Web dev in DC http://ross.karchner.com
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FREE Training Classes For Community Emergency Response Team

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CERTThe Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates residents about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area. CERT trains county residents in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

The CERT training classes below follows the FEMA curriculum, tailored to local disasters and hazards. Educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Emphasis on hands-on skill development and Fairfax County protocols and procedures. Instructor will provide syllabus with class schedule at first session. This training does not require any special physical strength or agility.

For more information and to register for the next class at the Fire and Rescue Academy, please click on the link below:

CERT 144 at the Fire and Rescue Academy, Monday and Wednesday – Feb 25, 27, March 4, 6,11,13,18, 20



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rosskarchner
13 days ago
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I graduated in class 143 last month, and really found it worthwhile. If you aren't in Fairfax, look up your local CERT program!
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Google vs. Bing

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google vs bing

In search, Google has a 90%+ share worldwide. But I’m not sure that makes it a monopoly, as long as it has real competition. With Bing is does.

For example, recently I wanted to find a post Andrew Orlowski wrote for The Register in the early 00s. I remembered that it was about The Cluetrain Manifesto (which he called “Candide without the irony”—a great one-liner I can’t forget), and also mentioned John C. Dvorak, another Cluetrain non-fan. So I did this search on Google:

https://www.google.com/search?q=doc+searls+orlowski+register+cluetrain+candide+dvorak

I got one page of useless results.

So I went to Bing and did the same:

https://www.bing.com/search?q=doc+searls+orlowski+register+cluetrain+candide+dvorak

Bulls eye.

Credit where also due: I can find it as well in The Register‘s own search function. Hats off to all publications that keep their archives intact and searchable.

The difference between Google and Bing in this case is consistent with something I’ve noticed lately, which is that Google seems to be forgetting a lot of old stuff. Maybe it’s because the company is deprecating http in deference to https. Maybe there’s some other reason. I don’t know.

I also prefer Bing’s image search as well. It’s much less complicated than Google’s, and much easier to step through with the > arrow when paging through results. (Google piles up the already-viewed images in row after row above the current image, leaving the current image “below the fold,” and requiring extra work to locate again.)

And I love Bing’s Birds Eye views in Bing Maps. For an example of the latter, look here. That’s the top of the “candelabra” tower in Needham, Mass. It’s the site from which nearly all of Boston’s TV stations radiate. (Over-the-air broadcasting is very old hat, but I still care about it.) The closest Google can comes to that is here, where the 3D view only shows the base of the tower.

I can give lots of other examples, but I think I’ve made my  point:  Google isn’t a monopoly as long as there is a worthy competitor. And in several important ways, Bing is that.

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rosskarchner
37 days ago
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Thirty Years Ago Today

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Thirty years ago today, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck Armenia in what was then the Soviet Union. Shortly thereafter, a request was received for the assistance of our Urban Search and Rescue team along with the Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue Department team. This was the first international deployment of our Urban Search and Rescue team under an agreement with the United States Agency for International Development and the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA).

On December 11, 1988, ten members of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department made history as the first Americans since World War II to travel to the Soviet Union to render assistance. For one week these team members worked under extreme conditions to try to save lives and ease the suffering of the Armenian people devastated by the earthquake.

The team safely returned home late on December 17, 1988. Take a moment to look at some photos below. As well, a copy of a special edition of the department newsletter at the time called Line Copy. In it are reflections of those who were deployed on this historic mission.

Special Edition 1989 Line Copy

Please also take a moment to read a great article by USAID: Armenia Earthquake Anniversary

Click to view slideshow.

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rosskarchner
46 days ago
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Alpha Centauri

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And let's be honest, it's more like two and a half stars. Proxima is barely a star and barely bound to the system.
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rosskarchner
51 days ago
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boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
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Internet Boy Band Database

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The Pudding continues to pour effort and creativity into every post

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rosskarchner
55 days ago
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!!!!
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AWS Ground Station – Ingest and Process Data from Orbiting Satellites

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Not an actual satelliteDid you know that there are currently thousands of satellites orbiting the Earth? I certainly did not, and would have guessed a few hundred at most. Today, high school and college students design, fabricate, and launch nano-, pico-, and even femto-satellites such as CubeSats, PocketQubes, and SunCubes. On the commercial side, organizations of any size can now launch satellites for Earth observation, communication, media distribution, and so forth.

