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Today’s cache | Decades-old programming language back in fashion, and more

File photo of Grace Murray Hopper at the UNIVAC keyboard, c. 1960. Grace Brewster Murray: American mathematician and rear admiral in the U.S. Navy who was a pioneer in developing computer technology, helping to devise UNIVAC I. the first commercial electronic computer, and naval applications for COBOL (common-business-oriented language).   | Photo Credit: Unknown (Smithsonian Institution)

A 60-year-old programming language is the new need in fighting COVID-19 pandemic. At the other end of the spectrum, Java retains its top rank in TOIBE index on coding languages this month.

Sony unveils its new PS5 controller with a lot of new features.

And Google Meet is adding two million new users daily in March.

Finally, as you work at home, some productivity apps to try in App Store.

COBOL programmers needed to fight COVID-19

As the world fights COVID-19 with face masks, ventilators and social distancing, a new type of volunteers may be in need.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has asked for volunteers who know COBOL progamming language.

“On our list of volunteers, not only do we need healthcare workers, we need engineers with COBOL skills,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement.

COBOL language skills are needed during these times to update various governmental records, including post-mortem data of the deceased, in the US.

The State is using 40-plus year-old legacy systems that need programmers adept in using a decades-old computer language, created in 1959.

In the last two weeks, unemployment claims filed in the US jumped to over 362,000, according to the Department of Labor.

And these filings go into the legacy systems run on COBOL.

The aging Common Business Oriented Language underpins much of the U.S. financial industry, according to a Reuters report.

Roughly, 43% of banking systems are built on COBOL, and about 95% of ATM swipes rely on the 60-year-old language’s codes.

The average age of a COBOL programmer in 50, and less than 15% COBOL programmers are under 35.

TIOBE index for April and top programming languages

While the US is searching for COBOL programmers, coders are flocking to other languages to write their codes.

The TIOBE Programming Community index is an indicator of the popularity of programming languages. The group prepares a list of 20 popular programmes every month.

In April, Scratch has entered the index at number 20. The graphical block-based language is designed to teach children how to code.

There are more than 50 million projects ‘written’ in Scratch, and each month 1 million new Scratch projects are added, making it a popular block-based language.

Java topped TIOBE index, followed by C. The two languages’ ranking was unchanged compared to last year.

Python moved up one position to the third. C++ dropped to fourth, and C# was ranked fifth in this month’s index.

TIOBE index is updated once a month, and the ratings are based on the number of skilled engineers world-wide, courses and third-party vendors. Searches in Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Wikipedia and Baidu are used to calculate the ranking.

Sony’s new DualSense controller for PlayStation 5

Sony has unveiled its DualSense wireless controller for PS5 so developers can build games based on the new controller.

The company sees the new features in DualSense, along with PS5’s Tempest 3D AudioTech, will give a more immersive experience to players.

The new controller uses haptic feedback to heighten the feeling of immersion.

This feature adds a variety of sensations such as the slow grittiness of driving a car through mud and a tension when drawing a bow to shoot an arrow.

The controller will have a ‘create’ button instead of the ‘share’ feature to allow players to create gameplay content.

It will also include a built-in microphone array to allow players to chat with friends without a headset.

The controllers will have a two-toned colour design, and the position of the light bar has been changed to give it an extra pop, which gives it a larger look and feel.

“DualSense marks a radical departure from our previous controller offerings and captures just how strongly we feel about making a generational leap with PS5,” Jim Ryan, President and CEO, Sony Interactive Entertainment said in a statement.

Google’s Meet adds 2 million users a day amid coronavirus

The COVID-19 pandemic has made more people to adopt video chatting to connect with friends and family.

In March, Google’s teleconferencing feature Meet has seen a surge in usage.

On Wednesday, the company said it is adding more than two million new users every day globally.

“Over the last few weeks, Meet’s day-over-day growth surpassed 60%, and as a result, its daily usage is more than 25 times what it was in January,” Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian said in a blog post.

Google has also made advanced features in Meet free to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally to keep them connected with their business and community.

Usage of Meet has spiked on Saturdays, said Javier Soltero, head of G Suite to CNET.

"That's a really strange thing to think about," Soltero said. "It's used in happy hours, family time, DJ parties, etcetera."

Top 5 Apple Store productivity apps

As many employees are working from home, its important to stay productive through the day. To ensure that you finish your tasks and stay focused, here are some productivity apps from App Store, curated by TechRepublic.

Drafts: used for note-taking in your Mac. It has a customizable editor, themes, fonts, auto-correct and others. You can dictate notes to it and it works with iCloud Drive, Dropbox, Google Drive and other third-party task managers like WordPress, Evernote and JavaScript. The app is available for free.

Contacts+: the cloud-based address book syncs with yur contacts from various channels, including gmail. Even for contacts that are on social media, you can use this app to organise your complete contact list. This too is a free app in the App Store.

SAP Concur: helps you by automating expense management for iOS devices. It enables users to see all their expense data in one place. The app can also enforce spending policies so employees are reimbursed quickly. The app takes about 281.8MB storage, and is freely available.

Jump Desktop: acts as a remote desktop app. This way you don’t have to carry your Mac book everywhere. It allows you to control your computer from iPad or iPhone. The app costs $8.

Be Focused - Focus Timer: helps you keep track of tasks that are important to do while you work from home. The app breakdown tasks into discrete intervals with a short break between each interval to retain motivation and focus. This app costs $5.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 9:03:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/todays-cache-decades-old-programming-language-back-in-fashion-and-more/article31291555.ece

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