October Week 2
Written by Editor   
Saturday, 13 October 2018

Catch up with everything that appeared on I Programmer last week. Our digest gives links to news coverage together with the week's book reviews and additions to Book Watch. The list finishes with two full length articles - an in-depth look at Bias and Chains in Android Studio's ConstraintLayout and an examination of the Storage Mapping Function.

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October 4 - 10, 2018 

Book Watch

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

Book Reviews

  • Blockchain For Dummies

    Awarding a rating of 3 out of 5 because he wanted more technical explanation, Alex Armstrong considers it more suited to someone looking for a guided tour of the landscape of the blockchain.

  • Making Simple Robots
    Harry Fairhead awards a rating of 4 out of 5 concluding:
    As long as you know what you are buying, this is a good and enjoyable book. If just one of the projects sparks an interest in making novel robots then it is a good investment.



Neural Networks Learn to Produce Random Numbers   Wednesday 10 October

It almost sounds silly - train a neural network to generate random numbers - but it has more practical uses than you might imagine. 

ReactProto, Rapid Prototyping In React  
Wednesday 10 October

ReactProto is a rapid application prototyping tool that bridges the gap between developers and designers. Designers hand over their static mockups. which developers feed into ReactProto to generate the corresponding boilerplate React components. 

Calling All Pythonistas   Wednesday 10 October

JetBrains is running a survey of Python Developers for the second time. The results of the first one provided a helpful overview of the Python landscape, so if you actively use Python it's worth spending ten minutes contributing your answers to a set of well constructed questions. 

Google Closes G+ And Rolls Out New Security  
Tuesday 09 October

Google is always surprising and the latest turn of events is no exception. In an announcement about security problems and improvements, we learn that Google+ is closing. Most might agree that this is not surprising, although it is disappointing. Moreover, the reasons given are strange.

MS-DOS Source Code on GitHub   Tuesday 09 October

MS-DOS v1.25 and v2.0 are both now available on GitHub for anyone to fork - either for historical purposes or for practical application.  

Help Go Develop   Tuesday 09 October

The Go Project wants to hear from you to find out how companies are using Go.  

Android Is The New Windows Phone   Monday 08 October

Since the demise of Windows Phone Microsoft-oriented programmers have been left to their own devices, literally, to work out what they should use - Android, iPhone, or something completely different? Perhaps some are still waiting for the reinvention of the Windows Phone - not Microsoft, it seems. 

Kotlin Gains A Foundation and A Portal   Monday 08 October

During his opening keynote at KotlinConf 2018, Andrey Breslav, Kotlin's lead language designer, announced the formation, jointly by JetBrains and Google, of the Kotlin Foundation. A new Kotlin portal on the Google Cloud has also been launched. 

Azure Functions 2 Supports More Platforms  
Monday 08 October

There's a new version of Azure Functions with a new, portable, cross-platform, and more efficient, host runtime. 

20 Years of Google   Sunday 07 October

Last month Google marked its 20th Birthday. At the time we presented its celebratory Google Doodle, featuring a blue flying pig. Now we are following up with a timeline infographic. 

Japanese Robot Capable of Useful Work  
Saturday 06 October

Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, has posted a video clip of its HRP-5P robot which is intended to be capable of the "same hard work as humans". 

JS Foundation and Node.js Foundation Intent To Merge   Friday 05 October

The boards of both the Node.js Foundation and the JS Foundation Foundations have agreed to public discussions related to a possible merger to sustain continued and healthy growth in the Node.js and JavaScript ecosystem.  

Apple Will Brick Devices Not Repaired By Apple  
Friday 05 October

We don't normally cover this sort of hardware, but so many programmers use Apple machines it is important to point out that things are about to change. Devices with the T2 security chip will no longer be repairable by anyone but Apple and if you do tinker then the device will be disabled - aka "bricked". 

PyTorch Scholarship Challenge   Thursday 04 October

A partnership between Facebook and Udacity has resulted in 10,000 challenge seats being made available in a new Udacity course “Introduction to Deep Learning with PyTorch,” built in collaboration with Soumith Chintala, Facebook AI Researcher and the creator of PyTorch. 

SQL Server 2019 Includes Hadoop And Spark  
Thursday 04 October

SQL Server 2019 will have Apache Spark and Hadoop Distributed File System packaged with its own engine to provide a unified data platform and to make the database more fitting for analysis of massive datasets. 

The Core

Android Programming In Kotlin: Bias & Chains  
Monday 08 October

Android Studio is now very clear about what layout component you should use - only the ConstraintLayout. But what does it give you that wasn't in the other layouts? This extract about bias constraints and chains is taken from the chapter The ConstraintLayout in a new book aimed at Android programmers wanting to use Kotlin. 

Babbage's Bag

The Lost Art Of The Storage Mapping Function  
Thursday 04 October

You may not have heard of SMFs, Storage Mapping Functions, but you are likely to have used them. They tend to be overlooked because there are more exciting methods of implementing storage, such as hashing schemes, but really it all started right here with an SMF and there is a sense in which all exciting stuff is just SMFs reinvented.  


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, 13 October 2018 )