Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) 11th meeting from April 20 to 22 2016 – how to view and participate remotely

CaribNOG 11 banner

The Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) will be hosting CaribNOG’s 11th Regional Gathering in Montego Bay, Jamaica from April 20th from 3pm (local time in Trinidad and Tobago) to April 22nd 2016.

CaribNOG is a not-for-profit, independent, technical community that providing an important regional forum for building technical capacity, sharing industry experiences and promoting relevant solutions for advancing network engineering in the Caribbean. CaribNOG has built a reputation as an influential forum where computer network technicians and technology professionals share knowledge and experiences and participate in expert-led, high-tech training and hands-on technical workshops.

A key objective of CaribNOG is to better position the Caribbean to address critical technology challenges and issues and to collaboratively derive relevant solutions.

You can watch and participate at the sessions at CaribNOG 11 remotely. Here are the relevant links:

  • View/ Download the CaribNOG 11 Meeting Agenda. Note that the time in Jamaica is 1 hour earlier than Trinidad and Tobago. So you need to add 1 hour to the times of sessions to get the times in Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Remote link to view and participate in CaribNOG 11: (requires Adobe Flash Player on PCs/Macs)


Trinidad and Tobago Government to impose a 7% tax on online purchases of goods and services through the Internet by September 2016

2016 Mid Year Budget Review (image from Ministry of Finance website)

The Minister of Finance, Honourable Colm Imbert presented the 2016 Mid Year Budget Review in the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament on April 8 2016.

In his presentation, the Minister announced plans to impose a 7% duty on online purchases of goods and services through the Internet to take effect by September 2016.

Here’s the excerpt from the Mid Year Budget Review 2016

Returning to our overall revenue situation, we must now find ways and means of creating new revenue streams. To bolster the revenue picture and support ongoing efforts to conserve foreign exchange, the Government intends to introduce the following measures, among others viz:

i) A levy of 7% on online purchases of goods and services through the Internet from retail companies resident overseas, that are not subject to taxation in Trinidad and Tobago, such as for example, Dell, Walmart, Staples and Amazon. This is not a new concept and there is well established precedent for a tax of this nature in countries such as the USA, UK and New Zealand. Online purchases are now a significant area of foreign exchange demand, which is putting a strain on our reserves, since credit card transactions are settled almost immediately. This tax is intended to help manage the increase in foreign exchange outflows from online purchases, reduce revenue leakage and assist local manufacturers and service companies to compete with overseas retailers. This measure is scheduled to take effect by September 2016 and it will require discussions with the banks and credit card companies to make it work.

This would be in addition to Custom duties and VAT paid by consumers for goods and services bought online.  Online purchases however, include not just physical tangible items shipped to you (from Amazon, Walmart, etc) but for intangible things such as mobile app purchases from the Apple Store and Google Play, video services like NetFlix, ebooks, software subscriptions to cloud services from vendors like Adobe, Microsoft (although Microsoft might be exempt) or online software purchases from software stores like Steam.


Security updates available for Adobe Flash Player for Windows, MacOS X & Linux (April 8 2016) ; update ASAP or remove if not needed

Adobe Flash Player logo


Adobe Flash has a security update. According to the Adobe security bulletin dated April 7 2016:

“Adobe has released security updates for Adobe Flash Player for Windows, Macintosh, Linux and ChromeOS.  These updates address critical vulnerabilities that could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system.

Adobe is aware of reports that CVE-2016-1019 is being actively exploited on systems running Windows 10 and earlier with Flash Player version and earlier.  Please refer to APSA16-01 for details.

Many conferencing solutions (like Adobe Connect) and Flash games use the Flash plugin. So if you have Adobe Flash installed, UPDATE ASAP!

However, consider uninstalling Flash if you’re not using it. If you were only using Adobe Flash to watch YouTube videos, YouTube now defaults to HTML5 instead of Adobe Flash for playing videos in Google Chrome, IE 11, Apple Safari 8 and Mozilla Firefox. So you can uninstall Adobe Flash if you are using these browsers (and not worry about keeping Adobe Flash up to date).

The latest update bumps the latest version of Flash Player for Windows and Mac OS X to version

To determine what version of the Adobe Flash player you have on your Windows, Macintosh or Linux system, visit

To download an offline version of Adobe Flash Player for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux without any adware or bundled third-party offers, visit

(Sadly, Adobe will be removing page mid 2016 which will make it harder to get an ad-free installer. Another incentive to uninstall Flash?)

