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Programming News and Views

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Magic Is Just Technology In This Amazing Video
Apr 23 | David Conrad
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We all know the Arthur C. Clarke quote about any sufficiently advanced technology looking like magic, but perhaps our own technology is already enough to look like magic if presented in the right way.



Google Uses AI To Make Better Artists
Apr 22 | Kay Ewbank
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Google has come up with an app called AutoDraw that turns rough drawings into a finished image using a combination of machine learning and a library of pre-drawn images.



April Week 3
Apr 22 | Editor
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No time to keep up with all that is going on in the developer world? Let the I Programmer team do it for you. We scour the Internet for news and put the unmissable bits together in this handy digest, with the week's book reviews and articles. 



Top 10 From Around The Web: PHP Development Resources
Apr 21 | Alex Armstrong
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PHP may not be the most trendy web development language but it is what is behind the scenes of many of the websites we use daily,  Facebook and IProgrammer alike. This round up of external blog posts is all about PHP.



Facebook Relay Improves Mobile Performance
Apr 21 | Kay Ewbank
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Facebook has released a new version of its Relay JavaScript framework. Relay Modern has been designed to be easier to use, more extensible, and able to improve performance on mobile devices.



Microsoft Cognitive Services APIs Released
Apr 21 | Sue Gee
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Microsoft has announced the General Availability on Azure of its Face API and Computer Vision API to give developers easy tools for handling and interpreting images. The Content Moderator is the third of the newly released APIs.



Facebook Open Sources Litho Android UI Framework
Apr 20 | Mike James
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Facebook's F8 conference often seems more like a place to announce its future directions than anything directly relevant to developers, but Litho should be of interest to any Android programmer. 



Larks and Night Owls of the Programming World
Apr 20 | Janet Swift
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Stack Overflow has produced an interesting analysis of developers working habits that reveals differences that depend on your choice of language. It turns out that C# programmers tend to be early birds; whereas those using C start later and work on into the evening and that London and Paris follow the strictest 9 to 5 working day.



Microsoft R Server 9.1 Adds ML Enhancements
Apr 20 | Kay Ewbank
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There's a new release of Microsoft R Server that adds new machine learning enhancements and integration with HDInsight.



Google Earth Reduced To A Divisive Toy
Apr 19 | Mike James
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The latest version of the once great Google Earth is a disappointment in many respects. It once was a useful tool but version 9 is reduced to a toy complete with a Sesame Street Muppet section. Worse still, it only runs on Chrome. 



Alexa Skill Builder Beta
Apr 19 | Alex Armstrong
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Arguably Alexa already has too many skills that nobody wants to make use of for more than five minutes. However, if Amazon can make it easier to create them, perhaps it increases the chance that a really useful one might turn up almost by chance.



GitHub Extends Developer Program
Apr 19 | Lucy Black
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Membership of the GitHub Developer program used to be restricted to developers with a paid GitHub account. Now it is open to any developer who want to join with a range of levels of membership.



Android Studio Moves Toward Java 8
Apr 18 | Mike James
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Android Studio is making progress to supporting Java 8 after the ambitious, perhaps too ambitious Jack & Jill project was shelved. What does all this mean?



Intel Cancels Developer Forum Permanently
Apr 18 | Harry Fairhead
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An announcement the appeared yesterday on the Intel Developer Forum website signals that the event scheduled to take place in San Francisco in August will not take place, nor will there be any future IDFs.



Investigating Bias In AI Language Learning
Apr 17 | Sue Gee
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A new study has revealed that AI systems, such as Google Translate, acquire the same cultural biases as humans.While this isn't a surprising finding, it comes as a cause for concern and remedial action.



Viral Video Shows A Swarm Of Robots Sorting Packages
Apr 16 | Harry Fairhead
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We tend to think of robots as something like the Terminator or Marvin, or at least the popular press does. What is not completely understood is that simpler robots are likely to have as big an effect in the world. Just take a look at how a swarm of simple robots sort 200,000 packages a day. 


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Book Review


Professional Microsoft SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services and Mobile Reports
Thursday 20 Apr

Author: Paul Turley
Publisher: Wrox Press
Date: January 2017
Pages: 816
ISBN: 978-1119258353
Print: 1119258359
Kindle: B01N12MHZU
Audience: Database developers
Rating: 4.5
Reviewer: Kay Ewbank

This is a new fifth edition of a very successful book on Reporting Services, updated to cover the changes in SQL Server 2016, including the introduction of Mobile Report Services. 


 

Featured Articles


Towers Of Hanoi Mutants
Joe Celko
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Towers of Hanoi is a classic puzzle and is often used to illustrate the idea of recursion. Here you are challenged to find solutions to some variations, after first explaining the original version.



jQuery UI and Auto-Complete Address Entry
Ian Elliot
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jQuery UI has a little-known feature that makes interactive auto-complete very easy. In this hands-on tutorial we put it together with the cloud-based Global Express Entry address auto-complete service from Melissa Data to smooth over one of the biggest problems in getting users to sign up.



