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Code it
This is a curated resource for programmers and software architects. It is regularly updated with Articles, Hacks, How Tos, Examples and Code.
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Google's Speed Tools for Apache Web Server Hit 1.0

Google's Speed Tools for Apache Web Server Hit 1.0 | Code it | Scoop.it
After nearly two years of testing and improving, Google is removing the beta label and releasing mod_pagespeed 1.0. The mod_pagespeed tool is Google’s open source effort to speed up websites running on the popular Apache web server. Pagespeed automatically optimizes pages and their resources, making websites load faster.

 

No one likes waiting for a websites to load. It doesn’t seem like fractions of a second would matter, but survey after survey tells the same story: On the web it’s instant gratification or we’re gone. Not only do your visitors dislike waiting on pages, Google dislikes sending people to pages they’re going to have to wait on and it penalizes slow-loading sites accordingly.

 

If you’d like to get mod_pagespeed up and running on your own server, head over to the mod_pagespeed site, which has downloads and detailed installation instructions. Google’s Ilya Grigorik also has a nice overview of how to automate web performance with mod_pagespeed on his blog.

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Easily Preview Responsive Designs With 'Responsivator'

Easily Preview Responsive Designs With 'Responsivator' | Code it | Scoop.it
Showing off responsive designs to your clients can be tricky -- do you show up with a bag full of devices? Rely on dozens of emulators?

 

How about using just one browser tab that gives a quick preview of what a site looks like at any screen size you’d like?

That’s exactly what Responsivator does. Plug in a URL and Responsivator will load it up in a series of iframes set to whichever screen dimensions you specify. The default sizes cover common devices like the iPhone, iPad, Nexus 7 and desktop, though it’s easy to add anything you’d like to the list.

 

Responsivator is the work of developer John Polacek from Draftfcb, which also made the BigVideo jQuery plugin we featured previously. Responsivator builds on some similar, earlier efforts like Matt Kersley’s responsive web design testing tool and Benjamin Keen’s responsive design bookmarklet, but has some nice added features, like the ability to navigate your site within the various iframes.

Like Responsivator, but want to run your own custom instance? No problem, Responsivator is an open source project available on GitHub; just grab the code and fire up your server.

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The Pitfalls of Cut and Paste Coding - Diary Of A Ninja

The Pitfalls of Cut and Paste Coding - Diary Of A Ninja | Code it | Scoop.it

We’ve all been guilty of it in our development careers at one time or another. When starting out using a language or framework that you’ve never used before you often have no choice but to. What I’m talking about is the act of “copy paste coding”, and it’s as common in the programming world as chewing gum under seats. When you copy and paste other developer’s code into your application it’s important to fully understand what the code does before you continue; or risk joining the many fools that have gone before you.

 

 http://www.diaryofaninja.com/blog/2012/10/02/the-pitfalls-of-cut-and-paste-coding

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I Don’t Make Mistakes. I Use C

I was recently at Design East in Boston. The show is changing with more of a slant towards software and hardware tools. I met with a number of companies like AdaCore and LDRA. One topic we always tend to talk about is the challenge of convincing C/C++ programmers that static and dynamic analysis tools are more than expensive tools or that Ada is more than a military programming language.


One idea that came up a number of times in slightly different terms is that many programmers think other people make mistakes but if they do then they can find and fix them or they will be unimportant. The bottom line is "I don't make mistakes."


Of course no one would admit to this. Anyone who has programmed knows that mistakes occur and that bugs can cause major problems. The problem with tools like C and C++ is that they are powerful but it is all too easy to shoot oneself in the foot.
I can speak with some authority on this because I spent a good deal of time coding in C many years ago. I have used C++ but not as extensively. Back then the only static analysis tool was Lint. Things have changed significantly since then.


Standards like MISRA are commonly supported. Static analysis tools can also be used to address security  as well as concurrency issues 


Another thing that has changed is the amount of computing power available to the tools. Static analysis needs storage and compute cycles as the sophistication and depth of analysis increases. The latest PCs have that in spades. The problem is that the tools do not do anything if they are not used.

