Technology News Worth Reading

Here are a few technology news stories that I’ve read in the past week or so.

News Headlines

How to Convert a PDF to PNG or JPG in Java

This article reviews three Conversion APIs that will allow you to convert any PDF document into an image. This includes conversion to a PNG or JPG array with one image created per page in your document. The article also discusses how you can merge and stack your PDF pages for conversion into a single PNG, or “tall” image. The goal for this tutorial is to simplify and improve your versatility for document display and sharing. Furthermore, as most documents can be converted to PDF, you can apply these APIs to any file, post-PDF-conversion. Read the DZone article.

Popular JavaScript Frameworks to Build API and Microservices

This Dzone post discusses the most popular JavaScript frameworks used to build APIs and Microservices. Microservices and APIs are often being confused for each other. In reality, they are 2 separate concepts altogether, where API is a communication pattern and microservices are an architectural pattern. Read the DZone article.

How to Build Real-Time Notification Service Using Server-Sent Events (SSE)

Most of the communication on the Internet comes directly from the clients to the servers. The client usually sends a request, and the server responds to that request. There are some scenarios in which the server needs to send a message to the client without the preceding request. In such cases, developers have a couple of options: use short and long polling, webhooks, websockets, or event streaming platforms like Kafka. However, there is another technology, not popularized enough, which in many cases, is just perfect for the job. This technology is the Server-Sent Events (SSE) standard. Read the DZone article.

Facebook Announces Beta Messenger API Support for Instagram

Facebook announces updates to the Messenger API to support Instagram messaging, giving businesses new tools to manage their customer communications on Instagram at scale. The new API features enable businesses to integrate Instagram messaging with their preferred business applications and workflows; helping drive more meaningful conversations, increase customer satisfaction and grow sales. The updated API is currently in beta with a limited number of developer partners and businesses. Read the Facebook announcement.

IBM Unveils New Capabilities for Preserving Aging Infrastructure Using AI, 3D Modeling and Data Capture

IBM announces new capabilities in IBM Maximo for Civil Infrastructure to help prolong the lifespan of aging bridges, tunnels, highways, and railways. New enhancements include the ability to deploy on Red Hat OpenShift for hybrid cloud environments, as well as new AI and 3D model annotation tools that can provide deep industry and task-specific insights to support engineers. “Tools like AI, predictive maintenance, drones and hybrid cloud will play an important role in meeting the challenge of rising infrastructure costs, and helping these vital structures endure for future generations,” said Bjarne Jørgensen, Executive Director, Asset Management at Sund and Baelt. “These solutions can help determine the exact need for maintenance in near real-time to assist organizations in extending the lifetime of structures.” Read the press release.

13 Tools to Monitor Remote Teams (Plus Tips)

How do employers ensure that their remote teams remain productive? This is where remote monitoring tools come into the picture. Remote monitoring tools are an excellent way for companies to continue moving with the tide without compromising the productivity of their remote employees or micromanaging them. This DZone article discusses 13 of the most popular remote monitoring tools.

Building a C++ VCL Customer/Sales Master/Detail/Charting Application with 1 Line of Code

These days low-code development is en vogue. Various research groups, such as Gartner, put the low-code application development platform market at ~$10M billion in 2019 and project CAGR to be greater than 20% from 2020 to 2027. This post shows how you can build a Windows C++ Customer/Sales, Master/Detail/Charting application that only needs 1 line of code.

Things to consider when running visual tests in CI/CD pipelines

This blog post contains a summary of the author’s recent webinar and focuses on demos that show how to handle visual testing in CI/CD. The demos focused on 3 different CI/CD scenarios: Azure DevOps, GitHub Actions and Container Based Pipelines.

An Open Source Sorting Algorithms Visualizer

This GitHub project is a tool, made with python and pygame, for visualizing sorting algorithms in an educational way. The project’s purpose is to portray several sorting algorithms so the user can understand how a computer “move some pieces” to achieve the goal of having sorted data at the end!

A faster way to prototype your APIs using OpenAPI 3 and Swagger UI

The goal of this GitHub project is to create a generator that conveniently creates API definitions in the OpenAPI 3 format using marshmallow classes and saves them into a YAML file. You can think this project as programmable API definitions/documentation for your API (your API can be written in any language, not only in Python). Python is used here just for convenience of describing classes and has less code yet strong typing. Then you can inject the generated YAML file with Swagger UI to any project (just a page that renders Swagger UI HTML code which requests the generated YAML file).

Fun With SQL Using Postgres and Azure Data Studio

Azure Data Studio is a cross-platform database tool for data professionals using the Microsoft family of on-premises and cloud data platforms on Windows, macOS, and Linux. It is very easy to install and offers a modern editor experience with IntelliSense, code snippets, source control integration, and an integrated terminal. It’s engineered with the data platform user in mind, with the built-in charting of query result sets and customizable dashboards. You can learn more about it from the official website on this link. ADS also has notebooks that are similar to Jupiter notebooks for python and other languages and are great for combining formatted text with code. You can execute queries via a query window or via a notebook window. This post discusses some of the basics and at the same time shares the author’s experience using Azure Data Studio.

AppSec vs. DevSecOps, and what that means for developers

Traditional application security is different in two key ways from what has come to be known as DevSecOps. First, modern software companies are integrating application security into their DevOps pipelines, so security becomes part of the flow. Second, it’s also about DevOps being built into application security. In this SD Times article, Patrick Carey, who leads product strategy in the Software Integrity Group at security solutions provider Synopsys, explains these differences. By building application security into your automated development environment, he said, security “is initiated through events, rather than necessarily a phase where somebody at the end of the line, whose job it is to make sure that you didn’t screw up and code a vulnerability,” does the testing. On the other side of that coin, building DevOps into AppSec, eliminates the gates created by traditional DAST or pen-testing tools, creating instead guardrails that allow the team to move forward with relatively low friction but to stay on track. In the traditional gated pass-fail system, “if you fail you got your vulnerability report that just said you know there were a bunch of vulnerabilities, but oh, by the way we can’t tell you exactly where those are in your code; your developer’s going to have to go figure that out.”

