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Samsung to make at least a million foldable phones

Samsung Electronics will roll out its foldable phone in the first half of next year and produce at least a million of them, Yonhap News reported, citing the company’s smartphone chief DJ Koh. Original Link

Hydrogen fuel is back in the picture

As the price of renewable energy drops and storage technologies mature, hydrogen fuel is drawing fresh attention. Bianca Nogrady reports. Original Link

Couchbase Lite for Data Storage in Ionic App Using Cordova Plugin

Couchbase Lite is an embedded NoSQL database for iOS, Android and .Net platforms. The framework’s API supports native platform bindings for Android (Java), iOS (Swift, ObjC) and UWP/Xamarin (csharp). This implies that if you are building a Cordova app and you want to use Couchbase Lite as your embedded data persistence layer, you will have to find a way to access Couchbase Lite’s native APIs from within your Cordova web application. You can accomplish that with Cordova Plugins. Cordova plugins allow web-based apps running in a Cordova webview to access native platform functionality through a Javascript interface.

Architecture

At a high level, the architecture of a Cordova application that uses Cordova Plugins to access native code libraries is pretty straightforward.

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Couchbase Lite for Data Storage in Ionic App Using Cordova Plugin

Couchbase Lite is an embedded NoSQL database for iOS, Android and .Net platforms. The framework’s API supports native platform bindings for Android (Java), iOS (Swift, ObjC) and UWP/Xamarin (csharp). This implies that if you are building a Cordova app and you want to use Couchbase Lite as your embedded data persistence layer, you will have to find a way to access Couchbase Lite’s native APIs from within your Cordova web application. You can accomplish that with Cordova Plugins. Cordova plugins allow web-based apps running in a Cordova webview to access native platform functionality through a Javascript interface.

Architecture

At a high level, the architecture of a Cordova application that uses Cordova Plugins to access native code libraries is pretty straightforward.

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Homemade Vintage Style Nixie Clock

If you find soldering enjoyable and relaxing, this is likely a good project for you. To create his clock, the maker Electronoobs has soldered LED filaments onto a steel wire frame. I’ve made some “nixie” tubes. These are actually 7 segments displays made with filament LEDs but placed in a plastic bottle so it will have […] Original Link

Defining Value in Community Launch and Growth

Value in the community lifecycle is tricky to measure. Value and how you define it depends on what stage of the lifecycle your community is in. It is ever-changing, from the first launch to growth to maturity. You need to prove the value of your community if you want it to stick around and more importantly, grow.

The first stage of your community is actually getting it launched. You will undoubtedly get questions about how the site is doing, whether it is growing, and how you can prove that it is succeeding. Luckily there are hundreds of different metrics and data points you can look at when starting up a site.

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Why Are Engineers Getting DevOps Fatigue?

As an engineer, you already have enough responsibilities when developing software. Adding more tasks-say, DevOps-related ones-to your workday activities might not sound very appealing. With DevOps, not only are you responsible for producing working software, but now you also need to automate the building, testing, and deployment phases of the software. That’s a lot to take care of! But the extra work aside, maybe you’re just tired of the DevOps movement, and all the hype surrounding it is causing DevOps fatigue.

As a former developer, I can identify with that feeling of fatigue. I’ve also seen some colleagues reach a certain level of frustration with DevOps. There are times when we make the mistake of taking on everything, even the releases. This is especially common if we’re perfectionists and don’t like to deliver software with bugs. We could even get to the point of releasing our code to production. (Although now that you’re "doing" DevOps, that might become your responsibility anyway.) After all, if we code it, we know the things that could go wrong and how to fix it if there are problems.

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Why Are Engineers Getting DevOps Fatigue?

As an engineer, you already have enough responsibilities when developing software. Adding more tasks-say, DevOps-related ones-to your workday activities might not sound very appealing. With DevOps, not only are you responsible for producing working software, but now you also need to automate the building, testing, and deployment phases of the software. That’s a lot to take care of! But the extra work aside, maybe you’re just tired of the DevOps movement, and all the hype surrounding it is causing DevOps fatigue.

As a former developer, I can identify with that feeling of fatigue. I’ve also seen some colleagues reach a certain level of frustration with DevOps. There are times when we make the mistake of taking on everything, even the releases. This is especially common if we’re perfectionists and don’t like to deliver software with bugs. We could even get to the point of releasing our code to production. (Although now that you’re "doing" DevOps, that might become your responsibility anyway.) After all, if we code it, we know the things that could go wrong and how to fix it if there are problems.

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What Is Infrastructure as Code?

Automation is a concept that has found its way into every corner of the economy, as well as into our day-to-day lives. It makes sense that as the technology around us becomes more sophisticated we should utilize it to automate common tasks and improve efficiency. And moreover, that we should apply it to the even more complex systems and processes with which we operate in business. The field of IT has become just as enamored with automating its processes as any other industry. However, with IT, automation has come into play alongside a number of other technologies too.

One of those increasingly important technological concepts in the world of IT is that of virtualization. Virtualization enables users to create virtual spaces on remote servers so that they can test applications in a controlled and isolated environment. The potential uses for virtualization are truly limitless. Like automation, virtualization is a concept that has revolutionized the way that we solve various computing problems.

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What Is Infrastructure as Code?

