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360° IT Check #7 - Celebrating 10 years of Kotlin, a Pandemic of Cyberthreats, the results of the annual Stack Overflow survey are in, and more!

360° IT Check is a weekly publication where we bring you the latest and greatest in the world of tech. We cover topics like emerging technologies & frameworks, news about innovative startups, and other topics which affect the world of tech directly or indirectly.

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10 Years of Kotlin Documentary Released

On July 19, 2011, JetBrains announced a new language for the JVM - Kotlin. Because of the anniversary, the company behind the project released a commemorative video.  

Jan Radzikowski, Android Developer at ITMAGINATION is happy the language was shared with the world: 

I would say that Kotlin suits me much better than Java, but I’m speaking from the Android Dev point of view. The first benefit that comes to my mind is legibility. Kotlin is quite concise and could be used in such a manner that you can read it almost as a novel.

Another advantage Kotlin has over Java is that null references are controlled by the system (NullReferenceException anyone?). You don’t have to annotate them at all.

From the specifics, there are no raw types, which in my opinion makes the language more consistent. What else?

- Lambdas and inline functions
- Extension functions! - they make a huge difference and improve readability and coding speed (when used correctly, of course)
- The concept of primary constructors
- Data classes
- Objects and how Kotlin deals with Singletons

To end with, coroutines are a major benefit. They are a great way to replace the RxJava library and to be able to write easy-to-read and thread-safe asynchronous code.

Currently, when programming with Kotlin, you can target multiple platforms, and use it in many projects across various industries. Suffice to say you can write multi platform mobile apps, server-side code (for the JVM and natively), frontends with Kotlin/JavaScript, and you can also write native Android apps. 

You can watch the documentary here: Ten Years of Kotlin: The Story of The Programming Language.

Cybersecurity Talent Shortage & the Pandemic of Cyberthreats

During the global health emergency, we chose to switch to a remote lifestyle - a way to carry on with our lives while remaining safe. That is, if we only assess our physical health. The online life we lead is increasingly under threat, as not only are companies under increasing cyber pressure, but also to deliver new features. As the CEO of Bugcrowd, a Crowdsourced Cybersecurity Platform, Ashish Gupta, said "[t]ime to market is such a high requirement, and sometimes speed becomes the enemy of security[.]” 

To make matters worse, there are not enough cybersecurity specialists on the market. As the Washington Post alerts, not even governments have enough specialists. Reportedly, the American Department of Homeland Security needs another 1,700 cybersecurity specialists. That’s even despite the fact that the organization was on a hiring spree lately. In general, back in December 2020, the world needed another 4 million professionals, and the demand is still rising.

Private companies suffer as well. We are in a pandemic of cyberthreats. A few weeks ago, we wrote about LinkedIn’s breach of security & Kaseya’s hack. Some researchers discovered new vulnerabilities in other managed service providers. The effects could be as bad, or even worse, than the ones we have previously seen. 

Our public life is in danger as well. Just look at the Italian vaccination booking system - the system got blocked on Monday. The attack on the Lazio region of Italy was “the most serious cyber-attack ever carried out on an Italian public administration.

Stack Overflow 2021 Survey - React & Svelte Come Out On Top

The results of the annual Stack Overflow Survey are in. This year’s survey was a little different, however. It was opened in February 2020 - shortly after that, our lives as we knew them stopped existing. There are some interesting trends that emerged from the survey: 

  • React surpassed jQuery as the most popular web framework. The change was long overdue, with jQuery being de facto redundant with standardization of JavaScript in browsers and Vanilla JavaScript taking over its functionality
  • Svelte, the newest framework, became the most loved web framework. React still remains the most wanted, as the majority of jobs require knowledge of Facebook’s project
  • Younger coders prefer learning from online resources. The older generations still stick to traditional resources & sources of knowledge such as books, and schools.

One of the most interesting findings is the staggering popularity of full-stack devs in the survey. That is despite the voices, who, for years, claim that the role is dead. 

Click here  to read the full results of Stack Overflow’s survey.

Pixel 6’s Tensor & AI Chips in Phones

Google’s new flagship phone, the Pixel 6, will debut this fall with the company’s new proprietary chip, “Tensor.” The corporation’s creation, besides having “the most layers of hardware security in any phone”, is said to be able to “[...] run ‘data center level’ AI models locally on the chip, without the need for help from the cloud.” 

One common factor between all Pixel phones was the use of AI & ML to improve pictures taken with the phone. The company says that in their new device, they needed a custom chip. The reason being the frustration that Google wasn’t “[...] able to do as much as [it] would like on phones.”

Besides enhancing the photography capabilities, the new chip is supposed to help the phone improve constantly. That would be due to the updated models that the phone would be able to download, the constant addition of new features, or both. 

Google’s move goes in line with the wider trend of adding special AI components to their CPUs. iPhones have a “Bionic Chip” with a “Neural Chip”, and Huawei has their NPU (Neural Processing Unit). The main reason for embedding such chips is that the contemporary chips are not very well suited to perform many AI operations, which results in a slow service and short battery life.

Microsoft Pauses Their Windows 365 Free Trial

Windows 365, Microsoft’s service allowing you to stream a cloud PC to your browser, had to pause its free trial amid “significant demand.” The capacity dedicated for the program was reached in one day. That’s even despite the fact that only businesses could register for the trial. 

The company from Redmond in USA, offers the service starting from $20 for 1 vCPU, 2GB RAM, 64GB of storage, and 12 GB of bandwidth, if you already own a Windows 10 license. The most powerful configuration runs on eight vCPUs, 32GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage for $158/162 per month (147.50 euros).

OneNote to rule them all.

After some time of a confusing split between OneNote for Windows 10, and OneNote 2019, Microsoft is moving to unify both versions in Windows 11. It seems that the makers of Windows 10 & the Office suite will look to make the UWP version obsolete, while it merges it with the version bundled with the productivity bundle. That is despite the fact that the company made moves that suggested otherwise.

Of course, the note-making app will remain free of charge, as it is now.


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