Tag Archives: Creativity

Things Go Better With Step Functions

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/things-go-better-with-step-functions/

I often give presentations on Amazon’s culture of innovation, and start out with a slide that features a revealing quote from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos:

I love to sit down with our customers and to learn how we have empowered their creativity and to pursue their dreams. Earlier this year I chatted with Patrick from The Coca-Cola Company in order to learn how they used AWS Step Functions and other AWS services to support the Coke.com Vending Pass program. This program includes drink rewards earned by purchasing products at vending machines equipped to support mobile payments using the Coca-Cola Vending Pass. Participants swipe their NFC-enabled phones to complete an Apple Pay or Android Pay purchase, identifying themselves to the vending machine and earning credit towards future free vending purchases in the process

After the swipe, a combination of SNS topics and AWS Lambda functions initiated a pair of calls to some existing backend code to count the vending points and update the participant’s record. Unfortunately, the backend code was slow to react and had some timing dependencies, leading to missing updates that had the potential to confuse Vending Pass participants. The initial solution to this issue was very simple: modify the Lambda code to include a 90 second delay between the two calls. This solved the problem, but ate up process time for no good reason (billing for the use of Lambda functions is based on the duration of the request, in 100 ms intervals).

In order to make their solution more cost-effective, the team turned to AWS Step Functions, building a very simple state machine. As I wrote in an earlier blog post, Step Functions coordinate the components of distributed applications and microservices at scale, using visual workflows that are easy to build.

Coke built a very simple state machine to simplify their business logic and reduce their costs. Yours can be equally simple, or they can make use of other Step Function features such as sequential and parallel execution and the ability to make decisions and choose alternate states. The Coke state machine looks like this:

The FirstState and the SecondState states (Task states) call the appropriate Lambda functions while Step Functions implements the 90 second delay (a Wait state). This modification simplified their logic and reduced their costs. Here’s how it all fits together:

 

What’s Next
This initial success led them to take a closer look at serverless computing and to consider using it for other projects. Patrick told me that they have already seen a boost in productivity and developer happiness. Developers no longer need to wait for servers to be provisioned, and can now (as Jeff says) unleash their creativity and pursue their dreams. They expect to use Step Functions to improve the scalability, functionality, and reliability of their applications, going far beyond the initial use for the Coca-Cola Vending Pass. For example, Coke has built a serverless solution for publishing nutrition information to their food service partners using Lambda, Step Functions, and API Gateway.

Patrick and his team are now experimenting with machine learning and artificial intelligence. They built a prototype application to analyze a stream of photos from Instagram and extract trends in tastes and flavors. The application (built as a quick, one-day prototype) made use of Lambda, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon Rekognition and was, in Patrick’s words, a “big win and an enabler.”

In order to build serverless applications even more quickly, the development team has created an internal CI/CD reference architecture that builds on the Serverless Application Framework. The architecture includes a guided tour of Serverless and some boilerplate code to access internal services and assets. Patrick told me that this model allows them to easily scale promising projects from “a guy with a computer” to an entire development team.

Patrick will be on stage at AWS re:Invent next to my colleague Tim Bray. To meet them in person, be sure to attend SRV306 – State Machines in the Wild! How Customers Use AWS Step Functions.

Jeff;

Say Hello to the New Atlassian

Post Syndicated from Chris De Santis original https://www.anchor.com.au/blog/2017/09/hello-new-atlassian/

Who is Atlassian?

Atlassian is an Australian IT company that develops enterprise software, with its best-known products being its issue-tracking app, Jira, and team collaboration and wiki product, Confluence.

In December 2015, Atlassian went public and made their initial public offering (IPO) under the symbol TEAM, valuing them at $4.37 billion. In summary, they big.

What happened?

A facelift

It’s a nice sunny day in Sydney in mid-September of 2017, and Atlassian, after 15 years of consistency, has rebranded, changing their look and feel for a brighter and funner one, compared to the dreary previous look.New Atlassian Branding VideoIt’s a hell of a lot simpler and, as they show in the above video, it’s going to be used with a lot more creativity and flair in mind—it’s flexible in a sense that they can use it in a lot more ways than before, with a lot more colours than before.

Atlassian Logo ComparisonThe blues they’re using now work super-well with the logos on a white background, whereas the white logos on their new champion, brand colour blue can go both ways: some can see it as a bold, daring step which is quite attractive, while others can see it as off-putting and not very user-friendly.

New Atlassian Logo Versions

What’s it all mean?

Symbolism

In his announcement blog, Atlassian Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Mike Cannon-Brookes, mentions that the branding change reflects their newly-shifted focus on the concept of teamwork. He continues to explain that their previous logo depicted the sky-holding Greek titan Atlas and symbolised legendary service and support. But, while it has become renown, they’re shifting their focus on the concept of teamwork—why focus on something you’ve already done right, right?

Atlassian Logo EvolutionThe new logo contains more symbolism than meets the eye, as can be interpreted as:

  • Two people high-fiving
  • A mountain to scale
  • The letter “A” (seen as two pillars reinforcing each other)
Product logos

Atlassian has created and acquired many products in their adventure so far, and they all seemed to have a similar art style, but something always felt off about their consistency. Well, needless to say, this was addressed with Atlassian’s very own “identity system”, which is a pretty cool term for a consistent logo-look for 14+ products, to fit them under one brand.

New Atlassian Product LogosThe result is a set of unique marks that “still feel very related to each other”. Whereas, I also see a new set of “unknown” Pokémon.

Typeface

New Atlassian TypefaceTo add a cherry on top, Atlassian will be using their own custom-made typeface called Charlie Sans, specifically designed to balance legibility with personality–that’s probably the best way to describe it. Otherwise, I’d say, out of purely-constructive criticism, that there isn’t much difference between itself and any of the other staple fonts; i.e. Arial, Verdana, etc. Then again, I’m not a professional designer.

It doesn’t look as distinct as their previous typeface, but, to be fair, it does look very slick next to the new product logos.

Well…

What do you think about it all?

 

Image credits: Atlassian

The post Say Hello to the New Atlassian appeared first on AWS Managed Services by Anchor.

Hello World Issue 3: Approaching Assessment

Post Syndicated from Carrie Anne Philbin original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/hello-world-3/

It’s the beginning of a new school year, and the latest issue of Hello World is here! Hello World is our magazine about computing and digital making for educators, and it’s a collaboration between The Raspberry Pi Foundation and Computing at School, part of the British Computing Society.

The front cover of Hello World Issue 3

In issue 3, our international panel of experts takes an in-depth look at assessment in computer science.

Approaching assessment, and much more

Our cover feature explores innovative, practical, and effective approaches to testing and learning. The issue is packed with other great resources, guides, features and lesson plans to support educators.

Highlights include:

  • Tutorials and lesson plans on Scratch Pong, games design, and the database-building Python library, SQLite3
  • Supporting learning with online video
  • The potential of open-source resources in education
  • A bluffer’s guide to Non-Examination Assessments (NEA) for GCSE Computer Science
  • A look at play and creativity in programming

Get your copy of Hello World 3

Hello World is available as a free Creative Commons download for anyone around the world who is interested in Computer Science and digital making education. Grab the latest issue straight from the Hello World website.

Thanks to the very generous support of our sponsors BT, we are able to offer free printed versions of the magazine to serving educators in the UK. It’s for teachers, Code Club volunteers, teaching assistants, teacher trainers, and others who help children and young people learn about computing and digital making. Remember to subscribe to receive your free copy, posted directly to your home.

Free book!

As a special bonus for our print subscribers, this issue comes bundled with a copy of Ian Livingstone and Shahneila Saeed’s new book, Hacking the Curriculum: Creative Computing and the Power of Play

Front cover of Hacking the Curriculum by Ian Livingstone and Shahneila Saeed - Hello World 3

This gorgeous-looking image comes courtesy of Jonathan Green

The book explains the critical importance of coding and computing in modern schools, and offers teachers and school leaders practical guidance on how to improve their computing provision. Thanks to Ian Livingstone, Shahneila Saeed, and John Catt Educational Ltd. for helping to make this possible. The book will be available with issue 3 to new subscribers while stocks last.

10,000 subscribers

We are very excited to announce that Hello World now has more than 10,000 subscribers!

Banner to celebrate 10000 subscribers

We’re celebrating this milestone, but we’d love to reach even more computing and digital making educators. Help us to spread the word to teachers, volunteers and home educators in the UK.

