Low-Code — Implications for Developers

Modern application development is a complex business, requiring multiple language support, knowledge of tools to build, test, and deploy applications, understanding of client experience, data handling, security skills, and the ability to provide experiences on multiple channels including web, mobile, and desktop.

In addition, developers are adapting to enable rapid app building by utilizing agile methodologies in parallel with a DevOps mindset and culture for delivery. Financial service institutions are increasingly adopting an iterative approach to providing apps and updates to the business, where regular small-scale updates/improvements are made to systems and customer/user interfaces with minimal disruption to their consumers.

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What Does it Mean to Be ‘Reactive?’

Currently, reactive is one of those trendy buzzwords in programming. Reactive is a word widely used as a prefix for “system” and “programming,” which both describe very different matters.

However, as an IT consultant and reactive sponsor, I have had a lot of experience and conversations surrounding reactive, but essentially, the main question is always the same:

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Friday Product Post: Gator Aid

This week we are very excited to bring you three new ProtoSnap boards that will help bring even more functionality to the micro:bit. We call them gator:boards! On top of them, we have also brought over a USB Logic Analyzer from SparkX that won’t break the bank, but will still provide you with an excellent new tool for your workbench!

As a reminder, one day only sales are back with our Time Saving Sale for the month of October, so we’ll be having flash sales on a wide selection of breakout boards every weekday from now until October 26th. Just check the featured content at the top of the homepage each weekday for the new deal! In addition to our breakout board flash sales, we’ll also be taking 15 percent off most of our Qwiic boards through October 31st. Unfortunately, SparkX items aren’t included, but those are a great deal if you’re looking to be on the cutting edge of SparkFun’s product development.

Not just a green gator!

SparkFun gator:color ProtoSnap

added to your cart!

SparkFun gator:color ProtoSnap

In stock COM-14890

The gator:color ProtoSnap is perfect if you want to add a low-profile glowing component to your project.


The SparkFun gator:color ProtoSnap is perfect if you want to add a low-profile glowing component to your project. It’s equipped with six LED boards that can be kept as a whole while on the board, or broken apart for individual use! Included on each board are two white LED boards; a single red board, green board, blue board and yellow board; and a power rail.

Safer than your regular gator!

SparkFun gator:starter ProtoSnap

added to your cart!

SparkFun gator:starter ProtoSnap

In stock SEN-14891

The gator:starter ProtoSnap has been designed to provide you with a staring point to go beyond the capabilities of the SparkF…


The SparkFun gator:starter ProtoSnap provides you with a starting point to go beyond the capabilities of the micro:bit with three different boards that can be kept as a whole while on the board, or broken apart for individual use! Included on each gator:starter is a temperature sensor board, a light sensor board and an RGB LED board.

You try and think of a better way to control a gator!

SparkFun gator:control ProtoSnap

added to your cart!

SparkFun gator:control ProtoSnap

In stock COM-14968

The gator:control ProtoSnap provides you with a handful of different ways to interact with projects you create using only gat…


The SparkFun gator:control ProtoSnap provides you with a handful of different ways to interact with projects you create, using only gator-clip cables. Each little board on this ProtoSnap can be kept as a whole while on the board, or be broken apart for individual use! The gator:control ProtoSnap contains four boards in the main assembly including two buttons, an on/off slide switch and a reed switch, which is activated by a magnet.

USB Logic Analyzer - 25MHz/8-Channel

added to your cart!

USB Logic Analyzer – 25MHz/8-Channel

In stock TOL-15033

This 8-channel USB Logic Analyzer with support for sampling rates of up to 24MHz provides a good while economic option making…


With the growing ubiquity of UART, I2C and SPI sensors, logic analyzers are becoming a tool everyone needs in their toolbox or on their workbench. This 8-channel USB Logic Analyzer, with support for sampling rates of up to 24MHz, provides a good, economic option, making it a great tool for quickly diagnosing most communication issues we encounter. This analyzer will work with both 3.3V and 5V systems (up to 5.25V max and 2.0V minimum on a high logic level) and is powered via an included mini-B USB cable.

That’s it for this week, folks! 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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Vector secures $70 million Series B round for small launch vehicle development

Vector-R launch

WASHINGTON — Vector, one of dozens of ventures developing small launch vehicles to serve perceived high demand for small satellite launches, announced Oct. 19 that it closed a $70 million Series B round to move into full operations.

The Tucson, Arizona-based company said Kodem Growth Partners led the funding round, along with Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners and three earlier investors, Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Shasta Ventures.

“Vector is entering an extremely important phase of our journey, transitioning from a focus on research and development to flight operations and profitability,” Jim Cantrell, chief executive of Vector, said in a statement. “This Series B financing is a critical element in Vector’s mission to improve access to space and become a dominant launch provider to the small satellite industry.”

In an emailed response to questions, Shaun Coleman, chief sales and marketing officer at Vector, said the funding will be used to support the company as it shifts into operations. That includes bringing its first launch vehicle, the Vector-R, into service as well as continuing development of a larger vehicle, the Vector-H, slated to make its debut in 2019. The funding will also be used to expand the company’s sales, business development and marketing teams, he said.

Part of that work includes building what the company describes as a “state-of-the-art” factory in Tucson for producing its rockets. With the funding in place, Coleman said Vector will break ground on the factory later this year.

The first Vector-R orbital launch attempt is planned for before the end of the year from Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska. Coleman said the payload for that flight is confidential.

