Posts tagged programming

Coincidence?

Coincidence?

And I am not advising younger women (or any woman) to tough it out. You can lash back, which I have done too often and which has rarely served me well. You can quit and look for other jobs, which is sometimes a very good idea. But the prejudice will follow you. What will save you is tacking into the love of the work, into the desire that brought you there in the first place. This creates a suspension of time, opens a spacious room of your own in which you can walk around and consider your response. Staring prejudice in the face imposes a cruel discipline: to structure your anger, to achieve a certain dignity, an angry dignity.

YouTube Does the Harlem Shake

There’s no escaping it.

Nifty bit of programming though.

Codecademy adds API training with YouTube, NPR, Bit.ly, and 6 other services to help new devs build actual products

One of the difficult things when learning to code is to have actual content and data to work with.

Codeacademy, the free online platform with programming lessons, is solving part of that problem by partnering with others to bring data sets to the table via API’s.

Via VentureBeat:

The new lessons on Codecademy will help users build web apps that, for instance mash up news from NPR with YouTube videos on the same topic. Or, build a product highlighting hot social content being shared with Bit.ly, and charging for it with Stripe. New developers could even start interacting with mobile phones and sending text messages via Twilio’s API, [Codeacademy cofounder Zach] Sims said.

“This is part of our continual belief that the best way to learn is by creating,” Sims said in an email.

And that’s precisely the core goal: helping new programmers get started with building online apps, even if they have almost no programming knowledge. Other launch partners who will also being including lessons on their APIs include Parse, Soundcloud, Sunlight Labs, Placekitten, and Sendgrid.

This is a big part of what the Codecademy turn-users-into-makers movement is focusing on in 2013: helping people create stuff.

And via the Codeacademy announcement:

What can you do with these APIs? Build awesome websites with video with YouTube’s. Shorten links on the fly and grab stats with Bitly’s. Mash up the news with NPR’s. That’s just the beginning - we’ll be adding more APIs soon!

API partners include Youtube, NPR, Bitly, SoundCloud and Parse among others.

If you want to get started with free lessons to learn how to use API’s, jump in here.

Share of Websites that Use jQuery
Pingdom reports that the JavaScript library jQuery is used by over 54% of the top ten thousand sites in the world. The numbers drop when we get into the top 100, they suggest, because Google owns about 20% of those (eg., Google and all its country specific flavors, YouTube, Blogger, etc.) and those sites don’t use jQuery.
Note that Google, Microsoft and Media Temple all host jQuery for public use on their respective CDNs. The upside is that when you use these resources — instead of hosting jQuery on your own — it’s often likely that the scripts are already cached in a visitor’s browser so site performance will quicken.
Pingdom Blog, The Web loves jQuery, and here are the numbers to prove it. 

Share of Websites that Use jQuery

Pingdom reports that the JavaScript library jQuery is used by over 54% of the top ten thousand sites in the world. The numbers drop when we get into the top 100, they suggest, because Google owns about 20% of those (eg., Google and all its country specific flavors, YouTube, Blogger, etc.) and those sites don’t use jQuery.

Note that Google, Microsoft and Media Temple all host jQuery for public use on their respective CDNs. The upside is that when you use these resources — instead of hosting jQuery on your own — it’s often likely that the scripts are already cached in a visitor’s browser so site performance will quicken.

Pingdom Blog, The Web loves jQuery, and here are the numbers to prove it

These are the humans trying to give our jobs to robots
There’s been a lot of talk lately about Narrative Science, its boss Kristian Hammond, and their algorithmic journalist robots of the future. Most of the controversy has been over a few audacious comments, as most controversy usually is (via Wired):

Last year at a small conference of journalists and technologists, I asked Hammond to predict what percentage of news would be written by computers in 15 years. At first he tried to duck the question, but with some prodding he sighed and gave in: “More than 90 percent.”

He also predicted that a computer will win the Pulitzer Prize by 2017. But that’s just talk — from reading what his algorithms have done, it’s hard to expect a Pulitzer, but it’s not as easy to rebuke the 90% assumption. 
via Slate, on what the robots cover:

Narrative Science is one of several companies developing automated journalism software. These startups work primarily in niche fields—sports, finance, real estate—in which news stories tend to follow the same pattern and revolve around statistics. 

