# Saturday, 04 January 2014

2013 was a year of transition - a year of change. A lot of change. Big change.

In May, my father passed away after a long illness. He suffered from Alzheimer’s the last years of his life. During the last two years of his life, I was able to travel many times to Florida to see him. During that time, we became closer than we have ever been and I am still grateful I had the chance to connect with him at the end of his life, even though it was difficult watching him deteriorate during his illness. My last visit was just a few weeks before his death. In May, my sister called to tell me he was gone. My siblings and I traveled to Florida to say our last goodbyes. The funeral was an amazing event. I was able to deliver a eulogy (you can view it below or read a paraphrasing at http://www.davidgiard.com/2013/06/16/MyFatherTheSurvivor.aspx) and I the US Navy sent a team to perform full military honors outside the church (also shown below). Although we all mourned my father's death, I don't think most of us viewed it as tragic. It wasn't nearly the shock of losing my sister a few years ago. My father's long illness helped prepare us for his passing and gave us a chance to say goodbye. When he finally went, we were prepared and spent the time celebrating his life and appreciating those who remain.

My mother also has gone through many transitions this year, following the death of her husband with whom she shared over five decades. In October, she moved into an Assisted Living facility and put her house up for sale. The adjustments this year took a toll on her health and she spent several weeks in the hospital and in rehabilitation, but she seems to have rebounded in recent weeks.

My sons went through transitions this year. In August, they both moved out of state. I knew it was coming and I've always looked forward to their independence, but it was still a shock as they both moved out the same week. Timmy is now a freshman at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN and Nick graduated from Michigan State University (BBA, Management) and almost immediately enrolled in graduate school at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL, where he is a graduate assistant for the basketball team. As a single father, I've planned nearly every weekend the last 10 years around the activities of one or both of my sons. Years ago, I moved here to Michigan and the only reason was to be closer to them. With both of them gone, my life has changed a great deal. Although I've missed them, I'm excited for them to move to the next phase of their lives and I see this as an opportunity to be more flexible with my own life (more on this later)

In 2013, I resolved to make an effort to be more optimistic. The most public display of this is my new habit of waking up each morning and thinking of at least one thing for which I am grateful. I’ve been sharing these thoughts on Facebook and Twitter and others have told me they appreciate and are inspired by them. I decided to do this because found that I was doing a lot of whining on social media and I realized this was not who I wanted to be and this was not the image I wanted to project to the world. My final negative post before my optimism resolution was a Facebook post on what would have been my 25th wedding anniversary. Publicly lamenting the loss of my marriage definitely did not sit well with my girlfriend, who is now my ex-girlfriend. Since committing to thinking of a new gratitude each morning, I've found my attitude is generally more positive and this helps me to accomplish more each day. Others have told me they've found inspirations in my daily gratitude posts. You can read more about this commitment at http://www.davidgiard.com/2013/08/07/DailyGratitudeAndANewAttitude.aspx

I continued my practice of public speaking in 2013, but I targeted some larger conferences. In June, I spoke at Tech Ed North America for the first time and in October, I spoke at DevConnections. You can view the Tech Ed presentation at http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/NorthAmerica/2013/DBI-B220#fbid=. Of course, I also delivered dozens of talks at user groups and community events. Next year, I have been invited to speak at VSLive and I'm hopeful to speak at some international conferences.

October brought a big change in my career. After spending 15 years as a consultant, I accepted a job with Microsoft as a Technical Evangelist. This is a job I have pursued for some time, so when an opportunity came up, I applied and was hired. For years, I've been heavily involved in the developer community and this involvement took much of in my free time. With this Evangelism role, I can focus much more on teaching, organizing, and helping other developers in the community. There is a lot to my new job, but the biggest part involves helping people build applications for Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Windows Azure. I'm spending a lot of time teaching people how to build and submit apps and it's this teaching aspect that I'm enjoying the most. For the next six months, I'll be covering two districts (7 states), but I'll be moving to Chicago in mid-2014 and focusing primarily on developers in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. I spent much of the holidays getting my house ready for sale.

The move to Chicago will be a big change, but with my boys gone from Michigan, it is the perfect time to do this. I've worked in Chicago many times in the past and I enjoy the city and I'm looking forward to making it my home. I've spent many weeks there the past few months, meeting with my new team and with developers and community leaders and students and I really like the enthusiasm and passion I'm seeing in these folks.

As I've been going through my possessions these past couple months and deciding what to keep, I realize how much less emphasis I now place on ownership of physical things. I don't know when this change took place, but I am very happy to sell or give away many things I've held onto for years - sometimes decades. I see this as an area of great personal growth.

