The Northern Spy: don your computers
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

The Northern Spy: don your computers

By Rick Sutcliffe

Wearable computing technology has been the "latest" buzz longer than most ideas (indeed longer than some ideas endure from conception to death), generating endless speculation about who will bring out what product in the genre and when.

As often the case, the Spy has the inside track. Mind, he does not deal in speculation or rumour. However, he does keep his ear to the ground, his eye on the horizon, his nose to the grindstone, his hand in the industry, and his mind on the probabilities, which for simultaneity may be a literal anatomical improbability and for metaphorical use too much a melange merely to be termed "mixed."

One new technology recently in the news was a means to read the brain's diversified visual storage and reconstruct memories of faces--touted as useful in identifying perpetrators of crimes. Sounds quite interesting. Add this to a new manufacturing technique from I.R.C. for integrated circuits that strings out the components as hair-thin threads emanating from a flexible substrate rather than on fixed two-dimensional silicon surfaces, and to the more-than-substantial stories of research into wearables at Apple, and it is not difficult to forecast that the Spy's long-predicted (since before 1990) PIEA (Personal Intelligence Enhancement Appliance) may soon be a reality.

For those new to the Spy's work, and in particular those who haven't read his "Fourth Civilization" text, or his novels in which the PIEA plays a prominent role, the basic premise was that of the Metalibrary (universal hyperlinked storage of everything informational, with devices called MTs (Metalibrary Terminals) that served for as information access, communication, computation, and reader combined as one.

The PIEA is the portable version of an MT, with glasses or an implanted eye-screen for video, ear buds or implants for audio, a throat microphone, a belt-slung tablet that a user grips with one or both hands to code text and data for addresses, queries, and texted responses, and incorporating a diamond-coated screen for times when the eye-wear was deemed inadequate. Throw in an optional neural interface and you have the ultimate in what older SF referred to as the "pocket brain"--a true intelligence enhancement appliance to which can be offloaded computational tasks better done in hardware. Isn't it interesting the extent to which his vision has been achieved by the busy boys and girls beavering away in the basement labs of academia and corporatia over these last twenty-five years?

How does the rest of it come together in the real world as an iPIEA? Not as a mere iWatch--that would be selling the vision far short of the probabilities, let alone the possibilities that Cupertino can dream of. No, the next announced product cooked up by iTim will be the ultimate wearable, consisting of twelve components, though with some twinning, only 10 or 11 discretely different ones:

° A a pocket or pouch unit containing the basic computer. Various trade names have been bruited about, including iPhone Pro, and/or iPadTouch+, but the Spy's dark horse favourite is iCon (iconnect). After all, the Spy, being not bound in this case by a non-disclosure agreement, can freely admit to the rumour that Apple has not as yet signed a licensing agreement with Arjay Enterprises for the rights to use the designation iPIEA--for free. Neither will he admit even to negotiations.

° One or two wrist bracelets containing a wireless connection to the above for interface purposes. Think iWatch-enhanced, as these would be flexible metal with a polished surface acting as a touch screen. Each bracelet comes in five or 7.5 centimetre widths and has an effective screen height of up to fifteen centimetres, depending on the circumference of the user's wrist. Rotating the bracelet on the wrist provides a brand new gesture, as does moving one's entire arm about in one of several manners. (e.g. hand in the air to ask a question of Siri, hand out sideways to generate a communications handshaking protocol, hand behind the back to request that a web site respect privacy, and so on);

° The aforementioned eyeglasses (eye implants are a later iteration), but done in Ruby "glass", not sapphire. Interviewed earlier this week by the Spy, iTim commented "I've always looked at the world through rose-coloured glasses, so why change now?" A thinly deposited diamond surface as in the Spy's first novel, "The Peace" is a bit of a technological stretch as yet;

° The likewise aforementioned throat mike and ear buds, connected wirelessly to the main machine via a very personal LAN;

° Apple will release the package with limited, pre-packaged, and non-upgradable storage in 16, 32, and 64G models only, in a variety of screen sizes from zero to 22cm, with a price point comparable to current iPhones and iPads, and in 4G and Wi-Fi-only models. The base unit will be available separately for a discount, and all current iPhone, iPad, and iPodTouch devices will be dropped from the lineup.

