My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: August 2016

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Restart your EX-250 or DX-250 Greenpacket Modem as we await Digicel LTE Modems

By now you may be aware that Digicel has stopped selling their 4G Broadband modems.

Instead, they're pushing their Digicel LTE, which they'd launched in June 2016 as I'd detailed in my blog article entitled “US$50 million 60Mbps Digicel LTE Network as Caricel and FLOW prep for August 2016 Launch”. 

Digicel has been experienced a great deal of success with their Digicel LTE as reported in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to Activate a Digicel LTE Smart Plan on your Smartphone”  , with an increasing number of persons signing up to the Faster Mobile Broadband service.

Digicel, however has not abandoned their 4G Broadband Network. They've instead increased the cost of their 4G Broadband Data Plans as of Monday August 1st 2016 as follows:

1.      1 day - JA$350
2.      3 day – JA$800
3.      7 day - JA$1350
4.      14 day - JA$2000
5.      30 day - JA$3000

Despite this and this price increase, many fans of the 4G Broadband modem, particularly the EX-250 Greenpacket modems are still waiting on Digicel to launch new modems so that they can upgrade.

I was one such persons who had hoped that Digicel would offer a program to upgrade to the DX-250 modem with Wi-Fi in exchange for carrying in the older EX-250 Greenpacket Modem as explained in my blog article entitled “No Exchange for @Digicel_Jamaica Greenpacket Dx-250 Modem as Data Prices unchanged since 2013”. 

Granted the DX-250 modem isn't perfect; it's slow in the daytime and you have to use various techniques to extend the range as detailed in my blog article entitled “How to Increase Digicel Greenpacket DX-250 Modem Wi-Fi Signal and Range”.

But once you have a Car charger based inverter, you can basically have Internet anywhere 4G Broadband has coverage. So this article is for those of you that STILL have the EX-250 or DX-250 Greenpacket modem and have decided to dust if off to use while waiting on Digicel to launch Digicel LTE modems.

EX-250 or DX-250 Greenpacket modem - How to set up you Modem all over again

After a protracted period of not using the EX-250 or DX-250 Greenpacket modem, the login and password ma have expired. To set up the EX-250 or DX-250 Greenpacket modem, first you have to power up the modem, making sure the Ethernet cable is connected to you laptop for desktop computer.

It will boot up, showing a yellow power light.

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Then the first signal light will light up, indicating it's trying to connect to Digicel 4G Broadband Network, which is still up and running.

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Eventually, once I has established full contact with Digicel's 4G Broadband Network, all three symbols will glow with a green colour.

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On the computer screen, you'll see the familiar welcome page for the Digicel Selfcare website. To re-register, click on Click here to Register on the Left.

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You'll be taken to a screen where you'll be given the option to re-enter the MAC Address, which is located on the underside of your EX-250 or DX-250 Greenpacket modem.

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You're then taken to a form where you create a new Password and login.

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Digicel, ever the data collecting company they are, also included a fairly detailed form to fill out after you've chosen a new login and password.

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After entering the information successfully, you can now restart the EX-250 or DX-250 Greenpacket modem.

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So now you've registered, how do you choose a Data Plan!?

Registering the EX-250 or DX-250 Greenpacket modem - Choosing a 4G Broadband data Plan

Once you’re restarted the modem, you'll be taken to a screen that'll tell you current status. First, you have to have some credit on your account by clicking on Prepaid Voucher.

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You'll then be taken to a screen where you can add voucher credit.

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Once you've added credit, you'll be taken back the home screen, where you can now select a Modem Data plan by selecting Click Here to purchase a Data plan.

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You have five (5) Data plan to choose from as shown below.

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The cost for these Data plans are as follows:

1.      1 day - JA$350
2.      3 day - JA$800
3.      7 day - JA$1350
4.      14 day - JA$2000
5.      30 day - JA$3000

Once you've chosen a plan, you be taken to a screen where you'll be prompted to restart the modem. Once that's done, you’ll be able to browse the Internet. Sharing is caring so share this article with your friends.

As for me, I’ll be publishing an article on Digicel 4G Broadband triumphal return .......or the coming of Digicle LTE Modems when that occurs.

How JCAA and GOJ can foster Drone Design for Jamaican High Schools and Universities

UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) or Drones as they're more commonly being called, are soon set to become a part of the Jamaican aviation landscape.

The potential exists for so many applications that entrepreneurs are already jumping on this bandwagon as noted in my blog article entitled “Why 10000 firms registered in 2015 at Companies Office of Jamaica heralds Recession in 2016”.

