Wednesday, July 23, 2014
How to fight Illness including Chikungunya Virus using Spices - US$40 Joseph Joseph SpiceStore Carousel helps you organize
With the Chikungunya Virus looming large in Jamaica and the Ministry of Health sounding more confused by the minute as noted in “Health official says Jamaica prepared to deal with chikungunya outbreak”, published Friday, June 20, 2014, The Jamaica Observer what does one do to fight this disease?
Especially as it’s now confirmed that it’s in the island as I’d reported in my earlier blog article entitled “Chikungunya Virus now confirmed in Jamaica - Female Traveller From Florida via Puerto Rico and How to fight Chic-V”. Again the Dengue-like symptoms:
2. High fever
3. Joint pain (like Jaundice or Rheumatic Fever)
4. Muscle pain
5. Rash (not very good, this one)
After all, there is no known cure and no-one in Jamaica has any natural immunity against the disease. Based on its symptoms, the Rash isn’t so bad and you can still hobble to work if your joints get swollen. A Few Panadols, Ibuprofen and Cetamols and you’re right as rain, ready to face the world, one painful movement at a time, something Cinnamon can alleviate sans the medication.
But children, especially little toddlers, are very vulnerable. You can’t keep spraying them with Citronella Oil everyday, otherwise they’re start to smell like a walking patch of Lemon Grass. The Rash isn’t going to be trending among students come September 2014 when school restarts. Don’t forget the Joint pains and the other Dengue-like Symptoms of Chic-V, the only thing that’s cute about this disease.
So since you’re a “tuff” old bird that weathered many infections, what do you do to make your child comfortable if and when they get the Chikungunya Virus after being bitten by an infected Aedes aegypti Mosquito?
Joseph Joseph SpiceStore Carousel - How to fight Illness including Chikungunya Virus using Spices
This is where the Joseph Joseph SpiceStore Carousel comes into play. A trinary rotating arrangement of 10 Spice Jars, eight (8) 3-ounce and two (2) 6.5 ounce as described in “Spin the (spice) bottle”, published July 22, 2014 9:42 AM PDT by Brian Krepshaw, CNET News, it’s the perfect way to organize your healing herbs as you battle illnesses, including the Chikungunya Virus.
Capped with Silicone Covers, the US$40 Joseph Joseph SpiceStore Carousel helps you to keep track of your healing spices as you switch from being a caring parent to a part time apothecary as you mix spices to keep you child healthy. The below video will give you an idea of what spices are good for what illness:
The three-way rotating action makes it possible to access the larger two (2) 6.5 ounce at the back without you having to lift or reach around the back and spill your finely powdered concoctions.
Just remember, when extracting the Herbal Essence via seeping, always use either 100% pure alcohol or distilled Water in a Water Bath configuration as explained in my blog article entitled “Ras Puddler says Legalization of Marijuana benefits large Scale Growers - How Teenagers can Learn to Extract THC for personal Use to make Chocolate Cookie, Brownies and Sorrell Cake for Christmas”.
Herbal remedies work by simply boosting your immunity; they’re not antibiotics, but basically Pro-Biotics, part of a family of Alternative Medical Remedies that’s little understood but very cost effective once done properly. What makes it a science is not that it’s cost effective, but the preparation methods that involve extracting the essence of these Herbs and Spices and changes you need to make to your diet to get well.
As mentioned before, my simple cure consists of extract of the essence of Garlic, Ginger and Scotch Bonnett Pepper with a touch of the above spices in the picture. This’ll cure you and your loved one of Chikungunya Virus and its negative effects.
Also, to accelerate the healing process, eliminate Junk Food, Soda, Sugar, anything that contains salt or sugar, anything that comes in a Tin Can and rehydrate with Distilled Water during the course of the illness and you’ll be right as rain in no time flat!
How ironic! Modern medication cannot fight this mysterious illness that’s not life threatening but will have you on your back and your kids scratching like crazy with a strange rash. And yet, right there in your Garden or easily purchased in the May Pen Supermarkets or in Coronation Market Downtown are the ingredients for you to pound with Mortar and Pestil to make a cure!
A simple change to an organic, Vegan during the course of the Chikungunya Virus infection may taste bad and very bland, but trust me, this’ll cure you all sorts of ailments, including the aforementioned infection!
So run out and get the Joseph Joseph SpiceStore Carousel today!
