Haskell is lauded for being a good foundation for building high quality software. The strong type system eliminates huge classes of runtime errors, laziness-forced-purity aides in separating messy IO from pure computational work, and the wealth of tools like quickcheck mean that individual codebases can be robustly unit tested.
That’s fine when your service runs from a single program. Building anything larger requires integration testing of components and that can be difficult when it’s a distributed system.
Over the past year, one of our projects has been building a data vault for system metrics. It has all the usual suspects: client side code in various languages, message queues and brokers, daemons ingesting data, more daemons to read data out again, analytics tools, and so on.
Testing all this was challenging; in essence we didn’t have any integration testing and overall-function testing was often manual.
As we embarked on a rewrite, a small change was made: the message broker was rewritten in Haskell and the daemon code was made a library. Soon other formerly independent Haskell programs were turned into libraries and linked in too. And before we knew it, we had the entire distributed system able to be tested as a single binary being quickchecked end-to-end. This is very cool.
This has, however, raised a bigger possibility: if each project is a library, can you express the entire company as the composition of these various libraries in a single executable? We have people working on internal APIs, monitoring systems, and infrastructure management tools.
These projects are all in a state of flux, but bringing the power of the Haskell compiler and type system to bear on the ecosystem as a whole has already improved interaction between teams.
There are a number of hard problems. Not everything is written in Haskell. Many systems have external dependencies (databases, third party web services, etc). This talk will describe our approaches to each of these, and our progress in abstracting the overall idea further.
[Pop culture reference: last year, Twitter released a paper describing how they compose services, titled "Your Server as a Function", Proceedings of the Seventh Workshop on Programming Languages and Operating Systems (PLOS '13), Article No. 5]
We have had 2 users this morning hit a Forbes page:Â hxxp://www.forbes.com/sites/jimblasingame/2013/05/07/success-or-achievement/
And then after being referred from there to:Â hxxp://ml314.com/tag.aspx?2772014
They are setting off our FireEye web appliance. It is advising that this is an “Infection Match” which I am not entirely familiar with their systems determinations as it is fairly new to us. I called down the source of the link they went to and can submit that as well if you would like it, but I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet just beautified it and saved it.
$ whois ml314.comâ€‹
Â Â Domain Name: ML314.COM
Â Â Name Server: NS.RACKSPACE.COM
Â Â Name Server: NS2.RACKSPACE.COM
Â Â Updated Date: 22-apr-2013
Â Â Creation Date: 22-apr-2013
Â Â Expiration Date: 22-apr-2018
â€‹Admin Organization: Madison Logic
Admin Street: 257 Park Ave South
Admin Street: 5th Floor
The Linux Foundation has announced a new conference called “Vault” that will focus on storage and filesystems for Linux. It will be co-located with the annual invitation-only Linux Storage, Filesystem and Memory Management Summit and will be held March 11-12, 2015 at the Revere Hotel in Boston. “’90% of the world’s data has been created in the last few years and most of that data is being stored and accessed via a Linux-based system,’ said Linux Foundation Chief Marketing Officer Amanda McPherson. ‘Now is the ideal time to bring the open source community together in this new forum, Vault, to collaborate on new methods of improving capacity, efficiency and security to manage the huge data volumes envisioned in the coming years. By bringing together the leading minds of Linux file systems and storage and our members who are pushing the limits of what is possible, Vault should expand the state of the art in Linux.’”
Russell Pavlicek looks at the rivalry between containers and hypervisors over at Linux.com. He outlines the arguments for and against each, and follows it up with a description of a new contender for a “cloud operating system”: unikernels.
“Unikernel systems create tiny VMs. Mirage OS from the Xen Project incubator, for example, has created several network devices that run kilobytes in size (yes, that’s “kilobytes” – when was the last time you heard of any VM under a megabyte?). They can get that small because the VM itself does not contain a general-purpose operating system per se, but rather a specially built piece of code that exposes only those operating system functions required by the application.
There is no multi-user operating environment, no shell scripts, and no massive library of utilities to take up room – or to subvert in some nefarious exploit. There is just enough code to make the application run, and precious little for a malefactor to leverage. And in unikernels like Mirage OS, all the code that is present is statically type-safe, from the applications stack all the way down to the device drivers themselves. It’s not the “end-all be-all” of security, but it is certainly heading in the right direction.”
On Red Hat’s developer blog, Máirín Duffy has tips for developers on improving their application’s user experience (UX). “Speaking of speeding things up for your users – one way you can do this is to limit the amount of choices users have to make while using your application. It’s you, my application developer friend, that users are relying on as an expert in the ways of whatever it is that your application does. Users trust you to make set sane defaults based on your domain expertise; when you set defaults, you are also alleviating users from having to make a choice that – depending on their level of expertise – may be quite hard for them to understand.
This isn’t to say you should eliminate all choices and configuration options from your application! Let users ease into it, though. Give them a good default so that your application requires less of them to start, and as they gain expertise and confidence in using your app over time, they can explore the preferences and change those settings based on their needs when they are ready.”
Втора официална тренировка – качване до Копитото. Резултат – 15 км. за 90 мин.,
а връщането от Копитото до светофара на бул. България само за 20 мин. Много
е готино когато в един момент излизаш над дърветата и започват да се виждат
Междувременно три пъти вече се качвам до Тихия кът и се спускам до Владая
по пътеката. В момента я правят и да се кара по нея с 25-30 км/ч както е
покрита с три пръста пясък и тук там чакъл си е добро приключение. Общо
взето държиш здраво кормилото и гледаш да не мърдаш много-много, че иначе
падането не ти мърда.
Дано пътеката стане по-твърда, че в момента ако караме по нея няколко
човека едновременно ще е доста опасно. Иначе от Тихия кът до Владая спускането
ми отнема около 6 мин.
Следващата цел е Кладница, до където трябва да карам три-четири пъти, за
да видя как ще се чувствам след качването и спускането. Трябва да се трупат
Website blocking has become one of the favorite anti-piracy tools of the entertainment industries in recent years.
The UK is a leader on this front, with the High Court ordering local ISPs to block access to dozens of popular file-sharing sites, including The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents.
Not everyone is equally excited about these measures and researchers have called their effectiveness into question. This prompted a Dutch court to lift The Pirate Bay blockade a few months ago. The MPAA, however, hopes to change the tide and prove these researchers wrong.
Earlier today Hollywood’s anti-piracy wish list was revealed through a leaked draft various copyright groups plan to submit to the Australian Government. Buried deep in the report is a rather intriguing statement that refers to internal MPAA research regarding website blockades.
“Recent research of the effectiveness of site blocking orders in the UK found that visits to infringing sites blocked declined by more than 90% in total during the measurement period or by 74.5% when proxy sites are included,” it reads.
MPAA internal research
In other words, MPAA’s own data shows that website blockades do help to deter piracy. Without further details on the methodology it’s hard to evaluate the findings, other than to say that they conflict with previous results.
But there is perhaps an even more interesting angle to the passage than the results themselves.
Why would the MPAA take an interest in the UK blockades when Hollywood has its own anti-piracy outfit (FACT) there? Could it be that the MPAA is planning to push for website blockades in the United States?
This is not the first sign to point in that direction. Two months ago MPAA boss Chris Dodd said that ISP blockades are one of the most effective anti-tools available.
Combine the above with the fact that the United States is by far the biggest traffic source for The Pirate Bay, and slowly the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place.
It seems only a matter of time before the MPAA makes a move towards website blocking in the United States. Whether that’s through a voluntary agreement or via the courts, something is bound to happen.
Last month we put out a blog post advertising that I would be doing a tour of America, with a rough initial route, and we welcomed requests for visits.
