APRIL 1, 2019 VOLUME 5 ISSUE 1 (past issues)

New Conductor Plugin Store Unveiled

A brand-new plugin store in the Conductor opens the door for strategic developer partnerships with Tempered. Several partners have already developed plugins available in this initial launch. For example, a new LinkedIn plugin sends HIPnet invite codes out to business contacts. An IFTT plugin allows Conductor-based monitors and alerts to trigger various Internet-connected services. Social networking plugins for services such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram bring social networking to the Conductor UI.

“I like to get a private notification posted to my Facebook feed when my secure tunnel goes down,” explains one beta tester, “and I can share events and network stats with other coworkers without leaving the Conductor UI.” Another tester remarked, “it’s convenient when our plant engineers need a change in network policy due to moving equipment, they can just tweet me the request.” Previously, antiquated phone calls or emails were used to register such requests.

Another much-anticipated plugin is Foresee survey prompts in Conductor, which pop up at the worst possible time and can provide valuable usage and opinion information to organizations, to seamlessly raise awareness of issues before they escalate.
  Browse the Conductor Plugin Store      Top 10 Productivity Plugins

Santa Statue Repurposed as Telepresence Bot

Remote workers had a new option to help them through both the Viadoom and Snowpocalypse events in Seattle: use of a new telepresence bot. The omnipresent office Santa statue has been outfitted with wheels, pan-and-tilt camera, and a large screen for viewing the faces of remote workers.

“Even though I couldn’t get out of my frozen driveway it felt like I was right there in the PDR meeting,” wrote one of the developers surveyed on their Santa Telepresence experience. “The audio and video quality were actually not too bad.”

Of course, the TeleSanta is secured using a Linux HIPserver that joins it with the Kibbles, Alpo, Milkbone, Milkbone2, Chip, and other test networks.

  Click here to view TeleSanta availability and reserve telepresence meeting time
  Link to the TeleSanta user guide

SmartOrb: World’s First Smart Fitness Ball

A side project of one of Tempered’s hardware engineers is a new SmartOrb smart fitness ball. The ball is intended to replace your office chair, and features Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connectivity. While not strictly related to secure microsegmentation, the SmartOrb does function as a security device -- with the ability to unlock your computer using your unique gluteal signature. The SmartOrb tracks your weight, integrating with popular fitness apps, and furthermore your movement -- with customizable reminders to stand up and take a break to remain active during the day. A limited number of SmartOrbs prototypes are available to Tempered employees for testing, before limited production runs begin for sales.

  Pre-order your SmartOrb Smart Fitness Ball

Emoji, Giphy Tags Now in Conductor

The tagging feature in Conductor just got a lot more graphical, since tags can now include Giphy images and emoji characters. Emoji characters are added when creating a tag, via a new emoji drop-down selector next to the text input field. The Giphy plugin, available via the new plugin store, integrates with the search site for adding short looping videos, which are scaled down to fit the tags UI.

  Browse the Conductor Tag Emoji gallery

Push-To-Talk Option Added to HIPswitch

The HIPnet freemium demo has long had a push-to-talk option in the iOS and Android HIPapps. This feature has moved out of demo-ware into an actual hardware option available for the HIPswitch-250 and HIPswitch-150 platforms. The HIPswitches are often placed in the factory floor, but controlled by network admins on the Conductor in the office or data center. The new HIPswitch PTT feature establishes a secure comms link between those workers connecting equipment and the administrators configuring policy for that equipment.

“Yeah we could use that to talk to the help desk, and to coordinate shifts down in the plant,” commented Rick Robinson, a Tempered customer from the energy sector, ”When something goes wrong it’s nice to not have another piece of equipment just for voice. I mean cell phones don’t really work down here.”
  Request a HIPswitch PTT demo     Link to the HS PTT datasheet

Study Quantifies Money Lost Due to Meeting Setup Time

Tempered Networks helped lead a groundbreaking study on how much money small and large businesses in the U.S. lose each year due to conference room setup time. As a general rule, the first 10 minutes of any given presentation are lost due to WiFi connection issues, displays not detecting correctly or toggling video inputs, dongle searching, and dialing in audio teleconference lines or setting up screen-sharing software like GoToMeeting or WebEx. “So everyone in the room is usually sitting in limbo, waiting; some audience members trying to offer suggestions of how to get the right video input,” reported Brad Davila, a study co-author, “and you multiply out all those minutes times all those people, figuring in the cost of each employee, and you get the dollars lost for each meeting.”
  Read the study on Dollars Lost to Meeting Setup Time      Share your Meeting Setup horror stories

HIPapps Add HIPchat and HIPpay Features

The latest update to Tempered Networks’ iOS and Android HIPapps brings two new services sure to be popular with users.