Get involved

Share your teaching experiences in computing and related subjects with Hello World, and help us to help other educators! When you air your questions and challenges on our letters page, other educators are ready to help you. Drop us an email to submit letters, articles, lesson plans, and questions for our FAQ pages – wherever you are in the world, get in touch with us by emailing [email protected].

The post Hello World Issue 3: Approaching Assessment appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Deadline 10 – Launch a Rendering Fleet in AWS

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/deadline-10-launch-a-rendering-fleet-in-aws/

Graphical rendering is a compute-intensive task that is, as they say, embarrassingly parallel. Looked at another way, this means that there’s a more or less linear relationship between the number of processors that are working on the problem and the overall wall-clock time that it takes to complete the task. In a creative endeavor such as movie-making, getting the results faster spurs creativity, improves the feedback loop, gives you time to make more iterations and trials, and leads to a better result. Even if you have a render farm in-house, you may still want to turn to the cloud in order to gain access to more compute power at peak times. Once you do this, the next challenge is to manage the combination of in-house resources, cloud resources, and the digital assets in a unified fashion.

Deadline 10
Earlier this week we launched Deadline 10, a powerful render management system. Building on technology that we brought on board with the acquisition of Thinkbox Software, Deadline 10 is designed to extend existing on-premises rendering into the AWS Cloud, giving you elasticity and flexibility while remaining simple and easy to use. You can set up and manage large-scale distributed jobs that span multiple AWS regions and benefit from elastic, usage-based AWS licensing for popular applications like Deadline for Autodesk 3ds Max, Maya, Arnold, and dozens more, all available from the Thinkbox Marketplace. You can purchase software licenses from the marketplace, use your existing licenses, or use them together.

Deadline 10 obtains cloud-based compute resources by managing bids for EC2 Spot Instances, providing you with access to enough low-cost compute capacity to let your imagination run wild! It uses your existing AWS account, tags EC2 instances for tracking, and synchronizes your local assets to the cloud before rendering begins.

A Quick Tour
Let’s take a quick tour of Deadline 10 and see how it makes use of AWS. The AWS Portal is available from the View menu:

The first step is to log in to my AWS account:

Then I configure the connection server, license server, and the S3 bucket that will be used to store rendering assets:

Next, I set up my Spot fleet, establishing a maximum price per hour for each EC2 instance, setting target capacity, and choosing the desired rendering application:

I can also choose any desired combination of EC2 instance types:

When I am ready to render I click on Start Spot Fleet:

This will initiate the process of bidding for and managing Spot Instances. The running instances are visible from the Portal:

I can monitor the progress of my rendering pipeline:

I can stop my Spot fleet when I no longer need it:

Deadline 10 is now available for usage based license customers; a new license is needed for traditional floating license users. Pricing for yearly Deadline licenses has been reduced to $48 annually. If you are already using an earlier version of Deadline, feel free to contact us to learn more about licensing options.

Jeff;

NSA Collects MS Windows Error Information

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2017/08/nsa_collects_ms.html

Back in 2013, Der Spiegel reported that the NSA intercepts and collects Windows bug reports:

One example of the sheer creativity with which the TAO spies approach their work can be seen in a hacking method they use that exploits the error-proneness of Microsoft’s Windows. Every user of the operating system is familiar with the annoying window that occasionally pops up on screen when an internal problem is detected, an automatic message that prompts the user to report the bug to the manufacturer and to restart the program. These crash reports offer TAO specialists a welcome opportunity to spy on computers.

When TAO selects a computer somewhere in the world as a target and enters its unique identifiers (an IP address, for example) into the corresponding database, intelligence agents are then automatically notified any time the operating system of that computer crashes and its user receives the prompt to report the problem to Microsoft. An internal presentation suggests it is NSA’s powerful XKeyscore spying tool that is used to fish these crash reports out of the massive sea of Internet traffic.

The automated crash reports are a “neat way” to gain “passive access” to a machine, the presentation continues. Passive access means that, initially, only data the computer sends out into the Internet is captured and saved, but the computer itself is not yet manipulated. Still, even this passive access to error messages provides valuable insights into problems with a targeted person’s computer and, thus, information on security holes that might be exploitable for planting malware or spyware on the unwitting victim’s computer.

Although the method appears to have little importance in practical terms, the NSA’s agents still seem to enjoy it because it allows them to have a bit of a laugh at the expense of the Seattle-based software giant. In one internal graphic, they replaced the text of Microsoft’s original error message with one of their own reading, “This information may be intercepted by a foreign sigint system to gather detailed information and better exploit your machine.” (“Sigint” stands for “signals intelligence.”)

The article talks about the (limited) value of this information with regard to specific target computers, but I have another question: how valuable would this database be for finding new zero-day Windows vulnerabilities to exploit? Microsoft won’t have the incentive to examine and fix problems until they happen broadly among its user base. The NSA has a completely different incentive structure.

I don’t remember this being discussed back in 2013.

EDITED TO ADD (8/6): Slashdot thread.

CoderDojo Coolest Projects 2017

Post Syndicated from Ben Nuttall original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/coderdojo-coolest-projects-2017/

When I heard we were merging with CoderDojo, I was delighted. CoderDojo is a wonderful organisation with a spectacular community, and it’s going to be great to join forces with the team and work towards our common goal: making a difference to the lives of young people by making technology accessible to them.

You may remember that last year Philip and I went along to Coolest Projects, CoderDojo’s annual event at which their global community showcase their best makes. It was awesome! This year a whole bunch of us from the Raspberry Pi Foundation attended Coolest Projects with our new Irish colleagues, and as expected, the projects on show were as cool as can be.

Coolest Projects 2017 attendee

Crowd at Coolest Projects 2017

This year’s coolest projects!

Young maker Benjamin demoed his brilliant RGB LED table tennis ball display for us, and showed off his brilliant project tutorial website codemakerbuddy.com, which he built with Python and Flask. [Click on any of the images to enlarge them.]

Coolest Projects 2017 LED ping-pong ball display
Coolest Projects 2017 Benjamin and Oly

Next up, Aimee showed us a recipes app she’d made with the MIT App Inventor. It was a really impressive and well thought-out project.

Coolest Projects 2017 Aimee's cook book
Coolest Projects 2017 Aimee's setup

This very successful OpenCV face detection program with hardware installed in a teddy bear was great as well:

Coolest Projects 2017 face detection bear
Coolest Projects 2017 face detection interface
Coolest Projects 2017 face detection database

Helen’s and Oly’s favourite project involved…live bees!

Coolest Projects 2017 live bees

BEEEEEEEEEEES!

Its creator, 12-year-old Amy, said she wanted to do something to help the Earth. Her project uses various sensors to record data on the bee population in the hive. An adjacent monitor displays the data in a web interface:

Coolest Projects 2017 Aimee's bees

Coolest robots

I enjoyed seeing lots of GPIO Zero projects out in the wild, including this robotic lawnmower made by Kevin and Zach:

Raspberry Pi Lawnmower

Kevin and Zach’s Raspberry Pi lawnmower project with Python and GPIO Zero, showed at CoderDojo Coolest Projects 2017

Philip’s favourite make was a Pi-powered robot you can control with your mind! According to the maker, Laura, it worked really well with Philip because he has no hair.

Philip Colligan on Twitter

This is extraordinary. Laura from @CoderDojo Romania has programmed a mind controlled robot using @Raspberry_Pi @coolestprojects

And here are some pictures of even more cool robots we saw:

Coolest Projects 2017 coolest robot no.1
Coolest Projects 2017 coolest robot no.2
Coolest Projects 2017 coolest robot no.3

Games, toys, activities

Oly and I were massively impressed with the work of Mogamad, Daniel, and Basheerah, who programmed a (borrowed) Amazon Echo to make a voice-controlled text-adventure game using Java and the Alexa API. They’ve inspired me to try something similar using the AIY projects kit and adventurelib!

Coolest Projects 2017 Mogamad, Daniel, Basheerah, Oly
Coolest Projects 2017 Alexa text-based game

Christopher Hill did a brilliant job with his Home Alone LEGO house. He used sensors to trigger lights and sounds to make it look like someone’s at home, like in the film. I should have taken a video – seeing it in action was great!

