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 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 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). ]


Posted on July 29, 2013 by orbital

This week’s Mission Control is back over at Blk 71. IDA and SLA will be joining forces to give you and the general hacker public a tutorial about OneMap.  With the summer finishing up, and more of you back around campus, we hope you can join us for this session.  Don’t forget to register your attendance so IDA can cater enough food for everyone!!

OneMap API Workshop

Location: Plug-in@Blk 71 (Blk 71, Ayer Rajah Crescent, #02-18, S 139951 )

Date and Time: Tuesday, 30 July 2013 6.30pm – 9.00pm
Register here:

OneMap is an integrated map platform for public agencies to publish information and deliver map-based services. OneMap makes location maps and data from various govt. agencies available through its web portal ( and also makes it available through an Application Programming Interface (API) for others to consume in their applications.

Using OneMap API, agencies can embed maps into their web and mobile applications providing a consistent and common map identity across different platforms and websites. OneMap makes streetmap, address, and other geospatial data available to all as a service.

The data layers in OneMap are also open to the private sector or community for development of innovative mapping applications.

For more on OneMap visit or watch this for a quick intro (

Posted on July 15, 2013 by orbital

Hi all:

As the IDA / Google Developer Group Meet-Up will be featuring the PHP runtime for Google App Engine tomorrow at Blk 71, we’re asking you to attend the session in lieu of Mission Control this week.

Make sure to register for the event by visiting


In the second of this three part series, we will be covering the new PHP runtime on Google App Engine. We will be porting a popular website, currently powered by wordpress and LAMP stack on AWS, to run on Google App Engine. We will do a live load test this deployment to show the scalability.


Dr. S. P. T. Krishnan & Dr. Louis Shue

Please note we will aim to start the talks at about 6:30-6:45pm, and it’s unnecessary to bring the ticket for this meetup.

Posted on July 1, 2013 by orbital

Picture Credits: courtesy

Tomorrow’s Mission Control will be held at PlugIn@Blk 71.  Pallav, one of our teaching assistants, will be reviewing and having hands-on exercises for Node.JS, a library for writing capabilities to be able create scalable Internet applications, notably web servers.

Node.js is a packaged compilation of Google’s V8 JavaScript engine, the libuv platform abstraction layer, and a core library, which is itself primarily written in JavaScript.

See you tomorrow at Blk 71!  Please make sure to follow the preparation instructions below (after your submission deadline tonight)!

If you’d like to participate in the workshop, please install node before-hand. Instructions for different Operating Systems are listed here:
Go to Click INSTALL. Follow through the installation process. To check that it works, go to the start menu and search for “powershell”. Run it. Now type “node –version”. If you see a number, you’re set.
Go to Click INSTALL. Follow through the installation process. Run Terminal and type “node –version” and press enter. If you see a number, you’re set.
Go to Now you have two options. You could, if you wish, click DOWNLOADS and get the Linux Binaries for your computer. However, you might prefer to install from source. To do this, click INSTALL, extract the folder, open it in a terminal, and follow through the process inside the file (follow the “Unix/Mac” instructions). Run “node –version” to check that it works.
Note: For the purpose of keeping up-to-date with the latest version of Node.js, avoid using a package manager to install it.
Important Downloads
Download this file before the workshop starts, to avoid network-related delays later. This will allow you to code along through the entire workshop offline.

Posted on June 24, 2013 by orbital

Photo credits: adesigna @ Flickr

Modern applications ranging from enterprise to social network applications are essentially designed and implemented based on the widely-adopted three-tier architecture, in which user interface, functional process logic and data storage/access are developed and maintained as independent modules.

For tomorrow’s Mission Control, we shall go through basic concepts and techniques in designing and implementing the data storage and data access component for those applications.

In the process, we will learn about various sub-phases of database design including conceptual, logic and physical design.  We also have some hands-on practice on designing databases with a CASE tool (RISE Editor), and working with a popular open-source database management system (MySQL).

The following pieces of software will be used in this mission control:

1.) RISE Editor for drawing ERDs (Entity Relationship Diagram)

2.) WAMPServer for developing three-tier applications

Posted on June 13, 2013 by orbital

Hi all:

As the IDA  / Google Developer Group Meet-Up on Cloud SQL is happening at Blk 71 overlapping exactly at 6-9pm on Tuesday evening, we’re postponing Tam’s session on basic databases for a week.

Head on over to the Cloud SQL Workshop at Blk 71 instead!  Make sure to register for it (see the details in the previous post)





Photo Credits: Gustavo da Cunha Pimenta @ Flickr