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Google Clips - The Death of the Photographer
May 20 | David Conrad
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Google has invented a camera that can do what a photographer, or should that be videographer, does - pick the moment. It is the last piece of photography that humans were needed for. How it works is an interesting story that might have applications in other areas.

GPS Chief Architect Brad Parkinson Awarded IEEE Medal
May 19 | Sue Gee
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We take GPS for granted - we'd be lost without it. But have you ever wondered about who, when and how it was conceived? Brad Parkinson, who has received the 2018 IEEE Medal of Honor for his major role in its invention, is the best person to explain its origins.

May Week 3
May 19 | Editor
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I Programmer Weekly puts all our news coverage together in a handy digest together with the week's book reviews and additions to our archive of new  book titles related to programming. This list also includes a Programmer's Puzzle and an extract from Android Programming In Kotlin.

Carnegie Mellon Offers Bachelor's Degree In AI
May 18 | Sue Gee
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Carnegie Mellon is pioneering a Bachelor of Science degree in artificial intelligence beginning in September 2018, to address the growing demand for AI expertise.  

MakeCode for Lego Mindstorms Launched
May 18 | Kay Ewbank
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MakeCode for Lego Mindstorms has been launched by Microsoft and Lego. It's a Windows-based system that can be used to code using either a drag and drop code select system, or JavaScript. MakeCode can be used alongside Mindstorms components, servos, motors and Lego bricks.

Firefox 60 Supports WebAuthn
May 17 | Alex Armstrong
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Someday all our problems with passwords could be a thing of the past. Firefox 60 is the first browser to support WebAuthn, a new standard for web authentication developed by the W3C in collaboration with FIDO Alliance and support from Google, Microsoft and Mozilla to provide alternative ways for web access.

Decoding What The Eye Sees
May 17 | Mike James
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The latest breakthrough in brain function is the reconstruction of what the eye sees from the activity of neurons that form the optic nerve. Man machine neural interfaces get closer.

Apache Impala Adds ODBC Scalar Functions
May 17 | Kay Ewbank
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Apache Impala has been updated to version 3, with new features including the addition of ODBC scalar functions that were missing from the previous release. Impala is an open source, native analytic database for Apache Hadoop that provides a high-performance distributed SQL engine.

Python Development Trends
May 16 | Janet Swift
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Results from a Python-specific study gives insights into the Python development ecosystem and an update on the Python 3 versus Python 2 situation. It also shows marked differences between those using Python for web development and for data science.

Rust 1.26 Adds Existential Types
May 16 | Kay Ewbank
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There's a new version of Rust with support for existential types via impl-trait; better performance and support for 128-bit integers. The new release also has better match bindings and support for slice patterns.

Dojo 2 Rebuilt With New CLI
May 15 | Kay Ewbank
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There's a new version of Dojo, the JavaScript framework, that has been rewritten and comes with with a new CLI, and utilities for connecting Dojo to popular standards and utilities.

Online Master Of Computer Science Degrees From Coursera
May 15 | Sue Gee
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Both the University of Illinois and Arizona State University are now offering Master's degrees in Computer Science in partnership with Coursera. Is gaining an online masters a worthwhile undertaking?

.NET Core 3 Gets A GUI
May 14 | Mike James
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Perhaps Microsoft is listening after all, but it could still listen a little harder. A low key, and almost unnoticed, announcement at Build 2018 reveals that .NET Core 3 will support a GUI - but only on Windows.

Alexa In-Skill Purchasing Goes Live
May 14 | Lucy Black
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Amazon has announced the general availability of a way to make money from Alexa by expanding skills with premium features or content. Currently it is limited to the United States.

Xamarin Forms 3.0 Adds Visual State Manager
May 14 | Kay Ewbank
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There's a new version of Xamarin Forms with a Visual State Manager, Flex Layout, Style Sheets, and Right-to-Left support.

Perfect Pictures In Almost Zero Light
May 13 | David Conrad
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Take a camera and a neural network, suitably trained, and you can take photos in almost zero light that look as though the sun was shining.