Vector had been planning a suborbital test launch earlier this month from the Mojave Desert in California, but postponed it because of technical problems. “The recent Mojave test campaign proved out several key elements of our concept of operations,” Coleman said, such as testing remote operations and a new transporter and erector. “We are evaluating the results of our test and working with launch ranges to schedule an additional suborbital test prior to our launch in Alaska later this year.”

Kodem Growth Partners, the lead investor in the Series B round, identifies itself as a New York-based investment and commercialization firm “organized to scale technology enabled businesses with capital and access to decision makers” in the public and private sectors. Its investment in Vector is one of the few it has publicly acknowledged.

Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners is a division of Morgan Stanley that makes private equity and other investments. It raised a $425 million fund in January for what it described as “a diversified portfolio of direct co-investment opportunities” alongside other private equity funds. Vector is the first space company it has revealed an investment in.

Vector previously raised a $21 million Series A round in June 2017 and a $4.5 million bridge round in April 2017. The company has now raised a total of about $100 million to date, making it one of the best-funded small launch vehicle startups in the industry. Rocket Lab has raised nearly $150 million for its Electron small launch vehicle, which reached orbit on its second launch in January.

Rocket Lab, Vector and others are seeking to offer dedicated launches for small satellites at a rapid cadence and low cost. “Low Earth orbit satellite launches are projected to grow nearly four times in the next four years, but no dedicated launch platform exists with robust capability to get small satellites into space,” said Alex Taussig, a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, in the statement.

Vector has plenty of company trying to provide such a launch platform. A study published at the Conference on Small Satellites at Utah State University in August found more than 100 projects that are, or had been, working on small launch vehicles in the last few years, including 34 in active development.

Some of those ventures have already failed, with the expectation more will follow. “There’s a lot of noise in the system right now,” said Dan Hart, president and chief executive of Virgin Orbit, during a panel discussion in September at the World Satellite Business Week in Paris. He anticipated a shakeout of small launch vehicle ventures “happening over the next year to 18 months.”

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Sensors Midwest 2018: IoT Came Come True, It Can Happen To You

Complete IoT success from sensor selection, to business model, and everything in between. Original Link

To Centralize or Distribute – That is The Question

Debate on whether electronic architectures in cars should be centralized, distributed, or hybrid. Original Link

NTC Thermistors Measure Up To 300°C

Temperature sensor is designed for the extended measuring range. Original Link

Parabolic Antennas Invade Unlicensed Band Applications

Full portfolio covers all unlicensed bands, providing the highest gain in the industry. Original Link

CMOS Image Sensor Handles High-Speed Applications

Lince 11M image sensor designed to meet demands of high throughput, high-res inspections. Original Link

Popular Distance Sensor Portfolio Expands

Leuze electronic is expanding its range of distance sensors Original Link

Portable Eye Tracker Sees All

Tobii Pro’s Tobii Pro Nan is touted as the market’s smallest research-grade eye tracker. Original Link

Configure a Windows Service for MongoDB

In this article, we will learn how to configure a Windows Service for MongoDB. In the previous article of this series, we learned:

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ABS, Hispasat and Star One cry foul over C-band Alliance

ABS-3A satellite. Credit: Boeing artist's concept

WASHINGTON — Three regional satellite operators with C-band coverage over the United States have complained to U.S. telecom regulators about being left out of a group led by four of the world’s largest satellite operators to arrange a proposed spectrum transfer to the wireless industry.

The three operators, Hispasat of Spain, ABS of Bermuda and Star One of Brazil, say they have tried to negotiate with Intelsat, SES, Eutelsat and Telesat — the leading satellite operators involved in arranging for the likely transfer of some C-band frequencies to cellular companies for 5G — but were “stonewalled by the big four,” according to Phil Spector, a long-time telecom lawyer now working as a consultant for ABS. 

Images shows some of ABS-3A’s C-band coverage. Credit: ABS

Spector and other ABS, Hispasat and Star One representatives met with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission this month amid concerns they and potentially other small fleet operators will not receive money from the proposed transfer of spectrum, an amount telecom analysts estimate could total billions of dollars. 

“They are going to allocate this money among themselves, and at least to date they are not going to share that money with these three smaller operators,” Spector said in an interview. “We think that’s wrong. If the FCC adopts this proposal for the C-band and allows these four operators to realize substantial sums of money from giving up part of the C-band, the same logic would apply to these three smaller companies.”

Despite the difference in scale, Spector said the three operators have invested “hundreds of millions of dollars” in satellites that cover all or part of the United States in the C-band. That investment included getting market access from the FCC, he said. 

In their presentation to the FCC, ABS, Hispasat and Star One admit they have not generated any revenue from C-band services in the U.S., but say they all intend to. ABS’s all-electric propulsion satellite ABS-3A has a projected end of life in 2042, for example, leaving more than two decades to line up customers. 

Amazonas-3 C-band coverage. Credit: Hispasat
Amazonas-3 C-band coverage. Credit: Hispasat

The plan put forward by Intelsat, Intel and SES, and later adopted by Eutelsat and Telesat, also includes provisions for “future foregone business opportunity costs.”

Luxembourg and U.S.-based Intelsat, Luxembourg-based SES, Paris-based Eutelsat and Telesat of Canada formed the C-band Alliance Oct. 1, creating an entity that will facilitate the transfer of spectrum and distribute proceeds from cellular companies that, under the satellite operators’ plan, are required to pay for replacement infrastructure and other costs associated with migrating satellite customers out of the band.