Coolest Projects 2017 Lego home alone house
Coolest Projects 2017 Lego home alone innards
Coolest Projects 2017 Lego home alone innards closeup

Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland Raspberry Jam group ran a DOTS board activity, which turned their area into a conductive paint hazard zone.

Coolest Projects 2017 NI Jam DOTS activity 1
Coolest Projects 2017 NI Jam DOTS activity 2
Coolest Projects 2017 NI Jam DOTS activity 3
Coolest Projects 2017 NI Jam DOTS activity 4
Coolest Projects 2017 NI Jam DOTS activity 5
Coolest Projects 2017 NI Jam DOTS activity 6

Creativity and ingenuity

We really enjoyed seeing so many young people collaborating, experimenting, and taking full advantage of the opportunity to make real projects. And we loved how huge the range of technologies in use was: people employed all manner of hardware and software to bring their ideas to life.

Philip Colligan on Twitter

Wow! Look at that room full of awesome young people. @coolestprojects #coolestprojects @CoderDojo

Congratulations to the Coolest Projects 2017 prize winners, and to all participants. Here are some of the teams that won in the different categories:

Coolest Projects 2017 winning team 1
Coolest Projects 2017 winning team 2
Coolest Projects 2017 winning team 3

Take a look at the gallery of all winners over on Flickr.

The wow factor

Raspberry Pi co-founder and Foundation trustee Pete Lomas came along to the event as well. Here’s what he had to say:

It’s hard to describe the scale of the event, and photos just don’t do it justice. The first thing that hit me was the sheer excitement of the CoderDojo ninjas [the children attending Dojos]. Everyone was setting up for their time with the project judges, and their pure delight at being able to show off their creations was evident in both halls. Time and time again I saw the ninjas apply their creativity to help save the planet or make someone’s life better, and it’s truly exciting that we are going to help that continue and expand.

Even after 8 hours, enthusiasm wasn’t flagging – the awards ceremony was just brilliant, with ninjas high-fiving the winners on the way to the stage. This speaks volumes about the ethos and vision of the CoderDojo founders, where everyone is a winner just by being part of a community of worldwide friends. It was a brilliant introduction, and if this weekend was anything to go by, our merger certainly is a marriage made in Heaven.

Join this awesome community!

If all this inspires you as much as it did us, consider looking for a CoderDojo near you – and sign up as a volunteer! There’s plenty of time for young people to build up skills and start working on a project for next year’s event. Check out coolestprojects.com for more information.

The post CoderDojo Coolest Projects 2017 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Подкаст за българска фантастика

Post Syndicated from Григор original http://www.gatchev.info/blog/?p=2062

Днес в скромния ми блог е на гости Валентин Д. Иванов. Известен по света като астроном и откривател на класа небесни тела „планемо“ — самотните планети, които нямат звезда. Едно от големите астрономически открития за последните 100 години.

У нас е „световно неизвестен“ — повечето българи мислят, че „астрономия“ е грешка и правилното е „астрология“. За щастие, в кръговете на любителите на фантастиката Вальо е отлично известен писател, преводач, популяризатор, застъпник на фендъма и какво ли не още. И може би най-много от всичко фен с душа, който не просто произвежда шум, а върши полезни неща.

За едно от тези неща — по любезния съвет на Александър Карапанчев — ще прочетете по-долу.

—-

Добре дошли в специализирания подкаст „Българска фантастика“ –

С еднакъв успех можете да го наричате и аудио списание. Целта ни е да произвеждаме аудио версии на български фантастични произведения.

Преди година и нещо, по силата на служебните си задължения в Eвропейската южна обсерватория, ми се наложи да правя образователни филмчета за нашите средства за обработка на наблюдателни данни (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCq4rxr30ydNyV94OWmLrMA). От друга страна, аудио фантастиката ми е близка, понеже доста често си запълвам времето, докато пътувам, със слушане на фантастични подкастове. Има много на английски (http://escapepod.org/; www.starshipsofa.com/) и руски език (https://fantlab.ru/work203487). Вече немалко списания слагат на страниците си и аудио версии на публикуваните разкази (http://www.newyorker.com/series/fiction-podcast, http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/; http://strangehorizons.com/podcasts/).

Не беше далеч мисълта да опитам с българска фантастика, в частност с моята собствена, и на 7 юни 2016 г. се появи това – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Rfpa3NvR34.

Ясно е, че аз не съм професионален актьор, и резултатът беше точно толкова зле, колкото очаквах. За известно време оставих това начинание настрани, но преди няколко месеца пак се наложи да се върна към видео ръководствата и събрах смелост да пробвам отново. Разказът на Иван Вазов можеше да стане по-добре, обаче последните два си ги харесвам, колкото и да е нескромно. Живот и здраве, по-нататък се надявам да стават още по-сполучливи.

Ще се опитам да подготвям нов разказ един път на месец, най-много на два месеца. Бързам да кажа, че не мога да гарантирам периодичността, тя ще зависи от обстоятелствата. Изданието е плод на колектив от хора, включващ Дружеството на българските фантасти „Тера Фантазия“ и Фондация „Човешката библиотека“. По-нататък ще представя всеки един от тях.

Поканвам всички желаещи да ми пращат разкази и стихове в обем до 2500 думи на [email protected]

Възнамеряваме да редуваме художествените произведения с публицистика, обаче за нея моля първо да се свържете с нас, за да проверите дали би ни заинтересувала. Същото се отнася и за илюстрациите – всеки разказ има нужда от една. Не знаем предварително какво ще публикуваме, но достатъчно общи фантастични сюжети са подходящи. Предполагам, че с времето ще създадем резерв от илюстрации, които ще използваме в бъдеще.

Определена тема няма. Изисквания също няма освен обичайните – разказите да не разпалват вражда и да не включват ненужно насилие или сексуални описания. Ще правя аудио версии на това, което аз и колегите ми харесаме. Всичко е субективно, не се огорчавайте, ако не изберем разказа ви или не успеем да му подготвим аудио версия по някаква друга причина. Мислете си как са се разпространявали книгите през Средновековието – някой е трябвало толкова да хареса вашия текст, че да отдели няколко месеца, за да си направи копие собственоръчно или да плати на специалист калиграф, който да произведе копието.

Дебело подчертавам, че ние нямаме монопол. Винаги може да си направите ваша аудио версия на собственото си произведение. Авторите ни не получават хонорари, но и не плащат за публикацията. Преди да ни упреквате за нещо, моля не забравяйте, че за това начинание отделяме доброволно и безвъзмездно от собственото си време.

Освен автори, поканвам с нас да се свързват и желаещи да четат разкази. Подозирам, че от такива хора ще имаме много по-голяма нужда, отколкото от автори.

В началото казах „първо аудио списание“, но има някои предтечи, които е редно да спомена. Например Богдан Дуков (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzD5Irz7MHwGA0_yiANA5wQ) от доста време публикува чудесни аудио версии на българската класика, включително от Светослав Минков (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jK3jQ7TRQGQ). Един от подкастовете на „Правилният Мед“ (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuP9AG8V1M_LbNgL-Ku3uZw) от 2014 г. е разговор за фантастиката (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpMKNQo1Ias). И, разбира се, Янчо Чолаков, който през 2012 г. чете откъс от книгата си „Историята на Самотния редник“ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGt0ToQM_Sw). Може би има и други – ако науча за тях, с удоволствие ще ги добавя.

Пожелайте ни успех!

GameTale

Post Syndicated from Григор original http://www.gatchev.info/blog/?p=2060

Are you a parent to a several years old?

Do you want to teach the little kid to like books, while all she or he wants is games?

There is now a way to have both!

Sure, there are a lot of gamebooks, but they are targeted to teenagers. I will tell now of one that was written for children between three and nine years.

It is the tale of Gremmy – the little gremlin who goes to a big adventure. Who will climb The Big Mountain, or maybe will travel down The Deep River. Will venture into The Enchanted Forest, unless you would go with it inside The Dark Cave. Who will meet magical creatures and will face ingenious choices…

It is a tale you can read to your kids. Lead them through a kingdom of magic and wonder, meet them with its inhabitants and have them make their choices and see their funny and witty results. Nurture their curiosity and imagination, while also teaching them wise and important things.

The author – Nikola Raykov – is the youngest writer ever to win the most prestigious award for children’s literature in Bulgaria. The number of copies in Bulgarian that have been sold is higher than the typical for a book by Stephen King or Paulo Coelho! Since some time, it has been published also in Russian, Italian and Latvian. And now you can have the English translation.