All in all, 2013 was a year of great growth for me. Even the challenges that arose this year came with opportunities to grow and connect with others and to change for the better.  It is because of this that I feel more optimistic at the beginning of this 2014 than I have in a long time.

Saturday, 04 January 2014 18:21:26 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 31 December 2013
This week's app is actually a set of apps.

In honor of all the college football bowl games this week and of conference basketball starting, I am featuring a set of college fight song apps created by Wireless Developer, Inc. of East Lansing, MI.

Normally, these apps sell for about $10 each; However, Wireless Developer is working with Microsoft to offer the first 100 downloads of each app for free. Act quickly because each app will return to its original price as soon as 100 people download it.

The links for each app are below. Surprisingly, the company’s hometown team and Big Ten Champions (and my alma mater) Michigan State is not included. Hopefully, this will be corrected soon.

College Fight Songs - Penn State Nittany Lions Album App

College Fight Songs - Virginia Tech Hokies Album App

College Fight Songs - Oklahoma Sooners Album App

 College Fight Songs - Wisconsin Badgers Album App

College Fight Songs - Nebraska Cornhuskers Album App

College Fight Songs - Texas Longhorns Album App

College Fight Songs - North Carolina Tar Heels Album App

College Fight Songs - Iowa State Cyclones Album App

College Fight Songs - USC Trojans Album App

College Fight Songs - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Album App

College Fight Songs - South Carolina Gamecocks Album App

College Fight Songs - Dayton Flyers Album App

College Fight Songs - Arkansas Razorbacks® Album App

College Fight Songs - Tennessee VOLS Album App

College Fight Songs - Texas Tech Red Raiders™ Album App

College Fight Songs - Syracuse Album App

College Fight Songs - Boston College Eagles® Album App

College Fight Songs - Clark Atlanta Panthers Album App

College Fight Songs - Colorado Buffaloes® Album App

College Fight Songs - East Carolina Pirates Album App

College Fight Songs - Fresno State Album App

College Fight Songs - Illinois Fighting Illini Album App

College Fight Songs - Indiana Hoosiers Album App

College Fight Songs - Maryland Terps® Album App

College Fight Songs - Memphis Tigers Album App

College Fight Songs - Miami Hurricanes Album App

College Fight Songs - Miami Red Hawks Album App

College Fight Songs - Ole Miss Rebels Album App

College Fight Songs - Pitt Panthers Album App

College Fight Songs - Purdue Boilermakers Album App

College Fight Songs - Toledo Rockets™ Album App

College Fight Songs - University of Massachusetts Minuteman Album App

College Fight Songs - Vanderbilt Commodores Album App

College Fight Songs - Villanova Wildcats™ Album App

College Fight Songs - Virginia Cavaliers® Album App

College Fight Songs - Wake Forest Demon Deacons Album App

College Fight Songs - Washington Huskies® Album App

College Fight Songs - Western Michigan Broncos Album App

Update: The following apps are still available but are no longer free:

College Fight Songs - Alabama Crimson Tide Album App

College Fight Songs - Ohio State Buckeyes Album App

College Fight Songs - LSU Tigers Album App

College Fight Songs - Texas A&M Aggies Album App

College Fight Songs - Clemson Tigers Album App

College Fight Songs - Arizona Wildcats® Album App

College Fight Songs - Kentucky Wildcats Album App

Tuesday, 31 December 2013 14:37:40 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 30 December 2013
Monday, 30 December 2013 17:31:02 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)

12/29
Today I am grateful for a day in East Lansing with my son Tim.

12/28
Today I am grateful that I've been able this month to get rid of so much of the junk I've acquired these past 10 years.

12/27
Today I am grateful that 4 of my apps were approved by the Windows Store this morning.

12/26
Today I am grateful for Christmas dinner at my sister's house, surrounded by my family.

12/25
Today I am grateful that God loved us enough to send us his only son. Blessed Christmas, my friends.

12/24
Today I am grateful that my friend John, from whom I hadn't heard in years, called me out of the blue yesterday for no reason. We talked for over an hour.

12/23
Today I am grateful that the ice storm that paralyzed much of the state missed my neighborhood.

12/22
"Why were you late tonight, son?" "On my way here, I saw a woman begging on the side of the road. She was standing in the freezing rain with no jacket. So I went home and picked up my old jacket and drove it back to give it to her." "OK, I guess that's a pretty good excuse." That is what I am grateful for today.

12/21
Today I am grateful to have both my sons home for the holiday season.

12/20
Today I am grateful for the opportunity last night to speak at my first Demo Camp Lansing.

12/19
Today I am grateful for pizza, drinks, and fellowship at the #MIGANG Holiday Party last night.

