Introducing Firebase Authentication

For most developers, building an authentication system for your app can feel a lot like paying taxes. They are both relatively hard to understand tasks that you have no choice but doing, and could have big consequences if you get them wrong. No one ever started a company to pay taxes and no one ever built an app just so they could create a great login system. They just seem to be inescapable costs.

But now, you can at least free yourself from the auth tax. With Firebase Authentication, you can outsource your entire authentication system to Firebase so that you can concentrate on building great features for your app. Firebase Authentication makes it easier to get your users signed-in without having to understand the complexities behind implementing your own authentication system. It offers a straightforward getting started experience, optional UX components designed to minimize user friction, and is built on open standards and backed by Google infrastructure.

 
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The Light of Another Star

Shining brightly in this Hubble image is our closest stellar neighbour: Proxima Centauri. Proxima Centauri lies in the constellation of Centaurus (The Centaur), just over four light-years from Earth. Although it looks bright through the eye of Hubble, as you might expect from the nearest star to the Solar System, Proxima Centauri is not visible to the naked eye. Its average luminosity is very low, and it is quite small compared to other stars, at only about an eighth of the mass of the Sun. However, on occasion, its brightness increases. Proxima is what is known as a “flare star”, meaning that convection processes within the star’s body make it prone to random and dramatic changes in brightness. The convection processes not only trigger brilliant bursts of starlight but, combined with other factors, mean that Proxima Centauri is in for a very long life. Astronomers predict that this star will remain middle-aged — or a “main sequence” star in astronomical terms — for another four trillion years, some 300 times the age of the current Universe. These observations were taken using Hubble’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2). Proxima Centauri is actually part of a triple star system — its two companions, Alpha Centauri A and B, lie out of frame. Although by cosmic standards it is a close neighbour, Proxima Centauri remains a point-like object even using Hubble’s eagle-eyed vision, hinting at the vast scale of the Universe around us.

Given the announcement today of an Earth-like planet being discovered around Proxima Centauri, I wanted to share a chapter from my upcoming book, the second in the ‘Frontier’ series, and follow up to ‘The Space Cadets‘.

In this Chapter, the first African American Space Cadet, Aisha Parks, along with her co-pilots Soo-Kyung Kim (North Korea) and David (Israel) get to visit an identical planet where, after taking the first interstellar selfie, they make an epic discovery….

 

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Meet me at droidcon London

I’m delighted to announce that I’m speaking at droidcon London 2016 on October 27th and 28th. I also spoke there last year, and have to say that it is one of my favorite conferences in the world. The location — at the Business Design Center in London in perfect, and the developers that attend are awesome. As a speaker it was a privilege to be there laDroidCon-London-punkst year, and I’m ecstatic to have been invited back again! I hope to go every year 🙂

I’ve been to all kinds of conferences, all over the world, but there’s something so unique about this one. I really love hanging out with developers in London — from all over the UK and Europe. You have a vibrancy and an enthusiasm for your work, and applying technology to it that is inspiring to me!

I’ll be doing a lap around Firebase, talking not just about the technology itself, but why we at Google believe that this is one of the best things to happen to developers in a long time. We’ve put a lot of thought into this techn
ology, and it spans way beyond Mobile Backend as a Service. Our goal is to help you build great mobile and web applications, grow your customer base with great tools, and earn a decent living for all your hard work. I’ll be talking about where we’re at with the technology, and the fact that we’re really only getting started. It’s a long, fun, road…and I hope you’ll join me at droidcon to learn about it!

Feel free to ask me anything, and I’ll do my best to answer, or, if you prefer to just have a ‘Coffee with a Googler‘, I’d be delighted to! 🙂

New Render: Aisha Parks

Aisha Parks is the first African American girl admitted to the elite space academy in my novel ‘Space Cadets’

aishamainAs I work on republishing the book, I am doing some test renders for how I envisage the characters. Here’s one of Aisha. Let me know what you think! 🙂

You can see the full res image here.

Space Cadets: Several years after humanity was pulled back from the brink of an all-out nuclear war, the United Nations built a Space Academy. It’s purpose: To ensure that we’d never again face extinction. Space Cadets follows the first African American student accepted into this academy, and her discovery that human extinction is closer than we may think.

