August Week 1
Written by Editor   
Saturday, 08 August 2020

If you've not visited the I Programmer webzine (web-based magazine) before, this Weekly Digest gives you a taster. It has links to our wide ranging news with its mix of analysis and comment. It also lists the week's additions to Book Watch Archive and our Book Review of the Week. 

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 July 30 - August 5, 2020

Featured Articles

The Programmers Guide To Kotlin - Exceptions
Mike James
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Kotlin has exceptions - but what do you do with them? In this extract from The Programmers Guide To Kotlin by Mike James, we look at and its approach to exceptions and how to work with them.

Towards Objects and Functions - Computer Languages in the 1980s
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It is difficult to imagine a time when programming didn't involve objects and today we expect most languages to have some aspects of object orientation, yet these ideas had to be invented. The story of how is stranger than you might imagine, but it wasn't the only important development in the 1980s. 



News and Comment

The Unreasonable Effectiveness Of GPT-3
05 Aug | Mike James
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I suppose you say that the unreasonable effectiveness of OpenAI's GPT language program is just a special case of the unreasonable effectiveness of Deep Learning but ... it is so much more shocking.

Language Popularity Retrospective
05 Aug | Janet Swift
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In the latest edition of the RedMonk Language Rankings, Python has displaced Java to occupy second place, below JavaScript which holds on to its long-help top position. This is hardly unexpected - Python and Java tied in second place last time round. 

Kite Adds Jupyter Integration
04 Aug | Kay Ewbank
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The developers of the Kite autocomplete coding assistant have launched Kite for JupyterHub and JupyterLab. Kite uses AI to automate repetitive steps in programming. It goes further than the autocomplete suggestions provided by most editors, which usually suggest a variable name or class. Kite will suggest several lines of code.

MongoDB Improves Query Language
04 Aug | Kay Ewbank
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MongoDB 4.4 has been released with improvements to its query language and sharding. MongoDB is a NoSQL document database that stores its documents in a JSON-like format with schema.

Bill English - The Master Behind The Mouse
03 Aug | Sue Gee
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Bill English, the computer engineer who built the very first prototype mouse, was the behind-the-scenes mastermind of the  "Mother of All Demos" and later assisted Alan Kay in building the Xerox Parc Alto computer, has died at the age of 91.

Apache Arrow Reaches 1.0
03 Aug | Kay Ewbank
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Apache Arrow 1.0 has been released, with a better metadata version and support with dictionary indices along with improved C++ libraries.

Too Good To Miss: E.coli Could Be Your Next Raspberry Pi
02 Aug | Lucy Black
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Some of our articles deserve a second outing. This one all about E.coli and programming and it's not a story about food poisoning. Research suggests that, with the right encouragement and understanding, the IoT crowd could change their hardware from silicon to bacteria.

Udacity's New Nanodegree In CyberSecurity
31 Jul | Sue Gee
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The latest new nanodegree from Udacity's School of Programming gives participants a start in the high growth field of Cybersecurity. Currently Udacity is offering discounts and other financial support so, this seems a good time to work towards enhanced career prospects.

Fully Homomorphic Encryption Comes To Linux
31 Jul | Kay Ewbank
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IBM has extended support for its Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) toolkit to include Linux distributions for IBM Z and x86 architectures. The move follows the launch of FHE a few weeks ago for MacOS and iOS.

Survey Finds Quality Wins Over Speed
30 Jul | Janet Swift
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A survey from OverOps addressed the question, "How are today’s engineering teams addressing the speed vs. stability paradox?". It discovered that while agile adoption is ongoing, automated code analysis is the next big thing.

Hadoop 3.3 Adds ARM Support
30 Jul | Kay Ewbank
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Hadoop has been updated with improvements including support for ARM architectures, Java 11 runtime support, and S3A enhancements.


Books of the Week

Added to Book Watch     

Full Review 

  • Basic Electronics: Theory and Practice (Mercury Learning

    Reviewed by Harry Fairhead who give it a rating of 2 out of 5 on the grounds that, despite lots of warnings about the dangers of mains voltages, it includes a major project that exposes the beginner to lethal voltages.



If you want to delve into I Programmer's coverage of the news over the years, you can access I Programmer Weekly back to January 2012. 

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 08 August 2020 )