Members of the C-band Alliance control more than 90 percent of U.S. satellite C-band, which spans from 3.7 to 4.2 gigahertz, but not all of it.

In their presentation to the FCC, ABS said one of its six satellites, ABS-3A, has U.S. C-band coverage. Amazonas-3, one of Hispasat’s 11 satellites, also covers the U.S. in C-band. Star One says three of its seven satellites are “capable of transmitting to and from US points in the C-band,” though only one, Star One C1, has a coverage map showing U.S. C-band coverage.  

Embratel Star One's C-band footprint on its Star One C1 satellite. Credit: Star One
Embratel Star One’s C-band footprint on its Star One C1 satellite. Credit: Star One

In contrast, Intelsat has 26 satellites with full or partial C-band coverage of the U.S., SES has 18, Eutelsat has five and Telesat has three, based on numbers from the first half of this year.

Spector said executives from ABS and Hispasat met with members of the C-band Alliance in September during World Satellite Business Week, an annual Paris gathering of C-suite satellite industry executives, but that the meetings were fruitless.

“That’s what then led to the decision to make this presentation to the FCC,” he said.

Dianne Vanbeber, Intelsat vice president of investor relations, confirmed the meetings took place between the C-band Alliance founding members and the three regional operators, but declined to comment further.

In an Oct. 19 statement, the C-band Alliance said that “any operator that has C-band customer services in the continental U.S. that would be impacted by the proposed regulatory change is welcome to join the consortium.”

“The CBA aims to protect all users of C-band services in the United States, ensuring all transition expenses, such as filters, are installed correctly and at the CBA expense,” the group said.

Spector said the small fleet operators intend to voice their concerns again during the FCC’s comment window on the regulator’s C-band plan, which closes Oct. 29. 

“The value of their investment in the assets in space will be diminished,” if the plan is approved and satellite operators lose spectrum, he said, “so compensation is appropriate.”

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Validation in Java Applications

Often, I have seen projects that didn’t appear to have any conscious strategy for data validation. Their teams worked under the great pressure of deadlines, unclear requirements, and just didn’t have enough time to make validation in a proper and consistent way. So, data validation code could be found everywhere — in Javascript snippets, Java screen controllers, business logic beans, domain model entities, database constraints, and triggers. This code was full of if-else statements, throwing different unchecked exceptions, and making it hard to find a place where data could be validated. So, after a while, when the project grew up enough, it became quite hard and expensive to keep these validations consistent and following requirements, which, as I’ve said, are often fuzzy.

Is there a path for data validation in an elegant, standard, and concise way? Is there a way that doesn’t fall into unreadability, helps us to keep most of the data validation logic together, and has most of the code already done for us by developers of popular Java frameworks?

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House Armed Services Committee exploring several paths to a Space Force

U.S. Rep. Mac Thronberry

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee wants the Pentagon to provide more precise details on how it would organize and fund a new military service for space. In an Oct. 4 letter, Chairman Mac Thornberry asks Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva to deliver the data by Nov. 16.

In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by SpaceNews, the committee lays out four different ways in which a Space Force could be formed. Thornberry says he wants additional information before the committee endorses any one approach.

The committee will explore four options:

A Space Corps model. This approach was embraced by the House in its version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018. It envisions a separate military service organized under the Department of the Air Force rather than as a stand-alone department.
An enhanced version of the Space Corps model. This would add Army and Navy space components and the Missile Defense Agency.
An independent military department.
A Special Operations Command-based model. This would be a Space Force that, like U.S. SOCOM, has authorities to organize, train and equip for space capabilities but would be led by a senior civilian.

Thornberry says the committee needs data from the Pentagon to better understand the consequences of pursuing any of these four paths. “As Congress and the Administration consider how to best restructure the national security space enterprise and on what timeline, the Committee needs more detailed information on various options that have been proposed,” the letter says.

The Trump administration is expected to submit a legislative proposal early next year that would lay out a plan to stand up a new military service. “We look forward to receiving the Administration’s legislative proposal to establish a separate military department for space with the President’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2020,” Thornberry wrote. “But it is important for us to understand the benefits and challenges of a full range of options.”

The committee asked for the information to be sorted into four broad categories: Current and future resources (including billets, funding, infrastructure) to support each option. Changes that would be required to existing Defense Department authorities to make changes and what new legislation might be needed to “authorize changes to requirements and acquisition processes, service specific organizing training and equipping, and joint war fighting operations.” Thirdly, the committee wants “clarity on external relationships,” including differences in command and control relationships between each of the four alternative structures and the secretary of defense, the Joint Staff, the combatant commands, other services and defense agencies. The final item is the timeline for implementation for each of the four alternatives. That should include an “assessment of how to transfer existing resources and programs of record to each alternative structure.”

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The Role of DevOps in Mobile App Development

Over the past five years, mobile devices have become the primary source for accessing the internet for millions of people around the globe. These trends have scrambled many industries to adapt towards the shift in business application users by developing a mobile app for their business.

During the early years of this shift, the IT industry focused on meeting market demand and businesses focused on creating a market presence. They overlooked to focus on app development costs, security, maintainability, and code quality.

