Display documents Indianapolis airport history

Posted: Monday, July 21, 2014 3:02 am
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Updated: 6:03 am, Mon Jul 21, 2014.

Display documents Indianapolis airport history

Associated Press |


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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Photographs and news clippings detailing the history of the Indianapolis International Airport are on display at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center.

The display highlights the history of the airport, which opened in 1931 as Indianapolis Municipal Airport and was known for years as Weir Cook Municipal Airport in honor of World War I pilot Harvey Weir Cook. The current airport’s terminal is named after the pilot.

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Monday, July 21, 2014 3:02 am.

Updated: 6:03 am.

Article source: http://www.thenewsdispatch.com/news/indiana_state_news/article_1b736f2b-07e5-50c1-8a12-3ce092066324.html

Shropshire worker denies downloading child porn on office computer

Police computer experts found a total of 131 indecent images of children had been created on Steven Yates’s computer at the office of McCartneys in Ludlow, Shrewsbury Crown Court was told yesterday.

Yates, 58, of Burford, Tenbury Wells, denies four counts of making indecent photographs of children between January 2010 and July 2012.

The court was told Yates had denied knowing about the images, telling police other staff had access to his computer.

Jurors were told the allegations came to light after a witness believed she had seen an image of a topless woman on Yates’s computer while he was sitting at his desk.

Bosses at the firm examined the computer and his internet search history, suspended Yates and called in the police.

Cross examining for the prosecution, Mr Phillip Beardwell suggested to Yates he deleted his internet search history after he realised the witness had spotted what he had been looking at.

Mr Beardwell said: “You had been caught out.”

Yates denied the claims and denied he was responsible for child porn images and said other people were able to work on his computer.

The trial continues.

Article source: http://www.shropshirestar.com/news/2014/07/18/shropshire-worker-denies-downloading-child-porn-on-office-computer/

How to Delete Your Internet Browser History

There are many reasons to delete your internet browser history. No matter what reason you choose, here’s how to delete it and hide your tracks.

First off, it’s important to note that your browser history and search history are two different things. This how-to guide will show you how to delete your browser history, but we also have a guide on how to delete your Google Search history as well.

Unless you browse with Incognito Mode  or Private Browsing Mode enabled, every single website you visit is saved in the web browser’s history. This can be a convenient feature to have, as it allows you to go back and find a website that you may have forgotten weeks later.

Furthermore, having a browser history makes it easier and quicker to browse the web in the first place. When a web browser saves your history, it saves the URLs as well, so when you go to type in a web address, your web browser will automatically fill it in if you’ve visited that website before.

Image Credit: Oliver

However, you may not want your web browser to save your browsing history, and we don’t blame you. Not only does it show what websites you’ve visited, but storing all of that information takes up storage space on your computer, and if you’re quickly running out of disk space, clearing your browser’s history and cache is a good place to start.

Here’s how you can delete your web browsing history on your desktop or laptop computer, with instructions for Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

Google Chrome

  • On Mac, start by clicking on History in the menubar at the top and selecting Show Full History at the bottom. On Windows, you’ll click the menu button in the upper-right corner and then click History.
  • Next, click Clear browsing data….
  • You’ll want to checkmark Browsing history, but you can also checkmark other options in the list while you’re at it.
  • You can also select how far back you want your browsing history deleted using the drop-down menu next to Obliterate the following items from:.
  • Once you’re happy with your selections, go ahead and click Clear browsing data.

Mozilla Firefox

  • On Mac, start by clicking on History in the menubar at the top and selecting Clear Recent History…. On Windows, click the orange Firefox button in the upper-left corner and navigate to History Clear Recent History….
  • You’ll want to make sure that Browsing Download History is checkmarked, but you can you also checkmark other items that you want to delete as well.
  • You can also select how far back you want your browsing history deleted using the drop-down menu next to Time range to clear:.
  • Once you’re happy with your selections, go ahead and click Clear Now.

Safari

Apple makes it a bit easier and much more no-frills to delete your internet browsing history.

  • Simply click on History in the menubar at the top, and then click Clear History… at the bottom of the drop-down menu.
  • You’ll get a pop-up prompt confirming the action. Click Clear to confirm and delete your browsing history.