Windows users should take note that

  • the Flash Player in Microsoft Internet Explorer v9 and earlier versions of Internet Explorer,
  • the Flash player in web browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Safari.
  • the Flash player in web browsers in Chromium and Opera.

are separate installs. You should install and update versions of Adobe Flash for ALL three browser variations if you have all three browsers installed.

For Internet Explorer v10 and Internet Explorer v11 (for users for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows 8), these browsers have Adobe Flash Player built-in and users should update their Internet Explorer browser versions.

For Microsoft Edge, the default browser in Windows 10, this browser has Adobe Flash Player built in and users should update their Edge browser.

Google Chrome browser users has Adobe Flash Player built-in and users should update the Google Chrome browser to the latest version.
See on how to do so.

South School on Internet Governance (SSIG) from March 29 to April 1 2016 – how to watch/participate remotely

SSIG 2016

The 8th annual South School of Internet Governance (SSIG) will take place from March 29 to April 1, 2016, at OAS Headquarters in Washington, D.C., USA.

The main objective of the South School of Internet Governance is to train new thought leaders in all aspects related to Internet Governance from a global perspective, with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean.

Over four days of intensive training, students will learn how the Internet is governed, with a special focus on topics related to freedom of expression and cybersecurity. Similarly, such topics as political, economic, social and legal implications on the Internet; the role of ICANN; the Internet Governance Forum; legal aspects of security and privacy, as well as freedom of expression, on the Internet; SMEs and e-commerce; new business opportunities; intellectual property protection; combating cybercrime; and the digital divide and its implications for Internet development and its future will be analyzed.

All the activity program can be followed remotely with video streaming and audio channels in Spanish and English.

Livestream requires Adobe Flash on PCs. There are apps for iOS and Android mobile devices, however




Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society lime on Wednesday January 20 2016 from 7 to 9pm ; please RSVP!


The Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society (TTCS ; will be having a lime on Wednesday January 20 2016 from 7pm to 9pm at Wendy’s Cafe located upstairs at Wendy’s Restaurant at the corner of Ana Street & Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook, Port of Spain.

Come join as we eat and chat about various ICT topics including:

Anyone interested in computing and ICT are welcome to attend, however please RSVP to as space is limited.

Please note that for this meeting, you will be able to purchase food directly from Wendy’s at your own expense. The minimum contribution to TTCS for this meeting is $20.

Credit card details stolen from Hyatt Regency Trinidad between August 13 to December 8 2015

Screenshot of showing that payment card data at Hyatt Regency Trinidad was stolen between August 13, 2015 and December 8, 2015

If you used your credit or debit card at Hyatt Regency Trinidad between August 13 2015 to December 8 2015, then its likely that your card payment details were stolen by cyber thieves at large. The payment data breach at Hyatt Hotels affected up to 250 hotels in 50 nations including Trinidad and Tobago.

According to a statement by Hyatt Hotels Corporation dated January 14 2016

Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE: H) has completed its investigation of the previously announced payment card incident. The investigation identified signs of unauthorized access to payment card data from cards used onsite at certain Hyatt-managed locations, primarily at restaurants, between August 13, 2015 and December 8, 2015. A small percentage of the at-risk cards were used at spas, golf shops, parking, and a limited number of front desks, or provided to a sales office during this time period. The at-risk window for a limited number of locations began on or shortly after July 30, 2015.

The malware was designed to collect payment card data – cardholder name, card number, expiration date and internal verification code – from cards used onsite as the data was being routed through affected payment processing systems. There is no indication that other customer information was affected.
The list of affected locations and respective at-risk dates is available at Hyatt worked quickly with leading third-party cyber security experts to resolve the issue and strengthen the security of its systems. The company also notified law enforcement and the payment card networks. As previously communicated, customers can confidently use payment cards at Hyatt hotels worldwide…..Hyatt encourages customers to review their payment card account statements closely and to report any unauthorized charges to their card issuer immediately.