HIPchat offers secure private online chat and instant messaging, with the ability to form topic groups. Unlike similar competing services which are cloud-based, HIPchat involves direct communication over secure tunnels, controlled by device policy. Files and pictures can even be shared in the chat rooms. Mobile users can additionally chat with online Conductor users.

And similar to Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Facebook Messenger Payments, HIPapp mobile users can use HIPpay within HIPchat to quickly send or request money from other users. The mobile payment and digital wallet service does use HIP technology to secure payment information sent to Tempered’s HIPpay payment processing servers. HIPpay can further be used at contactless point-of-sale terminals. HIPpay also integrates with HIPcoin as a method of payment.

“I really like the convenience of paying with my HIPapp for Starbucks, then using that same app to secure my communication over the public WiFi there,” reported one pilot user testing HIPpay.
  View the HIPchat and HIPpay product announcement

Surge in Canadian Developers as Seattle Gains NHL Team

Tempered hired it’s sixth Canadian developer this week as many Canadian software developers flood the region, following Seattle’s announcement of hosting the NHL’s newest hockey team.
“I’d always wanted to move to Seattle for the nature, competitive benefits, and whatnot eh, but couldn’t give up my team eh”, said recent new hire Gordon Tremblay, “Seattle Sockeyes for sure in 2021 eh!” Product development employees are now required to complete a one-hour Canadian Culture Sensitivity Training, to minimize friction between Americans and Canadians. “Did you know they [Canadian developers] always use tabs instead of spaces, and CamelCase naming schemes, regardless of the project?” reads part of the sensitivity training.
  Take the Canadian Culture Sensitivity Training
  Meet the new Canadian team members

Git vs Slack

The number of Slack channels are proliferating faster than the number of Git repos at Tempered Networks, according to a new IT study. One of the reasons for this phenomenon is reportedly that the entire company uses Slack and has the ability to create channels, whereas Git repos are typically used only by Product Development for new software projects. The number of Slack channels have been growing at a rate of 17 per month, while Git repositories hosted on Bitbucket have a rate of 10 per month.
  View the IT study on Git repositories and Slack channel usage

Pull Request Awards Announced

As a follow-up to Developer Personas, this year Tempered project managers identified common trends in pull requests. Developers were awarded based on their pull request behavior in the following categories:

  • longest outstanding pull request
  • most prolific commenter
  • convert everything possible to C++ code commenter
  • most editorial nits on spelling and grammar
  • greatest number of complaints over tabs versus spaces, and misaligned indentation
  • const-ness police
  • NIH (not invented here) syndrome diatribes
  • best use of Bitbucket emoji
  • impossible PRs to read without "ignore whitespace" due to editor settings
  View the Pull Request Awards wiki

Ultrasonic Dog Alert Option Available for HIPswitches

Tempered announced a small but powerful hardware option for HIPswitches having USB ports: HIPsonic Alerts. HIPsonic hardware emits an ultrasonic tone that alerts nearby guard dogs, who inevitably erupt into a barking frenzy. Developed under the code name The Furlinator, after the canine-enthusiast employee who pioneered the idea, HIPsonic Alerts have been demonstrated with triggers such as Snort intrusion detection, HA failover events, or critical device ping failures.

“Crooks aren’t jumping the barbed-wire fence that often anymore,” said plant manager and TNW customer Rory Otterman, “so this gives our pack of guard dogs something else to do. There’s nothing else on the market that can bridge the cyber and the physical like this.”
  Watch video of HIPsonic Alerts in action

Debate over C++17 Versus C++20 Gets Ugly

Developers have been debating whether to adopt the C++17 or C++20 language standard for their C++ codebase, in a series of meetings that started to get ugly -- with no resolution in sight. Designated initializers, concepts, and three-way comparisons are all features touted by the C++20 camp; meanwhile the C++17 proponents say that the nested namespaces, fold expressions, “if constexpr”, std::any, and Bessel functions are some of the new language features that will be enough to carry Tempered into the next year of development.

A Slack channel has been created so interested parties can debate the decision, without bothering the rest of Product Development, who appear uninterested in picking a side. Key features slated for the next firmware release depend on resolution of this debate.
  Link to the #cppdebate Slack channel

(past issues of the Tonion)