Take the financial articles that NS writes for Forbes, as considered a little later in the article:

Don’t miss the irony here: Automated platforms are now “writing” news reports about companies that make their money from automated trading. These reports are eventually fed back into the financial system, helping the algorithms to spot even more lucrative deals. Essentially, this is journalism done by robots and for robots. The only upside here is that humans get to keep all the cash.

Following the diplomatic/commodity trail that influences stock prices, or tracking stats and numbers in sports to find stories, may eventually become an obsolete task for us humans as robots begin to cover them more efficiently, and faster. And, having begun to crawl through Twitter for election coverage, Narrative Science’s scope may (soon! soon!) slowly grow.
FJP: But as for what this post covers, the concern is a lot like other problems people have with today’s journalism. In the same way that programmers or bloggers won’t replace columnists and reporters, but will instead facilitate, complement, and in all sorts of ways share the new workload, so too might Narrative Science-esque algorithms cover some of the responsibilities that future journalism expects, but which are difficult/unreasonable/impossible for, say, a journalist from ten years ago to handle.
Photo courtesy of Narrative Science.

These are the humans trying to give our jobs to robots

There’s been a lot of talk lately about Narrative Science, its boss Kristian Hammond, and their algorithmic journalist robots of the future. Most of the controversy has been over a few audacious comments, as most controversy usually is (via Wired):

Last year at a small conference of journalists and technologists, I asked Hammond to predict what percentage of news would be written by computers in 15 years. At first he tried to duck the question, but with some prodding he sighed and gave in: “More than 90 percent.”

He also predicted that a computer will win the Pulitzer Prize by 2017. But that’s just talk — from reading what his algorithms have done, it’s hard to expect a Pulitzer, but it’s not as easy to rebuke the 90% assumption. 

via Slate, on what the robots cover:

Narrative Science is one of several companies developing automated journalism software. These startups work primarily in niche fields—sports, finance, real estate—in which news stories tend to follow the same pattern and revolve around statistics. 

Take the financial articles that NS writes for Forbes, as considered a little later in the article:

Don’t miss the irony here: Automated platforms are now “writing” news reports about companies that make their money from automated trading. These reports are eventually fed back into the financial system, helping the algorithms to spot even more lucrative deals. Essentially, this is journalism done by robots and for robots. The only upside here is that humans get to keep all the cash.

Following the diplomatic/commodity trail that influences stock prices, or tracking stats and numbers in sports to find stories, may eventually become an obsolete task for us humans as robots begin to cover them more efficiently, and faster. And, having begun to crawl through Twitter for election coverage, Narrative Science’s scope may (soon! soon!) slowly grow.

FJP: But as for what this post covers, the concern is a lot like other problems people have with today’s journalism. In the same way that programmers or bloggers won’t replace columnists and reporters, but will instead facilitate, complement, and in all sorts of ways share the new workload, so too might Narrative Science-esque algorithms cover some of the responsibilities that future journalism expects, but which are difficult/unreasonable/impossible for, say, a journalist from ten years ago to handle.

Photo courtesy of Narrative Science.

Raspberry PI’s $35 Computer Enters Production
Raspberry PI Foundation, the UK-based non-profit, has begun production on its $35 Linux computer. It’s about the size of a credit card and will ship as an open board like that pictured above.
For display, users can plug it into existing monitors or televisions. USB connections are available for keyboard and mouse.
The Foundation’s goal is to put inexpensive computers into the hands of young people to hack upon.
The backstory comes via Raspberry Pi:

The idea behind a tiny and cheap computer for kids came in 2006, when Eben Upton was lecturing and working in admissions at Cambridge University. Eben had noticed a distinct drop in the skills levels of the A Level students applying to read Computer Science in each academic year when he came to interview them. From a situation in the 1990s where most of the kids applying were coming to interview as hobbyist programmers, the landscape in the 2000s was very different; a typical applicant now had experience only with web design, and sometimes not even with that. Fewer people were applying to the course every year. Something had changed the way kids were interacting with computers…
…There isn’t much any small group of people can do to address problems like an inadequate school curriculum or the end of a financial bubble. But we felt that we could try to do something about the situation where computers had become so expensive and arcane that programming experimentation on them had to be forbidden by parents; and to find a platform that, like those old home computers, could boot into a programming environment.