Protect Yourself Next Time

If you don’t want your web browser to save your browsing history in the first place, be sure to open up a new window in Incognito Mode or Private Browsing Mode. This will make sure that any websites you visit don’t get saved to your history.

You can change the settings around so that your web browser doesn’t save any of your browsing history at all, even if you’re not in Private Browsing Mode. This settings can usually be found within the browser history menus where you erased your browsing history.

Article source: http://www.gottabemobile.com/2014/07/17/how-to-delete-your-internet-browser-history/

Building a virtual world, and computer skills, at Minecraft camp


7-14-2014, Siena College Minecraft camp. center, Michele McColgan, Ph.D., with (left) 10 year old Chase Mancini 11 year old Marcus Bollacker






Megan Rogers
Reporter- Albany Business Review

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Matt Kearney built fire at summer camp and he didn’t need matches or a lighter. He used his computer science and physics skills.

Kearney, a 15-year-old sophomore at Shaker High School, is one of about 80 students at a Minecraft-themed camp at Siena College, a private, liberal arts college in Loudonville, New York.

Minecraft is a computer game, but because it is so open ended, and doesn’t have many explicit goals, it defies explanation. The game takes players to a virtual world where they can build everything from houses to restaurants. In creative mode, players enhance their worlds by building such things with blocks. In other modes, they battle each other online.

The game’s rudimentary, pixilated graphics buck the trend of polished, lifelike games that dominate much of the industry.

In the words of 13-year-old-camper Ben McColgan, Minecraft lets you “make your own society.”

“It’s almost like training for what you can do in real life,” he says.

Campers used Java programming to add to and manipulate the Minecraft world. To build an object, like a sword or fire, Kearney and his peers design the sword and create its ‘recipe’ so Minecraft players can build the object when the game is live. Last week, younger campers calculated their speed in the real-world and compared that with their Minecraft speed.

“They think they’re playing Minecraft, but to be successful, they have to learn some computer science and Java code to be successful,” says Al Andrade, the director of the urban scholars program at Siena.

The curriculum was designed by Michele McColgan, a Siena College physics professor, who has led the camps for the past seven years. She developed the Minecraft curriculum after seeing how it grabbed her son’s attention.

“Kids go to sports camp and say, ‘I love Siena,’” she says. “I want them to say that because of our science programs.”

Curriculum is designed to be self-directed, so students can work at individual paces and “feel the exponential growth of learning every day,” she says.

High school and college students work as mentors alongside the campers. Two Siena College physics graduates led the lesson on designing, coding and introducing fire into Minecraft. A Siena College history student helped develop the curriculum for the history portion, where campers built a virtual Revolutionary War campsite.

This is the second and final week of Minecraft camps. The camps cost $300 per week and run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day.

Megan reports breaking news and covers education.


Article source: http://www.bizjournals.com/albany/morning_call/2014/07/building-a-virtual-world-and-computer-skills-at.html?page=all

Dorky, Snarky Artistic Interpretations of Famous Computer Viruses

In the fanciful “Computer Virus Catalogue,” you’ll find weird artistic interpretations of some of the most well-known computer viruses in history. They range from very literal to extremely surreal — and most capture the destructive, adolescent spirit that drives people to make viruses in the first place. (Mildly NSFW)

Above, you can see Saïd Kinos‘ interpretation of the Ika-Tako virus, which disguised itself as a music file on P2P networks, and replaced as many files as it could with pictures of squid.

I love this interpretation of the Cookie Monster virus by Lawrence Slater, because I always imagine virus writers reading that exact book. Cookie Monster was the first computer virus, created in the 1960s, which froze people’s machines and demanded cookies.

You can’t have a virus art show without Stuxnet, and here it is, imagined by Mel Nguyen as a terrifying-looking version of a biological virus crossed with a psychedelic version of an old Donkey Kong game. Stuxnet was a Windows worm created as a weapon by the U.S. and Israeli governments, to infect computers associated with Iran’s nuclear power plants.

Yep, this is pretty much how I imagine every computer virus. This is the infamous Sircam worm, imagined by artist Alyar Aynetchi. The worm’s main goal in life was to send an email message containing these exact words to every contact in your Outlook email manager. Yay!

