Category Archives: IT

What programming language should you learn? (2015 edition)

It depends on a number of factors, but if you want to decide solely on popularity, then you need to see this: The Most Popular Programming Languages of 2015 | ProgrammableWeb.

 

At the top you have some consistency, with Java at the top, and C, C++ and C# in the top five. Python, a language that I am becoming fond of and using to replace Perl, is up there at #4.

Following that are what you’d expect: PHP, Ruby, and Javascript, as well as some data oriented languages.

What is interesting, and not shown, are new and up and coming languages, such as Swift. I expect that to inch into the top 10 in the next few years.

If you want to focus on learning a programming language, and you have no other criteria, pick something from this list.

Sadly, this one trick will allow you to connect iTunes when you are on Windows and suffering from connectivity problems

If you are trying to use iTunes on Windows and you can’t, you may have to disable your firewall. Seriously! I tried a number of things, and I finally came across this, Resolve issues between iTunes and third-party security software – Apple Support, as well as some other sites, and once I did that, I was able to get it to work.

If you are unhappy with that, your next best option is to methodically follow this and poke enough holes in your firewall to work. That’s the safer route, by far.

 

 

This may just be the stupidest defense of Amazon’s workplace practices

This piece may be the stupidest defence of Amazon’s workplace practices: Replace Just 2 Words in the New York Times Amazon Article and Something Amazing Happens | Inc.com.

Amazon employees are not entrepreneurs. There is nothing in the NYTimes.com article that gives any inkling that they are. If anything, they have all the downside of being an entrepreneurs with little if any of the upside.  If someone can point out an article showing how Amazon consistently rewards employees as if they are true entrepreneurs, I’d love to read it.

There’s nothing wrong with being an entrepreneur. In fact, for some people, being an entrepreneur is the best type of work there is. Everything about it appeals to them, and working for a large corporation would kill them.

The Amazon employees are not entrepreneurs.  If you want to be an entrepreneur, be one. Don’t try to be one working at a large corporation. That is antithetical to what being an entrepreneur is.

Forget self driving cars – the first big thing will be self driving trucks

While there is lots of discussion about self driving cars, it’s much more likely that self driving trucks will become standard and accepted first. Here are two stories that support that. First this: How Canada’s oilsands are paving the way for driverless trucks — and the threat of big layoffs. Second, over at Vox, is:  This is the first licensed self-driving truck. There will be many more. Key quote from Vox:

Last night at the Hoover Dam, the Freightliner company unveiled its Inspiration Truck: the first semi-autonomous truck to get a license to operate on public roads.

The Inspiration is now licensed to drive autonomously on highways in Nevada. It works a bit like a plane’s autopilot system: a driver will get the rig on the highway, and can take control at any time once it’s there. But the truck will be able to drive itself at high speeds, using cameras to make sure it stays within its lane and doesn’t get too close to the vehicle in front of it.

Self driving trucks are already up and operational. Additionally, the business case and the hurdles to overcome with self driving trucks will be easier to achieve than that of self driving cars in urban areas. Sooner than you think, you will commonly see self driving trucks on highways, especially during the hours when most highways are 80-90% trucks.

Transportation is changing. Self driving trucks are going to be leading that change. Self driving cars will be a distant second.

 

ICYMI: What is code, by Paul Ford

Happy Monday! Are you affected by code at work? Of course you are! Do you code at work yourself? Very likely, even if it is to use formulae in a spreadsheet program like Excel (which, years ago, would have required been considered coding). However code affects you, I highly recommend you read this:
Code. It’s a very rich piece on code (i.e. software) and what it means to you (and everyone else).

Among other things, it is brilliantly designed. Lots of hard work went into this piece. If you can’t get started yet this week at work, read this as a research project.

Two initiatives IBM is promoting for women of all ages

On this page IBM & Open Source for the Enterprise Developer, there is alot happening, but I want to highlight two things that IBM is doing.

First, IBM is

…partnering with Girls Who Code to promote gender diversity in software development. This summer, we’re hosting a seven-week immersion program for dozens of female high school students in New York City. In 2016, we’re taking it across the country.

And second:

We’re also working with GSVlabs to help women return to work in greater numbers than ever before by offering mentorship and placement programs after multi-year sabbaticals. In focusing on cloud development, IBM hopes to attract women back to the workforce with a new set of skills.

Two worthwhile initiatives, I believe.

Why aren’t we becoming more productive with all this new technology?

Vox raises that question here: All this digital technology isn’t making us more productive – Vox, and it implies that because people are slacking off on the Internet. I think that is incorrect, and here’s why.

The chart that Vox piece has shows big producitivity gains from 1998-2003 and smaller gains after that.

From 1998-2003 was the peak adoption of the Internet by companies. In the early 1990s, companies started to adopt email. In the later 1990s companies started adopting the Web. To me it is not surprising that companies would become more productive and they shifted away from snail mail and faxes to email. And then companies shifted further and started offering services over the Web, I imagine they became much more productive.

Slacking off on the Internet has been a problem since the Web came along. I know, because I used to monitor web server traffic.  I don’t think that is the issue.

I think it is more likely that companies grabbed the big productivity gains from the Internet at the beginning, and then those gains slowed down after.

So what about smartphones? Have they made people more productive? I think they have, but I also think that the gains in being able to access information remotely may have been overtaken by the sheer amount of information to deal with. Being able to deal with email remotely makes you productive. Having to deal with way more email than you ever had to in the 1990s because now everyone has it makes you unproductive.

Furthermore, many of the features on smartphones are aimed at personal use, not professional use. I think smartphones make us more productive personally,  but less so professionall.y