Automation is a concept that has found its way into every corner of the economy, as well as into our day-to-day lives. It makes sense that as the technology around us becomes more sophisticated we should utilize it to automate common tasks and improve efficiency. And moreover, that we should apply it to the even more complex systems and processes with which we operate in business. The field of IT has become just as enamored with automating its processes as any other industry. However, with IT, automation has come into play alongside a number of other technologies too.

One of those increasingly important technological concepts in the world of IT is that of virtualization. Virtualization enables users to create virtual spaces on remote servers so that they can test applications in a controlled and isolated environment. The potential uses for virtualization are truly limitless. Like automation, virtualization is a concept that has revolutionized the way that we solve various computing problems.

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Your old phone is a security risk. Live with it

That obsolete smartphone stashed away in a drawer or closet may not look like a national security risk, but the Trump administration is contemplating treating it as one. Original Link

Why I Practice TDD: Speed and Need

“We need you to go faster, so we need you to stop practicing test-driven development,” said the manager. “Just ship it, and we’ll worry about problems later.”

For developers who have ingrained TDD as just how they develop software, the manager’s proposition is laughable. It’s akin to telling a race car driver, “We need you to go faster, so we’re going to take out the steering wheel, and we’re going to turn the windshield into seamless, opaque body molding for aerodynamic reasons.”

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Doing Cloud Right: Takeaways from Our Recent Jez Humble Webinar

Last month, we hosted our "Doing Cloud Right Webinar" with Jez Humble (DORA CTO, author) and Anders Wallgren (Electric Cloud CTO). In the webinar, Jez and Anders discussed some of the most striking findings of the recent 2018 Accelerate State of DevOps Report (ASODR), including the fact that organizations that "do cloud right" are 23 times more likely to be elite DevOps performers!

Continue reading for some top takeaways from this insightful webinar.

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Introduction to Selenium Automation Testing

In an era of extremely interactive and responsive software processes where several enterprises are using some form of Agile methodology, automation testing has become crucial for many software projects. Automation testing beats manual one all the time as it requires less time and human resource has a lower risk for errors, allows regular execution, supports lights out the execution, regression testing and also functional testing. There are many commercial and open source tools available for supporting the growth of automation testing. Specifically, Selenium is one of the most widely-used tools to build test automation for web applications.

1. What Is Selenium Testing?

Selenium introduction

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Management Signals

I’m catching up on my podcasts and just listened to Seth Godin’s Akimbo episode about honest signals. (Do listen.) It’s about the signals we send that are honest or dishonest and why we might choose one, the other, or both. I started to think about the management signals we send, especially in an Agile transformation.

In From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams, Mark and I developed this chart to show how Agile approaches change the culture.

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Interesting JDK 12 Features to Watch Out For

With the new six month Java release cycle, you should expect cool, new features for developers at a faster rate. I have seen some of the features that you can expect to see in the JDK 12 release next year. You can get the Open JDK 12 early access build and try out these preview features. Let’s take a closer look.

Switch Expressions

For example, you have an enum for the days of the week and you want to use a switch statement to return the number of letters in the string. There are better ways to do this, but we are going to use Switch statements to demonstrate this.

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InHPC-DE maximizes high-speed data connection between Germany’s leading supercomputers

(Gauss Centre for Supercomputing) Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS) users from Germany’s leading academic institutions are now able to move data to and from GCS facilities significantly faster — the High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS), Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC), and Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) will be able to push Germany’s high-speed X-WiN network to its limits. Original Link

Rocket Lab performs first commercial launch

Rocket Lab Electron launch

Updated 9:20 a.m. Eastern Nov. 11 with post-launch statement.

WASHINGTON — Rocket Lab successfully launched its Electron rocket Nov. 10 on a long-delayed first commercial mission for the small launch vehicle.

The Electron lifted off from the company’s Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula at 10:50 p.m. Eastern (4:50 p.m. local time Nov. 11) after a trouble-free countdown. The two-stage rocket released an upper stage, called Curie, into orbit nine minutes after liftoff.

Curie ignited its engines 51 minutes after liftoff to go into a circular 500-kilometer orbit at an inclination of 85 degrees. Three minutes later it released its payload of six small satellites.

“We’re thrilled to be leading the small satellite launch industry by reaching orbit a second time and deploying more payloads,” Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab, said in a post-launch statement. “The team carried out a flawless flight with incredibly precise orbital insertion.”

Those satellites included two Lemur-2 cubesats for Spire, which operates a constellation of such spacecraft to collect weather data as well as track vessels and aircraft. The Cicero-10 small satellite built by Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems for weather satellite constellation company GeoOptics was also on the launch, as was IRVINE01, a cubesat built by high school students in Southern California. IRVINE01 features an electric propulsion system developed by Accion Systems, marking the first flight of that company’s technology.

Fleet, an Australian company developing a constellation of smallsats for Internet of Things services, added two 1.5-unit Proxima cubesats to the mission in October. The satellites are the first to be launched by the company, ahead of larger 3-unit cubesats that are part of a SpaceX Falcon 9 dedicated rideshare mission scheduled to launch later in November.

An additional payload, called NABEO and developed by High Performance Space Structure Systems GmBH, will remain attached to Curie. It will deploy a sail after the release of the other satellites to test its use as a means of deorbiting satellites. That payload was installed in cooperation with Ecliptic Enterprises Corporation, which announced an agreement with Rocket Lab in August to arrange similar hosted payloads on future Electron missions.

