Andi: Hi, Everybody. Welcome back to TechViews Unplugged. From CA Technologies, I’m Andi Mann. I’m here with my colleague, the ever amazing George Watt. How are you doing, George?
George: I’m amazing.
Andi: I know you are. Hey mate, let’s get into this. We know about the Internet of Things right? So how about the Internet of Cars? There’s been a couple of really cool articles I saw this week. Volvo is putting Internet-connected sensors into its cars. They communicate with each other so that they’re all going to help you understand road conditions, what’s happening up ahead, traffic conditions and so forth. Alerting other cars, this is where the Internet comes in and the communication. I think this is fantastic. There was another article I saw which looked into the future of the Internet of Cars, this was in Dezeen magazine, talking about how cars are just a collection of moving sensors these days and it cites each car generating 25 megabytes of data every hour. Now, we’ve spoken before about NCAR, the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, putting sensors into the cars so that they can better understand micro-climates, and this is an extension and this is actually in my mind a lot more useable extension because we’re talking about cars communicating with each other, alerting drivers to road hazards, to weather conditions. This is really interesting. I love the Internet of Cars.
George: Absolutely. It’s a mobile mesh network of sorts, right.
George: At least that’s one of the things one of the articles was talking about. Well, you know, that’s cool. But, Andi, Cloud Walker Pie is also cool, right.
Andi: Ah, who doesn’t love pie, right?
George: Who doesn’t love pie, especially if it’s Raspberry Pi, right?
Andi: Yeah. I love Raspberry Pi.
George: I love Raspberry Pi. So a while ago we spoke about a cool, a very cool 64-node Raspberry Pi super computer that Simon Cox and his son assembled using Lego for their enclosure and I’ve got to admit it’s really hard to beat a Lego super computer but an engineer named David Guill, G-U-I-L-L, so apologies if I mispronounced it, he may have risen to the occasion. He’s created a 40-node Raspberry Pi cluster that not only serves a very practical purpose but the very cool-looking acrylic enclosure that he created for his Raspberry Pi cluster has my propeller spinning at Nerd Con One here. It’s not just a fun hobby though for him. The machine was built to test distributed software and it packs 40 Raspberry Pi computers just like this one, five terabytes of hard disk, just under a half terabyte of flash, an internal LAN, an integrated wireless access point into that nerdtastic 22 inch high, 22 inch wide, 10 inch deep case. You should check out the pictures. They’re awesome. Now what’s really cool about this is that we’ve been saying that people will start putting these to use at work in very useful ways and I think this might be one of the most obvious examples of that to date. But we shouldn’t forget that there are plenty of other documented uses of Raspberry Pi that aren’t necessarily any less valuable, right, home automation, we talked about radon detectors once, I think, all sorts of cool use cases and there’s some other really cool arguable green projects which involve recycling things for use in Raspberry Pi projects. I’ve even seen someone reuse their magic mouse case as a Raspberry Pi enclosure.
Andi: Oh, I saw that.
George: It’s very, very cool. I might actually give that a shot. I dug mine out. But lots of cool things going on with Raspberry Pi and you’ll find the how-to notes for David’s project and many, many others online. It’s definitely worth checking out. And again, it’s not just for hobbyists alone. So, actually, if you’ve done something cool for business with Raspberry Pi, or even anything cool, how about send us a tweet and let us know what you’ve done.
Andi: Yeah. In fact, I would love to hear from our audience, especially on things like Raspberry Pi which is such cutting edge stuff. I’d love to hear about what people are doing. Tweet us @techviews @georgewatt @andimann. Hey George, let’s get on to news. I’m going to let you go first. What you got in the news space?
George: Well, you know, so we started today with small-size consumer computing, so let’s get even smaller, right, maybe we can spend this time talking about wearables. Can I convince you to talk about wearables?
Andi: Oh, well, look, it will take you a have a millisecond to do that. I’m convinced.
