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Programming News and Views

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Forget The Turing Test It's The MacGyver Test That Matters
Apr 30 | Mike James
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There are lots of generalized Turing tests which all work on the general principle that if you can't tell the artificial from the natural then they are for all intents and purposes the same. Now we have the MacGyver test which is aimed at seeing how much devious problem-solving intelligence a system has. 



New Developer Economics Survey
Apr 29 | Sue Gee
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Vision Mobile has launched its Developer Economics Q3 2017 survey and you'll find a space journey theme and a smattering of programmer jokes as you complete it. The incentive is prizes to win and personalized charts and graphs to show how you compare to  other developers in your country or region.



April Week 4
Apr 29 | Editor
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Feeling overwhelmed and confused by too much news? If you need to know what's important for the developer, you can rely on  I Programmer to sift through all the news, uncover the most relevant stories and deliver the highlights.



Amazon Underground Developer Program To Close
Apr 28 | Lucy Black
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Amazon has announced that it will stop accepting new Android apps for the Underground Actually Free program on May 31st, 2017. Existing apps, will still be available for customers to download until 2019 and will continue to generate royalties for developers for a 6-month wind-down period after that.



R 3.4 Brings Performance Improvements
Apr 28 | Alex Armstrong
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R 3.4.0, codenamed “You Stupid Darkness”, a major release of the R language used for data science, big data analysis, predictive modeling and visualization, has been released. It has a long list of new features and bug fixes and their overall effect is improved performance.



Apple Releases LivePhotos JavaScript SDK
Apr 27 | Lucy Black
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Until now Apple's Live Photos were largely confined to your iPhone 6S, 6S Plus or SE so you were limited in how you could share them. Thanks to a new SDK you can now add LivePhotos to a website.



Amazon Updates Data Offerings
Apr 27 | Kay Ewbank
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Amazon announced a raft of improvements to its databases at its AWS Summit in San Francisco, ranging from accelerators for DynamoDB to the ability to query exabytes of unstructured data directly in S3 storage.  



EdgeX Foundry - Open Source Framework For Industrial IoT
Apr 27 | Harry Fairhead
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The Linux Foundation, along with 50 companies, is attempting to simplify and standardize Industrial IoT edge computing with the launch of a new open-source consortium, the EdgeX Foundry.



Stanford CS Moves To JavaScript
Apr 26 | Ian Elliot
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The headline tells you all you need to know - Stanford Computer Science department is experimenting with replacing its long running Java-based introduction to programming with one based on JavaScript. Why?



Indian Progammers Aren't Being Prepared For Real World Coding
Apr 26 | Janet Swift
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A new study of the programming skills of Indian students shows that only a tiny proportion are ready to be employed in programming jobs.



Naturalizing A Programming Language
Apr 26 | Mike James
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This is an interesting idea: take a core programming language and allow the users to teach the system how they want to express their intentions. Instead of trying to use natural language as a computer language, why not develop computer languages in the direction of natural languages?



Early Bird Offer For Office 365 Engage
Apr 26 | Kay Ewbank
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A new conference for Office power users and developers is taking place from 19-22 June. Office 365 Engage covers the full spectrum of Office 365 needs, including SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, Azure infrastructure that supports Office 365, Office 365 applications, and Office 365 development. Take advantage of the Early Bird offer and an extra 10% discount exclusive to I Programmer.



Kite - Smart Copilot For Programmers
Apr 25 | Nikos Vaggalis
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The best products and ideas always spring out of identifying and addressing a general and widespread need. In the case of programming it's the time required when coding for searching the Internet for relevant documentation and code samples.



Amazon Lets Us All Use Lex To Build A Bot
Apr 25 | Lucy Black
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 Lex is the voice-to-text and text-to-voice service that powers Alexa. Now we can all use it to add voice capabilities to our apps and devices without restriction. But there is a cost.



CodeStar to Simplify Development On AWS
Apr 24 | Nikos Vaggalis
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For developers the most important announcement made at last week's AWS Summit was CodeStar, which is intended is to enable you to quickly develop, build, and deploy applications on AWS.



IPython 6 Release Supporting Python 3.3 and Above
Apr 24 | Janet Swift
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IPython 6.0 has been released and, as expected, drops support for the Python 2.7 branch. While not everyone will necessarily agree, this is a welcome move that improves IPython.


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Book Review


Learn to Program with Scratch
Saturday 29 Apr

Author: Majed Marji
Publisher: No Starch Press
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781593275433
Print: 1593275439
Kindle: B00IE94WY4
Audience: Anyone who wants to learn programming as well as about Scratch
Rating: 5
Reviewer: Lucy Black

Scratch is such an easy language to learn, surely you can't really need a book?