See more incredibly goofy interpretations of viruses and worms over at the Computer Virus Catalogue.

Article source: http://io9.com/if-computer-viruses-were-made-by-artists-this-is-how-t-1606256591

Building a virtual world, and computer skills, at Minecraft camp


7-14-2014, Siena College Minecraft camp. center, Michele McColgan, Ph.D., with (left) 10 year old Chase Mancini 11 year old Marcus Bollacker






Megan Rogers
Reporter- Albany Business Review

Email
 | 
LinkedIn
 | 
Twitter

Matt Kearney built fire at summer camp and he didn’t need matches or a lighter. He used his computer science and physics skills.

Kearney, a 15-year-old sophomore at Shaker High School, is one of about 80 students at a Minecraft-themed camp at Siena College, a private, liberal arts college in Loudonville, New York.

Minecraft is a computer game, but because it is so open ended, and doesn’t have many explicit goals, it defies explanation. The game takes players to a virtual world where they can build everything from houses to restaurants. In creative mode, players enhance their worlds by building such things with blocks. In other modes, they battle each other online.

The game’s rudimentary, pixilated graphics buck the trend of polished, lifelike games that dominate much of the industry.

In the words of 13-year-old-camper Ben McColgan, Minecraft lets you “make your own society.”

“It’s almost like training for what you can do in real life,” he says.

Campers used Java programming to add to and manipulate the Minecraft world. To build an object, like a sword or fire, Kearney and his peers design the sword and create its ‘recipe’ so Minecraft players can build the object when the game is live. Last week, younger campers calculated their speed in the real-world and compared that with their Minecraft speed.

“They think they’re playing Minecraft, but to be successful, they have to learn some computer science and Java code to be successful,” says Al Andrade, the director of the urban scholars program at Siena.

The curriculum was designed by Michele McColgan, a Siena College physics professor, who has led the camps for the past seven years. She developed the Minecraft curriculum after seeing how it grabbed her son’s attention.

Megan reports breaking news and covers education.


Article source: http://www.bizjournals.com/albany/morning_call/2014/07/building-a-virtual-world-and-computer-skills-at.html

Visualized: The Weirdest, Wildest Viruses In Computer History

Founded and curated by Amsterdam-based writer Bas Van de Poel, the Computer Virus Catalog collects the weirdest viruses from the annals of computer history, and visualizes them as art. By pairing a computer virus with a graphic designer, Van de Poel’s project is a wonderful tribute to the history of chaos, computers, and code.

Most computer viruses today operate with the sole purpose of making money; surreptitious programs that sit on your computer, slurp up your credit card numbers, or trojans that turn your computer into zombie slaves devoted to harvesting bitcoin. But that’s not what writing a computer virus used to be about.

The weirdest viruses in the annals of computing weren’t written to make money. They were written by tech-savvy agents of chaos, and their motivations were simple: to subvert the dependable logic and order of computing on as massive a scale as possible. They were almost works of art in their own right.

Lawrence Slate, Cookie Monster

Consider the first computer virus, Cookie Monster. Created in the late 1960s, the virus was mostly harmless. Incessantly demanding cookies, the malware would freeze your computer until you satiated its appetite by typing the word “cookie” at the prompt. For the Computer Virus Catalog, this virus is captured by artist Lawrence Slate as a rampaging blue muppet, reading a Computer Viruses for Dummies book, all done in the style of art from the ’60s.

And many of the best viruses invaded the DOS operating system in the ’80s and ’90s. The Techno virus, for example, would corrupt programs, taking over the system audio to blare a techno track while scrawling the word “Techno” on the screen, but only one out of every 10 times, driving infected users to question their own sanity when they couldn’t reproduce the effect. Joost Nick represent this as a bitmap rave between Tron-like dancers.

Jonathan Zawada, Lichen

Similarly, the Lichen virus infected programs, then only activated one month later; whenever there was no keyboard activity in an app for longer than a minute, the virus produced “lichen inspired visuals best described as kryptonite on crack.” And sure enough, for the Computer Virus Catalog, artist Jonathan Zawada has given us an intriguing look at what kryptonite on crack looks like, with the digital lichen seemingly taking inspiration from the green-hued screens of old ’80s monitors.