George: Yeah, I figured it would be difficult. So, we’ve talked about wearables in the past, especially those wearables that have been branded smart watches, and I think that maybe we’ve agreed that what we’ve seen today, they necessarily weren’t that smart and they arguably weren’t watches and in fact, you’ve mentioned several times in the past that the biggest issue with many of those wearables is that they’re just plain ugly or goofy looking and I think you referred to Google glass once as a Segway on your face
Andi: Segway on your face, yup. You’ve got it.
George: Right. But, we also agreed that that would change and that the functionality would become better and more useful and that the form factor would become hip and maybe even fashionable and I think we’re beginning to turn the corner here. Have you seen the Moto 360?
Andi: Oh, I have, I have, I have, yes. Talk about that.
George: Yes. The Moto 360 is reported to offer some very cool features via touch and voice command, many of which it seem like will be provided by Google Now but what’s really cool about it, I think is how it looks. The Moto 360 has a very nice-looking round face, which designers say, apart from being cool looking, it also lets them display maximum display size without compromising comfort, right, without poking yourself with the corners.
Andi: Yeah, that’s been an issue.
George: But, from what I’ve seen in the photos, it also appears to have a very nice looking smart watch display but also a very nice analogue watch display when you’re not using the smart phone features. It’s actually pretty stylish and it automatically adjusts the display so you’re looking at it right side up whether you’re wearing it on your right or left wrist which, of course, is probably an issue for many as well. So, if you haven’t seen the Moto 360, I strongly suggest you check it out. It’s definitely something you could use for one function in the day, perhaps a more smart watchy type stuff, but it would be stylish as well if you happen to just throw on your jacket and go to a play or something at night. I think they’re really on the right track with it. I’ve never had the desire to own a smart watch, but this one’s got me thinking hard so it’s something that I’m going to keep an eye on. But you know, in the world of wearables, smart watches really aren’t the only thing here. We’re seeing other areas make great steps forward.
Andi: Yeah, you see that’s actually where I’m really excited and I get this new watch. A, it actually really works like a watch, which is one of the big problems with things like Gear, for example, when you go to reach down and turn it on and stuff like that, and you don’t want to do that with a watch. You just want to look at it. This is the use specific kind of use cases that they’re finding. Instead of having general purpose computing on your wrist, you find the right use case. And that’s the thing with, I’ve been playing around with sports wearables recently. So I went on a ski trip and I’ll post along a longer blog about this but I took a bunch of stuff. I took this, this is the Garmin Virb. This is a camera with a GPS and an accelerometer, so it actually tracks you all over the mountain as well as your speed, things like air time and you wear it like a camera, right. You can wear it any way, you can put it on the end of your stalk. You can do all sorts of stuff. I obviously took my Go Pro, a dumb wearable, if you will. All it does is do video. This is the first generation one. So, I took that, what else did it, oh, I took my Garmin, so this is off my cycle computer. This does your classic heart rate monitoring, speed and acceleration, GPS tracking as well. I paired that with a sensor for my heart rate to make sure I’m not having a heart attack. What else did I have? Oh, I had my smart phone as well so I downloaded an application called Ski Tracks. You can’t tell that I’m a bit of a data geek, can you?
George: NASA sent people to the moon with less stuff.
Andi: They did. It’s true, they did and it was really interesting and I found that the use case specific wearables, especially that Garmin Virb, much better use case for it, especially, one thing, I’m wearing great big thick gloves, it’s got a big easy button. Right? Compared to, for example, the Go Pro, with its little fiddly button on the top. It’s about that use case specific. The Go Pro is trying to be one camera for all people. Right? The Garmin Virb is actually targeted at people who want to ski and cycle. Very different use cases. The smart phone didn’t have the accuracy because it’s trying to do general purpose computing. It’s sort of interesting. And I read an article about this that talked about wearables, the use case-specific sort of stuff, having a real sort of physical limitation in terms of size and so forth. I mean we’re talking about physical, I’m not getting as hard core as this guy I read about this week, Chris Dancey. Did you see this guy?
