Even your connected car will need antivirus software

Virus Connected cars can talk to each other (vehicle-to-vehicle, or V2V), and they’re starting to be able to talk to the city they’re driving around (vehicle-to-infrastructure, or V2I). That also means baddies can potentially talk to our cars, as we’ve seen in the experimental hack of a Jeep. But hacking isn’t the only danger, because wherever there’s a computer… Read More


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3 Steps to Onboarding Remote Developers Successfully

What is the secret to building a distributed team of remote developers? Andela onboarding specialist Divya Gunasekaran shares three tips for success.

Organizations that rely on engineers and embrace distributed teams gain a competitive advantage in filling essential positions faster, simpler, and with a much more diverse group of candidates. But in order to realize the full benefits of this type of working relationship, teams need to be mindful in how they onboard their remote developers.

Consider that nearly 33% of new hires look for a new job within the first 6 months of starting a position, and 23% of new hires turnover before their first anniversary. At Andela, we believe the right onboarding process for remote developers is essential to reducing employee turnover and accelerating productivity and collaboration.

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So what’s the right strategy to onboard a remote employee? Based on our experience, here are three key steps to success:

#1 Empower Your Developers to Be Problem Solvers, Not Code Monkeys

We believe that your engineering team can solve your business’s most challenging problems, but only if they are empowered with the knowledge to do so. Many teams fall into the unhealthy pattern of throwing work “over the fence” to their remote teammates, and this leaves remote developers feeling disenfranchised and underutilized.

Invest in the time to provide your remote developers with a full understanding of who your users are including their goals and pain points, what your business objectives and priorities are, and how the developer can make an important contribution to the company’s success. Doing so will enable your developers to better analyze requirements, flesh out features, and implement designs that take into account future functionality. This approach also helps instill a sense of ownership and increases the personal commitment of each team member right from the start.

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6sense, a predictive intelligence firm, works regularly with remote developers and believes in the value of this approach. Viral Bajaria, 6Sense Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, added the following advice: “Remote developers can sometimes be introverted. With onboarding, it’s critical to set an example with your own social skills to show a new hire how to engage with the entire team. Also, make sure they have a constant mentor, regardless of what project or team they’re working on. That consistent contact will be a significant help to them over the long run.”

#2 Help Your Developers Navigate Your Technical Landscape

Some hiring managers still cling to the old adage of “sink or swim,” often throwing their developers into the deep end without any assistance. While your remote hires may make it through the fire, it may take a longer time for them to obtain critical knowledge that other team members have. By providing guidance and assigning targeted work, you will not only enable your developers to get by, but you will also allow them to thrive.

We have found that conducting an architectural overview of your system will make it easier for developers to orient themselves. At Andela, we recommend walking remote developers through the different components of the code base, highlighting technologies, preferred patterns, and the team members that can provide further guidance for specific areas. A great way to add value while also facilitating your developer’s ramp up is to assign small, non-critical tasks — such as well-contained features, bug fixes, test coverage — that touch different areas of the code base. Thoughtfully introducing different parts of the system this way will give your developers a deeper understanding through firsthand experience and increase their exposure to the overall system.

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Yusuf Simonson, Chief Technology Officer of The Muse, explains his team’s approach to getting developers up to speed: “Our go-to strategy with onboarding Andela developers – and developers in general – has been to tag tickets that are relatively simple, but span broad aspects of our architecture as learning tickets. Onboarding developers are then free to choose from those tagged tickets.”

At Andela, we also utilize and promote a technique known as pair programming to speed the acclimation of new developers. By having a set of developers work on the same code together in real-time, incumbent team members have the opportunity to discuss decisions and receive feedback. This enhances the quality of the product earlier on, and new developers benefit by hearing explanations in context and learning about the underlying decisions made by the team. Pairing also acts as a form of cross-training that liberates knowledge from the silos of experience that can exist in a team.

#3 Drive Collaboration with the Right Tools

“Out of sight” should not mean “out of mind” for distributed teams. Your remote developers should be included in the same discussions as on-site team members, even those that may start out as impromptu hallway conversations. To facilitate these interactions and foster regular collaboration, you can leverage a range of tools intended to make remote work more seamless.

