November Week 4
Written by Editor   
Saturday, 28 November 2020

Get up to speed on stuff that affects you as a developer! Our weekly digest summarizes the articles, book reviews and news written each day by programmers, for programmers. This week we also have an excerpt from the newly published Raspberry Pi IoT In Python Using GPIO Zero in which Mike James, our Python expert, teams up with our hardware guru, Harry Fairhead. 

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November 17 - 25, 2020      

Featured Articles

Pi IoT In Python Using GPIO Zero - DC Motors
Harry Fairhead & Mike James
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Motors are a central part of the IoT but they are often taken for granted. This extract is from the newly punlished Raspberry Pi IoT In Python Using GPIO Zero and looks at how to work with basic DC Motors using the GPIO Zero library for the Raspberry Pi.

Covariance And Contravariance - A Simple Guide
Mike James
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Programming, and computer science in particular, has a tendency to use other people's jargon. Often this makes things seem more difficult. You may have heard of  covariance and contravariance and wondered what they were all about. Here's a simple explanation that applies to any computer language



Programming News and Views 

Apple Is Playing With Us - App Store Tax Cut To 15%
25 Nov | Mike James
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The headline news is that Apple has cut the percentage it takes from the App Store to 15%, down from 30%, but only if you don't earn more than $1 million per year across all your apps.

EG: A Tool For API Snippets
25 Nov | Ian Elliot
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As programmer's our modis operandi is to use existing APIs and turn them to novel uses. To do this we rely on good examples of how APIs are used. This is where EG, a tool that mines codebases and shows the common, idiomatic usage examples for API methods, can help.

CockroachDB 20.2 Adds PostGIS Spatial Data Support
24 Nov | Kay Ewbank
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There's a new version of CockroachDB that has updates for developers, better security and new features including support for storing and indexing spatial data using Postgre PostGIS-compatible SQL syntax.

PyTorch Developer Day Updates
24 Nov | Alex Denham
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The PyTorch Virtual Developer Day is now available online with technical talks and version 1.7 release deep dives. The team also announced updates to PyTorch.

TypeScript 4.1 Adds Temporal Literal Types
23 Nov | Kay Ewbank
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TypeScript has been updated with new checking flags, editor productivity updates, and speed improvements, alongside new features including support for temporal literal types.

The State Of Secure Software Development - Three OpenSSF Courses
23 Nov | Nikos Vaggalis
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The Open Source Security Foundation has recently launched three brand new and free courses on Secure Software Development, which are hosted on edX.

Diabolo Juggling By Robot Arms
22 Nov | Lucy Black
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Watching two robot arms play diabolo is enough to induce diabolo envy in anyone who has ever experimented with this type of toy. The good news is that Omron is going to release the simulation model, dataset and control algorithm so that others robot arms can be trained to do similar juggling feats.

Spatial AI Competition A Winner
20 Nov | Sue Gee
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When OpenCV launched a Computer Vision contest earlier this year, it expected to award three prizes, totalling $6,000. The competition was so popular that it has now announced six winners who share $12,000. It also plans further contests with "10X times rewards".

Hour Of Code Adds Lessons In Unconscious Bias
20 Nov | Kay Ewbank
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Microsoft has announced details a new Hour of Code lesson. In "A Minecraft Tale of Two Villages!" the task will be to bring two villages together with the power of code, learning and practicing inclusion and empathy along the way.

Servo Rehomed With Linux Foundation
19 Nov | Sue Gee
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Servo, the open source project initiated at Mozilla to create a high-performance browser engine designed for both application and embedded use, is joining the Linux Foundation.

Android Adopts Bazel For Build System
19 Nov | Kay Ewbank
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The Android Platform is migrating from its current build systems (Soong and Make) to Bazel. While components of Bazel have been already checked into the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) source tree, this will be a phased migration over the next few Android releases. 


Books of the Week

If you want to purchase, or to know more about, any of the titles listed below from Amazon, click on the book jackets at the top of the right sidebar. If you do make Amazon purchases after this, we may earn a few cents through the Amazon Associates program which is a source of revenue that enables us to continue posting.

Full Review  

  • SQL Server 2019 Administrator’s Guide, 2nd Ed 

  • Reviewer: Ian Stirk  Rating: 2.5 out of 5
    Conclusion: I’m not sure how much you can learn from this book. In many ways, you need to be an expert in SQL Server administration, and have a good understanding of English, to understand it fully.

    The book’s subject areas are largely the correct ones, it does have some useful content, tips, and walkthroughs. However, it is let down significantly, in several chapters, by the poor use of English, muddled thinking, and some incorrect assertions. The book clearly needs better editing.

Added to Book Watch    

More recently published books can be found in Book Watch Archive

From the I Programmer Library

Published this week:  

To get up to speed with Python 3 and understand the deeper logic in its aproach to classes and objects:

Recommended as an informal intro to Computer Science:   


Last Updated ( Saturday, 05 December 2020 )