Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

The Jamaican Book Tax, A Partial Remedy

// May 30th, 2012 // 2 Comments » // Life, Technology

For those who don’t know. The Government of Jamaica has announced that it will add 16.5% tax on the sale of all books. Today the Book Industry Association of Jamaica warned that the overall new tax package including the added sales tax, could cause the price of text books to increase by 25%.

After much debate online, options to remedy the situation included rolling back the new tax, rejuvenating the National Library Service and pursuing digital distribution of books. I strongly support the digital distribution option, however since we are not quite ready yet I think a more practical means is necessary.

The suggestion of using the Library is a good one, however most don’t loan books on a long term basis (not good for students) and it requires quite a bit of resources.

Being socially minded I think we should look at a social book lending system. To be honest I could prototype one in the time it takes me to write this article, but I prefer sharing ideas first. Measure twice, cut once right?

So here’s the Idea:

Create a website that allows people to share books with each other. For free. It doesn’t really matter which book or the content type. Everything is based on ISBN number of the book (Usually the barcode number). The website will feature two interfaces, books needed, books to donate.

Communication and interaction

Using a channel, whether by tweet, sms (text message) or the website. A user can post on the site that they have a book to donate, they enter their location and the book’s ISBN number. A user can also enter a book they need, their location and book ISBN number. The site will cross reference the two and match people. That’s

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the simple part.

Ideally, to reduce the carbon footprint of the project, books would be shared within the same town. For security reasons the site would be limited to adults only, so sexual predators do not target our children. Ideally there should be no direct person to person contact though. Additionally I would suggest as a marketing tool for the Book Industry Association of Jamaica, to speak with their members, to

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have book stores be central drop off and pickup locations.

No I am not crazy, when was the last time you went into a book store? If you had to go into a book store to get a free book, hey! you have made it there. It’s up to them to convert you into a customer.

The concept is pay it forward, you read a book, finished with it? Let someone else read it. Also book stores should allow people to buy new books to be entered in the program, great for individuals and companies who want to help develop Jamaica.

Do I really need to list the benefits?

Would you like to see this developed? Please let me know in the comments below or tweet me @utenjm.

 

 

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For all us non coders

// April 11th, 2012 // No Comments » // Cool Stuff, Technology, Tools

So I got an idea this evening and rather than the usual process of =>mind map => wire frame => call developer, I

instead decided to try and build a utilitarian

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version of it first. I love WordPress, it always works for me so I looked for a plugin that would help me make this app.

I found this:
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/db-toolkit/

Love it so far, but the learning curve is steep. It allows you to create interfaces, where you can view or input data from a DataBase. It’s all customisable by themes and CSS. It allows you to build apps in WordPress for WordPress as custom menus and widgets. Can even use short codes to include the app in posts or pages. It also supports pulling data from API’s and allows you additional functionality by your OWN API!!!

I hope this helps.

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CANTO Regional E-content Competition

// April 11th, 2012 // No Comments » // Technology

Got this in the SlashRoots mailing list. Decided I would share it with everyone:

CANTO Coding Competition Flier

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Updates Updates!

// March 12th, 2012 // No Comments » // Cool Stuff, Dmitri's racing news, Life, Technology

So this blog has pretty much been a ghost town for a while. That’s both good and bad. Good because I have been too busy to update it. Bad because I have been too busy to update it.

What’s new?

Well several things. This should probably be broken into several posts but……. well maybe I will do that later.

In January we successfully had Slash Roots Developers Conference, which is also the Developing Caribbean Open Data Conference. This was held simultaneously in Jamaica, Trinidad and The Dominican Republic. Check the details at http://developingcaribbean.org Much props to the organising team and MSB for pulling off this event.

February brought many challenges. In the space of one month I lost my Grand Aunt and Grandfather. Very difficult time. I think I will have to do several posts on this. Both of them achieved great things technically and introduced technology to Jamaica. But most importantly they are family and friends.

During this process I was also reminded of the lesson to keep the balls juggling. I nearly lost a major customer due to things falling behind during this difficult time. Lesson learned. No man is an island, we all need help and we all need to appreciate those who help us. Also communication with customers is key.

March so far has been very busy, not much I can speak about due to NDA’s. However I can tell you I was invited to lecture at UTech on March 5 and 8 on innovation and how it promotes entrepreneurship. Much thanks to Lisa Shaw for inviting me, I had a blast interfacing with the third and final year students. So many students planned to start their own business and some even shared their ideas with me. Really cool stuff, right here in Jamaica. Look out world!

Big event for March so far was rolling during a rally on March 4. I was co-driving for Thomas Hall in his Toyota Starlet. Basically we went around the corner sliding a little wide, the back tyre caught a rock and we started the tumble. Thankfully we are both fine with no injuries. Thomas is trying to get the car repaired for the next event. In the mean time we have to buy new safety gear. Photo below:

Sorry about the long read. I have installed the WordPress app on my tablet. Will try doing some shorter, more frequent updates for the rest of the year. In the mean time, live long and prosper!

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Slash Roots 2012: Developing The Caribbean

// January 23rd, 2012 // No Comments » // Technology

Slash Roots Poster

Click for High Res

World Bank Open Data evangelist, Dr Tariq Khokhar will deliver the keynote address at the Opening Plenary of the Mona School of Business-hosted SlashRoots-Caribbean Open Data Conference, which is being presented under the theme, “Developing the Caribbean.” Describing his interests as being “where technology, transparency, poverty
and data meet”, Dr. Khokhar will speak on the topic: “Open Data: The New Revolution”. The Conference which takes place January 26-27, in the Faculty of Law building at the Mona campus, opens on the first day of the University of the West Indies’ “Research Day.”

As a co-organizer I invite you to attend the conference for the keynote address and more. Please see below:

Agenda for Jamaica: http://developingcaribbean.org/jamaica-agenda/

Event Registration: http://developingthecaribbean.eventbrite.com/

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