Looking over the Catalog, it feels like something has almost been lost. Because when they weren’t actually infecting your machine, the viruses of the past could be wonderful, replacing all of the files on your computer with pictures of squids or simulating an LSD hallucination. Compared to the malware of yesteryear, the computer virus has sold out.

Article source: http://www.fastcodesign.com/3033139/infographic-of-the-day/visualized-the-weirdest-wildest-viruses-in-computer-history

Deb Socia helps the disadvantaged learn essential computer skills

Anyone looking for a job these days knows that the search is nearly all done online, from finding openings to submitting an application and résumé. Student research projects and scholarship applications have moved online, too.

But what if your only access to a computer or the Internet is for a half-hour at a school or public library? What if you don’t even have an e-mail account?

Those without Internet access (often people who are very poor) are finding it increasingly difficult to undertake essential everyday tasks like these.

Recommended: STEM Heroines: Math role models for girls

An estimated 60 million people in the United States live without access to a home computer or the Internet, according to a study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. And an estimated 40 million people have access only to a smart phone, which is not the easiest way to fill out a job application or research and write a school paper.

Enter Deb Socia, a lifelong educator and former principal who has become a technology champion for the very poor, those with disabilities, seniors, and immigrants. Her goal is to help them gain access to and understand how to use the Internet – two things that most people take for granted.

Ms. Socia is the driving force behind Tech Goes Home, a program administered by OpenAirBoston, a nonprofit group that helps give Boston residents the tools, training, and access needed to successfully go online.

Tech Goes Home connects Boston residents who make $20,000 a year or less and who may have never sent an e-mail before with schools, community programs, and government agencies. Socia and her small team also raise funds and find volunteers to help these residents learn how to send e-mails, search for housing and jobs, and create and send digital résumés.

These are critical skills in a world where some 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies – including huge employers such as Wal-Mart and Target – only accept online applications.

The program also includes 15 hours of hands-on classroom training and a new small, inexpensive laptop or other mobile device (available for a $50 co-payment). For those who are eligible, the program provides access to low-cost home Internet service, too.

Participants leave the program changed: Retirees are able to see their grandchildren via a Skype video call for the first time, parents who have been out of work for years find jobs, and members of communities become better connected with each other.

Carl Baty asked to be included in the program when he worked at a halfway house helping with some of the toughest cases. Socia and her crew sprang into action, and soon Mr. Baty and four of the nine men living in the house were taking the free class.

Each man saw major shifts in his life, Baty says.

Baty had wanted to start his own business helping people recovering from addiction get back on their feet. “I was two years out of a 47-year addiction and nobody, nobody wanted to talk to me about anything,” he says.

But Tech Goes Home did. Baty took the small-business class and learned how to create a Facebook page that helped his business, called Rounding the Bases, get on its feet. “Every time I post something on Facebook,” Baty says, “Deb is always, always the first one to see it and post something. How does she do that?” Her involvement still touches him.

Socia, who is just 4 feet, 11 inches tall and comes from a large Portuguese-American family in New Bedford, Mass., is not known for sitting still for long. She has raised two boys with special needs, reads about five books a week, sits on two nonprofit boards, travels to Washington to petition lawmakers, volunteers regularly at a senior center (where she serves a proper English tea), is passionate about fairness in education – and expects results.

“We don’t let logistics get in the way around here,” says her colleague, Dan Noyes, who shares an office with Socia, with a playful smile.

“There is a solution for every problem,” Socia says matter-of-factly. “The question is, What does it look like?”

Take, for example, the way Socia became involved with Tech Goes Home. About a decade ago she took on the job of principal at a new school in Dorchester, an economically challenged Boston neighborhood. The budget constraints were so severe that she was not permitted to hire any staff until July, even though the doors of the school were to open in September.

When the school year got under way, it was clear that some students were at a serious disadvantage.

“If you have two children who are both in AP [advanced placement] history, both equally talented, equally motivated, and equally interested,” she explains, “and this child has access [to the Internet] at home and this child doesn’t, and they get an assignment today to do some research, how can you possibly … judge them the same way?”

And that, Socia says, was why she got involved. “The inherent unfairness … is really what pushed me to want to focus on this work,” she says.

