Monthly Archives: December 2016

Containerd is essential to Docker Engine. It's been used in Docker since version 1.11. This new open-source version is meant to be used as an open, stable, and extensible base for building non-Docker products and container solutions.

Specifically, containerd can be used to transfer container images, container execution and supervision, low-level local storage, and network interfaces across both Linux and Windows. If this sounds familiar, it should. The Linux Foundation's Open Container Initiative (OCI) was meant to create a vendor-neutral container Runtime Specification and Image Specification.

Even though Docker is not releasing this project under the OCI, the company claims containerd fully leverages the OCI runtime, image format specifications, and OCI reference implementation (runC). Eventually, Docker plans to pursue OCI certification.

"This is the result of months of close collaboration and input from thought leaders in the Docker community," said Solomon Hykes, Docker's founder and CTO in a blog post. He continued:

We think it will unlock a whole new phase of innovation and growth across the entire ecosystem, which in turn will benefit every Docker developer and customer. Docker's focus has always been on solving users' problems first and then spinning out the plumbing projects that address those challenges along the way. We are excited by the support that the containerd project is getting from the leaders in the industry and we know their backing of resources will fuel the growth of this collaborative project.

Historically, Docker has open-sourced its programs after working on them in-house at first. Examples include libcontainer. libnetwork, and  runC, which donated to the OCI.

In the case of containerd, the plan is to make sure it has limited feature scope. The goal is to create a "boring" infrastructure plumbing component shared across all container systems and leading orchestrators. The project will follow a community-defined release process that emphasizes quality over new features and will be branded separately from Docker to avoid undue benefit from a single commercial entity.

Spam hardly needs an introduction. Anyone with an e-mail account knows the acute frustration of being inundated with offers of pills from virtual pharmacists, financial propositions from Nigerian princes and pictures for fetish sites that really, really shouldn't exist. Spam has even gone beyond e-mail: like kudzu, it adapts to clog whatever online inbox you might choose. On Oct. 30, the social-networking site Facebook won a $711 million judgment against the self-proclaimed "Spam King" Sanford Wallace. Wallace, a professional e-mail marketer from New Hampshire who also likes to be called Spamford, used ill-gotten passwords to surreptitiously log into user accounts for the purpose of sending advertisements to their list of friends. But Wallace isn't alone. Despite myriad legal and technological attempts to combat it, spam will cost firms an estimated $130 billion worldwide in 2009 in lost productivity and technical costs, according to Ferris Research.

Though it wasn't called spam until the 1980s — the term comes from a Monty Python sketch set in a cafeteria, where a crowd of Vikings drowns out the rest of conversation by repeatedly singing the name of the unpopular processed meat — the first unsolicited messages came over the wires as early as 1864, when telegraph lines were used to send dubious investment offers to wealthy Americans. The first modern spam was sent on ARPANET, the military computer network that preceded the Internet. In 1978, a man named Gary Turk sent an e-mail solicitation to 400 people, advertising his line of new computers. (Turk later said his methods proved so unpopular that it would be more than a decade before anyone would try again.) In late 1994, Usenet — a newsgroup precursor to the Internet — was inundated by an advertisement for the immigration-law services of Laurence A. Canter and Martha S. Siegel. Despite the ensuing outcry, the lawyers defended their practice, called their detractors anti–free speech "zealots" and wrote a book about the practice titled How to Make a Fortune on the Information Superhighway. Pandora's Box had been opened.

Now spam comprises the vast majority of e-mail messages sent — 78% of the 210 billion e-mails sent each day, according to one estimate. And 93 billion of these manage to get past the technical defenses like spam filters and blacklists. E-mail programs have gotten smarter, but spammers stay one step ahead, using disposable e-mail addresses and sending messages from farms of different computers around the world to avoid being blocked. The garbled text spammers load their messages with to get past e-mail filters sometimes approaches poetry: sites like chronicle lines like "Confirm you won fund/ You get it without paying/ Urgent attention"

And that's just e-mail spam. The growth of sites like MySpace and Facebook has opened up a whole new subindustry for spammers, who trick users into surrendering their passwords and then use their accounts to plaster advertisements everywhere. Automated spam programs attack instant-messenger conversations too, randomly generating screen names and sending messages in the hopes they'll find someone on the other end. Bloggers aren't safe, either — makers of the spam-filtering tool Akismet estimate that 93% of comments on all blogs are spam; their software has caught more than 13 billion so far.