Over the next couple of weeks I was overwhelmed with visit requests – I plotted all the locations on a map and created a route aiming to reach as many as possible. This meant covering some distance in the South East before heading back up to follow the route west towards Utah. I prepared a set of slides based on my EuroPython talk, and evolved the deck each day according to the reception, as well as making alterations for the type of audience.
With launching the Education Fund, being in Berlin for a week for EuroPython followed by YRS week and a weekend in Plymouth, I’d barely had time to plan the logistics of the trip – much to the annoyance of our office manager Emma, who had to book me a one-way hire car with very specific pick-up and drop-off locations (trickier than you’d think), and an internal flight back from Salt Lake City. I packed a suitcase of t-shirts for me to wear (wardrobe by Pimoroni) and another suitcase full of 40 brand new Raspberry Pis (B+, naturally) to give away. As I departed for the airport, Emma and Dave stuck a huge Raspberry Pi sticker on my suitcase.
When checking in my suitcase the woman on the desk asked what the Raspberry was, and her colleague explained it to her! In the airport I signed in to the free wifi with one of my aliases, Edward Snowden. I started to think Phil McKracken or Mr. Spock might have been a better choice once I spotted a few security guards seemingly crowding around in my proximity…
Mon 4 – NYC, New York
I managed to board the flight without a federal investigation (although I may now be on the list, if I wasn’t already), and got chatting to the 60 year old Texan lady I was seated with, who hadn’t heard about Raspberry Pi until she managed to land a seat next to me for 8 hours. I had her convinced before we left the ground. I don’t know how he does it, but Richard Branson makes 8 hours on a tin can in the sky feel like heaven. Virgin Atlantic is great!
Upon landing at JFK I was subjected to two hours’ queuing (it was nice of them to welcome us with traditional British pastimes), followed by a half-hour wait to get through customs. I felt I ought to declare that I was bringing forty computers in to the country (also stating they were to be given away), and was asked to explain what they were, show one to the officer who took hold of one of the copies of Carrie Anne‘s book, Adventures in Raspberry Pi, to validate my explanation. Fortunately I was not required to participate in a pop quiz on Python indentation, GPIO, Turtle graphics and Minecraft, as he took my word for it and let me through. I was then given the chance to queue yet again – this time about 45 minutes for a taxi to Manhattan. I arrived at Sam‘s house much later than I’d anticipated much she was there to greet me by hanging her head out the window and shouting “MORNING BEN”. An in-joke from a time we both lived in Manchester.
We ate and met my friend-from-the-internet Aidan, we went to a bar until what was 5am on my body clock. A sensible approach, I thought, was to just stay up and then get up at a normal time the next day. I awoke and saw the time was 6.00 – my jetlagged and exhausted mind decided it was more likely to be 6pm than 6am, but it was wrong. I arose and confirmed a meeting time and place for my first visit – just a few blocks away from Sam’s apartment in Manhattan.
Tue 5 – NYC, New York
I met Cameron and Jason who had set up a summer class teaching a computing course for locals aged 18-and-under for 2 weeks, delivered purely on Raspberry Pis! I chatted with them before the students arrived, and they told me about how they set up the non-profit organisation STEMLadder, and that they were letting the students take the Pis home at the end of the course. Today’s class was on using Python with Minecraft – using some material they found online, including a resource I helped put together with Carrie Anne for our resources section.
I gave an introduction about the Raspberry Pi Foundation and showed some example projects and then the kids did the Python exercises while working on their own “side projects” (building cool stuff while the course leaders weren’t looking)!
Thanks to Cameron and Jason for taking the opportunity to provide a free course for young people. A perfect example use for Raspberry Pi!
Wed 6 – Washington, DC
On Wednesday morning I collected my hire car (a mighty Nissan Altima) and set off for Washington, DC! I’ve only been driving for less than a year so getting in a big American car and the prospect of using the streets of Manhattan to warm up seemed rather daunting to me! I had a GPS device which alleviated some of my concern – and I headed South (yes, on the wrong side of the road).
I’d arranged to meet Jackie at 18F – a digital services agency project in the US government General Services Administration. This came about when I met Matt from Twilio at EuroPython, who’d done a similar tour (over 5 months). After a 6 hour drive including horrendous traffic around Washington (during which I spotted a sign saying “NSA – next right – exployees only“, making me chuckle), I arrived and entered 18F’s HQ (at 1800 F Street) where I had to go through security as it was an official government building. I was warned by Jackie by email that the people I’d be meeting would be wearing suits but I need not worry and wear what I pleased – so I proudly wore shorts and a green Raspberry Pi t-shirt. I met with some of the team and discussed some of their work. 18F was set up to replicate some of the recent initiatives of the UK government, such as open data, open source projects and use of GitHub for transparency. They also work on projects dealing with emergency situations, such as use of smartphones to direct people to sources of aid during a disaster, and using Raspberry Pis to provide an emergency communication system.
We then left 18F for the DC Python / Django District user group, where I gave a talk on interesting Python projects on Raspberry Pi. The talk was well received and I took some great questions from the audience. I stayed the night in Washington and decided to use the morning to walk round the monuments before leaving for North Carolina. I walked by the White House, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial and took some awkward selfies:
Thu 7 – Raleigh, North Carolina
I left DC and it took me 6 hours to get to North Carolina. I arrived at the University (NCSU) in Raleigh just in time for the event – Code in the Classroom - hosted at the Hunt library and organised by Elliot from Trinket. I set my laptop up while Eliot introduced the event and began my talk. There was a good crowd of about 60 people – from around age 7 to 70!
The talk went down well, and I received many questions about teaching styles, classroom management and the future of the hardware. One older chap, who has been running a summer coding club on the Pi shouted out: “Where were you two weeks ago when I needed you!?” when I answered one of his questions, which generated laughter from the audience. I also had a teacher approach me after the talk asking if she could take a selfie with me to show her students she’d met someone from Raspberry Pi – I happily obliged and showed her some of my awkward selfies from Washington, DC. She asked if we could take an awkward one too – needless to say, I happily obliged!
Elliot had arranged a room next door to the lecture theatre with some Pis set up for kids to play on. I gave out some Pis to the kids and it was well over an hour before the last of them were dragged home by their parents. I chatted with Elliot and the others about them setting up a regular event in Raleigh – as there was obviously huge demand for Pi amongst kids and adults in the area and beyond (I’d heard someone had driven up from Florida to attend the talk!) – and so I look forward to hearing about the Raleigh Raspberry Jam soon! A few of us went out to get pizza, and we were accompanied by one of the smartest kids I’ve ever met – and among interesting and inspiring conversation, he kept asking me seemingly innocent questions like “what do you call that thing at the back of your car?” to which I’d reply with the British word he wanted me to speak! (It’s a boot.)
Here’s a video of the talk:
I thanked Elliot and departed for Greensboro, where I’d arranged to stay with my friend Rob from my university canoe club, and his wife Kendra.
Fri 8 – Charlotte, North Carolina
In the morning I left for UNC Charlotte where I spoke to embeddable systems engineering students at EPIC (Energy Production Infrastructure Centre). There was a good crowd of about 60 students and a few members of staff. When I entered the room they were playing Matt Timmons-Brown’sYouTube videos – what a warm-up act!
Following the talk I chatted with students about their projects, answered some questions, deferred some technical questions to Gordon and Alex, and was taken out to a brilliant craft beer bar for a beer and burger with some of the staff.
In the evening Rob, Kendra and I went out to eat – we had a beer in a book shop and ate bacon (out of a jam jar) dipped in chocolate. True story. We also took some group awkward selfies:
Sat 9 – Pigeon River, Tennessee
The Saturday I’d assigned to be a day off – I hoped to go kayaking with Rob but he had to work and Kendra was busy so Rob put me in touch with some paddling friends who welcomed me to join them on a trip to the Pigeon River in Tennessee! An early start of 6am left me snoozing in the back of the car, which Matt took the chance to snap a picture of and post it to Facebook (I only found out when Rob mentioned it later that evening). We had a nice couple of runs of the river by kayak, accompanied by a rafting party. And another awkward selfie.