Most gamebooks will have few illustrations, typically black-and-white ones. GameTale is full of excellent true color ones, as a book for children must be. And it provides not only entertainment, but also value.

Don’t you believe it? Take a look yourself – the entire book is available freely on the author’s website, even before it is printed – to read and play it, to download and enjoy it. Like all of its translations and the Bulgarian original. Yes, all these sales were done while the book has been available to everybody. The ability of the readers to see what they are buying has been its best advertisement.

Here is what the writer says:

“I believe it would be cruel if children weren’t able to enjoy my books because their parents could not afford them, and children’s authors should not be cruel. They should be gentle, caring and loving. The values we write about should not be just words on paper. We should be the living and breathing examples of those values, because what we write HAS to be true. Every good author will tell you that you cannot lie to your readers (or little listeners). They will catch you in a second. When you read a book, you can actually feel if the author is being honest about his or her inner self.”

“I DO believe that people are inherently good. If you have poured your heart into something, if you have tried your best, people will feel that and give you their unconditional support. There is no need to hide your work: people are not thieves! If you share, they will care, they will follow you, they will nag you about when your next book comes out, and yes, they will gladly support you because they will know that their children’s favorite author actually believes in the values he’s writing about. The same things they believe in – friendship, love and freedom!”

Nikola started a campaign on Kickstarter. Its goal is to fund the printing of 1000 copies of the book in English. And you do get for your donations things your kid will love!

Years ago, when I read this book, I felt like a kid. And now envy you a little for the joy that you will get from it. 🙂 Do give it a try. There is nothing to lose, and a lot to win!

Extending the Airplane Laptop Ban

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2017/05/extending_the_a.html

The Department of Homeland Security is rumored to be considering extending the current travel ban on large electronics for Middle Eastern flights to European ones as well. The likely reaction of airlines will be to implement new traveler programs, effectively allowing wealthier and more frequent fliers to bring their computers with them. This will only exacerbate the divide between the haves and the have-nots — all without making us any safer.

In March, both the United States and the United Kingdom required that passengers from 10 Muslim countries give up their laptop computers and larger tablets, and put them in checked baggage. The new measure was based on reports that terrorists would try to smuggle bombs onto planes concealed in these larger electronic devices.

The security measure made no sense for two reasons. First, moving these computers into the baggage holds doesn’t keep them off planes. Yes, it is easier to detonate a bomb that’s in your hands than to remotely trigger it in the cargo hold. But it’s also more effective to screen laptops at security checkpoints than it is to place them in checked baggage. TSA already does this kind of screening randomly and occasionally: making passengers turn laptops on to ensure that they’re functional computers and not just bomb-filled cases, and running chemical tests on their surface to detect explosive material.

And, two, banning laptops on selected flights just forces terrorists to buy more roundabout itineraries. It doesn’t take much creativity to fly Doha-Amsterdam-New York instead of direct. Adding Amsterdam to the list of affected airports makes the terrorist add yet another itinerary change; it doesn’t remove the threat.

Which brings up another question: If this is truly a threat, why aren’t domestic flights included in this ban? Remember that anyone boarding a plane to the United States from these Muslim countries has already received a visa to enter the country. This isn’t perfect security — the infamous underwear bomber had a visa, after all — but anyone who could detonate a laptop bomb on his international flight could do it on his domestic connection.

I don’t have access to classified intelligence, and I can’t comment on whether explosive-filled laptops are truly a threat. But, if they are, TSA can set up additional security screenings at the gates of US-bound flights worldwide and screen every laptop coming onto the plane. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve had additional security screening at the gate. And they should require all laptops to go through this screening, prohibiting them from being stashed in checked baggage.

This measure is nothing more than security theater against what appears to be a movie-plot threat.

Banishing laptops to the cargo holds brings with it a host of other threats. Passengers run the risk of their electronics being stolen from their checked baggage — something that has happened in the past. And, depending on the country, passengers also have to worry about border control officials intercepting checked laptops and making copies of what’s on their hard drives.

Safety is another concern. We’re already worried about large lithium-ion batteries catching fire in airplane baggage holds; adding a few hundred of these devices will considerably exacerbate the risk. Both FedEx and UPS no longer accept bulk shipments of these batteries after two jets crashed in 2010 and 2011 due to combustion.

Of course, passengers will rebel against this rule. Having access to a computer on these long transatlantic flights is a must for many travelers, especially the high-revenue business-class travelers. They also won’t accept the delays and confusion this rule will cause as it’s rolled out. Unhappy passengers fly less, or fly other routes on other airlines without these restrictions.

I don’t know how many passengers are choosing to fly to the Middle East via Toronto to avoid the current laptop ban, but I suspect there may be some. If Europe is included in the new ban, many more may consider adding Canada to their itineraries, as well as choosing European hubs that remain unaffected.

As passengers voice their disapproval with their wallets, airlines will rebel. Already Emirates has a program to loan laptops to their premium travelers. I can imagine US airlines doing the same, although probably for an extra fee. We might learn how to make this work: keeping our data in the cloud or on portable memory sticks and using unfamiliar computers for the length of the flight.

A more likely response will be comparable to what happened after the US increased passenger screening post-9/11. In the months and years that followed, we saw different ways for high-revenue travelers to avoid the lines: faster first-class lanes, and then the extra-cost trusted traveler programs that allow people to bypass the long lines, keep their shoes on their feet and leave their laptops and liquids in their bags. It’s a bad security idea, but it keeps both frequent fliers and airlines happy. It would be just another step to allow these people to keep their electronics with them on their flight.

The problem with this response is that it solves the problem for frequent fliers, while leaving everyone else to suffer. This is already the case; those of us enrolled in a trusted traveler program forget what it’s like to go through “normal” security screening. And since frequent fliers — likely to be more wealthy — no longer see the problem, they don’t have any incentive to fix it.

Dividing security checks into haves and have-nots is bad social policy, and we should actively fight any expansion of it. If the TSA implements this security procedure, it should implement it for every flight. And there should be no exceptions. Force every politically connected flier, from members of Congress to the lobbyists that influence them, to do without their laptops on planes. Let the TSA explain to them why they can’t work on their flights to and from D.C.

This essay previously appeared on CNN.com.

EDITED TO ADD: US officials are backing down.

Growing Code Club

Post Syndicated from Philip Colligan original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/growing-code-club/

In November 2015 we announced that the Raspberry Pi Foundation was joining forces with Code Club to give more young people the opportunity to learn how to make things with computers. In the 18 months since we made that announcement, we have more than doubled the number of Code Clubs. Over 10,000 clubs are now active, in communities all over the world.

Photo of a Code Club in a classroom: six or seven children focus intently on Scratch programs and other tasks, and adults are helping and supervising in the background

Children at a Code Club in Australia

The UK is where the movement started, and there are now an amazing 5750 Code Clubs engaging over 85,000 young people in the UK each week. The rest of the world is catching up rapidly. With the help of our regional partners, there are over 4000 clubs outside the UK, and fast-growing Code Club communities in Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, France, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Ukraine. This year we have already launched new partnerships in Spain and South Korea, with more to come.

It’s fantastic to see the movement growing so quickly, and it’s all due to the amazing community of volunteers, teachers, parents, and young people who make everything possible. Thank you all!

Today, we are announcing the next stage of Code Club’s evolution. Drum roll, please…

Starting in September, we are extending Code Club to 9- to 13-year-olds.

Three girls, all concentrating, one smiling, work together at a computer at Code Club

Students at a Code Club in Brazil

Those in the know will remember that Code Club has, until now, been focused on 9- to 11-year-olds. So why the change?

Put simply: demand. There is a huge demand from young people for more opportunities to learn about computing generally, and for Code Club specifically. The first generations of Code Club graduates have moved on to more senior schools, and they’re telling us that they just don’t have the opportunities they need to learn more about digital making. We’ve decided to take up the challenge.

For the UK, this means that schools will be supported to set up Code Clubs for Years 7 and 8. Non-school venues, like libraries, will be able to offer their clubs to a wider age group.

Growing Code Club International

Code Club is a global movement, and we will be working with our regional partners to make sure that it is available to 9- to 13-year-olds in every community in the world. That includes accelerating the work to translate club materials into even more languages.

