrow: “Already, we have over 50,000 smart meters in the field right now that we're able to control remotely and we're able to get usage patterns, but we don't have the software that actually allows our customers to dial in”.

Folks this has been a long time coming and it's a part of JPS Co PAYG (Pay as You Go) Prepaid Meter Program promised in 2016 as detailed in my blog article entitled “JPS Co's Prepaid Meters coming in 2016 - Why Prepaid Meters adoption will explode in Jamaica”.

So what advantages do the digital Meters have over older analog meters?

JPS Co Smartmeters with Apps – 3 Apps for Wi-Fi enable IoT connectivity

For one, they're more accurate, tracking ever watt of power used in your home.

This means even appliances that are plugged in will become a part of you bill as out in my blog article entitled “JPS Co New Digital Meters are all Smart Meters - Winsome Callum's A Simple Twist of Fate”. 

So yes, you'll see increases; more reason to plug out electrical items when not in use. But this also introduce the second benefit of prepaid meters; remote monitoring via Wi-Fi, as these smart meters can connect to your Home Internet.

Because smartmeters are billed OTA (Over the Air) but can connect via Wi-Fi,  you can remotely monitor your power usage via a smartphone app as I’d predicted in my blog article entitled “JPS Co's Prepaid Power now in Jamaica - How @myJPSonline PAYG means a Digital Meter with smartphone App for 5 KWh Advances”.

According to Gary Barrow, JPS co will be launching three (3) new apps to allows customers to monitor their power usage, quote: “We're actually putting more intelligence in the grid to provide the stability and reliability that is going to be necessary when we start to integrate mass amounts of these renewables and that is really the start of our smart grid, the primary driver. This year, we're going to be launching three applications ... those are going to be smart­phone applications”.

These apps, which will be launched by September 2016, as I'd predicted in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “JPS C re-launches EBILL Service with Gleaner Online as Mobile Money App a possibility” will allow customers to do the following via their smartphones:

1.      Bill enquiries
2.      Bill payments
3.      Demand and consumption patterns
4.      Energy cost
5.      Estimate of time restoration
6.      General advisories
7.      Instant notification of outages
8.      Real-time monitoring of Energy conservations
9.      Remote control for connections and disconnections

With this much convenience ta the customer’s fingertips as pointed out in the article “JPS says smart meter customers to have greater benefits”, published Thursday, July 14, 2016, Javene Skyers, The Jamaica Observer, expect the JPS Co smart meter Rollout to get off to a brisk pace come September 2016!

JPS Co and CONEC Mobile - Mobile Money Payment already a possibility

Yes you read that right; bill payment is already possible since Monday June 30th 2016 for those Jamaicans who have a Digital smartmeter on the PAYG.

This is being done via CONEC, the Mobile money Platform owned by the JCCUL and Mozido Jamaica as predicted in my blog article entitled “Why CONEC Mobile Money to pay JPS Co EBILL before Digicel Paymaster Mobile Money”.

Check out the poster below.

The functions, including Mobile money, can be performed via one app. what doe JPS co have planned for the other two?

JPS Co and IoT - Building a smart energy economy to Play with you Cat 

JPS co also has plans to make it possible to remotely control item in your home remotely….or just simply play with you cat via Wi-Fi connected devices.

Dubbed the IoT, JPS Co is apparently planning to sell remotely controlled lighting fixtures to homeowners. this may be what the other two (2) apps may involve as hinted by Gary Barry in this cryptic vision of the future quote: “All of our appliances in a short while will become Wi­Fi­enabled and it will mean that you will be able to use your smartphone wherever you are, whatever time, to actually look at your devices, to get access to your devices and turn them on and off”.

JPS Co also plans to start importing All-Electric Vehicles made by Tesla Motors as reported in the article “Jamaica Public Service Seeking To Forge Deal With Tesla Electric Cars”, published Friday July 8, 2016 by Steven Jackson, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This is an exact fulfillment of what I'd predicted was possible, albeit I was more hoping that this would be coming from the Government of Jamaica as pointed out in my blog article entitled “How JPS Co CEO Kelly Tomblin Mitsubishi Outlander means importation of Range Extender Electric Vehicles Needed”.