The launch was the third mission for the Electron, and the first since a January test flight that was the first to reach orbit. This mission, dubbed “It’s Business Time” by Rocket Lab, marked the beginning of routine commercial operations.

That mission was originally scheduled for launch in April but postponed because of a motor controller problem in one of the rocket’s first stage engines. The company corrected the problem and rescheduled the launch for late June, only to have the problem reappear.

In an August interview, Beck said the company decided to make changes to the design of the controller to address the problem. “We made the decision to bite the bullet,” he said then. “We’ll go in there and make some changes to the hardware, some components of the motor controller.”

With this success the company plans to step up the pace of launches. Rocket Lab’s next Electron mission is expected to take place in December, carrying a collection of cubesats from NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative under a contract awarded by NASA’s Venture Class Launch Services program in 2015. That launch will take place “within a few weeks,” Beck said in the statememt.

SpaceNews.com

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Using Jenkins-X UpdateBot

Jenkins-X UpdateBot is a tool for automating the update of dependency versions within project source code. Say you’re building two projects, A and B, such that B uses A as a dependency. The release process for A could use UpdateBot to update the source for project B to use a new version of A. With UpdateBot this would result in a pull request so that the change could be tested and reviewed or automatically merged.

Within pipelines on the Jenkins-X platform, UpdateBot is automatically present and invoked by updatebot commands in Jenkinsfiles. But UpdateBot can also be used outside of Jenkins-X and running it alone can help to understand what it can do and test out version replacements. So let’s try it out with a simple tester project.

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Friday Product Post: Prepping for Any Occasion

This week we have a great collection of new parts, boards and modules: a version of the TFMini LiDAR module that can connect to the SparkFun Qwiic connect system, a Triad Spectroscopy Sensor (also equipped with Qwiic connectors), a radio telemetry kit for the Pixhawk, a new bladeRF SDR and case, and the SmartLED Shield for Teensy to help you control LED matrices and APA102s.

TFMini - Micro LiDAR Module (Qwiic)

added to your cart!

TFMini – Micro LiDAR Module (Qwiic)

In stock SEN-14786

The TFMini is a ToF, Qwiic-enabled LiDAR sensor capable of measuring the distance to an object as close as 30 centimeters and…

$39.95

The TFMini is a ToF (Time of Flight) LiDAR sensor capable of measuring the distance to an object as close as 30 centimeters and as far as 12 meters! As with all LiDAR sensors, your effective detection distance will vary depending on lighting conditions and the reflectivity of your target object, but what makes this sensor special is its size. Measuring only 42x15x16 mm, the TFMini allows you to integrate LiDAR into applications traditionally reserved for smaller sensors such as the SHARP GP-series infrared rangefinders. With the added Boost Board and Qwiic feature, you can quickly connect to the sensor via I2C!


Try saying it three times fast!

SparkFun Triad Spectroscopy Sensor - AS7265x (Qwiic)

added to your cart!

SparkFun Triad Spectroscopy Sensor – AS7265x (Qwiic)

In stock SEN-15050

The SparkFun Triad Spectroscopy Sensor is a powerful optical inspection sensor with three sensors combined alongside LEDs us…

$64.95

The SparkFun Triad Spectroscopy Sensor is a powerful optical inspection sensor. Three AS7265x spectral sensors are combined alongside visible, UV and IR LEDs to illuminate and test various surfaces for light spectroscopy. The Triad is made up of three sensors – the AS72651, the AS72652 and the AS72653 – and can detect the light from 410 nm (UV) to 940 nm (IR). In addition, 18 individual light frequencies can be measured with precision down to 28.6 nW/cm2 and accuracy of +/-12%. Utilizing our handy Qwiic system, no soldering is required to connect it to the rest of your system. However, we still have broken out 0.1″-spaced pins in case you prefer to use a breadboard.


More accessories for your Pixhawk!

Pixhawk Radio Telemetry Kit

added to your cart!

Pixhawk Radio Telemetry Kit

In stock WRL-15007

The Pixhawk Radio Telemetry Kit is a lightweight and inexpensive open source radio platform that can allow for ranges of 300m…

$39.95

The Radio Telemetry Kit for Pixhawk is a small, lightweight, inexpensive open source radio platform that allows for ranges farther than 300 m out of the box, with the ability extend to several kilometers with the use of a patch antenna on the ground. This telemetry kit includes two radio modules, USB cable, Android adapter cable, two JST-GH cables, two right-angled RP-SMA connectors, and two 915MHz antennas.


Still a finely-honed edge on this blade

bladeRF 2.0 micro xA4

added to your cart!

bladeRF 2.0 micro xA4

In stock WRL-15043

The bladeRF 2.0 micro xA4 is a next generation SDR in a small form factor and was designed for high performance and mobile ap…

$480.00
bladeRF 2.0 micro Enclosure

added to your cart!

bladeRF 2.0 micro Enclosure

18 available PRT-15044

This is a simple, transparent enclosure designed to protect your bladeRF 2.0 micro from external threats.

$20.00

The bladeRF 2.0 micro xA4 is the next generation Software Defined Radio (SDR), packed into a small form factor and designed for high-performance and mobile applications. This model of the bladeRF offers a frequency range of 47MHz to 6GHz, 61.44MHz sampling rate and 2×2 MIMO streaming. Students and RF enthusiasts will find the bladeRF 2.0 micro xA4 an easy-to-use option to explore wireless communications, while still providing the powerful waveform development platform expected by industry professionals.

