The Democratic Cloud

June 25, 2014


Written for Canadian Community News by Mike Sterling

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The current rage is Cloud Computing where your data and programs are on a virtual cloud to be accessed anywhere in the world via search engines.  It's not just about 'stuff' that people load keystroke by keystroke into their computer and transfer the 'glob' of stuff to the Cloud.  Now it is much more.

Looking over the horizon there is something more basic going on unbeknownst to some, but available to many.  It's Democratic.  It's knowledge based.  The ability to do basic and very complex things is open to all of us.  Not to know new ways to do things  in the near future will be akin to being functionally illiterate.  That's right, I said illiterate.

What's happening?  The electronics are here now that allow us to do magical things in a Lego building block style.  This will touch on each of us as we encounter remote sensing devices. You now bump into a few, but just wait a bit. These building blocks  are available to each and every one of us.  Their application is just over the horizon, but being worked on feverishly in every field.

Over the past months, I've had conversations with two people who know.  One is a man who has started and made successful a number of high technology firms in Silicon Valley.  He has now turned his full attention to the uses of the building blocks of the Cloud to the medical field as have many others. This does not just include data gathering and harvesting.  It includes remote sensing.

It is rare to be able to talk to people working on the event horizon of humanity.  If you don't know about it, you will be sucked in anyway, but with little control.  But for those people who see over it there is more than fun and games.  Now these few can predict with great accuracy where and when humanity is moving to another plane as we surely are.

Another is a man who works all the time putting together microprocessor based solutions for sensing and combining basic electronics, computing and illusion   How does he do it? 

He uses building block modules that include interaction with a PC to program off the shelf modules in ways unheard of in the past.  The PC loads programs into the building blocks and off they go having severed the tie with the PC or maybe not.  Wireless is just a plug-in module as are analog to digital converters and digital to analog too. Everything is open to being monitored and detected.

The technology just plugs in and works, but not without literacy. But, annoyingly you have to know something.  I guess you expected that.

The technology interacts with standard electro-mechanical devices too.  These building blocks are cheap and all the support for them including modular packaging, buttons, sensors, solenoids, wire harnesses, multiplexers and the like are available now to anyone who is literate.  Buy them on the Cloud.  Learn to use them on YouTube.

It is no longer fashionable to laugh about the Nurd as a character from a modern day Dickens novel.  Bob Cratchit bent over his sums is now able to free himself, if he gains the new literacy.   Bob was Scrouge's computer, but he can escape now.  Dickens tale might have had a different dream sequence.

No, these Nurds shape our lives and will do so even more.  Gates and Jobs are quickly being replaced.  They did not have these tools in their garage or dorm room.

Look at the characters in old science fiction movies and what now even to us appears to be archaic technology.  We have surpassed the science fiction of a decade ago.  It is hard to write something that cannot be reached by the new technology.

Let me give you some simple examples of what is possible now.

  • Of course online consultations with your medical care givers is possible with the doctor or nurse viewing you and you them.  This is rare now, but will not be soon.  Your vital signs can be taken and stored and distributed to specialists.  No big deal there.  This is not new, it's just not pervasive.
  • This look at and inside you can be down to the microscopic level without you going to the office or lab.  We know that your heart can be monitored remotely and this has been going on for years. 
  • Microscopes are available now for your phone. They have surprising magnification. Soon blood tests will be done remotely by building block instrument clusters using a simple pin prick.  This is being done now.  Maybe some of the tests can be run at qualified drug stores.  Big drug store companies are going into this full tilt.

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Just over the horizon are fantastic applications in medicine.  The inventive mind can have a field day with remote Cloud based application building, not just for the medical field. 

It is a democratic technology.  It can be self taught  It is very exciting and it is nothing short of rolling thunder over the horizon.  It will be upon us soon.  If you don't hear the thunder, you will not miss the lightning.

If you want to play around and not blow up your family room get going with 'littlebits' starter kit.  Just go to www.amazon.com and search for littlebits.

If you are just a 'bit' more serious then investigate Arduino, by going to www.amazon.com and search for arduino starter kit.  This is powerful stuff and you can do wonders with it.  Arduino and beyond have limitless power.  Amazon sells a lot of it.  Notice that they always seem to be at or near the event horizon.

So, are we willing to be illiterate on into the future?  The nations who train themselves will be the model cultures.  It can be done now. It probably won't be nation by nation, but will be built upon those that have good traditional literacy augmented by the new technology.

Of course the people who make a difference will be few, but to recognize them is important.  Would you like to turn back time and buy a few hundred shares of Microsoft or Apple?  They used to be over the horizon.  They were not dressed properly for the 'cocktail set'.

Maybe you are too old to hear the thunder, but your grandchildren certainly are not.  The future in technology. is democratic.  You don't have to go to Scrouge's cocktail parties to be in the know. It's democratic.

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