Sun 10 – Lawrenceville, Georgia
On Sunday morning I left Rob and Kendra’s for Georgia. One of the requests I’d had was from a man called Jerry who just wanted to meet me if I was passing by. I said it’d be great if he could set up a public meeting to be more inclusive – and he got back in touch with a meetup link for an event at Geekspace Gwinnett – a community centre and hackspace in Lawrenceville. I pulled up, shook hands with Jerry and was shown to the front of the room to connect up my laptop. There was a larger crowd than I’d imagined, seeing as Jerry had set the event up just a few days prior to this – but there were about 40 people there, who were all very interested in Raspberry Pi and after my talk we had a great discussion of everyone’s personal projects.
Liz, who runs marketing for the space, gave me a tour, and Joe, the guy setting up the AV for my presentation spotted the Adventure Time stickers on my laptop and told me he worked for Turner in Atlanta who broadcast Cartoon Network, and offered to give me a tour of the network when he went on his night shift that evening. I went to Jerry’s house where he and his wife cooked for me and he showed me Pi Plates, the extension board he’s been working on.
I then left to meet Liz and her husband, Steve, who has been working on a huge robotics project – a whole wearable suit (like armour) that’s powered by a Pi and will make sounds and be scary! I look forward to the finished product. They also have an arcade machine Steve built years ago (pre-Pi) which houses a PC and which, he claims, had basicallyevery arcade game ever on it.
Did you know there was a Michael Jackson game for the Sega Mega Drive, where you have to perform dance moves to save the children? Neither did I
We set off for Atlanta at about 11.30pm and I witnessed its beautiful skyline, which is well lit up at night. We arrived at Turner and met Joe, who gave us the tour – I’ve never seen so many screens in my life. They show all the broadcast material for TV and web on screens and have people sit and watch them to ensure the integrity of the material and ensure the advertising rules are adhered to. We also saw the Cartoon Network floor of the office side of the building where staff there work on the merchandise for shows like Adventure Time!
Joe also showed us the Turner Makers room – a mini hackspace for the Turner staff to work on side projects – he told me of one which used a Raspberry Pi to control steps that would light up and play a musical note as you walked across them. They’re currently working on a large games arcade BMO with a normal PC size screen as a display – I look forward to seeing it in action when it’s finished.
I then left Georgia to return to Tennessee, where I’d arranged to visit Red Bank Middle School in Chattanooga. I arrived at the school, signed in to get my visitor’s badge and met Kimberly Elbakidze - better known to her students as Dr. E – who greeted me with a large Subway sandwich. I ate in the canteen and while chatting with some of the staff I noticed the uniformed security guard patrolling the room had a gun on his belt. Apparently this is normal in American schools.
It was the first day back at the school, so the children were being oriented in their new classes. I gave two short talks, introducing the Raspberry Pi and what you can do with it – to sixth and eighth graders, and opened for some questions:
“Do you like Dr. Who?”
“Is that your real accent?”
“Are you really from England?”
“Can I get a picture with you?”
“Can I keep Babbage?”
I wrapped up, left them a copy of Carrie Anne’s book and some Pis, and went on my way. I’d intended to get online and confirm the details of my next school visit (I’d arranged the date with the teacher, but we hadn’t settled on the time or what we were doing), but access to the internet from the school was restricted to staff so I couldn’t get on. I had to set off for Alabama, and only had the school name and the town. I put the town name in to my car’s GPS and set off.
Tue 12 – Talladega, Alabama
I arrived in Talladega town centre unsure how close I was to the school. I parked up and wandered down the main street in magnificent sunshine and intense heat looking for a McDonald’s or Starbucks, hoping to get on some WiFi to check where it was. With no luck, I headed back to the car and decided to just find a hotel and hope that I was at least nearby. I asked someone sitting outside a shop if they knew of the school – RL Young Elementary School – and they said it was just 15 minutes or so away, so I asked for a nearby hotel and she pointed me in the right direction. As I neared the car, the intense heat turned in to a terrific storm – the 5 minute drive to the hotel was in the worst rain I’ve ever seen.
I checked in to the hotel and got on with my emails – I sent one to the teacher who’d requested me at the school to say I’d arrived in Talladega, that I was staying in the Holiday Inn, and asked what time I should come in. My hotel phone rang 5 minutes later – it was the husband of the teacher. Trey said the principal hadn’t been told about the visit yet, and the details needed to be confirmed with her before we set a time – but they would sort it out as soon as possible and let me know. He offered to take me out for a meal that night so I arranged to meet him within an hour. Just as I was leaving I got an email from someone called Andrew who said he’d just spotted I was in Talladega, and asked if I could meet him if I had time – I said if he could get to the restaurant, I’d be there for the next couple of hours.
As I arrived I met them both, and introduced them to each other. Driving through that afternoon I’d noticed the town has about 50 churches. Trey said he recognised Andrew’s surname, and Andrew said his father was the priest of one of the churches, and Trey said he knew him. Andrew was also training to become a priest like his Dad, and Trey said he’d skipped Bible school that night to come and meet me. We had a nice meal and a chat and Trey said he’d let me know in the morning what the plans for the school visit were. Andrew offered to take me out for breakfast and show me around the town. I said I’d contact him in the morning once I’d heard the timings from Trey.
Once I woke up the next morning my email told me I needed to be at the school for about 1pm, so I had time to go to breakfast with Andrew, and he showed me around the place. I also visited his home and his church and met his family. He showed me some Raspberry Pi projects he’s been working on too.
He also offered to help out at the school – RL Young Elementary, so we got my kit and he drove us over. We signed in at reception where we entered our names in to a computer which printed visitor labels (seriously – a whole PC for that – and another just showing pictures of dogs! The Raspberry Pi was definitely needed in this place).
I was to follow a woman from the Red Cross, who gave a talk to the children about the importance of changing their socks every day. I thought an introduction to programming with Minecraft might blow their smelly socks right off!
The principal attempted to introduce me but had no idea who I was or why I was there, so just let me get on with it. I spoke to the young children and introduced the Raspberry Pi, focusing on a Minecraft demo at the end where I let them have a go themselves. The principal thanked me, said it was interesting and wished me a safe trip back to Australia! I left them some Pis and a copy of Adventures in Raspberry Pi.
Wed 13 – Somerville, Tennessee
I’d arranged my next visit with a very enthusiastic teacher called Terri Reeves from the Fayette Academy (a high school) in Somerville, Tennessee. In her original request she’d said she wasn’t really on my route, but would be willing to travel to meet me for some training – but I explained I’d changed my route to try to hit as many requests as I could, so I’d be happy to visit the school. She offered to let me stay at her house, and told me her husband would cook up some Southern Barbecue for me on arrival. It was quite a long drive and I arrived just after sunset – the whole family was sitting around the table ready to eat and I was welcomed to join them. I enjoyed the Southern Barbecue and was treated to some Razzleberry Pie for dessert. I played a few rounds of severely energetic ping pong with each of Terri’s incredibly athletic sons and daughters before getting to bed.
I spent most of the day at the school, where I gave my Raspberry Pi talk and demo to each of Terri’s classes. Again, it was the first week back for the school so it was just orientation for students settling in to their classes and new routines. The information went down well across the board and Terri said lots of students wanted to do Raspberry Pi in the after-school classes too.
This is what the Raspberry Pi website looks like in the school, as Vimeo is blocked
I joined some students for lunch, who quizzed me on my English vocabulary and understanding of American ways – they thought it was hilarious when I pointed out they said “Y’all” too much. I suggested they replace it with “dawg”. I do hope this lives on.
