Programming News and Views
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Microsoft Open Sourcing MSDN - Good News?
May 04 | Sue Gee
Microsoft has announced a preview release of docs.microsoft.com, a new documentation service to replace MSDN and TechNet.
IBM Might Give Some Access To Its Five-Qubit Quantum Computer
May 04 | Mike James
Our headline is reasonably accurate - what do you expect in a single sentence - but others are less so. IBM has provided access to some quantum computing hardware and this is interesting, but it isn't a revolution.
Free Code Camp - Not Just A Bootcamp
May 04 | Nikos Vaggalis
Free Code Camp is an open source community that helps you learn how to code by working though self-paced coding challenges and building projects. It offers verified certificates, is completely free and you can help non-profits as you learn. It is also highly popular on GitHub.
Will Windows 10 Achieve Its Billion Users?
May 03 | Janet Swift
The end of January statistics for desktop operating system market share from Net Applications show that uptake of Windows 10 is continuing, but at a slower rate.
ACM 2015 Technical Awards
May 03 | Sue Gee
The ACM has announced the latest recipients of its four major technical awards, chosen for their contributions in the fields of systems software, cryptography, artificial intelligence, and network coding systems.
Doubt Over Craig Wright's Claim To Be Bitcoin Inventor
May 02 | Mike James
In a blog post Craig Wright claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto and apparently the evidence is so overwhelming that news agencies are running headlines like "Inventor of Bitcoin identified". Not so fast.
Pharo MOOC on FUN
May 02 | Sue Gee
Today sees the start of a MOOC about Pharo, the object-oriented language based on Smalltalk. The video lectures are in French with English subtitles and the course pdfs are in English only. Over 2200 students have enrolled so far.
Computational Photography Shows Hi-Res Mars
May 01 | David Conrad
Computational photographic is amazing, but sometimes you have to wonder if it is actually useful and not just amusing. Proving that it is, researchers have found a way to extract high-resolution images from multiple low-resolution images of the Martian surface. These are good enough almost to see the lost Beagle 2 lander clearly.
Google Doodle for Claude Shannon's 100th Anniversary.
Apr 30 | Sue Gee
Claude Shannon was born on April 30th 1916 and is credited with being the Father of Information Theory, or more colloquially the Father of the Bit, which explains today's Google Doodle.
April Week 4
Apr 30 | Editor
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 each week.
OpenAI Gym Gives Reinforcement Learning A Work Out
Apr 29 | Mike James
When OpenAI, an open source AI initiative backed by Elon Musk, Sam Altman and Ilya Sutskever, was announced earlier in the year, I doubt anyone expected anything to be produced so quickly and certainly not something connected with reinforcement learning. OpenAI Gym is what it sounds like - an exercise facility for reinforcement learning.
Node.js v6 Released
Apr 29 | Ian Elliot
Node.js version 6 provides major performance improvements, increased reliability and better security. It also features improved ECMAScript 2015 (ES6) support - 93% of ES6 features are now supported compared to 56% for Node.js v5.
Xamarin SDK Open Sourced
Apr 28 | Mike James
The big news at Xamarin's Evolve developer conference is that its SDK is now open source and under the care of the .NET Foundation. Bigger news would have been a clearer view of where it's all going - but that assumes that Microsoft has worked it out.
Linux Data Science Virtual Machine
Apr 28 | Kay Ewbank
A virtual machine image packed with data science tools has been released by Microsoft.
Mozilla Looking For a New Home For Thunderbird
Apr 28 | Ian Elliot
The writing has been on the wall for Mozilla Thunderbird for quite some time. Now Mozilla is actively engaged in the process of getting rid of it. Could Thunderbird spread its wings and have a new lease of life?
Linux On Windows - Microsoft On How It Works
Apr 27 | Mike James
The ability to use Ubuntu's user side interface under Windows is perhaps the biggest open source surprise this year. Now Microsoft is explaining how it works.
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PowerShell for SQL Server Essentials
Tuesday 03 May
Author: Donabel Santos
Publisher: Packt Publishing
Audience: Administrators and developers
Reviewer: Ian Stirk
This book aims to introduce you to PowerShell and how it can be used with SQL Server. How well does it do it?
Exploring Edison - Beyond mraa
There is a Linux-based approach to working with GPIO lines and serial buses that is worth knowing about because it provides an alternative to using the mraa library. Sometimes you need this because you are working in a language for which mraa isn't available. It also lets you access features that mraa doesn't make available.