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MySQL Tutorial: A Beginners Guide To Learn MySQL

MySQL Tutorial is the second article in this blog series. In the previous article, What is MySQL, I introduced you to all the basic terminologies that you needed to understand before you get started with this relational database. In this blog of MySQL, you will be learning all the operations and commands that you need to explore your databases.

The topics covered in this article are mainly divided into 4 categories: DDL, DML, DC, and TCL.

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Create Data Visualizations in Cognos BI With Microsoft Project Data

Access Microsoft Project data as an ODBC data source in Cognos Business Intelligence and create data visualizations in Cognos Report Studio.

You can use the CData ODBC driver for Microsoft Project to integrate Microsoft Project data with the drag-and-drop style of Cognos Report Studio. This article describes both a graphical approach to creating data visualizations, with no SQL required, as well as how to execute any SQL query supported by Microsoft Project.

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When the Problem Is the Story

Linux isn’t a story anymore.

That’s a good thing, but not an interesting one. Let me explain.

Journalism’s main product is the story. In newsrooms, the three words uttered most often by editors to reporters are “What’s the story?”

As I was taught by an editor long ago—and as I have found to be true constantly ever since—all stories are about three things:

  1. A character. Usually human, but not always. Could be a cause. A sports team. A political party. Could be good, or bad, or neither. All that matters is that the character is interesting. You can also have more than one, but a single one is better.
  2. A problem or conflict. A situation that challenges the character, or characters, further defining them and making them more interesting. Problems and conflict keep people interested, so they keep reading, watching, listening, turning pages, talking to others about it, and “move the narrative along” (as the news watchers like to say).
  3. Movement toward resolution. Doesn’t matter if the end never arrives. Hell, look at soap operas. You just have to keep the story moving in the direction of conclusion. Newsroom aphorism: “No story ever starts with ‘Happily ever after’.” Another: “If your team is up forty points with five minutes left, your new story is about how you get out of the parking lot ahead of traffic.”

All three of those are why Linux isn’t much of a story any more, even though it’s bigger in the world than it has ever been.

Linux had character when it was easy to cast as an underdog operating system, and the problem was beating Windows. Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux, did his best not to be interesting, but his fans made him interesting anyway:

Us included. The above is from a slide show that was featured in a story I wrote back in 2002 that’s off-web at the moment, but also beside the point, which is that Linus and his penguins were characters in stories that were interesting at the time and aren’t anymore.

That’s because Linux has achieved the world domination it longed for in the early years.

Yes, Linus as a character got interesting for a few minutes last month (top results in a Google News search for “Linus Torvalds” range from 22 to 29 days old), but that story is too stale to be interesting now, even though the issues around it still matter.

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Airbus leveraging partnerships, investments to deliver greater ground truth

Airbus' high-endurance Zephyr UAVs are designed to complement remote-sensing satellites by providing persistent coverage over a limited geographic area. Credit: Airbus

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 8, 2018 issue of SpaceNews magazine.

In August, Airbus Intelligence, a key player in the global geospatial industry, announced its Zephyr high-altitude drone set a world record, remaining aloft for nearly 26 days while gathering high-resolution imagery of Arizona. Airbus is investing heavily in Zephyr and Pléiades Neo, a constellation of four high-resolution electro-optical satellites, to enhance its Earth imagery, data and applications portfolio.

François Lombard, who took the helm at Airbus Intelligence in early 2017, is encouraging this type of innovation and partnerships like the ones formed recently with Earth observation constellation operator Planet and Orbital Insight, a geospatial analytics company. Lombard spoke with SpaceNews correspondent Debra Werner in September at the World Satellite Business Week conference in Paris.

François Lombard, senior vice president and head of intelligence for Airbus Defense and Space. Credit: Airbus
François Lombard, senior vice president and head of intelligence for Airbus Defense and Space. Credit: Airbus

You’ve announced partnerships recently. Why?

We always formed a lot of partnerships, small and big ones, but it is accelerating. It is getting more important to get the right strategic partners onboard. There is a lot of investment and new players in the industry. That is something we need to embrace. We need to pick the partners that help us to continue to grow and develop our products.

In June, Airbus announced a partnership with Planet. Why did you form that?

I joined Airbus Intelligence last year and I started discussions with a few companies at that time. I picked Planet as a very complementary player because they have different kinds of sensors and a different geographic position. There was a good fit between the teams. We are not overlapping too much. If we package our offers correctly, it can be an improvement for the customers.

In July, an Airbus-led consortium including Planet won a contract to provide high-resolution imagery of Europe for the European Commission and European Space Agency’s Copernicus Program. What will you deliver?

We are working together with Planet and a few other partners to package our different capabilities for the customers. Every two years, we will provide full coverage of Europe at very high resolution. One of the challenges is to get a homogeneous and cloud-free map of Europe in a very short timeframe. For this, you need both very high-quality sensors but also you need a lot of revisits to get this map right. Here, playing with a big constellation, even if the resolution is lower, on top of what we can already offer makes the product fit into the specifications.

How does Planet help you offer this high-resolution dataset?

In some areas, you will accept lower resolution cloud-free imagery rather than having nothing. Sometimes it is only 10 percent of the solution but that makes the difference in being able to deliver a full product with a level of perfection we could not reach if we were alone. On the same side, they alone could not offer a package that would fit the resolution. The fit between the two companies is good. I hope we will replicate this kind of offer very soon.

Do you have other new partners?

