Swift 4.0 Released!

Swift 4.0 Released!

Swift 4 is now officially released! Swift 4 builds on the strengths of Swift 3, delivering greater robustness and stability, providing source code compatibility with Swift 3, making improvements to the standard library, and adding features like archival and serialization.

Swift is a general-purpose programming language built using a modern approach to safety, performance, and software design patterns.

Updates

Swift 4.0 is a major language release and contains the following language changes and updates that went through the Swift Evolution process that can be viewed by clicking here

Apple (Xcode)

For development on Apple’s platforms, Swift 4.0 ships as part of Xcode 9.  Open-source Swift can be used on the Mac to target all of the Apple platforms: iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Moreover, binary builds of open-source Swift integrate with the Xcode developer tools, including complete support for the Xcode build system, code completion in the editor, and integrated debugging, allowing anyone to experiment with the latest Swift developments in a familiar Cocoa and Cocoa Touch development environment.

Linux

Official binaries for Ubuntu 16.10, Ubuntu 16.04 and Ubuntu 14.04 are available for download. Open-source Swift can be used on Linux to build Swift libraries and applications. The open-source binary builds provide the Swift compiler and standard library, Swift REPL and debugger (LLDB), and the core libraries, so one can jump right in to Swift development.

How the 9-to-5 workday has disappeared

How the 9-to-5 workday has disappeared

 

Work has changed dramatically over the last few decades, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal recently release it has become more time-consuming, less stable, and more flexible.

In 1973, 6% of Americans said they worked excessive hours while in 2016, 26% said they worked more than 48 hours a week.

Insurance coverage by employers has also dropped since 1973, although companies now provide more benefits to aid work-life balance, such as paid parental leave and remote work options.

Businesses are spending less on employees, both in terms of compensation and capital investment, while investors get triple the payout from 30 years ago.

This has all contributed to workers increasingly acting like free agents in the job market.  While they have more control and flexibility, the “safety net that once came with full-time work has frayed.”

Don’t worry be happy

Americans are happier at work, but they might just be settling for less.

For the first time since 2005, more than half of U.S. workers say they’re satisfied with their jobs, according to the Conference Board, a research group. Employment is up, wages are finally rising and layoffs are near record lows, resulting in a more optimistic, contented workforce.

That buoyancy is giving Americans confidence to pull out their wallets.  Depending on whether the tax plan for 2017 gets implemented the middle class will continue to get hammered with taxes to maintain the social programs such as social security, ACA and other various programs.

There is no such thing as a free lunch but employers are looking to try and maintain a profit.  Small business owners will gain from the tax overhaul plan by not getting double taxed for corporate and personal income.  This fact is not known by most Americans.

Hopefully the work place will improve over the next few years putting wages back into a reality check.

10 Most Important Feature Improvements to Apple’s iOS 11

10 Most Important Feature Improvements to Apple’s iOS 11

iOS

Apple iOS 11 is now available to download and install from the Apple store.  There is a new update released 11.0.1 so most likely there were some software glitch that needed immediate repair.