Tech Talent Born in Africa Will Play a Transformational Role in IT

An important aspect of joining a new organization is also embracing its culture. We believe that culture should be a 2-way street, with all team members encouraged to participate and provide feedback. When remote employees feel like they are contributing to the success of an organizational culture, their loyalty to that organization will continue to grow.

Sarah Salenger, a web developer and analyst at 2U, describes the importance of fully embracing remote developers as team members: “For my team, it was important for us to treat all members of the team as equals, and to do everything we could to foster friendly relationships among all members. With our Andela developers, right away, we encouraged full participation in team meetings — like standups and retrospectives — and the use of video during calls as much as possible. Since our engineers pair most of the time, we embraced tools like Slack, Screenhero, and Google Hangouts to allow all team members easy communication no matter their location or timezone. Even before we had met them in person, we had established strong working relationships with our remote developers Isaac and Oluwafemi. To Andela’s credit, all of the developers that I’ve worked with have understood that they are meant to be part of the team and they do not hesitate to provide input and ask questions the way any model team member should.”

The positive impact of a remote workforce is clear. While 32% of employers report having a difficult time finding qualified employees to fill jobs, only 1 in 10 are implementing alternative work models. These employers are getting left behind in the race to build a competitive workforce. With these guidelines, you can better integrate remote developers into your team and reap the rewards in productivity, cost savings, scalability, and time savings that a remote workforce has to offer.

Want to learn more about how to grow your tech team? Get in touch!


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How to break into Android development

With hundreds of millions of Android devices in use today, there’s little wonder why the Android development job market continues to show strong demand.

Job search website Monster.com, for example, consistently shows more than 1,000 Android developer job postings, with California continuing to be a top destination. Android developers are also in high demand in New York City and Boston, among other cities. And job search website Indeed.com reports $163,000 as the average salary for Android developers. It’s clear that motivated developers will find plenty of opportunities to work on Android apps at startups, agencies, and other organizations.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


Original URL: http://www.computerworld.com/article/3064633/android/how-to-break-into-android-development.html#tk.rss_all

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Ubuntu Quietly Raises Install Image Size to 2GB

Joey-Elijah Sneddon, reporting for OMGUbuntu: You can expect to see a larger Ubuntu desktop installation image by the time the Yakkety Yak yips out. Developers are currently debating the exact size limits that official flavours will adhere to, with some favouring a 2GB hard limit while others are looking to go full-DVD size at 4.7GB+. Canonical’s Steven Langasek explains the plans for Ubuntu 16.10 Yakkety Yak: “I’ve finally gone ahead and bumped the limit on Ubuntu desktop images to 2GB for a minimally-sized USB stick; this gives us a new limit that I think we will care about, while also leaving us headroom so we’re not constantly fighting it back down to the line.” The Ubuntu ISO is supposed to be around the 1GB mark but has creeped past this in recent releases. The current Ubuntu 16.04 LTS desktop .iso is 1.4GB.


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Datto Launches Datto Drive For SMBs; Offers 1TB at $10 a Month For Unlimited Users

Founder of OwnCloud writes: In the era of nearly free cloud storage why on earth am I paying $15 a month per user (for Dropbox and Box). This seems absurd. As the founder of a cloud storage company I thought we could fix this. We combined OwnCloud which is an enterprise level open source file sync and share solution with our skills in infrastructure. Today we are launching Datto Drive, a file sync and share service for businesses that costs just $10 a month for unlimited users and 1TB of combined storage. To get started we are giving the first year away free for the first million businesses that sign up. One thing I’m worried about is whether this service will exist for more than a couple of years. We’ve seen plenty of startups offer us interesting services at great prices over the past few years, but many of them disappear. Tech Republic has more information about the aforementioned service. Update: 05/02 17:09 GMT by M : Reader torrija points us to a service called HubiC which offers 10TB for 5 euro a month. He adds that the feature is limited to one user, though.


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Hot Startups on AWS – April 2016 – Robinhood, Dubsmash, Sharethrough

Continuing with our focus on hot AWS-powered startups (see Hot Startups on AWS – March 2016 for more info), this month I would like to tell you about:

  • Robinhood – Free stock trading to democratize access to financial markets.
  • Dubsmash – Bringing joy to communication through video.
  • Sharethrough – An all-in-one native advertising platform.