I also took a look at a project Terri had been trying to make in her free period – she’d been following some (really bad) instructions for setting up a webcam stream from a Pi. I diagnosed the problem fairly quickly – the apt-get install motion command she’d typed had failed as the site containing the .deb (hexxeh.net) was blocked on the school network (for no good reason!) – I asked if we could get it unblocked and the network administrator came over and unblocked it. She originally only wanted to unlock it for the Pi’s IP address but I explained it would mean no-one could install things or update their Pis without access to that website, so she unlocked it from the system. I tried again and there were no further problems so we proceeded to the next steps.
When I returned to Terri’s house she asked me to help her with webcam project again – I checked she’d done all the steps and tried opening the stream from VLC Player on my laptop. I’ve never heard anyone shriek with joy so loud when she saw the webcam picture of us on that screen! Terri was overjoyed I’d managed to help her get that far.
Thu 14 – Louisville, Kentucky
I left the next morning for Louisville (pronounced Lou-er-vul), and en route I realised I’d started to lose my voice. I arrived in the afternoon for an event at FirstBuild, a community hackspace run by General Electric. The event opened with an introduction and a few words from me, and then people just came to ask me questions and show me their projects while others were shown around the space and introduced to the equipment.
We then proceeded to the LVL1 hackerspace where I was given a tour before people arrived for my talk. By this point my voice had got quite bad, and unfortunately there was no microphone available and the room was a large echoey space. However I asked people to save questions to the end and did my best to project my voice. I answered a number of great questions and got to see some interesting projects afterwards.
Fri 15 – St. Louis, Missouri
Next – St. Louis (pronounced Saint Lewis), Missouri – the home of Chuck Berry. I had a full day planned by teacher and tinkerer Drew McAllister from St. John Vianney High School. He’d arranged for me to meet people at the Grand Center Arts Academy at noon, then go to his school to speak to a class and the after school tech club followed by a talk at a hackspace in the evening.
I was stuck in traffic, and didn’t make it to the GCAA meetup in time to meet with them, so we headed straight to the school where I gave a talk to some very smartly dressed high school students, which was broadcast to the web via Google Hangouts. Several people told me afterwards how bad my voice sounded on the Hangout. Here it is:
I had a few minutes’ rest before moving next door to the server room, where they host the after school tech club – Drew kindly filled in the introduction of the Pi to begin (to save my voice) and asked students if they knew what each of the parts of the Pi were for. I continued from there and showed examples of cool projects I thought they’d like. I gave Drew some Pis for the club and donated some Adafruit vouchers gifted by James Mitchell – as I thought they’d use them well.
Drew showed me around St. Louis and took me out for a meal (I consumed lots of hot tea for my throat) before we went to the Arch Reactor hackerspace. I gave my talk and answered a lot of questions before being given a tour of the space.
Throat sweet selfie
Sat 16 – Colombia, Missouri
In the morning I left in the direction of Denver, which was a journey long enough to have to break up over two days. With no visit requests in Kansas City, but one in Colombia, which was on my way but not very far away, I stopped there to meet with a group called MOREnet, who provide internet connection and technical support to schools and universities. Rather than have me give a talk, they just organised a sit-down chat and asked me questions about education, teacher training and interesting ways of learning with Raspberry Pi. Some of the chat was video recorded which you can watch at more.net (please excuse my voice).
I even got to try Google Cardboard – a simple virtual reality headset made with cardboard and an Android phone. A very nice piece of kit! I stayed a couple of hours and made my way West. I’d asked around for a good place to stay that night on my way to Denver. Some people had suggested Hays in Kansas so I set that as my destination. It had taken me 2 hours to get to Columbia and would be another 6+ hours to Hays, so it was always going to be a long day, but at least I was in no rush to arrive anywhere for a talk or event.
Kansas City Selfie
I stopped briefly in Kansas City (actually in the state of Missouri, not Kansas) to find almost nobody out and almost everything closed. I think it’s more of a nightlife town. I finally arrived in Hays at 8.30pm after the boring drive through Kansas and checked in to a hotel just in time for a quick dip in the swimming pool.
Sun 17 – Denver, Colorado
I left Hays for Denver, which meant I had a good 5+ hour drive ahead – all along that same freeway – the I-70, to arrive at denhac, the Denver Hackspace for 4pm. I’d also arranged late the night before to visit another Denver hackspace afterwards, so I said I’d be there at 7pm. On my way in to Denver I noticed a great change in weather – and saw lots of dark grey and black clouds ahead – and as I got closer I entered some rough winds and even witnessed a dust storm, where dust from the soil and crops of the fields was swept in to the air. It was surreal to drive through!
I arrived just on time and was greeted by Sean, who had invited me. He introduced me to the members, all sitting around their laptop screens, and was given a tour of the space. He was telling me how the price of the space had been rising recently due to the new demand for warehouse space such as theirs for growing cannabis, now that it is legal in Colorado. I took some pictures of cool stuff around the space, including a Pibow-encased Pi powering a 3D printer. I even got to try on Sean’s Google Glass (I think Cardboard is much better).
To Grace Hopper, you will always be grasshopper
One of the neatest Pi cases I’ve ever seen
I met a young girl, about 12 years old, who told me she recently went in to an electronics shop saying she wanted to buy a Raspberry Pi for a new project, and the member of staff she spoke to had never heard of a Raspberry Pi and assumed she wanted to cook one. Anyway, I gave her one of mine – she was delighted and immediately announced it in the networked Minecraft game she was hosting. I gave my talk in their classroom (great to see a classroom in a hackspace) before heading to my next stop – TinkerMill.
TinkerMill is a large hackspace, coworking space and startup accelerator in Denver. On arrival a group of people were sitting ready for my talk, so I got set up and was introduced by Dan, who runs the space and works out of it. The hackspace version of my talk includes more technical detail and updates on our engineering efforts. This went down well with the group and after answering a few questions we broke out in to chat when we discussed the Pi’s possibilities and what great things have come out of the educational mission.
I found a Mini Me
I also met a woman called Megg who was standing at the back of the room, I got chatting to her and she asked me a few questions. She hadn’t attended the event but just came to use the laser cutter for the evening, and caught the end of the talk. She kept asking me questions about the Pi, and in answering them I basically gave the talk again. She said the reason she’d not come to the talk was that she was looking to use the Arduino in some future projects because she assumed it would be easier than using a Pi, based on the fact she’d heard you could do more with a Pi, so it must be more complex. I explained the difference to her hoping this would shed light on how the Pi might be useful to her after all, and that she would be able to choose a suitable and appropriate tool or language on the Pi, which is not an option with Arduino. She also discussed ideas for creative projects and wearables which were really interesting and I told her all about Rachel’s project Zoe Star and put her in touch with Rachel, Charlotte and Amy. Dan took Meg and me out to dinner and we had a great time.
Mon 18 – Boulder, Colorado
Dan offered to put me up and show me around Denver the following day – I’d originally planned to get straight off to Utah the next day but it made sense to have an extra day in Denver – I’m glad I did as I really enjoyed the town and got to have a great chilled out day before driving again. We drove up one of the nearby mountains to a height of almost 10,000 feet.
I wandered around Boulder, a wonderful town full of cafes, restaurants and interesting shops. I ended up buying most of my awful souvenirs there – including a three-tiered monkey statue for Liz:
We ate at a restaurant called Fork so it seemed appropriate to get a picture for my Git/GitHub advocacy!
Colorado seemed to be the most recognisable state in all the places I visited, by which I mean it was culturally closest to Britain. My accent didn’t seem too far from theirs, either. A really nice place with great food and culture, with mountains and rivers right on hand. I could live in a place like that!