Of course if you want to protect your new SDR, we also carry a durable enclosure for it!


SmartLED Shield V4 for Teensy

added to your cart!

SmartLED Shield V4 for Teensy

In stock DEV-15046

The SmartLED Shield V4 is the next iteration of the SmartMatrix Shield and provides you with a bridge for your Teensy to your…

$19.95

LED matrices are getting more powerful with each passing year, requiring a more powerful board to control them. That’s where this shield comes in! The SmartLED Shield V4 is the next iteration of the SmartMatrix Shield, and provides you with a bridge from your Teensy 3.1, 3.2, 3.5 or 3.6 to your large LED matrix. The shield makes it easy to connect the 13 signals required to drive the display, connects an external 5V supply to power the display and Teensy and brings out the Teensy’s free signals to a convenient header.


As always, we can’t wait to see what you make! Shoot us a tweet @sparkfun, or let us know on Instagram or Facebook. We’d love to see what projects you’ve made!

We’ll be back next week with even more fantastic new products!

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Is this AI? We drew you a flowchart to work it out

The definition of artificial intelligence is constantly evolving, and the term often gets mangled, so we are here to help. Original Link

The Best of the Physics arXiv (week ending November 10, 2018)

This week’s most thought-provoking papers from the Physics arXiv. Original Link

Latest Chips Changing the Automobile Industry

electronic devices and theoryThis article discusses the latest chips that are transforming the automobile industry. For many years, the internal combustion engine has been at the heart of the automobile. In the last few years, tiny slices of silicon have increasingly been acting as its brain, telling the engine what to do and when. In this new era, […]

The post Latest Chips Changing the Automobile Industry appeared first on Electronics For You.

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Top 5 Benefits of Shared MongoDB Hosting

Shared hosting is one of the most cost-effective and easy-to-setup options for deploying MongoDB in the cloud, and is used by thousands of companies around the world to host their databases. In this post, we outline the top five benefits of using shared MongoDB hosting to help you decide whether it’s the right thing for your business.

Shared MongoDB hosting plans are typically best-suited for startups up to medium-sized businesses who need to move fast, develop their customer scenarios, or host a development or testing environment for their application. The most important thing to look for is a shared hosting solution for MongoDB that is fully managed so you have the necessary expertise on-hand to help you monitor, backup, and troubleshoot your database operations. Otherwise, it can significantly impact the security or stability of their application, and consequently, the longevity of your business. This also puts you and your team in a position to focus on building out your application, not getting bogged down by unforeseen database issues.

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Blyst Nano is a Finger-tip tiny Bluetooth 5 board with 30 I/O pins and more

BLYST Nano is a new tiny ARM Cortex-M4F module which has been created offering Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, Bluetooth Mesh and 30 input and outputs. The module is now available to purchase on crowdsupply priced from $17 with free shipping throughout the US included for worldwide shipping available for an extra $8. With a design based […] Original Link

Code Transformations

A lot of poor designs can be attributed to sticking with an existing design as changing requirements show us the need for a better one. Oftentimes, an initial design is just a stab in the dark. We might not know enough to make an informed decision but we have to get something done, so we do what Agile says and we code up the behavior that we need right now and not worry about future requirements.

For most teams, the problem comes when they start to enhance that behavior and go back into the code to extend it. Now they’re asking the system to do something that it couldn’t do before and, instead of redesigning a feature to accommodate the new behavior, developers might try to hack in the new behavior while minimally impacting the existing design. But this can degrade the quality of the code when done over and over again in a system.

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Unsavory Truth review – exposing the food industry’s abuse of science

Exaggerated health claims, corporate funding, unpublished negative results: a new book exposes the way the US food industry hijacks science and fights for answers Original Link

New Retail tech is backbone of Singles’ Day for Alibaba

Double 11 will showcase New Retail technology like never before, in stores and warehouses, both in China and abroad. Original Link

Robots are learning hand gestures by watching hours of TED talks

Hand gestures are difficult for robots to reproduce convincingly, so hundreds of hours of TED videos are being used to teach them how to better gesticulate Original Link

Fishino (the board for IoT and wearable) meets Squirrel (part 1)

  We introduce a programming language to optimize code for our Fishino boards. Part one. What do squirrels and our appreciated little fishes have in common? Very little apparently, but actually, as you will see by reading this article, they have a lot in common, because the combination of the two “critters” can lead to […] Original Link

Teraco said to be for sale with Permira seeking exit

Permira is working with an adviser to find a buyer for its data centre company, Teraco Data Environments, people with knowledge of the matter said. Original Link

Some iPhone X units have faulty touch screens

Apple has disclosed a pair of issues affecting two of its more popular products: the iPhone X and the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Original Link

Why lichen may be the perfect factories for making rocket fuel on Mars

Lichens can be revived after being subjected to Mars-like conditions, so they could be used on long space flights to produce hydrogen rocket fuel along the way Original Link

Serverless With AWS: Image Resize On-The-Fly With Lambda and S3

Handling large images has always been a pain in my side since I started writing code. Lately, it has started to have a huge impact on page speed and SEO ranking. If your website has poorly optimized images it won’t score well on Google Lighthouse. If it doesn’t score well, it won’t be on the first page of Google. That sucks.