Two boys and a woman wearing a Code Club T-shirt sit and pose for the camera in a classroom

A Code Club volunteer and students in Brazil

As part of the change, we will be expanding our curriculum and free educational resources to cater for older children and more experienced coders. Like all our educational resources, the new materials will be created by qualified and experienced educators. They will be designed to help young people build a wide range of skills and competencies, including teamwork, problem-solving, and creativity.

Our first step towards supporting a wider age range is a pilot programme, launching today, with 50 secondary schools in the UK. Over the next few months, we will be working closely with them to find out the best ways to make the programme work for older kids.

Supporting Code Club

For now, you can help us spread the word. If you know a school, youth club, library, or similar venue that could host a club for young people aged 9 to 13, then encourage them to get involved.

Lastly, I want to say a massive “thank you!” to all the organisations and individuals that support Code Club financially. We care passionately about Code Club being free for every child to attend. That’s only possible because of the generous donations and grants that we receive from so many companies, foundations, and people who share our mission to put the power of digital making into the hands of people all over the world.

The post Growing Code Club appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Pioneers gives you squad goals

Post Syndicated from Olympia Brown original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/pioneers-gives-you-squad-goals/

We’re two weeks into the second cycle of Pioneers, our programme to give teenagers a taste of digital making. Teenagers make amazing, ridiculous, awesome things when they are challenged to unleash their creativity using technology. In the first cycle, we had everything from a disco pen to a crotch-soaking water trap. Families and friends can take part, as well as clubs and schools: we call these informal Pioneers teams squads, and we’re hoping that lots will join this second round of the competition.

The creativity on display comes from allowing teenagers to approach a problem from whatever angle they choose. Pioneers has been designed so that it’s flexible and people can take part however they like. As well as making sure the challenge we set is as open as possible, we’re also pretty chilled about how teams participate: when and where the making gets done.

A relaxed-looking polar bear.

We are as chilled as a polar bear in a bucket hat

We’re delighted to see that lots of teenagers have been getting together with their mates, hanging out, and working out how they can best freak out their mum.

Pioneers challenge 1

Make them laugh…

Some of the groups told us that they met at a regular time, and while there was a lot of chat, they’d also find some time to make some cool stuff. Others had some intense sessions over a couple of weekends (certain team members may or may not have been involved with extra bits of tinkering between sessions).

Getting involved in Pioneers

If you’ve got some teenagers lying about the house, why not see if they’d like to challenge themselves to make something linked to the outdoors? We’ve got some starter projects to give them a bit of inspiration, but they can respond to the challenge however they like, as long as they are using tech.

Pioneers: Make it Outdoors

Our challenge for this round of Pioneers: get outdoors!

If you’re mentoring one of these informal Pioneers squads, you are probably mostly there to remind that they might want to meet up, and to prompt them to make their video in time for the deadline. You don’t need to be a tech expert in order to be a mentor, but if you’d like a confidence-booster, you could watch some of our videos to level up your skills. And if you do get stuck on something technical, you can ask for help on the Raspberry Pi forums.

For more information about working as a squad, or about mentoring one, check out our Pioneers page. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

The post Pioneers gives you squad goals appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Pioneers: the second challenge is…

Post Syndicated from Olympia Brown original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/pioneers-second-challenge/

Pioneers, your next challenge is here!

Do you like making things? Do you fancy trying something new? Are you aged 11 to 16? The Pioneers programme is ready to challenge you to create something new using technology.

As you’ll know if you took part last time, Pioneers challenges are themed. So here’s the lovely Ana from ZSL London Zoo to reveal the theme of the next challenge:

Your next challenge, if you choose to accept it, is…

MakeYourIdeas The second Pioneers challenge is here! Wahoo! Have you registered your team yet? Make sure you do. Head to the Pioneers website for more details: http://www.raspberrypi.org/pioneers

Make it Outdoors

You have until the beginning of July to make something related to the outdoors. As Ana said, the outdoors is pretty big, so here are some ideas:

Resources and discounted kit

If you’re looking at all of these projects and thinking that you don’t know where to start, never fear! Our free resources offer a great starting point for any new project, and can help you to build on your existing skills and widen your scope for creating greatness.

We really want to see your creativity and ingenuity though, so we’d recommend using these projects as starting points rather than just working through the instructions. To help us out, the wonderful Pimoroni are offering 15 percent off kit for our Getting started with wearables and Getting started with picamera resources. You should also check out our new Poo near you resource for an example of a completely code-based project.



For this cycle of Pioneers, thanks to our friends at the Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund, we are making bursaries available to teams to cover the cost of these basic kits (one per team). This is for teens who haven’t taken part in digital making activities before, and for whom the financial commitment would be a barrier to taking part. Details about the bursaries and the discount will be sent to you when you register.

Your Pioneers team

We’ve introduced a few new things for this round of Pioneers, so pay special attention if you took part last time round!

Pioneers challenge: Make it Outdoors

We’re looking for UK-based teams of between two and five people, aged between 11 and 16, to work together to create something related to the outdoors. We’ve found that in our experience there are three main ways to run a Pioneers team. It’s up to you to decide how you’ll proceed when it comes to your participation in Pioneers.

  • You could organise a Group that meets once or twice a week. We find this method works well for school-based teams that can meet at the end of a school day for an hour or two every week.
  • You could mentor a Squad that is largely informal, where the members probably already have a good idea of what they’re doing. A Squad tends to be more independent, and meetings may be sporadic, informal or online only. This option isn’t recommended if it’s your first competition like this, or if you’re not a techie yourself.
  • You could join a local Event at a technology hub near you. We’re hoping to run more and more of these events around the country as Pioneers evolves and grows. If you think you’d like to help us run a Pioneers Event, get in touch! We love to hear from people who want to spread their love of making, and we’ll support you as much as we possibly can to get your event rocking along. If you want to run a Pioneers Event, you will need to preregister on the Pioneers website so that we can get you all the support you need well before you open your doors.

#MakeYourIdeas

As always, we’re excited to watch the progress of your projects via social media channels such as Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. As you work on your build, make sure to share the ‘making of…’ stages with us using #MakeYourIdeas.

For inspiration from previous entries, here’s the winner announcement video for the last Pioneers challenge:

Winners of the first Pioneers challenge are…

After months of planning and making, the first round of Pioneers is over! We laid down the epic challenge of making us laugh. And boy, did the teams deliver. We can honestly say that my face hurt from all the laughing on judging day. Congratulations to everyone who took part.

Once you’ve picked a project, the first step is to register. What are you waiting for? Head to the Pioneers website to get started!

The post Pioneers: the second challenge is… appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Announcing the AWS Chatbot Challenge – Create Conversational, Intelligent Chatbots using Amazon Lex and AWS Lambda

Post Syndicated from Tara Walker original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/announcing-the-aws-chatbot-challenge-create-conversational-intelligent-chatbots-using-amazon-lex-and-aws-lambda/

If you have been checking out the launches and announcements from the AWS 2017 San Francisco Summit, you may be aware that the Amazon Lex service is now Generally Available, and you can use the service today. Amazon Lex is a fully managed AI service that enables developers to build conversational interfaces into any application using voice and text. Lex uses the same deep learning technologies of Amazon Alexa-powered devices like Amazon Echo. With the release of Amazon Lex, developers can build highly engaging lifelike user experiences and natural language interactions within their own applications. Amazon Lex supports Slack, Facebook Messenger, and Twilio SMS enabling you to easily publish your voice or text chatbots using these popular chat services. There is no better time to try out the Amazon Lex service to add the gift of gab to your applications, and now you have a great reason to get started.

May I have a Drumroll please?

I am thrilled to announce the AWS Chatbot Challenge! The AWS Chatbot Challenge is your opportunity to build a unique chatbot that helps solves a problem or adds value for prospective users. The AWS Chatbot Challenge is brought to you by Amazon Web Services in partnership with Slack.

 

The Challenge

Your mission, if you choose to accept it is to build a conversational, natural language chatbot using Amazon Lex and leverage Lex’s integration with AWS Lambda to execute logic or data processing on the backend. Your submission can be a new or existing bot, however, if your bot is an existing one it must have been updated to use Amazon Lex and AWS Lambda within the challenge submission period.