We signed a structural agreement partnership with Orbital Insight. The idea is to complement our offers with their analytics. Orbital Insight benefits because they get more access to our data. We build bridges between our database and their tools. We will integrate their analytics for our customers on our OneAtlas platform.

This is a big strategic partnership the consequence of hard work over the last 12 months to get the partner right and to get the partnership right in the details.

Airbus has such breadth. Why does it need partners?

I am trying fight this perception that we could do everything. Yes, we could if we wanted. But can you be world-class on every small step of the value chain? I have some doubt, or at least it will take more time. Through this kind of partnership, you can go faster and you can disrupt some parts of the market. We could do it alone but it goes faster and better if we do it this way.

In this specific segment, the geospatial segment, Airbus has been investing a lot of money and effort for two years. It will continue over the next years. We are developing a large set of new systems.

What new systems?

Last year, we announced Pléiades Neo, four very high-resolution satellites we will start to launch in 2020. That was a big step for us to make this investment. We are making everything new, all the technologies from the analytics to the cloud-based solutions.

When you say fully private, do you mean Airbus is the only investor?

This is just Airbus money. It’s a follow-on for us of the two Pléiades satellites we have currently, which are working very nicely. It’s our workhorse to a certain extent. We decided to invest 100 percent Airbus money on the next generation: four satellites, enormous capacity and going down to 30-centimeter resolution. Today Pléiades products are in the 50- to 70-centimeter range. There is only one comparable product on the market at 30 centimeters from our competitor DigitalGlobe.

Is radar an important part of your business?

It has been a very important part especially for the United States. Currently, we have three satellites. We have TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X and a Spanish partner (Hisdesat) launched a third (PAZ) at the beginning of this year. The three satellites will be operated in a constellation.

We flew two of the satellites very close together to generate a Data Elevation Model of the world’s entire landmass, WorldDEM, which is the best quality you can get. We started delivering it in 2016. We have now delivered the full program, which is being used in the U.S. for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. It’s the same in Europe and allied countries. It is the full globe in a 3D model. There is more and more commercial usage of this kind of product. We deliver derivatives to companies that use it as part of their geospatial tools and products. It’s different from the optical market because here we deliver products rather than getting a call and delivering an image.

Airbus is developing four high-resolution imaging satellites that will comprise the Pléiades Neo constellation it intends to start launching in 2020. The satellites will offer 30-centimeter resolution imagery. Only DigitalGlobe currently offers such detailed satellite imagery commercially. Credit: Airbus
Airbus is developing four high-resolution imaging satellites that will comprise the Pléiades Neo constellation it intends to start launching in 2020. The satellites will offer 30-centimeter resolution imagery. Only DigitalGlobe currently offers such detailed satellite imagery commercially. Credit: Airbus

Do you also deliver radar images?

We deliver satellite images from the radar, which can be very interesting in cases when you have clouds. When you cannot get good optical data, the radar is great. And it brings you even more data than an optical image for maritime and defense applications, for example.

The radar business sounds strong.

It is. It is smaller in size than the optical business. It is less mature. We started optical 32 years ago. We flew our first radar satellite in 2007.

With radar, depending on the mode you can get different kinds of information. You can measure movements of the Earth, even a few centimeters or millimeters in some instances. We offer access to a comprehensive satellite constellation, made up of radar and optical sensors, with access to third-party sensors. Our customer gets a one-stop shop. He can, for instance, buy a Direct Receiving Station and get access to all the capabilities he needs.

What is your plan for Zephyr?

We call it a pseudo-satellite. We put a camera on it to make images which are very complementary to what we get from satellites because it is persistent imagery. We can monitor a medium-size city with one Zephyr. This summer in the U.S., we made a world record on flying the drone without landing for almost 26 days. We took thousands of pictures from the drone at more than 20 kilometers altitude, above air traffic. We are hoping this kind of innovation will bring some disruptions in the services we offer.

We also continue to invest in everything on the ground related to the processing, cloud-based solutions and digital platform to make sure all this data is made available in an easy way. Easy to stream, easy to download, easy to have access to the full archives and easy to use for machine learning and analytics.

Is that ease necessary because new geospatial data customers don’t have geospatial expertise?

The number of users is increasing and the more users we get, the less they are interested in the scientific elements of the geospatial industry. Some of them need access to information in our images without touching the image itself. We are already delivering to thousands of customers. Maybe in a few years, it will be hundreds of thousands. This is what we need to prepare for.

The second aspect is machine learning and artificial intelligence. If you want to leverage that, you need to put the data in a specific context with a certain depth of archives. This will encourage small companies developing their own applications. We need to get ready for that.

Zephyr S, Airbus’ high-altitude pseudo-satellite, departed Arizona on its maiden flight July 11. It flew for nearly 26 days without refueling or landing, surpassing the flight endurance record of 14 days set by Zephyr 7 in 2010. Credit: Airbus
Zephyr S, Airbus’ high-altitude pseudo-satellite, departed Arizona on its maiden flight July 11. It flew for nearly 26 days without refueling or landing, surpassing the flight endurance record of 14 days set by Zephyr 7 in 2010. Credit: Airbus

Small companies often need radar data to train their algorithms. You have a lot of data.

Yes. It’s true. We need to find a way to make it more available. It’s easier with optical data because the images are more comparable. For radar, you need to decide which mode you use. If you have different images with different modes, you cannot do any learning on that. And there are fewer radar satellites in the world than there are optical satellites. That’s why you see startups trying to disrupt this market by bringing more revisit, more data to the analytics companies.