Despite the naysaying of skeptics and the challenge of jumping through bureaucratic hoops, she was determined that her students would all have their own computers. Socia and her team at the Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School reached out to Tech Goes Home, which at the time was helping supply students in low-income areas with refurbished desktop computers, while also teaching rudimentary computer skills to adults.

Socia saw the potential in Tech Goes Home, and began fundraising to revamp the program to better suit her school’s needs. The effort included finding funds to turn her school into the first urban middle school in the state to ensure that every student had a computer and understood how to use it.

Her students’ grades went up. To the surprise of some observers, no students lost their computers. On top of that, more than 85 percent of the students who completed the 15-hour program began regularly using their computer to do homework, Socia says.

“But the greatest thing as an educator,” she says, “was the increase in first-time parent participation at school.”  

The involvement of parents can greatly help a child’s performance in school, Socia says. Before the program started training parents and children in how to use computers, she says, about 200 parents would attend her school’s open houses. After the program started, she began to see 1,000 or more parents showing up.

Almost 70 percent of the parents who enrolled in the program had never before participated in any school activities with their children. For 80 percent of the participating Spanish-speaking parents it was the first time they had attended a school event.

Socia was so successful that the city of Boston asked her to revamp the entire Tech Goes Home program. She helped write a federal grant application and, after seven years as school principal, left to join Tech Goes Home as executive director.

The year before she took over, Tech Goes Home had helped train some 600 residents (a third of them from her school). In the four years since, she and her team – two full-time staff members and one AmeriCorps volunteer – have transformed and broadened the program: Today, more than 10,000 families have benefited from it.

Socia has also helped expand Tech Goes Home partnerships beyond schools and families to other community institutions, such as libraries, community centers, and housing associations. At these the program reaches new immigrants, disabled people, and seniors.

“We changed the program entirely so that it became about ‘how do you help someone improve their quality of life?’ ” Socia says.

“How do we help people find resources that support them? How do we help them learn something new that could help their job prospects? How do we help them save money? How do we help them find culturally relevant, fun activities?”

Socia remains the driving force behind Tech Goes Home, Mr. Noyes says.

“She’s never letting us settle for the status quo, even if the status quo is good,” he says. “It’s like, ‘Well, let’s make it a bit better – but also be realistic.’ ”

• To learn more about Tech Goes Home, visit http://www.techgoeshome.org.

HOW TO TAKE ACTION

Universal Giving helps people give to and volunteer for top-performing charitable organizations around the world. Projects are vetted by Universal Giving; 100 percent of each donation goes directly to the listed cause. Below are groups selected by Universal Giving that provide job skills training or other aid to help lift people out of poverty worldwide:

• Rural Communities Empowerment Center provides resources and services to achieve high levels of literacy in rural Ghana. Take action: Help a girl become computer literate.

• Nepal Youth Foundation brings hope to destitute children in Nepal by providing education, housing, medical care, and support. Take action: Rescue girls from bonded servitude.

• Give A Day Global offers volunteer opportunities that help underprivileged women through education, microfinance loans, and more. Take action: Help women with microfinance loans in Kenya.

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Article source: http://news.yahoo.com/deb-socia-helps-disadvantaged-learn-essential-computer-skills-124003176.html

Louisiana camp uses popular Minecraft computer game to teach



LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — Students at Bishop Noland Episcopal Day School spent a recent week playing a popular video game during the school’s first Minecraft Camp.

Minecraft, a game that involves creating and building structures out of textured cubes, has over 100 million users and has become increasingly popular among school-age children.

Candace Marque, school curriculum coordinator, said she heard about the game from her students and children. She recently began reading articles on education blogs about how to incorporate the game in a learning environment.

Marque said she found that a modification for the game had been created solely for teachers to use in their classrooms and decided to use it for a weeklong camp.

“This game is all about problem-based learning,” she said. “It engages learners to problem solve. They use visual and spatial skills, interpersonal skills, collaboration and creativity.”

Marque said 36 kids attended the camp during daily, three-hour sessions. She said the group’s first project was working in a pre-created world about ancient history.

“A teacher from the International School of Kuwait uploaded a world that he made called ‘The World of Humanities,’ ” Marque said. “There’s all these replicas built within the game of international monuments like the Roman Colosseum. The kids can also visit ancient civilizations like ancient China and ancient Egypt.”

