Wednesday, January 30, 2008
The Laptop Lock is a site that allows you to register your laptop, and if it's stolen you can flag it as such. The site will connect with your laptop (you install a little piece of software) and you have access to a number of options the first time your laptop connects to the Web - including the ability to encrypt specify folders.
One interesting option is to be able to geographically track where the laptop is accessing the Net from once stolen... that is, if the thief's managed to by-pass your passwords!
Monday, January 28, 2008
If they'd have had you wire the money to the US it would have been perfect. I know of a case locally where a whole group were invited to West Africa only to get there to find it was a scam. Our Government even contributed air fares. At least the group got to see Africa.
But like I did with this scam, Google the event. If there's not a whiff of the event, take a closer look. Especially given it was supposed to be the 2nd of its kind, why nothing online about the 1st?!
ALERT: watch out also for the 'Forum on Human and Community Development Financing'!
That was the ball from Dominica's Matthew that bowled-out Jeffers of the BVI in last night's 20/20 cricket match, one of the first in the competition presently being held in Antigua. It was a great game - especially to see our team do so well - and the Dominicans in the crowd thoroughly enjoyed it too!
Next game - Barbados on Feb 5, which is the day before our football team play Barbados in the World Cup qualifier!
(a Yorker by the way is a ball pitched right at a batsman's feet. Click here for my old 'Cricket for Beginners page').
Friday, January 25, 2008
The filming of Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3 in Dominica in 2005 (yes, that's me in the rigging!) brough in around EC$47 million. Then last year we had PirateMaster. OK, so it flopped, but they still filmed here, and again, based on our pristine environment. As one of the producers said:
"We selected Dominica for its lush, pristine landscape with rugged mountain peaks, deep river gorges, towering waterfalls and accessible coastline - the ideal setting for a pirate adventure..."
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I've been testing out one of the XO laptops - part of the One Laptop Per Child project. First thing you need to bear in mind is that it's not any kind of 'ultra portable' PC, it's an educational computer for children. Which is why it's pitched at $200.
But what's great about it is it's mobility - both in size but more in its connectivity. Though I've yet to get it working on a fixed-IP wireless network, it does connect well to DHCP wifi networks, and even more importantly to other XOs via their 'mesh network'. If one on the mesh can connect to the Net, they all can. A basic PC with the 'XS school sever' software on it then connects all to the Net. And to other meshes of XO elsewhere in the world.
And therein lies the potential for somewhere like Dominica. I imagine a network of children in a small village like mine, connected to each other, and via a XS to the net. Bill Gates, you want to send a dozen XOs so I can set up the Caribbean's first XO mesh?!
In fact, there presently is a scheme to collect donations for an OLPC in Dominica here.
Update: XO laptops in Dominica!
Detailed review of the XO.
Monday, January 21, 2008
5. In Dominica’s context the island would likely be of interest to certain segments of the retiree market because Dominica is viewed as an unspoilt destination with a relatively good record for security and safety and for friendly people with a relatively good living standard. Dominica is noted for its pristine natural environment and opportunities for healthy lifestyle, research in environmental and related disciplines and wellness tourism.
6. These attributes, by themselves, will not translate into investment in residence tourism on a significant scale unless a deliberate policy to promote the destination to this segment is adopted. Dominica also has other inherent constraints such as the absence of state-of-the- art medical facilities and evacuation procedures.Dominica should seek to capitalize on this vibrant and growing industry."
Listening to: The Police - Deathwish
Sunday, January 20, 2008
But you have to look it's the impact on tourism. It's the fastest growing sector for employment and the income from tourism outstrips any other sector. The Visit-Dominica.com database has 135 accommodations, 50 tour ops, 10 dive ops, 32+ restaurants, 15 car hire companies. Let's say 250+ businesses directly involved in tourism. Now for each one of those, you've got several supporting employees. Then for every person staying, you've got to feed and water them. That's employment for farmers, fishermen, and sales for the Kubuli factory. And as you wave each tourist off, we take their departure tax, and remit all the sales tax/VAT. And you also have to include all the people employed in constructing the many projects still underway.