Tue 19 – Provo, Utah
I left Dan’s in the morning and headed West along the I-70 again. After a couple of bathroom breaks I got on some McDonald’s WiFi and checked my email and twitter – I’d had a tweet asking if I would be up for speaking in Provo that night. I thought “why not?” and said yes – expecting to arrive by 7pm, I suggested they make it 8pm just in case. I was actually heading to Provo already, in hope of meeting up with some family friends, Ken and Gary, who I stayed with last time I visited Utah. I hadn’t managed to get hold of them yet, but I kept ringing every now and then to see if they were around. When I finally got hold of them, they asked if they could come to see my presentation – so I told them where it was and said I’d see them there.
As I entered Utah the scenery got more and more beautiful – I pulled up a few times to get pictures. The moment I passed the ‘Welcome to Utah’ sign I realised what a huge feat I’d accomplished, and as I started to see signs to Salt Lake City – my end point – I was overjoyed. I hadn’t covered much distance across the country in my first week, as I’d gone South, along a bit, North and East a bit before finally setting off from St. Louis in the direction of the West Coast, so finally starting to see the blue dot on my map look a lot closer to California meant a lot.
I arrived in Provo about 7.30, located the venue, the Provo Web Academy, and by the time I found the right place and parked up it was 8pm. I was greeted by the event organiser, Derek, and my friends Ken and Gary! I hadn’t seen them for 13 years so it was a pleasure to meet again. I set up my presentation and gave my talk, had some great questions and inspired the group of about 20 (not bad, to say it had been organised just a few hours earlier) to make cool things with Pi and teach others to do the same. I went out to eat with Ken and Gary and caught up with them.
Wed 20 – Logan, Utah
The next day I had my talk planned for 4pm in Logan (North of Salt Lake City) so I had all morning free to spend with Ken (retired) while Gary was at work. Back story: my Mum (a primary school teacher) spent a year at a school in Utah in 1983-84 on an exchange programme. Ken was a fellow teacher at the school, and like many others, including families of the kids she taught, she kept in touch with him. As I said, we visited in 2001 while on a family holiday, and stayed with them on their farm. So Ken and I went to the school – obviously many of the staff there knew Ken as he only recently retired, and he told them all about my Mum and that I was touring America and wanted to visit the school. None of the teachers there were around in 1984, but some of the older ones remembered hearing about the English teachers who came that year. I took photos of the school and my Mum’s old classroom and sent them to her. We visited another teacher from that time who knew all about me from my Mum’s Christmas letter (yikes!) and even went to see the trailer my Mum lived in for the year!
I then left Provo for Logan, where the talk was to take place at Utah State University. I’d prepared a talk for university students, really, but discovered there was a large proportion of children there from a makers group for getting kids in to tech hardware projects – but they seemed to follow along and get some inspiration from the project ideas. Down to my last two Pis, I did what I did at most events and called out for the youngest people in the room – these went to 5 and 7 year olds, and my demo Babbage (I mention Dave Akerman’s Space Babbage in all my talks) was given out to a family too.
My final talk was recorded, but they told me they were recording the other screen so I’m out of the frame in most of the video.
Happy to have completed the tour, sad for my journey to be coming to and end, but glad to be able to sit down and take a breather, I chilled out for a while before heading back to Provo for my final night in America. I thought at one point I wouldn’t make it back as I hit a storm on my way home, and could barely see the road in front of me due to the incredible rain. The entire 4-lane freeway slowing to 40mph with high beams glaring, catching a glimpse of the white lines now and then and correcting the wheel accordingly, I made it home safely to join Ken and Gary for dinner.
Ken, me, Gary
Thu 21 – Salt Lake City, Utah
I bid farewell and left for the airport, returned my hire car with 4272 miles on it – which was 10% of the car’s overall mileage!
I flew from Salt Lake City to New York and stupidly forgot to tell them that wasn’t my final destination so I had to retrieve my suitcases at JFK baggage claim and check them back in for my next flight – because, you know, I like stress. Luckily I had no problems despite the internal flight running late and me not having a boarding card for my second flight (I had no access to a printer or WiFi in the 24 hours before the flight!), my luggage and all was successfully transported back to London with me. I was driven back to Cambridge, then up to Sheffield where I bought a suit, had my hair cut and attended the wedding of two great friends – Congratulations, Lauren and Dave.
Lauren and Dave
What did I learn?
Despite sales of Pis in America being the biggest in the world, the community is far less developed than it is in the UK and in other parts of Europe. There are hardly any Jams or user groups, but there is plenty of interest!
American teachers want (and need) Picademy – or some equivalent training for using Pis in the classroom.
There is a perception that Raspberry Pi is not big in America (due to lack of community), and assumption Pis are hard to buy in America. While this is still true in many hardware stores (though people should bug stores not selling Pi and accessories to start stocking stuff!), I refer people to Amazon, Adafruit and our main distributors Element14 and RS Components. You can also buy them off the shelf at Radioshack.
If you build it, they will come. Announcing that I would turn up to a hackspace on a particular day brought people from all walks of life together to talk about Raspberry Pi, in much the same way a Raspberry Jam does in the UK. I could stand in front of these people and make them realise there is a community – they’re sitting in the middle of it. All they need is a reason to meet up – a Jam, a talks night, an event, a hack day, a tech club. It’s so easy to get something started, and you don’t need to start big – just get a venue and some space, tell people to turn up with Pis and take it from there.
Huge thanks to all the event organisers, the people who put me up for the night or took me out for a meal, and everyone involved in this trip. Sorry if I didn’t make it to you this time around – but I have a map and list of places we’re required – so we hope to cover more ground in future.
You can view the last iteration of my talk slides at slideshare.
Sarah Sharp has posted an
update on the kernel internships managed through the Outreach Program
for Women, with an emphasis on what past participants are doing now.
“Many people may be disappointed that those three OPW alumni aren’t
working on open source, but I’m overjoyed that these women have found jobs
in the technology sector. This fact is heartening to me because many of the
women that participate in OPW were working in retail before their
internship. To be able to move into the technology sector is a giant step
in the right direction, and I’m happy that the OPW program could be a part
The PHP 5.6.0 release is
available. There’s a number of new features, including constant scalar
expressions, a new “...” operator for both variadic functions and
sequence unpacking, an exponentiation operator, an integrated interactive
debugger, and more. See the PHP 5.6.0
migration guide for more information.
Както вече ви е известно, на 5-ти октомври 2014 ще се проведат парламентарни избори. Всички български граждани навършили 18 годишна възраст имат право да гласуват, независимо къде се намират. Регистрираните в Glasuvam.org получиха информация за изборите в началото на седмицата. Ето най-важното до сега.
Откриване на секции
Според последния Избирателен кодекс, избирателни секции се образуват при следните условия:
поне 100 гласували на дадено място в последните няколко вота
подадени достатъчно заявления за гласуване – 20 за консулство и 40 за други места
по преценка на българските консули на база подадени заявления и концентрация на българи в региона
Заявления за гласуване може да подадете с писмо до консулството ви или електронно на сайта на ЦИК. Срокът за подаване е 9-ти септември. Всички електронни заявления се показват в реално време на картата на Glasuvam.org, като е отбелязано къде стигат, къде – не и къде ще се открият секции автоматично. Окончателният списък ще бъде обявен на 13-ти септември и ще го кача на картата.
Важно е да се разбере, че тези условия не са абсолютни и зависят от други фактори. Някои държави налагат ограничения къде може да се отварят секции. Такъв до скоро беше примерът с Германия, която позволяваше само секции в консулствата. Сега обаче има надежда заради натиска на българските съвети и последната комуникация с немската страна. Надяваме се, че до средата на септември ще имаме повече информация.
Друго усложнение е, че ЦИК изисква от Външно да иска разрешение от приемащите страни (там където такова е нужно) преди да изтече срока на заявленията. Така може да се окаже, че дори да стигат заявления за дадено място, Външно да не е искало разрешение. Допълнително приемащата страна може да откаже. Също така, откриването на секции на някои места може да е невъзможно заради липсата на помещение. Това обаче обикновенно само ограничава броя секции в даден град. Пример е Франкфурт на миналите избори, където физически беше невъзможно да се поместят 3 секции в консулството.