To this end, they have plans to install smart vehicle­charging stations for electric vehicles, most likely in parking lots and possibly paid by using one of those two (2) apps that JPS co plans to roll out by September 2016. All part of building a smart energy economy, as I suppose by 2017, the GOJ will start the importation of All-electric Vehicles into the island.

Friday, July 29, 2016

US$750 Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air is a Apple Macbook Pro running Windows 10

Xiaomi has finally launched the Macbook Pro Killer of my dreams.

The laptop, called the Mi Notebook Air, actually runs on Windows 10 as reported in the article “Xiaomi's first laptop is the $750 Mi Notebook Air”, published 07.27.16 by Richard Lai, Engadget.

The US$750 Laptop, which looks surprisingly a lot like the Apple Macbook Pro, costs far less at US$750 and is set to launch in China on Tuesday August 2nd 2016. It comes in two (2) screen variants, 13.3" and 12.5" and is sold in two (2) colours:

1.      Gold
2.      Silver

So aside from colour, how else do they differ?

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air - Apple Macbook Pro running Windows 10

Both are 1080p deals with a backlit keyboard, making this a typists and gamer's dream machine as pointed out in the article “Xiaomi's $750 laptop is like a MacBook Air with gaming hardware inside”, published July 27, 2016 by Aloysius Low, CNET News.

However, they differ in specs under the hood and is quite close and copies heavily from the Macbook Pro as opined in my blog article entitled “How Xiaomi's US$200 Mi Notebook is a Linux Ubuntu Laptop for Christmas 2016”.

The 13.3” variant, which costs US$750, is 14.8mm thick and weight in at 1.28kg. It has a dual core Intel Core i5-6200U “Skylake-U” processor that clock at 2.3GHz and goes up to 2.7GHz in turbo mode.

It also has an NVIDIA GeForce 940MX GPU with 1GB GDDR5 RAM but you can upgrade to an 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 256GB of SSD via PCIe plus a free SATA slot for expansion. There is also two (2) USB 3.0 ports with a USB Type-C charging port that can recharge the 40N battery from zero to 50% in 30 minutes, giving you 9.5 hours of untethered freedom. 

The 12.5” variant, which costs US$520 is 12.9mm thick and weighs in at 1.07kg, making it lighter and thinner than its 13.3” counterpart. It’s powered by an Intel Core M3 CPU, and allows Windows 10 to run on 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD via SATA. You only get 1 USB 3.0 port and one HDMI port, which translate to 11.5 hrs of battery life.

Still disappointed that Xiaomi didn't do a custom Linux machine that could work with Microsoft files, but that may have been a bit risky for them. I'm hoping they launch something to satisfy the Linux Community, as the value brand needs to make a product that appeal to the masses, especially as laptop sales are falling!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

University of Ghent Solar Powered Urine to Beer Converter can end African Water Crisis

Fellow Jamaicans, I, Lindsworth Deer, have decide to renounce my Jamaican citizenship and move to Belgium.

This as researchers at the University of Ghent have created a water purification machine that can be used to make fertilizer and beer from urine as noted in the article “Turning urine into beer. Yes, that's a thing now”, published July 28, 2016 by Erin Carson, CNET News.

This as instead of urine going down the toilet, you can literally piss into their machine and get water out the other end. The researchers at the University of Ghent tested their machine, under the slogan #peeforscience which University of Ghent researcher Sebastiaan Derese called the “Sewer Brewer” at a music festival in Ghent, Belgium in July, converting some 1,000 liters of water into the righteous liquid.

Good to note that this isn’t the first time that this has been attempted; a 2015 music festival in Denmark, the team used urine to fertilize barley to make beer. Clean Water Services in Oregon even attempted to use recycled toilet water to make beer. There is even a San Francisco-based Half Moon Bay Brewing company that uses water recycled from toilets, showers and sinks to make Beer.

So what makes their tech special?

University of Ghent Solar Powered Urine to Beer Maker – Solution to the African Water problem  

Aside from making water to make beer, this machine, which is solar powered, has the potential to end world hunger and solve the Water problem in places like Saudi Arabia, Asia and Africa as noted in “Urine Beer - You read that right - is about to become a thing thanks to a Belgian University”, published July 27, 2016 by Aaron Homer, The Inquisitr.

