My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How to make Glow-in-the-Dark Jamaican Easter Bun

Easter is coming and it’ll soon be time to make Easter Eggs!

Glow-In-The-Dark Cadbury Chocolate Cadbury Creme Eggs being particularly nice to make as noted in my blog article entitled “How to make Glow-In-The-Dark Cadbury Chocolate @CadburyUK Creme Egg with Cream Fondant - Jamaican Easter Chocolatiers DIY”. 

But we’re Jamaicans.  So what about Glow-in-the-Dark Easter Bun?

Well today I'll share with you my recipe for Glow-in-the-Dark Easter Bun.

Here are the ingredients:

1.      3 cups flour
2.      3 teaspoons baking powder
3.      3/4 cup brown sugar
4.      2 eggs beaten
5.      1 tablespoon browning
6.      1/2 pint milk
7.      1 cup Schweppes Tonic Water
8.      2 tablespoon melted margarine
9.      Raisins and mixed peel (amount based on your taste)
10.  1 tablespoon mixed spice
11.  1 tablespoon cinnamon
12.  1 tablespoon nutmeg

Making the Glow-in-the-Dark Easter Bun is fairly easy:

1.      Soak the raisins and mixed peel in 1 cup Schweppes Tonic Water
2.      Save some of the Schweppes Tonic Water for the mixing process
3.      Measure all ingredients in a bowl with 1 pint of the Schweppes Tonic Water
4.      Blend together dry ingredients then wet ingredients with a mixer until fluffy
5.      Pour into bun shaped baking pans
6.      Bake in a moderate 350F until done well.

You can glaze with caramel or glow-in-the-dark Chocolate Syrup as described in my blog article entitled “How to make Chocolate Syrup that Glows-in-the-Dark, the ultimate Ice Cream Party Treat”.

Make sure to have a UV Lamp handy and serve the Easter Bun in a low-lit room for that glow-in-the-dark effect!

Why Harvard University Chan School of Public Health says Coffee reduces hereditary lifestyle disease risk

“This study provides further evidence that moderate consumption of coffee may confer health benefits in terms of reducing premature death due to several diseases. These data support the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Report that concluded that ‘moderate coffee consumption can be incorporated into a healthy dietary pattern”

Professor of nutrition and epidemiology and Senior author Frank Hu on the landmark study from Harvard University Chan School of Public Health on the long term health risks of coffee drinking

Some interesting new research has come out that seems to run counter to common sense.

Researchers at the Harvard University Chan School of Public Health has published a long term study that seems to suggest that heavy coffee drinkers are less likely to die from hereditary lifestyle diseases as reported in the article “Coffee-drinkers less likely to die from certain diseases”, published Monday, November 16, 2015, The Jamaica Observer.

Their research paper, published in the November 16 edition of the journal Circulation, specifically suggests that drinking three to five cups of coffee per day reduces the risk of premature death from:

1.      Diabetes
2.      Heart disease
3.      Parkinson's disease
4.      Suicide

Alas don't get too happy; caffeine is still dangerous as explained in my blog article entitled “FDA to regulate Caffeine after Ohio Resident overdoses and dies - How Chocolate and Cocoa are healthier alternatives as No Caffeine High from Dark Chocolate” and there's no protection from cancer.

The study seems legitimate enough. So why did the Researchers at the Harvard University Chan School of Public Health get these results?

Harvard University Chan School of Public Health says Coffee reduces hereditary lifestyle risk - Why Killer Beans may be Good for you

The study was based on data gathered from three large, ongoing surveys over a period of thirty (30) years as noted in the article “Moderate coffee drinking may lower risk of premature death”, published November 16, 2015, Harvard School of Public Health.

The Group being studied was a large group, with some 300,000 nurses and other health professionals broken into three (3) groups as follows:

1.         74,890 women in the Nurses’ Health Study
2.         93,054 women in the Nurses’ Health Study 2
3.         40,557 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study

During the thirty (30) years the study was being conducted, 19,524 women and 12,432 men died from a range of causes wish the study did not account for as being connected to their coffee intake.