Гласуване в изборния ден
След 13-ти септември на картата на Glasuvam.org ще може да намерите най-близката до вас секция. Мобилният сайт автоматично засича къде сте и ви показва директно адресите. Честа практика е в секциите да се пускат с предимство онези, които вече са подали заявление за гласуване.
Гласува се с българска лична карта, паспорт или военна книжка. Ако документът е изтекъл, при подаване на заявление за нов в консулството, може да поискате удостоверение, с което да гласувате.
Преди да влезете в секцията, трябва да попълните декларация(приложение 23 от документите на ЦИК), че не сте гласували другаде. Може да я попълните вкъщи или на място. Повечето секции осигуряват копирани декларации и място за попълване. Гласуването вътре в секцията протича както и в България. Повече може да научите в решението на ЦИК.
Ще изпратя новини и ще пусна статия тук, когато станат ясни секциите на 13-ти септември. Важно е да се подадат възможно най-много заявления до 9-ти, за да е по-лесно гласуването. Изпратете линка на електорнните заявления до всичките си познати в чужбина.
Abstract: The safety critical nature of traffic infrastructure requires that it be secure against computer-based attacks, but this is not always the case. We investigate a networked traffic signal system currently deployed in the United States and discover a number of security flaws that exist due to systemic failures by the designers. We leverage these flaws to create attacks which gain control of the system, and we successfully demonstrate them on the deployment in coordination with authorities. Our attacks show that an adversary can control traffic infrastructure to cause disruption, degrade safety, or gain an unfair advantage. We make recommendations on how to improve existing systems and discuss the lessons learned for embedded systems security in general.
As the discussions over the future of anti-piracy legislation in Australia continue, a draft submission has revealed the wish-list of local movie groups and their Hollywood paymasters.
The draft, a response to a request by Attorney-General George Brandis and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull for submissions on current anti-piracy proposals, shows a desire to apply extreme pressure to local ISPs.
The authors of the draft (obtained by Crikey, subscription, ) are headed up by the Australia Screen Association, the anti-piracy group previously known as AFACT. While local company Village Roadshow is placed front and center, members including the Motion Picture Association, Disney, Paramount, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal and Warner make for a more familiar read.
Australian citizens – the world’s worst pirates
The companies begin with scathing criticism of the Australian public, branding them the world’s worst pirates, despite the ‘fact’ that content providers “have ensured the ready availability of online digital platforms and education of consumers on where they can acquire legitimate digital content.” It’s a bold claim that will anger many Australians, who even today feel like second-class consumers who have to wait longer and pay more for their content.
So what can be done about the piracy problem?
The draft makes it clear – litigation against individuals isn’t going to work and neither is legal action against “predominantly overseas” sites. The answer, Hollywood says, can be found in tighter control of what happens on the Internet.
Increased ISP liability
In a nutshell, the studios are still stinging over their loss to ISP iiNet in 2012. So now, with the help of the government, they hope to introduce amendments to copyright law in order to remove service providers’ safe harbor if they even suspect infringement is taking place on their networks but fail to take action.
“A new provision would deem authorization [of infringement] to occur where an ISP fails to take reasonable steps – which are also defined inclusively to include compliance with a Code or Regulations – in response to infringements of copyright it knows or reasonably suspects are taking place on its network,” the draft reads.
“A provision in this form would provide great clarity around the steps that an ISP would be required to take to avoid a finding of authorization and provide the very kind of incentive for the ISP to cooperate in the development of a Code.”
With “incentives” in place for them to take “reasonable steps”, ISPs would be expected to agree to various measures (outlined by a ‘Code’ or legislation) to “discourage or reduce” online copyright infringement in order to maintain their safe harbor. It will come as no surprise that subscriber warnings are on the table.
‘Voluntary’ Graduated Response
“These schemes, known as ‘graduated response schemes’, are based on a clear allocation of liability to ISPs that do not (by complying with the scheme) take steps to address copyright infringement by their users,” the studios explain.
“While this allocation of liability does not receive significant attention in most discussions of graduated response schemes, common sense dictates that the schemes would be unlikely to exist (much less be complied with by ISPs) in the absence of this basic incentive structure.”
While pointing out that such schemes are in place in eight countries worldwide, the movie and TV companies say that a number of them contain weaknesses, a trap that Australia must avoid.
“There are flaws in a number of these models, predominantly around the allocation of costs and lack of effective mitigation measures which, if mirrored in Australia, would make such a scheme ineffective and unlikely to be used,” the paper reads.
It appears that the studios believe that the US model, the Copyright Alerts System (CAS), is what Australia should aim for since it has “effective mitigation measures” and they don’t have to foot the entire bill.
“Copyright owners would pay their own costs of identifying the infringements and notifying these to the ISP, while ISPs would bear the costs of matching the IP addresses in the infringement notices to subscribers, issuing the notices and taking any necessary technical mitigation measures,” they explain.
In common with the CAS in the United States, providers would be allowed discretion on mitigation measures for persistent infringers. However, the studios also imply that ISPs’ ‘power to prevent’ piracy should extend to the use of customer contracts.
“[Power] to prevent piracy would include both direct and indirect power and definitions around the nature of the relationship which would recognize the significance of contractual relationships and the power that they provide to prevent or avoid online piracy,” they write.
Voluntary agreements, required by law, one way or another
The key is to make ISPs liable first, the studios argue, then negotiations on a “voluntary” scheme should fall into place.
“Once the authorization liability scheme is amended to make clear that ISPs will be liable for infringements of copyright by their subscribers which they know about but do not take reasonable steps to prevent or avoid, an industry code prescribing the content of those ‘reasonable steps’ is likely to be agreed between rightsholders and ISPs without excessively protracted negotiations.”
However, any failure by the ISPs to come to the table voluntarily should be met by legislative change.
“In the absence of any current intention of and incentive for ISPs in Australia to support such a scheme (and the strong opposition from some ISPs) legislative recognition of the reasonable steps involved in such a scheme is necessary,” they write.
Due to “weakness” in current Australian law in respect of ISP liability, site blocking has proved problematic. What the studios want is a “no-fault” injunction (similar to the model in Ireland) which requires ISPs to block sites like The Pirate Bay without having to target the ISPs themselves.
“Not being the target of a finding against it, an ISP is unlikely to oppose the injunction – as long as the procedural requirements for the injunction are met. Once made, a blocking injunction would immediately prevent Australian internet users from being tempted to or accessing the blocked sites,” the studios explain.
Despite The Pirate Bay doubling its traffic in the face of extensive blocking across Europe, the movie companies believe that not blocking in Australia is part of the problem.
“The absence of a no-fault procedure may explain the very high rates of film and TV piracy in Australia when compared with European countries
that have such a procedure,” they write.
Unsurprisingly, the studios want to keep the bar low when it comes to such injunctions.
“The extended injunctive relief provision should not require the Court to be satisfied that the dominant purpose of the website is to infringe copyright,” they urge.
“Raising the level of proof in this way would severely compromise the effectiveness of the new provision in that it would become significantly more difficult for rightsholders to obtain an injunction under the scheme: allegedly non-infringing content would be pointed to in each case, not for reasons of freedom of access to information on the internet, but purely as a basis to defeat the order.”
The studios also want the ISPs to pick up the bill on site-blocking.
“[Courts in Europe] have ordered the costs of site blocking injunctions be borne by the ISP. The Australian Film/TV Bodies submit that the same position should be adopted in Australia, especially as it is not likely that the evidence would be any different on a similar application here,” they add.
If the studios get everything they’ve asked for in Australia, the ensuing framework could become the benchmark for models of the future. There’s a still a long way to go, however, and some ISPs – iiNet in particular – won’t be an easy nut to crack.