12/18
Today I am grateful to have my son Tim home for a few weeks. It was totally worth driving 13 hours through a snowstorm yesterday to pick him up.

12/17
Today I am grateful my latest app was accepted in the Windows store.

12/16
Today I am grateful for all the stuff I sold on eBay last week, removing clutter and providing me with Christmas cash.

12/15
Today I am grateful to all those who braved the snowstorm yesterday to build apps with us at the DevUnleashed Hackathon.

12/13
Today I am grateful that: 1. I was invited to 2 holiday parties hosted by 2 great organizations in Toledo - Seed Co-Working and TechToledo 2. I ran into some old colleagues I did not expect to see again. 3. Lunch with my old team at Heidtman - one of the best teams I've ever been on.

12/12
Today I am grateful for the blanket of snow surrounding my house on this sunny day.

12/11
Today I am grateful for a break in my 500-mile round-trip commute until next year.

12/10
Today I am grateful for dinner last night with old friends and for the chance to meet a few new, very interesting people.

12/9
Today I am grateful that I had the chance this weekend to apologize personally for a mistake I made years ago.

12/8
Today I am grateful for: 1. A Spartan victory, a BIG10 Championship, and a trip to the Rose Bowl 2. Being able to attend the championship game last night - one of the most exciting games I've ever seen. 3. Watching the game with my son Tim and my friends Bryan, Patrick, and John. 4. Running into old friends Debora, David, and Sue and sharing a post-game drink with them. 5. John finding us a reasonably-priced hotel room for the weekend. 6. Being able to make it back to the hotel safely after driving hundreds of miles throughout the night.

12/7
Today I am grateful that I missed the storms in southern Indiana while driving last night.

12/6
Today I am grateful I was able to find a reasonably-priced hotel in downtown Chicago.

12/5
Today I am grateful for the kindness and hospitality of Pat Patrick Affholter and their wife who opened his home to me, saving me a lot of late-night/early-morning driving.

12/3
Today I am grateful for the warm reception the um Design + Business group gave to this Spartan last night as I taught them about Data Visualization.

12/2
Today I am grateful to the team that created Doctor Who and to those who recommended this excellent show to me.

12/1
Today I am grateful for 1. A chance to spend so much time this week with my son Timmy, who was home from college on Thanksgiving break. 2. Dinner last night with my friend Bryan. 3. Another Spartan victory.

11/30
Today I am grateful for a day in East Lansing, meeting many old friends and dinner with Darlene and her family.

11/29
Today I am grateful for 1. Thanksgiving dinner with my family. 2. My cousin Kevin Gill deciding to spend Thanksgiving with my mother in Florida.

Monday, 30 December 2013 01:55:18 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Leap2 is a search tool that allows users to enter a search word or words and submit that search across multiple places simultaneously. Results are returned from Internet search engines as well as a number of social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I was surprised how quickly this cross-domain search was able to return results.

One powerful feature of Leap2 is the ability to set “Alerts”, so that Leap2 searches for something and lets you know when it finds it via an updated tile on the Windows 8 home screen.

You can download Leap2 at aka.ms/Ntmt6u

If you have written or know of a Windows 8 app you would like to see featured here, please contact me at dgiard@microsoft.com.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013 06:55:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Some apps are only relevant for a short time and this is one of them. Click the radar icon in the bottom right corner and Where Is Santa sweeps the map of the Earth showing Santa Claus’s current location. On nights other than Christmas Eve, the app will notify you what Santa is doing while at the North Pole.

Click the top-right “My Home” icon and the app will zoom to your home and let you know how long you have to wait for St. Nick’s arrival.

You can download this app at Where is Santa? There is also a Windows Phone version available at Where is Santa?.

If you have written or know of a Windows 8 app you would like to see featured here, please contact me at dgiard@microsoft.com.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013 18:43:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 23 December 2013
Monday, 23 December 2013 17:24:42 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Leap2 is a search tool that allows users to enter a search word or words and submit that search across multiple places simultaneously. Results are returned from Internet search engines as well as a number of social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I was surprised how quickly this cross-domain search was able to return results.

One powerful feature of Leap2 is the ability to set “Alerts”, so that Leap2 searches for something and lets you know when it finds it via an updated tile on the Windows 8 home screen.

You can download Leap2 at aka.ms/Ntmt6u

If you have written or know of a Windows 8 app you would like to see featured here, please contact me at dgiard@microsoft.com.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013 16:03:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 16 December 2013

Episode 296

Ward Bell on Breeze

Monday, 16 December 2013 22:58:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, 13 December 2013
Friday, 13 December 2013 17:14:29 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)