 

You are only limited by your own imagination when building your solution. Therefore, I will share some recommendations to help you to get your creative juices flowing when creating or deploying your bot. Some suggestions that can help you make your chatbot more distinctive are:

  • Deploy your bot to Slack, Facebook Messenger, or Twilio SMS
  • Take advantage of other AWS services when building your bot solution.
  • Incorporate Text-To-speech capabilities using a service like Amazon Polly
  • Utilize other third-party APIs, SDKs, and services
  • Leverage Amazon Lex pre-built enterprise connectors and add services like Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo, Microsoft Dynamics, Zendesk, and QuickBooks as data sources.

There are cost effective ways to build your bot using AWS Lambda. Lambda includes a free tier of one million requests and 400,000 GB-seconds of compute time per month. This free, per month usage, is for all customers and does not expire at the end of the 12 month Free Tier Term. Furthermore, new Amazon Lex customers can process up to 10,000 text requests and 5,000 speech requests per month free during the first year. You can find details here.

Remember, the AWS Free Tier includes services with a free tier available for 12 months following your AWS sign-up date, as well as additional service offers that do not automatically expire at the end of your 12 month term. You can review the details about the AWS Free Tier and related services by going to the AWS Free Tier Details page.

 

Can We Talk – How It Works

The AWS Chatbot Challenge is open to individuals, and teams of individuals, who have reached the age of majority in their eligible area of residence at the time of competition entry. Organizations that employ 50 or fewer people are also eligible to compete as long at the time of entry they are duly organized or incorporated and validly exist in an eligible area. Large organizations-employing more than 50-in eligible areas can participate but will only be eligible for a non-cash recognition prize.

Chatbot Submissions are judged using the following criteria:

  • Customer Value: The problem or painpoint the bot solves and the extent it adds value for users
  • Bot Quality: The unique way the bot solves users’ problems, and the originality, creativity, and differentiation of the bot solution
  • Bot Implementation: Determination of how well the bot was built and executed by the developer. Also, consideration of bot functionality such as if the bot functions as intended and recognizes and responds to most common phrases asked of it

Prizes

The AWS Chatbot Challenge is awarding prizes for your hard work!

First Prize

  • $5,000 USD
  • $2,500 AWS Credits
  • Two (2) tickets to AWS re:Invent
  • 30 minute virtual meeting with the Amazon Lex team
  • Winning submission featured on the AWS AI blog
  • Cool swag

Second Prize

  • $3,000 USD
  • $1,500 AWS Credits
  • One (1) ticket to AWS re:Invent
  • 30 minute virtual meeting with the Amazon Lex team
  • Winning submission featured on the AWS AI blog
  • Cool swag

Third Prize

  • $2,000 USD
  • $1,000 AWS Credits
  • 30 minute virtual meeting with the Amazon Lex team
  • Winning submission featured on the AWS AI blog
  • Cool swag

 

Challenge Timeline

  • Submissions Start: April 19, 2017 at 12:00pm PDT
  • Submissions End: July 18, 2017 at 5:00pm PDT
  • Winners Announced: August 11, 2017 at 9:00am PDT

 

Up to the Challenge – Get Started

Are ready to get started on your chatbot and dive into the challenge? Here is how to get started:

Review the details on the challenge rules and eligibility

  1. Register for the AWS Chatbot Challenge
  2. Join the AWS Chatbot Slack Channel
  3. Create an account on AWS.
  4. Visit the Resources page for links to documentation and resources.
  5. Shoot your demo video that demonstrates your bot in action. Prepare a written summary of your bot and what it does.
  6. Provide a way to access your bot for judging and testing by including a link to your GitHub repo hosting the bot code and all deployment files and testing instructions needed for testing your bot.
  7. Submit your bot on AWSChatbot2017.Devpost.com before July 18, 2017 at 5 pm ET and share access to your bot, its Github repo and its deployment files.

Summary

With Amazon Lex you can build conversation into web and mobile applications, as well as use it to build chatbots that control IoT devices, provide customer support, give transaction updates or perform operations for DevOps workloads (ChatOps). Amazon Lex provides built-in integration with AWS Lambda, AWS Mobile Hub, and Amazon CloudWatch and allows for easy integrate with other AWS services so you can use the AWS platform for to build security, monitoring, user authentication, business logic, and storage into your chatbot or application. You can make additional enhancements to your voice or text chatbot by taking advantage of Amazon Lex’s support of chat services like Slack, Facebook Messenger, and Twilio SMS.

Dive into building chatbots and conversational interfaces with Amazon Lex and AWS Lambda with the AWS Chatbot Challenge for a chance to win some cool prizes. Some recent resources and online tech talks about creating bots with Amazon Lex and AWS Lambda that may help you in your bot building journey are:

If you have questions about the AWS Chatbot Challenge you can email [email protected] or post a question to the Discussion Board.

 

Good Luck and Happy Coding.

Tara

ServerlessConf and More!

Post Syndicated from Bryan Liston original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/compute/serverless-conference-and-more/

ServerlessConf Austin

ServerlessConf Austin is just around the corner! April 26-28th come join us in Austin at the Zach Topfer Theater. Our very own Tim Wagner, Chris Munns and Randall Hunt will be giving some great talks.

Serverlessconf is a community led conference focused on sharing experiences building applications using serverless architectures. Serverless architectures enable developers to express their creativity and focus on user needs instead of spending time managing infrastructure and servers.

Tim Wagner, GM Serverless Applications, will be giving a keynote on Friday the 28th, do not miss this!!!
Chris Munns, Sr. Developer Advocate, will be giving an excellent talk on CI/CD for Serverless Applications.

Check out the full agenda here!

AWS Serverless Updates and More!

Incase you’ve missed out lately on some of our new content such as our new YouTube series “Coding with Sam”, or our new Serverless Special AWS Podcast Series, check them out!

Meet SAM!

We’ve recently come out with a new branding for AWS SAM (Serverless Application Model), so please join me in welcoming SAM the Squirrel!

The goal of AWS SAM is to define a standard application model for serverless applications.

Once again, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions, comments, or general feedback.

Thanks,
@listonb

Some confusing language in the 0day debate

Post Syndicated from Robert Graham original http://blog.erratasec.com/2017/03/some-confusing-language-in-0day-debate.html

As revealed in last week’s CIA #Vault7 leaks, the CIA has some 0days. This has ignited the debate about whether organizations like the CIA should be disclosing these 0days so that vendors can fix them, rather than “stockpiling” them. There seems to be some confusion about language.

Stockpile

The word “stockpile” has multiple connotations, as shown below:

This distorts the debate. Using the word “stockpile” strongly implies “reserve for use” at some time in the future. This prejudices the debate. If the the 0day is sitting on a shelf somewhere not being used, then it apparently has little value for offense, and thus, should be disclosed/patched for defense.

The truth is that that government does not buy 0days to sit on the shelf. With few exceptions, it buys 0days because it plans to use them in an offensive operation. This was described in that recent RAND report:

It’s the sellers who might keep 0days on the shelf, because the buyers have no immediate need. It’s not the government buyers who are stockpiling.

Words like “stockpiling”, “amassing”, or “hoarding” also bring the connotation that the number is too big. Words like “hoarding” bring the connotation that the government is doing something to keep the 0days away from others, preventing them from finding them, too.

Neutral terms would be more accurate, such as “acquiring” 0days, or having a “collection” 0days.

Find 0days

People keep describing the government as “finding” 0days. The word has two different meanings:

We are talking about two different policies here, one where the government finds 0day by chance, and one where they obtain 0days by effort.

Numerous articles quote Michael Daniel, former cyberczar under Obama, as claiming their default policy was to disclose 0days they find. What he meant was those found by chance. That doesn’t apply to vulnerabilities researched/bought by the CIA/NSA. Obviously, if you’ve got a target (like described above), and you buy an 0day to attack that target, you are going to use it. You aren’t going to immediately disclose it, thereby making it useless for the purpose for which you bought it.

Michael Daniels is typical government speak: while their official policy was to disclose, their practice was to not disclose.

Using the word “find” prejudices the conversation, like “stockpiling”, making it look like the government has no particular interest in an 0day, and is just hoarding it out of spite. What the government actually does is “buy” 0days from outsiders, or “researches” 0days themselves. Either way, they put a lot of effort into it.

0day

In this context, there are actually two very different types of 0day: those the government use for offense, and all the rest.

We think of the NSA/CIA as superspies, but really the opposite is true. Their internal processes kill creativity, and what they really want are weaponized/operationalized exploits they can give to ill-trained cyber-warriors. As that RAND paper also indicates, they have other strange needs, such as how it’s really important they don’t get caught. They’d rather forgo hacking a target they know they can hack, rather than use a noisy 0day.