So in short, one tourist visit employs dozens of people directly but possibly twice as many indirectly. I don't see a refinery drinking Kubuli and eat local food.
And building a refinery would without a doubt impact on tourism. We market ourselves as an eco-tourism destination. As I speak of here, our tourism product has an inbuilt wow factor that generates untold publicity for us. Replace that wow factor with a 'what a shame' factor and we're just another Caribbean island that's harder than the rest to get to. And that will impact on jobs.
Next: the environment
Friday, January 18, 2008
Too close to people, especially the good people of Belfast. Can you imagine them looking north to the smoke stacks of the refinery?
It's got the water you'd need, and therein lies the problem - there are also millions of tons more held back by the natural but flimsy dam of Miracle Lake. Plus the issues of flooding from the Layou.
Flat for sure, but dry, so not much water. And isn't it earmarked for a golf course? Still, you'd have a great view of a refinery there from the entire Portsmouth area. Including Ross School of Medicine, the Cabrits, and the soon-to-be under-development Cabrits marina. Mmmmm.
Dominica in general
Volcanoes & earthquakes. And hurricanes.
Best location: Venezuela
Listening to: Soul II Soul - Mood
Every project has one. We do them, but rarely are they made public, and as far as I know, a project has never had a critical EIA. That's as much because we just churn them out - people actually make a living from writing them, not because of their environmental background and knowledge, but because they'll say the right thing.
Recent pronouncements from official sources in Dominica even talk of doing the EIA for the refinery, then going right ahead with it!
Thursday, January 17, 2008
So one day, we take what Taiwan offer, then the next we take what China offers and sing the One China Policy song as if we have all our lives.
Personally, if I was the European Union I'd say 'Are you taking the mickey? We give you millions of Euros to develop your eco-tourism product, then you turn around and want to build an oil refinery???'
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
"The pursuit of cleaner and environmentally friendly sources of energy is in keeping with Government’s aim of lessening the island’s dependence on fossil fuel while at the same time maintaining Dominica’s reputation as the Nature Island of the World. "
Now here's the full press release:
"Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Housing, Lands, Telecommunications, Energy and Ports, Dr. Colmore Christian has outlined the strategy being employed by the Government of Dominica to harness Dominica’s renewable energy resources, mainly geothermal and wind in response to the escalating price of oil on the world market and the need to pursue reliable and affordable sources of energy.
Dr. Christian was at the time addressing an Alternative Energy Symposium, organized by the Environmental Coordinating Unit (ECU) in partnership with the Global Environment Facility Small Grant Project (GEF-SGP) and the Florida Association of Voluntary Agencies for the Caribbean Action (FAVACA), USA.
Speaking at the symposium on Thursday, Dr Christian noted: “ The increase in world prices for oil have had and continues to have devastating effects on small developing economies and economies in transition.
“These international developments have forced countries and development strategists to explore options for sustainable renewable sources of energy. Surely, the current high price of oil on the international market and the call for a reduction in the use of ozone depleting substances globally have made some non-oil based sources of energy much more economically attractive and environmentally desirable….”
The Government of Dominica, through the Ministry of Housing, Lands, Telecommunications, Energy and Ports has embarked on a multi-pronged approach, the primary elements of which include:
· Development of Hydro: Presently Hydro makes up 40% of Dominica’s energy production. Although there are no plans to expand that percentage in the short term, the goal is to at least maintain and consolidate that level of hydro energy production into the future.
· Dominica’s geographic location presents opportunities for harnessing the abundant supply of available solar energy. The State has invested in a totally solar-powered facility at the Morne Diablotin National Park at Syndicate.
· Wind Energy Research has confirmed the potential for wind energy generation in some parts (Woodford Hill and Delices) of the island.