They also were representative of persons from different socio-economic backgrounds and agreed to answer questionnaires and track their medical conditions and habits at regular intervals during the 30 year period.

The entire group was divided into three groups; one control group of non-coffee drinkers and two experimental groups, one that drank coffee moderately i.e. 2 cups a day and another group of heavy coffee drinkers i.e. 3 to five cups a day.

Despite these considerations, the study is also more of a correlation, as it didn't establish a cause-and-effect for coffee and the reduced likelihood of certain diseases. Also despite the researchers accounting for risk factors such as smoking, body mass index, exercise, alcohol consumption, and diet, the participants might have fudge the results to make themselves look healthier.

The fact that this was a self-reported survey where the participants reported what they consumed rather than being monitored under controlled conditions like lab rats suggests this was possible. After all, the 300,000 strong surveyed are mostly health professionals!

However, it does suggests increase coffee intake, be it decaffeinated or caffeinated, was connected to the reduction of premature death from the hereditary lifestyle diseases listed above.  

Also it doesn’t explain why moderate drinkers also benefitted and why heavy drinkers showed increased benefits from coffee to quote the abstract: “In the whole study population, moderate coffee consumption was associated with reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease, and suicide”

Coffee’s hidden benefits – New Elixer of youth yet to be discovered in the killer beans

Quite simply, it indicates that something is in the coffee that's good for you.

We already know that caffeine in excess is bad, which is why it's on the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) banned list as explained in my blog article entitled “FDA to regulate Caffeine after Ohio Resident overdoses and dies - How Chocolate and Cocoa are healthier alternatives as No Caffeine High from Dark Chocolate”.  

Regular consumption of coffee is good for you; just don't drink it if you're pregnant women or below the age of 18, to quote professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard and lead author, Dr. Frank Hu: “Regular consumption of coffee can be included as part of a healthy, balanced diet. However, certain populations such as pregnant women and children should be cautious about high caffeine intake from coffee or other beverages”.

So apparently other chemicals in the coffee are helping to extend the lives of coffee drinkers a postulated by first author Ming Ding, a doctoral student in the Department of Nutrition, quote: “Bioactive compounds in coffee reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation. That could explain some of our findings. However, more studies are needed to investigate the biological mechanisms producing these effects”.

Perhaps a new drug that may be the elixer of youth and a clue to extended life waits to be extracted from coffee beans. For that, further research is needed.

Musson Group purchases Nestle Jamaica – Why High electricity costs make manufacturing difficult in Jamaica

Say it isn't so!!!

Nestle Jamaica, the Jamaican subsidiary of Swiss manufacturer Nestle that makes Betty Condensed Milk and Milo that all Jamaicans love is selling out to P.B. Scott-led Musson Group  as reported in the article “Musson to buy Nestle Jamaica – Sources”, published Wednesday November 18, 2015 by Neville Graham, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Reliable sources have come to light suggesting that the 75 years of continuous manufacturing since the 1940’s is coming to an end. Reduced demand and competition creating unprofitable margins are the culprit despite a health Jamaicans appetite for Nestle Products.

Apparently the Musson Group, which controls the Seprod Group and its subsidiary Serge Island Dairies, possibly would use Nestle production capabilities to expand the production of their own line.

After all, there would be no point producing Nestle products under the Seprod Group, as their own products are already doing well in the competitive processed foods market that's popular with shoppers at our local supermarkets.

Musson Group purchases Nestle Jamaica – Why High electricity costs make manufacturing difficult in Jamaica

This is quite a surprise to many, as I had imagined that as a multinational, the must have been doing quite well to have expanded their Supligen line to the tune of US$7.6 million in 2013.

But the high production costs, such as the importation of raw materials as well as electricity proved too much and hence selling their stake in Jamaica would allow them to recoup losses due to high production costs.

Despite a restricting of operations in 2013, Milo is no longer manufactured in Jamaica but in Asia. Other products such as Supligen and Betty Condensed Milk are manufactured in Trinidad & Tobago and the Dominican Republic, the electricity costs, wages and import duties are cheaper.