5 edge computing predictions for 2021

The new business models that will push edge computing “from science project to real value” in 2021 are largely based around two factors, Forrester said: Cloud platforms having to compete with artificial intelligence, and the widespread proliferation of 5G will make edge use cases more practical. With those two drivers in mind, Forrester made five predictions about how the tech world will evolve in 2021 that will directly impact edge computing. Read the article that lists Forrester’s predictions.

Technology News Worth Reading

Here are a few technology news stories that I’ve read in the past week or so.

News Headlines

Cloud Native Computing Foundation Announces Rook Graduation

Rook is an open source cloud native storage orchestrator for Kubernetes, providing the platform, framework, and support for a diverse set of storage solutions to natively integrate with cloud native environments. Rook delivers its services via a Kubernetes Operator for each storage provider. It was originally accepted as a CNCF project in 2018. It is the thirteenth CNCF project, and the first project based on block, file, or object storage, to graduate. Read the announcement article

How is Robotics Changing the Healthcare Industry?

Robotics is changing the healthcare industry in a lot of fundamental ways. Robots can manage the monotonous and repetitive tasks while leaving the doctors and nurses free to do the critical tasks they were trained for. This article discusses the wide variety of applications that robotics has in healthcare to make the lives of both doctors and patients much easier. Read the article.

Looking for the Next Step in Cloud Performance? Look to Data Center Design

In the near future, data centers will need specialized storage and compute areas that are segregated from each other. For example, when designing a floor plan, it’s likely we’ll see data center operators walling off Compute-as-a-Service from Storage-as-a-Service. This can help solve issues around cooling, which is paramount to eliminating waste and improving performance. However, it doesn’t fully solve the issue of accessibility and latency speeds. Read the post.

Object Detection from 9 FPS to 650 FPS

This article is a practical deep dive into making a specific deep learning model (Nvidia’s SSD300) run fast on a powerful GPU server, but the general principles apply to all GPU programming. The SSD300 is an object-detection model trained on COCO, so output will be bounding boxes with probabilities for 81 classes of object.

Product Demo Sucks Because It’s Focused on Your Product

In this exclusive interview, Falcone shares the structure of a winning product demo and the tactics he’s discovered to convince people that they need your product in just one conversation. one of the easiest and biggest mistakes he sees is that companies don’t effectively craft their demo to fit their specific audience — i.e. they don’t distill their dozens of features and selling points into the few that will really resonate with this particular investor, prospect, or even prospective employee.

Computer Scientists Break Traveling Salesperson Record

In a paper posted online, Klein and his advisers at the University of Washington, Anna Karlin and Shayan Oveis Gharan, have finally achieved a goal computer scientists have pursued for nearly half a century: a better way to find approximate solutions to the traveling salesperson problem. Read the article. Read the paper.

The Gap: Where Machine Learning Education Falls Short

As the field of machine learning has become ever more popular, a litany of online courses has emerged claiming to teach the skills necessary to “build a career in AI”. But before signing up for such a course, you should know whether the skills acquired will directly allow you to apply machine learning better. These questions are not limited to online courses but rather encompass machine learning classes that have begun to fill lecture halls at many universities. Are these classes that students flock towards actually helping them achieve their practical goals? Read the article.

10 Popular Backend APIs

A Backend API is an Application Programming Interface that developers can use to integrate with backend services. A great place to find these APIs is in the Backend or Backend as a Service categories in the ProgrammableWeb API directory. This article gives details to the ten most popular Backend APIs on ProgrammableWeb, based on website traffic.

The unreasonable effectiveness of the Julia programming language

Six years ago, the author wrote about the enduring prominence of Fortran for scientific computing and compared it with several other languages. That article with a prediction that, in 10 years, a new language called Julia stood a good chance of becoming the one that scientists would turn to when tackling large-scale numerical problems. The author’s prediction was not very accurate, though. It actually only took Julia about half that time. Read the article.

Big Tech, Out-of-Control Capitalism and the End of Civilization

“Our digital era is a blend of “utopia and dystopia,” says Tristan Harris, who left Google to cofound The Center for Humane Technology (a phrase that sounds increasingly oxymoronic). “I can hit a button on my phone and a car shows up in 30 seconds and I can go exactly where I need to go. That is magic.” But Harris fears tech’s ill effects are outweighing its benefits. “If we don’t agree on truth,” he says, “or even that there is such a thing as truth, we’re toast.” Read the complete Scientific American article.

10 Best Text Annotation Tools and Services for Machine Learning

In the AI research and development industries, annotated data is gold. Large quantities of high-quality annotated data is a goldmine. On the other hand, sometimes finding or creating this data can be an expensive and arduous task for your team. Fortunately, there are a variety of text annotation tools and services available that can provide you with the data you need. Some of these services include entity extraction, part-of-speech tagging, sentiment analysis, and more. Read the DZone article.

30+ Tools List for GitOps

Speaking of the right tools for the job, there are countless tools to help you integrate the GitOps approach with your existing workflows. Some of the tools supporting GitOps are so popular that you may even be using it in your existing pipeline. To help you get started, here are the tools that we recommend if you want to incorporate GitOps. Read the post.