All of these satellites collect a lot of data, and that’s where things get even more interesting. While it is now relatively cheap to get a satellite into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) or Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) and only slightly more expensive to achieve a more distant Geostationary Orbit, getting that data back to Earth is still more difficult than it should be. Large-scale satellite operators often build and run their own ground stations at a cost of up to one million dollars or more each; smaller operators enter into inflexible long-term contracts to make use of existing ground stations.

Some of the challenges that I reviewed above may remind you of those early, pre-cloud days when you had to build and run your own data center. That changed when we launched Amazon EC2 back in 2006.

Introducing AWS Ground Station
Today I would like to tell you about AWS Ground Station. Amazon EC2 made compute power accessible on a cost-effective, pay-as-you-go basis. AWS Ground Station does the same for satellite ground stations. Instead of building your own ground station or entering in to a long-term contract, you can make use of AWS Ground Station on an as-needed, pay-as-you-go basis. You can get access to a ground station on short notice in order to handle a special event: severe weather, a natural disaster, or something more positive such as a sporting event. If you need access to a ground station on a regular basis to capture Earth observations or distribute content world-wide, you can reserve capacity ahead of time and pay even less. AWS Ground Station is a fully managed service. You don’t need to build or maintain antennas, and can focus on your work or research.

We’re starting out with a pair of ground stations today, and will have 12 in operation by mid-2019. Each ground station is associated with a particular AWS Region; the raw analog data from the satellite is processed by our modem digitizer into a data stream (in what is formally known as VITA 49 baseband or VITA 49 RF over IP data streams) and routed to an EC2 instance that is responsible for doing the signal processing to turn it into a byte stream.

Once the data is in digital form, you have a host of streaming, processing, analytics, and storage options. Here’s a starter list:

StreamingAmazon Kinesis Data Streams to capture, process, and store data streams.

ProcessingAmazon Rekognition for image analysis; Amazon SageMaker to build, train, and deploy ML models.

Analytics / ReportingAmazon Redshift to store processed data in structured data warehouse form; Amazon Athena and Amazon QuickSight for queries.

StorageAmazon Simple Storage Service (S3) to store data in object form, with Amazon Glacier for long-term archival storage.

Your entire workflow, from the ground stations all the way through to processing, storage, reporting, and delivery, can now be done on elastic, pay-as-you-go infrastructure!

AWS Ground Station in Action
I did not have an actual satellite to test with, so the AWS Ground Station team created an imaginary one in my account! When you are ready to make use of AWS Ground Station, we’ll need your satellite’s NORAD ID, information about your FCC license, and your AWS account number so that we can associate it with your account.

I open the Ground Station Console and click Reserve contacts now to get started:

The first step is to reserve a contact (an upcoming time when my satellite will be in the optimal position to transmit to the ground station I choose). I choose a ground station from the menu:

I can filter based on status (Available, Scheduled, or Completed) and on a time range:

I can see the contacts, pick one that meets my requirements, select it, and click Reserve Contact:

I confirm my contact on the next page, and click Reserve:

Then I can filter the Contacts list to show all of my upcoming reservations:

After my contact has been reserved, I make sure that my EC2 instances will be running in the AWS Region associated with the ground station at least 15 minutes ahead of the start time. The instance responsible for the signal processing connects to an Elastic Network Interface (ENI), uses DataDefender to manage the data transfer, and routes the data to a software modem such as qRadio to convert it to digital form (we’ll provide customers with a CloudFormation template that will create the ENI and do all of the other setup work).

Things to Know
Here are a couple of things you should know about AWS Ground Station:

Access – Due to the nature of this service, access is not self-serve. You will need to communicate with our team in order to register your satellite(s).

Ground Stations – As I mentioned earlier, we are launching today with 2 ground stations, and will have a total of 12 in operation by 2019. We will monitor utilization and demand, and will build additional stations and antennas as needed.

Pricing – Pricing is per-minute of downlink time, with an option to pre-pay for blocks of minutes.

Jeff;

 

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rosskarchner
56 days ago
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Next step is that they'll adapt the Snowball hardware for orbit, and you'll be able to provision a custom fleet of AWS Spaceballs.
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