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News You Can Use: 2018

What's happ'n Now.

This is a news article for the site that will be posted "often" if not monthly for the purpose of keeping you up with the news of what's going on in the computing world.


John Wolf

John is a retired engineer enjoying a second childhood by tinkering with electronics.

Dateline: Feb 9, 2018 Web Development

As the stockmarket plummets, the opportunities for web developers never looked better. We waited for Angular to settle out...? We finally got Bootstrap4. Dozens of great frameworks and libraries were either upgraded or came over the horizon. Npm now installs API's with security in mind (package-lock.json), and that's a good thing. All of this has expanded the web developers capabilites and toolbox of clever tricks, but none more than the acceptance of JavaScript as Swiss Army Knife of programming languages.

Another topic of continuous scrutiny is grid layouts. Just as you thought Bootsrap was the end-to-all for layouts, CSS Grid pops into view. Although, it's been active for almost a year, its use has not hit the YouTube gurus of online learning until recently. Once you see it in action, you have to shake your head, "Why haven't I been using this all along?" CSS Grid is intelligent, efficient, and easy. Those adjectives aren't usually grouped for the average framework or library. Programmers scoff at 'easy', because no matter how convoluted code gets, they face the challenge and ignore the complexity. Easy here means, 'easy' like Sunday morning. Easy is not a bad thing. Your layouts are much quicker to assemble and many arrangements that were really hard to code or impossible (okay, nothing is 'impossible') are not only easy to code but visualize and that leads to better websites.

So, the point of this discussion is, when you layout your next HTML page for whatever reason, use CSS grid techniques. It's really cool. Not only cool, it supports the CSS spec and all those that worked to get it stuffed into the browsers. Well, except for Microsoft ofcourse. They baked in an earlier version into their OS before the spec was settled, but they're learning - the Open Source world is not the enemy, but their best ally. Even if your favorite browser is weak on all the subtleties of CSS grid, MDN has a great new way to test the capabilities and identify the browser being queried and compensate.

Dateline: Jan 26, 2018 Analog Electronics

Last year I had intended to write about IoT and do a bunch of projects, but I found the Internet full of such information, so I decided that was enough hot air on the network. I thought a topic not discussed much these days is analog circuits and RF. How do radio waves make it into the air and be broadcasted? Where are op-amps useful in hobbyist projects...that sort of thing. Just the process of turning our analog world into digital data is cousin to the whole thing. It's a rich vein of valuable information, so that's where I begin this year.

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This website opened in late 2013 in hopes of supporting those interested in electronics and a hobby and a profession.