Digicel’s Fiber Optic Network has July 2014 Completion Date – Launchpad for 4G LTE, Frame Relay, FTTH and Cloud Based PBX Services
“Digicel Business' underground fibre network will enable us to provide our business customers with even greater capacity to take advantage of modern business applications such as cloud computing, infrastructure-as-a-service, videoconferencing and a range of other modern business services. Also, customers using our fibre network will have even greater bandwidth as well as full Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) service to their business. In addition to this, customers will also have more resilient and scalable connectivity options to and from Digicel's Tier III certified data centre”
Head of Enterprise Solutions at Digicel Business, Ative Ennis, commenting on the soon-to-be-completed First Phase of their Mobay to Kingston Fiber Optic Network in an interview with the Gleaner
Telecom Provider Digicel is getting ready to launch 4G LTE pretty soon.
This was after three (3) months they’ve almost completed their JA$600 million Fiber Optic Network, slated for completion this month as stated in “Digicel fibre roll-out on track”, Published Sunday July 20, 2014 by Richard Browne, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.
They’re now in the final stages of acquiring Telstar Cable to provide Content for their Streaming TV Cable Service similar to LIME TV as explained in my blog article entitled “Digicel acquires Telstar Cable – 4G LTE with a dash of Streaming Cable TV Service”.
This other Fiber Optic Cable laying Exercise, some 22 kilometers long in its first phase, is located in New Kingston and Downtown Kingston, with the remaining located in the Montego Bay area. Nearing completion, the end date for the installation of this first phase is set for July 2014, to quote Head of Enterprise Solutions at Digicel Business, Ative Ennis: “Work is well underway with the roll-out of our underground fibre network in Montego Bay and in Kingston”.
Digicel’s Fiber Optic Network – Increased Broadband Services for Businesses and Call Centers
Combined with this Fiber Optic build-out, Telecom Provider Digicel will have the Fiber Optic Backhaul needed to interconnect some of their Cell Sites that’ll be provisioned with 4G LTE Antennas, BBU (Base Band Units) via Fiber Optic Termination Cabinets.
This increased Broadband will also allow Telecom Provider Digicel to provide other Services:
1. Cloud Computing
2. IaaS e.g. Hosted PBX
4. MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching)
If this all comes to pass, then it suggests that Telecom Provider Digicel will not only be rolling out 4G LTE with Streaming TV as a VAS (Value Added Service), but also an array of other services. This possibly includes Cloud Based Telephony using their Tier III Data Center as I’d predicted in my Geezam blog article entitled “Digicel Cloud Telephony to Make Switched Voice Extinct”!
In fact, this installation of a Fiber Optic Network may be in anticipation of the eight (8) Call Center slated to set up shop by the end of 2014 as I’d predicted in my blog article entitled “How to find work in Jamaica at Call Center - 8000 Jobs coming after US$33 million Loan from DGB floated for 8 Call Centers”.
So this was totally expected.
Digicel’s Fiber Optic Network – Micro-Trenching is not Subterranean as these can be easily dug up
Straddling the Twin Cities of Montego Bay to Kingston, this JA$600 million project was announced back in March 2014 as stated in “Digicel to build sophisticated underground fibre network”, published Wednesday March 26, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner. It’s now progressed fairly quickly, as the Fiber Optic Network is being built one Cable run at a time.
Rather than be run on the JPS Co Poles as overhead Fiber Optic Cable, Telecom Provider Digicel opted to use Micro-trenching to lay their main series of Fiber Optic Cables. An odd choice, since this isn't really subterranean, merely requiring a 4" by 6" trench to be excavated into the ground with a Metallic or Plastic Tray being installed into the Groove.
A Micro-tube with multiple Strands of Fiber Optic Cables is then greased with lubricant and meticulously laid into the metallic groove, care been taken to avoid twisting or pulling the Micro-tube Strength Member. Corners are negotiated with a bending radius of at least 1 meter.
The Metallic or Plastic Tray, which is grounded, is resealed with a sealant, marked and covered after the necessary checks are made by the Fiber Optic splicer to ensure end-to-end connectivity of the Fiber Optic Cable.
All in all, these Fiber Optic Cables are as vulnerable as the ones in Caymanas Park that got cut on Wednesday January 8th 2014 as explained in my blog article entitled “Vandals cut Armoured Fiber Optic Cable belonging to Digicel and Columbus Communications - 4G Broadband Outage possibly connected to Digicel Employee testifying in the Vybz Kartel Case” and for which I’ve yet to hear a resolution.
Digicel’s Fiber Optic Network – Launchpad for 4G LTE, Frame Relay, FTTH and Cloud Based PBX Services
Once it's connected to the Fiber Optic Termination Cabinets at each Cell Site as well as back at the New Fiber Optic Switch at Telecom Provider Digicel's MSC (Mobile Switching Center), the BER (Bit Error Rates) will be checked and the Fiber Optic Network will be ready for Testing with the 4G LTE Switch.