She said characters in the world include Aristotle and Confucius, who talk with the students and send them on quests.

On Thursday, Marque said, the students began working on their second project — building a replica of their school. Marque said she gave students a flat, grass landscape. The students were instructed to work together to create the different parts of the building.

“Students keep popping up to go measure things because we agreed our unit of measure would be our 12-inch tiles that we have on the floor, but we are going to build it half the size,” Marque said.

“They had to learn to negotiate and collaborate really quickly about who’s going to build which parts of the school, materials to use, just a lot of decisions they had to make up front.”

Marque said some things have worked out perfectly, but other times the first solution didn’t work. “What I’ve learned is that Minecraft is a really great place for them to fail and try again,” she said. “It’s nothing but time, practice and collaboration.”

Marque said that instead of answering students’ questions, she tries to advise and redirect them to teach one another.

Seventh-grader McKenzie Matthews said she was trying to fix a hallway door. “I’m trying to figure out why I can’t place the blocks,” Matthews said. “If I can’t figure it out, I’ll have to ask someone to help me.”

Sixth-grader Jacob Ardoin said he and Sophia Hadon, also in sixth grade, were also working on a doorway. “We got all of these the same except for that one because we messed up on the entrance,” Ardoin said. “That’s our vice principal’s office, and we can’t move it. We’re trying to figure out how to make it the right size.”

Marque said she is hoping now that the school has the Minecraft education software, she can create a technology club or incorporate it into some after-school activities.

Article source: http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2014/jul/13/louisiana-camp-uses-popular-minecraft-computer-gam/?CID=happeningnow

Why Apple’s Swift Language Will Instantly Remake Computer Programming

Apple CEO Tim Cook walks off stage after the keynote at the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference, when it unveiled a new programming language called Swift. Justin Sullivan/Getty

Chris Lattner spent a year and a half creating a new programming language—a new way of designing, building, and running computer software—and he didn’t mention it to anyone, not even his closest friends and colleagues.

He started in the summer of 2010, working at night and on weekends, and by the end of the following year, he’d mapped out the basics of the new language. That’s when he revealed his secret to the top executives at his company, and they were impressed enough to put a few other seasoned engineers on the project. Then, after another eighteen months, it became a “major focus” for the company, with a huge team of developers working alongside Lattner, and that meant the new language would soon change the world of computing. Lattner, you see, works for Apple.

The language is called Swift, and on June 2, Apple released a test version to coders outside the company, billing it as a faster and more effective means of building software apps for iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Even then, four years after Lattner first envisioned the language, it came as a shock to all but a limited number of Apple insiders. Vikram Adve was Lattner’s graduate adviser at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, helping him fashion the software that would serve as the foundation for Swift, but Adve was just as surprised as anyone that his former student had spent so many years building a new programming language. “Apple is so tightlipped, and Chris has drunk the Apple Kool-Aid,” Adve says, laughing. “I knew he was working on a project that dominated his time, but that’s all I knew.”

Typically, when a new language appears like this—out of nowhere—it needs years to reach a mass audience. This is true even if it’s backed by a tech giant the size of Apple. Google unveiled a language called Go in 2009, and though it was designed by some of the biggest names in the history of software design—Ken Thompson and Rob Pike—it’s still struggling to gain a major following among the world’s coders. But Swift is a different animal. When it’s officially released this fall, it could achieve mass adoption with unprecedented speed, surpassing even the uptake of Sun Microsystems’ Java programming language and Microsoft’s C# in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Part of Swift’s edge is that it’s built for the average programmer. It’s designed for coding even the simplest of mobile apps, and with a rather clever tool Apple calls “Playgrounds,” it offers an unusually effective way of teaching yourself to code. But the larger point here is that such an enormous number of programmers have an immediate reason to use Swift. Today, hundreds of thousands of developers build apps for iPhones and iPads using a language called Objective-C, and due to the immense popularity of Apple’s consumer gadgets, these coders will keep building such apps. But Swift is a significant improvement over Objective-C—in many respects—and this means the already enormous community of iPhone and iPad developers are sure to embrace the new language in the months to come.