Possibly had they opted to build 1 MW Solar Plant as Wisynco is currently doing as noted in my blog article entitled “Wisynco Group 1 MW Solar Power Plant - British partnership with Padero Solar UK for conquest of Africa and India” they could have continued to find new higher Margin markets for products in the CARICOM Region.

I'm not really a fan of either company, but I like Nestle Condensed milk on my bread as a child and I used to buy Milo, albeit I usually end up eating it as opposed to making drinks with it. I also like Supligen as well as their milk, sugar-based and processed food products.

However, I've now gone the healthy eating route since 2013, eschewing imported canned and processed foods for Vegetables and Jamaicans foods from Downtown Kingston as noted in my blog article entitled “Jamaica's Basic Item Food Bill mostly from 1st World Countries - Buy Jamaican Build Jamaica made from Imported Raw Materials in containers that says Made in Jamaica”.

Hopefully, this acquisition by the Musson Group, if true will mean the rise of more natural alternatives using our own local fruits and vegetables grown here in Jamaica!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Digicel Play launches FTTH Network - How FLOW Jamaica and Liberty Global Empire Will Strike Back

“The network itself is the same type of network deployed in the most advanced countries in the world, which will bring Jamaica on par with the likes of Korea and the fibre networks in the US and Europe. This is good for the economy and will also help attract much-needed inward direct investment in Jamaica”

Head of Group Public Relations for Digicel, Antonia Graham, in an email to the Jamaica Observer

Digicel is truly stepped up their game against rival FLOW Jamaica.

They've recently launched Digicel Play, their Fiber optic Cable service as announced officially in the article “Digicel invests US $100-million in fibre technology, new services”, published Sunday, November 22, 2015 by Josimar Scott, The Jamaica Observer.

Actually, if you're on Twitter a lot and you visit the Digicel Stores as often as I do, they'd officially launched since October 15th 2015, when Telstar Cable @TelstarCableLtd had endorsed the name Digicel Play in a very simple tweet linked to a Facebook posting:

Coincidentally, this is around the same time rumours began flying about related to the impending purchase of CWC (Cable and Wireless Communication) by Cable Giant Liberty Global as detailed in my blog article entitled “US$5.5 billion Liberty Global purchase of CWC's FLOW Jamaica - Why Digicel Play will truly Liberate Cable Subscribers”.

A quick search using the term “Digicel Play” will eventually yield enough information to show that Jamaica are very curious about the Digicel Play service, which has been launching in a very low-key manner thus far to quote Stephen Charoo @esteban876:

So what exactly is Digicel Play? And what does Liberty Global, the new owner of CWC and hence FLOW Jamaica, have planned to compete against this growing threat?

Digicel Play launches FTTH Network based on Telstar Cable - How FLOW Jamaica and Liberty Global Empire Will Strike Back

Digicel Play is a FTTH (Fiber-to-the-home) Cable Network that deliver Triple Play services i.e. Cable TV, Fixed line Telephony based on VoIP and Broadband Internet. The Ad on Digicel's YouTube channel should bring you up to speed!!!

Begin as it Fiber Optic straight to your house and not copper based Coaxial Cable used by FLOW Jamaica, expect some blazing fast theoretical speeds as follows:

1.      500 MBps upload
2.      1 GBps downloads

The logo does look similar to Google Play, but the difference is significant enough not to warrant any further discussion. What worth talking about is their variously cable packages as listed on their Digicel Play Webpage, which is a sub domain of Digicel Group's website.

This implies that Digicel Play is a regional Service and not specific to just the Caribbean, as I’ve seen Digicel Play service for the PNG (Papau New Guinea) and Turks and Caicos which was launched long before Jamaica.