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Questions abound as malicious phpMyAdmin backdoor found on SourceForge site

Questions abound as malicious phpMyAdmin backdoor found on SourceForge site | Code it | Scoop.it
Developers of phpMyAdmin warned users they may be running a malicious version of the open-source software package after discovering backdoor code was snuck into a package being distributed over the widely used SourceForge repository.

 

The backdoor contains code that allows remote attackers to take control of the underlying server running the modified phpMyAdmin, which is a Web-based tool for managing MySQL databases. The PHP script is found in a file named server_sync.php, and it reads PHP code embedded in standard POST Web requests and then executes it. That allows anyone who knows the backdoor is present to execute code of his choice. HD Moore, CSO of Rapid7 and chief architect of the Metasploit exploit package for penetration testers and hackers, told Ars a module has already been added that tests for the vulnerability.

 

The backdoor is concerning because it was distributed on one of the official mirrors for SourceForge, which hosts more than 324,000 open-source projects, serves more than 46 million consumers, and handles more than four million downloads each day. SourceForge officials are still investigating the breach, so crucial questions remain unanswered. It's still unclear, for instance, if the compromised server hosted other maliciously modified software packages, if other official SourceForge mirror sites were also affected, and if the central repository that feeds these mirror sites might also have been attacked.

 

"If that one mirror was compromised, nearly every SourceForge package on that mirror could have been backdoored, too," Moore said. "So you're looking at not just phpMyAdmin, but 12,000 other projects. If that one mirror was compromised and other projects were modified this isn't just 1,000 people. This is up to a couple hundred thousand."

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Its Official Hacking Medicine Fall 2012 will be October 27th and 28th

We are proud to announce the Fall Hacking Medicine Conference! Last fall was our first ever Hacking Medicine. In just one year of bringing together engineers, scientists, physicians, designers, and entrepreneurs to create disruptive innovations in health we have seen stunning results – a new class at MIT, a slew of new companies, and a whole community of folks hacking medicine to improve healthcare.


This year we are proud to be organizing Hacking Medicine with the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technology at MGH Center for Global Health. The theme for this year is going to be health in resource poor settings. We have a number of innovators flying in from low and middle-income countries as well as our own country to help us understand what problems need hacking and how to hack them! As always, though, we still encourage you to show up with any healthcare hack you are passionate about whether it is focused on resource poor settings or not.


If you want to radically change healthcare, then apply now: http://bit.ly/S34puZ. Bring your skills, your ideas, or both. We’re selecting 80 people just like you.

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Decade Engine: Why pay for an online SVN Repository?

he average cost on an online repository which has 3gb space and allows 10 projects and up to 5 collaborators is about $15 a month. Not a huge amount of money but it got me thinking why it costs so much.

 

Dropbox offers users 3gb of backed up online storage for free. Granted, the SVN providers need to have SVN running on their servers, but this is free software, right? Overhead of admin for SVN? Perhaps a little cost. The fact that providing SVN services is a niche market compared to dropbox, which anyone can use for any media, can also add a little cost but $180 a year versus $0?

 

Why limit the number of projects that I can have? If I'm paying $15 a month for 3gb of space, shouldn't I be allowed to have as many projects as I want so long as I stay under my storage limit? The only answer I can find is that its business. They charge simply because they can.

 

I use Cornerstone on my Mac as an SVN client. (At $65 this is an expensive piece of software compared to the many free SVN clients out there, but since the cost/benefit to me outweighs the price its worth it. I hope this fact will go some way to dispel any opinion that I'm simply too mean to pay the $15 a month.

 

I simply don't think the service provided warrants that cost compared to other generic online backup services). In Cornerstone, with a few clicks of the mouse, I created a SVN repository on my Dropbox drive. Since the data is on dropbox it is immediately backed up to the cloud. Since Dropbox don't care what I put in my account I can have as many projects as I wish. If I used a dropbox account which was specifically for the project and not for personal use, I could supply the details to others and have as many collaborators as needed.

 

The only issue I can see with this is that there is no level of indirection between me and the data. Deleting data from an online repository through a web portal would require some very deliberate steps and is therefore unlikely to occur by accident. Deleting files from what appears to be a disk on your local machine is very easy and could happen in error, but with this in mind I think any issues can be easily prevented.