To their Credit, Saudi Arabia is already planning to build the world’s largest Solar Desalination plant in at Al Khafji city in 2017 as described in my blog article entitled “How Saudi Arabian Solar Desalination and Solar Distillation can compete with Traditional Water”.

As much as this may seem to be a joke, this machine can make some 663 million people have clean drinking water via what is effectively a water conservation method similar to recycling Wastewater for drinking as I’d argued in my blog article entitled “Water Wastage at MICO - How Waste Water Recycling and Rainwater Harvesting benefits Agriculture”. 

Closer to home, waste from your urine can then be purified, collected and used as fertilizer in your home garden as described in my blog article entitled “How to Cut Glass Bottles to make a Rooftop Garden Wick-Based Hydroponic System”. 

This could basically solve Jamaica’s Water Crisis, albeit I’d try Rainwater Harvesting as described in my blog article entitled “How NWC’s Water Conservation in Drought 2016 means Rainwater Harvesting with Digital Meters” 

So how did this idea Kevin Costner WaterWorld Style, Start out?

University of Ghent's Sewer Brewer - Sports venues or Airports before Africans dying of Thirst

Good to note that this is the same water that you drink that comes out in your urine. It’s just purified to make it drinkable.

The researchers at the University of Ghent basically used the tried and tested nano-particulate filter technique instead of a reverse osmosis methods as explained in my blog article entitled “How MIT Researchers use White Pine Tree Branches as effective a Xylem Water Filter

They used solar energy, most likely from a solar concentrator, to heat water in a boiler as described in the article “Belgian scientists make novel water-from-urine machine”, published Wednesday Jul 27, 2016, Reuters

Then a nano filter, possibly a xylem filtered is used to filter the water, removing nutrients like potassium, phosphorous and nitrogen salts and leaving behind pure potable water. This can then be used for drinking purposes, with hot water being used to wash away the potassium, phosphorous and nitrogen salts to be separated and used to make fertilizer.

However, known Belgians, expect to see this tech at sports venues or airports in the form of water Cooler.

Or, more likely, in SodaStream Beer Bar, which is all the rage in Europe to make homemade beer as described in my blog article entitled “How SodaStream Beer Bar makes Home Brewing Easy as US Craft and Big Beer Breweries will Resist” before it becomes cheap enough to help the Saudi Arabians and African dying of thirst.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Why Jamaica's Open Data Portal Training should also focus on Cybersecurity as GOVNet Looms

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Energy has decided that access to Government Data is a must.

For this reason, they launched the Open Data Portal, making Jamaica the first Caribbean country to do so as reported in the article “Gov’t launches Open Data Portal”, published Friday, June 24, 2016, The Jamaica Observer.

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Overall, the Government of Jamaica is developing an Open Data Policy as it relates to Government data, which I suspect may also include research to help investors as pointed out in “Open Data Portal to Improve Transparency – Dr. Wheatley”, published June 23, 2016 By Tomeica Gunn, The Jamaica Information Service.

In a sense it's an extension of the Access to Information Act, only in a more convenient search engine form:

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Energy has plans to train their government officials to manage the Open Portal, mainly via building Budget Data Visualizations of dataset for the following areas:

1.      Agriculture
2.      Economy
3.      Education
4.      Environment
5.      Finance
6.      Health
7.      Infrastructure
8.      Society
9.      Technology
10.  Transport

One wonders if the GOJ should have spent more time just promoting the Jamaica Information Service Website and associated YouTube channel via an App or Google Chrome Extension like they’ve done their Stay Alert App as noted in my blog article entitled “Why Ministry of National Security's Stay Alert App is Prankster's Summer Toy of 2016”!!

Also, they should train them as it relates their Government Websites and associated data more secure by improving how the treat emails, based on the Cyber Incident Response Report 2016 as explained in my blog article entitled “Why Jamaican Government Websites still hackable in 2016 despite Cyber Incident Response Report”.

