Posted on June 9, 2014 by orbital

Today there are two important events that are happening.  Please take note of the following:

1) Your peer evaluations of your three peer groups are due tonight at 11:59pm SGT.  Consult the Peer Evaluation Group Post @235 to view which teams you need to evaluate.  Then post a private note to your EG’s adviser with your group’s feedback form to your adviser.  Your adviser will collate and post the evaluations by 11 Jun as follow-ups to the original Project README and log for Evaluation 1.

2) Tonight we have the special treat of having an external group, ThinkSecure, give a presentation about web security and social media, as Mission Control #4.  ThinkSecure’s Christopher Low will be giving the presentation and it will not be webcasted and recorded for technical reasons, so be sure to make it down to SR3 from 6-8pm for the session if you’re around.

TS-logo-tm-smallSee you soon!


Post edit: The slides for Chris’ presentation are here:

Posted on June 9, 2014 by orbital

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 1.22.44 pm
Photo credits: Photo Credits: mclcbooks @ Flickr

Hi all:

If you’re in China over the summer and need access to videos that we have recorded, we now have a solution for you.

You can watch them on Youku, as we have posted them to this well-known video sharing site in China.

You can use the URL above from to search for videos tagged with “NUS Orbital”.  I’ve uploaded four of the important videos so far, but will upload additional as time allows.

Posted on June 5, 2014 by orbital

Dear all:

This coming Monday we’ll have our one and only Mission Control on the hot-button issue of security, with demos to boot!  It is open to the public, so invite your friends to come.  Christopher Low of ThinkSecure will be coming to SoC to give you a treat on how security works (and doesn’t work).

This MC session is not going to be recorded so if you want to hear this talk you must come down to SoC SR3 on Monday (N.B.: *not* the regular Tuesday date) 9 Jun, from 6-8pm.

Talk Synopsis: Two categories of people (i) People who spend a great deal of time online daily for work, play as well as staying in touch with friends over social networking sites and (ii) creators of social/web applications will find this presentation/demo extremely relevant.  Most of these “online-social” people are “Generation Z” folks who are IT- and internet-savvy in the way they use computers, tablets and mobile devices to stay connected and engage in heavy interactive communication to maintain their online social life.  However, very few of them give equal consideration to the way in which they use such media and thus open themselves up to web-based attacks.

This presentation looks at some of the more recent and stealthy web attacks which target “Generation Z” (or any user of such social media) while they are online and illustrates how some of these attacks are engineered and the impact they have on a person’s online social life.  For web application developers, understanding such types of attacks will help them code better to mitigate such attacks.

Through real life demos which will be shown in the course of the presentation, the presentation brings home the point that today’s Generation Z’s and web-app developers face a huge
challenge in both understanding as well as defending against such modern web-based attacks.


Post edit: The slides for Chris’ presentation are here:

Posted on June 1, 2014 by orbital

Screen Shot 2014-06-01 at 7.48.56 am
Photo Credits: James M @ Flickr

Dear all:

Your first Orbital hurdle is here!  Please make sure to put up your project’s README and log into Piazza (see pinned posts @233, @224) no later than 2 Jun 11:59pm SGT, but preferably as soon as possible).

Thanks to the 13 or so groups who have at least put in a preliminary or final project README and log into their EG group.

In the next week, you’ll also need to do the peer evaluations of your three peer teams in your evaluation group listed in Post @235. These evaluations are due as private posts addressed only to your advisor no later than 9 Jun 11:59pm (exactly 1 week later).

Posted on May 29, 2014 by orbital
Photo Credit: tec_estromberg

Tam will be giving a short introduction on Databases — a precursor our School’s Database course with a focus on parts relevant to the beginner Vostok project using Google App Engine. He’ll also touch on the SQL vs. NoSQL debate (where Google’s Datastore is an instance of the NoSQL camp).

This is a beginner level session — applicable to any web-based project.


The Mission Control Session will be held at SR3 (COM1 #02-12) next week Tuesday (Note that the Matt Mullenweg event’s date was changed to Wednesday the same date as the Matt Mullenweg event, so you have your afternoon and evening filled); please check back with us at Piazza or on G+ Hangouts for updates.  If we have no problems with the recording you can try to join us on G+ Hangouts on Air, look for [NUS Orbital 2014] as the tag.

Posted on May 29, 2014 by orbital

Dear all Orbitees:

Here’s an opportunity to meet with the founding developer of WordPress.  It’s at Blk 71 on (wrong initial date advertised, sorry) Tuesday 3 Wednesday 4 Jun 4-6 pm, and organized by the government’s National Research Foundation (NRF)  Likely to be popular – so book early if you want to attend!  Sounds fun!

Matt Mullenweg is best known as the founding developer of WordPress, the blogging software he guided from a handful of users to the most widely used open source tool. He is also the founder of Automattic, the company behind, Akismet and more. Matt will be going on a speaking tour around cities in Asia and will be swinging by Singapore for an exclusive meet-up with the local start-up community here! Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL) and National Research Foundation (NRF) would like to jointly invite you to a lively discussion with Matt regarding start-ups, entrepreneurs and innovation. During this informal gathering, you will also have the opportunity to connect with Matt and hear his insights on the past and future of WordPress and his experience in building WordPress and Automattic.

 Register Here!