Robinhood
The founders of Robinhood graduated from Stanford and then moved to New York to build trading platforms for some of the largest financial institutions in the world. After seeing that these institutions charged investors up to $10 to place trades that cost almost nothing, they moved back to California with the goal of democratizing access to the markets and empowering personal investors.

Starting with the idea that a technology-driven brokerage could operate with significantly less overhead than a traditional firm, they built a self-serve service that allows customers to sign up in less than 4 minutes. To date, their customers have transacted over 3 billion dollars while saving over $100 million dollars in commissions.

After a lot of positive pre-launch publicity, Robinhood debuted with a waiting list of nearly a million people. Needless to say, they had to pay attention to scale from the very beginning. Using 18 distinct AWS services, a beginning team of just two DevOps people built the entire system. They use AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) to regulate access to services and to data, simplifying their all-important compliance efforts. The Robinhood data science team uses Amazon Redshift to help identify possible instances of fraud and money laundering. Next on the list is international expansion, with plans to make use of multiple AWS Regions.

Dubsmash
The founders of Dubsmash had previously worked together to create several video-powered applications. As the cameras in smartphones continued to improve, they saw an opportunity to create a platform that would empower people to express themselves visually. Starting simple, they built their first prototype in a couple of hours. The functionality was minimal: play a sound, select a sound, record a video, and share. The initial response was positive and they set out to build the actual product.

The resulting product, Dubsmash, allows users to combine video with popular sound bites and to share the videos online – with a focus on modern messaging apps. The founders began working on the app in the summer of 2014 and launched the first version the following November. Within a week it reached the top spot in the German App Store. As often happens, early Dubsmash users have put the app to use in intriguing and unanticipated ways. For example, Eric Bruce uses Dubsmash to create entertaining videos of him and his young son Jack to share with Priscilla (Eric’s wife / Jack’s mother) (read Watch A Father and His Baby Son Adorably Master Dubsmash to learn more).

Dubsmash uses Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) for video storage, with content served up through Amazon CloudFront.  They have successfully scaled up from their MVP and now handle requests from millions of users. To learn more about their journey, read their blog post, How to Serve Millions of Mobile Clients with a Single Core Server.

Sharethrough
Way back in 2008, a pair of Stanford graduate students were studying the concept of virality and wanted to create ads that would deserve your attention rather than simply stealing it. They created Sharethrough, an all-in-one native advertising platform for publishers, app developers, and advertisers. Today the company employs more than 170 people and serves over 3 billion native ad impressions per month.

Sharethrough includes a mobile-first content-driven platform designed to engage users with quality content that is integrated into the sites where it resides. This allows publishers to run premium ads and to maintain a high-quality user experience. They recently launched an AI-powered guide that helps to maximize the effectiveness of ad headlines.

Sharethrough’s infrastructure is hosted on AWS, where they make use of over a dozen high-bandwidth services including Kinesis and Dynamo, for the scale of the technical challenges they face. Relying on AWS allows them to focus on their infrastructure-as-code approach, utilizing tools like Packer and Terraform for provisioning, configuration and deployment. Read their blog post (Ops-ing with Packer and Terraform) to learn more.


Jeff;

 

 


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LimeSDR: Flexible, Next-Generation, Open Source Software Defined Radio

A Software Defined Radio for Everyone

LimeSDR is a low cost, open source, apps-enabled (more on that later) software defined radio (SDR) platform that can be used to support just about any type of wireless communication standard. LimeSDR can send and receive UMTS, LTE, GSM, LoRa, Bluetooth, Zigbee, RFID, and Digital Broadcasting, to name but a few.

While most SDRs have remained in the domain of RF and protocol experts, LimeSDR is usable by anyone familiar with the idea of an app store – it’s the first SDR to integrate with Snappy Ubuntu Core. This means you can easily download new LimeSDR apps from developers around the world. If you’re a developer yourself, you can share and/or sell your LimeSDR apps through Snappy Ubuntu Core as well.

The LimeSDR platform gives students, inventors, and developers an intelligent and flexible device for manipulating wireless signals, so they can learn, experiment, and develop with freedom from limited functionality and expensive proprietary devices.