As AppleTV will be incorporated, that separate box may be dropped sooner rather than later. Personal proximity to one's home theatre will be sufficient to communicate input and output over with it.

The Spy has learned that in addition to the base and enhanced configurations detailed above, two significant upgrades will be available--in case the reader's appetite for this kind of thing is insufficiently whetstoned thus far.

First, purchasers will not be limited to the paltry memory Apple provides, as I.R.C. plans to release a wearable device with up to thousands of memory threads attached that can communicate wirelessly to the main box and serve as auxiliary memory--scaleable to multiple terabytes. These threads may be woven into shirt, socks, or slacks and fitted with a USB port so the whole thing can alternately be plugged into a computer.

This ultimate portable storage will be used for the owner's personal data store/cache, and to protect it from would-be thieves, it will be password protected to the DNA in the user's sweat. However, apparently some very high-forehead early alpha-testers requested another alternative, so I.R. has promised to release the wearable solid state storage also as a dyed-to-order hairpiece--guaranteed to be a real head-turner.

Second, by purchasing four slave units to the wrist bracelet--a second bracelet without a screen (software switch for lefties to reverse orientation) two likewise for the ankles, and a belt buckle of the same material, the wearer will be able, in combination with the ear buds, to listen to music in seven channel surround sound.

Bass sound? Mens' and women's underwear from Joe Boxer and Stanfield in various sizes, with not one, but two wireless bottom-mounted sub-woofers. Skinnier people may need padded bits. Getting the subwoofers wet voids the warrantee. And what is I.R.C? The Irreproducible Results Corporation. Have a good April first.

--The Northern Spy

Opinions expressed here are entirely the author's own, and no endorsement is implied by any community or organization to which he may be attached. Rick Sutcliffe, (a.k.a. The Northern Spy) is professor of Computing Science and Mathematics at Canada's Trinity Western University. He has been involved as a member or consultant with the boards of several community and organizations, and participated in developing industry standards at the national and international level. He is a co-author of the Modula-2 programming language R10 dialect. He is a long time technology author and has written two textbooks and nine novels, one named best ePublished SF novel for 2003. His columns have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers (paper and online), and he's a regular speaker at churches, schools, academic meetings, and conferences. He and his wife Joyce have lived in the Aldergrove/Bradner area of BC since 1972.

Want to discuss this and other Northern Spy columns? Surf on over to Participate and you could win free web hosting from the subsidiary of Arjay Web Services. Rick Sutcliffe's fiction can be purchased in various eBook formats from Fictionwise, and in dead tree form from Amazon's Booksurge.

URLs for Rick Sutcliffe's Arjay Enterprises:

The Northern Spy Home Page:
opundo :
Sheaves Christian Resources :
WebNameHost :
WebNameSource :
nameman :

General URLs for Rick Sutcliffe's Books:
Author Site:
Publisher's Site:
The Fourth Civilization--Ethics, Society, and Technology (4th 2003 ed.):


Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

World of Tanks Generals guide - Tips and...
World of Tanks Generals is a brand new card game by the developer behind the World of Tanks shooter franchise. It plays like a cross between chess and your typical card game. You have to keep in consideration where you place your tanks on the board... | Read more »
TruckSimulation 16 guide: How to succeed...
Remember those strangely enjoyable truck missions in Grand Theft Auto V whereit was a disturbing amount of fun to deliver cargo? TruckSimulation 16 is reminiscent of that, and has you play the role of a truck driver who has to deliver various... | Read more »
The best GIF making apps
Animated GIFs have exploded in popularity recently which is likely thanks to a combination of Tumblr, our shorter attention spans, and the simple fact they’re a lot of fun. [Read more] | Read more »
The best remote desktop apps for iOS
We've been sifting through the App Store to find the best ways to do computer tasks on a tablet. That gave us a thought - what if we could just do computer tasks from our tablets? Here's a list of the best remote desktop apps to help you use your... | Read more »
Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade guide - How...
Warhammer 40,000: Freebladejust launched in the App Store and it lets you live your childhood dream of blowing up and slashing a bunch of enemies as a massive, hulking Space Marine. It's not easy being a Space Marine though - and particularly if... | Read more »
Gopogo guide - How to bounce like the be...
Nitrome just launched a new game and, as to be expected, it's a lot of addictive fun. It's called Gopogo, and it challenges you to hoparound a bunch of platforms, avoiding enemies and picking up shiny stuff. It's not easy though - just like the... | Read more »
Sago Mini Superhero (Education)
Sago Mini Superhero 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: KAPOW! Jack the rabbit bursts into the sky as the Sago Mini Superhero! Fly with Jack as he lifts impossible weights,... | Read more »
Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes guide - How...
Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes is all about collecting heroes, powering them up, and using them together to defeat your foes. It's pretty straightforward stuff for the most part, but increasing your characters' stats can be a bit confusing because it... | Read more »
The best cooking apps (just in time for...
It’s that time of year again, where you’ll be gathering around the dinner table with your family and a huge feast in front of you. [Read more] | Read more »
Square Rave guide - How to grab those te...
Square Rave is an awesome little music-oriented puzzle game that smacks of games like Lumines, but with its own unique sense of gameplay. To help wrap your head around the game, keep the following tips and tricks in mind. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via

