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Programming For Love or Money
Feb 21 | Janet Swift
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Programming is a passion as well as a job. However there have to be limits on the amount of time devoted to it in order to preserve sanity. A  research study has looked into the extent to which programmers work outside office hours.

Progressive Web Apps Do Seem To Be The Next Big Thing
Feb 21 | Mike James
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We know that we work in a field where fashion swings back and forth. The next big thing is what we all want to use, and it looks as if Progressive Web Apps are it.

Atom 1.24 Adds Asynchronous Content Menus
Feb 21 | Kay Ewbank
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There's a new version of Atom, GitHub's open-source text editor. Atom 1.24 has read-only TextEditors, asynchronous context menus, and automatic scrolling on folding and unfolding.

Google Summer Of Code 2018 Larger Than Ever
Feb 20 | Sue Gee
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Google Summer of Code gives students an opportunity to make a substantive contribution to Open Source projects with the motto "Flip  bits not burgers" has recruited more mentoring organizations than ever  for its 13th year. 

MongoDB 4.0 Gets Multi-Doc ACID Support
Feb 20 | Kay Ewbank
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The next release of MongoDB will finally have support for multi-document ACID transactions, and there's a beta version available now with the new technology. 

Go 1.10 Adds Automatic Caching
Feb 19 | Kay Ewbank
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There's a new release of Go with automatic caching of build and test results. Version 1.10 is the first major release after the announcement of Go 2.0. 

Amazon Creating AI Chips For Alexa
Feb 18 | Harry Fairhead
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To maintain the advantage established with Alexa, Amazon appears to be moving towards developing its own artificial intelligence chips to be used in Echo devices and other hardware.

You Just Need A Bigger Pong
Feb 18 | Mike James
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Pong was one of the first games I programmed and I've always liked its simplicity, but you can't play it for long. Now make it life sized and that's a very different matter.

Slalom Skiing New Robot Sport
Feb 17 | Lucy Black
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The world’s first robot ski tournament was staged this week in South Korea alongside the PyeongChang Winter Olympics with eight humanoid robots taking part. It was the smallest robot that won the $10,000  prize for slalom skiing.

February Week 2
Feb 17 | 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 interesting stories. Our weekly digest also covers the week's articles, books reviews and additions to Book Watch.

Intel Extends Bug Bounty Program
Feb 16 | Alex Armstrong
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To support its Security-First Pledge made as a response to Meltdown and Spectre, Intel is opening up its Bug Bounty Program to all security researchers, raising bounty awards and offering a new program focused specifically on side channel vulnerabilities.

Next.js 5 Improves Webpack Support
Feb 16 | Kay Ewbank
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The latest version of Next.js has been released with better server-side Webpack support and first-class TypeScript support. Next.js is a toolkit for universal, server-rendered (or statically pre-rendered) React.js applications.

New Alexa Skills Kit Developer Console
Feb 15 | Alex Armstrong
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Amazon has launched a Developer Console for helping you to create manage and publish Alexa Skills. Available in beta it can be used to create new skills or edit existing ones, although some features are not supported.

Go SDK For Azure Released
Feb 15 | Kay Ewbank
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There's a new SDK for Azure that lets you develop apps for Azure in Go. The SDK has support for connecting to data sources including Cosmos DB and Azure Storage, deploying Azure resources programmatically, and authenticating users.

Google Tries For Email Takeover with AMP
Feb 14 | Mike James
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Since its inception in 2015, AMP - Accelerated Mobile Pages that can be served more efficiently by (mostly Google) servers has been under suspicion as just another Google web takeover plan. Now you can add email to the conspiracy theory because we are about to have AMP for email.

TensorFlow For R
Feb 14 | Kay Ewbank
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The team at RStudio has created a set of R interfaces to TensorFlow, in recognition of the way the Google machine learning framework has become popular since it was open sourced two years ago.

More Recent News



Book Review

Arduino Project Handbook, Vol 2
Tuesday 20 Feb

Author: Mark Geddes
Publisher: No Starch Press
Pages: 272
ISBN: 978-1593278182
Print: 1593278187
Audience: Beginners
Rating: 5
Reviewer: Harry Fairhead

The Arduino can be fun, but only if you have some ideas what to do with it - this book provides 25.


Featured Articles

Data Validation The Easy Way
Ian Elliot
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Checking data can be difficult, simply because of the need to keep cleaning the reference data. Who can afford the resouces to do the job? The best solution for most of us is to use a cloud-based service and Melissa has now made it easy for you to try it out.