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Already, the JCAA (Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority) has receiving some twenty five (25) or more applications for the use of drones in Jamaica as noted in the article “JCAA Getting More Applications For Drone Use”, Published Sunday August 14, 2016 by Tameka Gordon, The Jamaica Gleaner.

The application of drones is mainly in the following area:

1.      Land surveying
2.      Aerial videography
3.      Photography
4.      Agriculture

The majority of these entities are mainly companies seeking to use drones for monitoring their property to pesticide spraying such as Agrocaelum and Hi-Pro use of drones to spray crops as noted in my blog article entitled “Why Agrocaelum and Hi-Pro Herald for JCAA allowing Drone Racing in Jamaica”.

Even JP Tropical Foods Limited, manufacturers of the popular St. Mary’s Banana Chips, is looking into the use of drones to combat pradeial larceny on their banana plantations as  reported in the article “JP Tropical Foods Looking to Use Drones to Combat Farm Theft”, published August 18, 2016 By Shelly-Ann Irving, The Jamaica Information Service.

Tourists are also taking an interest in using their drones have in Jamaica while on vacation. So does this mean that more open regulations are coming from the JCAA?

JCAA and drones - Special Aerial Work Permit unenforced indicated GOJ doesn't take it seriously

Apparently not.

Theses recreation permits are rarely granted, as hotel are too close to airports to trust tourists to obey the law. For each use of a drone in a new area, a permit is required as noted in my blog article entitled “Why JCAA Special Aerial Work Permit needs to be adjusted to promote Professional Drone Racing”.

These permits are rather restrictive; no higher than 400m above the ground and all operators have to have liability coverage in excess of JA$100000. Also drone professionals have to report all incidents and accident to the JCAA.

These permits are required for each area, as there is yet to be a fixed licensing arrangement with established drone operators, albeit companies and interested individuals can request certification to operate their drones.

Still, the policing of drone regulations are still being taken lightly by the JCAA and the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) aka the Jamaican Police. There is no dedicated staff to ensure compliance other than JCAA's Flight Safety Division inspectors and the occasional report by the Police; it’s mostly voluntary, suggesting that they see drones as toys of the wealthy as opposed to a potential tool for Industry.

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Clearly the Government of Jamaica doesn’t take the use of drones seriously, despite renewed interest in tackling praedial larceny as noted in the article “Agriculture Ministry Introduces Drones to Farmers”, published August 18, 2016 By Garwin Davis, The Jamaica Information Service.

After all, if they're serious about using drones in Jamaica, why has there been no relaxation in Drone regulations to develope a local drone Developer and Design Industry?

FAA relaxes drone Regulations - JCAA Drone Design competition needed for high school and university students

However, since June 2016, the US Government FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) recently created a 55kg class that requires no certification to fly as reported in the article “US Clears Small, Commercial Drones For Take-Off”, Published Wednesday June 22, 2016, The Jamaica Gleaner, but the height restriction remain.

Earlier in May 2016, the FAA had also allowed students in high school and universities in the US of A to experiment with drones as noted in the article “Students are gaining the upper hand over their teachers when it comes to drones”, published May 5, 2016 By Lulu Chang, Digitaltrends.

Oddly, teachers are restricted from using drones in an educational setting. Drones would make a great way to teach aviation and robotics in Jamaican schools and their introduction to student via a competition could fuel the developement of a Drone Design Industry in Jamaica.

We already have a fledgling Flying High Radio Control Club that has been around for some forty (40) years as noted in the article “40 Years Of High Flying Models”, published Sunday January 25, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.

It would be great for the Government to Jamaica to sponsor a Drone Developer and Design Competition to foster a love for Electronics, mechanical and Aviation Engineering in Jamaica, starting with high school and university students!

Making drones accessible to students to study, deconstruct and then design their own drones from components that they could purchase online would help jump-start a fledgling Jamaica Drone Developer and Design Industry in Jamaica.

Hopefully, as time goes by, our JCAA will relax drone regulations in a similar manner, eventually leading to drone racing in Jamaica.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How Intel's Silicon Photonics Modules replaces Copper wiring in Laptops, Tablet and smartphones

Intel, one of the supporters of the original Thunderbolt standard used by Apple, is predicting that Optical will be the future of computing.

They've even gone as far as investing in silicon photonics modules as reported in the article “Intel abandons copper cables for lights and lasers to speed up data transfers”, published Aug 17, 2016 by Agam Shah, PC World.

