My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: April 2017

Friday, April 14, 2017

How Jamaicans can set up a Paypal account to make money online

Setting up a Paypal account is the easiest business decision you'll ever make.

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There are two (2) types of Paypal accounts:

1.      Personal
2.      Business

So here are the steps to follow in order to set up a Paypal account

1.      Go to the Paypal website i.e.
2.      Click Sign Up at the top of the page.
3.      Select the type of account you would like to open i.e. "Personal" or "Business"
4.      Click Next.
5.      Provide your email address
6.      Create a password and click Next.
7.      Fill out your personal information
8.      Click Agree
9.      Create Account.

Note: If you’re going to do business online, choose the busnesss Paypal account, which gives you the option to create buttons as well as shopping Carts for your website or blog. Paypal will then ask you to verify your account by adding a Prepaid Scotia VISA or CIBC VISA VISA Debit card as per the video below. 

This is to verify your identity; Paypal will refund you the money. At that point you're verified and good to go!!!

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My next article will focus on using Paypal as a means of enableing Jamaicans to do e-Commerce via a blog or website. Sharing is caring so share this with as many of your friend interested in a Paypal account.

Here’s the link:

How to Hard Reset the FLOW or Digicel Huawei Y3 Series smartphones

So you purchased a Huawei Y3 smartphone and it decided to freeze on you or viruses have decided to take up residence. Worse, if you forgot your password lock code.

Fret not, you have a couple options.

You can always root the smartphone mount it like a harddrive using a portable antivirus as listed in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “13 Portable Antivirus to remove any Virus or Malware on Laptops, smartphones or Tablets”. 

An alternative is to simply do a hard reset and wipe the phone clean as in the case of the Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 smartphone as detailed in my blog article entitled “How to Hard Reset the FLOW or Digicel Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 smartphone”.

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This reset the phone back to factory if you unlocked the phone, you’ll have to pay to do that all over again!

At this point, before you do a Hard Reset, it would be good if you backed up your Google Android contacts and data i.e. images, files, music and videos as explained in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “How to backup and export Google Android contacts before you lose your smartphone”.

Otherwise you may have to recover the data form you wiped SD Card as noted in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “How to recover deleted Data from internal memory of an Android Smartphone or Tablet”. 

How to do a Hard Reset on a Huawei Y3 Series smartphone - Great for removing Pattern lock

The steps are simple and easy:

Power down the phone using the Power button. Then press and hold Power button and then the Volume Up + for about 3 seconds

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The use the following steps:

1.      Release the keys held as soon as the Huawei logo 
2.      Choose wipe data/factory reset using Volume buttons option to scroll up and down
3.      Confirm using the Power button
4.      Select Yes--delete all user data using Power button to select
5.      Select reboot system now to restart the phone 

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At this point the Huawei Y3 Series smartphone is unlocked. Not only that, but the password lock is also removed as pointed out in the video below.

Sharing is caring so share this handy Huawei Y3 Series Hard reset tutorial with as many of your friends as you can.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

How Jamaicans can use WhatsCall App to make Free International Landline and Mobile calls

“Traditional messaging apps, and other tools that enable us to talk via the internet, rely on data connections from both parties and smartphone notifications being switched on. WhatsCall doesn't require a recipient to have a data connection, the same app, or live notifications”

David Wu, VP of global app marketing at Cheetah Mobile explaining how WhatsCall works

So you want to make Free International Calls?

While FLOW Jamaica allow you 3Mb and upwards on their new FLOW Lyf plans to make WhatsApp voice Calls as noted in my Geezam blog article entitled “FLOW Lyf Data Plans wins over WhatsApp, Deezer and FLOW Sports Fans”, this requires that the persons have a Smartphone with a data plan or access to Wi-Fi.

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There are very few apps that allow you to make calls directly to ordinary cellphone and landlines, such as the Call+ and MagicApp Free Calls as detailed in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “How to make Free International Calls to Landlines and Mobiles Anywhere in the World”.

So is there another alternative?

WhatsCall - IP-PSTN Bridges a divide powered by Advertising and subscriptions

WhatsCall is that alternative.

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Available in both the Apple ITunes Store as well as the Google Play Store, WhatsCall enables you to call international landline and phone numbers directly. Developed by Cheetah Mobile Cloud, it’s currently a very popular app with over 10 million downloads. The WhatsCall VoIP app offers:

1.      Free international calls to Cellphones
2.      Free international calls to Landlines
3.      Instant messages to your WhatsCall contacts
4.      Sending photos, text and voice messages to your WhatsCall contacts

A cross between WhatsApp and Viber, the app uses Wi-Fi or Mobile Data to make calls by using IP-PSTN, a combination of IP and older, Public Switched Telephone Network, or PSTN, architecture as noted in the article “WhatsCall is a new Viber competitor that works without a data connection”, published October 11, 2016 by Owen Hughes, International Business Times.

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However, it differs in that it allows you to make free direct calls to international Cellphones and landlines. As we all know nothing is free, this is actually possible because the app generates revenue from the subscriber doing various in-app tasks such as:

1.      Treasure hunts
2.      Play games
3.      Subscribe to offers
4.      Clicking on ads

WhatsCall is basically powered by subscriptions and advertising, in exchange for clicking on a few ads, you get 1000 credits upon joining and signing up to do more in-app tasks earning you more credit. The 1000 credits gives you up to 30 minutes of free call time based on the country specific call rate chart of the app.