Telecom Provider Digicel's intent is that this Network is to provide the following Functionalities:
1. Backhaul for Digicel's 4G LTE Network
2. Connectivity for ICT (Internet and Computer Technology) Services
3. Launchpad for the Frame Relay and FTTH Broadband Services
This is the Frame Relay and FTTH Broadband Services I mentioned above, many of which are used by Call Centers, who, by virtue of the nature of their business, will be in need of these services mentioned earlier.
Telecom Provider Digicel Fiber Optic Network will be an investment well worth it and it’ll put them in a good position to achieve 25% of total Revenue coming from ICT and Data Services by the Fourth Quarter of 2015 as predicted in my blog article entitled “Digicel to invest US$85 million in 4G LTE Network - 25% of Total revenue from ICT as 4G LTE Investments designed to weather the coming Summer WhatsApp Storm”.
Stay tuned to my blog as this exciting development is installed, mile by mile!
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Cruise Automation Inc’s Cruise RP-1 - How Adopting ADAS in Jamaica's Road Traffic Act can reduce Road Fatalites due to 90% of Human Error
“This is a little different than what you've seen from Google, for example, because that's like a $100,000 research car, with tons of fancy sensors. Everything on this car is priced for a consumer product. It's, like, very low-cost everything, and the performance is still very good”
Cruise's Founder and CEO Kyle Vogt in conversation with Josh Lowensohn from the Verge during a Test drive using the Cruise RP-1 on an Audi S4
You might not have to wait too long to try out one of Google’s 100 Fully Autonomous All-Electric Vehicles coming in 2015 as explained in my blog article entitled “Google 100 strong Fully Autonomous All-Electric Vehicles launched – 25 mph Limit on AI Chauffeur in 2015 with Black Boxes makes Crashes like aeroplanes”.
Queue the song Dangerzone by Kenny Loggins……cause this product will put you in “Cruise” Control!
This as a San Francisco, California-based company Cruise Automation Inc, has designed an ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) product, the Cruise RP-1, that aims to bring Self-Driving Car Technology to ANY Vehicle as stated in “For $10,000, your car can drive itself”, published June 23, 2014 01:00 pm By Josh Lowensohn, The Verge and “Driverless Cars For $10,000? This Startup Is Challenging Google With A Simple Sensor”, published 6/23/2014 @ 1:15PM, by Parmy Olson, Forbes.
A Serial entrepreneur, he founded SocialCam, sold to AutoDesk for US$60 million and then later Justin.tv and Twitch as noted in the article “Cruise Automation Promises to Make Any Car Drive Itself for $10,000”, published June 25, 2014 By Andres Loubriel, Liberty Voice.
Cruise's Founder and CEO Kyle Vogt, curiously founded Cruise Automation Inc in November 2013, a mere thirty days after leaving Twitch TV, which Google has gobbled up and added to YouTube as explained in the article “YouTube reportedly to acquire streaming site Twitch for $1B”, published May 18, 2014 4:38 PM PDT by Steven Musil, CNET News. Twitch is a delight to Gamers who love to perform for others online.
Costing US$10,000, it's pretty expensive for a Car Kit and in my eyes is the Google Glass of ADAS World, with lots of competition in the US of A coming from the likes of Google, BMW, Nissan, Ford and Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors.
German company Mercedes-Benz is also one of their competitors. They’re currently Testing a ADAS System on Germanys Famous Autobahn Highways with an advanced AI (Artificial Intelligence) System for the Automated Driving System of Trucks called Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 as explained in my blog article entitled “Mercedes-Benz Future Self-Driving Truck by 2017 – Robots promote Truck Drivers to Fleet Managers as Self-Driving Trucks more efficient”.
Also it only works with 2012 of Newer Audi Models, suggesting that Y Combinator startup Cruise Automation Inc's initial target market may be the VERY rich and famous. Also, this contraption only works in California….for now!
Cruise Automation Inc – ADAS is less EU SARTRE and more Autopilot for Cars
As an ADAS System, it's nowhere near what Google's Fully Autonomous All-Electric Vehicles or even what EU SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) Project has been able to achieve with Volvo's as mentioned in my blog article entitled “Volvo Testing Autonomous Motor Vehicles in Spain in Live Traffic - EU Project SARTRE adds self-driving AI with smartphone Control”
It's really just a more advanced form of Cruise Control, with Audi-specific Lidar, Radar, Proximity Sensors and GPS with a pair of Stereoscopic HD Cameras mounted on the roof of the Car that connect to a big, rather obnoxious looking computer that's housed in the Trunk. This processes Data while the Vehicle is in motion and uses that data to control the steering wheel, brakes, and accelerator.
