Job Skills

How to Write a Game Runner Program

Cards
I wrote the runsevens game runner program to automate the running of the Tournament of Sevens programming challenge, and it was an interesting little project. It’s designed to do the following: Maintain a ladder of players. Run games of Sevens for a number of players by executing standalone exes. Update the ladder with games’ results. That’s a fairly high-level view. Running each game of Sevens also requires shuffling a deck of cards, dealing them to the players and tracking card… continue…

Is Apache Spark the Next Big Thing in Big Data?

Data Transfer
In any article or blog post, any mention of Big Data usually includes something about Hadoop. When it comes to Big Data, Apache Hadoop has been the big elephant in the room, and the release of Hadoop 2.0 in 2013 made the environment easier and more stable. But even with the inclusion of Impala for querying stored information real-time, Hadoop is still a batch-based system that processes data in, well, batch mode. Big Data processing is said to have three… continue…

5 Techniques to Increase Your Programming Productivity

Women working at computer
Every programmer has his or her techniques for being more productive and writing more code. Having been on a three month contract where I wrote and debugged 5,000 lines of code in two weeks, I thought I’d share some of mine. Get Into the Zone It’s not always easy to get into the zone and it often takes about an hour to get there. Research suggests that after every interruption, it takes at least 30 minutes to get back into… continue…

F# Dramatically Gains in Popularity

F# Logo
The Microsoft-backed F# functional programming language is quickly gaining popularity, according to the Tiobe Programming Community Index. Ranked No. 69 on the index a year ago, F# has soared to the No. 12 spot this month and is headed for the top 10. Microsoft calls F# “simple and pragmatic” and says it has “particular strengths in data-oriented programming, parallel I/O programming, parallel CPU programming, scripting, and algorithmic development.” Functional-first programming languages are particularly suited to analytical work such as calculation… continue…

A Look at Microsoft’s PCL for SQLite

Posted In C++/C#, Working in Tech
SQLiteSpy
Having grown up in a world where the concept was anathema to Microsoft, it seems strange to think of them now on the side of open source. In 2002, for instance, there was public debate about the GPL with Microsoft taking a stand against it. Now, there’s a part of Microsoft that’s pushing out open source, “Building bridges between Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies.” Now it has to be said that this does not come from sheer altruism. Microsoft has come… continue…

Processing: A Visual Language, Not Just for Artists

Posted In Working in Tech
Processing Screenshot
Processing is a programming language that was developed at MIT so artists and other creatives could learn to program in a visual context. It’s built on top of Java and has a basic IDE for editing and running “sketches.” The sketches — otherwise known as code — are gathered in a “sketchbook.” This metaphorically helps the artists to organize their coding workflow into something they recognize. The latest version is 2.0.3, also known as “Processing2.” No matter who it’s designed… continue…

Is Julia the Future for Big Data Analytics?

Julia Language Logo
In many Big Data analysis blogs, at Big Data meetups and in the halls of the most recent O’Reilly Strata Conference, one of the most-discussed topics is which language is better for data analysis: Python or R. Some of the talk has even reached “religious” overtones not unlike previous discussions on Windows vs. Linux or Microsoft’s Internet Explorer vs. Mozilla Firefox. So what’s the issue here? Why are Big Data analysts so concerned with what language to use? In my… continue…

Amazon Offers Developers Better Cross-Platform Tools

Amazon Analytics
Amazon wants integration with its services to be easy for developers and consumers alike, so it’s enticing developers to create better cross-platform experiences by opening GameCircle, Whispersync, Analytics and in-app purchasing to new platforms. So now developers can take advantage of Amazon services on mobile (Android, iOS) and desktop apps (Mac, Windows). iOS is limited to GameCircle, Whispersync and Analytics. The hoped-for result: Developers have a stable back-end platform while Amazon consumers get a frictionless buying process. Extending Amazon’s application… continue…

2 Free C Compilers Worth a Look

Posted In C++/C#, Working in Tech
Debugging in Pelles
It’s surprising how important the C programming language remains, as it’s now over 40 years since it was first created. It’s a simple but useful language that gives you a very low level view of memory and how variables are stored. It doesn’t have any high-level libraries for hash maps or lists; ANSI C only gives you arrays and pointers. If you want advanced data structures you have to either write them yourself using pointers or get third party or… continue…

These Are the Basic Skills of a Web Designer

Web Design
Christina Smith is a Connecticut-based Web developer who creates arresting online visuals including logos, photos and website look and feel. (She also dabbles in cake design). She got her Bachelor of Science in digital media from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in 2007 and shortly after landed a job as a graphic designer for the New Jersey design and development company HG Media, eventually becoming its lead designer. Currently, she’s a senior designer at the full service marketing agency Smartfish Group… continue…