AngularJS First Toronto Meetup Video

AngularJS is a JavaScript MVW (model-view-whatever) Framework developed by Google that is gaining popularity as it shifts some of the load from the backend to the client browser frontend. That’s my simplified explanation.

AngularJS is just over a year old, and on June 19th Toronto held its first Meetup. I decided to go as I’m always interested in ways to lessen the backend load and this new framework has potential. At the last minute I decided to record the event. Unfortunately there was no proper place to setup my small Zoom Q3HD camera but with a little editing it seems to have turned out ok.

The Day Before Google I/O I’m All In

Tomorrow is Google’s annual developer conference, Google I/O, a rite of passage for any serious developer. One in which I’ve yet been able to attend. Well, there’s always next year.

Leading into this years conference I’ve decided to make a few changes in my social networking usage and strategy. Not just for me personally, but also for my business.

I’m going all in on Google and in particular Google Plus.

There’s been an explosion of social media services in the last five years with Facebook leading the way. However, I don’t particularly like Facebook.

Facebook has been a huge success. However they’ve made many missteps, in particular to privacy which is a very serious issue.

If you ask a user to share information, some of it very personal, then you have to give them the tools  to manage their privacy. Not only has Facebook messed this up, they just can’t seem to get it right and keep it simple.

This is one of the reasons I prefer Google Plus and why I see a bright future for this service. Google Plus is easy to use, intuitive, offers better privacy control and has a clean uncluttered interface.

If you spend 30 uninterrupted minutes digging into all the nooks and crannies of Google Plus you will be able to master it. That’s all it takes.

But Google Plus is much more than a social networking tool. Google Plus is the glue that is unifying many of the best Google services available. And therein lies a winning strategy.

I’ve heard people refer to Google as the Borg, you will be assimilated.

However, unlike in the fictional series Star Trek, where assimilation by the Borg is not an option, with Google you have the choice to use their services or not. The reason the analogy exists is the mere fact that many of their products are that good.

Does Google Plus have a future? As long as Google sees it as a core product that fits their overall strategy, then yes. It also helps that it’s growing fast, and I mean really fast.

In December Google said it 500 million people had created accounts. And just recently Business Insider reported that they had 359 million active users and was growing faster than Twitter.

I’ll still use Facebook to post updates but I’ll be sending the traffic to my Google Plus account. So why not add me to your circles?

At What Point do Cyber Attacks Turn Into a Conventional War?

If you’re an online business or a person of interest, then at some point someone has tried to hack into your computer or your organizations computers.

This past week Mandiant, an information security company, released a report that exposed one of China’s government cyber espionage units. China for its part vehemently denied the report.

“APT1 is among dozens of threat groups Mandiant tracks around the world, and one of more than twenty attributed to China that are engaged in computer intrusion activities,” said Kevin Mandia, Mandiant’s chief executive officer. “Given the sheer amount of data this particular group has stolen, we decided it was necessary to arm and prepare as many organizations as possible to prevent additional losses.”
The scathing report reinforces the notion that China has a significant government cyber theft program. While China is in the spotlight, it is not the only country whose government proactively has a cyber theft program in place.

In fact cyber espionage makes the cold war look tame in comparison.

It’s not just corporate data that being stolen from countries globally, but daily attacks are targeting military assets and other assets considered of strategic value such as orbiting commercial satellites.

The Economist among many other publications has several articles on China cyber theft in the wake of the Mandiant report.

They include titles such as “Getting Ugly – If China wants respect abroad, it must rein in its hackers“, to “Hello, Unit 61398“.

From the Economist “Foreign governments and companies have long suspected that the Chinese hackers besieging their networks have links to the country’s armed forces. On February 19th Mandiant, an American security company, offered evidence that this is indeed so. A report, the fruit of six years of investigations, tracks individual members of one Chinese hacker group, with aliases such as Ugly Gorilla and SuperHard, to a nondescript district in residential Shanghai that is home to Unit 61398 of the People’s Liberation Army. China has condemned the Mandiant report. On February 20th America announced plans to combat the theft of trade secrets.”

The ongoing pervasiveness of these global attacks leads to the question, at what point do cyber attacks turn into a conventional war?
It’s not a matter of if, it’s when.

