Programming News and Views

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EDSAC Display Officially Opened
Nov 28 | Sue Gee
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EDSAC, the Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator, was originally built immediately after World War II at  the University of Cambridge, England. It is now being re-built at the UK's National Museum of Computing.



Hack.Summit Speaker Schedule Posted
Nov 28 | Alex Armstrong
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A 4-day virtual conference in which we are all invited to "Learn from the master of our craft" starts on Monday December 1st at 9:00 PST (17:00 UTC). There have already been over 44,000 registrations so this event is set to make history by being the largest ever developer conference.



Machine Learning Pioneer Vladimir Vapnik Joins Facebook
Nov 28 | Mike James
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Facebook's AI Research (FAIR) has announced that it has hired Vladimir Vapnik - inventor of the Support Vector Machine and statistical learning theory.



Twitter Indexes Every Single Tweet Ever
Nov 27 | Kay Ewbank
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Twitter is creating an index of every public tweet ever made, to make it possible to search without restrictions on the age of the tweet. This is being achieved using Apache Mesos, an open source cluster manager that provides efficient resource isolation and sharing across distributed applications, or frameworks.



Cutting Edge Topics At SDD 2015
Nov 27 | Sue Gee
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Registration is now open for the Software Design and Development conference, SDD 2015. It takes place in London from May 11-15 and dozens of speakers will cover topics of interest to all developers.



Feminist Hacker Barbie?
Nov 26 | Kay Ewbank
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Can you see Barbie as a computer engineer? No, apparently nor can Mattel, though the online community is giving a much more accurate and amusing view of how things would work out under the hashtag #feministhackerbarbie.



Halting Problem Used To Prove A Robot Cannot Computably Kill A Human
Nov 26 | Mike James
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As far as missuses of computability, and the halting problem in general, goes you probably couldn't find a better example. A recent paper set out the arguments over an important topic - robots that have the power to kill. The conclusion is that computer science proves they should be banned.



Developer Salaries Rise - But What About The Gender Gap?
Nov 26 | Janet Swift
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It's a well known and deplorable fact that women are under-represented in software development. Average pay for developers is increasing, but what are the salary differences between men and women?



PyCharm 4.0 Released
Nov 25 | Alex Armstrong
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IPython Notebook Support and a NumPy array viewer are two of the new features in PyCharm 4.0 and support for unit test subtests is another.



Google Gets Closer To Killing Old Style Browser Plugins
Nov 25 | Mike James
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Google announced last year that it was planning to remove support for NetScape style plugins. Now the timetable for removing the feature from Chrome has been announced. How big a problem does it pose?



IBM Big Data Contest
Nov 25 | Sue Gee
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A top prize of $20K is on offer in a contest that asks devs to use big data to provide insights into real world civic issues.



Robot Security Guards Demoed At Microsoft
Nov 24 | Harry Fairhead
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Microsoft has showcased K5 robot security guards at its Silicon Valley Campus. The 5-foot tall machines are said to provide a “commanding but friendly physical presence.”



Lovelace 2.0 Test - An Alternative Turing Test
Nov 24 | Sue Gee
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To pass the Turing Test an artificial agent has to convince human judges that they are conversing with a human rather than a computer. To overcome the flaws in this test as a demonstration of intelligence a new test has been proposed based on creativity.



How Google Does Multi-Platform In Inbox
Nov 24 | Mike James
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One of the biggest problems programmers face today is making a single code base work across a range of systems. How a giant company like Google solves the problem is obviously going to be interesting.



Finland Dumps Handwriting In Favor Of Typing
Nov 23 | Janet Swift
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It seems incredible that in the 21st century schools are still teaching children to scratch marks on paper. Well in Finland they are taking a step in the direction of the future by giving up teaching handwriting.



November Week 3
Nov 22 | Editor
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If you need to know what's important for the developer, you can rely on  I Programmer to sift through the news and uncover the most relevant stories. Our weekly digest gives a handy summary. This one is for November 13-19. 


More Recent News
 

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Book Review of the Day


The Book of CSS3, 2nd Ed
Tuesday 25 Nov

Author: Peter Gasston
Publisher: No Starch Press, 2014
Pages: 304
ISBN:  9781593275808
Print: 1593275803
Kindle: B00P8DRZQ6
Audience: Intermediate web developers
Rating: 4.5
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot

HTML5 gets all the publicity but in fact CSS3 is responsible for most of its new achievements - something this book tries to point out.


 

Featured Articles


The Essence Of Loops
Mike James
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Loops are an essential part of any program and becoming a programmer is mostly a matter of mastering the idea of controlled repetition. It is sad that most programmers only know the forms of loops provided by one or at most two languages because they have a life and structure that doesn't depend on language. 