List of 10 improvements

  1. Apple’s iOS 11 includes a new Files app that brings together all of the files and folders stored across a user’s Apple devices, Dropbox accounts and more. The app provides access to iCloud Drive, the company’s cloud data storage service, and can help users find files on other devices.
  2. Apple’s iPad support gains several improvements in iOS 11, including a better Dock app. The Dock now can stretch across the screen to include more apps that can be swapped out when users swipe across the Dock. It also displays apps that have been opened recently and used on the iPhone or Mac.
  3. Apple iOS 11 has improved Apple Pencil support, making it easier to mark up files and folders and access notes. iOS 11 also includes support for inline drawing on e-mails that can be sent to others. Also, scanning and signing support comes standard.
  4. Apple’s App Store gets a revamp in iOS 11. The App Store’s new design, the company says, will make it easier for find apps and search for programs related to specific topics. There’s also a dedicated Games tab, suggesting video games still are an important attraction for Apple’s mobile users.
  5. Apple’s Camera app has a modified design that includes new filters to add flair to photos. According to Apple, the Camera app enables better portrait photos with skin tones “more natural.” Photo compression is also improved, reducing file sizes by 50 percent without sacrificing image quality.
  6. Apple’s virtual assistant Siri has gotten an update in iOS 11. Siri now can immediately translate words or phrases from English to several different languages including Spanish, Italian and Mandarin. Siri also can learn user music preferences and play only tracks that it knows the user will like. Also, Siri can better anticipate what users want and proactively deliver content and make suggestions.
  7. Apple’s Control Center has been rebuilt in iOS 11. Users can customize Control Center to include access to apps used most often and remove apps they don’t use. Control Center also now works with Apple’s 3D Touch feature, so users can access more controls by varying the amount of pressure they place on the screen.
  8. The Lock Screen also has been reworked in iOS 11 to provide better access to the notifications users care about. By swiping up from anywhere on the screen, users can see their most recent notifications as well as missed notifications from both Apple and third-party apps.
  9. In a nod to the one-thumbed typist, Apple has added one-touch support to its keyboard. Users simply touch and hold the emoji or globe keys and the keyboard will shift to a one-handed mode. Apple says it should be easier to type with only one finger, with all the keys close enough to type out messages.
  10. The upcoming iPhone X doesn’t have a physical home button, and iOS 11 has been designed with that in mind, including new gestures. Any gestures that relied on the home button are gone in the iPhone X version—accessing iOS 11 for iPhone X’s multitasking feature now requires swiping up from the display. Swiping down now brings up the Control Panel, and screenshots are done differently.

 

Dr. Explain releases version 5.5 today!

Dr.Explain news: version 5.5 – HiDPI support, 64bit performance, new UI, and more

Dr. Explain

What’s new in Dr.Explain 5.5 (release notes)

  1. 64 Bit architecture
    Starting from version 5.5, Dr.Explain will run on 64 bit Windows OS exclusively so as to support bigger projects as well as to be more performant.
  2. Hi-DPI monitors support
    Dr.Explain now also supports high resolution (Hi-DPI) screens, such as 4K monitors, taking full advantage of fine pixeling for the clearest user interface and better user experience.
  3. New revamped and refreshed user interface
    The new clear and attractive interface will help you to work more efficiently and with greater comfort.
  4. The Import fucntion got more flexible
  5. The Export functions were optimized
  6. Many issues in different modules were fixed

 

Dr.Explain is based on a unique interface analysis and screen capture system. Thanks to this system, Dr.Explain can automatically analyze an application’s user interface, take screenshots of all controls and elements, and then add explanatory callouts to all images in the draft help system. After that, all one needs to do is add descriptions to the callouts, and save the result in the HTML, CHM, RTF, or PDF format.

 

With the Dr.Explain you can easily generate a complete array of end user help in various formats from a single source file. The Dr.Explain can make CHM help filescreate online help manuals and prepare printable manuals in RTF and PDF formats. Electronically distribute your help file with application; put it on your product website; or deliver it as a printed manual within the box.

Simple to use you can import your Word Documents allowing a technical writer to quickly have a manual and help file in one shot.

 

Day of the Programmer so let’s Celebrate

Day of the Programmer so let’s celebrate

Day

The Day of the Programmer is an international professional day that is celebrated on the 256th (hexadecimal 100th, or the 28th) day of each year (September 13 during common years and on September 12 in leap years). It is officially recognized in Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Austria, Germany, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, India, Belgium, Australia, Poland, Romania, Ireland, Italy, Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, the United States and Russia.[1][2]

The number 256 (28) was chosen because it is the number of distinct values that can be represented with an eight-bit byte, a value well-known to programmers. 256 is also the highest power of two that is less than 365, the number of days in a common year.

You wonder why Russia out of all places decided to create the official day of the programmer.  I guess the old “JOLT” and late nights weren’t the prize after all to all programmers.

If you think about it, everything in your life now is based on a software developer from your phone to your heating system.  So celebrate the day!

How to tell which iPad model you have

How to tell which iPad model you have

iPads

iPads aren’t as easily distinguishable as iPhones are the following article will assist.