More Recent News



Book Review

Introduction to Programming in Python
Friday 18 May

Author:  Robert Sedgewick, Kevin Wayne, and Robert Dondero
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Pages: 792
Print: 0134076435
Audience: Students expecting an academic approach 
Rating: 4
Reviewer:  Mike James

Python is often the language of choice for academics so why not an academic book on Python?


Featured Articles

Douglas Hartree and the Meccano Computer
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Analog computers work in a very different way to digital computers. Once they were popular, the mainstay of computing, and who knows they could be again in the future. One thing is sure, the era of building computers from a children's construction kit, Meccano, is most probably over. Find out about Douglas Hartree and the construction kit computer.

Android Programming In Kotlin: Events
Mike James
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One of the biggest simplifications Kotlin brings to Android programming is the way events are handled. It may be easier, but it still helps to know what is going on. This extract is taken from Events in a new book aimed at Android programmers wanting to use Kotlin.

Vertex Coverings And The Cool Kids Problem
Joe Celko
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Joe Celko has posed another puzzle that requires you to think like a programmer. This one asks us to find the cool kids in a social network - the ones who taken together know everyone else. This is also a classic problem in graph theory and it is NP-complete, something the cool kids probably don't know.

Configuring Hadoop High Availability Clusters
V. Naresh Kumar and Prashant Shindgikar
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The big improvements in Hadoop 2.x were the introduction of the YARN framework for job scheduling and cluster resource management, and high availability for the Hadoop Distributed Filing system. We explore how to configure high availability clusters using two architectures.

Getting started with MIT App Inventor 2
Mike James
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App Inventor is the ideal way to get started with programming, but getting started with App Inventor has some small problems all of its own. In this guide we find out the best way to write and run a simple program.


Unhandled Exception!


Click for larger image

Docker is just gluing stuff together that we don't understand. Mostly yes. Git is just using a few commands and hoping that things don't go wrong. Mostly yes. Linux is just learning how to do a few things and reinstalling if anything happens. How shallow have we become. We are gluers together of things we don't understand. Mostly yes.

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


Book Watch

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Book Watch is I Programmer's listing of new books and is compiled using publishers' publicity material. It is not to be read as a review where we provide an independent assessment. Some but by no means all of the books in Book Watch are eventually reviewed.

How to Make a Robot (Maker Media)
Friday 18 May

This book teaches the basics of modern robotics while showing how to build your own intelligent robot from scratch. Author Gordon McComb shows how to use inexpensive household materials to make the base for your robot, then add motors, power, wheels, and electronics. The robot that is created is actually five robots in one. You build your bot in stages, and add the features you want, varying the functions to create a robot that's uniquely yours.


3D Character Development Workshop (Mercury Learning)
Wednesday 16 May

Subtitled 'Rigging Fundamentals for Artists and Animators', this book is designed explain the concepts, tools, and methods of character rigging so that you can get past the technical hurdles and on to animating. Author Erik Van Horn has written the guide to be simple enough for non-technical artists to follow. The book takes a best-practices approach so professional and student animators and artists can begin designing and animating their own fully-functioning characters


Game Programming in C++ (Addison Wesley)
Tuesday 15 May

This is a practical, hands-on approach to programming 3D video games in C++. Modeled on Sanjay Madhav’s game programming courses at USC, it aims to be fun, easy, practical, hands-on, and complete.  The book shows how to use C++ in all facets of real-world game programming, including 2D and 3D graphics, physics, AI, audio, and user interfaces and has practical exercises and start-to-finish projects that grow in complexity. Throughout, Madhav pays special attention to demystifying the math that all professional game developers need to know.


Get Programming with JavaScript Next (Manning)
Thursday 10 May

This book teaches JavaScript developers the most important additions from both ES6 and ES7. Author J. D. Isaacks introduces JavaScript's newest features via lots of short easy-to-digest chapters and exercises to help you master each new concept. Modern browsers, Node, and major libraries have already started to adopt the next generation JavaScript features introduced in this book.


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