Specs (via the Raspberry Pi FAQ):
Debian, Fedora and ArchLinux will be supported from the start.
256 MB RAM, 700Mhz ARM11 CPU, and a Videocore 4 GPU. The GPU is capable of BluRay quality playback, using H.264 at 40MBits/s
Size 85.60mm x 53.98mm x 17mm. It weighs 45g.
Composite and HDMI out on the board. There is no VGA support, but adaptors are available.
Perhaps a great little machine to get if you’re learning to code by following along with CodeAcademy’s Code Year.
Image: Raspberry Pi beta board, via Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry PI’s $35 Computer Enters Production

Raspberry PI Foundation, the UK-based non-profit, has begun production on its $35 Linux computer. It’s about the size of a credit card and will ship as an open board like that pictured above.

For display, users can plug it into existing monitors or televisions. USB connections are available for keyboard and mouse.

The Foundation’s goal is to put inexpensive computers into the hands of young people to hack upon.

The backstory comes via Raspberry Pi:

The idea behind a tiny and cheap computer for kids came in 2006, when Eben Upton was lecturing and working in admissions at Cambridge University. Eben had noticed a distinct drop in the skills levels of the A Level students applying to read Computer Science in each academic year when he came to interview them. From a situation in the 1990s where most of the kids applying were coming to interview as hobbyist programmers, the landscape in the 2000s was very different; a typical applicant now had experience only with web design, and sometimes not even with that. Fewer people were applying to the course every year. Something had changed the way kids were interacting with computers…

…There isn’t much any small group of people can do to address problems like an inadequate school curriculum or the end of a financial bubble. But we felt that we could try to do something about the situation where computers had become so expensive and arcane that programming experimentation on them had to be forbidden by parents; and to find a platform that, like those old home computers, could boot into a programming environment.

Specs (via the Raspberry Pi FAQ):

  • Debian, Fedora and ArchLinux will be supported from the start.
  • 256 MB RAM, 700Mhz ARM11 CPU, and a Videocore 4 GPU. The GPU is capable of BluRay quality playback, using H.264 at 40MBits/s
  • Size 85.60mm x 53.98mm x 17mm. It weighs 45g.
  • Composite and HDMI out on the board. There is no VGA support, but adaptors are available.

Perhaps a great little machine to get if you’re learning to code by following along with CodeAcademy’s Code Year.

Image: Raspberry Pi beta board, via Raspberry Pi.

The Evolution of Web Design is a great stroll down memory lane noting the text only pages created after Tim Berners Lee’s very first in 1991, the rise of Macromedia’s Flash in the late 90s, the emergence of JavaScript, CSS and Ajax in the early to mid naughts, and the rise of HTML5 and the mobile Web of today.
That’s a whole lot of ground to cover over twenty years. And to think that in another twenty today will seem as quaint to us then as 1991 hypertext seems to us now.
Check it.

The Evolution of Web Design is a great stroll down memory lane noting the text only pages created after Tim Berners Lee’s very first in 1991, the rise of Macromedia’s Flash in the late 90s, the emergence of JavaScript, CSS and Ajax in the early to mid naughts, and the rise of HTML5 and the mobile Web of today.

That’s a whole lot of ground to cover over twenty years. And to think that in another twenty today will seem as quaint to us then as 1991 hypertext seems to us now.

Check it.

Programming Language Popularity as of May 2011
Detail from the Evolution of Programming Languages via Rackspace

Programming Language Popularity as of May 2011

Detail from the Evolution of Programming Languages via Rackspace

Move Over Tote Bag, There's a Tablet in Town

Forget getting irrelevant swag with your newspaper subscription.

Via Adweek:

Publishers, desperate to prop up their legacy print business, have been scrambling to put their content on tablet devices. Now the Philadelphia Inquirer and its sibling Philadelphia Daily News are making what may be the boldest tablet push yet.

On July 11, the two papers plan to announce a pilot program under which they will sell Android tablets with their content already built in at a discount. Icons on the tablets’ home screen will take users to digital replicas of both newspapers as well as a separate Inquirer app and Philly.com, the papers’ online hub.

And here’s something for Philly-based news hackers:

[Greg] Osberg, a former worldwide publisher of Newsweek [and current CEO and publisher of Philadelphia Media Network], has made it his mission to speed the digital revolution at the Philly papers, which last year became the latest newspapers to go through bankruptcy. To that end, he’ll also be announcing an incubator program that’ll embed tech startups at the company to help it develop digital products. Later this fall, Philly.com will introduce paid, premium content on the site, and a hyperlocal news channel.