TL;DR

I’ve built and open-sourced a snippet of code that automates the process of creating and deploying an image resize function and an S3 bucket with one simple command. Check out the code here.

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Game Theory With Apache Spark, Part 2

Series So Far

Algorithm

Now we will discuss an algorithm that achieves optimal price and allocations. The algorithm consists of two parts. Part 1 involves finding the optimal price vector and part 2 involves finding an optimal allocation corresponding to the optimal price vector found in part 1.

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Delivering Value

A while back, Jason Yip, tweeted about delivery of value and started an interesting thread.

Much of the discussion was about the definition of "value." Is it specifically about revenue generation or direct customer benefit? Is it more generally about any form of value such as revenue, progress, or learning?

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Installing and Setting Up Selenium IDE

1. Introduction to Selenium IDE

Selenium IDE (Integrated Development Environment) is the most basic automation testing tool in the Selenium Suite. It is a Firefox add-on which creates tests very quickly thanks to its record-and-playback functionality. Moreover, Selenium IDE is also the easiest tool to learn, install and go ahead with generating test scripts.

Due to its simplicity, Selenium IDE cannot be a suitable solution for developing and maintaining complicated test suites. Although users do not have to acquire any prior programming knowledge, they should at least know how to use JavaScript, HTML and the DOM (Document Object Model) to utilize the tool to its full potential.

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How I Used the Decorator Pattern to Solve my Tech Issue

Our code base followed a hybrid monolithic approach where we had a huge codebase with tens of thousands of classes. On a complete build of the code base, we had five major JARs builds with dependencies pulled.

Now, I was working on the moduleAccountsManager. We had one another module, UpgradeManager, which allowed us to create a self-upgrade of all the other modules, including our AccountsManager, whereby it installs the latest RPM when its given a new RPM path (it does dozens of other things that are out of our scope).

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NASA to support initial studies of privately funded Enceladus mission

Cassini Enceladus

WASHINGTON — NASA signed an agreement in September with a foundation to support initial studies of a privately funded mission to a potentially habitable moon of Saturn.

The unfunded Space Act Agreement between NASA and the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, initiated with little public fanfare, covers NASA support for initial concept studies, known in NASA programmatic parlance as “Pre-Phase A,” for a mission to the moon Enceladus, an icy world believed to have a subsurface ocean of liquid water and plumes that eject that water through the surface into space.

The agreement, the seven-page document posted on a NASA website states, “shall be for the purpose of cooperating on the Breakthrough Pre-Phase A activities for Breakthrough’s Enceladus Mission.” That includes supporting a series of reviews that leads up to what NASA calls Key Decision Point (KDP) A, “to determine progress to Phase A, for further formation of the Enceladus Mission’s concept and technology development.”

The agreement includes a series of milestones from March through December 2019, such as development of preliminary project requirements in June and a mission concept review in September. The final milestone, in December 2019, would be KDP-A, where “NASA and Breakthrough provide recommendation on whether project should proceed to Phase A.”

Most of the study work would be done by Breakthrough. NASA, under the agreement, would use “reasonable efforts” to offer scientific and technical consulting for the study, including expertise in a range of scientific fields and in planetary protection. NASA will also advise “in the development of Phase A plans for a life signature mission to Enceladus.”

The agreement between NASA and Breakthrough involves no exchange of funds. NASA estimates its cost of carrying out its responsibilities under the agreement to be $72,384.

The agreement, first reported by New Scientist, offers few details about the proposed mission itself. A companion document for the agreement notes that the foundation’s Breakthrough Watch program “seeks to evaluate near-term missions to objects in the Solar System, including Enceladus,” that would search for signs of life there. “The Enceladus Mission is considering novel low-cost approaches, one of which uses solar sail technology to flyby the moon of Saturn to collect scientific data.

However, foundation officials have publicly discussed their interest in an Enceladus mission for a year. “We formed a little workshop around this idea,” said Yuri Milner, the Russian billionaire who funds the foundation, at an event in Seattle in November 2017. “Can we design a low-cost privately-funded mission to Enceladus, which can be launched relatively soon and that can look more thoroughly at those plumes to try to see what’s going on there?”

Pete Worden, the former director of NASA’s Ames Research Center who is chairman of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, mentioned at the NewSpace Europe 2017 conference in Luxembourg last November that the organization was considering some non-traditional concepts for an Enceladus mission, including using solar sails.

“We’ll probably kick off, around the first of the year, a six-month study to look at some of these” alternative mission concepts, he said then, leaving the door open to cooperation with NASA or other space agencies. “Hopefully, later this next year, if it looks good, we’ll be off and running.”

During a panel discussion at a space conference at Arizona State University Aug. 20, Worden indicated an agreement with NASA was in place to study an Enceladus mission. “This week we signed an agreement with NASA to look at a privately funded mission that will work with NASA that will go to the outer solar system and look for life either on Enceladus or Europa,” he said. “We think we can do those missions for tens of millions, not hundreds of millions or billions.”

A Breakthrough Prize Foundation spokesperson, contacted by SpaceNews the day of those comments, said the agreement had not yet been finalized. A NASA spokesperson did not comment on the agreement then.

The Space Act Agreement was, in fact, signed Sept. 13, according to the documents posted online. Worden signed the document on behalf of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation and Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science, signed for NASA.