Няма да постигнете разбирателство. И после ти ще се срамуваш от участието си в надлайването, а те ще се гордеят с него.
Игнорирай ги. Докато кучетата си лаят, керванът трябва да върви. Докато злото пръска слюнки и бълва омраза, доброто трябва да работи и да твори добро.
Ако налетят да те хапят, не се колебай да развъртиш тоягата. Те не признават морални победи – признават само физически. Иначе щяха да са хора и нямаше да те лаят и хапят.
А ако на теб самия не ти е достатъчна физическата победа, ако търсиш и морална – просто бъди щастлив, радостен от живота и уверен в себе си. Нечиите кучета никога няма да могат да преглътнат и надживеят това. Те са научени, че нямат право на радост, щастие и увереност. Тези неща идват от това да имаш своя собствена стойност. А в отношенията между кучета и господар право на стойност има само господарят.
Така ще победиш и господаря им. Защото и той е покатерило се по стълбичката нечие куче. Ако беше човек, нямаше да има нужда от кучета, които да облайват и хапят неугодните му – хората нямат нужда другите да бъдат облайвани и хапани, имат я нечиите кучета. Няма да му е по силите да преглътне и надживее, че друг има радостта, щастието и увереността, за които той напразно мечтае. Които си представя, че ще получи, ако ги отнеме от околните. Защото единствената стойност, за която е способен да мечтае, е да е господар на кучета.
Ако ли пък ти се прииска да облаеш някого, огледай се дали някой или нещо не те държи на каишка. Дали не си едно от кучетата му. Не вярвай на лъжите, че това е работа срещу заплащане, защита на убеждения или каквото и да е друго. Който или каквото е човек, ще ти помага да бъдеш човек, няма да те прати да облайваш и хапеш други. Ще го направи който или каквото иска да си му куче, да ти е господар.
Разделяй се с такива веднага и без колебание. Лъжите, с които те държат, може да са всякакви – истината е, че ще загубиш само нашийника и повода си. И стойността, радостта и щастието само колкото и както те ти отпуснат – малко и така, че да могат всеки миг да ти ги вземат. Иначе няма да си зависим от тях, няма да си им куче.
А ще спечелиш това да бъдеш човек. Да изпитваш нужда не от унизяване, а от възвисяване на другите. Да имаш своя собствена стойност, от която не може да те лиши никой. Истинска увереност в себе си, съградена на своята собствена значимост. Своя, сътворена със свои дела радост.
И свое щастие – толкова много, че да ти стига напълно и да остава и за другите.
Every year, the Web Awards recognise the best of the Australian web. The awards seek to recognise the highest standard in website design, content, UX and accessibility and each year attract a wide variety of entries from both agencies and company in-house web teams.
With the 2014 Web Awards looming, the call is out for entries as well as judges. If you’ve worked on a web project you’re particularly proud of in this last year, or know someone whose high standard of work deserves recognition, get your entries in as soon as possible.
Also, if you know someone who would make a great judge, email their name to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re looking for accomplished people in each judging criteria; design, content, UX, development and accessibility.
Being a judge doesn’t prevent him of her from entering also; the judging process means that no judge gets to assess their own work.
So dig out your best work and your proudest achievements and get your dinner suit or posh frock ready for the 2014Web Awards!
The 2015 Startmate accelerator program is now open for applications from budding start-up entrepreneurs looking for a leg-up. Globally recognised, the Australian Startmate program has helped many tech start-ups become established and build that necessary momentum.
One side effect of the rapid evolution in digital technology is the vibrant tech start-up industry. Newspapers love to report on new start-ups that are suddenly acquired for astronomical sums because of the freshness of the idea and the elegance of the solution.
Of course, the main aim of most tech start-ups is to achieve a stable and growing business model, instead of chasing the unrealistic hope of mega deals and digital stardom. Yet, for every Instagram or Dropbox, there are hundreds of otherwise stunning ideas that never even make it to launch.
Turning an idea into a successful start-up is not easy. It requires support, funding and a head for business as well as technology innovation. This is why start-up accelerator programs like Startmate are so important.
Vero and Startmate
“If you have an idea or have been working on something you want to take to the next level, this is the most risk free and effective platform that I’ve seen,” says Chris Hexton of Vero (getvero.com).
Chris originally had a different idea and direction; developing invoicing software. But it was Chris’ involvement in the Startmate program that prompted a switch to something more commercially viable. The result was Vero — an email platform that tracks customer actions to send more relevant and personalised emails. The team quickly grew to five, working hard to establish the business without relying on external funding.
The Vero team gained the most value from working with the Startmate mentors. Each mentor is invited to contribute to the program because of his or her own start-up success, including the founders of tech brands like Atlassian, Spreets and Business Catalyst. Vero’s mentors each brought a different perspective and set of opinions to the project, which all helped Chris and the Vero team to make better, more informed and insightful decisions.
Andrew Rogers, founder of Anchor, is also a Startmate mentor. With Anchor supplying Vero with managed hosting services, Andrew has continued to follow their progress, helping Chris and the team with advice and support as the business has grown.
While the mentors provide the necessary experience and reality-checks, the other participants are also highly supportive and encouraging. With eight eager, embryonic tech companies in one room, the enthusiasm and passion is highly competitive and motivating. This is a shared experience, where individual success is felt by the entire group.
“Be passionate about your idea and your product, but don’t get too emotionally attached in the early validation stages,” says Chris. He credits the Startmate program with providing the insights his team needed to make the right decision and change direction. However, he cautions against losing sight of your core idea. “Listen to everyone, but apply your own grain of salt. You know your business better than anyone, so trust your instincts because they are what got you there in the first place.”
ScriptRock and Startmate
ScriptRock (scriptrock.com) is another Startmate alumni, joining the program in the second year, 2012. Alan and Mike were chosen for the program because of their direct experience of the problem their idea sought to solve. The duo’s deep insight into the customer issue and their commitment to the core idea made them ideal candidates for start-up acceleration.
Alan and Mike both started out as IT infrastructure consultants for the banking sector. They realised there was a more efficient and cost effective way to provide the same system configuration and testing services. The automated platform became ScriptRock.
Both Alan and Mike quit their day jobs to work full time on the new project, relocating to California. Their willingness to take a pay cut and a career risk has come back to reward them. In August 2014, ScriptRock announced $8.7 million in funding from August Capital, Valar Ventures and Squarepeg Capital.
ScriptRock and Vero are not unique. Similar stories emerge every year from the Startmate program. Could 2015 be the start of your tech success story?
Further to the recent story on Memory Trolling for PCI data, I was able to spend one more day fishing in memory, I dug a bit deeper and come up with more fun Credit Card / Memory goodness with our friend the Point of Sale application.
First of all, just searching for credit card numbers returns a lot of duplicates, as indicated in yesterday’s story.Â In the station and POS application I was working with, it turns out that if you search for the card number string plus the word “Approved”, a single line was returned per transaction, with the credit card and PIN.Â For instance, to find all Visa card transactions (one record per transaction):
strings memdump.img | grep VISA | grep -i APPROVEDÂ | wc -lÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 323 Â Â Â Â Â Â
In addition, I was able to find several hundred debit card numbers, simply by using those same search concept, but using the term “INTERAC” instead.Â Note that this search gets you both the approved and not approved transactions.
strings memdump.img | grep INTERAC | grep -i APPROVED | wc -l Â Â Â Â 200
With that done, I started looking at the duplicate data, and realized that some of the duplicate “records” I was tossing out looked interesting – sort of XML-like.Â Â Upon closer inspection, it turns out that they were fully formed MS SQL posts (and no, just as the credit card numbers themselves, I won’t be sharing the text of any of those)
Interestingly, the SQL post formatted the credit card numbers as 123456******1234, such that the first 6 and last 4 digits are in clear text,but the middle digits are masked out. Â
This lines right up with the PCI 2.0 spec, section 3.3, which indicates that if you mask a PAN (Primary Account Number) that way, it is no longer considered sensitive. (https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/documents/pci_dss_v2.pdf).Â I’m not sure how keen I am on 3.3 -Â – I can see that storing this info allows the merchant to use that as a “pseudo customer number”, so that they can track repeat purchases and so on, but I’m not sure that the benefits outweigh the risks in this case.Â Â I’d much prefer encrypting on the reader itself, so that the merchant and POS software never sees the card number at all – it’s encrypted right from the reader to the payment processor (or gateway).