What’s interesting about the Cruise Automation Inc’s Cruise RP-1 is that its maps and firmware are updatable over the Internet, most likely via Wi-Fi or possibly built-in 3G/4G LTE Internet, making this an Internet Connected device as stated in “Tiny Startup Cruise Beats Google to Offer Self-Driving Car Tech to Consumers”, published June 23, 2014, 10:00 AM PDT By Liz Gannes, Recode.
With the capability to handle the Audi more efficiently than the driver at speeds up to 80 km/h and thus reduce wear and tear on the Car and saving on Gas, improved Vehicle handling is an obvious perk.
You’re still in control though; a special Chicken Switch in the middle allows for you to go from Autopilot to Manual in Seconds. In essence, Audi Driver’s will be the first Guinea Pigs to test out this Technology.
As an example of an Audi, it’s similar to the one that Simone Clarke Cooper won from Neville Bell, the Sports and Media Personality, after Brazil lost to Germany during the World Cup 2014. Good to note that BOTH persons illustrated below, despite the rumours, are indeed bonafide hosts of Smile Jamaica on our local Station Television Jamaica.
Support for other models of Cars are coming, dependent on co-operative information sharing arrangements relating to the Car's Internal Electronics with Car manufacturers, a process that takes awhile according to Cruise's Founder and CEO Kyle Vogt, quote: “We have plans to expand to other models. We haven’t made formal decisions to what would be next.”
Yes, I said it. Autopilot.
This is basically what this is, as it basically isn't fully Autonomous or Semi-autonomous, as it can't drive by itself. So what is it exactly?
Cruise Automation Inc’s Cruise RP-1 – ADAS Eyes reduction of 90% of Human Error
Well, for US$10,000, it’s comes a promise of better Cruise Control, as all that’s required of the drive is to steer it into the highway and press the Chicken Switch and just like that, the System takes over, controlling Gas, Brake and Steering wheel. Should you decide that this isn't your way to go and your faith in the Car's onboard computer begins to waver, a quick tap of the Gas Pedal, grabbing the steering wheel or pressing the Chicken Switch give you back control.
This may seem much ado about what's basically an Autopilot for Cars that's apparently a dream for this serial Entrepreneur. But if it's in the name of Road Safety, then it makes him an Angel in my book, even if he's just looking out for Californians initially.
With some 33,000 Americans dying from auto accidents each year, roughly 0.0073% of Americans and roughly 1.2 million worldwide or 0.00000002% of the World's population, mainly because of Human Error 90% of the time, every bit of innovation in improving safety helps.
Cruise's Founder and CEO Kyle Vogt aim isn’t to make an AI (Artificial Intelligent) System to take the pleasure of Driving away from the Driver. Rather Cruise Automation Inc’s Cruise RP-1 aim is to reduce that 90% of Human Error and make the Roads, both in the USA and worldwide, safe for both pedestrians and Drivers with a solution that the common man can afford.
Road Traffic act and ADAS - Jamaica to adopt ADAS Eyes and Fast Electronic Brain
Here in Jamaica, we’re already on our way to clocking some 300 persons this year, beating last year’s record. That’s 0.01% of our nearly 3 million strong populations on a tiny island that’s barely got a decent Road Network.
Thus, changes coming to the Road Traffic Act will not only ban Cell phone usage while Driving but hopefully will make it mandatory for all driver to install Rear-View Cameras as well as argued in my blog article entitled “Electric Bicycles and Motorcycles next Big Jamaican trend by Christmas 2014 - How Backtracker and Rear View Cameras in the Road Traffic Act can help”.
Hopefully, these legislative changes will eventually include making ADAS Systems such as Cruise Automation Inc’s product, the Cruise RP-1, standard in all Motor Vehicles as well by 2017. Once the Technology becomes perfected for other Vehicles, the Road Traffic Act can make ADAS technology like these mandatory as part of getting Auto Insurance.
Thus Jamaica Constabulary Force aka Jamaican Police using their Body Cameras, Dashboard Cameras mounted in their Police Vehicles and HD (High Definition) CCTV Cameras mounted at Traffic Light Intersections as evidence in lieu of a Witness, have one more reason to stop a Vehicle and give them a ticket for a Vehicle that’s not Roadworthy.
Hopefully, in the process, fewer persons will die from what’s an abnormally high level of Vehicular Homicide for an island that’s so small.