· Geothermal Initiative- Phase I of the GEF-funded and OAS coordinated sub-regional initiative, involving Dominica, St. Lucia and St.Kitts/Nevis.
A funding proposal for Phase II of this initiative is presently before the GEF for consideration. Further investigations to be undertaken and the possibility of developing a pilot project in Dominica has been proposed under this second phase.
· Collaboration with the French (funded under Intereg)
· Government is actively pursing the development and commissioning of a 5-megawatt geothermal plant by December 2008.
Also addressing the symposium was FAVACA’s Chief Engineer, Dr. Bill Young., also from the Florida Solar Energy Centre. Dr. Young delivered a presentation on photovoltaic/ wind energy.
On the invitation of the Environmental Coordinating Unit, Dr. Young was on island from April 17-21, 2006 to undertake an assessment of Dominica’s potential in regard to the generation of solar/wind energy. While in Dominica, Dr. Young also made site visits to a number of communities including Penville.
The pursuit of cleaner and environmentally friendly sources of energy is in keeping with Government’s aim of lessening the island’s dependence on fossil fuel while at the same time maintaining Dominica’s reputation as the Nature Island of the World. "
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
I recently attended a 'workshop' on the forthcoming legislation on 'The Interception of Communications Act'. (I did ask about existing wiretaps, and was told there aren't any since without this legislation they'd be illegal. Yeah, yeah). (Note to the presenters: read this on Powerpoint presentations!)
Anyway, the article made me wonder how it'd work here in Dominica. Little people get cut off after 7 days of an unpaid bill; Govt. gets to run up huge bills, years in arrears, so I guess their wiretaps won't get that annoying automated Cable & Wireless messages about 'Your service has been disconnected'.
Mind you, I do pity the poor guy who has to intercept e-mails. But I also think he enjoys our vibrant (and a little subversive) Message Board!
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
And reading this article about the sorry state of Bejan football gives me hope. Because the winner plays the US!
2008 is, I have declared, the year of the UMPC: the Ultra Mobile PC. I get my hands on the OLPC laptop very soon, but am also excited by the Eee PC by Asus.
These type of pcs are also known as 'mobile internet devices', and it's the light-weight, rugged mobility that's particularly appealing to me.
And being ultra mobile doesn't have to be ultra expensive. While the Sony Vaio UMPC is around $2k, the Eee PC is just $400.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
The Roseau Bayfront and roads leading off are 'spanned' by several of these arches, built for this our 30th Reunion year. The problem is: all of them are around 6 feet too narrow - far too narrow even for two cars to pass.
Nevertheless, they remain steadfastly in place, almost a week after being put up. And in place despite the fact they restrict traffic on several key roads in Roseau. And held in place only by plywood bases.
So OK, someone screwed up, maybe reading the internal width as the total width. But still, to leave them in place - on one of the busiest roads in town? A case of the the Bumbling Arch Constructors meets the Unable to Admit You've Screwed-up Event Organisers....
Mind you, it somewhat spoils a photo to have 'copyright 2008' etc over it. I'm happy to put them up, then, if they are stolen, I'll take matters into my own hands...
Saturday, January 05, 2008
"Environmental scientist Dr David Spurgeon said: "Because these light bulbs contain small amounts of mercury they could cause a problem if they are disposed of in a normal waste-bin.
"It is possible that the mercury they contain could be released either into the air or from land-fill when they are released into the wider environment.
"That's a concern, because mercury is a well known toxic substance."
Official advice from the Department of the Environment states that if a low-energy bulb is smashed, the room needs to be vacated for at least 15 minutes.
A vacuum cleaner should not be used to clear up the debris, and care should be taken not to inhale the dust.
Instead, rubber gloves should be used, and the broken bulb put into a sealed plastic bag - which should be taken to the local council for disposal."
I guess the TV act that ate broken light-bulbs is with us no more!