Even after the agreement was signed, though, neither NASA nor Breakthrough were willing to talk about it. Interviewed during an event at the International Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Germany, Oct. 2 about a separate Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence initiative by Breakthrough in South Africa, Worden said the foundation was not yet ready to make an official announcement about the study.

A Breakthrough spokesperson, contacted by SpaceNews Nov. 8, promised to “circle back” about the agreement, but did not follow up. A NASA spokesperson also did not respond to a Nov. 8 request for comment about the agreement.

SpaceNews.com

Original Link

Space Force, Europa missions face scrutiny as Democrats take over House

When President Trump announced plans for a Space Force, it triggered a legal debate on the justification for such a force. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration’s desire to establish a Space Force could be in jeopardy next year after Democrats assume control of the House, while the departure of a key House appropriator could spell trouble for NASA missions to the potentially habitable moon of Europa.

While some races from the Nov. 6 midterms elections have yet to be finalized, including the bid by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, to win another term, Democrats won a majority of seats in the House, giving it control of committees that will set the legislative agenda for the next two years.

In addition, Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas), chairman of the commerce, justice and science appropriations subcommittee, lost reelection, depriving NASA and space scientists of one of their most powerful patrons.

Space Force

Perhaps the biggest space policy issue the next Congress will have to deal with is the formation of a Space Force. White House and Pentagon officials have said that they plan to seek Congressional approval next year of a plan to establish the Space Force as a separate military branch.

That effort may run into problems in the House, though. The likely next chairman of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash), said this fall he was skeptical about the need for a Space Force, particularly given the high cost estimates for creating it developed by the Air Force.

Smith alluded to that in a Nov. 8 letter to colleagues announcing his intent to seek the chairmanship of the committee. “We must look to eliminate inefficiency and waste at the DOD,” he wrote.

Experts were skeptical that the Space Force could win approval. “It’s dimmed the chances that, in its current form, it can make it through Congress,” said Todd Harrison, director of the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It’s much more difficult now.”

There is the possibility, though, of changes falling short of a Space Force. One possibility is the development of a Space Corps within the U.S. Air Force, something that the House backed in 2017, prior to the administration’s Space Force plans. “There is room for compromise,” Harrison said, noting that Smith voted in favor of the defense authorization act in the House in 2017 that included Space Corps language.

The challenge may be getting the White House to accept something less than a full-fledged Space Force. “There probably would be bipartisan support for a Space Corps,” said Brian Weeden, director of program planning at the Secure World Foundation. “The question is, will the White House be able to live with that, or will they hold out and demand a Space Force?”

Harrison said a House Armed Services Committee led by Smith may take a stand on another military space issue, how the Air Force funds a follow-on program for the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) missile warning satellites. That effort has been underfunded compared to cost estimates for it, Harrison said, leading to reprogramming requests for additional funding.

“I don’t think the HASC will look at that favorably,” Harrison said. “They will push back on that, and could start denying reprogramming requests.”

Europa lander
The future of a Europa lander mission is in jeopardy with the defeat of Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas). Credit: NASA/JPL

Europa and other NASA programs

NASA in general had benefited from having Culberson as chairman. On many occasions, Culberson remarked about the need to increase NASA’s budget, and he was able to follow through with funding well above administration requests. The fiscal year 2019 spending bill approved by House appropriators in May offered more than $21.5 billion for NASA, more than $1.6 billion above the agency’s original proposal.

That bill “continues NASA’s record-level funding, setting the agency on the trajectory to rise above and beyond the glory days of Apollo,” Culberson said at a markup of the bill.

No program has benefited more from his largess than proposals to send missions to Europa, the icy moon of Jupiter with a subsurface ocean of liquid water that makes it potentially habitable. For several years he provided funding well above any NASA request for a mission now called Europa Clipper, which will enter orbit around Jupiter and make dozens of flybys of Europa to study the moon in detail.

More recently, he started providing funding for a follow-on lander that would touch down on the moon’s icy surface and sample it to look for evidence of life. In that 2019 spending bill, he provided $545 million for Europa Clipper mission and $195 million for the lander. NASA had sought $264.7 million for Europa Clipper and nothing for the lander. That funding called for launching Europa Clipper in 2022 on a Space Launch System and the lander as soon as 2024.

With Culberson gone, that funding stream is in jeopardy. Casey Dreier, senior space policy adviser for The Planetary Society, said he thought Europa Clipper would likely muddle through, given that the mission is well into development — it recently passed a set of preliminary design reviews — and has support in the scientific community. A Europa mission ranked second in the 2011 planetary science decadal survey for flagship-class missions behind a Mars sample-caching rover that became Mars 2020. Its launch, though, might slip until later in the 2020s.

A Europa lander, though, was not included in that list of potential flagship missions and is still in the early stages of development. “I have a hard time seeing how the Europa lander project continues without Culberson, because NASA has not formally requested the mission, and it lacks consensus support from the scientific community,” Dreier said.

At a meeting of NASA’s Outer Planets Assessment Group in September, scientists worried about the dependence of relying on a single benefactor, Culberson, for the Europa missions. “The issue for the lander is that congressional support is coming from a single point,” said Louise Prockter, director of the Lunar and Planetary Institute. “We don’t like single-point failures in our missions, and I don’t think it’s a good idea to have them in our programs either.”