“With Google Go, there was no real incentive to use it,” says Paul Jansen, who has tracked the progress of the world’s programming languages for nearly fifteen years with the Tiobe Index, an independent, if rather controversial, measure of coder mindshare. “The difference with Swift is that there is incentive.”

Even now, with the new language available to only a limited number of coders, over 2,400 projects on GitHub—the popular repository for open source software—are already using Swift, and this month, it debuted at number 16 on Tiobe’s list of the world’s most-discussed languages. Yes, something similar happened when Go debuted in 2009, and the Google language has since fallen much lower on the list. But that automatic incentive that Jensen describes will only push Swift higher up the ladder.

Because of Swift’s unique position at the heart of the Apple universe, says Facebook programming language guru Andrei Alexandrescu, all it has to do is “not suck.” There’s a certain truth to his quip, and at the same time, the language very much exceeds this low barrier to entry. “People will jump to this new language because it’s so much easier to code in,” Jensen says. “They have to use either Objective-C or Swift, and most people will go for Swift.”

More Than a Language

Chris Lattner oversees all of Apple’s developer tools—all the tools that let both Apple engineers and outside coders build software for the company’s PCs, laptops, phones, and tablets. As a graduate student at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, working under Vikram Adve, he created a kind of meta developer tool called LLVM, and this creation now underpins Xcode, Apple’s primary tool for building software, a tool who’s latest incarnation has been downloaded over 14 million times. Basically, LLVM is a way of generating and running new applications, and it can be molded for use with any programming language.

Apple

After Lattner joined Apple in 2005, the company used LLVM to remake the way developers used Objective-C to build apps for its hardware. And then, five years later, Lattner used it as the foundation for Swift. He declined to be interviewed for this article without the approval of Apple’s PR arm—which did not respond to our interview request—but he briefly discusses the evolution of Swift on his personal homepage. Whatever the particulars of this long project, the reality is that Lattner built Swift specifically to work in tandem with Apple’s existing developer tools—even to provide coders with a way of using Swift alongside Objective-C.

In other words, Swift isn’t just a language. It’s a language that’s tightly woven with everything developers need to build their software. This includes not only an integrated development environment, or IDE—an interface where coders can actually write their software—but also various other tools, such as a debugger that can help weed errors from their code. And most of these tools are familiar to every Apple developer. In short, there’s a clear on-ramp to Swift for the tens of thousands of coders already building apps for iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

Coders still need good reasons to make the switch from Objective-C to Swift. After all, they’ve never worked with Swift—”I’ll be the first and only guy with four years of Swift programming experience,” Lattner wrote on Twitter—and learning something like this requires some time and dedication. Typically, that’s a big hurdle to overcome. “Most new languages just don’t go anywhere and the few that do, it takes a long, long time for them to get any traction,” says Mike Ash, a developer who has spent the last fifteen years building software for Apple hardware and is now delving deeply into the company’s new language.

But for Ash and others, Lattner and Apple have already provided those good reasons. In and of itself, Swift isn’t that much more attractive than many other languages available to the world of software coders, including C#, Ruby, Python, and others. But it’s a big advance over Objective-C, a language that dates back to the mid-80s and, frankly, isn’t as easy to use as more modern languages. “A lot of people were really put off by Objective-C and its unusual syntax,” Ash says. “Swift, with its more regular syntax, standard syntax, can really help with getting those people interested.”

Swift is not only more familiar to contemporary coders—offering things like “generics,” basic building blocks you can use over and over again—it includes several tools designed to better protect programmers from mistakes and bugs. Among other things, it provides what’s called “inferred typing,” which basically means that coders don’t have to spend so much time defining what types of variables they’re using. “It’s more of a helpful language. It understands what you’re doing a little bit better and allows the computer to help you figure it out a bit better,” Ash says. “It makes for a more productive programmer. It lets you get more done in less time.”

And then there’s Playgrounds, which many, including Vikram Adve, call the most interesting aspect of the new language.

Inside the Playgrounds

Playgrounds, Lattner says on his homepage, is meant to make programming “more interactive and approachable.” It was heavily influenced, he explains, by the philosophies of a designer named Bret Victor and an existing interactive programming system called Light Table. Much like Light Table, it lets you write code on one side of your computer screen and see the results appear on the other side. In other words, you can watch your program run as you write it.