What do you think of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) on small satellites?

There are a lot of companies trying to push their small SAR concepts. I see some that are successful. For some others, we are a bit more doubtful whether it works either technically or commercially. We are watching that very carefully. I will not mention names but I think there are a few companies doing a really great job that can work with us as well. We can find this fit together for the benefit of the customers: more revisits adding to our very exquisite higher resolution offers. This will ramp up. The U.S. is one of the most interesting markets for that.

Are you focused on other innovation?

Yes. In the application world, we are continuing to invest where we can make the difference for the customers. The key is to create an ecosystem where you bring partners. It can be very small partners. You give them the right access. They develop the right applications. And you benefit from it. Here, my approach is similar to what Apple did with the App Store.

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Using Spring Data JPA Specification

Spring Data JPA was created primarily to allow easy query creation with query generation by method name. However, sometimes, we need to create complex queries and cannot take advantage of a query generator.

The Spring Data JPA provides a repository programming model that starts with an interface per managed domain object. Defining these interfaces serves two purposes: first, by extending the JpaRepository, we get a bunch of generic CRUD methods, like save, findAll, delete, and so on. Second, this will allow the Spring Data JPA repository infrastructure to scan the classpath for this interface and create a Spring bean for it. A typical repository interface will look something like this:

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A High-Performing Scrum Team and Diversity

I was recently asked about the composition of a high-performing Scrum team. Why is it that some Scrum teams consistently deliver on their sprint commitments regardless of the difficulty of the work and seem to have no limit to their ability to increment their velocity, While other teams struggle and seem to miss more sprint commitments than they make? I must admit that in a large global organization, even among mature teams, I see widely varying degrees of success in our Scrum teams. We know that a Scrum team can face stubborn technical challenges. Given the difficult work and the self-organized nature, rich team conversations and innovative thinking is an advantage. I recently read that team diversity improves decisions. Let’s look and see if it contributes to a high performing Scrum team. But first, let’s define a healthy team.

A healthy Scrum team delivers an agreed amount of work, while enforcing a standard of care. The work is defined by the Product Owner and has value to the stakeholders. Accountability to the stakeholders is paramount but is trumped by accountability to the team collective. The team is a “small, co-located, self-organized, self-contained, value-driven, group of full-time team members who are organized around a mission. Their job is to produce high-quality results at a sustainable pace.” (Scrum Team, Feb, 2018)

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Asteroid mining might actually be better for the environment

The first study of its environmental impact suggests that extracting resources such as platinum from asteroids might be cleaner than doing so on Earth. Original Link

Video doorbell firm Ring says its devices slash crime—but the evidence looks flimsy

Amazon paid $1 billion for the security company. Our data analysis questions the claims that purchase was based on. Original Link

9 Reasons DevOps Is Better With Docker and Kubernetes

One of the main challenges that companies face with is a long time to market, which usually happens when your development process is slowed down. When deploying applications most of the teams usually face a problem between Dev and Ops because these two departments make the same application but work completely in different ways.

Wouldn’t it be nice if they work together without any misunderstandings to make shorten time to market? I’ve assembled this list of advantages that DevOps plus Docker and Kubernetes can provide you compared to a traditional DevOps approach.

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openSUSE Tumbleweed Snapshots Update, Nominations Now Open for 2019 Red Hat Women in Open Source Awards, OpenSSH 7.9 Released, Some VestaCP Servers Compromised by New Linux/ChachaDDOS Malware and Kraft 0.82 Now Available

News briefs for October 19, 2018.

Two new openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots provide KDE users with a newer version
of Applications 18.08.2, and all Tumbleweed users can update kernel 4.18.13.
Last week’s snapshots included newer versions of KDE’s Plasma 5.14 and
Frameworks 5.50.0. For more info on the recent updates, visit

are open for 2019 Red Hat Women in Open Source Awards
. This is
the fifth year of the awards that “were created and
are sponsored by Red Hat to honor women who make important contributions to
open source projects and communities, or those making innovative use of open
source methodology”. Nominations are being accepted until November 12, 2018.
See the 2019
Women in Open Source Award Page
for further details.

7.9 was released today
. It’s available from the mirrors here.

that some VestaCP servers were compromised by a new malware strain
called Linux/ChachaDDOS. The unknown attacker “contaminated the project’s
source code with malware that logs passwords, open shells, and can launch
DDoS attacks.” Evidently the malicious code was added to the official GitHub
repository on May 31 and removed June 13. See the ESET
for more information.

A new
release of Kraft
, “the Qt- and KDE based software to help to organize
business docs in small companies”, is now available. Version 0.82 reworks the
calculation dialog that does calculations for templates and also sending
documents via email was improved. See the Changelog for more

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Boron-Doped Nanodiamonds Could Significantly Improve Photocatalysis

Diamond nanomaterials are believed to be prime candidates for cost-effective photocatalysts. Light is used to activate these materials and improve the rate of reaction for CO2 and water to generate… Original Link

Monthly Web Development Update 10/2018: The Hurricane Web, End-To-End-Integrity, And RAIL

Monthly Web Development Update 10/2018: The Hurricane Web, End-To-End-Integrity, And RAIL

Monthly Web Development Update 10/2018: The Hurricane Web, End-To-End-Integrity, And RAIL

Anselm Hannemann

2018-10-19T15:19:58+02:00 2018-10-19T16:10:35+00:00

With the latest studies and official reports out this week, it seems that to avoid an irreversible climate change on Planet Earth, we need to act drastically within the next ten years. This rose a couple of doubts and assumptions that I find worth writing about.