Microsoft and IBM for IBM MobileFirst for iOS – How Apple with IBM Cloud Computing indicates Apple-Microsoft-IBM-Google Deal Possible in the Future
“Mobility—combined with the phenomena of data and cloud—is transforming business and our industry in historic ways, allowing people to re-imagine work, industries and professions.
IBM’s Chairman, President and CEO, Ginni Rometty, commenting on the IBM MobileFirst for iOS Apps for Corporate and Enterprise users
All is forgiven it seems. Apple and IBM (International Business Machines) have decided to kiss and make up, just as they’d done with Microsoft. Again, that is to say, if history is any judge, this would be second time that Hell has frozen over.
Hopefully IBM, who used to supply Apple’s PowerPC Processor used in their Macintosh Computers, will via this partnership stare askance at this Superbowl Ad that poked fun at the totalitarian dominance of IBM and Microsoft back in the 90’s!
Dubbed IBM MobileFirst for iOS, it’ll see IBM rolling out some 100 Corporate and Enterprise Apps onto the Apple iPad and Apple iPhone as reported in “IBM to sell business-optimized iPads in unexpected partnership”, published July 15, 2014, Business Hardware, PCWorld and “Apple, IBM cozy up on iOS business apps”, published July 15, 2014 3:24 PM PDT by Larry Dignan, CNET News.
IBM’s Chairman, President and CEO, Ginni Rometty is apparently quite stoked about this partnership, quote: “This alliance with Apple will build on our momentum in bringing these innovations to our clients globally, and leverages IBM’s leadership in analytics, cloud, software and services. We are delighted to be teaming with Apple, whose innovations have transformed our lives in ways we take for granted, but can’t imagine living without. Our alliance will bring the same kind of transformation to the way people work, industries operate and companies perform.”
Cut short, that translates to loads of Contracts from Corporate and Enterprise for tailor-made Business Applications. In short, the same business Blackberry used to be in and to which Blackberry is currently has a Passport to get back into, pun cleverly intended as explained in my blog article entitled “Blackberry Passport coming in September 2014 - Squaring up again the competition in Portrait and Lanscape Mode”.
Apple and IBM - IBM MobileFirst for iOS Apps is Apple with IBM Cloud Computing Muscle
Apple and IBM will jointly design the IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps to work with IBM's Cloud Computing Platform to offer industry-specific solutions that are targeted at the following industries:
4. Travel and Transportation
Using their expertise in mobile integration, Apple will mediate the device management end coming from IBM. Security will be provided that'll make these Apps secure enough to be used on iOS Platform. Usage of these IBM MobileFirst for iOS Apps by Corporate and Enterprise users will generate Data that'll be processed by IBM Cloud Computing Analytics to produce results that can be used by these clients.
All done securely over the Internet, possibly via a secure VPN (Virtual Private Network), with IBM Cloud Computing Servers proving the Computing Muscle and Apple iPhone and Apple iPad being the physical Platform to mediate this interaction.
This is sorta like Microsoft making a version of Microsoft Office 365 that works on the Apple iPad and Apple iPhone as stated in my Geezam blog article entitled “Microsoft to introduce Office to Apple iPad on Thursday March 27th 2014”. Like the deal with IBM, the Microsoft Office 365 is basically a Business Staple that, begrudgingly, Apple is belatedly agreeing is good enough to match up to its Apple iWorks.
Many who tote around Apple iPads and Apple iPhones wouldn't mind being able to do work on their beloved device. Apple lovers are getting the best of both worlds, to the benefit of Microsoft and now IBM. It's also a little common-sense; if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, as the Americans would say.
Despite naysayers such as analyst Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster pronouncing death and gloom on this partnership as per his analysis in the article “IBM deal won't have huge impact on Apple's financials -- analyst”, published July 16, 2014 5:57 AM PDT by Lance Whitney, CNET News, this is exactly what Apple needs to really monetize the Apple iPad and Apple iPhone Platforms: partnerships with Enterprise and Cloud Computing Providers to provide customized Corporate and Enterprise solutions, an area of business that more profitable than consumer sales.
Best of all this isn't breaking any sacred Apple covenants; Apple's always had deals with the competition! Most noteworthy and current example is their supply of 64-bit Processors, which allegedly come from Samsung, their sworn “Frenemy”, that were used in the Apple iPad 5 and Apple iPad Mini 2 as stated in my blog article entitled “Apple iPad Air, the World’s Lightest Tablet launched in Silver, Space Grey, White - Christmas smartphone and Tablet Battle Royale as Winter is Coming”.