Top (left) and bottom (right) of the LimeSDR PCBA

From Radio Astronomy to Personal Telcos

Here are just some of the applications that are possible with the LimeSDR:

  • Radio astronomy
  • RADAR
  • 2G to 4G cellular basestation
  • Media streaming
  • IoT gateway
  • HAM radio
  • Wireless keyboard and mice emulation and detection
  • Tire pressure monitoring systems
  • Aviation transponders
  • Utility meters
  • Drone command and control
  • Test and measurement
  • Many more…

With state-of-the-art technical specs, fully open hardware and toolchain, and integration with Snappy Ubuntu Core’s app distribution platform, LimeSDR is limited only by our collective imagination.

LimeSDR with four antennas attached

Features & Specifications

  • RF Transceiver: Lime Microsystems LMS7002M MIMO FPRF (Datasheet)
  • FPGA: Altera Cyclone IV EP4CE40F23 – also compatible with EP4CE30F23
  • Memory: 256 MBytes DDR2 SDRAM
  • USB 3.0 controller: Cypress USB 3.0 CYUSB3014-BZXC
  • Oscillator: Rakon RPT7050A @30.72MHz (Datasheet)
  • Continuous frequency range: 100 kHz – 3.8 GHz
  • Bandwidth: 61.44 MHz
  • RF connection: 10 U.FL connectors (6 RX, 4 TX)
  • Power Output (CW): up to 10 dBm
  • Multiplexing: 2×2 MIMO
  • Power: micro USB connector or optional external power supply
  • Status indicators: programmable LEDs
  • Dimensions: 100 mm x 60 mm

Antenna accessory pack pledge

  • Four antennas with SMA connectors included
  • Four U.FL to SMA cables included – 8” (~203mm) cable, not including connectors
  • Antennas are omni-directional, and bend to -90, -45, 0, 45, and 90 degrees
  • Antennas tuned to the major bands: 800-960MHz / 1710-2170MHz / 2400-2700MHz

Block Diagram

Comparisons

HackRF One Ettus B200 Ettus B210 BladeRF x40 RTL-SDR LimeSDR
Frequency Range 1MHz-6GHz 70MHz-6GHz 70MHz-6GHz 300MHz-3.8GHz 22MHz-2.2GHz 100kHz-3.8GHz
RF Bandwidth 20MHz 61.44MHz 61.44MHz 40MHz 3.2MHz 61.44MHz
Sample Depth 8 bits 12 bits 12 bits 12 bits 8 bits 12 bits
Sample Rate 20MSPS 61.44MSPS 61.44MSPS 40MSPS 3.2MSPS 61.44MSPS (Limited by USB 3.0 data rate)
Transmitter Channels 1 1 2 1 0 2
Receivers 1 1 2 1 1 2
Duplex Half Full Full Full N/A Full
Interface USB 2.0 USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 2.0 USB 3.0
Programmable Logic Gates 64 macrocell CPLD 75k 100k 40k (115k avail) N/A 40k
Chipset MAX5864, MAX2837, RFFC5072 AD9364 AD9361 LMS6002M RTL2832U LMS7002M
Open Source Full Schematic, Firmware Schematic, Firmware Schematic, Firmware No Full
Oscillator Precision +/-20ppm +/-2ppm +/-2ppm +/-1ppm ? +/-1ppm initial, +/-4ppm stable
Transmit Power -10dBm+ (15dBm @ 2.4GHz) 10dBm+ 10dBm+ 6dBm N/A 0 to 10dBm (depending on frequency)
Price $299 $686 $1,119 $420 ($650) ~$10 $299 ($199 early bird)

LimeSDR housed in an aluminum case

LimeSDR housed in an acrylic case

Free and Open Source

Over the last three years, we’ve worked on numerous open source projects, all made available through Myriad-RF. This is no different, open source is central to LimeSDR:

Like the move to open source software with general purpose computers, the programmable, fully open source LimeSDR represents a fundamental shift away from the traditionally single-function and heavily proprietary wireless domain.

Huge Application Ecosystem with Snappy Ubuntu Core

We’ve been working directly with the IoT team at Canonical, the makers of Ubuntu, to enable the use of Snappy Ubuntu Core on LimeSDR.