 

As many projects as your allocated storage will allow, no limit on the number of collaborators and for much cheaper than $180 a year, potentially $0? Simply use Dropbox.

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Hacking the mind: 3 new brain hacks expose new realm of security & privacy risks

Hacking the mind: 3 new brain hacks expose new realm of security & privacy risks | Code it | Scoop.it

Brain hacking is a hot subject right now and has moved from science fiction into reality. At the Usenix Security Symposium, one mind hack looked to create better security and an “unbreakable crypto” system; another brain hack focused on threats to privacy by extracting secrets with brain computer interfaces. Yet other scientists have created a helmet to make an Inception-like world in which reality can be manipulated.

 

With all the hacks and users continually using and reusing pathetically weak passwords, neuroscientists and cryptographers came up with an “unbreakable crypto” system that relied on implicit learning so your subconscious could remember a 30 character passphrase. However, the trick is that the password couldn’t be consciously recalled and obtained via “rubber hose attacks” meaning torture. The method relied on learning the password with a computer game similar to Guitar Hero, but that plants “a secret password in the participant’s brain without the participant having any conscious knowledge of the trained password.”

 

The game creates a random sequence of 30 letters chosen from six buttons corresponding with notes marked as S, D, F, J, K, L, explained Extreme Tech. The game lasts for about 45 minutes during which users make around 4,000 keystrokes that subconsciously teach the long, random password. “Neuroscience Meets Cryptography: Designing Crypto Primitives Secure Against Rubber Hose Attacks” was presented at the Usenix Security Symposium. If you are interested, you can download the research paper [PDF], slides [PDF] or watch the video presentation.

 

[pdf] -> https://www.usenix.org/sites/default/files/conference/protected-files/bojinov_usenixsecurity12_slides.pdf

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HTML5 and native apps: the hybrid approach

HTML5 and native apps: the hybrid approach | Code it | Scoop.it
Much fuss is made in the mainstream technology press about the merits – or otherwise – of HTML5 as a mobile development platform. Recent examples of this include Facebook moving away from HTML5 in their iPhone app, vs the FT's move to deliver 'native-like' mobile experiences using open web technologies.

 

The term HTML5 (the biggest buzzword in web technology since AJAX) means this discussion is often framed by a very lazy and simplistic two-sided argument: you're either for HTML5 or you're against it. Of course, the reality is rather more nuanced, and I want to explain our current thinking on building cross-platform mobile applications here at the Guardian, where we build specific mobile experiences for the Web, iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Phone 7.

 

What's the difference?

 

The common belief is that mobile applications built with web technologies are slower and more sluggish than their native equivalents. In general, that's a reasonable assertion to make. Having access to a device's native rendering tools is going to result in smooth and fast interactions on screen. If you're using a WebView you have to pass that work through to a browser-based rendering engine such as WebKit, and then let it deal with parsing HTML, CSS and painting this to the screen. This is the primary reason Facebook have chosen to use fewer WebViews in the most recent version of their main iPhone app (and possibly Android apps, in the future).

 

However, notice that I say fewer WebViews. It's likely that Facebook have reduced the use of WebViews for some of their core interactive pages, such as timelines and profiles. I strongly doubt that they will remove use of all WebViews in their apps, because WebViews are extremely useful when you need to do one particular thing: render HTML.

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Using Git and GitHub in a Microsoft Development Team

The team at 15Below, my excellent clients, have been using Git and GitHub since last September. Although I’ve been using GitHub for open source projects for several years now, this is the first time I’ve worked with it in a largish (20+ developers) team. The default VCS for a Microsoft shop is, of course, TFS, so deciding to use GitHub might be seen as somewhat curious. This post describes why we came to the decision, how we integrate GitHub into our development process, and our experience so far.

 

So why did we choose Git as our VCS?

 

I, and several of my colleagues had had experience with distributed VCSs, specifically Git, from working on open source projects. Having your own local repository gives you so much more flexibility and opportunity for experimentation, that it seemed that a non-distributed VCS was a step backwards.


The team is spit into small project teams of 2 or 3 developers, each working on different features, so being able to branch-by-feature was also a requirement. We needed a VCS with excellent branching and merging capabilities.


