June Week 4
Written by Editor   
Saturday, 02 July 2022

Our weekly digest lists the week's news, new titles added to our Book Watch Archive and our weekly book review. This week's first featured article comes from Fundamental C: Getting Closer to the Machine and looks at Strings. The other is "The Bloom Filter" in which Mike James introduces an ingenious algorithm for avoiding wasting time by searching for data that isn't there.

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June 23 - 29, 2022

Featured Articles  


Fundamental C - String I/O
Harry Fairhead
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This extract, from my book on programming C in an IoT context explains that strings are not so user friendly after all. You need to know how to get strings from the outside world and convert them to C data types.

The Bloom Filter
Mike James
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You may never have heard of a Bloom Filter, but this ingenious algorithm is used in Google's BigTable database to avoid wasting time fruitlessly searching for data that isn't there. 


Programming News and Views   

Rust Gets Into The Kernel
29 Jun | Harry Fairhead
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To the innocent it sounds like this might be a serious problem, but to the initiated it sounds like a serious opportunity. The Rust of which we speak is, of course, the language, not the result of corrosion, and it could be the biggest change in programming for some time.

Celebrating Tau Day
29 Jun | Sue Gee
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Today is June 28 or 6.28. Is that a familiar number? Probably not. It's called tau and it is twice a number that is remembered - 3.14, called pi, which we've got used to celebrating on Pi Day - March 14. The good news is that as tau is two times pi it gives us a great excuse to eat a double helping.

Amazon Previews CodeWhisperer
28 Jun | Ian Elliot
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Amazon has announced CodeWhisperer, a programming tool powered by machine learning that provides similar functionality to GitHub's Copilot. CodeWhisperer, which was announced at Amazon's re:Mars conference, generates code recommendations based on users comments in natural language and code.

Google Introduces Earth Engine As Enterprise Grade Service
28 Jun | Kay Ewbank
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Google has announced it is making Google Earth Engine available to businesses and governments worldwide as an enterprise-grade service through Google Cloud.

AGE - The Open Source PostgreSQL Extension For Graph Database Functionality
27 Jun | Nikos Vaggalis
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Apache AGE, "A Graph Extension" was recently announced as an Apache Software Foundation Top-Level Project (TLP). What is the importance of that?

GitHub Copilot Released
27 Jun | Kay Ewbank
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GitHub CoPilot has been officially released with a free option for use for verified students and maintainers of popular open source projects. Other developers will be charged $10 USD/month or $100 USD/year. 

Alexa Prize TaskBot Challenge
26 Jun | Sue Gee
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A team of graduate students at the University of Glasgow has emerged as winners of Amazon's inaugural Alexa Prize TaskBot Challenge with GRILLBot, a “multi-modal task-oriented digital assistant to guide users through complex real-world tasks”. 

Mark Horowitz Recipient Of Computer Architecture Award
24 Jun | Sue Gee
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The 2022 ACM Eckert-Mauchly Award has been awarded to Mark Horowitz who pioneered the DRAM Interface and whose insights at the intersection of architecture and circuits have had a profound influence.


GitHub Skills - A Better Way to Learn Git and GitHub
24 Jun | Nikos Vaggalis
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GitHub has just launched Github Skills, a new learning platform that replaces the current Learning Labs. This is a change for the better.

Meta Launches Five New Professional Certificates on Coursera
23 Jun | Sue Gee
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Meta is expanding its training offering on Coursera with five new professional certificates for those wanting to embark on a programming career - for the web, for mobile or as a database engineer. Pre-enroll before the starting date to enjoy your first 30 days free.

Apache InLong Becomes Top Level Project
23 Jun | Kay Ewbank
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Apache has announced InLong is now a top level project. InLong is a one-stop integration framework for massive data that provides automatic, secure, and reliable data transmission capabilities.



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 small source of revenue that enables us to continue posting.

Full Review 

Verdict: This is an amazing book. It is lavishly illustrated throughout with full color diagrams, charts and samples, but it is very big and very demanding book. I don't think you could create a more approachable introduction to machine learning and deep learning, but it is still 750 pages of difficult ideas. As I've already said, without math to reduce it to general principles it's going to be tough to keep in your head. What is slightly sad is that if the equations were in the book the illustrations would be an excellent way of understanding what they mean. I would strongly suggest that the author produces another version of this book complete with equations, it would be shorter but more valuable.

Added to Book Watch

More recently published books can be found in Book Watch Archive.

From the I Programmer Library

Latest publications:




This week sees the publication of the revised second edition of Programmer's Python: Everything Is An Object in which Mike James reveals how Python has a unique and unifying approach with regards to class and objects. This is the first of a set of titles at intermediate level for the programmer who wants to understand what makes Python special and sets it apart from other programming languages, hence the strap line "Something Completely Different - which is, of course, a reference to the Monty Python TV and film brand that inspired Guido Van Rossum to name his new language. The subject is roughly speaking everything to do with the way Python implements objects. That is, in order of sophistication, metaclass; class; object; attribute; and all of the other facilities such as functions, methods and the many “magic methods” that Python uses to make it all work. 



This is the second of that Something Completely Different titles and explores the way that data is treated in a distinctly Pythonic way. What we have in Python are data objects that are very usable and very extensible. From the unlimited precision integers, referred to as bignums, through the choice of a list to play the role of the array, to the availability of the dictionary as a built-in data type, Python behaves differently to other languages and this book is what you need to help you make the most of these special features. There are also complete chapters on Boolean logic, dates and times, regular expressions and bit manipulation.

MIke James is now working on the third book in the series, Programmer's Python: Async which not only covers the latest asyncio in depth, but has all you need to know about the many approaches to async that Python provides - threads, processes,futures,tasks, schedulers. This is the book you need to understand all the options, trade-offs and gotchas. 

These books aren’t for the complete beginner and some familiarity with both object-oriented programming and Python is assumed, with the first chapter providing a quick recap. They also share an Appendix on using Visual Studio Code from Python.



Programmers think differently from non-programmers, they see and solve problems in a way that the rest of the world doesn't. In this book Mike James takes programming concepts and explains what the skill involves and how a programmer goes about it. In each case, Mike looks at how we convert a dynamic process into a static text that can be understood by other programmers and put into action by a computer. If you're a programmer, his intent is to give you a clearer understanding of what you do so you value it even more.  

Last Updated ( Saturday, 02 July 2022 )