Book Review: Python Projects for Kids

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I get asked by publishers to review books from time to time. Last month, Packt asked me if I’d be willing to review their book, Python Projects for Kids by Jessica Ingrassellino. Frankly, I tend to avoid beginning Python books now because they tend to be very similar, but I thought this one might be interesting.

Quick Review

  • Why I picked it up: In this case, because Packt Publishing asked me to.
  • Why I finished it: Mostly because Packt personnel badgered me to do so.
  • I’d give it to: Not really sure. There are much better, more in-depth beginner books for Python out there.

Book Formats

You can get an eBook (PDF, EPUB or MOBI) version or a softcover.

HP Rolls Out Device-as-a-Service for PCs, Printers

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HP says it plans to provide companies with personal computers and other devices as part of a service. Corporate customers of HP’s new initiative dubbed “device-as-a-service” will be able to pay a fixed monthly fee per employee for devices, eliminating the need to pay the retail cost upfront for hardware. From a report on eWeek:The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company unveiled a DaaS (device-as-a-service) initiative, one that has already been up and running with several of its clients for the last few months. As more and more millennials come into the work force, they expect to see light, fast, small, and up-to-date tools to use, because that’s what they’re used to, and their tools are like a badge of honor, HPI’s Vice-President and General Manager of Support Services Bill Avey said. “Older employees might want bigger screen and keyboards. The point is, work tools need to fit the work force, and as workforces become more diverse, the tools must adjust fit the needs,” Avey said. Otherwise, Avey said, employees will find workarounds in so-called shadow IT (using their own laptops, smartphones, tablets and applications) to get the job done — which is always a nightmare for enterprise security professionals.

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The WRT54GL: A 54Mbps Router From 2005 Still Makes Millions For Linksys

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Jon Brodkin, reporting for Ars Technica:In a time when consumers routinely replace gadgets with new models after just two or three years, some products stand out for being built to last. Witness the Linksys WRT54GL, the famous wireless router that came out in 2005 and is still for sale. At first glance, there seems to be little reason to buy the WRT54GL in the year 2016. It uses the 802.11g Wi-Fi standard, which has been surpassed by 802.11n and 802.11ac. It delivers data over the crowded 2.4GHz frequency band and is limited to speeds of 54Mbps. You can buy a new router — for less money — and get the benefit of modern standards, expansion into the 5GHz band, and data rates more than 20 times higher. Despite all that, people still buy the WRT54GL in large enough numbers that Linksys continues to earn millions of dollars per year selling an 11-year-old product without ever changing its specs or design.

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Mozilla Releases First Build of Servo, Its Next-Generation Browser Engine

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An anonymous reader writes: As promised, Mozilla has released the first Nightly build of Servo, its new browser engine. This is the first tech demo of Servo, which Jack Moffitt, Servo project lead at Mozilla, described to us a few months ago as “a next-generation browser engine focused on performance and robustness.” Packages for macOS and Linux are available to download from here: Servo Developer Preview Downloads. Mozilla promises that Windows and Android packages will be available “soon.” And because this is Mozilla, you can check out all the code yourself over on GitHub.

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Ruby On Rails 5.0 Released

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steveb3210 writes: Today, Ruby On Rails released version 5.0.0 of the platform. Major new features include ActionCable which brings support for WebSockets and a slimmed-down API-only mode From the official blog post:After six months of polish, four betas, and two release candidates, Rails 5.0 is finally done! It’s taken hundreds of contributors and thousands of commits to get here, but what a destination: Rails 5.0 is without a doubt the best, most complete version of Rails yet. It’s incredible that this community is still going so strong after so long. Thanks to everyone who helped get us here. […] Note: As per our maintenance policy, the release of Rails 5.0 will mean that bug fixes will only apply to 5.0.x, regular security issues to 5.0.x and 4.2.x, and severe security issues also to 5.0.x and 4.2.x (but when 5.1 drops, to 5.1.x, 5.0.x, and 4.2.x). This means 4.1.x and below will essentially be unsupported! Ruby 2.2.2+ is now also the only supported version of Rails 5.0+.

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Why Twitter Can’t Even Protect Tech CEOs From Getting Hacked

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Over the past few weeks, we have seen a number of CEOs — including Google’s Sundar Pichai, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg — become victims of Twitter hacks. One must ask, what’s wrong with Twitter that so many people — including high-profile names — keep getting hacked? BuzzFeed dives deep into the problem, and says it’s how Twitter interacts with third-party apps that’s at fault. From the article:Over the past several weeks, however, a three-person hacking team called OurMine has made clear that years after the problem first came to light, third-party authentication is still a security nightmare for Twitter. By gaining access to apps with third-party write access, OurMine has been able to post to the Twitter accounts of tech bigwigs like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. In other words, whichever write-authorized app connected to your Twitter is least secure is exactly how secure your Twitter account is. […] The public nature of Twitter, whose main point is to share information as quickly and widely as possible, has made these attacks a much bigger issue for Jack Dorsey’s company than they are for Facebook. And there’s very little Twitter can do to solve the problem that doesn’t defeat the incentives for third-party writing privileges in the first place: Speed and functionality. Adding layers of security — like an extra login — to access Twitter through a third-party app defeats the purpose of speedy cross-platform sharing. And disabling third-party writing would anger developers and hurt engagement, a cost Twitter probably isn’t willing to bear.

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The New .NET Core 1.0 Is Here

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After nearly two years in the making, .NET Core 1.0 is here! Read on to find out what this announcement means for developers and how we’re working to support it.

Microsoft has just shipped the RTM of .NET Core 1.0, which represents a significant milestone in the evolution of .NET.

Scott Guthrie announced the open-sourcing of the .NET Core runtime and framework back in November 2014. Approximately 19 months later, .NET developers now have a new runtime and set of libraries available to them that are open source and supported across Windows, OS X and variants of Linux. Richard Lander describes the motivation for .NET Core in his announcement blog post, stating:

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