Programming News and Views

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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.



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. 



What Does The NSA Think Of Cryptographers?
Nov 22 | Andrew Johnson
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A recently declassified NSA house magazine, CryptoLog, reveals some interesting attitudes between the redactions. What is the NSA take on cryptography?



Easy Street View And Photo Spheres Embedding
Nov 21 | Mike James
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A little while ago, Google introduced a very easy to use way of embedding maps into web pages. Now you can embed StreetView and  Photo Sphere images in the same way.



Google Lovefield Relational Query Engine
Nov 21 | Kay Ewbank
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Google has released Lovefield. an open source JavaScript SQL-like database library for web developers. You can check it out on GitHub.



A New Future For Mozilla
Nov 20 | Sue Gee
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Mozilla has announced a new regional strategy for its Firefox browser search facility. It has decided to terminate the existing arrangement with Google and has embarked on a 5-year arrangement with Yahoo as its US partner that comes into effect in December.



Flow - A Static Type Checker For JavaScript
Nov 20 | Ian Elliot
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If your biggest objection to JavaScript is that it is that it is dynamically typed, then Flow from Facebook might be just what you are looking for. 



Neural Networks Describe What They See
Nov 19 | Mike James
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There has been an amazing growth in what neural networks can do and the next step is to put vision together with language to produce a network that can describe what it sees.



Apache Drill Reaches 0.6
Nov 19 | Kay Ewbank
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The developers of Apache Drill, the open source software that you can use to write SQL queries on data stored in Hadoop, have released version 0.6.


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Book Review of the Day


MySQL Cookbook, 3rd Ed
Monday 24 Nov

Author: Paul DuBois
Publisher: O'Reilly, 2014
Pages: 836 
ISBN: 9781449374020
Print:1449374026
Kindle: B00M7EN798
Aimed at: MySQL developers
Rating: 5
Reviewed by: Kay Ewbank 

Is MySQL Cookbook the best book on MySQL? This latest edition certainly keeps up its reputation as the go-to reference.


 

Featured Articles


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. 



Inside Random Numbers
Mike James
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We often refer to things that are unpredictable as being "random" but this is not the same as truly random behavior - which is something we have to work hard to achieve. Put another way - how can a logical deterministic device like a computer produce a random number?


 

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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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>



Responsive Mobile Design (Addison-Wesley)
Tuesday 18 Nov

Billions of people access the web via smartphones, tablets, and devices of all types, using every imaginable interface and display. But they all want the same thing: the right information, right now, delivered in the most aesthetically pleasing way possible. Whether you’re a developer, designer, or manager, Phil Dutson teaches you principles, techniques, and best practices for delivering a successful experience to all users on all devices.

<ASIN:0133888215>



Automating Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Services (O'Reilly)
Monday 17 Nov

Get valuable tips and techniques for automating your cloud deployments with Azure PowerShell cmdlets, and learn how to provision Azure services on the fly as Michael Washam shows you how to automate various management tasks and deploy solutions that are both complex and at scale. By combining the native automation capabilities of PowerShell with Azure Infrastructure Services, these powerful cmdlets enable you to create and configure virtual machines with ease.

<ASIN:1491944897>



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