One of the arguments I hear often is that we as individuals cannot make an impact and that climate change is “the big companies’ fault”. However, we as the consumers are the ones who make the decisions what we buy and from whom, whose products we use and which ones we avoid. And by choosing wisely, we can make a change. By talking to other people around you, by convincing your company owner to switch to renewable energy, for example, we can transform our society and economy to a more sustainable one that doesn’t harm the planet as much. It will be a hard task, of course, but we can’t deny our individual responsibility.

Maybe we should take this as an occasion to rethink how much we really need. Maybe going out into nature helps us reconnect with our environment. Maybe building something from hand and with slow methods, trying to understand the materials and their properties, helps us grasp how valuable the resources we currently have are — and what we would lose if we don’t care about our planet now.


  • Chrome 70 is here with Desktop Progressive Web Apps on Windows and Linux, public key credentials in the Credential Management API, and named Workers.
  • Postgres 11 is out and brings more robustness and performance for partitioning, enhanced capabilities for query parallelism, Just-in-Time (JIT) compilation for expressions, and a couple of other useful and convenient changes.
  • As the new macOS Mojave and iOS 12 are out now, Safari 12 is as well. What’s new in this version? A built-in password generator, a 3D and AR model viewer, icons in tabs, web pages on the latest watch OS, new form field attribute values, the Fullscreen API for iOS on iPads, font collection support in WOFF2, the font-display loading CSS property, Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.0, and a couple of security enhancements.
  • Google’s decision to force users to log into their Google account in the browser to be able to access services like Gmail caused a lot of discussions. Due to the negative feedback, Google promptly announced changes for v70. Nevertheless, this clearly shows the interests of the company and in which direction they’re pushing the app. This is unfortunate as Chrome and the people working on that project shaped the web a lot in the past years and brought the ecosystem “web” to an entirely new level.
  • Microsoft Edge 18 is out and brings along the Web Authentication API, new autoplay policies, Service Worker updates, as well as CSS masking, background blend, and overscroll.


  • Max Böck wrote about the Hurricane Web and what we can do to keep users up-to-date even when bandwidth and battery are limited. Interestingly, CNN and NPR provided text-only pages during Hurricane Florence to serve low traffic that doesn’t drain batteries. It would be amazing if we could move the default websites towards these goals — saving power and bandwidth — to improve not only performance and load times but also help the environment and make users happier.


Redesign portfolio website
Shawn Parks shares the lessons he learned from redesigning his portfolio every year. (Image credit)




  • Guess what? Our simple privacy-enhancing tools that delete cookies are useless as this article shows. There are smarter ways to track a user via TLS session tracking, and we don’t have much power to do anything against it. So be aware that someone might be able to track you regardless of how many countermeasures you have enabled in your browser.
  • Josh Clark’s comment on university research about Google’s data collection is highlighting the most important parts about how important Android phone data is to Google’s business model and what type of information they collect even when your smartphone is idle and not moving location.


End-to-End Integrity with IPFS illustrated with cats and dogs
Cloudflare’s IPFS gateway allows a website to be end-to-end secure while maintaining the performance and reliability benefits of being served from their edge network. (Image credit)

Web Performance

Illustration of the RAIL model
The four parts of the RAIL performance model: Response, Animation, Idle, Load. (Image credit)



  • Willian Martins shares the secrets of JavaScript’s bind() function, a widely unknown operator that is so powerful and allows us to invoke this from somewhere else into named, non-anonymous functions. A different way to write JavaScript.
  • Everyone knows what the “9am rush hour” means. Paul Lewis uses the term to rethink how we build for the web and why we should try to avoid traffic jams on the main thread of the browser and outsource everything that doesn’t belong to the UI into separate traffic lanes instead.


An item placed inside a grid using negative grid lines
Did you know you can use negative grid line numbers to position Grid items with CSS? (Image credit)

Work & Life

Going Beyond…

  • In the Netherlands, there’s now a legal basis that prescribes CO2 emissions to be cut by 25% by 2020 (that’s just a bit more than one year from now). I love the idea and hope other countries will be inspired by it — Germany, for example, which currently moves its emission cut goals farther and farther into the future.
  • David Wolpert explains why computers use so much energy and how we could make them vastly more efficient. But for that to happen, we need to understand the thermodynamics of computing better.
  • Turning down twenty billion dollars is cool. Of course, it is. But the interesting point in this article about the Whatsapp founder who just told the world how unhappy he is having sold his service to Facebook is that it seems that he believed he could keep the control over his product.

One more thing: I’m very grateful for all of you who helped raise my funding level for the Web Development Reading List to 100% this month. I never got so much feedback from you and so much support. Thank you! Have a great month!


Smashing Editorial (cm)

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Doing Date Math on the Command Line – Part II

In part II of this series of articles on doing date math from
the command line we want to try to solve a problem
we noted in part I: passing the date command
a date specification something like “the first Monday after some date”.