Open Data Policy is a Good Move – GOVnet still needed to bring GOJ into 21st Century

The Open Data Policy is really lipstick on a pig, as the GOJ is yet to upgrade their Intranet to the proposed GOVnet concept as envisioned by former Minister of Technology Phillip Paulwell as explained in my blog article entitled “How US Gov US$400,000 Body Cameras, HD CCTV Camera Network, NWA PEN, GOVnet are connected”.  

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Barbados has already built their WAN (Wide area Network) to interconnect all Government Ministries and agencies as explained in my blog article entitled “Digicel to build Barbados Government Wide Area Network while rolling out Digicel Play”. The GOJ needs to focus on building out GOVnet while securing their online presence!

Still, this is what the UK’s Department for International Development in collaboration with the World Bank paid Jamaica to implement. How they remember cybersecurity is as strong as their weakest link: Government employees!

Cornell University’s Department of Food Science and How Blue LED Affecting Food Freshness

Looks like those new Refrigerators with LED Lights in Hi-Lo may be turning off customer from buying milk and cereal.

This as a study by Cornell University’s Department of Food Science reveals that milk goes sour in the presence of LED Light as noted in the article “LED Lights Are Bad For Milk”, published by June 24, 2016 By Lulu Chang, Digitaltrends.

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The researchers, Cornell’s Milk Quality Improvement Program laboratory supervisor and lead author Dr. Nicole Martin, discovered that milk exposed to LED lights longer than four (4) hours diminished the taste of the milk more than the  presence of bacteria in the milk.

In fact, their research points to the blue wavelength in LED light as being the causative agent, damaging the nutrients in the milk and thus the perceived quality of the milk.

Put simply, refridgerated milk that was not exposed to LED light over a two (2) week period tasting better than milk exposed to LED light during that time, to quote co-author Dr. Martin Wiedmann: “We found that without LED exposure, most pasteurized milk remains at high quality for 14 days; importantly this study now provides new information that can be used to further improve the quality of milk, for example through light shielding packaging”.

This find is made even more amazing when you consider that LED lights affects milk even when packaged in cardboard carton boxes. One would think that the milk has to be in transparent plastic bottled to be affected by the light from LED's.

So how did the researchers from Cornell University’s Department of Food Science make this discovery?

Cornell University’s Department of Food Science Milk Research – LED Light bad for Milk

The researchers from Cornell University’s Department of Food Science conducted their experiment by doing a survey of milk drinkers perception of taste of two (2) types of milk:

1.      Skim Milk
2.      2% Milk

Each type of milk had been exposed to different amount of LED Light. for each type of milk, scientists exposed on batch to real-world LED lights in showcases in supermarkets for 4 hours (experiment) while another batch was kept in the refridgerator away from LED Light from 4 hours up to 14 days, unexposed to LED Light (Control).

Then using a double blind test, consumers were then asked to rate the taste of the milk that were given as samples to drink. To their surprise, the consumer preferred the milk unexposed to LED light, even when it was near code/near expiration date, meaning it was going sour.

Apparently, even the sour taste from bacteria had less of an effect on the taste of milk than LED Lighting!

Blue Light and Riboflavin – How Milk is getting the Blues from too much Blue light

LED lighting wavelength differs from fluorescent bulbs used in some supermarkets. LEDs emit in the blue spectrum, around 460 nanometers with a broader emissions peak than fluorescents.

That Blue light peak is close to the narrow band where riboflavin absorbs light as argued in the article “Blue Wavelengths of LED Light Negatively Affect Milk Quality”, published June 09, 2016, LED Professional.
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For this reason, the researchers at Cornell University’s Department of Food Science have concluded that riboflavin, which would resonate at the frequency of the blue light emitted by the LED light, could be chemically altered by the vibrational energy of intense blue light found in most refrigerator displays.

This suggests that exposure to LED Lights, not bacteria, as a more significant effect on perceived freshness and taste of milk to quote lead author Nicole Martin, quote: “Milk drinkers want the freshest, highest quality milk they can get. For most consumers the idea of freshness is in inverse relationship to the expiration date on the package. This study shows that light exposure is a much greater factor explaining deteriorating milk quality than even age.”

