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Facebook Open Sources Detectron Object Detection
Jan 23 | Alex Armsrtong
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The way big companies are open sourcing significant AI is both gratifying and slightly worrying. AI is the biggest revolution since we discovered fire and started making tools. FaceBook AI Research has added to the list of what is available by open sourcing its Detectron project.

Open Media Alliance AV1 Is Better Than JPEG
Jan 23 | Kay Ewbank
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The Alliance for Open Media's work on an alternative video codec is making progress with tests in a trial version of Firefox showing that the Alliance's AV1 video compression technology produces video files that are a third smaller than those compressed by rival options.

Frontiers Of Knowledge Award
Jan 22 | Sue Gee
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The 10th Edition of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Information and Communication Technologies category goes to Shafi Goldwasser, Silvio Micali, Ronald Rivest and Adi Shamir for their “fundamental contributions to modern cryptology, an area of a tremendous impact on our everyday life.” 

Hash Code 2018 Registration Opens
Jan 22 | Kay Ewbank
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Registration has opened for Hash Code 2018, Google's team programming competition for students and professionals in  Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. This is the fifth edition of Hash Code which has grown from 200 participants in 2014 to last year's figure of 26,000 developers.

Software Developer Rated Best Job Of 2018
Jan 22 | Janet Swift
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Software Developer has the distinction of coming top not only as Best Technology Job and Best STEM Job in the U.S. News ranking, but also as the best job overall for 2018. CNNMoney which also compiles a list  of the 100 best jobs, placed Mobile Developer in the top position for 2017.

Describe It And AI Will Draw It For You
Jan 21 | David Conrad
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Neural Networks do seem to be able to keep on impressing us with their ability to do different tasks better than we thought possible. The latest in a trio of networks from Microsoft has the ability to draw what you describe.

January Week 3
Jan 20 | 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 also covers the week's feature articles and the books we reviewed and added to Book Watch.

Fear And Loathing In The App Store 19 - Apple Rejects Net Neutrality App
Jan 20 | Lucy Black
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UPDATE  Apple bowed to concerted pressure and the Wehe App has been approved by Apple and is now available in the App Store.

Initially the app, which tests to see if your ISP is applying throttling to your data according to its type - aka a net neutrality detector - was been rejected from the App Store for some very strange reasons.

Growing Demand For Data Visualization
Jan 19 | Janet Swift
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A new survey of Trends in Web Technologies confirms that web technology is now the backbone of application development for most companies  and reveals that data visualization is one of the most important capabilities in web application development.

HHVM Improves Type Inference
Jan 19 | Kay Ewbank
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There's a new version of Hip Hop Virtual Machine, an open-source virtual machine designed for executing programs written in Hack and PHP.  HHVM was originally developed at Facebook to provide a way to convert PHP script to C++ so it could be compiled and run on web servers.

MIT Self-Driving Car - Do The Free Course, Purchase the T-Shirt
Jan 18 | Sue Gee
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MIT has made an intensive short course on the practice of deep learning freely available to all - both in person on campus and online. It even has a course t-shirt, but hurry to claim one as the offer ends in three days.

Oracle Holds On To Java EE Brand
Jan 18 | Kay Ewbank
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Despite Oracle recently agreeing to hand over control of Java Enterprise Edition to the Eclipse Foundation, it seems that the situation isn't as clear cut as it originally seemed.

What Breaks APIs?
Jan 17 | Ian Elliot
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There is so little information about how we actually code that almost any data is worth looking at. In this case the study is on how and why Java programmers break the APIs that they are creating and evolving.

Google Play Indie Contest Finalists Announced
Jan 17 | Kay Ewbank
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The finalists of the Google Play Indie Games Contest in Europe have been announced. The competition is open to indie game developers from more than 30 countries.

Analyzing Alexa
Jan 17 | Sue Gee
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Although we might be skeptical about the desirability of holding a sustained conversation an Amazon Echo device, Amazon established the Alexa Prize as a serious endeavour in the area of conversational AI and has now made available the 2017 Alexa Prize Proceedings.

Levchin Prize for Real-World Cryptography
Jan 16 | Alex Armstrong
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The Levchin Prize is awarded annually for significant advances in the practice of cryptography and its use in real-world systems. This year's recipients,  Hugo Krawczyk of the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center and the OpenSSL team, accepted their awards at the 2018 Real-World Crypto conference.

More Recent News



Book Review

The Evolution of Cloud Computing
Tuesday 23 Jan

Author: Clive Longbottom
Publisher: British Computer Society (BCS)
Pages: 172
ISBN: 978-1780173580
Print: 178017358X
Kindle: B075XG81GJ
Audience: Potential cloud users
Rating: 4.5
Reviewer: Kay Ewbank

This book aims to explain cloud computing in terms of how we got to where we are now, what options are available at the moment, and how things are likely to develop in the future.


Featured Articles

Just JavaScript - Function Object Self Reference
Ian Elliot
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Functions are objects, but we tend to forget that they are. Just like all objects in JavaScript, functions are anonymous and unlike other languages don't have immutable names. This isn't a huge problem,. but how can you write a Function that references its own properties without a fixed name? We need the self reference pattern.