We also have a distributed team with members in the UK, India and Australia, so a cloud based solution seemed appropriate. Our OSS experience with GitHub made it the obvious choice.


Whenever one is choosing tools, the level of adoption in the wider development community should be a consideration, and although Git is rare in the Microsoft world it’s fast becoming the default VCS elsewhere.

 

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Deploying Websites With a Tiny Git Hook

Because git is “decentralized” we can push and pull to and from several different remote repositories. So why not simply add our web server as a remote repository and push to it when we want to update it? The trick is in using the post-receive hook.

 

Hooks?! Hooks are scripts that git will execute when awesome stuff happens, like after the repository receives a push. List the .git/hooks directory to see what’s available:

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Create a USB stick on Windows | Ubuntu

Create a USB stick on Windows | Ubuntu | Code it | Scoop.it

To run Ubuntu from a USB stick, the first thing you need to do is insert a USB stick with at least 2GB of free space into your PC.

 

The easiest way to put Ubuntu onto your stick is to use the USB installer provided at pendrivelinux.com.

 

You’ll need to download and install and follow the instructions.

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Smartphone Pentest Framework v0.1.1 Released

Smartphone Pentest Framework v0.1.1 Released | Code it | Scoop.it

The smartphone penetration testing framework, the result of a DARPA Cyber Fast Track project, aims to provide an open source toolkit that addresses the many facets of assessing the security posture of these devices.

 

 

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The Embedded Software Beat - On Target: Embedded Systems

Researchers have demonstrated that it is relatively easy to take control of many embedded devices. I recently saw a presentation that showed a successful attack on the control computer of an automobile that was launched by inserting an infected disk into the CD player. The attack surface of many devices is growing rapidly because of market demands for increasing connectivity. Nobody should assume that their devices are unlikely to be targets of attacks. Hackers can be incredibly creative at finding ways to exploit vulnerabilities for their own ends.

 

Consequently it is becoming clear that all embedded developers must be aware of security risks and that they should program to avoid them. Fortunately there are lots of publicly-available resources to help programmers understand security vulnerabilities. For example, the CWE/SANS Top 25 lists the most notorious programming defects that can lead to exploitations.

 

After getting educated and adopting the appropriate tools, the most important thing that developers can do is to cultivate the correct mindset. They should assume that their software will be scrutinized for vulnerabilities by extremely talented and determined adversaries, and program accordingly. It is most critical to pay attention to the interfaces between systems as this is where most weaknesses lurk.

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μJ, a Java virtual machine for microcontrollers - Hack a Day

μJ, a Java virtual machine for microcontrollers - Hack a Day | Code it | Scoop.it
[Dimitri] sent in a project he’s been working on that implements a Java Virtual Machine purely in C, and is easily portable between microcontrollers such as the AVRs and PICs we normally see, ARM devices, and even the lowly 386.

 

Before going into the ‘how’, [Dimitri] first covers why he wanted to run Java bytecode on a microcontroller. Basically, he found existing solutions like the Arduino environment too complex for people just wanting to program a chip. Arduino and PICAXE require C-like syntax and pointers; not the easiest thing when everyone and their mother can program in Java.

 

As for how [Dimitri] managed to pack a JVM into a microcontroller, that’s another story entirely. Everything in the JVM, from double, long, and float data types to exceptions, neat thread-related functions such as ‘synchronize’ and even methods such as String.charAt() and String.length() are completely optional. If your microcontroller is too small, just disable the functions you don’t need.

 

As for how well – and how fast – μJ is able to run, [Dimitri] threw up a demo of an ATMega644 and PIC24 running his JVM and a small Java app. You can check those videos out after the break, or just download the source for μJ on [Dimitri]‘s site.

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Hackers steer a new route – to your car

Hackers steer a new route – to your car | Code it | Scoop.it
Cars which lock without using keys can be hacked into as easily as any other computerised device. Just as you lock it with your remote control, the thief blocks the signal and the car remains unlocked. Now the contents can be stolen without attracting attention by breaking a window.

 

It has already happened in Switzerland, and the piece of equipment thieves use can be bought via the internet – a radio frequency scrambler.