Andi: Between 300 and 700 systems on his body and in his body running at any one time and embedded sensors, the guy’s got wires sticking out of his face. It’s freaky, man. But, I don’t want to go that far but the use specific wearables, I am actually loving.
George: Yeah absolutely and it’s not necessarily just for fun although it’s an awful lot of fun. But we’ve seen a lot of creative uses for things like sports wearables. In cases like the Cardiac Clinic that uses the Fit Bit to help in recovery and diagnosis and so forth, and I can actually tell you from my own experience, using a Fit Bit, just carrying one in my pocket, has really improved my lifestyle in healthy living. So I think these things are much more useful than maybe is apparent on the surface.
Andi: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the big issue that is see is that wearables are very small, right. We’re not at the point in Moore’s Law where we can pack a full size computer into the form factor of a watch or a camera or a Fit Bit. You’ve got to be selective about what you do. The one thing that I have seen though is the idea of wearables playing a role in mobile. So you think about these watches, they’re smart enough, they’re too small to do general purpose computing but they’re plenty big enough to do mobile payments, for example. Store value, loyalty recording, multiple systems. We’re starting to see little, little devices like the Coin credit card you’ve probably seen, the electronic credit card. That’s not a wearable, but gee, it’s small and it could be wearable and so we’re seeing in the Disney resorts, for example, people paying for everything using a wristband. I think that sort of thing is going to be pretty interesting.
George: Yeah, yeah. And, of course, what’s behind all that? It’s cloud, right? Cloud is providing the most cool functions here and that’s enabling the devices, if you will, to function beyond their internal capability.
Andi: Yeah, look, it’s always cloud with you, isn’t it? But, you’re not wrong.
George: You can take the boy out of the cloud…
Andi: It’s always going to come back to cloud, and rightly so. Okay, Hey George, we’re right down to the edge here and so I want to get into the rapid fire round, and I’m going to ask you a question because I’ve already got an opinion on this but your time starts now. George, Facebook bought Oculus VR out for $2 billion but I can’t see the upside in this for gamers though. Can you?
George: Well, Facebook also bought a drone company so my spider senses are tingling a little bit there. Andi, recent studies show that 97% of malware is on Android. What are you doing to that ecosystem?
Andi: Look mate, though it’s the most popular platform for mobile on the planet, it’s going to attract hackers, but it’s just a reminder you’ve got to be secure, always and often. George, the apps economy is booming in Canada, with Ontario specifically leading the way. So George, what apps are you building?
George: Well I think it’s fantastic. Right now there’s a reason to set up your cloud and your app development here. Andi, a recent study found your employees don’t care about data security. Should we care about that?
Andi: Oh mate, this rings true, right? It’s the same for consumers. Look at Snapchat Play Station. I blogged about this recently. They’re as popular as ever, despite massive data breaches. What can you do? Oh, George, a buzzer question. I saw a picture of a skimmer overlaid on top of an ATM keypad. It was indistinguishable from the original. How can we ever be secure with this stuff around, George?
George: Yeah, that’s very clever and very sinister, right. We probably should have featured it in new and creepy.
George: But, it’s just another reason to beware, to avoid machines you’re not sure you can trust and to keep an eye on your account. But it may suggest that we need to move beyond pin codes as you mentioned earlier and perhaps even beyond passwords. Do you think it’s time?
Andi: Oh George, it is beyond time. I tell you, I can’t tell you how sick I am of explaining to snooty French waiters why I haven’t got chip and PIN in my credit card, let alone we’re using essentially the same technique to do identity and access as we used to do to get into the vaults of a castle in the 13th century, challenge and password response, right? I’m well over it. We’ve got to move one. George, talk about moving on, that’s all we’ve got for TechViews Unplugged today. Hope you’ll join us next time. My name’s Andi Mann from CA Technologies. I’m always joined by George Watt, also from CA Technologies. We’ll see you next time on TechViews Unplugged. Bye, bye.