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Clarifying Ways of Defining Jacobi Elliptic Functions Using Mathematica and SciPy

The Jacobi elliptic functions sn and cn are analogous to the trigonometric functions sine and cosine. They come up in applications such as nonlinear oscillations and conformal mapping. Unfortunately, there are multiple conventions for defining these functions. The purpose of this post is to clear up the confusion around these different conventions.

The image above is a plot of the function sn [1].

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Commenting Your Postgres Database

At Citus, whether it’s looking at our own data or helping a customer debug a query, I end up writing a lot of SQL. When I do write SQL, I do my best to make sure it’s readable in case others need to come along and understand or modify, but admittedly, I do have some bad habits from time to time, such as using implicit joins. Regardless of my bad habits I still try to make my SQL and database as easy to understand for someone not already familiar with it. One of the biggest tools for that is comments.

Even early on in learning to program, we take advantage of comments to explain and describe what our code is doing, even in times when it seems obvious. I see this less commonly in SQL and databases, which is a shame because data is just as valuable, so making it easier to reason and work with seems logical. Postgres has a few great mechanisms you can start leveraging when it comes to commenting so you can better document things.

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Why R2D2 could be your child’s teacher sooner than you think

The evidence suggests robots would be great teachers, say Kristyn Sommer and Marie Bodén from Australia’s University of Queensland. Original Link

Installing Knative on the IBM Cloud

I finally found some time to start playing with Knative. It took me a few hours to get a simple sample running. Below I describe some pitfalls when installing Knative and tips on how to avoid them. With the official instructions and these tips, it shouldn’t take longer than half an hour to run your first container on Knative.

Knative is a very promising technology running on Kubernetes and Istio. Earlier this year I blogged and spoke about the topic When to use Serverless? When to use Kubernetes?. When Knative was announced in July, Jason McGee (IBM Fellow, IBM Cloud) wrote: "Today […] we are one step closer to ending the serverless versus containers debate among developers." That’s what immediately caught my attention.

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Is Your Freemium Strategy Harming Your App’s UX?

The word “free” is often music to our ears. Free trial, free download, free music, we will take it all as long as there are no strings attached. This tangled web of strings, however, is what brings out the skeptic in us, and we start to believe that nothing is free.

Mobile app strategies left free trials in the dust and created a new tactic: the freemium. A crossbreed of “free” and “premium”, the freemium tactic encompasses (you guessed it) both free and premium services. This may seem like a great idea at first, but lest we remember: there is no such thing as a free lunch. Not to mention, freemiums can also damage your mobile app’s UX.Image title

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Why operators will have to wait longer for prime spectrum

A process called “digital restacking” could take up to two years to complete, delaying the allocation of prime radio frequency spectrum to telecommunications operators to 2022. Original Link

Possible Changes for a Product Approach, Part 4

How could we organize if we want flow efficiency? Would we reward managers by their span of service instead of control, part 3, stop organizing by function, and move to something that looks like a product-based organization?

My transforming idea for this question was to think about the organization as legacy code. We understand how to refactor legacy code. It takes a while, and then, weeks or months later, we have code that is much more robust and allows us to move faster.

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Refactoring: How Do Agile and DevOps Processes Affect Software?

Agile and DevOps adoption continues to accelerate and scale across organizations, yet the question many executives, and researchers, are asking is: Are Agile and DevOps practices improving the software itself? 

To offer deeper insight, Carmine Vassallo, Fabio Palomba, and Harald C. Gall of the Department of Informatics at the University of Zurich, have released several studies that look at DevOps and Agile outcomes by examining the impact of continuous refactoring on software quality.

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Pulumi Is Real Infrastructure-as-Code

This is a small outline of my first impressions of Pulumi along with some code to create VPCs and subnets across 4 different AWS regions. The punchline is that Pulumi is good. The only thing that comes close is GeoEngineer but Pulumi is still a few miles ahead in terms of capabilities.

One of the first things I try to do with any infrastructure management tool is figure out how hard/easy it is to create a VPC and subnets in several regions. The fewer hoops I have to jump through to accomplish this, the better. Previously, the best tool for the job was Terraform, but it required heroic workarounds. You had to generate the infrastructure graph using a real programming language because Terraform itself can’t target more than one AWS region in a single run. I’m happy to say that Pulumi doesn’t have this restriction and it uses a real programming language to generate the graph so there is no need for a two-step "macro" expansion process. The graph is spelled out with the help of one of their SDKs and it uses constructs native to the language of the SDK. I used TypeScript for my experiments so I could spell everything out with classes, functions, interfaces, etc.

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Want to know when you’re going to die?

Your life span is written in your DNA, and we’re learning to read the code. Original Link

July 2020 TV migration deadline won’t slip: Mokonyane

Communications minister Nomvula Mokonyane said government has set July 2020 as the firm and final deadline by which time analogue terrestrial television broadcasts must be switched off. Original Link

Huawei to begin manufacturing smartphones in India in 2019

Huawei also plans to spend about $100 million in the Indian market, including 1000 offline stores in the next 2-3 years. Original Link

Rain open to roaming deal ‘with any operator’

Rain is prepared to discuss roaming arrangements with any operator, and the company’s agreement with Vodacom is non-exclusive, its CEO, Willem Roos, said on Friday. Original Link

Management shambles leaves Sars in disarray

A climate of fear and distrust prevails at Sars, which is dogged by low morale and a lack of investment in training and new technology, acting commissioner Mark Kingon said on Friday. Original Link