As I said when I started this, I’m not the expert memory carver that some of our readers are – please, use our comment section and tell us what interesting things you’ve found in a memory image!
(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. https://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
A new stable release of the G’MIC image-processing
framework was recently released. Version 1.6.0 adds a number of new commands and filters useful for manipulating image data, as well as
changes to the codebase that will hopefully make G’MIC easier to
integrate into other applications.
Click below (subscribers only) for a look at the G’MIC 1.6.0 release and
associated GIMP plugin.
Carrie Anne – I have an ongoing long-term love affair with Sonic Pi ever since Dr Sam Aaron from the University of Cambridge introduced me to it in late 2012 to help me teach text-based programming to my students. Since then it has been used to teach music and artistic expression thanks to the Sonic Pi Live & Coding project, which I’ll talk more about in the coming months as it reaches its conclusion. A few weeks ago 60 children took part in a Sonic Pi Live & Coding summer school run by artists Juneau Projects at the Cambridge Junction. Here, in their own words, is their take on the experience:
Sonic Pi Live & Coding summer school
The Sonic Pi Live & Coding summer school finished just over three weeks ago, and yet our heads are still full of it! It was a brilliant week where 56 children aged between 10 and 14 years spent the week at the Cambridge Junction, working amazingly hard not only to get to grips with the language of live coding, but also learning how to finesse that language and perform with it using Sonic Pi on Raspberry Pi. It was a beautiful thing to be a part of. Over the course of five days the students went from having never used Sonic Pi before to putting on a concert for an invited audience, incorporating never-before-seen software functions (literally added on the spot by Sam Aaron – the brains behind Sonic Pi – to help realise the students’ ambitions) and incredible showmanship!
Juneau Projects artists Ben & Phil
The plan for the week was not only to introduce the students to the technical aspects of Sonic Pi (i.e. how do you make a sound, and then make it sound how you want it to sound etc) but to offer an overview of what live coding sounds like and looks like and what it might become in the students’ hands. To this end we were lucky enough to see performances by Thor Magnusson, Shelly Knotts and Sam Aaron himself (wearing an incredible cyberpunk/wizard get-up – it’s amazing what a party hat and a pair of novelty sunglasses can do). The students were able to quiz the performers, who were all very open about their practice, and to get a sense not only of how these performers do what they do on-stage but also of why they do what they do.
Sam gives a performance to the students
The summer school was delivered by a great team that we were proud to be part of: Ben Smith, Ross Wilson (both professional musicians) and Jane Stott (head of music at Freman College) had all been part of the initial schools project during the summer term (at Freman College and Coleridge Community College) and brought their experience from those projects to help the students at the summer school on their journey into live coding. Michelle Brace, Laura Norman and Mike Smith did an amazing job of keeping everything moving smoothly over the course of the week, and in addition Michelle did a brilliant job of keeping everybody on track with the Bronze Arts Award that the students were working towards as part of the week, as well as project managing the whole thing! Pam Burnard and Franzi Florack were working on the research component of the project, interviewing students, observing the process of the week and feeding back to us – their feedback was invaluable in terms of keeping the week moving forward in a meaningful way. We had visits from Carrie Anne Philbin and Eben Upton from Raspberry Pi who supported the project throughout. Finally Sam Aaron was resident Sonic Pi guru, handling all those questions that no-one else could answer and being a general all-round ball of live coding enthusiasm.
Buttons + Sonic Pi + Raspberry Pi = Fun
The week held many highlights: the first ever Sonic Pi live coding battle (featuring 56 combatants!); live ambient soundtracks produced by thirty students playing together, conducted by Ross Wilson; Sonic Pi X Factor; and great guest performances by Thor and Shelly. From our perspective though there was no topping the final event. The students worked in self-selected groups to produce a final project. For many this was a live coding performance but the projects also included bespoke controllers designed to aid the learning process of getting to grips with Sonic Pi; ambient soundtrack installations; and a robotic performer (called ‘Pitron’).
The performances themselves were really varied in terms of the sounds and techniques used, but were universally entertaining and demonstrated the amount of information and knowledge the students had absorbed during the week. One group used live instruments fed directly into Sonic Pi, using a new function that Sam coded during the summer school – a Sonic Pi exclusive! A personal highlight were the Sonic Pi-oneers, a seven piece live coding group who blew the crowd away with the breadth of their live coding skills. They’re already being tipped as the One Direction of the live coding world. Another great moment was Pitron’s appearance on stage: Pitron’s creator, Ben, delivered an incredible routine, using lots of live coding skills in combination with genius comedy timing.
Live coding of music with Sonic Pi, instruments and installations.
All in all the summer school was a phenomenal thing to be a part of. We have never quite experienced anything like it before – it truly felt like the start of something new!
Earlier this month we reported how media conglomerate ABS-CBN is going after several website owners who link to pirated streams of its programming.
The Philippines-based company filed a lawsuit at a federal court in Oregon looking for millions of dollars in damages from two local residents. The court case has barely started but that didn’t prevent ABS-CBN from using its journalistic outlet to taint public opinion.
In a news report released by its American branch, the company slams the defendants who they align with hardcore criminals.
The coverage is presented as news but offers no balance. Instead it frames online piracy as a threat to everyone, with billions of dollars in losses that negatively impact America’s education and health care budgets.
But it gets even worse. It’s not just public services that are threatened by online piracy according to the news outlet, national security is at stake as well.
“Piracy actually aids and abets organized crime. Gangs and even terrorist groups have reportedly entered the piracy market because the penalties are much lighter than traditional crimes such as drug dealing – and the profit could be much higher,” ABS-CBN’s senior reporter Henni Espinosa notes.
It’s not the first time that we have heard these allegations. However, for a news organization to present them without context to further its own cause is a line that not even the MPAA and RIAA would dare to cross today.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, on the other hand, has also noticed the link with organized crime and terrorism.
“[Piracy is] supporting their ability to buy drugs and guns and engage in violence. And then, the support of global terrorism, which is a threat to everybody,” LA County Assistant Sheriff Todd Rogers tells the new outlet.
Los Angeles County police say that piracy is one of their top priorities. They hope to make the local neighborhoods a little safer by tracking down these pirates and potential terrorists.
“To identify bad guys that we need to take out of the community so the rest of the folks can enjoy their neighborhood and their families,” Rogers concludes.
Since the above might have to sink in for a moment, we turn to the two Oregon citizens who ABS-CBN based the report on. Are Jeff Ashby and his Filipina wife Lenie Ashby really hardcore criminals?
Based on public statistics the five sites they operated barely had any visitors. According to Jeff he created them for his wife so she could enjoy entertainment from her home country. He actually didn’t make any copies of the media but merely provided links to other websites.
‘I created these websites for my wife who is from the Philippines, so she and others who are far from the Philippines could enjoy materials from their culture that are otherwise unavailable to them, Jeff Ashby wrote to the court.
“Since these materials were already on the web, we did not think there would-be a problem to simply link to them. No content was ever hosted on our server,” he adds.
The websites were all closed as soon as the Oregon couple were informed about the lawsuit. They regret their mistake and say they didn’t know that it could get them into trouble, certainly not $10 million worth of it.
So are these really the evil drug lords or terrorists the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and ABS-CBN are referring to?