How to find your iPad model number

In addition to the marketing names that we all know so well, all iPads have a model number. Two of them, actually. The first one is on the device itself. If you flip over your iPad, you’ll see a bunch of tiny writing below the word “iPad.” That’s where you’ll find the model number.

At the end of the top row, you’ll find the world “Model,” followed by an “A” and a four-digit string of numbers. The number string tells you what screen size and generation of iPad you have, as well as whether it’s cellular-equipped. For example, the latest 10.5-inch iPad Pro is A1701 for the Wi-Fi model and A1709 for the LTE version.) There is also a serial number printed here, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever need it.

In addition, some cellular-equipped fourth-generation iPads and first-generation iPad minis have an “MM” version indicating CDMA compatibility—though you’ll see that designation only on spec sheets. If you use one of these iPads on Verizon’s network, the MM version is probably the one you’ve got.

Please click here to review the chart on PC World

You’ll also find a model number in Settings.

The second model number (which is really an internal SKU number) is in Settings. If you tap General and then About, you’ll see a Model tab that lists a completely different number than the one on the rear of the device. This is a much more specific identifier, which provides information about the capacity and country, as well as the type of iPad.

If you’re selling or buying one internationally on eBay, it’s an important number, but otherwise the number on the back will tell you everything you need to know.

Coding Boot Camps should they go or be used ?

Coding Boot Camps should they go or be used ?

Boot Camp

Within the past week, two well-known and well-established coding bootcamps have announced they’ll be closing their doors: Dev Bootcamp, owned by Kaplan Inc., and The Iron Yard, owned by the Apollo Education Group (parent company of the University of Phoenix).  Not the most strongest places to learn how to code but some industry observers have suggested that the market may be merging in the coming months.

It appears that there are simply more coding bootcamps – almost 100 across the US and Canada – than there are students looking to learn to code.   Remember these courses are geared for a quick turnaround in studying and learning how to program.  I never mentioned that these were gifted academic schools since on average they are charging $11,000 for a 12 weeks of intensive training in a programming language or framework.

College or Bust ?

Does a person who goes thru this actually know the basics, sure but can they develop software that could possibly be used by millions, most likely not.  They stand a chance of getting a low entry level position at a software house.  They could have simply saved the money, learn the piece they needed from the vast amount of knowledge on the internet, or webinars.  Writing software is an art form as well as a love fest.  There are times a software developer will stay up long hours going over code to make it better.

In December of last year, Bloomberg published a warning to prospective students: “Want a Job in Silicon Valley? Keep Away From Coding Schools.”

The article contended that many companies have found coding bootcamp grads unprepared for technical work.   A tech recruiter told the publication. “My clients are looking for a solid CS degree from a reputable university or relevant work experience.” Google’s director of education echoed this sentiment: “Our experience has found that most graduates from these programs are not quite prepared for software engineering roles at Google without additional training or previous programming roles in the industry.”

A simple approach to software development

A simple approach to software development

Development

Setting up your software development for a new application there are quite a few set of software developers that tend to jump on their machine and begin coding.  I would strongly suggest that an application which could be successful needs to start from thought to paper (even electronic) before any new code is typed.

Now as some suggest creating designs or layouts are the best method for them and sometimes that does make sense.  Creating a sketch board  or laying out the screen design is a simple way to visually see what you want to achieve.

Here are the steps that you can use when you are preparing to create a new application.

Sitting at a table or desk
Using white boards do help when you plan to get your thought on to the board for the initial start of the project.  You can quickly put down what your clients (consumers) wish to have or to fulfill their needs.  Simple step is to list all of the pieces in bullet point what you think the client is expecting from your application.

Always remember that developers can write a great application that nobody wants.

Flowcharts
Yes this is one of computer 101 concepts that no software developer wishes to use any longer but if you set up a general flowchart it will show you things you did not think of.

Screen Design
Screen layouts are extremely important, it gives the visual aspect on what the application will look like.  The best thing is that it could be done on paper without using a computer.  Sure it looks like stick men but it does show the layout that you think clients will be happy with.