If you stayed at a Hyatt hotel overseas in the latter half of 2015, you can see the list of affected hotels and locations at

Value Added Tax (VAT) of 12.5% to be added to Computers, Tablets and related peripherals in Trinidad and Tobago from February 1 2016

Be prepared to pay VAT on computers and tablets (pic from PicJumbo)
Be prepared to pay VAT on computers and tablets (pic from PicJumbo)

Be prepared to pay VAT on computers and tablets, come February 1 2016. The Finance Bill of 2016 which was presented to the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament on Monday 11th January, 2016 proposes amendments to Schedule II of the VAT Act 75:06. The Ministry of Finance has published the new VAT list on its website.

According to the list of items that will be standard VAT rated are:

29. The items contained in the First Schedule to the Customs Act under Tariff Heading No. 84.71, being automatic data processing machines and units thereof, magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, not elsewhere specified or included.

30. Computer peripherals and mouse pads, not including audio compact discs of Tariff Subheading 8523.40.40 and digital versatile discs (DVD’s) of Subheadings
8523.40.60 and 8523.40.70.

30A. Terminal equipment or other equipment to be installed or used for a public telecommunications network or telecommunications service or radio communications service and certified as such by the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago.

Which appears to cover any computer desktop, laptop or tablet and related computer peripherals and mouse pads (with the exception of CD and DVDs). VAT on computers was removed in the late 1990s.

The changes to the VAT schedule is scheduled to become effective February 1 2016 with the new rate of VAT to be 12½%


TTCS OSSWIN DVD 1.55, collection of Free and Open Source Software for Windows, available for download

The web based UI of the TTCS OSSWIN DVD
The web based UI of the TTCS OSSWIN DVD


The Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society is pleased to announce the release of the TTCS OSSWIN DVD v1.55, a collection of the latest version of Free and Open Source Software for Microsoft Windows (XP/Vista/7/8/10) and available for download.

Our collection features a web based interface for browsing programs organised into several categories:  Desktop Applications, Educational, Games, Graphics, Internet, Server, Sound and Video and Utilities.

For TTCS OSSWIN DVD v1.55, the program SuperTux was added to the collection. Lots of software updates from the LibreOffice 5.0.4, Mozilla Firefox 43.0.2 and Virtualbox 5.0.12, 7-zip 15.12 and XAMPP 7.0.

See the changelog for more details.

Visit the TTCS OSSWIN DVD page at for more details and to download the DVD as an ISO file for burning onto a DVD or extracting to your harddrive or USB storage device.

WhatsApp blocked in Brazil ; now restored. Why did this happen?

Image of WhatsApp logo and Brazil flag.  Image credit: Hackread

On December 16 2015, a Brazil court ordered Internet providers in Brazil to block the popular WhatsApp messaging service in Brazil for 48 hours. The suspension was lifted following an successful court appeal with WhatsApp service to Brazil being restored on December 17 2015.

Taisa Sganzerla has written an great article on GlobalVoices on why this happened. An excerpt:
“…In July and August 2015, Brazilian judiciary officials ordered WhatsApp to release personal data of users who were being investigated by the Federal Police. But WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, refused to release the data, according to the São Paulo Court of Appeals press release.

On December 16, the Brazilian Prosecutor’s Office responded by ordering telecommunications providers to block WhatsApp altogether, affecting what the company estimates to be 100 million users in Brazil………The blocking motion was authorized by judge Sandra Regina Nostre Marques, who based her decision on a provision of Marco Civil, Brazil’s so-called “Bill of Rights” for the Internet. The law establishes rules on network neutrality, privacy, data retention and intermediary liability, among other issues, and was approved by President Dilma Rousseff in April 2014.

The Marco Civil also allows state authorities to place sanctions on foreign Internet companies that refuse to comply with Brazilian legislation. As noted in Article 12 of the law, authorities can impose warnings, fines and temporary suspension of a company’s services or activities. These penalties can be implemented only with a judge’s approval.”

Read the full GlobalVoices article “WhatsApp blocked in Brazil ; now restored. But Why?”


TTCS end of year lime on Wednesday December 16 2015 from 7pm ; please RSVP!



The Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society will be having its end of year lime on Wednesday December 16 2015 from 7pm at Island Beer Chill and Grill at One Woodbrook Place, Port of Spain.

Come join as we eat and chat about various ICT topics. Anyone interested in computing and ICT are welcome to attend.
Please RSVP to as space is limited.

It is anticipated that the contribution per person for this event is around $150 TT.

We look forward to seeing you.

Season Greetings!