Cyber Monday: 15% off Apple products, and sto...
Use code CYBER15 on Cyber Monday only to take 15% on Apple products at Target, and store-wide. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for online orders only, in-... Read more
iPad Air 2 And iPad mini Among Top Five Black...
Adobe has released its 2015 online shopping data for Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day. The five best selling electronic products on Black Friday were Samsung 4K TVs, Apple iPad Air 2, Microsoft Xbox... Read more
All-in-one PC Shipments Projected To Drop Ove...
Digitimes’ Aaron Lee and Joseph Tsai report that all-in-one (AIO) PC shipments may drop a double-digit percentage on-year in 2015 due to weaker-than-expected demand, although second-largest AIO make... Read more
Sprint Offers iPad Pro
Sprint now offers Apple’s new iPad Pro with Wi-Fi + Cellular, featuring a 12.9-inch Retina display with 5.6 million pixels. Customers can pick up iPad Pro at select Sprint retail locations. It can... Read more
Cyber Monday: Target offers 15% discount on A...
Target has discounted Apple Watches by 15% for Cyber Monday. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for online orders only, in-store prices may vary: - Apple... Read more
Sunday roundup of Holiday weekend Mac sales:...
Take up to $500 off MSRP on the price of a new Mac at B&H Photo today as part of their Black Friday/Holiday weekend sale. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only. These prices are... Read more
Holiday weekend: Apple Watch on sale for $50-...
B&H Photo has the Apple Watch on sale today for $50-$100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - Apple Watch Sport: $50 off - Apple Watch: $50-$100 off Read more
Holiday weekend: iPad Air 2s on sale for up t...
B&H Photo has iPad Air 2s on sale for up to $80 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $459 $40 off - 64GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $569 $30 off - 128GB iPad Air... Read more
Holiday weekend Mac sales roundup: B&H Ph...
B&H Photo continues to have all new Macs on sale for up to $500 off MSRP as part of their Black Friday/Holiday weekend sale. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina... Read more
iMobie Releases its Ace iOS Cleaner PhoneClea...
iMobie Inc. has announced the new update of PhoneClean 4, its iOS cleaner designed to reclaim wasted space on iPhone/iPad for use and keep the device fast. Alongside, iMobie hosts a 3-day giveaway of... Read more

Jobs Board

Technical Program Manager, Strategic Merchant...
# Technical Program Manager, Strategic Merchants - Apple Pay Job Number: 44001177 Santa Clara Valley, Califo ia, United States Posted: Oct. 30, 2015 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Read more
Frameworks Engineer, *Apple* Watch - Apple...
# Frameworks Engineer, Apple Watch Job Number: 41403122 Santa Clara Valley, Califo ia, United States Posted: Jul. 1, 2015 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Join the Read more
Software Engineer - *Apple* Pay - Apple (Un...
# Software Engineer - Apple Pay Job Number: 44003246 Santa Clara Valley, Califo ia, United States Posted: Nov. 16, 2015 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Apple Pay Read more
Merchant Operations Manager: *Apple* Pay -...
# Merchant Operations Manager: Apple Pay Job Number: 43593822 Santa Clara Valley, Califo ia, United States Posted: Nov. 10, 2015 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** The Read more
Product Design Engineer - *Apple* Watch - A...
# Product Design Engineer - Apple Watch Job Number: 41727161 Santa Clara Valley, Califo ia, United States Posted: Jul. 22, 2015 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.