Data Model
This is essential if you plan on having some sort of database manager that will capture the information entered with your application.  A proper data model will show exactly what you think each table and record size will be.  The database manager is another piece where you must either sell to the client on a robust database or a small foot print.

Know your customer
Sitting with your clients or consumers or customers, you need to understand the business.  You may not be a retail sales guru but you have to understand what the client wants and possibly increase business.  This does not mean as a software developer you need to allow the client overrun the project where your team gets the blame for it falling apart but you have to understand how the client starts and ends the day.

Team work
The biggest and one of the most difficult piece is to have the presentation in front of the software team.  You must be prepared to accept criticism from your peers.  They may see something you did not see or whether there is a market for your application.

Starting a new application for a market can be either a hard task or you can set up a plan that will get you to the end line quickly and successfully.

Visual Studio 2017 Version 15.3 Released

Visual Studio 2017 Version 15.3 Released

Visual Studio 2017

For Visual Studio 2017 version 15.3, Microsoft focused on improving accessibility, particularly using Visual Studio with the most popular screen readers. Microsoft made over 1,700 improvements but if you are using Visual Studio 2017 in a low-vision or no-vision mode, a lot has improved.

Couple of the more major things Microsoft improved.

  • Debugging is much more accessible. Debugger windows like the Call Stack, Locals, Autos, and Watch windows were inaccessible to screen readers. That’s now fixed.
  • The VS editor’s text adornments let developers know about features available at particular points on a line of code, such as breakpoints, lightbulbs, and error and warning “squiggles.” Customers can now discover and navigate between these adornments via the new “Show Line Annotations” command set, which you can find on the editor context menu.

In addition to accessibility,  many fixes for reliability issues to improve performance, many of which were reported through report-a-problem. Here are some of the more notable ones that had high votes that were fixed:

  • A crash that could occur in C# and VB projects when editing linked files, files in Shared Projects, or files used in projects targeting multiple runtimes.
  • A race condition when debugging C# or VB projects that could cause Visual Studio to crash when ending the debugging session.
  • A crash in C# or VB projects when malformed metadata is encountered in the code file.
  • A crash that could occur when compiling a local function in C#.

Additional key improvements

  • Azure Functions Support. 
  • Broad Azure sign-in support.
  • Improved container support.
  • Continuous Delivery Tools now included.

For the full list of improvements check out the release notes for Visual Studio 2017 version 15.3.

Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana are going to work together

Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana are going to work together

Phone

Amazon and Microsoft announced on Wednesday that they’ve been working on a partnership to allow their respective voice assistants, Alexa and Cortana, to speak to one another.

Starting later this year, owners of Amazon Echos and other Alexa-powered devices will be able to say: “Alexa, open Cortana” to start querying Microsoft’s voice assistant. Owners of devices running Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system will be able to summon Alexa via Cortana in a similar manner.

Why would customers want that — especially with the relatively clunky nature of the necessary voice command? The companies say that each voice assistant has its strengths — features like Microsoft Outlook and Exchange email integration for Cortana and smart-home controls or shopping for Alexa — and that customers of both companies would benefit from an integration.

It’s not clear if the two assistants will share voice data in an effort to make each digital assistant smarter. But there is the hope that someday these artificial agents will be intelligent enough to route requests to the best virtual assistant for the task without a specific “Alexa” or “Cortana” command.

What about Apple ?

The new partnership throws a wrinkle into the narrative of the emerging world of voice assistants, where Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Apple have been competing to build the operating system of the future. Google, of course, has Google Assistant built into the Google Home speaker as well as select Android phones. Apple’s Siri has been the digital assistant inside iPhones for years and will power the forthcoming HomePod.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Microsoft chief Satya Nadella told the New York Times they would welcome such cooperation. But, as the Times notes, such a future may be unlikely since Google and Apple see their AIs as key differentiators for their mobile phone operating systems.

As Windows always wanted was to have a house completely working with their OS so now that you have Alexa involved or linked that dream may come true.