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These silicon photonics modules are basically processors inside of chipsets arrays that use light to communicate with the outside world as well as internally within Servers. Intel has also developed a connector standard called MXC to interconnect servers running on silicon photonics modules along with a protocol called O­PCI (Optical PCI) for PCI­Express communications over optical cables.

Fiber Optics are already been used successfully for long-haul communications and uses less cabling and is faster and operate at cooler temperatures. The idea is that fiber optics, by virtue of being much faster, can facilitate the development of distributed computing.

The following components that are usually soldered unto a single motherboard would instead be separate modules:

1.      CPU
2.      Storage
3.      Memory

Thus the Server and potentially the PC of the future will no longer be an integrated Circuit board or motherboard with copper traces. Instead, future motherboards will possibly be  made of diamonds as noted in the article “Why Diamonds, Not Silicon, May Power Your Next Phone”, published July 11, 2016 By Kyle Wiggers, Digitaltrends.

This would make it possible to have cooler running circuit board, as diamond has excellent heat dissipating characteristics. These diamond motherboards with built in Fiber Optic connectors and module slots would make it possible to interconnect optical versions of the CPU, Storage and Memory to make PC, Laptops, Tablet and smartphones!

Intel and silicon photonics modules - Preserving Moore's Law by going Optical

You could basically mix and match silicon photonics modules in PC, Laptops, Tablet and smartphones on these diamond motherboards.

The result is faster devices that run at a cooler temperature, thereby preserving Moore's Law in the process as predicted in my blog article entitled “How Moore's Law can continue thanks to Graphene, Silicene, Diamonds and 3D Architecture”.

The result is cooler running modular computers that are smaller and consume less power, a huge benefit to server installation for in­memory database and ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications.

Intel, however, is predicting that Fiber optics technology will go mainstream in terms of computer architecture, replacing traditional copper wiring both within PC’s, Laptops, Tablets and smartphones.

With the coming of Li-Fi as explained in my blog article entitled “Why @UCBerkeley and @MIT Optical Processor means Li-Fi and 5G Wireless by 2020”, communications network will also be going optical, making it necessary for electronics to go optical in order to match with theses faster Telecoms Networks.

Intel's vision of the future will preserve Moore's Law, as photonic processors can be made to go faster and faster at cooler temperatures.

Silicon photonics modules and quantum Telecommunications - FTTH lays the groundwork for Optical Architecture

This transition to silicon photonics modules would also aid the transition to Quantum computing and quantum Telecommunications which the Chinese are experimenting with using the satellite Micius as detailed in my blog article entitled “China Micius QUESS satellite heralds Quantum Communications, encrypted Fiber Waveguides and Li-Fi”, being as most quantum computers use optics frequencies.

The groundwork is already being laid to make this all possible.

Fiber Optic is now being used in the home in the form of FTTH (Fiber to the Home) Networks such as Digicel Play in Jamaica and the Caribbean, now 35,000 subscribers strong as detailed in my Geezam blog article entitled “Digicel Play has 35,000 customers as FLOW Jamaica Horizon fails to impress”. 

Intel has been researching this technology for the past 16 years and has been held back by delays as well as the expense of the technology. But with the developement of hollow waveguides as reported in the article “Researchers create hollow fiber optic cable, almost reach the speed of light”, 26 March 2013 by Myriam Joire, Engadget, this will not only make Fiber optics cable lighter and cheaper but also make it possible to make them out of plastic.

Thumb drives and external storage devices would have to be designed to work without using electricity. Instead, they’d draw their power from the transmitted light or even ultrasound as described in my blog article entitled “Why Meredith Perry's Ubeam's Wireless Charging Future is a Good Vibration” in much the same way a USB Cable power the devices connect to the USB port.

Optical communications is the future of Telecoms, both in terms of Transmission Systems for 5G Networks as explained in my blog article entitled“Why @UCBerkeley and @MIT Optical Processor means Li-Fi and 5G Wireless by 2020” as well as the internal architecture of PC’s, Laptops, Tablets and smartphones.

Monday, August 29, 2016

How to change your Wordpress Blog email and password for increased security

As most of you may be aware, I am an avid blogger, running three (3) separate blogs as follows:

2.      Geezam blog

I recently had a problem with my email account be closed by Google due to an excessive amount of email marketing to my 800 plus fans. Wordpress blogs are notoriously hard to get traffic; using mass emailing via a list created from the local newspaper and Google Plus has been the best way to drive traffic to my MICO Wars: The Teacher Force Awakens blog!