Weak typing - the lost art of the keyboard
Janet Swift
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The keyboard is still the predominant way we interact with a computer. Voice input, touch screens and even whole body gestural input may be on the increase but most of us still type our commands or data into the machine. So how important a skill is typing for programmers?



Android Adventures - ViewPager
Mike James
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The ViewPager widget is one of the most used of the advanced UI components. However, the story of how to make use of it is a tricky one. Let's see how simple we can make it. 


 

Unhandled Exception!
Abstraction

Abstraction

This week's xkcd cartoon is a reminder that now and again we need to stand back and view what we are doing. It is very, very, weird.  

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

Click to view bigger version

Read more...
 

Book Watch

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The Computing Universe (Cambridge University Press)
Friday 28 Nov

Tony Hey and Gyuri Pápay lead us on a journey from the early days of computers in the 1930s to the cutting-edge research of the present day that will shape computing in the coming decades. Along the way, they explain the ideas behind hardware, software, algorithms, Moore's Law, the birth of the personal computer, the Internet and the Web, the Turing Test, Jeopardy's Watson, World of Warcraft, spyware, Google, Facebook and quantum computing and introduce the fascinating cast of dreamers and inventors who brought these great technological developments into every corner of the modern world. 

<ASIN:0735682631>



The Art of LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Programming (No Starch Press)
Thursday 27 Nov

With its colorful, block-based interface, EV3 programming language is designed to allow anyone to program intelligent robots, but its powerful features can be intimidating at first. Terry Griffin has written a  beginner-friendly guide (in full-color) designed to bridge that gap. You'll discover how to combine core EV3 elements like blocks, data wires, files, and variables to create sophisticated programs. You'll also learn good programming practices, memory management, and helpful debugging strategies, general skills that will be relevant to programming in any language.

<ASIN:1593275684>



NoSQL With MongoDB in 24 Hours (Sams)
Wednesday 26 Nov

In the Teach Yourself series, Brad Dayley  helps you build fast, efficient big-data and real-time database solutions, even if you have no experience with NoSQL. His step-by-step approach, rolled out in 24 lessons of one hour or less, shows you how to design, implement, and optimize NoSQL databases, store and manage data, and handle advanced tasks such as sharding and replication. Every lesson builds on what you’ve already learned, giving you a solid foundation for leveraging MongoDB’s power.

<ASIN:0672337134>



More Agile Testing (Addison-Wesley)
Tuesday 25 Nov

Janet Gregory and Lisa Crispin pioneered the agile testing discipline with Agile Testing. Now they reflect on all they’ve learned since, addressing crucial emerging issues and sharing evolved agile practices. Packed with new examples from real teams, this insightful guide offers detailed information about adapting agile testing for your environment; learning from experience and continually improving your test processes; scaling agile testing across teams; and overcoming the pitfalls of automated testing. 

<ASIN:0321967054>



OpenStack Swift (O'Reilly)
Monday 24 Nov

Object storage is essential today with the growth of web, mobile, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. Joe Arnold, co-founder and CEO of SwiftStack, brings you up-to-speed on the basic concepts of object storage and walks you through what you need to know to plan, build, operate, and measure the performance of your own Swift storage system using OpenStack Swift, the free, open source solution for deploying high-performance object storage clusters at scale

<ASIN:1491900822>



Bitcoin for the Befuddled (No Starch Press)
Friday 21 Nov

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you've probably heard of Bitcoin, the game-changing digital currency used by millions worldwide. But Bitcoin isn't just another way to buy stuff. It's an anonymous, revolutionary, cryptographically secure currency that functions without the oversight of a central authority or government.  Conrad Barski and Chris Wilmer cover what Bitcoin is; how it works; and how to acquire, store, and spend bitcoins safely and securely.

<ASIN:1593275730>



Learning AV Foundation (Addison Wesley)
Thursday 20 Nov

If you develop media-rich iOS or OS X apps, you can do amazing things with Apple’s AV Foundation. However, the framework is extremely large, reliant on cutting-edge language features, and poorly documented. Bob McCune’s live presentations and GitHub projects have already helped thousands of Apple developers get started with AV Foundation. Building on this experience, this book helps you gain true mastery by creating real-world apps, hands-on.

<ASIN:0321961803>



Learn to Program with Minecraft Plugins 2nd Ed (Pragmatic Bookshelf)
Wednesday 19 Nov

This book's original edition relied on the Bukkit modding server and library which was taken down due to a copyright dispute in September. Andy Hunt has now produced a completely revised edition that replaces Bukkit with the CanaryMod library - but otherwise it has the same content. In his review of the first edtion, Mike James gave it a rating of 4.5, recommending it as " a really well written book,"  Concluding "I can't imagine a better introductory book on the same topic. If you want to learn how to create Minecraft plugins and learn Java on the way this is the place to start."

<ASIN:1941222943>



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