Microsoft and IBM Deal –Three-Way Apple-Microsoft-Google Deal is Possible in the Future
Not the most exciting announcement, but a very interesting one. So, based on this, will we see partnership between Apple and Google?
Possibly Apple iTunes Radio, now powered by Beat Audio as described in my blog article entitled “Apple officially confirms Beats Audio Purchase - US$3.2 Billion as Apple gears up for Subscription Streaming and improved Headphones”, on Google Android devices? Or Google Android and Microsoft Windows 8 and Apple OS X in three-way Live Dual-OS Hot-swappable configuration on a Tablet or Laptop?
A similar plan in the form of the US$599 Asus Transformer Duet TD300 got the cold shoulder by Microsoft and Google, prompting me to wish that it be kickstarted in some way as stated in my blog article entitled “Microsoft and Google kill US$599 Asus Transformer Duet TD300 - One Love Kickstarter Project for Developers and Hardware Modders to Breathe life into The Art of the Steal”.
It might not be obvious, but these deals with Microsoft and now IBM open up the possibility that Apple will eventually market their suite of Creative and Productivity Apps such as Apple iWorks, and Garageband on Google Android. Google already does deals with IBM and Microsoft in terms of licensing of Java Application Drivers, Server Hardware and Software Design Tools for Android.
An Apple-Microsoft-IBM-Google Tie up make IBM MobileFirst for iOS Corporate and Enterprise Apps that are secure across Apple iOS, Windows Phone OS and Google Android look to be on the cards real soon.
When Hell freezes over of course……
Digicel Haiti removes VoIP Apps Blockade – How Laurent Lamothe Administrations Corrupt Telecom Tax for FNE has French Connection
Digicel Haiti has decided to backtrack on the blockade of VoIP Apps in Haiti after closed door meetings on Tuesday July 16th 2014 with the Haitian Government as stated in “Digicel will unblock all apps by midnight in Haiti”, published Wednesday, July 16, 2014 10:56 AM, The Sentinel Staff.
This after having blocked VoIP Services Viber and Nimbuzz some two (2) weeks and three (3) days prior on Sunday June 29th, 2014 as I’d reported in my blog article entitled “Digicel blocks VoIP Services Viber and Nimbuzz in Haiti - Digicel losing International Calling Revenue but will be worse when WhatsApp comes”.
According to the article, it appears to be due to the fact that the Haitian Government, led by Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, has collected a total of US$8.5 million over a period of three (3) years. This was via the implementation of an “illegal” Telecoms Tax on International Calling, the proceeds of which were funneled into the FNE (National Fund for Education).
This Telecoms Tax is very similar to the Cess and the Telecoms Tax being collected by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining under the USF (Universal Service Fund), formerly the UAFCL (Universal Access Fund Company Limited) as explained in detail in my Geezam blog article entitled “How Network Neutrality and International Calling can thrive as TATT mediates VoIP Blockade by Digicel and LIME”.
But with one major difference; the Haitian Telecoms Tax on International Calling used to fund the FNE is illegal!
Telecoms Tax and the FNE – Greed and Corruption used to take advantage of a Crisis to stay in Power
The FNE was implemented a few weeks after Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe came to power in 2011 without legislation, something that a basic requirement to implement taxes in ANY Caribbean or International Jurisdiction. Even more unusual, the FNE isn't being collected by the Central Bank but by CONATEL, the Haitian Government's Regulatory Commission for Telecommunications.
This doesn’t look good at all!
Currently, when you make International Calls from Jamaica to Haiti, the calls are billed at a rate of US$23.00, which includes a JA$5.50 Cess or Tax that’s collected by Digicel Haiti on behalf of the Haitian Government to help in their rebuilding efforts. That Telecoms Tax is collected on BOTH outgoing and incoming International Calls and were supposed to be handed over to the Haitian Government as explained in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to set up an International Calling Plan for Digicel or LIME Prepaid and Postpaid”.
Good to note that was around the same time as the Haiti Earthquake that struck on Tuesday 12th January 2010 at 4:53 pm as recorded in my blog article entitled “Funding Haiti reconstruction is the responsibility of the French, as it is their “property””.
The FNE most likely was implemented by Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe a year later in 2011 when he came into power as an emergency measure. The devastation wrought by the Earthquake means that money had to be found to fund National Education Projects such as rebuilding Schools as well as CAP (Community Access Points) and Internet Cafes. Children, it seemed, had to be made to realize that a sense of normalcy was being maintained and that they were the future of Haiti.
So, taking advantage of the crisis and the concern for the children of Haiti, Laurent Lamothe, on becoming Prime Minister, implemented the Telecoms Tax in 2011. Coincidentally, this was a year before the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) implemented a separate Telecoms Tax on June 2012 as described in my blog article entitled “GOJ taxes Telecom Providers and OUR sets Cross Network and International Calling Rate at JA$5.00 - Data Services Prometheus”.