Also, as mentioned above, they have a specific target in mind when they buy a bug. While the NSA/CIA has 0days for mainstream products like iPhone and Android, the bulk is for products you’ve never heard of. For example, if they learn that ISIS is using a specific model of router from Huawei, they’ll go out and buy one, pull the firmware, reverse engineer it, and find an 0day. I pick “Huawei” routers here, because they are rare in the United States, but common in the areas the NSA wants to hack.

The point is this: the “0day” discussion misses what’s going really going on with the government weaponized/offensive 0days. They are apples-to-oranges 0days.

Conclusion

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about the government finding and stockpiling 0days. The debate is off-kilter because the words don’t mean what people think they mean.

TEN BUCKS! TEN FREAKIN’ BUCKS! Zero W aftermath

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/ten-freakin-bucks-zero-w-aftermath/

Tuesday saw the launch of our brand-new $10 Raspberry Pi Zero W, the next step in the evolution of our tiniest computer, now equipped with wireless LAN and Bluetooth.

Steve Anderson 🇪🇺 on Twitter

looks around house* “I’ve got too many SBCs. Really must get rid of some…” *new @Raspberry_Pi Zero W released* “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!

As we hoped, the Zero W was very well received, with units flying off the virtual shelves of our official distributors.

The Pi Hut on Twitter

Over 4000 #PiZeroW in first batch of parcels for the postie.

By close of business on launch day, Zero Ws were winging their way to tens of thousands of excited makers, all eager to retrofit their existing Zero projects, or find new ways to build with the updated tech.

Facebook Raspberry Pi Zero W

We wanted to highlight some of the best responses we’ve received over the last few days: a mix of tweets, status updates and videos that made us smile.

Andy definitely wins the prize for most excitable launch day video. His enthusiasm is infectious!

Andy’s Pick: Pi Zero W

Today, Raspberry Pi launched the Pi Zero W, an upgrade to their $10 Pi Zero, adding Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to the tiny computer. For the full episode, visit twit.tv/mbw/548

Pi Borg wasted no time in fitting the Zero W into one of their Pololu kits. We’re looking forward to seeing it in action at the Big Birthday Weekend on Saturday.

Raspberry Pi Zero W robot!

We’ve built a robot using the new Raspberry Pi Zero W, a Pololu kit hacked to fit some bigger motors and our secret new motor controller being revealed on Friday… stay tuned! http://www.piborg.org

Raspberry Pi Foundation CEO Philip Colligan took the Zero W along with him yesterday when he joined the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to help launch the UK Government’s Digital Strategy.

STEAM Co. on Twitter

CreativityIsGREAT DEFINED. @philipcolligan on @Raspberry_Pi launched with #UKDigitalStrategy @dcms @beisgovuk @MattHancockMP @BBCRoryCJ https://t.co/6s2Loetqwj

And there’s always an eruption of excitement from the Comms team when Wil jumps on board!

Wil Wheaton on Twitter

Oh boy!! @Raspberry_Pi zero with WiFi on-board is available, and @pimoroni has some really neat kits!! https://t.co/dqQzE5KHyD

We also saw some brilliant launch videos from members of our community.

NEW Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless – $10 with WiFi + Bluetooth!

On the 5th anniversary of the launch of the original Raspberry Pi in 2012, the Foundation have decided to treat the community with a brand new product. A fork of the Pi Zero, but with added WiFi and Bluetooth, say hello to the Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless!

Pi Zero W with wifi, bluetooth and a brand new official case

Raspberry Pi Zero W newly launched today sports WiFi and Bluetooth and costs $10 + shipping and taxes. More information here http://raspi.tv/?p=9964 Also a brand new case.

We even became a Twitter Moment which, for many of us avid Tweeters, was kinda a big deal. Plus, well… pizza.

This tiny device has wireless LAN and HDMI and costs less than a pizza

The Raspberry Pi has sold more than 12 million devices around the world in various forms. The latest – the Pi Zero W – solves a key problem with the original by adding built-in wireless LAN and bluetooth functionality.

All in all, a great fifth birthday launch day was had by all.

James @raspjamberlin on Twitter

I would love to take a moment to wish @Raspberry_Pi a very happy 5th birthday! Congratulations to everyone that works so hard to give us Pi

If you ordered a Pi Zero W, make sure you share your projects with us across all social media or in the comments below. We can’t wait to see what you get up to with our newborn bundle of joy!

 

The post TEN BUCKS! TEN FREAKIN’ BUCKS! Zero W aftermath appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

NSA Using Cyberattack for Defense

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2017/02/nsa_using_cyber.html

These days, it’s rare that we learn something new from the Snowden documents. But Ben Buchanan found something interesting. The NSA penetrates enemy networks in order to enhance our defensive capabilities.

The data the NSA collected by penetrating BYZANTINE CANDOR’s networks had concrete forward-looking defensive value. It included information on the adversary’s “future targets,” including “bios of senior White House officials, [cleared defense contractor] employees, [United States government] employees” and more. It also included access to the “source code and [the] new tools” the Chinese used to conduct operations. The computers penetrated by the NSA also revealed information about the exploits in use. In effect, the intelligence gained from the operation, once given to network defenders and fed into automated systems, was enough to guide and enhance the United States’ defensive efforts.

This case alludes to important themes in network defense. It shows the persistence of talented adversaries, the creativity of clever defenders, the challenge of getting actionable intelligence on the threat, and the need for network architecture and defenders capable of acting on that information. But it also highlights an important point that is too often overlooked: not every intrusion is in service of offensive aims. There are genuinely defensive reasons for a nation to launch intrusions against another nation’s networks.

[…]

Other Snowden files show what the NSA can do when it gathers this data, describing an interrelated and complex set of United States programs to collect intelligence and use it to better protect its networks. The NSA’s internal documents call this “foreign intelligence in support of dynamic defense.” The gathered information can “tip” malicious code the NSA has placed on servers and computers around the world. Based on this tip, one of the NSA’s nodes can act on the information, “inject[ing a] response onto the Internet towards [the] target.” There are a variety of responses that the NSA can inject, including resetting connections, delivering malicious code, and redirecting internet traffic.

Similarly, if the NSA can learn about the adversary’s “tools and tradecraft” early enough, it can develop and deploy “tailored countermeasures” to blunt the intended effect. The NSA can then try to discern the intent of the adversary and use its countermeasure to mitigate the attempted intrusion. The signals intelligence agency feeds information about the incoming threat to an automated system deployed on networks that the NSA protects. This system has a number of capabilities, including blocking the incoming traffic outright, sending unexpected responses back to the adversary, slowing the traffic down, and “permitting the activity to appear [to the adversary] to complete without disclosing that it did not reach [or] affect the intended target.”

These defensive capabilities appear to be actively in use by the United States against a wide range of threats. NSA documents indicate that the agency uses the system to block twenty-eight major categories of threats as of 2011. This includes action against significant adversaries, such as China, as well as against non-state actors. Documents provide a number of success stories. These include the thwarting of a BYZANTINE HADES intrusion attempt that targeted four high-ranking American military leaders, including the Chief of Naval Operations and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the NSA’s network defenders saw the attempt coming and successfully prevented any negative effects. The files also include examples of successful defense against Anonymous and against several other code-named entities.

I recommend Buchanan’s book: The Cybersecurity Dilemma: Hacking, Trust and Fear Between Nations.

Един шаман

Post Syndicated from Григор original http://www.gatchev.info/blog/?p=2021

Както е модерно днес – линк: shaman.zavinagi.org.

Има хора, които не са изучавали някоя висша материя в елитни зали под погледа на побелели професори. Не са чели дебели учебници по нея, пълни с премъдрости и хитри съвети. Не са ги превеждали за ръка опитни асистенти през лабиринтите ѝ, да им покажат къде са най-правите и лесни пътища… Но заемат ли се с нея, хващат околните – било за ума, било за сърцето.

Този е един от тях. Още първата му история ме грабна направо за душата. Прати ме в едно някъде, където тайничко му се иска на човек да остане. Или поне да се връща от време на време – подозирам, че дори ако никога не е бил там в своя живот. Някъде, където преживяно и изсънувано се докосват и сплитат, както го умеят само живот и сън.