No matter which territory, their Cable packages come with the following:

1.      3 months FREE Cloud Storage
2.      Mosaic
3.      On Demand
4.      One Set Top Box (STB) & Remote
5.      Pause & Rewind Live TV (Time Shift)
6.      Personal Video Recorder
7.      Picture in Picture

There are three (3) distinct cable packages that differ in terms of Channels:

1.         JA$3,399.00 Play Now, which has 177 channels, 41 of which are HD
2.         JA$3,399.00 Play More, which has 192 channels, 47 of which are HD
3.         JA$6,699.00 Play Large, which has 223 channels, 70 of which are HD

The three (3) Broadband internet packages have me blown away personally:

1.      US$4,099.00 Play 25 that offers 25MBps Download and 5MBps Upload
2.      US$8,699.00 Play 50 that offers 50MBps Download and 10MBps Upload
3.      US$10,899.00 Play 100 that offers 100MBps Download and 50MBps Upload

These I suspect are of more interest to many Jamaicans as with a proper VPN (Virtual Private Network) you can stream the content that you want.

Especially now that the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica has demanded that the Cable providers remove some 19 channels they have been broadcasting illegally as explained in my blog article entitled “Cable Providers comply with BCJ Cable Channel Removal - How to install a VPN to Stream American Cable Channels on your Roku”.

So how does FLOW Jamaica Compare? And do they plan to eventually launch FTTH along with 4G LTE by 2016?

FLOW Jamaica Broadband and Cable Packages – Why Liberty Global will have to step up FLOW’s Game

This compares very well with FLOW Jamaica's Broadband Internet packages as listed on their website.

1.      JA$3,099 FLOW Essential for 15Mbps Download and 1Mbps Upload
2.      JA$4,199 FLOW Plus for 20Mbps Download and 1.5Mbps Upload
3.      JA$$9,899 FLOW Max for 50Mbps Download and 2Mbps Upload
4.      JA$12,099 FLOW Turbo for 100Mbps Download and 5Mbps Upload

If this seems a tad high, FLOW Jamaica has some interesting Triple Play Bundles that are really just the FLOW Essential repackaged with Cable channels. FLOW Jamaica's speeds also seem to vary based on your location and appear to be provided by the slower ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line) which is based on their POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) Network.

FLOW Jamaica will definitely have to step up their game, as DOCSIS 3.0, the protocol that powers their digital Cable Network that they inherited from FLOW cannot match the upgrade capability of a FTTH Network like Digicel Play.

especially as 5G Broadband Internet is slated to be launched by 2020 based on the ITU (International Telecommunication Union), the Telecommunications arm of the UN (United Nations) 5G Mission Plan for IMT-2020 as reported in my blog article entitled “ITU publishes 5G IMT-2020 Roadmap - Why US Telecom Providers, @Digicel_Jamaica and @LIMEJamaica like to travel off the beaten Path”. 

Now that you have a fairly good idea of the packages and prices, will FLOW Jamaica also go FTTH not that they’ve officially been purchased by Liberty Global for US$8.2 billion as announced Monday November 16th 2015 in my blog article entitled “US$8.2 billion Liberty Global deal for CWC – How Digicel Play competition means benefits for Jamaica and the Caribbean”? 

Check back with my blog or just follow Digicel Jamaica’s website Digicel Jamaica YouTube Page, Digicel’s Facebook Page and Digicel’s Twitter Page As usual, for the latest news on Telecom Provider FLOW Jamaica, follow the action for FLOW Jamaica on their FLOW Jamaica website, FLOW Jamaica YouTube Page, FLOW Jamaica Twitter Page and FLOW Jamaica Facebook Page.

Here's the link:

Sunday, November 22, 2015

How 10000 Jamaicans to be employed under DBJ and YUTE IDB sponsored NEO as General Election Nears

For those of you thinking there are no jobs in Jamaica, think again!!

The NEO (New Opportunities for Youth) program a joint venture of the DBJ (Development Bank of Jamaica) and YUTE (Youth Upliftment Through Employment), aims to make some 10,000 Jamaican school-leavers employable as reported in the article “NEO targets employment for 10,000 youths”, published Sunday, November 22, 2015 by Avia Collinder, The Jamaica Observer.