What’s happening with Space Cadets?

An update on how the efforts to republish Space Cadets are going.

My novel, Space Cadets, was published by Booktrope earlier in 2016, shortly before Booktrope went out of business. The rights to the book reverted to me on June 1, 2016.

My goal is to republish the book — with some changes — as it was always intended to be: the first volume in a new Sci Fi series. The initial aim was to have a number of shorter books making up the story arc, each of which would feel like an episode in a TV show. The book, as originally published was the first two of these episodes.

When Space Cadets is re-released, it will be as I had intended — so expect the first ‘episode’ to be coming soon to a book seller and digital retailer near you! 🙂

Several years after humanity was pulled back from the brink of an all-out nuclear war, the United Nations built a Space Academy. It’s purpose: To ensure that we’d never again face extinction. Space Cadets follows the first African American student accepted into this academy, and her discovery that human extinction is closer than we may think.

aishamain

I’m Keynoting Droidcon Vienna

I’m super excited to be in Vienna this September to keynote Droidcon Vienna!

droidcon Vienna will feature more than 20 sessions in three parallel tracks, with over fifteen hours of high-quality content. I’m going to be keynoting to talk about Firebase and how to build mobile apps, grow them, and earn from them! I’m really looking forward to it!

droidcon is always about community. A half day is dedicated to a Barcamp – your content selected by you!

Learn more about droidcon Vienna here.

Soo-Kyung Kim – North Korean Space Cadet

Latest character design for Soo-Kyung Kim — star of my novel ‘Space Cadets’

You can see the full-res image here.

sk2smallSeveral years after humanity was pulled back from the brink of an all-out nuclear war, the United Nations built a Space Academy. It’s purpose: To ensure that we’d never again face extinction. Space Cadets follows Aisha Parks, the first African American student accepted into this academy, and her discovery that human extinction is closer than we may think.

Soo-Kyung, a North Korean national with a mysterious background, becomes roommate and best friend of Aisha.

With the publisher of ‘Space Cadets’ closing down, the book is being remixed and re-released soon. Check back for more!

Coffee with a Googler: Fatima Otori

Learn about Google Cloud Launcher over Coffee with Fatima Otori!

I met with the wonderful Fatima Otori from the Google Cloud Platform team to talk about Google Cloud Launcher — a technology that lets you build solutions on Google Cloud Platform with full software stacks in just a few clicks.

She demonstrates how, with just a few clicks, you can get a WordPress site up and running on Linux VMs in the Cloud.

Learn more about Google Cloud Launcher here.

Google Developers Medium page: https://goo.gl/egTyEv

Watch more episodes of Coffee with a Googler here:
https://goo.gl/5l123N

Google IO 2016: Maps Developer Experience

Ankur Kotwal and I had a great time doing a talk on Streamlining developer experiences with the Google Maps APIs – Google I/O 2016

The Google Maps APIs provide a seamless experience for developers of all levels. Some want to offer a map or navigation but don’t want to build these things themselves; this can be achieved with just a few lines of code. Other developers prefer to integrate natively with off-the-shelf widgets. Finally, some developers want complete control over every aspect of the presentation.

This session highlights the Maps APIs representing the full gamut of the developer experiences, enabling you to get going immediately and scale as necessary. You’ll see how widgets and services can be added over time with a suite of Maps APIs, services and libraries.

See all the talks from Google I/O 2016 here: https://goo.gl/olw6kV
Watch more Android talks at I/O 2016 here: https://goo.gl/Uv3jls
Watch more Chrome talks at I/O 2016 here: https://goo.gl/JoMLpB
Watch more Firebase talks at I/O 2016 here: https://goo.gl/JTH9Fr
Subscribe to the Google Developers Channel: http://goo.gl/mQyv5L

Firebase Notifications: Get Started

Here’s one of my firecast videos on how to send notification messages to your users using Firebase Notifications on Android.

Once you set up your development environment, you can send notifications right away, and these will be received in the system tray!

Find out more at http://goo.gl/fuOysS

Read about it in our blog: http://firebase.googleblog.com

Add the Introducing Firebase playlist! https://goo.gl/Wdcxpt