NASA may face more general budget pressures as well, ranging from a need for an estimated half a billion dollars to cover cost overruns and delays in the James Webb Space Telescope to a request by President Trump for federal agencies to cut spending by five percent next year. Harrison noted NASA will go into that environment in a more vulnerable state without Culberson to defend it.

Culberson’s departure, though, could have benefits in civil space policy. Culberson had continued the practice started by his predecessor as subcommittee chair, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), of including provisions in spending bills restricting NASA’s ability to cooperate with China. While the restriction is not an absolute ban, it does make it much harder for NASA to work with its Chinese counterparts, effectively restricting it to largely non-controversial areas like aviation and Earth science.

With Culberson gone and the appropriations committee now in Democratic hands, that provision could be altered in future bills. “I think there is a chance that language might get softened or possibly even go away,” Weeden said. That doesn’t mean, he added, that the U.S. and China will immediately start cooperating in human spaceflight, but could enable more scientific cooperation, something both NASA and Chinese officials have said they are interested in.

Johnson
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), ranking member of the House Science Committee, said in June she opposed a bill that “rubber stamps” the administration’s space traffic management policy without additional study. Credit: House Science Committee webcast

Commercial space policy

The change in House control might be least disruptive in commercial space policy issues, where some expect a continuation of bipartisan support on those topics.

“Commercial space got a lot of support from Bart Gordon when he chaired the House Science Committee, and hopefully Eddie Bernice Johnson will continue in that tradition,” said Jim Muncy, president of PoliSpace. Johnson (D-Texas), the current ranking member of the committee, announced her intent election night to seek the chairmanship of the committee, but didn’t explicitly address space issues in her agenda.

“The broad bipartisan support for the first three Space Policy Directives will hopefully continue regarding NASA’s lunar initiatives, important reforms at the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation and Commerce’s growing role in space,” Muncy said.

The change in party control, though, could affect how new commercial space responsibilities are assigned. Johnson opposed a bill introduced by Republican members of the committee in June that would give space traffic management responsibilities to the Commerce Department, as the administration proposed in Space Policy Directive 3.

“I do not support our committee rubber-stamping the half-baked efforts of the Trump administration to address the issue,” she said, noting that previous studies had looked at moving that responsibility to the FAA, rather than Commerce. “In fact, no credible reason has been articulated for why the Commerce Department is the best place to house the function.” An amendment she offered to instead perform a one-year study on who should handle space traffic management was defeated, largely on party lines.

With Johnson now running the committee, it may revisit that issue, including whether space traffic management belongs with the FAA. That could put it line with the Republican-controlled Senate, which has also proposed giving that work to the FAA.

“I think there is a possibility that you might see bipartisan agreement between the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate on giving these authorities and resources to the Department of Transportation,” the cabinet agency FAA is part of, Weeden said.

As with the Space Force, Weeden said the issue will be whether the White House would be willing to go along with giving the FAA space traffic management responsibilities, or if it will stick with its plan in SPD-3 to give that to Commerce. “If they do stick to their guns on that,” he said of the White House, “my guess is that we’re not going to see anything happen until 2020.”

SpaceNews.com

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Investor Lawsuit Brought Against AT&T, T-Mobile for SIM Swapping Hacks

Swim Swap Lawsuit

Leading cryptocurrency investor law firm Silver Miller Law has filed suit against cell phone giants AT&T and T-Mobile on behalf of several digital asset investors who were victims of the identity-theft tactic known as “SIM swapping.” The suit alleges that both companies possessed flaws in their security systems and failed to properly train their employees to work against hackers seeking to gain access to users’ smartphones.

SIM swapping occurs when a hacker gathers information on a potential victim, such as their phone password, answers to their security questions and their financial holdings. Once they have the data they need, the hacker will contact the person’s cell phone provider and claim that their SIM card has been lost or damaged and request that a new one be activated, with the end goal of accessing the victim’s finances — in this case, cryptocurrency.

The lawyers at Silver Miller Law claim that many of their clients had their crypto wallets drained via SIM swapping techniques, including one individual — an AT&T holder — who had roughly $621,000 stolen despite the phone company’s assurances that security had been beefed up following an earlier hack attempt on his account. Two other instances involved T-Mobile clients, who were ultimately robbed of $400,000 and $250,000 respectively.

This is not the only SIM jacking case brought against AT&T; the mobile carrier is also the subject of a separate $224 million lawsuit brought on by Michael Terpin, the founder of angel investment group BitAngels. Terpin claims that the company’s weak security protocols led to his loss of roughly $24 million in crypto funds through two separate SIM swap attacks.

In a deposition filed in August, Terpin claims that the hackers obtained access to his phone number with the help of an AT&T customer service representative. The hackers were then able to access his cryptocurrency wallet and steal funds.

Terpin states, “What AT&T did was like a hotel giving a thief with a fake ID a room key and a key to the room safe to steal jewelry in the safe from the rightful owner.” He is now seeking roughly $200 million in damages.

Silver Miller Law has developed a reputation in the space for bringing investor-led lawsuits to court. Notable judgments and settlements in the firm’s history include Liu v. the Florida-based cryptocurrency exchange Cryptsy, in which roughly $50 million (approximately 11,300 BTC) was ordered returned to the company’s many traders and investors. It has also filed suits against Coinbase for its alleged mishandling of December 2017’s bitcoin cash listing.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

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Early Win for Shrem: Judge Unfreezes Assets in Winklevoss Lawsuit

shrem winklevoss

In a short-term win for bitcoin advocate Charlie Shrem, a federal judge has lifted the freeze on Shrem’s financial accounts in an ongoing legal battle against the Winklevoss twins.