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An example of this credit based calling system is listed below:

1.      India- 170 credits/min
2.      Saudi Arabia- 1150 credit/min
3.      United States- 120 credits/min
4.      Malaysia- 330 credits/min

The call quality is dependent on you Internet quality and draws upon your contact list to facilitate good functionality and calling experience. So this may be the future of IM Apps; integrating IP-PSTN to bridge the divide between the Internet and older PSTN Networks paid for via advertising and subscriptions.

Here’s the link:

Sunday, April 9, 2017

How Banana Shortage in Jamaica indicates Bananas extinct in Caribbean by 2020

Folks, it’s official; we now have a banana chips shortage in Jamaica.

So says a few select manufacturers of Banana chips in Jamaica as reported in the article “Banana Chips Shortage - Manufacturers Take A Hit As Higher Prices Push Farmers To Tourism”, published Sunday April 9, 2017 by Ryon Jones, The Jamaica Gleaner.

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The banana chips industry is based on using green bananas that did not meet export standards.

However, since 2004 when hurricanes wreaked havoc on the Jamaican Banana sector, farmers have been leaving the Banana Sector altogether as pointed out by David Martin, general manager of JP Tropical Foods, quote: “The country (Jamaica) had seen a series of hurricanes beginning with Ivan in 2004, then there were Dennis and Emily. There were five of them (storms); the last one that took us out of the banana export business was Gustav in 2008”.

Add to that the fact that Banana farmers dislike selling green bananas to banana chip manufactures. They instead prefer to keep them longer and make them ripen to sell to higglers, who pay them twice as much for the same low-quality bananas on the local market. In fact, that sale price triples when they sell bananas to the tourism sector.

Jamaica's banana export market is dwindling, and is now a shadow of itself from its former glory days as pointed out by general manager of the Jamaica Banana Board, Janet Conie, quote:  “We had a large export market in the 1990s and early 2000s when export was in excess of 50,000 tons, sometimes over 70,000 tons, and we were producing the same amount for the domestic market. Now we are not exporting a lot. Last year, we exported 410 tons while our local production was 57,000 tons”.

That’s right folks: 410 tons in 2016 when back in the 1990s and early 2000s, 50,000 to 70,000 tons was the norm.

So what must be done?

Jamaica’s Banana Industry Dilemma – Panama Disease Threatens an already dying Industry

There is a need to increase banana production as pointed out by general manager of the All-Island Banana Growers Association, Donald Elvey, quote: “The real issue is that we need to increase domestic banana production by another 20,000 tons. We are on target to do that, but again, because of the cyclic production, you will find that during the summer months, the farmers have difficulties in selling their banana, so people are averse to further expansion in acreage”.

Their need to be a banana sector geared to supplying banana chip producers specifically, as it has now gotten to the point that Jamaica Producers (JP), manufacturers of St Mary Banana Chips, has been importing banana chips from the Dominican Republic.

There is also a need to develope a breed of banana resistant to Panama Disease (Fusarium Oxysporum) which the UNFAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization) says can wipe out Bananas in the Caribbean by the year 2020 as predicted in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “How the Panama Disease can destroy Caribbean Banana Farming by 2020”. 

One of the largest growers of bananas locally, JP (Jamaica Producers), manufacturers of St Mary Banana Chips, established a factory in the Dominican Republic (DR) in 2006 from where it has been importing some of its chips.
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In fact, JP is slowly making the decision to move their banana chip production to the Dominican Republic, to quote David Martin: “We decided we needed two supply options, so we still operate a factory in Annotto Bay, St Mary, and we commissioned a factory in the DR in August 2007. And there have been hurricanes since, as recently as 2012, which flattened the farm here in Jamaica, which we have put back up since then. But when it was flattened the only place we could supply our chips from was the DR factory”.

JP are not alone; Maroon Pride, despite planting their own acreages of banana, still cannot get enough to operate their production facilities for more than three days a week, to quote Manager of Maroon Pride, Robert Chambers: “Right now, we can't operate for five days a week, we operate for two or three days. The production is really low and this is because of the difficulty in sourcing the supply, so we just give thanks that we can still stay afloat”.

A leading banana chips manufacturer in the west, they have to compete with the hotels, whom the few banana farmer that are left prefer to sell their banana.

Chippies, another banana chip brand, is now down to 10% of the market, due to the banana shortage. They can only supply smaller 20ft container worth of the product to their various suppliers, to quote an unnamed company official: “There is a shortage because we are just not getting enough green bananas. We do export a little bit and some of the persons we export to we usually supply them with 40ft containers, but now they have to be taking 20ft containers because we cannot supply. One particular distributor who is on Amazon hasn't received any product for the past month”. 

Jobs are on the line; fewer people are being hired in Chippies' packaging plant, again quoting this unnamed official: “Business has been impacted in a very negative way. We have downsized quite a bit in terms of both factory staff and office staff. We have been doing that for a while because of the whole supply situation. ... So when people leave we don't replace them”.

So urgent action is needed to get the Banana Industry and it periphery industry, the Banana Chip Industry back on its feet. Otherwise we may be facing the extinction of Banana by 2020.