Recursion
Mike James
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Recursion is often said to separate real programmers from the pack. What is it that makes it so powerful? What is it that makes it so difficult? What is the "shape" of recursion as a flow of control?



A Programmer's Guide To R - The Vector
Mike James
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R is a language targeted at statistics, but it has an interesting way of working with data. In this introduction to R we take a programmer's point of view and celebrate that fact that R is based on Lisp. First we need to get started with the most basic of R data types - the vector.



The Web - The Early Years
Historian
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A time before the World Wide Web? Yes, there was one. In fact the Web is quite young, dating from 1991 when Tim Berners-Lee, then based at CERN, invented it and launched the first ever web site. 


 

 

Unhandled Exception!
Sigil Cycle

 

Sigil Cycle

 

If you haven't programmed in a language that uses sigils, you won't have a clue as to what this cartoon is about. A sigil is symbol that is attached to a variable's name or identifier to signify some attribute, usually but not always its type. The point is that a sigil has a fixed meaning, but the identifier doesn't. Languages such as C++ don't use sigils, but that doesn't stop you from using Hungarian notation, invented back in the 70s by Charles Simonyi (a Hungarian), which could be regarded as sigils on steroids. 

 

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

Read more...
 

Book Watch

Follow Book Watch on Twitter


The Hardware Hacker (No Starch Press)
Friday 21 Apr

Subtitled "Adventures in Making and Breaking Hardware", this book draws on the experiences of hacker Andrew "bunnie" Huang, author of cult-classic book Hacking the Xbox. In this book he shares his experiences in manufacturing and open hardware.

<ASIN:159327758X>



Learning Blender, 2nd Ed (Addison Wesley)
Thursday 20 Apr

Now fully updated for the latest version of Blender, the book walks you through every step of creating a 3D animated character with Blender, and then compositing it in a real video using professional workflow.  In this new edition author Oliver Villar covers the powerful new selection and modeling tools, as well as high-efficiency improvements related to painting, texturing, shading, rendering, and performance.

<ASIN:0134663462>



Designing with Data, 2nd Ed (O'Reilly)
Thursday 13 Apr

Design practices and data science work toward the same goal, helping designers and product managers understand users so they can craft elegant digital experiences. In this practical guide, authors Rochelle King, Elizabeth F Churchill, and Caitlin Tan show you how to conduct data-driven A/B testing for making design decisions on everything from small tweaks to large-scale UX concepts.

<ASIN:1449334830>



TensorFlow Machine Learning Cookbook (Packt)
Wednesday 12 Apr

This book will teach you how to use TensorFlow for complex data computations and Author Nick McClure will let you dig deeper and gain more insights into your data than ever before. You'll work through recipes on training models, model evaluation, sentiment analysis, regression analysis, clustering analysis, artificial neural networks, and deep learning.

<ASIN:1786462168>



Hadoop in 24 Hours (Sams Teach Yourself)
Tuesday 11 Apr

Learn all the skills and techniques you'll need to deploy each key component of a Hadoop platform in 24 lessons of an hour or less. Jeffrey Aven shows how to put a platform together in your local environment or in the cloud, building a fully functional Hadoop cluster and using it with real programs and datasets.

<ASIN:0672338521>



Arduino Playground: Geeky Projects for the Experienced Maker (No Starch Press)
Friday 07 Apr

This is a book designed for Arduino enthusiasts who've mastered the basics, conquered the soldering iron, and programmed a robot or two. Warren Andrews shows you how to keep your hardware hands busy with a variety of intermediate builds, both practical and just-for-fun. There are ten complex projects to advance your engineering and electronics know-how.

<ASIN:159327744X>



Programming Essentials Using Java: A Game Application Approach (Mercury Learning)
Thursday 06 Apr

This is an introductory programming textbook in Java that uses game applications as its central theme. The theme is used to illustrate the material traditionally covered in a basic programming course, and is in full compliance with the 2013 ACM/IEEE computer science curriculum guidelines. It has been used to teach programming to students whose majors are within and outside of the computing fields. Authors William McAllister and S. Jane Fritz have included a comprehensive instructor’s resource disc with programming solutions, slides, quizzes and projects.

<ASIN:1683920376>



Designing Data Intensive Applications (O'Reilly)
Monday 03 Apr

This book aims to show how to structure your applications to make them scalable, reliable, and maintainable in the long term. Author Martin Kleppmann examines the key principles, algorithms, and trade-offs of data systems. He examines the pros and cons of various technologies for processing and storing data.

<ASIN:1449373321>



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bookwatch@i-programmer.info


 
 
   
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