With so many different technological avenues for spamming, the best solution might be a legal one. In 2003, the U.S. passed the CAN-SPAM Act, which gives the Federal Trade Commission some regulatory power to curb spammers. CAN-SPAM regulations require that any commercial messages provide a means for recipients to opt out, prevent the modification of e-mail headers to hide the identity of a sender and stop the use of e-mail addresses harvested from the Internet without permission. Still, there's a very clear loophole: nowhere in the CAN-SPAM regulations does it say that spammers need your permission to send you an e-mail.

High-profile judgments like the one against Wallace are the exception to the rule; the majority of spammers go undiscovered and unpunished. Wallace, who already had a $230 million judgment levied against him in a case brought by MySpace last year, has already filed for bankruptcy; the judge in the Facebook case referred the Spam King to federal court to face additional charges, which could carry a prison sentence. The penalties combined are by far the largest ever for spamming — Facebook won an $873 million judgment against a spammer in 2008 that is the largest single penalty — but it's unlikely to prove much of a deterrent. With busts so few and far between, the overwhelming majority of spam messages (some estimate as high as 99.8%) don't comply with CAN-SPAM. And trade groups like the Direct Marketers Association are already trying to weaken CAN-SPAM's regulations. Absent new legislation or divine intervention, expect spam to remain the Internet's greatest annoyance.

The thermal camera bottom line is accurate detection, clarity and quality of image.

Benjamin Franklin has thermal cameras. General Douglas McArthur pioneered their use. In Jay Weatherill’s hands, thermal cameras can fight a killer from a safe distance.

But, unlike their traditional surveillance siblings, thermal sensors and cameras create video images from infrared – heat waves. Day or night, in any environment, every person, object and structure emits infrared waves. And, while traditional cameras often flex their CCD chip muscles with after-incident forensics, the strength of thermals, especially at night, is more often seen at facility perimeters and often aims at real-time detection and physical response.

Thermals follow through on a time-tested strategy of detect, delay and respond, institutionalized at facilities such as nuclear power plants and elsewhere.

First applied in the early 1950s by U.S. and Republic of Korea troops against the Soviet-backed Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, military and law enforcement were user pioneers of the technology. Originally big, bulky, short range and very expensive while needing similarly expensive accessories, thermal cameras have evolved into today’s small contained packages boasting longer ranges at more affordable prices.

Covers More Ground
And speaking of long range, a single smart thermal camera can detect intruders with great accuracy over an area the size of a football field, combining detection and visual verification deployed either as a standalone solution or integrated.

So it is not surprising that applications have spread from military to critical infrastructure, petrochemical, power distribution, port/border, commercial and life safety, among others.

When it comes to certain critical infrastructure, for example, a large petrochemical plant, without thermals the assignment would be daunting, with some campuses having a perimeter of 10 miles or more. In another instance, areas of waterfront or wetlands may not allow use of more typical physical barriers and enhancements – fences and lighting, to name two.

Comparable to virtual fences created by traditional cameras, thanks to levels of analytics, in the thermal world, there are thermal fences that don’t require physical barriers, lighting infrastructure or extended power trenches. Also seen: integration with ground radar and more seamlessness of routine fence sensors and alarms.

Thermals protect sensitive unban facilities, too. For instance, thermal video analytics cameras from SightLogix cover the World Trade Center outdoor perimeter in New York City. The cameras are an integral part of an integrated security system designed by engineers from Ducibella, Venter & Santore and integrated by Diebold.

Fire, Life Safety Uses
Australian Prime Minister Jay Weatherill proudly acknowledges long-range thermal cameras in tracking down hot spots and flying sparks during that country’s effort to tamp out recent, destructive bush fires. Another unique application, the cameras, carefully positioned in airport corridors, determined whether a passenger had a high temperature while attempting to fly out of a country impacted by the Ebola epidemic. Often behavior monitoring doubled down to identify passengers that looked ill. Today, thermals are even more common at airports as part of traditional surveillance systems although thermals are not designed to read a person’s specific body temperature but can be finely calibrated to discern slight differences.

And Ben Franklin?
Mobility and flexibility are among the advantages of thermals for Benjamin Franklin, the largest container ship to ever make port in North America just late last year. It’s longer than the Empire State building is high and has cameras that look out to sea, setting up an ever-moving, all-seeing perimeter to help captain and crew alert to objects moving toward the megaship. Thermals also are common on ships plying waters from Sumatra to Somalia as they try to get a perimeter alert advantage over pirates, who are after cargo, payroll cash and even kidnapping ransom money.