4.00pm – 4.15pm Registration and Networking
4.15pm – 4.30pm Welcome 
4.30pm – 5.00pm Fireside chat with Matt Mullenweg, Founding Developer of WordPress
5.00pm – 5.15pm Q&A
5.15pm – 6.00pm Light Reception and Networking

Posted on May 23, 2014 by orbital

Winston Teo of Jolly Good Code, who presented the Agile Methodology session during Liftoff has graciously decided to let a lucky in-SG team from Orbital win a pair of RedDotRuby tickets (a S$200 value even at student pricing).

Teams that are interested in winning this pair of tickets will need to use the Ruby language in their project and need to write a short essay (one entry per team) on why they should be awarded the tickets and how they will benefit from it.

The winning team is obligated to attend the full two day conference (on 26-27 June) and give a 15 to 30 minute presentation about their attendance at the RedDotRuby conference and what interesting talks or techniques they learned about at the conference to all Orbitees during Orbital’s final presentation workshop, Splashdown.

The contest opens today and is open to all levels of achievement.  Attendance to RedDotRuby can count towards the 130-hour requirement for Orbital for the winning team.  Contest closes at the day’s end on 6 Jun 2014.

Posted on May 22, 2014 by orbital

UntitledJoin us for our first mission control session at Blk 71 (the startup haven next to NUS across the AYE) next Tuesday evening.  We hope to host many of your who are local to SG this summer at this nice venue outside of SoC.

Karan (Orbital adviser and alumn from the first batch of Orbitees) will be giving this beginning level tutorial / workshop, and like the other MC session will feature approximate one hour of tutorial and hands-on, followed by time on your own to work with your partners on your Orbital project.

jQuery is a concise and fast JavaScript library that can be used to simplify event handling, HTML document traversing, Ajax interactions and animation for speedy website development. jQuery simplifies the HTML’s client-side scripting, thus simplifying Web 2.0 applications development.

Update: here are the materials for Mission Control #2:
– Material:
– Hangouts broadcast:
– Final RSS Application:

This introduction is open to the public and will feature a hands-on exercise to build a RSS feed reader using jQuery.

Presenter: Karan Kamath, NUS
Date: Tuesday, 27 May 2014
Time: 18.00 – 21.00


P.S. – Do look out for the homework assignments for this MC session and for the previous one that Min gave on Bootstrap.  Happy coding!


Posted on May 19, 2014 by orbital

Credits: Scott Beale @ Flickr

Min will be giving a short tutorial and hands-on for Twitter Bootstrap — the CSS framework that is useful for giving that ™ed, clean look for most websites.  A key part of Bootstrap is in its responsive design, making sites look decent on small resolutions (low res smartphones) as well as big ones (your 30″ Apple Thunderbolt Display).

This is a beginner level session — applicable to any web-based project.

The Mission Control Session will be held at SR3 (COM1 #02-12) tomorrow; please check back with us at Piazza or on G+ Hangouts for updates.  If we have no problems with the recording you can try to join us on G+ Hangouts on Air, look for [NUS Orbital 2014] as the tag.

Post-session edit: here’s the stream:

Post-session edit (Homework): Here are the exercises for you to do.  This is your homework for getting credit for this mission control as part of the achievements for Project Gemini and above.  You should try to do the “homework” assignments for three Mission Control sessions as one of the three extensions for Project Gemini, along with applying the topic in whichever way is relevant to your project.

You need to complete exercises 1 and 2 to have this sufficient for Project Gemini homework.  Show evidence of this in a screenshot of the resulting site as a followup discussion on this thread, much like what you did for the Python exercises.  I hope some Apollo 11 teams will endeavor to #4 or #5.

  1. (Easy)  – Complete the edits to the files in 1_before to make them look like 2_after
  2. (Medium) – The edits to the files we had were not fully functional.  In particular, the sidebar navigation link in the index.html file makes the page jump to the wrong vertical offset.  Fix it so it correctly jumps (hint you will have to search for a solution, the documentation in Bootstrap won’t yield a direct answer).  Document and disclose how you fix it so that your peers can benefit.
  3. (Medium) – Fix the carousel for the entrepreneurship.html so that it is at an appropriate scale and serves up multiple images in each item (It may not end up scrolling as nicely as the original.  You can use a different JQuery carousel to achieve exactly the same effect).
  4. (Hard) – Get a hold of a retina iPhone or iPad and make the carousel images serve correctly.  You will have to look in the Bootstrap documentation about retina displays and how to serve two versions of the same image and to name (i.e. suffix) them appropriately.
  5. (Hard) – Create a third directory called 3_finished and insert the best versions of the sample pages we built together using only pure Bootstrap CSS/JQuery.  Once you’re done, in git, issue a pull request so that I can update my repository with your solution.  This will help others when they do this assignment in the future.

[A reminder that Mission Control sessions are optional; they are not mandatory events for Orbitees, but highly encouraged to attend if you are local to SG and NUS.  The sessions will be roughly one hour long of tutorial and another free-form hour where partners are encourage to pair program on your projects and receive help from any faciltator or advisor who is around.

If you do attend an MC session (virtually or physically), you’re welcome to include your time in the project log.  Homework assignments from MCs when completed can also be used as evidence for advanced level of achievements (Project Gemini, Apollo 11). ]