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What's That Dog - An App For Breed Recognition
Feb 14 | Lucy Black
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Fetch! is an iOS App that recognizes dogs and classifies them by breed. A Microsoft Garage project it uses the Project Oxford APIs and can give you hours of fun.

WEpod - First Driverless Passenger Service Arrives
Feb 13 | Harry Fairhead
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The era of the self driving vehicle really is upon us. It is not something for the distant future - but for Spring this year! An experiment in the Netherlands with a self-driving shuttle bus has passed another milestone towards autonomous vehicles. The WEpod is the first vehicles in the world without a steering wheel to be given license plates.

February Week 1
Feb 13 | Editor
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Do you have better things to do than scour the internet for news? No problem!  IProgrammer Weekly puts the important, quirky and otherwise unmissable bits together in a handy digest. 

Google Takes On Amazon's Lambda
Feb 12 | Kay Ewbank
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Google has released Cloud Functions, a rival for the Amazon's AWS Lambda service.

BitCoin Textbook
Feb 12 | Sue Gee
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University courses usually rely on textbooks. In the case of Princeton's course on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies, the textbook is being based on the course and a complete first draft is now available, for free, online.

Android Studio 2 Beta Is Usable
Feb 11 | Mike James
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Android Studio 2 is now available in beta and this change in status does correspond to an increased usability. It is worth getting to know the new IDE because, even with its faults, it speeds development a lot. 

Does SourceForge Have A Future?
Feb 11 | Ian Elliot
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The new owners of SourceForge are hoping to halt the decline of the once popular source code repository and persuade open source projects to use it once more. The first move is to terminate the practice of bundling adware with software installations 

You Don't Need To Touch Type To Go Fast
Feb 10 | Janet Swift
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It is a sad fact that many programmers don't learn to type, despite the fact that the keyboard is their main tool of the trade. New research, however, suggests that this might not matter as much as you might think and you don't have to be ashamed that you are not using all your fingers.

Successor To Cardboard Under Development
Feb 10 | Lucy Black
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After its runaway success with Cardboard, its open source VR headset, Google is rumored to be working on a new version to be unveiled that this year's Google I/O in May.

Amazon Adds Game Dev Options To AWS
Feb 10 | Kay Ewbank
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Amazon has added two new services, Lumberyard and GameLift, to AWS for the creation of cross-platform cloud-connected games.

Lodash - A Functional JavaScript Library
Feb 09 | Nikos Vaggalis
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Lodash began as a fork of the popular Underscore.js library but since then has managed to become its superset, adding new features and performing much better. Version 3.4.0 has recently been released.

Microsoft Research Open Source Challenge For Students
Feb 09 | Alex Armstrong
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Microsoft Research has provided an interesting challenge to students - identify problems that can be addressed using Microsoft's open source tools and have a stab at solving them.

Coursera Web Specializations
Feb 09 | Sue Gee
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Four web specializations at different levels and covering different aspects are starting on Coursera. If you want to earn a certificate you can save 10% by pre-paying for the bundle of courses. If you don't want the certificate, and don't want to complete a final project that demonstrates what you've learned, you can audit the courses for free.

Where Are The Raspberry Pi Zeros?
Feb 08 | Lucy Black
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The Raspberry Pi Zero is a game changer, but it is not the only game changer on the market. In fact the question of whether it is on the market or not is an important one. 

How Fast Can You Number Crunch In Python
Feb 08 | Mike James
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We are all more or less committed to using high-level languages, but there is always a background worry that they might not be fast enough for some tasks. An interesting set of benchmarks shows how to use Python to number crunch.

Usborne Books Revival
Feb 07 | Sue Gee
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Children's book publisher Usborne has launched two new titles about computers and coding aimed at young children. At the same time it has made pdfs of its 1980's computing titles freely available online.

More Recent News



Book Reviews Of The Year

How Software Works
Saturday 13 Feb

Author: V. Anton Spraul
Publisher: No Starch Press
ISBN: 978-1593276669
Kindle: B0143MS2SW
Audience: Beginners
Rating: 5
Reviewer: Mike James 

With a subtitle like "The Magic Behind Encryption, CGI, Search Engines, and Other Everyday Technologies" this sounds like a book everyone should read. Is it? 


Featured Articles

JavaScript Bit Manipulation
Ian Elliot
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Bit manipulation in JavaScript is complicated by the way it attempts to be type free, but it can be done. We take a look at how to work with bits in a browser.