Debugging and the Experimental Method
Mike James
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How do you debug a program? What approaches and qualities of mind are needed to get the job done? In many ways debugging a program is quite different from the act of programming and we need to be clear about it so that we can both do it better and  teach it better.

Just JavaScript - ES2015 Class
Ian Elliot
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One of the biggest criticisms of JavaScript by programmers more familiar with other languages is that it does not have classes. For the JavaScript enthusiast, on the other hand, this is one of its big attractions. So what do we make of the introduction of class in ES2015?

Jigsaw Puzzles and The MacMahon Squares
Joe Celko
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Another puzzle featuring Joe Celko's characterful pair, Melvin Frammis, an experienced developer at International Storm Door & Software, and his junior programmer sidekick, Bugsy Cottman. This classic puzzle looks deceptively simple but can you produce some beautiful code to solve it?

Exploring Storage Options on AWS
Nikola Brežnjak
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Amazon AWS offers a bewilderingly wide range of storage options. They all share the key benefit of eliminating the need for you to manage your own server, but you are faced with the problem of which to select. This overview is intended to demystify acronyms like S3, EFS and EBS that you will have probably already have come across and help you choose the AWS service you need.


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.

Oracle JET for Developers (Packt)
Thursday 22 Feb

This book is a practical guide to the Oracle JavaScript Extension Toolkit (JET) and how you can use it to develop efficient client-side applications. Author Raja Malleswara Rao Pattamsetti starts with individual libraries, such as jQuery, Cordova, and Require.js, before moving on to the JavaScript libraries created by Oracle for cloud developers. Examples show how to use these tools to create a working backend application with these libraries.


D3.js in Action 2nd Ed (Manning)
Tuesday 20 Feb

Subtitled "Data visualization with JavaScript", this guide to the D3 JavaScript library that shows how the API can be used for data visualization over HTML, CSS, and SVG has been completely updated. Author Elijah Meeks shows how to start with a structure, dataset, or algorithm; mix in D3; then programmatically generate static, animated, or interactive images that scale to any screen or browser.


Data Science on the Google Cloud Platform (O'Reilly)
Monday 19 Feb

This book shows how to apply sophisticated statistical and machine learning methods to real-world problems when building on top of the Google Cloud Platform. Author Valliappa Lakshmanan shows developers entering the data science field how to implement an end-to-end data pipeline, using statistical and machine learning methods and tools on the Google Cloud Platform. Throughout the book you’ll work through a sample business decision by employing a variety of data science approaches.


mBot for Makers (Make)
Thursday 15 Feb

With the subtitle "Conceive, Construct, and Code Your Own Robots at Home or in the Classroom" Andrew Carle and Rick Schertle have written this book for parents, kids and teachers who want to start with a robust robotics platform and then take it to the next level. The mBot robotics platform is a hugely popular kit because of the quality of components and price. At its heart is mCorea powerful Arduino-based microcontroller that can do many things without soldering or breadboarding.


Pandas for Everyone: Python Data Analysis (Addison-Wesley)
Wednesday 14 Feb

This book shows how to use the open source Pandas library with Python to automate and perform data analysis tasks. Author Daniel  Chen introduces key concepts through simple but practical examples, incrementally building on them to solve more difficult, real-world problems. Using a realistic dataset, the book covers combining datasets, handling missing data, and structuring datasets for easier analysis and visualization.


PHP & MySQL: Novice to Ninja 6th Ed (SitePoint)
Monday 12 Feb

This hands-on guide. aimed at intermediate and advanced web designers looking to make the leap into server-side programming. covers all the tools, principles, and techniques needed to build a fully functional application using PHP & MySQL. Comprehensively updated to cover PHP 7 and modern best practice by Tom Butler and Kevin Yank, it cover everything from installing PHP and MySQL through to creating a complete online content management system.


Cracking Codes with Python (No Starch Press)
Thursday 08 Feb

This book combines lessons on how to program in Python with making and breaking ciphers.  After a crash course in Python programming basics, author Al Sweigart shows how to make, test, and hack programs that encrypt text with classical ciphers like the transposition cipher and Vigenère cipher. The examples begin with simple programs for the reverse and Caesar ciphers and works up to public key cryptography. 


Metal Programming Guide (Addison Wesley)
Wednesday 07 Feb

This book shows how to use the combination of Metal and Swift to maximise performance for Apple iOS and macOS apps. Janie Clayton covers techniques from simple draw calls to advanced parallel computing, teaching through hands-on projects and industry-realistic code samples.She covers a wide array of applications, from 2D and 3D graphics to neural networking using high-performance data-parallel programming with Metal. The book also covers Metal performance and debugging.


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