 

But having your car hacked can also result in it being stolen, pure and simple – and modern cars have multiple vulnerabilities: from the plug for the car’s diagnostic computer to the multimedia functions. The CD and radio, GPS, Bluetooth, WIFI, USB port - they are all doors to hackers.

 

The hack is always based on the same thing which is making your car believe the thief has the key. Once this has been done using a laptop, the rest is easy.

 

Professor Jean-Pierrre Hubaux, from the Faculte Informatique and Communications at l’EPFL told euronews: “A hacker could suddenly interfere with the brakes, so that when a driver puts their foot on the pedal it no longer works. In theory a hacker could turn the ignition off by remote control so that the vehicle is immobilised and vulnerable to attack. You could even use it to open bullet-proof glass windows. You could imagine a whole series of scenarios.”

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Keeping the Framework for Your Application Up to Date with Git

I recently started building a web application using the Laravel Framework. But, since I was building the application in my spare time, and a new version of Laravel was being released each week, I knew the version of the framework I started with would not be the same when I finished. Conundrum: I needed a simple way to stay on top of any security, bug, or feature related updates, without having to download and drag and drop folders.

 

To solve this problem, I'll be harnessing the power of Git. In a nutshell, we'll have two branches: master and framework. The master branch will be our application. The framework branch will be the Laravel framework that is powering our app. (Laravel's repository can be found here) When an update is made to Laravel, we check out the framework branch, pull in the most recent version of the framework, then merge those changes with master. Pretty straightforward.

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Re: How to undo last Git commit?

"Undoing Things


At any stage, you may want to undo something. Here, we’ll review a few basic tools for undoing changes that you’ve made. Be careful, because you can’t always revert some of these undos. This is one of the few areas in Git where you may lose some work if you do it wrong.


Changing Your Last Commit


One of the common undos takes place when you commit too early and possibly forget to add some files, or you mess up your commit message. If you want to try that commit again, you can run commit with the --amend option:


$ git commit --amend


This command takes your staging area and uses it for the commit. If you’ve made no changes since your last commit (for instance, you run this command immediately after your previous commit), then your snapshot will look exactly the same and all you’ll change is your commit message.


The same commit-message editor fires up, but it already contains the message of your previous commit. You can edit the message the same as always, but it overwrites your previous commit."

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Deploying PHP: mod_pp? CGI/suExec? FastCGI?

PHP is undoubtedly one of the most widely deployed scripting engines and languages used on the web today. Powering sites small and large (e.g., Facebook), PHP offers an easy to learn syntax familiar to anyone who has worked with C-inspired languages and a powerful collection of features for rapidly building modern applications. When deploying PHP, it is important to take into consideration the various ways in which PHP can be invoked by the web server.

 

PHP itself is written in C as an interpreter and compiled to a binary that is then executed in the user space of the operating system, just as any other application would be. Typical deployments configure PHP to be executed by the web server in one of three ways: mod_php (for Apache, or similar for other web servers), CGI (often with suExec), or FastCGI.

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Hack opens the door for homebrew development on Vita

No matter how hard Sony and other console makers try to lock down their hardware, industrious hackers seem to always find some way to run their own homebrew code on the systems they buy. The PlayStation Vita appears to be the latest system to have its software protections fall, with the announcement of the Usermode Vita Loader project (UVL).

 

Homebrew coder Yifan Lu, whose previous hacks include a method to run any original PlayStation game on the Xperia Play phones, is currently looking for developers to help create a full-fledged homebrew code loader for the Vita, after finding an unspecified exploit that gets around the system's requirement that program code be digitally signed by Sony. The incomplete project currently compiles, but is having trouble unlocking certain Vita memory addresses needed to get code to run.

 

Vita users can already run some homebrew programs using the Vita Halfbyte Loader (VHBL), a port of the popular PSP homebrew hack which takes advantage of a vulnerability in certain downloadable PSP games. But while VHBL only lets players run homebrew code designed for the PSP, the UVL should eventually allow homebrew developers to unlock the full power of the hardware by writing their own native Vita code.