Advanced Perl Regular Expressions - The Pattern Code Expression
Nikos Vaggalis
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In this part of our series exploring Perl RegEx we are going to look into another advanced construct, that of the pattern code expression ??. According to the official perldoc this "..is like a regular code expression, except that the result of the code evaluation is treated as a regular expression and matched immediately."

PHP Variables and Expressions for Complete Beginners
Ian Elliot
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Variables and expressions are the core of programming in general and no less so in PHP. If you have never encountered the ideas here is a gentle introduction.


Unhandled Exception!
XKCD Stack

XKCD Stack

Once, not so long ago, programming was about learning a language and some algorithms and then getting on with it. Today we have to negotiate the "stack" and not just one. Technology stacks have grown to become a big problem. Picking one is tough, learning it is tougher and having to give it up for the next fashionable stack is even tougher. 

Click to view bigger version 

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


Book Watch

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Using WebPageTest (O'Reilly)
Thursday 11 Feb

Learn basic and advanced uses of WebPagetest, the performance measurement tool for optimizing websites. This practical guide shows users new to this tool how run tests and interpret results, and helps experienced users gain a better and more thorough understanding of hidden features in WebPagetest that make testing easier. Written by WebPagetest power users and performance experts, this book will help web developers and frontend engineers solve the problem of slow sites.  


Learn to Program with Minecraft (No Starch Press)
Wednesday 10 Feb

You've bested creepers, traveled deep into caves, and maybe even gone to The End and back-but have you ever transformed a sword into a magic wand? Built a palace in the blink of an eye? Designed your own color-changing disco dance floor? With the subtitle "Transform Your World with the Power of Python" Craig Richardson introduces Python 3. After some short, simple lessons you can use your new skills to customize Minecraft to make mini-games, duplicate entire buildings, and turn boring blocks into gold.


Coding for Beginners: Using Scratch
Monday 08 Feb

This friendly book hardcover covers the basics of Scratch coding for complete beginners, with step-by-step instructions showing children how to use code to create games and animations, from racing cars to virtual pets. Scratch is one of the most popular programmes used in primary schools and this book covers sprites, binary, debugging and more. 


iOS 9 Programming Fundamentals with Swift (O'Reilly)
Thursday 04 Feb

Move into iOS 9 development by getting a firm grasp of its fundamentals, including Xcode 7, the Cocoa Touch framework, and Apple’s Swift programming language. With this thoroughly updated guide from Matt Neuberg, author of the Programming iOS tome, you’ll learn Swift’s object-oriented concepts, understand how to use Apple’s development tools, and discover how Cocoa provides the underlying functionality iOS apps need to have.


The Official ScratchJr Book (No Starch Press)
Wednesday 03 Feb

 ScratchJr is a free, introductory computer programming language that runs on iPads and Android tablets. Inspired by Scratch, it helps even younger kids create their own playful animations, interactive stories, and dynamic games. Intended for children aged 5 and over, it is co-authored by Mitch Resnick, creator of Scratch, and has the subtitle "Help Your Kids Learn to Code". Each of the book's chapters includes activities that build on one another, culminating in a fun final project. 


Introduction to Computational Models with Python (CRC Press)
Monday 01 Feb

Jose M. Garrido explains how to implement computational models using the flexible and easy-to-use Python programming language. The book introduces the principles of computational modeling as well as the approaches of multi- and interdisciplinary computing to beginners in the field. It provides the foundation for more advanced studies in scientific computing, including parallel computing using MPI, grid computing, and other methods and techniques used in high-performance computing.


RESTful Rails Development (O'Reilly)
Thursday 28 Jan

This book serves as a practical guide to developing RESTful applications, designing RESTful architectures, and deploying RESTful services using Ruby on Rails. By the end of each chapter, the reader will have key takeaways for how to build and extend a multi-service platform spanning different devices. Silvia Puglisi  explains the power of RESTful development with Rails, illustrating how to build an architecture composed of different services accessing shared resources through a set of collaborating APIs and applications.


Next Generation Databases (Apress)
Wednesday 27 Jan

The relational database (RDBMS) model completely dominated database technology for over 20 years. Today this "one size fits all" stability has been disrupted by a seemingly sudden explosion of new database technologies. These paradigm-busting technologies are driving the "Big Data" and "NoSQL" revolutions, as well as forcing fundamental changes in databases across the board.


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