The US$9.3 million project, which is funded by a US$1.2 million technical assistance grant from the IDB's (Inter Developement Bank) Multilateral Investment Fund or IDB MIF, will have some 100 companies in the following sectors employing the school leavers:

1.      Construction
2.      Logistics
3.      Tourism

The IDB MIF had been recently approved the NEO as a job skills initiative structured as follows:

1.      Arcos Dorados
2.      Caterpillar Foundation
3.      CEMEX
4.      Foundation Forge
5.      IDB's Labor Markets Unit
6.      IYF (International Youth Foundation)
7.      Microsoft
8.      MIF
9.      SESI
10.  Walmart

The NEO Jamaica partnership, with the Jamaican chapter being run by YUTE, includes the following Private and Public Sector partners:

1.      BPIAJ (Business Process Industry Association)
2.      CEMEX
3.      HEART
4.      HTA (Hotel and Tourism Association of Jamaica)
5.      Ministry of Labour and Social Security
6.      Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining
7.      Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture
8.      NYS (National Youth Service)
9.      PIOJ (Planning Institute of Jamaica)
10.  PSOJ (The Private Sector Organization of Jamaica)
11.  Red Stripe
12.  The University of West Indies

So are these sectors really in need of skilled labour?

10000 Jamaicans to be employed under DBJ and YUTE IDB sponsored NEO as General Election Nears 

These areas identified of the Jamaican economy have a need for specialized skilled labour which is lacking in Jamaica as they’re set for growth, based on the latest news on investment in the Media!

The tourists industry, is in need of a lot of trained staff in the next ten (10) years to provide the 8000 employees that Karisma Hotels and Resorts, a Mexican Resort chain investing some US$900 million in a 4000 room hotel will need as noted in the article “Mexican Hotel Chain Announces US$900 Million Investment”, published October 14, 2015 By Alecia Smith-Edward, The Jamaica Information Service

Dolphin cove has also changed hands into Mexican ownership for a reported US$3.7 billion, so we may be looking at an expansion involving the employment of more Jamaicans as noted in the article “Dolphin Cove To Retain Identity Under New Mexican Owner”, published Friday November 20, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Logistics and construction will also need a lot of persons, especially to staff the Spanish Town Free zone, where Gulfray Americas and CNAICO (China National Automotive Industry International Corporation) plan to set up a US$350 million dollar Automobile assembly line as reported in my blog article entitled “Gulfray Americas and CNAICO Auto Manufacturing plant - Why Spanish Town Free Zone will benefit Jamaica”.  

Then in constructions, a lot of hotels are being build, such as the Karisma Hotels and Resorts as well as the US$200 Ocean by H10 Hotels being built in Trelawny as reported in the article “Spanish chain spearheads US$200m hotel construction in Trelawny”, published Tuesday, November 17, 2015 by Javene skyers, The Jamaica Observer

Jamaica is to get 14% equity in the 800 rooms hotel develomement, which may have include providing the necessary labour to build the hotels as reported in the article “Jamaicans Offered 14% In New Spanish Hotel Development”, published Wednesday November 18, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.

By targeting the unemployed school leavers in the age range 17-29 years old, with about 50% of them being females, NEO aims to turn some 1 million graduates in Latin America and the Caribbean into a trained and employable workforce.

The funding will be used to do the following:

1.      Strengthen 11 training and employment centres
2.      Train 90 professionals to provide Special Job training services

This will be done via teaching methods tailored to young people to help strengthened their life and coping skills while providing job placement services within these 100 companies. In turn, these companies will provide the following:

1.      Internship
2.      Job placement opportunities
3.      Training

Hopefully the NEO will live up to its promise and not become another JEEP Initiative being announced to win the General Elections, for which the date has yet to be called as noted in the article “Awaiting The 17th General Election”, published Sunday November 15, 2015 by Martin Henry, The Jamaica Gleaner.

After all, the secret to winning the General Election is still South Coast Developement such as the Milk River Bath and Spa as document in my blog article entitled “200 Acre Milk River Hotel & Spa Developement - How Future Plans for Milk River Residents means South Coast Developement coming”.
If the NEO comes to pass, these sectors will help to stem unemployment in Jamaica as well as the acute Brain Drain as many leave to go abroad to seek gainful employment!