Observation Log September 24, 2012 – The moon, the Double Double, Jupiter and the Pleiades

This is a new feature I’m starting on my site as I’ve decided to get back into astronomy. As a young boy I was given my first telescope when I was 10. Throughout my teens I observed, when I could, and enjoyed it. Some of my fondest memories are from viewing at our home on the West Island of Montreal looking at Orion or Saturn in the frigid winter months with the crisp clear air. But then, as is the case with many people who don’t make astronomy their careers, you move on to other things that dominate your life.

And it’s kind of ironic that I’ve started to get back into astronomy. After all I run a media company that covers the space sector!

Anyway, this is my first observation log, subsequent ones won’t contain the intro.

Observation Log: Monday, September 24, 2012
Location: Napanee Dark Sky Viewing Area
44° 33′ 33.8″ N
77° 07′ 01.4″ W

Elevation: ~100 meters

Time Zone: GMT -4

Equipment:William Optics ZenithStar 70mm on a standard Manfrotto tripod with a Nikon D5100 camera. I also had a 50mm and 10-24mm Nikkor lenses.

The weather during the day was very nice but towards the late afternoon clouds were rolling in. I was told they would clear up eventually and they did around 9:45 pm. The evening was cool and by the time I left it was about 8C.

Notes: For my first foray back into observing I couldn’t have picked a better location than the Napanee Dark Sky Viewing area in southeast Ontario. The idea originated with well known author and astronomer Terrence Dickinson who lives in the area. He approached Lennox and Addington County who endorsed the idea and with help of many other locals they created this wonderful viewing location.

I decided to try it out as I had a week off and was heading to Montreal. I’m glad I did as it gave me an opportunity to test out the Williams Optics ZenithStar 70mm telescope I had recently purchased on sale. It was a discontinued model so I got it at nice reduced price. It’s a great little scope both for viewing and astrophotography.

Unfortunately I had no lenses or a telescope tracking mount! What did have was my handy Manfrotto camera tripod and my Nikon D5100 camera. Since I’m really interested in astrophotography my setup was just fine for a ‘newbie’. I’m not really a newbie to astronomy but it’s been so long since I was active.

Observations: (Click on each image for larger versions)

The Moon: Tonight the moon was not quite full, about 3/4, what is called a gibbous moon. I setup around 6:45 but sightings of the moon were fleeting until about 9:45 when the sky cleared completely for about 2 1/2 hours.

Here’s a picture I took at 9:55 pm with the camera attached to the telescope. Settings were ISO 1600, shutter speed 1/1000.

And here’s the full size:

In reviewing my notes I see that at 10:12 I saw a meteor coming from the southwest to the northeast. It was a fast one.

The Double Double: Now that skies had started to clear the moon shown brightly which unfortunately affected everything else I was looking at. I decided to have a look at Vega and in doing so reacquainted myself with The Double Double which was just north in the sky of Vega in the constellation Lyra – The Lyre.

Here’s a picture I took at 10:31 pm of Epsilon 1 Lyrae and Epsilon 2 Lyrae. What’s unique about these stars is that they’re actually two sets of double stars! Unfortunately I could not resolve each set with the setup I had. To the bottom right of the Double Double is the HR 7401, a K5III orange-red giant star.

Settings: ISO 400, shutter speed 1/5, auto white balance, no image modifications.

The Pleiades:
I then decided to take some pictures of the Pleiades. The first picture was taken at 10:42:30.
Settings: ISO 1600, shutter speed 1.4 second exposure, auto white balance, no image modifications.

The following picture shows the above picture on the left and on the right is another I took at 10:42:53, 23 seconds later. You’ll see something that wasn’t there before. Can you guess what it is?
Settings: ISO 1600, shutter speed 1.0 second exposure, auto white balance, no image modifications.

It’s a plane!

Jupiter and its moons:

Settings: ISO 8000, shutter speed 1/5, auto white balance, no image modifications.
This image and larger version below was take at 11:28. The moons you see from bottom left to top right are Ganymede, Io and Callisto.

And the full zoom.

Conclusions: It was a great 1st night even though the clouds were a problem and the moon was bright. I’m happy with my images but I know they are very amateur and I have a ways to go before I can take professional quality images. I’m learning a lot and it’s a fun hobby. Now if I could only earn money doing this. 🙂

Clear skies.

PS If visiting the Napanee Dark Sky site there are two good places to stay in Napanee that I’m aware of. I stayed at the Hampton Inn but there’s also the cheaper Fox Motor Inn which I’m told by a couple I met there that it was nice, clean and cheap at around $75 a night.