Guido van Rossum, the Python language’s founder, joins Microsoft

At an age when most top programmers are enjoying their retirement, 64-year old Guido van Rossum decided “retirement was boring” and came back to work for — drumroll please — Microsoft. Van Rossum is best known as the creator of the popular open-source language Python. To say this move caught people by surprise is a vast understatement. 

Microsoft, for one, though is delighted by his move. A Microsoft spokesperson said, “We’re excited to have him as part of the Developer Division. Microsoft is committed to contributing to and growing with the Python community, and Guido’s on-boarding is a reflection of that commitment.”

Also: Programming language Python’s popularity: Ahead of Java for first time but still trailing C 

They should be. Van Rossum, who created Python in 1989 and became its Benevolent Dictator for Life (BDFL), is widely respected as one of open-source’s greatest programmers. Python is one of

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Alexa can now guess what you want before you even ask for it

Amazon’s engineers are tweaking Alexa’s algorithm to help the virtual assistant guess users’ requests, and offer to resolve them, before the demand is even uttered.

After being asked, for example, how long a cup of tea should brew for, Alexa will be able to suggest setting a timer for the number of minutes that are recommended. 

Alexa engineers Anjishnu Kumar and Anand Rathi explained in a blog post that the improvement is the continuation of efforts to make interactions with the virtual assistant as natural as possible. 

Chatting with Alexa should be as natural as talking to another human being, said the engineers, and enabling the technology to anticipate what’s coming next in conversation is key to enable a smooth flow of dialogue.

“Now, we’re taking another step towards natural interaction with a capability that lets Alexa infer customers’ latent goals – goals that are implicit in customer requests but

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Hounslow to trial UK’s first autonomous road delivery vehicle

To date, most of the attention regarding autonomous vehicles has been has centred on driverless cars and buses, but now the London Borough of Hounslow is claiming to be first off the grid to trial autonomous electric delivery vehicles on its roads.

The vehicle, the Kar-go, has been designed by UK startup Academy of Robotics, and is on track to be the first custom-built autonomous delivery vehicle to travel on the country’s roads. Designed to offer a contact-free form of delivery, the company has chosen to make its first deliveries from pharmacies to care homes and will later introduce deliveries from a depot to work sites for Hounslow Highways, part of Eurovia UK, the holding company for businesses maintaining the road network across the UK.

Academy of Robotics designed and custom-built the Kar-go along with the software that controls and runs the vehicle and its integration with the command

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Retailers are using employee influencers on TikTok to garner organic reach, compensating them according to leaderboards built into employee advocacy platforms (Michael Waters/Digiday)

Michael Waters / Digiday:

Retailers are using employee influencers on TikTok to garner organic reach, compensating them according to leaderboards built into employee advocacy platforms  —  Brands and retailers are desperate to get their employees to post on TikTok.  —  Last week, GameStop encouraged store workers … … Read More