Shrem’s financial accounts and assets were temporarily frozen via an attachment order following the suit’s initial filing. The order allowed the U.S. Marshall for the Southern District to freeze Shrem’s assets, instructing cryptocurrency companies like Coinbase and Xapo and legacy financial institutions to freeze Shrem’s assets up to $30 million, the amount the Winklevosses are seeking in damages.

However, following a hearing on Thursday, November 8, 2019, presiding Judge Jed S. Rakoff issued a court order lifting the freeze. 

“After careful consideration, the Court denies plaintiff’s motion to confirm the order of attachment and therefore lifts the attachment currently in place effective immediately,” the order reads.

The document concludes by saying that an opinion will be issued “in due course” explaining why a freeze was unnecessary for the initial proceedings to continue.

Earlier this month, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss of the Gemini Exchange in New York filed a suit against Charlie Shrem for 5,000 BTC after Shrem reportedly made several high-value purchases following his release from prison.

Shrem has claimed he went to prison penniless, reportedly working as a dishwasher for several months after his release before returning to the bitcoin space. Shrem’s self-reported poverty has lead the community to question where he dug up the funds for his luxury shopping spree.

The Winklevosses believe that these purchases were made with bitcoin Shrem stole from the twins when they hired him to manage their initial cryptocurrency investments in 2012.

The working relationship was troubled when Shrem allegedly mismanaged roughly $60,000 of bitcoin. At the time, bitcoin was worth approximately $12.50, so the $60,000 would be equal to about 5,000 BTC. The twins say they’ve hired a private investigator who states that, in 2013, the missing bitcoins were traced to several wallet addresses owned by Shrem before being redirected to other accounts.

Shrem’s lawyer Brian Klein asserts that the Winklevoss twins’ claims are baseless, and he’s confident in Shrem’s innocence. In a recently filed motion of defense, Klein writes:

“Plaintiff Winklevoss Capital Fund, LLC’s (“WCF’s”) prejudgment attachment and underlying lawsuit are predicated and built on the demonstrably false premise that defendant Charlie Shrem (“Shrem”) misappropriated $61,000 of WCF’s money in 2012, purchased 5,000 bitcoins with those funds, moved those bitcoins around on December 31, 2012 (and subsequently), and then years later after his release from prison went on a spending spree with them, but WCF’s case collapses on itself because those 5,000 bitcoins were not owned by Shrem. The scandalous and fantastical story WCF is advancing is nonsense.”

The document explains that the 5,000 BTC in question were owned by a separate party, who for privacy purposes, Klein refers to as “Mr. X.” It further states that Mr. X is “identified in email communications between him and Shrem (and others)” discussing the 5,000 bitcoins. Copies of the emails were filed with the motion that allegedly suggest Mr. X transferred the coins to a cold storage wallet account in Shrem’s name on December 31, 2012.

The document goes on to say, “This lawsuit and application for prejudgment attachment can only be characterized as an ambush money-grab designed to cripple Shrem financially.” It further explains that the Winklevoss twins have failed to provide any substantial evidence showing that Shrem attempted to defraud them purposely.

While the judge has freed up Shrem’s funds, the case is ongoing, and it will have an official trial by jury on April 8, 2019.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

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Amazon and ConsenSys-Built Kaleido Launches Full-Stack Marketplace

kaleido

Blockchain software-as-a-service (SAS) project Kaleido has launched a marketplace to provide its users with a “full-stack enterprise platform.”

Their “Blockchain Business Cloud” now features a “new marketplace [of] trusted tools and services from Kaleido, AWS, and members of the new partnership program, all offered as plug-and-play.” The suite of services will feature oracles, wallet and ID services, supply chain tools and even legal contract software.

According to a company statement, “Clients now have access to native AWS integrations, popular services such as HD wallets for privacy and ID registries for organizational identity, as well as industry products such as Chainlink for smart contract oracles, Viant for supply chain management, OpenLaw and Clause.io for real-time legal contracts, and many others—all at the click of a button.”

Kaleido, which went live in May 2018, is one of many managed by ConsenSys. Built on Ethereum, the platform is a hybrid blockchain that allows enterprises to manage a private chain that can sync with the Ethereum mainnet, housing “several consensus algorithms (RAFT, POA, and IBFT) that its users can toggle between.” The software-as-a-service is available on Amazon Web Services (AWS), and it runs on AWS’ cloud framework.

Since its launch, the press release claims that “Kaleido has helped organizations create over 1,000 blockchain networks with its Blockchain Business Cloud.”

“The reality is only about 10 percent of an enterprise blockchain project is the blockchain itself. There are many other application, data and infrastructure components required to go into production. I’m very excited that we have a whole cloud of blockchain technologies pre-integrated for our clients to use. The Kaleido Marketplace is a one-stop shop for all things enterprise blockchain,” founder and CEO of Kaleido, Steve Cerveny, said in light of the announcement.

Kaleido is also launching a partnership program integrated with the marketplace, inviting third-party developers “to join the ecosystem by promoting their offerings in the Kaleido Marketplace, embedding Kaleido in their own blockchain solutions, or accelerating client engagements by using Kaleido.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

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