 

Featured Articles


Information Theory
Alex Armstrong
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So you know what a bit is – or do you? How much information does a bit carry? What is this "information" stuff anyway? The answers are, unsurprisingly, all contained in the subject called Information Theory, which was invented by one man.



Insider's Guide To Udacity Android Developer Nanodegree Part 2
Nikos Vaggalis
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Continuing the journal charting my progress through Udacity's course for intermediate Java programmers, we come to the second module - the final stage of project Popular Movies. Here we add  functionality to produce a fully featured application that looks and feels natural on the latest Android operating system.



Towers Of Hanoi Mutants
Joe Celko
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Towers of Hanoi is a classic puzzle and is often used to illustrate the idea of recursion. Here you are challenged to find solutions to some variations, after first explaining the original version.



jQuery UI and Auto-Complete Address Entry
Ian Elliot
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jQuery UI has a little-known feature that makes interactive auto-complete very easy. In this hands-on tutorial we put it together with the cloud-based Global Express Entry address auto-complete service from Melissa Data to smooth over one of the biggest problems in getting users to sign up.



Recursion
Mike James
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Recursion is often said to separate real programmers from the pack. What is it that makes it so powerful? What is it that makes it so difficult? What is the "shape" of recursion as a flow of control?


 

 

Unhandled Exception!
Sigil Cycle

 

Sigil Cycle

 

If you haven't programmed in a language that uses sigils, you won't have a clue as to what this cartoon is about. A sigil is symbol that is attached to a variable's name or identifier to signify some attribute, usually but not always its type. The point is that a sigil has a fixed meaning, but the identifier doesn't. Languages such as C++ don't use sigils, but that doesn't stop you from using Hungarian notation, invented back in the 70s by Charles Simonyi (a Hungarian), which could be regarded as sigils on steroids. 

 

   More cartoon fun at xkcd a webcomic of romance,sarcasm, math, and language

Read more...
 

Book Watch

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Python in a Nutshell 3rd Ed (O'Reilly)
Thursday 27 Apr

The third edition of this practical book provides a quick reference to the language, including Python 3.5, 2.7, and highlights of 3.6. Authors Alex Martelli, Anna Ravenscroft and Steve Holden cover commonly used areas of the standard library, some of the most useful third-party modules and packages,

<ASIN:144939292X>



Think Like a Data Scientist (Manning)
Monday 24 Apr

Author Brian Godsey presents a step-by-step approach to data science, combining analytic, programming, and business perspectives into easy-to-digest techniques and thought processes for solving real world data-centric problems.

<ASIN:1633430278>



The Hardware Hacker (No Starch Press)
Friday 21 Apr

Subtitled "Adventures in Making and Breaking Hardware", this book draws on the experiences of hacker Andrew "bunnie" Huang, author of cult-classic book Hacking the Xbox. In this book he shares his experiences in manufacturing and open hardware.

<ASIN:159327758X>



Learning Blender, 2nd Ed (Addison Wesley)
Thursday 20 Apr

Now fully updated for the latest version of Blender, the book walks you through every step of creating a 3D animated character with Blender, and then compositing it in a real video using professional workflow.  In this new edition author Oliver Villar covers the powerful new selection and modeling tools, as well as high-efficiency improvements related to painting, texturing, shading, rendering, and performance.

<ASIN:0134663462>



Designing with Data, 2nd Ed (O'Reilly)
Thursday 13 Apr

Design practices and data science work toward the same goal, helping designers and product managers understand users so they can craft elegant digital experiences. In this practical guide, authors Rochelle King, Elizabeth F Churchill, and Caitlin Tan show you how to conduct data-driven A/B testing for making design decisions on everything from small tweaks to large-scale UX concepts.

<ASIN:1449334830>



TensorFlow Machine Learning Cookbook (Packt)
Wednesday 12 Apr

This book will teach you how to use TensorFlow for complex data computations and Author Nick McClure will let you dig deeper and gain more insights into your data than ever before. You'll work through recipes on training models, model evaluation, sentiment analysis, regression analysis, clustering analysis, artificial neural networks, and deep learning.

<ASIN:1786462168>



Hadoop in 24 Hours (Sams Teach Yourself)
Tuesday 11 Apr

Learn all the skills and techniques you'll need to deploy each key component of a Hadoop platform in 24 lessons of an hour or less. Jeffrey Aven shows how to put a platform together in your local environment or in the cloud, building a fully functional Hadoop cluster and using it with real programs and datasets.

<ASIN:0672338521>



Arduino Playground: Geeky Projects for the Experienced Maker (No Starch Press)
Friday 07 Apr

This is a book designed for Arduino enthusiasts who've mastered the basics, conquered the soldering iron, and programmed a robot or two. Warren Andrews shows you how to keep your hardware hands busy with a variety of intermediate builds, both practical and just-for-fun. There are ten complex projects to advance your engineering and electronics know-how.

<ASIN:159327744X>



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