Just months ago, there was another commercial-centric breakthrough as highlighted by a collaboration between thermal camera maker Flir Systems, of Goleta, California, and unmanned aerial vehicle – drone – maker DJI Innovations of Los Angeles. They plan to develop a stabilized camera featuring Flir’s thermal imaging technology for some DJI’s aerial platforms.

The addition of thermal imaging to drones, only in commercial infancy, provides the ability to see in complete darkness, measure temperature remotely and see through obscurants such as smoke, dust and light fog. Integration with a live video downlink system and apps will also give drone operators in enterprise and government security departments with real-time control and recording during flight.

Concerning the commercial niche of camera-equipped and security-facing drones, state and local regulations are just now falling into place. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) contends it is in charge of manned and unmanned aircraft, including hobbyist gear. In late 2015, the agency issued new recreational drone rules, requiring users to register in a national database, among other rules.

Drone with Camera Regulations Vary
Such a stance, however, has set up potential clashes since local and state lawmakers, worried about safety and privacy, have been passing similar and differing rules. More than 20 states approved drone laws in 2015, as have cities including Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami.

For enterprises seeing value in adding camera-enabled drones to their collection of security solutions, getting from here to there – faster, more accurate detection, more use of the unmanned aerial vehicles for patrolling and surveillance – is obviously adding technology and complexity to seeing from above in the dark or near dark. Today, current advances have led to smaller cameras that are more affordable, says Jay McNamara, senior project manager for G4S Secure Integration, with accurate detection, clarity and quality of image. He observes that analytics creates smart thermal solutions, image processing within the camera can virtually eliminate false alarms, all often happening at the edge. When it comes to effectiveness, he says to “look for technology that provides digital detail enhancements,” adding some key features are “scene optimization and active contrast enhancement,” among others.

There are numerous features and benefits, especially linked to smart thermal cameras.

When it comes to temperature gauging, thermal temperature alarm cameras easily cross over to operations and business uses, too. Such cameras can send an alarm when the temperature reaches above or below a pre-configured threshold. With thermal imaging, problem areas can be identified before the issue becomes visible to the eye or machinery stops working. They also provide data for thermal pattern analysis or are useful for detection in perimeter protection or by law enforcement to identify thermal spots in vehicles.

More with Smart Thermal Cameras
Specific to smart thermal solutions and analytics, depending on the camera maker, some thermals also have speed measurement. One example is models from ATN American Technologies Network, which fashions a camera to act like a speed radar with functions that allow you to receive alerts/set alarms whenever objects within it go over a certain speed. There are thermal cameras to help track objects and people within it. Tracked is the path of objects such as cars as well as people within it, and, in addition, track anything dropped by people within it, known as dropped objects detection. Loitering detection follows when an object has extended its welcome within a given area, as well as determines how long objects have been within an area.

Other thermal camera features in some units:

Electronic stabilization to correct for pole sway;
Geo-registration to ignore small animals, blowing trash and outdoor movement while detecting people all the time;
Geospatial detection zones based on target size, speed and direction;
With its low power needs, available are solar and wireless options; and
Targets can be projected onto a sitemap for real-time situational awareness.
Additionally, thermals are easier to install nowadays, with less fuss in the set-up and maintenance.

When it comes to real-time alarming, according to McNamara, thermal cameras can detect accurately in complete darkness as well as bright sun and harsh environmental conditions. The cameras can be unaffected by headlights, reflections or other stray lights that cause nuisance alerts for visible detection cameras.

No doubt, there are myriad thermal, night vision and infrared cameras as well as some traditional cameras with supplementary illumination from lights or lasers as part of the category. Choices depend, among many, on light availability, security goals, budget and – in the case of whatever it is called – product marketing.

Lens Size Counts
While some end users may assume that distance can be a challenge, in reality, thermal cameras can provide accurate detection based on what lens size is used; but at greater distances, the ability to provide assessment of a human-sized target at a higher detail becomes challenging at greater distances, says McNamara. Of course, day/night cameras are still used and popular, he says.

When it comes to wide dynamic range (WDR) cameras as compared to thermals when facing lighting challenges, there is sometimes confusion. WDR is not just for daytime but also can be used at night for some applications such as nighttime license plate recognition. Thermals are not just for night but can be used in daylight. For instance, in glare, thermal will detect someone entering a glared-over area.

There are color night vision cameras that use advanced low light sensors to provide high quality color video in lighting conditions from full daylight to starlight, all without extra lighting infrastructure needed with regular security cameras. Such a tech approach detects intruders with thermal and identifies them with color night vision.