Thus the question begs? Is the Jamaican Telecoms Tax in any way influenced by the Haitian Telecoms Tax? Thoughts to ponder……
Haiti and FNE – How Digicel and Laurent Lamothe Telecoms Tax has a French Connection
However, according to an investigation conducted in the Fourth Quarter of 2013 by the Senate Committee on Public Works and Communications, nearly 40% of the US$8.5 million worth of already illegal Telecoms Tax for the FNE was being used for “Internal Purchases” within the Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe Government.
There is even a school of thought that Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe is funneling the FNE money to fund his run for President of Haiti coming up in 2015. As the story goes, Mr Laurent Lamothe previously held the position of CEO of Global Voice Group.
While there, he purportedly made under-the-table financial deals i.e. bribes given to rogue African states such as Senegal, Cote de Ivore and other French-speaking African Countries in exchange for CONATEL being able to impose Taxation on International Calls to these very same African States.
If this is even true in any way, it means that CONATEL isn't just collecting a Telecoms Tax for the FNE from outbound Calls, but also from inbound Calls coming from African States. Many Haitians have relatives from French-speaking African States such as Senegal and Cote de Ivore aka the Ivory Coast living in Haiti
Thus it makes sense that the Haitian Government would seek such a tax. However, putting this conspiracy theory aside, the main problem is the illegality of the Telecoms Tax. This projected Telecoms Tax of US$8.5 million or more translates to billions of Haitian dollars going from the Telecoms Tax into Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe personal Campaign War Chest. Or in this case, 40% of the US$8.5 million collected over a three (3) year period.
Digicel Haiti and VoIP – Digicel distances itself from the corrupt Laurent Lamothe Administration
Digicel Haiti wasn’t comfortable with this, as it’s associating their Brand with corruption and the misappropriation of 40% of US$8.5 million collected over a three (3) year span. Hence the reason why they relaxed the ban on the VoIP Calling after closed door meetings on Tuesday July 16th 2014 with the Haitian Government!
Digicel Haiti apparently were not be too happy with being associated with what may be corruption. Hence the reason they backtracked, despite the fact that their decision will result in them effectively experiencing Bypass and degradation of their Voice Services.
Apparently, their reputation was worth more to them than making money from International Calling and handing over money to a Telecoms Tax that was, on the face of it, illegal as it broke a basic tenet of Law; it wasn’t legislated or even debated within their Parliaments Lower and Upper Houses.
Worse, they may find themselves being drawn into an investigation of the actions of Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe’s Administration even as he’s being investigated by the Senate Committee on Public Works and Communications. Thus by unblocking VoIP and giving the people of Haiti back their ability to make International Calls for free, Digicel Haiti is in essence distancing itself from the corrupt Administration of Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.
In short, the reasons of the Haitian Government were noble but over time, they were corrupted by Greed and a desire to hold on to power. Or in this case, to fund the ascent of the one Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe to a higher level within the echelons of the Haitian Government!
Monday, July 21, 2014
Amazon launches US$9.99 Kindle Unlimited - Oyster and Scribd got served by Earth’s Most Customer Centric Company but pay Indies Publishers better
“With Kindle Unlimited, you won't have to think twice before you try a new author or genre -- you can just start reading and listening. In addition to offering over 600,000 eBooks, Kindle Unlimited is also by far the most cost-effective way to enjoy audiobooks and eBooks together. With thousands of Whispersync for Voice-enabled audiobooks to choose from, you can easily switch between reading and listening to a book, allowing the story to continue even when your eyes are busy”
Kindle Senior Vice President, Russ Grandinetti, commenting on Amazon's launch of Kindle Unlimited
Amazon is still in the Book business it seems. After all, before the Amazon Kindle, Kindle Fire, Fire Tv and Fire Smartphone came along as noted in my blog article entitled “US$199 Amazon Fire smartphone is Amazon Prime member's Nirvana – Shopping by Nodding your Head and Finding Waldo”, their chief #Breadandbutter was selling books!
So I’m proud to announce that Amazon has decided to launch an unlimited Subscription all-you-can-read Service called Kindle Unlimited as reported in “Amazon rolls out $9.99 Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription”, published July 18, 2014 4:53 AM PDT by Lance Whitney, CNET News and “Amazon Officially Announces Kindle Unlimited, Offering Endless Reading And Listening For $9.99 A Month”, published July 18, 2014 by John Biggs, Techcrunch.