You Need to Hire a Data Geek

-A strong background in computer science is essential. Dealing with information is not easy. The data geek needs to be able to collect the data, which in many cases involves knowing about databases, some networking, and Web programming technologies (XML, HTML, etc.), for a start.

-Statistics and mathematics are part of the game. Your data geek needs to know statistics inside out and backwards, and the software for manipulating them to develop an analysis.

-Data visualization is key. You need data visualization tools that are in equal parts useful and appealing. Your data geek should have an eye for graphs, maps, and charts, with a feel for the right dashboards, scorecards, data mashups, or even Excel workbooks—to generate the right mix of information for the right people.

-A bit of creativity goes a long way. The right data geek will use all the above skills to create new and improve existing ways to increase the return on investment (ROI) of your organization’s BI solutions.

Moving away from Flash: A look at JavaScript drawing libraries

washingtonpostinnovations:

When Apple announced early last year that it would not support Flash on the iPhone and iPad, a passionate conversation erupted in the world of web development: Was Flash dead? If not, how would it survive? When should it be used? News developers asked these questions as well, and, at least in our newsroom, the conversation inspired some thinking about how to approach interactive development. Over the past year and a half, there has been steady movement toward more interactivity based on JavaScript and fewer Flash-only experiences.

Budget proposals graphic

Last week we published a graphic that compared four federal budget proposals through a series of charts. We used the jQuery library Flot to draw simple, interactive line charts that showed how the debt and deficit would change under the different plans. Flot is very easy to use, flexible and customizable, and is one of many free-to-use JavaScript graphing libraries out there (Dracula, Highcharts and RGraph are a few others). We also built a customized chart with CSS and JavaScript at the bottom of the page to show how different categories of spending would be affected.

Read More

O’Reilly Radar editor Mac Slocum interviews Ben Fry, co-creator of the programming language Processing and head of Fathom Design, about data visualization.

The conversation touches on many subjects but this was a nice exchange on the democratization of the tools used to create data visualizations.

Q: A point that’s often raised…These tools put in in the hands of the wrong people will spreads misinformation. What’s your take on that?

A: I think it’s kind of funny… The same argument has been made with any technological leap since the beginning of time. Books printed in mass had a similar reaction. The internet came along and everybody could post things on the internet and wouldn’t that be the end of the world… The important thing is to focus on the literacy aspect of it. The more that people are doing the work—it all kind of goes to improve the conversation of what’s good, bad useful and what’s not.

Run Time: 8:00

Jean Bartik (left), one of the United States’ first computer programmers, died in late March.
Via the New York Times:

Ms. Bartik was the last surviving member of the group of women who programmed the Eniac, or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, which is credited as the first all-electronic digital computer…
…When the Eniac was shown off at the University of Pennsylvania in February 1946, it generated headlines in newspapers across the country. But the attention was all on the men and the machine. The women were not even introduced at the event…
…The Eniac women were wartime recruits with math skills, whose job was initially described as plugging in wires to “set up the machine.” But converting the math analysis into a process that made sense to the machine, so that a calculation could flow through the electronic circuitry to completion, proved to be a daunting challenge.
“These women, being the first to enter this new territory, were the first to encounter the whole question of programming,” said Paul E. Ceruzzi, a computer historian at the Smithsonian Institution. “And they met the challenge.”

Jean Bartik (left), one of the United States’ first computer programmers, died in late March.

Via the New York Times:

Ms. Bartik was the last surviving member of the group of women who programmed the Eniac, or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, which is credited as the first all-electronic digital computer…

…When the Eniac was shown off at the University of Pennsylvania in February 1946, it generated headlines in newspapers across the country. But the attention was all on the men and the machine. The women were not even introduced at the event

…The Eniac women were wartime recruits with math skills, whose job was initially described as plugging in wires to “set up the machine.” But converting the math analysis into a process that made sense to the machine, so that a calculation could flow through the electronic circuitry to completion, proved to be a daunting challenge.

“These women, being the first to enter this new territory, were the first to encounter the whole question of programming,” said Paul E. Ceruzzi, a computer historian at the Smithsonian Institution. “And they met the challenge.