What To Do When Your Apple Watch Tells You NOT to Eat the Candy Bar

The increased use of wearables will naturally invite the monitoring of body chemistry. Just as we do for fitness now, there will be norms and goals. Along with that, in the tech industry's all too eager efforts to be of assistance, monitoring of blood chemistry won't be without helpful suggestions about what and what not to eat. It's coming soon.

One of the modern day technology mantras is that if something can be done, it will be done. A way to earn a profit will be dreamed up.

We know that wearables, and the Apple Watch in particular, are going to get better and better at monitoring our body chemistry. When it comes to monitoring blood chemistry, one of the most natural things to look at is blood sugar (glucose).

This Scientific American article provides a tantalizing view of what may be ahead for us. "Wearable Sweat Sensor Paves the Way for Real-Time Analysis of Body Chemistry." From the article:

Putting together existing advances in wearables technology, Javey’s team made the sensors from a flexible electronics board joined to a flexible printed plastic sensor array, which can detect glucose, lactate, sodium, potassium and body temperature. When the sensors come into contact with sweat they generate electrical signals that are amplified and filtered, and then calibrated using skin temperature.

As wearables measure more and more intimate details of our physical state, more and more of that data will be analyzed and distilled into recommended behavioral patterns. For example, I can foresee a time when a college student is urged by a wearable to go for short run before a big exam, and then consume certain kinds of nutrients so that mental acuity peaks right at the time of the exam. Contrast that to students who, in the past, put in all-nighters and then staggered into the exam room half asleep. Or hungover.

In time, just as we do now with all our technology decisions, wearables, including the Apple Watch, will help us fine-tune our physical state for any task at hand. Will we heed the advice? It's a sobering prospect.

Now. Where was that dark chocolate I was munching on?

Next page: The Tech News Debris for the Week of February 1st. "Apple's Apps Need Work."

Page 2 - The Tech News Debris for the Week of February 1st


The iPhone generates most of Apple's revenue. So if the iPhone stumbles a bit, this would seem to be a problem for Apple. And yet, there is a paradox. The increasing installed base also fuels Apple. In "The iPhone Paradox," Jan Dawson writes:

Interestingly, Apple seems to have latched on to this idea as a key talking point for its earnings today [January 26], with an emphasis on Services revenue tied to the overall installed base of devices, which it pegs at 1 billion users.

It's all to easy, when one sees a (perhaps) temporary worldwide glitch in iPhone growth, to forget about the entire Apple ecosystem and how the company can leverage it.

Governments shape economies. In this light, it's interesting to see how Apple shapes the economy of the App Store. For example, are the accepted rules for a free, flourishing economy suppressed in the App Store economy? David Barnard ponders: "The App Store as an Economy."

Most of us who use Twitter enjoy the service. And yet, many of us are constantly worrying about the future of Twitter. How it conducts business. How it makes money. How it will begin to grow again. How it will meet new technical challenges without betraying its virtues.

Joshua Topolsky likes Twitter too, but he has some concerns. See: "The End of Twitter." He's not being overly dramatic here.

When we think of Augmented or Virtual Reality, we tend to think of a block of plastic and optics stuck on our head as we, for example, play video games. And Apple may indeed be working on such a system with much more advanced, lighter headgear. However, it has occurred to several of us on the TMO staff that Apple's interest in Augmented Reality (AR) may also extend to its electric car project. Mark Sullivan at Fast Company agrees. See: "Apple May Be Developing An Augmented Reality Windscreen For Its (Rumored) Car."

One can imagine the inside of an electric car as a much-enlarged HoloLens headset through which images are superimposed onto the real view of the real street view outside the car. An augmented reality screen, for example, could be inlayed in the windscreen, where mapping, place identification, and safety information could be displayed.

By place identification, I'm guessing that, for example, as one seeks out a friend's house in a neighborhood, the street number of each house is superimposed on the driver's visual field. When you get close, the number starts to flash. No more more peering at rusty mailboxes to read the street numbers.

Regular readers of this column know that I have written a lot about personal robots. It's a fascinating subject, rich in science fiction lore, and full of both possibilities for good and peril. One enduring question, of course, is how to avoid building robots which can, in turn, become a physical threat to the human species. Over at Forbes the science fiction author David Brin has written about this. See: "The One Thing We Need To Stop Robots From Achieving World Domination."

Searching for services on your smartphone isn't always as straightforward and safe as one might think. That's because any sufficiently rich and complex software system can be manipulated. Here's a sobering story. "Fake Online Locksmiths May Be Out to Pick Your Pocket, Too." One solution is to create a contacts group on your iPhone called "Emergency" and put only known, trusted merchants and services in there.

Have you pondered whether you might need an iPad Pro in your life? Here is, as always, the ultimate product review from AnandTech . "The Apple iPad Pro Review." It is awesome in its technical detail.

Finally, the distinguished Walt Mossberg, writing for The Verge, has some sharp words for Apple's own apps. Subtitle: "Complexity, feature gaps, and bugs have crept in." See: "Apple’s apps need work."

When it comes from Mr. Mossberg, Apple will listen.


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro's observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed by a discussion of articles that didn't make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holidays.