Programming Languages in 2014

With some delay, here’s my annual roundup of programming language rankings. One sad change from previous years (2012 edition, 2013 edition) is the absence of Andrew Binstock’s usual column, “Rise and Fall of Languages.” That had been published by Dr. Dobb’s Journal which has shut down last year. (Binstock is now EIC of Oracle’s Java […]

Yamaha RX-A1040: Virtual Surround Receiver

When I wrote about the audiophile Blu-ray player Oppo BDP-105D back in January 2014, I was using an otherwise fairly simple A/V setup with an analog amplifier for my stereo loudspeakers, and a separate headphone amplifier with virtual surround sound. In closing I mentioned Yamaha’s Silent & Virtual Cinema DSP technologies which might allow me […]

MIME Browser & Star Chess Updated

Following the recent release of Java SE 8 Update 40, I’ve updated my two open-source projects that currently use JavaFX to its latest version: MIME Browser 1.3.2 and Star Chess 2.0.1. In both cases, I replaced my homespun exception dialogs and message boxes with calls to the new dialog API. There were also a few […]

Logitech Multi-Device Keyboard K480

I recently stumbled over the Logitech K480 at the local electronics store. Apparently the keyboard had been released last September but I only noticed it now. The full name is “Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480” which highlights the most important feature: support for Apple Mac OS-X & iOS, Google Android & ChromeOS, and all modern […]

Java SE 8 Update 40 Released

Java Standard Edition 8 Update 40 is now upon us, and despite the “Update” designation this was a fairly massive feature release. You can find overviews at Java Source and Java Tutorials, and of course the detailed release notes. The changes I’m most interested in concern JavaFX, including accessibility support, new controls – more on […]

Core Java 8 for the Impatient

Cay S. Horstmann’s latest book on Java SE 8, Core Java for the Impatient (Addison-Wesley 2015, 480 pages), is a compromise between Horstmann’s brief introduction Java SE 8 for the Really Impatient (215 pages) and the traditional monumental Core Java tomes (2092 pages for Java SE 7). Rather than covering virtually the entire standard library […]

Loop Closures in Java & C#

The lambda expressions introduced in Java 8 can capture, or “close over”, any local variable that’s within scope and effectively final (Java 8 Language Specification §15.27.2, §4.12.4). Interestingly, this includes the loop variables of enhanced for loops, or for-each loops as I prefer to call them. Cay Horstmann mentions this very useful but non-obvious fact […]

Stack Overflow: Quality by Quantity

Programmer Q&A site Stack Overflow has attracted legions of volunteer moderators (including privileged users possessing various editing capacities) with a “gamified” reputation system, but the quality of this moderation is increasingly coming under attack. A thread on Stack Overflow itself asked in April 2014, Why is Stack Overflow so negative of late? I’ve been using […]

Dell XPS 15 Review

About a year ago I switched to a stylish ultrabook hybrid, the Sony Vaio Duo 13. While I was overall quite happy with that neat little device, two of its unavoidable compromises eventually got on my nerves: the sheer lack of computational power and the cramped screen space. So after revisiting the current laptop scene […]

∞ C/C++, TypeScript & Classic Games

January brought a number of interesting software links, plus some amusing robot news. C/C++ — Alexander Stepanov, designer of the C++ Standard Template Library (STL), recently answered many questions on his life and work, together with co-worker Daniel E. Rose. And a University of Cambridge team proposes a memory-safe C abstract machine (PDF), as modern […]