Supermarkets and Blue Light – Affecting Riboflavin and Freshness of Supermarket food

The discovery of Blue LED Lights has changed out world, even winning the Japanese co-inventors the 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics as noted in my blog article entitled “2014 Nobel Prize for Physics Blue LED's are excellent Flourescent and Incandescent Replacements”.

However, the blue LED light which is used in electronics with Red and Yellow to create the different shades of colour and white light, seems to be responsible for everything from humans not getting enough sleep to light pollution as noted in the article “Doctors issue warning about LED streetlights”, published June 21, 2016 by Richard G. "Bugs" Stevens, CNN Edition. 

So this latest discovery does not surprise me.

Hopefully this means that Supermarkets will start packaging milk in light shielded packaging to quote co-author Martin Wiedmann: “We found that without LED exposure, most pasteurized milk remains at high quality for 14 days; importantly this study now provides new information that can be used to further improve the quality of milk, for example through light shielding packaging”.

But what does this mean for supermarkets like Hi-Lo in Jamaica?

Supermarkets and LED Lights – Less LED’s carton boxes coated with beeswax

Supermarkets will also have to make considerations for the use of fluorescent lighting in general and its effect on food freshness and their business.

It appears that the real culprit is not LED but the blue wavelength in the light that's destroying riboflavin and other nutrients in the food packaged in transparent packaging and causing it to have a bad taste.

This research has implications not only for the taste of milk but for any product containing milk or riboflavin in transparent packaging in supermarkets such as Hi-Lo Supermarket in Jamaica such as:

1.      Biscuits
2.      Bread
3.      Bun
4.      Fish
5.      Meat

The solution? 

Recyclable cardboard carton boxes coated with beeswax as described in my blog article entitled  “Why Wisynco making coloured Biodegradable Styrofoam heralds Beeswax Cardboard Packaging” will keep the air out, block Blue LED light and thus make milk and other product with milk in it last longer.

Hopefully, this will lead to a revolution in the use of more recyclable packaging options that will also serve the dual purpose of making food taste fresher and last longer.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

How to change your Facebook Password to keep your ex-girlfriend out

So …… want to change your Facebook Password because your evil ex-girlfriend has been up to no good?

Clearly you may not have taken my advice on deleting browser history as I'd suggested in my blog article entitled “How to save your relationship by Deleting Browser History for Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Apple’s Safari”.

She may have access now that Facebook is basically Free on Digicel as I'd explained in my Geezam blog article entitled “Free Digicel Facebook Flex and Free Basic is unlimited Data for Smartphone users”.

Then you've come to the right place as today, I'll show you how to change you Facebook Password to keep your up-to-no-good ex-girlfriend out of your beeswax, cool-aid or whatever other mix-up is happening on and your Facebook Page.

How to change you Facebook Password - More complicated than it needs to be

First you go to the upside down triangle and from that drop-down menu select Settings.

Then select Password by clicking Edit.

Facebook will then prompt you to enter your current Password and to repeat entering the New Password. Hint: write the new password in a Notepad document temporarily to ensure that you don’t get it mixed up during this verification step. Make sure it’s mixture of letters and numbers with some of them in Caps.

Facebook will then prompt you to log out of other devices you're logged into or stay logged in an update the password.

Personally, I think it's a good idea to just log out, as your evil ex-girlfriend at those locations can gain access to your FB.

Facebook thinks Robots are cute. Enough to do security checks on your Facebook account as noted in my blog article entitled “How Facebook AI Engineers use AutoML to teach FLOW to make Asimo”.

Just press the Get Started Button and move things along.

First, Facebook's gonna secure your account. This'll take a while so watch the bar move across by checking your personal info.

When FB's done doing its thing, you'll come to a Continue button.

Facebook may detect some stuff that is also a security risk to the Facebook Community.

So Facebook will ask you to delete that stuff, albeit most of it is pretty tame. Still a good idea to check and delete.

At the end, the friendly Facebook Robot will take you back to Settings.

Then again, you’re ex-girlfriend actually doesn’t need that access; she can still download your pictures using a Chrome Store app as explained in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “How to download complete Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest Albums”.

Oh well, at least you changed your password. Remember sharing is caring so share this with your friends in need.