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Ports, tunnels, request types and virtual hosts

Ports, tunnels, request types and virtual hosts | Code it | Scoop.it

he internet is surely the most incredible machine on earth. For one thing, I use it to share code with other developers, using a program called subversion. But the other day, subversion was being blocked by a firewall. Fixing that problem was a great opportunity to get my hands dirty with the nuts and bolts of the internet, and I learned a lot too, which I’d like to share here.

 

First let me explain about ports, because it will be important later. An internet connection always involves two programs: one is the client, running on the local machine, and the other is the server, running on the remote machine. For example, the client could be Firefox on the wife’s laptop, and the server could be Apache serving images of kittens.

 

Now imagine that the remote machine had both a web server and an email server installed. To distinguish the traffic for each program they are assigned a port number. The web server is listening on port 80, which is the conventional port for web traffic. The email server is listening on port 25, and both happily co-operate on the same machine [1].

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Migrating Eclipse Project Websites to Git

The Eclipse webmaster has the necessary bits in place for us to complete our migration to Git: we have begun the process of migrating the eclipse.org website from CVS to Git.

 

As of this moment, the content for nineteen (19) of the 254 subdirectories on eclipse.org are managed via Git. A handful of these directories are managed by Eclipse Foundation staff (e.g. /articles, /resources, and /projects), but several are owned by Eclipse projects (e.g. /virgo, and /jetty).

 

Web directory Git repositories are all organized under /gitroot/www.eclipse.org on the Eclipse Foundation’s Git server. We’re using naming conventions to make various scripts work, so the Git repository directory has the same name as the corresponding directory on the web server, with a “.git” suffix (e.g. the /r4e web directory has a Git repository located at /gitroot/www.eclipse.org/r4e.git). The old directories still exist in CVS, but have been marked read-only; in time these will be archived.

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Sharing Git Configurations With Your Team

Sharing Git Configurations With Your Team | Code it | Scoop.it
When new developers join a team, or existing developers move quickly between projects, setting up a development environment can be a real headache. Most software teams will (hopefully) share a set of instructions on a wiki that include:

 

The tools that must be installed (and where to get them). In many projects this should also include the version of the tool that is to be used plus all the dependencies that are required


A set of SCM locations from which to fetch the source code (Git, CVS, SVN, etc…)


Common preferences such as Checkstyle rules, compiler settings, etc…


A set of repositories to fetch ‘target components’ or libraries that are used for development, testing and runtime

 

 

If the instructions are up-to-date, then setting up the development environment should go smoothly (assuming that plugins and components are still available, and the new developer is able to understand any acronyms or nuances in the instructions). If the instructions are hard to follow, a developer may spend a day or more just getting started.

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How To Run Ubuntu in Windows 7 with VMware Player

How To Run Ubuntu in Windows 7 with VMware Player | Code it | Scoop.it
Would you like to use Ubuntu Linux programs, but prefer the convenience of Windows 7? With VMware Player, you can install a full copy of Ubuntu and integrate it with your Windows 7 computer for free.

 

VMware Player makes it easy to install Ubuntu Linux as a virtual machine in only 5 clicks. It then offers easy access to Ubuntu programs straight from your desktop with Unity mode. Here’s how you can set this up on your computer.

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Survey Finds JQuery Library Running on Half of All Websites

Survey Finds JQuery Library Running on Half of All Websites | Code it | Scoop.it
Every web developer knows that JQuery is popular, but just how popular? According to web technology survey group W3Techs, the little JavaScript library that could … already has, turning up on half of all sites on the web.

 

Created to simplify the process of writing JavaScript and manipulating HTML, JQuery began life a mere seven years ago, which makes the 50 percent adoption rate very impressive indeed.

 

And the numbers look even more impressive if you limit the survey to the top 10,000 sites (in terms of traffic) where the number jumps to 58.8 percent (curiously, if you limit it further to the top 1,000 use falls to 46.2 percent).

 

JQuery greatly simplifies working with JavaScript, particularly for newcomers, and that has clearly made it a favorite with developers. But it’s worth noting that some of JQuery’s widespread use is no doubt related to the fact that it’s a default part of many popular publishing platforms, like WordPress. In other words, many people may be using JQuery without even realizing it.

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