Amazon Kindle Unlimited – Oyster and Scribd got served by Earth’s Most Customer Centric Company
This is basically their answer to Oyster Books who launched a similar App based all-you-can-read US$9.95 per month service back in September 2013 as I'd chronicled my blog article entitled “Oyster Books launchers US$9.95 Apple iPhone App for lending 100,000 book titles - Amazon Kindle Lending just got competition”.
Back then, it was for Apple iPhone and Apple iPad; now there's an app for all smartphones, including Nokia smartphones running Windows Phone OS and Amazon’s own Kindle Fire and Nook HD. Scribd offers a similar service, costing $8.99 per month. All reasons as to why Amazon would make their Kindle Unlimited offer now; Oyster and Scribd were taking away their customers!
Like Oyster and Scribd, Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited offers a free one month trial, making this yet another “free” Book Service like those listed in my blog article entitled “US$199 Amazon Kindle Paperwhite upgrades Hardware and Software - How to find free Ebooks and e-Book Readers for Laptops and PC”.
Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited offers some 600,000 Kindle titles and more than 150,000 titles via a complimentary three month Audible audiobooks offer. Subscriber to Kindle Unlimited can find titles that are a part of this unlimited month long Online Library by simply searching the Kindle Book store and looking for titles labled “Read for Free”.
Best of all, this offer is open to all Kindle Paperwhite as well as BlackBerry phones, Apple iOS devices, Google Android devices, Windows Phone smartphones as well as Desktop and Laptop users that have the Amazon Kindle App installed.
The difference with the Amazon Kindle Unlimited, dear reader, is in the amount of titles and the scope of the offer:
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
2. Animal Farm
3. Cat's Cradle
4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid
5. For Dummies book series
6. Harry Potter series
7. Kitchen Confidential
8. Lonely Planet travel guides
9. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
10. The Good Earth
11. The Lord of the Rings trilogy
12. The Princess Bride
The Audio Books, a unique offer to Amazon's Kindle Unlimited Service, sports some equally listen-worthy titles:
1. Boardwalk Empire
2. Hunger Games trilogy
3. Life of Pi
4. The Handmaid's Tale
5. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
However, the so-called Big 5 Publishers, who are a part of Oyster and Scribd, aren’t a part of Amazon’s Bestseller lineup as noted in “How Amazon’s New E-book Subscription Service Stacks Up”, published July 18, 2014 by Kristen Bellstrom, Time.com:
4. Penguin Random House
5. Simon & Schuster
Amazon Prime users cheated – Oyster and Scribed pay Independent and Big 5 Publishers handsomely
All this must have Amazon Prime users quite upset. After all, they’ve paid US$90 for unlimited 2 day shipping and the added perk of streaming video, streaming music and one-per-month e-book rentals.
Now as Streaming for books is set to start thanks to competition from Oyster and Scribd as concluded in “Kindle Unlimited: it's the end of losing yourself in a good book”, published Sunday 20 July 2014 by John Naughton, the UK Guardian, Amazon Prime and regular Amazon customers are now at a three-way Crossroads!
Clearly, this is a new service aimed at catching new Readers who may plan to purchase the Amazon Fire “people’s phone” smartphone by Friday July 25th 2014 as described in my Geezam blog article entitled “Amazon Fire is a Volkswagen for Amazon Prime subscribers that’ll drive shop-on-the-go Online Obsession”.
Now for an extra US$8.99, you can get an unlimited library on your Kindle Fire? Why isn’t this just introduced as another service under Amazon Prime, being as they’re already have a Book Lending Scheme?
The missing Big 5 Publishers may also be a deal-breaker for many considering Amazon's Kindle Unlimited Service, as Oyster and Scribd. That’s because they pay writers overall, be they Independent publishers or writing under the banner of the Big 5 Publishers a lot more money as stated in “Kindle Unlimited: Good for customers, not so good for authors?”, published July 19, 2014 4:00 AM PDT by Nick Statt, CNET News.
It seems that for a service described as Unlimited, it has a lot of limitations aimed squarely at Amazon Prime users and Independent publishers as noted in “What are the limits of Kindle Unlimited”, published July 19, 2014 4:01 AM PDT by Donna Tam, CNET News. In the end, it may succeed in pushing more Amazon users and Independent Publishers towards Oyster and Scribd!
So which service will you pick as the book industry becomes more like the equivalent of Streaming in the Music Industry as stated in my blog article entitled “Nielsen Stats record continued decline in Music Downloads - Developed World Streaming will catch on in Developed World once we get 4G LTE”? The choice is really yours, my friend, once you weigh the evidence!