With great power comes even greater responsibility…

So, I wandered around a number of types of connections yesterday that you can have. Each of them with risks and rewards. Knowing what your blood pressure is, well that is important. Knowing your blood sugar, if that is something you are working on, important. In fact, there are a growing number of devices you can connect to your phone or tablet. Devices that give you information specific to whatever you are seeking information about. In my case I love to get weather data. Living near a large city, I know that the temperature in DC is normally 5-7 degrees more than it is in the ‘burbs. So, it is important to know in the winter if the 35 in DC proper, is closer to 29 in the ‘burbs. Because at 28 water is frozen and slick, at 35 is can be partially frozen but can also not be frozen at all. Temperature and location are really important.

That said, there are many other devices beyond weather and health you can connect to your phone or tablet. PPD’s lie within this realm. Personal presence devices allow you to be in two places at the same time. There are the Zinc based photo printers you can connect. Some of them are portable (and battery operated) some have cool software that lets you print a sticker or picture using high quality printing (photo quality in fact). You can connect storage cards to your phone or tablet by using an external device. You can make your phone into the perfect weather station (handheld) by adding a wind meter, a UV meter and a barometric reading. You can connect a breath-o-lyzer to your phone in case your friends drink too much. You can connect an infrared camera to your phone to see if your hosue is leaking heat during the winter and letting heat in during the summer.

There was a time, many years ago, when a friend of mine called me the Pocket PC add on King. I had all sorts of sleeves for my Compaq pocket pc. Including an air card, so I could read email on my PPC device. I had a GPS sleeve and tons of storage cards that slid onto my device. I loved the PPC device and carried it with me everywhere. It was my portable Satellite radio, my GPS and my entertainment system. I had the sling media player plugged in at home so I could watch TV anywhere. The funniest thing is that I had a bag devoted to my PPC stuff. Now, I can carry the same things I had then. Plus, ten to 12 other connections (Wind, UV, Barometer) more storage than I ever had back in the PPC days (400 gig available on the device with add on – a 1 terabyte drive for documents available as well). The world is vastly different. I don’t have a bag this, anymore. It actually all fits into my pocket and part of one pocket in my computer bag. What once was a bag I carried that was full of the things I needed was replaced by a single device and a few new add-ons that I didn’t have in the old days.

I used to carry my phone on my belt. Now it is in my pocket. In part because belt carried phones are no longer what the cool kids do. But mostly because it is easier to just carry my phone in my pocket. I don’t have all the add-ons and additional junk I used to carry.

The one thing that is still the same is me seeking more and more functionality via add on. As more is integrated into the phone natively or the tablet by default, I am always on the lookout for the next new thing. Adding on one more bit of data that is relevant to me, now. The integration of functionality has continued to expand. What was hard before is easy now. The bigger question now is the safety of the data on your device. By safely I am referring to the two-fold safety. The first is someone hacking your device and getting at the information you have there. The second is the reality of backups. Do your backup your phone and tablet today? If you haven’t in a while, take a couple of minutes now and backup your device. Sometimes, backups are the difference between destroyed device, back up and running in minutes. Or destroyed device, never quite sure if you got everything back from your device and all those lost pictures forever gone.

Mobile device security is a scary game. I have listened to a number of mobile security people and frankly it is 90% scare tactics. The reality of hackers is if your device is one they understand how to crack, you should be careful. Since most devices are fairly easily cracked, everyone should be careful. A phone contains your entire world. Losing a phone or tablet in the modern age is bad.

PS, tile is a great system (or Gecko) that allows you to find and or track your phone if you have mislaid it. The reality of the Tile or Gecko system is some peace of mind. If, however, you are out walking and you realize you’ve lost your phone those devices don’t help. That is when the best thing to do is have a written copy of your IMEI in your wallet or purse and SHUT YOUR PHONE OFF at your carrier. Then only what is on your phone is at risk for theft. Someday the US Government will force companies to permanently shut off an IMEI when it is stolen or lost. But for now, call your provider and get it shut off. Peace of mind is worth carrying a piece of paper in your wallet or purse.


One device away from happiness…