Finite State Machines
Mike James
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Finite state machines may sound like a very dry and boring topic but they reveal a lot about the power of different types of computing machine.  Every Turing machine includes a finite state machine so there is a sense in which they come first. They also turn out to be very useful in practice.

Java Books For Going Further
Kay Ewbank
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Java is one of, if not the most, widespread programming language. Given its popularity, it's not surprising that our reviewers have scrutinized over 50 books relating to it, both new and classic. This is the pick of recommended titles for programmers who know some Java and want to go further.

Adam Osborne Serial Entrepreneur
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Adam Osborne isn't a name much in circulation at the moment but we have a lot to thank him for. Some of his "inventions" seem very clunky today "how could you possibly use that" but at the time Adam Osborne was cutting edge and a purveyor of high quality information.

The Programmers Guide To Kotlin - Annotation & Reflection
Mike James
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Kotlin supports Java-like annotations but they don't really make much sense without the help of reflection. So let's take a look at both of them and see how they work together.


Unhandled Exception!
Meltdown and Spectre

Meltdown and Spectre

Click for larger image

The world has been worrying about Meltdown and Spectre, but I don't know why. How could a phantom trolley have any effect in the real world? Now rowhammer - that's much more scary as it involves hammers.
Also see: How Meltdown Works, How Spectre Works
Rowhammer and Halting Problem Used To Prove A Robot Cannot Computably Kill A Human

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.

Python: Advanced Predictive Analytics (Packt)
Monday 22 Jan

How to get started with predictive analytics using Python together with its array of packages for predictive modeling and suites of IDEs to choose from. Ashish Kumar and Joseph Babcock show how analysts can combine Python with sophisticated methods to build scalable analytic applications. The book covers Python libraries such as pandas, scikit-learn, and NumPy, and covers a wide range of algorithms for classification, regression, clustering, as well as techniques such as deep learning.


Head First Learn to Code (O'Reilly)
Thursday 18 Jan

This book is designed to teach you how to think computationally and how to write code to make your computer, mobile device, or anything with a CPU do things for you. Using Python and a step by step approach, author Eric Freeman shows the core concepts of programming alongside topics such as data structures, storage, abstraction, recursion, and modularity.


Mastering Machine Learning With Scikit-learn 2nd Ed (Packt)
Wednesday 17 Jan

Now in its second edition of this book shows how the algorithms and techniques offered by machine learning can be used to automate any analytical model. Author Gavin Hackeling examines a variety of machine learning models including popular machine learning algorithms including k-nearest neighbors, logistic regression, naive Bayes, k-means, decision trees, and artificial neural networks. It discusses data preprocessing, hyperparameter optimization, and ensemble methods.


Cryptography (River Publishers)
Monday 15 Jan

This book aims to develop a deep understanding of cryptography and provide understanding of how privacy, identity provision, and integrity can be enhanced with the usage of encryption.  Author William J Buchanan covers core cryptography alongside emerging areas such as Blockchain, Light-weight Cryptography, and Zero-knowledge Proofs. The book provides web-based material on almost every topic covered, alongside additional on-line material such as videos, source code, and labs.


The Nexus Framework For Scaling Scrum (Addison Wesley)
Thursday 11 Jan

This concise book shows how Nexus helps teams to deliver  complex, multi-platform software in short, frequent cycles, without straying from Scrum’s core principles. Using an extended case study, authors Kurt Bittner, Patricia Kong and Dave West show how to use Nexus to apply Scrum at scale across multiple teams, sites, and time zones. The Nexus Framework was created by Scrum.org, a training and certification organization founded by Scrum co-creator Ken Schwaber.


Grey Hat C# (No Starch Press)
Wednesday 10 Jan

This book shows how to use C#'s set of core libraries to automate tedious yet important tasks like performing vulnerability scans, malware analysis, and incident response. Author Brandon Perry shows how with some help from Mono, you can write your own practical security tools that will run on Windows, Mac, Linux, and even mobile devices. The book starts with a crash course in C# and some of its advanced features before going on to look at how to create and automate security tools.


Programming for the Puzzled (MIT Press)
Monday 08 Jan

With a subtitle of "Learn to Program While Solving Puzzles", this book builds a bridge between the recreational world of algorithmic puzzles (puzzles that can be solved by algorithms) and the pragmatic world of computer programming, teaching readers to program while solving puzzles.  Author Srini Devadas has included twenty puzzles and seventy programming exercises that vary in difficulty. Each lesson starts with the description of a puzzle illustrating concepts required to solve similar problems, and the solution to the puzzle becomes the specification of the code to be written.


Arduino Project Handbook, Volume 2 (No Starch Press)
Thursday 04 Jan

In this second volume of the ­Arduino Project Handbook Mark Geddes delivers 25 more ­beginner-friendly electronics projects for hobbyists, parents, and educators. Get up and running with a crash course on the Arduino, and then pick any project that sparks your interest and start making!  Each project includes cost and time estimates, simple instructions, colorful photos and circuit diagrams, a troubleshooting section, and the complete code to bring your build to life.


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