This prompted me to write about free and paid Mass Mailing Applications to send email to my followers as explained in my blog article entitled “How to use Mass Mailing Applications to send Bulk Email to your Followers Online”.

However, I soon realized that I had a lot of other service that I'd signed up to using my Gmail account that needed to be changed to a different account. My blog My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica was ok, as it uses a different email. 

But my other blog MICO Wars: The Teacher Force Awakens, a Wordpress Blog needed to be changed to a different email address as well as have the password changed as detailed in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “How to change your Gmail and Yahoo Password as Jamaican Government secures Websites”.
This is important especially if I forget my password and I need to change it or to keep track of notifications as well as comments made by readers! On that note, I have a whole lot of other accounts that I need to switch away from my Gmail account!

So without further ado, here's how to change the email and password for a Wordpress Blog!!

How to change Wordpress Blog email and Password – Very Straightforward and simple

First, I begin by logging into my MICO Wars: The Teacher Force Awakens blog.

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Then click on your blog icon and select Account Settings from your drop-down menu.

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In the field that says Email Address change it to the new email that you’ve set up

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You’ll be then prompted to confirm the change by checking you inbox for your new email, thereby completing the process.

Next to change the password is also similarly straightforward. First I log into my MICO Wars: The Teacher Force Awakens blog.

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Then click on your blog icon and select Security from your drop-down menu

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Select Password to get the form to change the password and select Save Password button to make the changes permanent.

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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.

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You're email and password has been changed, making it possible for you to receive notifications once more and making you blog more secure. Remember sharing is caring so share this with your friends in need.

How Temple University in Philadelphia and Mars Chocolate reduced Fat in Chocolate by 40 Percent

Chocolate as we all know is good for you in many ways. But processing Chocolate into Chocolate bars has always been difficult dye its high fat content.

Physicists from the Temple University in Philadelphia have discovered that they can use electric fields to change the viscosity of Chocolate as noted in the article “This bizarre method might make Chocolate healthier — and tastier”, published June 20, 2016, by Ali Sundermier, Business Insider.

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The research which was published in the PNAS (Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences), has already being patented at the US Patent and Trademark Office and was actually funded by Mars Chocolate.

Their research basically indicates that once an electric field is applied parallel to the flowing liquid Chocolate in the direction of its flow, they can change the microstructure of the particles inside the Chocolate.

This technique is basically a practical application of Electrorheology, the field of research concerned with the deformation and flow of matter when affected by electricity as explained in the article “Lower­fat Chocolate is now possible thanks to electrical engineering”, published June 20, 2016 by Vlad Savov, The Verge.

This electric field requires high voltage power supply to generate the electric field. The cocoa particles begin to form short chain polymers, effectively making them as viscous as liquid oil and reducing the amount of fat in the Chocolate.

So why is this discovery by the researcher at Temple University in Philadelphia so important to the food processing industry?

How to make Chocolate Fat Free - How MRJ density and Intrinsic viscosity affect Cocoa Butter  

This developement is important as Chocolate is 40% fat by volume as a solid or liquid. When processing Chocolate, it's powdered and melted under low vacuum into a liquid that consists of the following components:

1.      Cocoa
2.      Sugar
3.      Milk solids
4.      Cocoa butter
5.      Liquid Fat molecules

Liquid Chocolate causes the pipes to clog up during the processing of Chocolate into solid bars as noted in the article “Giving low­fat Chocolate a jolt allows it to flow”, published June 27, 2016 by Shalini Saxena, ArsTechnica.

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Given the nature of Chocolate, it’s clearly a suspension with its properties dependent on the shape of the particles:

1.      MRJ density
2.      Intrinsic viscosity

The MRJ density is the maximally random jammed density, which describes the highest three-dimensional packing density achieved by particles in a suspension. The Intrinsic viscosity is the particles contribution to the liquid viscosity.

An example of how these properties affect the property of suspensions can be seen from considering perfectly spherical properties. Particles that are purely spherical have a MRJ density is approximately 64% while the intrinsic viscosity is 2.5.

The Physicists from the Temple University in Philadelphia used optical microscopes to visually inspect and measure the cocoa particles and determined that they were spherical with a diameter of 2 micrometers.

That mean that fat had to be 64% of the space, based on the MRJ, otherwise if the fat was removed, the MRJ would spike and the particles would be in their maximum packed state, resulting in the pipes becoming blocked during Chocolate processing.

