January Week 1
Written by Editor   
Saturday, 06 January 2018

Here is the first weekly digest for 2018 intended to keep you up to date with news, book reviews and articles written for programmers, by programmers. 

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December 28 - January 3 


Book Watch

This week's additions to our ever-growing archive of newly published computer books are:

Book Reviews

    Mike James awarded this book targeted at Pythonistas who want to get into embedded software a rating of 2 out of 5,explaining that it suffers from trying to cover too many development boards. His verdict is:
    The best you can say of this book is that it oozes enthusiasm for the whole idea of MicroPython and embedded programming. As such it might inspire, but it isn't likely to educate beyond some simple, and sometimes confusing, examples.

  • C Programming Absolute Beginner's Guide (3e)


Mike James awarded this 2015 book for absolute beginners to C a rating of 4.5 out of 5 concluding:

... this is a good basic introduction to C for the reader who knows nothing about programming. You have to be quite a bright and able know-nothing, however, as C doesn't spare you from a lot of detail that could be avoided in other "beginner" languages. I can well imagine some readers giving up simply because of the amount of detail that has to be understood to see the bigger picture.



In-Demand Languages For 2018   Wednesday 03 January

As we enter 2018, Java still holds sway as the most in-demand programming language although it saw a decrease in popularity in 2017. While it is still well behind, Python is in second place, is the language that saw the greatest growth of demand during 2017. Demand for JavaScript saw a slight decline but it occupies a buoyant third place.


HBase 1.4 With New Shaded Client   Tuesday 02 January

Apache has released an updated version of HBase with a new shaded client intended to improve compatibility, along with improvements to the REST client, enhanced autorestart capabilities, and improvements to RegionServer metrics.


AlphaGo The Movie - Now On Netflix   Tuesday 02 January

A movie about a program that beats a human at a game? Probably not what you might expect, but AlphaGo is a movie about man versus machine and in this case the machine wins. Update: Now On Netflix


Fukuoka Ruby Award 2018   Tuesday 02 January

Ruby Programmers from around the world are invited to compete for prizes on the basis of projects developed or completed within the past 12 months that use the unique characteristics of Ruby. Entries will be judged by a panel led by “Matz” Matsumoto, creator of the Ruby language.


New Year's Resolution - Learn AI   Monday 01 January

Artificial Intelligence constantly figured in our news in 2017 and we can confidently predict that this trend will continue into 2018 and beyond. It therefore comes as no surprise that AI is an area that many developers are keen to move into.


App Locates People Even When There Is No Service   Sunday 31 December

Just when you thought there were no new apps, along comes a good idea. The details are thin, but once you have the idea you can start to invent your own twists on the solution.


esapple - ESP8266 As An Apple 1   Saturday 30 December

The ESP8266 is a marvel of modern technology a tiny $5 WiFi processor. The Apple 1 was a breakthrough design by Woz and now it is reborn as an emulation running on an ESP8266.


AI Plays The Instrument From The Music   Friday 29 December

It looks as if air guitar is the next field in which AI is going to crush the puny humans. In this case it is "air" violin and piano, but the principle is the same. I guess the real question is, why is Facebook so interested?


Microsoft Opens Door To Its AI School   Friday 29 December

Microsoft has made a big push into AI over the last couple of years and has its Cognitive Toolkit and its Cognitive Services APIs available to all comers. Now it has launched AI School with resources for developers who want to learn about AI in general and Microsoft tools in particular.


KSQL Adds Avro Support   Thursday 28 December

The developers of KSQL, the streaming SQL engine for Apache Kafka, have released version 0.3 with improvements for robustness and resource utilization.  

The Core

JavaScript Async - Basic Async & Await   Monday 01 January

The new async and await keywords in JavaScript are probably the best and almost complete solution to the asychronous programming problem. In JavaScript, however, they are built on top of the Promise and are surprisingly subtle. 

An extract from Ian Elliot's new book

Babbage's Bag

Programmer's Introduction to XML   Thursday 28 December

XML is a general purpose markup language that can be used to control the structure of data. Despite the fact that many prefer the simplicity of JSON, it still has many advantages. What makes it so good?



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Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 December 2018 )