IoT and Gluten Free

Trying to eat Gluten-Free?  Meet your best friend, Nima

If you were a kid of the 80's, there is a good chance you ate a lot of bread....and, it was probably white bread.  We had it for breakfast sometimes, almost always had it as part of our school lunch and probably also ate it over the weekend.  Whether it was the classic PB&J sandwich, wrapped around a hotdog or grilled with a piece of cheese in the middle, bread was part of almost every meal.

 

Having had issues with my stomach for most of my life, I finally decided to cut "bread" out of my life.  To be clear, I did not go "Gluten-Free", but rather cut out all bread and pasta from my diet (even the GF type).  I still use condiments and other things that likely contain gluten.  As a replacement, I upped my fruit, vegetable and nut intake, along with lean meats.

 

The result?  After a month, my stomach issues have gotten better, and I dropped a few pounds, so I guess it is working.

 

If you are Celiac, being GF is not a choice

 

For most people who follow the Gluten-free diet, they are doing so out of choice, as they feel that it is a healthier lifestyle choice.  Personally, I have no idea if that is true.  However, for millions around the world, avoiding gluten is not something trendy, it is a matter of health, or for some, even life and death.

 

If you are suffering from Celiac disease, you quickly become an expert on what contains gluten and what does not.  This means that you have to be careful about your choice of lipstick, condiments and even for some, if the capsule that contains your medicine has a hint of Gluten.

 

Our friends at 6Sensor labs are here to help....Meet Nima (nimasensor.com), your new BFF in the fight against Gluten.  Nima is a portable analyzer that allows someone to test the level of Gluten in their food, often in as little as 2 minutes.  It gives a simple happy face if the food meets the specification of having less than 20 ppm of gluten.

Nima Sensor

The Bottom Line

Is the trend towards Gluten-free eating way overblown by most?  Absolutely. If you don't suffer from an illness that reacts badly to Gluten, going Gluten-free may not be healthier for you at all.  I say "may not be" as the real factor is what you are replacing it with.  If you are replacing Wonder bread with a version that is high in sugar/calories, you probably are not any better off....however, if you grab an Apple and yogurt instead of bread, then it is likely a good move.  Ah, Gluten and Saturday morning cartoons....brings me back to my childhood, I was sorry to see you go my friend, Bread...

IoT means a loss of privacy, often for those who do not even use it

\n\t

Hello and thanks for reading.

 As the world that we live in continues to grow, it raises some interesting questions.  One of them that I like is, “is there anything that is a secret anymore?”  I mean, most of us will keep certain pieces of key information to ourselves.  I don’t know any of my friend’s PIN numbers, I don’t really know exactly how much they weigh and I don’t know how much money any of them has at any given time.  The reason is that they have likely consciously protected those pieces of information for a variety of reasons.

 However, most people seem to not care about many other pieces of information.  I use Garmin’s Connect service to keep track of my fitness (such as how much mileage I run, how many calories I may burn and even how worn out a pair of shoes may be).  It is a great service, but only the naive would believe that Garmin is not selling this information to parties that may use it. This may range from the municipality where I live (as they may want to know where to focus their recreational budget) to food companies (to target me for certain health products, since they know my age and how much I eat) and to the shoe companies (who can now target me for new upcoming products).


 I think most of us believe that this is a good trade-off, since I am getting a free service from Garmin after all.  However, what about when you are not compensated?  If Nest decides to tell your local utility that you run your air conditioner just a bit too long, how are YOU benefiting from that?  I can see how Nest would (they may get paid, or at the least, pushed more heavily by the utility) and I can see how the Utility company would (better control over demand response activities or the ability to bill you more).

 How about all of the information that Uber knows about you?  They know your patterns of travel (are you an early bird or a night owl?), they know how long you spend in traffic and they know the most likely place where people go at any given time.  You are part of their data, yet you did not even know about it.  Sure, it doesn’t actually identify YOU, but rather a group of pooled users, but the idea of keeping things private sure is a thing of the past.

 So, does anybody really care anyways?

Maybe not, actually.  I mean, I have learned way too much about my friends and family based on what they post on Social Media, so why would they really care how much Uber or any other tech giant knows about them anyways.  As well, in some cases, companies have used this information to truly target us with services that we want to use, so some people actually like the personalized service.

 The Bottom Line

At some point, every company will cross over the line when it comes to our personal information and will then to a “My bad” press release.  It seems that the Millennials care less than the older generation, so perhaps this is just a spin-off of everyday life.  It may be one day that your PIN really is the only thing that you keep personal, since everything else we do seems to be online anyways…..unless of course you need to share your PIN in the event of a fire in an ATM (let’s see how many of you get that 90’s TV show reference).

\n

An IoT modem shopping list

Hello and thanks for reading.

As I try to maintain the weight loss that I was able to accomplish about 18 months ago, I find that one great way to do it is to use a shopping list for the grocery store. It helps to keep you focused on what you need and to avoid the danger aisles....namely processed food and junk food.

 

The same may actually apply well to buying a modem, as it will help you buy only what you need.

 

Security 

All we hear about lately is about Security.....it seems that every day we read about some enterprise being hacked.  So, naturally, you must want to load up your IoT modem with it, right?  Well, it actually depends.  For solutions where you are attaching the modem to a non-intelligent device, like say an Industrial pump, it absolutely makes a ton of sense to load up on security features, as the modem is the only thing preventing unwanted access to your device. 

 

However, if you are attaching the modem to a very intelligent device, like say a bank machine or a router, does it have the same need?  Most of the vital security methods (encryption, authentication, firewall-type protection) can be effectively handled by the device behind the modem.  So, you need to factor this into your decision...

 

Ruggedness

Some applications scream out rugged.....like modems deployed in the forestry, mining and public safety applications.  People's lives often depend on connectivity, so you are not going to use anything but the toughest modems in these applications.  However, what about in a nice, warm office?  Most of the devices that are being connected to the device are not rugged (such as an iPad or standard PC) and since people work in that office, it is pretty unlikely that a device will see "elements" (short of a pipe bursting) or extreme temperatures (unless my wife is in charge of thermostat)....One should focus more on the reliability of the modem when compared to the toughness of it in these scenarios.

 

Number of Ports / type of ports

I saw a pretty odd combination on a modem the other day....it touted that it had an RS-485 port and a specification of 0c on it.  So, a port that is used in heavy duty rugged applications (for the most part) is connected to a device that cannot deal with any extreme conditions.

 

One needs to look at what ports they need now, and in the future.  A device with 2 Ethernet ports may seem like overkill but what if you want to add a video camera on site down the road?  Is WiFi really a bad option on a modem if you may wish to use it to offer Internet access to your clients in a manner that does not use your own network in the future?

 

The Bottom Line

It makes sense to approach buying a modem for your IoT solution in a manner similar to buying a car.....what might you need now and what might you need if things change over the next few years?  Hopefully, this is the start of a list that will help you from buying things that you do not need....unless you plan on going to Costco, where using a list seems to be impossible!