Приканвам всеки, който обича тези пътешествия, да го посети. Ако някой не му хареса – нека ме наругае тук, че съм му опропастил времето.

А аз сега ще отида да си го препрочета още веднъж. Да си припомня, че също пишех едно време за красивите неща в живота, за доброто и за истинското в него. И може би да събера хъс да го правя, поне от време на време, отново.

Приятно четене!

Join our workshops and talks at Bett 2017

Post Syndicated from Dan Fisher original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/workshops-talks-bett-2017/

Next week brings another opportunity for educators to visit the Raspberry Pi Foundation at Bett 2017, the huge annual EdTech event in London. We’ll be at ExCeL London from 25-28 January, and we’ll be running more than 50 workshops and talks over the four days. Whether you’re a school teacher or a community educator, there’s something for you: visit our stand (G460) to discover ways to bring the power of digital making to your classroom and beyond.

BROWSE OUR TALK AND WORKSHOP TIMETABLE

Last year’s survivors photo

What’s on

A BIG announcement in the Bett Show Arena

Our CEO Philip Colligan will be launching an exciting new free initiative to support educators, live in the Bett Show Arena at 13:25 on Wednesday 25 January. Philip will be joined by a panel of educators who are leading the movement for classroom computing and digital making.

One of our younger community members, Yasmin Bey, delivering a workshop session

Raspberry Pi Stand (G460) – Free workshops, talks, demos, and panel discussions

Find us at our STEAM Village stand (G460) to take part in free physical computing and STEAM workshops, as well as talks led by Raspberry Pi Foundation staff, Raspberry Pi Certified Educators, and other expert community members. We have a huge range of workshops running for all levels of ability, which will give you the opportunity to get hands-on with digital making and gain experience of using the Raspberry Pi in a variety of different ways.

There is no booking system for our workshops. You just need to browse our Bett Show 2017 Workshop Timetable and then turn up before the session. If you miss a workshop and need help with something, don’t worry: the team will be hosting special drop-in sessions at the end of each day to answer all your questions.

Workshop participants will get the chance to grab some exclusive goodies, including a special Educator’s Edition of our MagPi magazineWe also have an awesome maker project for you to take away this year: your very own Raspberry Pi badge, featuring a glowing LED! We’ll supply all the materials: you just need to come and take part in some good old-fashioned digital making.

You can be the proud maker of this badge if you visit our stand

These fantastic free resources will help to get you started with digital making and Raspberry Pi, learn more about our goals as a charity, and give you the confidence to teach others about physical computing.

Our staff members will also be on hand to chat to you about any questions you have about our educational initiatives. Here’s a quick list to get the cogs turning:

  • Astro Pi: our initiative to enable schools across Europe to send code into space
  • Code Club: our programme for setting up extra-curricular computing clubs in schools and community spaces
  • Online training: our new web-based courses for educators on the FutureLearn platform
  • Picademy: our flagship face-to-face training for educators in the UK and USA
  • Pioneers: a new initiative that sets digital making challenges for teams of UK teenagers (twelve- to 15-year-olds)
  • Skycademy: our programme for starting a near-space programme in your school using high-altitude balloons

Talks will be held on the STEAM village stage (pictured) and on our stand throughout Bett

STEAM village sessions

In addition to running workshops and talks on our own stand, we are also holding some sessions on the STEAM village stand next to ours:

TimeDayPresenterTitleLocation
13:25 – 13:55WednesdayOlympia Brown, Senior Programme Manager, Raspberry Pi FoundationPioneers: engaging teenagers in digital making, project-based learning, and STEAMSTEAM Village Stage
12:30 – 13:00ThursdayCarrie Anne Philbin, Director of Education, Raspberry Pi FoundationA digital making curriculum: bridging the STEAM skills gap through creativity and project-based learningSTEAM Village Stage
16:10 – 16:40FridayPanel chaired by Dr Lucy Rogers, Author, Designer, Maker, and Robot Wars Judge!These ARE the droids we’re looking for: how the robotics revolution is inspiring a generation of STEAM makersSTEAM Village Stage
11:20 – 11:50SaturdayDave Honess, Astro Pi Programme Manager, Raspberry Pi FoundationCode in space: engaging students in computer scienceSTEAM Village Stage

 Raspberry Jam and Code Club @ Bett

For the second year running, we are taking over the Technology in HE Summit Space on Saturday 28 January to run two awesome events:

  1. A Raspberry Jam from 10:00 to 12:50. Led by the wonderful Raspberry Pi community, Raspberry Jams are a way to share ideas, collaborate, and learn about digital making and computer science. They take place all over the world, including at the Bett Show! Come along, share your project in our show-and-tell, take part in our workshops, and get help with a project from experts and community members. It’s fun for all the family! Register your interest here.
  2. A Code Club primer session from 13:00 to 15:00. Our regional coordinator for London and the East of England is holding a workshop with a team of young people to show you how to start a Code Club in your school. Come and take part in the live demos and get help with starting your own club.

We’re looking forward to the opportunity to speak to so many different educators from across the world. It’s really important to us to spend time with all of you face-to-face: we want to hear about the great things you’re doing, answer your questions, and learn about the way you work and the challenges you face so we can improve the things we do. We really do value your feedback enormously, so please don’t hesitate for a moment to come over and ask questions, query something, or just say hi! And if you have questions you’d like to ask us ahead of Bett, just leave us a comment below.

See you next week!

The post Join our workshops and talks at Bett 2017 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Making life changes

Post Syndicated from Matt Richardson original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/making-life-changes/

This column is from The MagPi issue 51. You can download a PDF of the full issue for free, or subscribe to receive the print edition in your mailbox or the digital edition on your tablet. All proceeds from the print and digital editions help the Raspberry Pi Foundation achieve its charitable goals.

Making things can change your life. It did for me, and I hear the same from others all the time.

After I graduated from university in 2003, I jumped immediately into the workforce. I landed in New York City’s entertainment industry, which is where I’d dreamed of working since I was young. I was excited to be a staffer on a major television show, where I learned what it takes to produce a weekly drama series. I slowly worked my way up the ladder in the industry over a few years.

There’s a lot to admire about how film and television content is produced. A crew of over one hundred people with creative and technical talents come together to create a piece of entertainment, under the watchful eye of the director. It’s an enormous piece of creative collaboration, but it’s also a business. Everyone does their part to make it happen. It’s incredible to see a show get made.

I had found a niche in the television industry that I did well in, but eventually I hit a rut. I had a small role in a big piece of work. I wanted to be more creative, and to have more autonomy and influence over what I was helping to create. It was at that time that I started closely following what makers were doing.

Feeling inspired by the work of others, I started to make things with microcontrollers and electronics. I’d then share information on how to recreate these projects online. Eventually, I was contributing projects to Make: magazine and I was soon able to make money from making things for companies, writing about how to make, and writing about what others were making. Soon enough, I was in a position to leave the television industry and work as a maker full-time.

That eventually led to my current job, doing outreach for Raspberry Pi in the United States. It’s incredibly gratifying work and despite the long road to get here, I couldn’t be happier with what I’m doing. The spare time I invested in making things as a hobby has paid off greatly in a new career that gives me creative freedom and a much more interesting work day.

Matt meets maker Gerald Burkett at World Maker Faire New York 2016.

Matt meets maker Gerald Burkett at World Maker Faire New York 2016.

Make it happen

I meet people all the time who have stories about how making has had an impact on their lives. At World Maker Faire New York recently, I met student Gerald Burkett, who told me his story of becoming a maker. He said, “I’m doing things I wouldn’t have ever dreamed of just four years ago, and it’s changed my life for the better.” And Gerald is having an impact on others as well. Even though he will be graduating soon, he’s encouraging the school’s administration to foster makers in the student body. He says that they “deserve an inviting environment where creativity is encouraged, and access to tools and supplies they couldn’t otherwise obtain in order to prototype and invent.”

Because of more accessible technology like the Raspberry Pi and freely available online resources, it’s easier than ever to make the things that you want to see in the world. Whether you are a student or you are far down a particular career path, it’s easier than ever to explore making as a passion and, potentially, also a livelihood.

If you’re reading this and you feel like you’re stuck in a rut with your job, I understand that feeling and encourage you to pursue making with vigour. There’s a good chance that what you make can change your life. It worked for me.

The post Making life changes appeared first on Raspberry Pi.