Swift’s interactive “Playgrounds.” Apple

When Lattner helped unveil Swift at Apple’s massive developer conference at the beginning of June, he showed how Playgrounds let him make real-time changes to a kind of animated circus game. Basically, the tool can add new code to live software without recompiling and restarting the entire thing. “When you make a change, it injects the change into a running process—into the version of the program that is currently running,” says Chris Granger, one of the creators of Light Table.

The aim is not only to make coding easier, but to provide a better way of learning to program—to bring this skill to a whole new type of person. “I hope that by making programming more approachable and fun,” Lattner writes, “we’ll appeal to the next generation of programmers and to help redefine how computer science is taught.”

Light Table can do much the same thing—and do it with multiple languages, including Python, Clojure, and Javascript. But for Granger, Playgrounds can be particularly useful because Swift was specifically designed to work with it. And vice versa. “Because they control the language–because they created the language—they could target being able to do this sort of thing,” he says. “They can do things we just can’t do with other languages.”

This too gives people an immediate incentive to adopt Swift. For any programming language, the main thing that prevents widely spread adoption is that coders just don’t have the time to learn it. But Playgrounds has the power to actually reduce the time that’s needed. According to Ash, Playgrounds is still a bit buggy, but the potential is there to significantly streamline the coding process. “Usually, there’s this really long cycle—long feedback cycle—where you try to figure out what you’re doing,” he says. “But the instant feedback provided by Playgrounds can be huge in getting new people into the field.”

The Need For Complete Speed

What Playgrounds also shows is that Swift is extremely fast—in every respect. It compiles quickly, transforming from raw code into an executable software app, and then that app executes quickly, meaning it runs on your phone or tablet at high speed. This, too, can set Swift apart from other popular languages.

Traditionally, there was a gap between compiled programming languages, such as Objective-C and C++, and interpreted languages, such as Python and Ruby and PHP. With compiled languages, after you wrote your code, you had to wait for your compiler to turn it into executable software, but once it was built, this executable software ran extremely fast. Interpreted languages let you test your program nearly instantly, but in the end, it didn’t run as quickly.

Swift bridges this gap, giving you the best of both worlds. The new language makes it far easier to build and run something without sacrificing how quickly it can run. As Ash puts it, Swift is “friendly to programmers and still friendly to the machine.” He says “it still remains to be seen how this will work out,” but he calls Apple’s work “promising so far.”

Apple isn’t the only one playing in this area. Facebook is trying something similar with languages called Hack and D. Google is exploring this ground with Go. And Mozilla, maker of the Firefox web browser, is doing much the same with a language known as Rust. In some respects, these languages are much further along than Swift. Facebook is already using Hack to rebuild its massive online service, and Google is using Go to revamp its own internal operation.

What’s more, most of these languages are open source, meaning the code behind their designs is freely available to the world at large. They can, in theory, spread more easily to devices and services from other companies. Swift isn’t open source—at least not yet—and given Apple’s history of so tightly controlling its software and hardware, some question whether a certain corporate heavy-handedness will limit the progress of the language. “There are some worries where Apple might limit the language’s direction—being able to write cross-platform code and things that,” Ash says, referring to the ability to run the language across non-Apple devices.

Even still, Swift is likely to spread at a speed those other languages can’t. Eventually, Ash believes, Apple will open source Swift, and he’s confident the language will flourish outside of the company’s control—mainly because the project is run by Lattner, who has a long history with open source software. “With Chris running the show, I think we can trust him to make the right decisions,” he says. Before Swift, Lattner created something called Clang, a new program for compiling software. As with Swift, he started the project in secret and then took it to Apple, and the company soon embraced it in big way. The kicker is that Clang was open sourced, and now, it’s used by so many others across the industry, including Google.

But even if Swift remains an Apple-only thing, it’s impact could be greater than any other language that has sprung up in recent years, and it may achieve mass adoption faster than any language in modern history. Such is the leverage of all those iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Yes, so many other languages can do most of the same stuff that Swift can do—and some may do it better. In Light Table, there’s even an alternative to Playgrounds. But Swift is still unique.

Article source: http://www.wired.com/2014/07/apple-swift/