LimeSDR’s integration with Snappy Ubuntu Core means that you benefit from the collective work of developers around the world. With LimeSDR, we are laying the foundation for a world in which “there’s an app for that” applies not only to mobile phones, but also to the cell towers they connect to and, indeed, every wireless device or piece of infrastructure.

LimeSDR brings with it many opportunities for educational and maker communities, empowering them to learn, and create new applications and even new markets. LimeSDR puts serious power in the hands of anyone who wants to innovate in the world of wireless. We no longer have to wait for established interests to innovate on our behalf.

LimeSDR front view

Already Being Integrated into Massive Networks

To further provide the framework for developers to create the next generation of wireless applications, in addition to partnering with Canonical/Ubuntu, we are also partnering with the UK’s largest mobile carrier to deploy LimeSDRs on an experimental basis onto their network. This means that your application on LimeSDR might one day be deployed on massive networks.

LimeSDR back view

We’ve put significant effort into ensuring that backers will have a first class out-of-box experience by providing support for a vast array of open source SDR ecosystem software. This is thanks to a host driver architecture that supports both the SoapySDR and UHD APIs. With this support, you can be up and running with many existing applications in no time at all. In addition to providing the streaming interface, the driver also supports advanced features such as timed TX bursts and RX sample timestamps, as required for use with GSM and other time-sensitive protocols.

Detailed Use Case: Wireless Multi-tool

LimeSDR and its toolchain have already been used to create a Wireless Multi-tool for IoT, including complete source code that demonstrates:

  • Bluetooth Low Energy decoding
  • RC mains switch control
  • Integration of BLE decoding with RC mains switch control

Of course, these examples don’t take advantage of the performance and high data rates available with LimeSDR, but they do demonstrate the basics.

Host Driver

The LimeSDR’s host driver is built on top of Lime Suite, a low level library that takes care of programming and calibration for the LMS7002M FPRF transceiver. Lime Suite also provides a GUI that lets you directly read and write to registers, update the Cypress FX3 USB 3.0 controller firmware and Altera Cyclone IV FPGA bitstream, and display FFT plots.

We used SoapySDR, the vendor/platform neutral SDR support library, to provide a C++ API with C wrapper and Python bindings. This architecture is modular and supports plugins, such as the UHD module, which lets LimeSDR use the UHDTM API, allowing access to a diverse array of existing SDR ecosystem software. The library also enables remote access support, which allows LimeSDR to be accessed transparently over the network by applications running on other hosts.

Rapid application development is further enhanced with the combination of Pothos dataflow programming software suite and GNU Radio. With an extensive collection of DSP and related blocks, together with GUI environments that allow all manner of applications — from Bluetooth and WiFi to RADAR and radio astronomy — this combo lets you rapidly and easily build an application stack.

The development environment is made even more accessible by the fact that the host driver, Lime Suite, and SoapySDR are all open source, as are Pothos and GNU Radio. The full Altium design database for LimeSDR, along with the USB controller firmware and FPGA RTL is also open source, meaning that if you need to implement some new firmware or FPGA feature, you can — in fact, you’re even free to make your own variant of the LimeSDR hardware and use elements of it in your own designs. In addition, a KiCAD recapture and layout is planned.

PCIe Variant

In addition to the standard LimeSDR that interfaces to the host computer via USB 3.0, there is also a variant of the LimeSDR that interfaces to the host computer via PCIe and is otherwise has the identical feature set.

LimeSDR variant with a PCIe interface

Who is behind LimeSDR?

Lime Microsystems has been developing field programmable RF chips for over a decade. Now, we have partnered with Canonical/Ubuntu to provide the framework for open source developers to create the next generation of wireless applications. This, along with our partnership with the UK’s largest mobile carrier, could mean that your application on LimeSDR may one day be deployed on a wide scale.

We’ve also been working on the development of a first class driver for LimeSDR with Josh Blum, the original creator of GNU Radio Companion and developer of SoapySDR and Pothos.

LimeSDR will be supported via Myriad-RF, the initiative and community founded by Lime Micro that is fully dedicated to democratising wireless communications. Join us!


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