Android Adventures - Getting Started With Android Studio 2
Google's Android Studio, recently released at Version 2, makes creating native Android apps very easy. You can get started in a few minutes and by the end of this chapter have your first working Android application.
How To Create A Viral Mobile Game
Don't we all dream of a hit game? The reality is all too often different, but it can be done. Here we find out how from Eugeny Butakov, creator of the successful mobile game, Psebay.
Getting Started With C/C++ On The Micro:bit
Anyone who wants to use the BBC micro:bit to its full potential as an IoT device needs to look outside the coding environments provided by its own website. As an mbed device, however, the micro:bit is capable of being programmed in C/C++. Here we look at how to use the mbed online compiler for a simple demo program.
Click to view bigger version
We live in a age when deprecation, non-backward compatibility and breaking changes are the norm when once they were exceptions. I personally blame semantic versioning.
More cartoon fun at xkcd a webcomic of romance,sarcasm, math, and language
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Algorithms in a Nutshell 2nd Ed (O'Reilly)
Wednesday 04 May
Creating robust software requires the use of efficient algorithms, but programmers seldom think about them until a problem occurs. This updated edition of a book that figures among our popular reviews describes a large number of existing algorithms for solving a variety of problems, and helps you select and implement the right algorithm for your needs with just enough math to let you understand and analyze algorithm performance.
Practical Probabilistic Programming (Manning)
Wednesday 27 Apr
Avi Pfeffer introduces the working programmer to probabilistic programming.You’ll immediately work on practical examples like building a spam filter, diagnosing computer system data problems, and recovering digital images. You’ll discover probabilistic inference, where algorithms help make extended predictions about issues like social media usage.
Designing Efficient BPM Applications (O'Reilly)
Wednesday 20 Apr
If you’re a business analyst, this "Process-Based Guide for Beginners" ( will show you how to design effective business process management applications. BPM specialists Christine McKinty and Antoine Mottier show you step-by-step how to turn a simple business procedure into an automated, process-based application. Using hands-on examples, you’ll quickly learn how to create an online process that’s easy to use. Each chapter builds on earlier material.
C in a Nutshell, 2nd Ed (O'Reilly)
Monday 18 Apr
The new edition of this classic O’Reilly reference by Peter Prinz and Tony Crawford provides clear, detailed explanations of every feature in the C language and runtime library, including multithreading, type-generic macros, and library functions that are new in the 2011 C standard (C11). If you want to understand the effects of an unfamiliar function, and how the standard library requires it to behave, you’ll find it here, along with a typical example.
Make: Action (Maker Media)
Saturday 16 Apr
Beginning with the basics and moving gradually to greater challenges, this book takes you step-by-step through experiments and projects that show you how to make your Arduino or Raspberry Pi create and control movement, light, and sound. Simon Monk clearly explains the differences between the Arduino and Raspberry Pi, when to use them, and to which purposes each are best suited.
Cognitive Robotics (CRC Press)
Wednesday 13 Apr
Cognitive robotics is an approach to creating artificial intelligence in robots by enabling them to learn from and respond to real-world situations, as opposed to pre-programming the robot with specific responses to every conceivable stimulus. This collection of contributions from international experts from various disciplines within the field has been edited by Hooman Samani whose Lovotics research into emotional bonds with robots is widely recognized.
iOS 9 SDK Development (Pragmatic Bookshelf)
Monday 11 Apr
The subtitle of the latest edition of Pragmatic Bookshelf's classic iOS guide by Chris Adamson and Janie Clayton is "Creating iPhone and iPad Apps with Swift" and it uses Swift 2.0 to write cleaner, clearer, and more effective code than was previously possible. Starting with the basics, you'll see how Swift 2.0 offers more power with less boilerplate code, bringing elegant error-handling and functional programming concepts to your app development.
Alternate Reality Games (A K Peters/CRC Press)
Wednesday 06 Apr
In Alternate Reality Games: Gamification for Performance, Charles Palmer and Andy Petroski lead you through the fundamentals of ARGs. They include a discussion of what is and is not an ARG, citing examples and identifying business challenges that can be addressed through ARGs and present case studies that illustrate the variety of forms that ARGs take and the issues to which they can be applied, such as improving performance and critical communication situations.
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