How to make Chocolate Fat Free – Practical application of Electrorheology 

The researcher then realized that in order to remove the need to add cocoa butter to increase viscosity, they have to do the following:

1.      Reduce the Intrinsic viscosity of the Chocolate
2.      Increase the MRJ density of the Chocolate

The application of an electric field did the trick, as the cocoa particles, which are organic covalently bonded molecules, are polar. These solids suspended in the Chocolate would aggregate into short chain particles along the direction of the electric field to conduct the applied charge.

This disrupts the microstructure of the Chocolate by making all the particle have similar rotational symmetry, thereby achieving the desire changes in Intrinsic viscosity and MRJ density of the Chocolate.

Food processors have to add cocoa butter to increase the fat content and make the Chocolate easier to process. This has huge implications for the Chocolate industry, as it means that they can make low fat Chocolate, thereby making Chocolate healthier and thus allow Mars Chocolate widen their market to the Health Foods Sector with low Fat Chocolate.

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It will also make more efficient use of Chocolate, being as we're approaching a major Chocolate shortage in 2020 as predicted in my blog article entitled “Why Chocolate Shortage in 2020 as Chinese, Indian and American addiction Inflates Price of Cocoa”.

More interestingly, this technique may also have implications for altering the structure of other solid foods that exist as liquids at high temperatures during food processing. Food processors can now use less cocoa butter and thereby reduce the fat content to 28% while maintaining the taste of Chocolate.


How Jamaicans make US$100 monthly from Stock Photography

Making money from photographs is a great way to make money as a student.

In my previous blog article entitled “How Jamaicans can make money from Stock Photography – Moneymaking from taking photos of the everyday Mundane”, I explained how to make money from stock Photography using their Digital Camera or smartphone.

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Despite its lowly position in society, photography is still a means by which many Jamaicans make money, with the photographers of St William Grant Park being a prime example of this continued tradition as explained in my MICO Wars blog article “How the Photographers of St William Grant Park are beating smartphone Selfies”.

It's even possible to make money using images captured using your smartphone as explained in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “How to make money taking photographs using Apple iPhone or Google Android smartphone”.

So where does one go to make money from photography online?

How Jamaicans make money from Stock Photography – Student and Amateur Photographers welcome

Over time, the long list of websites has whittled down with many of them having been shut down or being purchased by bigger companies.

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Some have proven less that profitable for amateur photographers to make money from their high quality images. Here's the list of the best stock photography websites online:

1.      123RF
2.      Alamy
3.      Can Stock Photo
4.      Crestocks
5.      Dreamstime
6.      Flickr Collection
7.      Fotolia
9.      PhotoShelter
10.  Shutterstock
11.  SmugMug
12.  Stockxpert

All are free to join and pay you for submitted photographs via Paypal, bank transfer or cheque as explained in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “How Jamaicans can make money online – Setting up a Paypal Account”.

Usually you have to hit a threshold of US$100 before you can collect, but if you a snap-happy photographer with a high resolution camera or a smartphone with a lens attachment, you can easily make bank.

More stock photography websites have certain quality standards that you have to meet as you'll meet your fair share of failure.

Once you have a camera that can take high resolution images over at least 12 Megapixels, you can make money from stock photography. It’s also good as an amateur or student photographer to reinvest in better equiptment as you improve on your craft as argued in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to take High Quality Photographs with the Samsung Galaxy S6”!

Stock photography for amateurs and Students - Support yourself at College from your hobby

In fact, the simpler the photograph, the easier it will be for you to get them accepted on a stock photography website and get repeat sales e.g. images of thumb tacks, Pebbles or cute animals.

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Once you've gotten some of your images on their website, promoting them online i.e. Facebook, Twitter and on your personal website or Blog as well as via traditional media is a must. Failed submissions are a stepping stone to know what the market wants in terms of quality photographs.

Taking advantage of the rich cultural history of Jamaica may lead to go on photo expeditions to capture unique pictures of life in Jamaica as well as simple scenery that will be worthy of the stock photography websites.

Make sure that you don't re-submit the same photographs, but make sure your photos are unique as possible. Joining photography Campus Photography clubs forums, Facebook and WhatsApp Groups is a great way for amateur photographer to gain an understanding from more experienced photographers.

More importantly of all, amateur photography is a great way to capture the fun little moments in your life and make money to support yourself at College from your hobby!