# Friday, 25 April 2014

Not every good idea has to be original.

I began executing on a good idea one year ago today - on April 24, 2013. I know the date because the day before was the 25th anniversary of my failed marriage and I was feeling sorry for myself, so I posted on Facebook something negative

Posting did not help. I sank into self-pity and embraced my sorrow and I began to think about my life and my attitude and the attitude I projected through social media. Like many people, I used Twitter and Facebook to vent - to express frustration with my life and to whine about my circumstances.  I never had trouble thinking of things to complain about - some of them recent and some (like my memories of my marriage) from a past I could not release.

I took the time to read through a few months of my writings on Twitter and Facebook and I did not like the person I saw. That person was very negative, which was odd, because I did not perceive myself this way and I don't think people who know me personally person perceive me this way.

I resolved to change how I projected myself on social media and (hopefully) to change my outlook on life.

I was inspired by presentations I had recently seen. At Stir Trek, Elizabeth Naramore gave a very personal talk, describing how she rebounded from a low point in her life to a much more positive space. One of her techniques was to write in a notebook every morning something for which she was grateful. Day 1 was difficult for her. All she could think of was that her kids were not fighting and it was not raining. But she showed us the notebook entry from a few months later and she was filling entire pages with paragraphs of gratitude.

Not long after Stir Trek, I heard Layla Driscoll (now married and re-branded as "Layla Sells") gave a talk titled "Find Your Happy" in which she encouraged us to look for something positive every day. Every day, Layla shared these gratitudes on Facebook.

I've know Elizabeth and Layla for years and I've always admired how they approach life with such a positive attitude. I took Elizabeth and Layla's advice and I ran with it.

On April 24, 2013, I posted "Today I am grateful that I have friends who are willing to pick me up when I am feeling down."

That was the start.

Every morning, I wake up and try to think of something for which I am grateful. Sometimes, it's a good thing that happened yesterday; sometimes it's something I'm excited about that is scheduled for today; sometimes it's just a general positive aspect of my life or the world around me.

At the end of a month, I compiled the previous month's gratitude posts into a single blog post - an idea I stole from Jeff Yates.

As you might expect, some days, I struggle to come up with something positive. Some mornings, I wake up with a dark cloud - usually the same one that covered me the night before. Some mornings, I dwell on bad news from yesterday or last week or from years ago. But this exercise helps me to move past that bad news and that dark cloud.

Do I still get depressed these days? Of course. But less often than before. And later in the day. My outlook has improved and the world around me has improved.

I'm happy that others found inspiration in my posts - in the same way that I was inspired by Elizabeth and Layla and Jeff. Facebook and Twitter often seems to be filled with negativity and avarice.  A few people have told me they look forward to my posts which motivates me to keep doing them.

So I've accomplished a few things. I'm projecting a much more positive image to the world, but the very act of posting positive messages has magically brought up my own attitude; and I've inspired others, who are, in turn taking a more positive attitude out into their own days.

Today I'm grateful to those who inspired me and the changes that inspiration brought about.

Friday, 25 April 2014 03:36:02 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 22 April 2014

I am involved in a number of first-party events from Microsoft over the next few weeks. Many people have contributed to the content of these events and they should be very educational. All events are free and last a full day. The dates and registration links are below:

Date Event Location Link
April 23 Enterprise Developer Boot Camp Columbus, OH link
April 30 Windows Azure Developer Camp: Make It Happen In The Cloud Chicago, IL link
May 6 Enterprise Developer Boot Camp Southfield, MI link
May 14 Dev Days 2014 Southfield, MI link
June 11 Dev Days 2014 Columbus, OH link

Below are the official descriptions of these events.

Enterprise Developer Camp

Do you have existing .NET client line of business (LOB) applications? Join Microsoft developer experts, and see how to modernize these applications and move them forward. Learn what the Microsoft devices and services strategy is and how existing applications fit in. See demos, and work through hands-on labs to learn how and why to move your LOB applications to Windows Azure, how to use third-party controls to add a modern look and feel, and how to provide your users the ability to use LOB apps on a variety of devices, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone. And do all of this using Visual Studio 2013 and your existing XAML skills!

Agenda Topics:

· Overview

o Get an overview of the Microsoft platform, and discover the main reasons why developers (and businesses) should build on it. Learn what we mean when we talk about devices and services and the opportunities they present.

· Adopt a Services Architecture

o Learn about best practices for building WPF LOB applications that are based on a services architecture. Review the Expenses app that serves as foundation for the session, and explore a number of coding topics.

· Move to the Cloud

o Find out how to cloud-enable the Expenses app so users can access expense data on-premises and off-premises. Walk through the steps, including configuring the WCF service to use SQL Azure, deploying the WCF service to an Azure Web Site, and configuring the Expenses app to use the cloud service.

· Lunch

· Modernize Your App

o Explore new features in Visual Studio 2013 that make XAML development easier. Learn about controls provided by third-party vendors, and see how they can be used to build WPF apps that have a more modern look and feel.

· Build for Multiple Devices

o See how you can take your existing skills and build Windows 8 and Windows Phone apps. Get a basic overview, and then see how to build an Expenses app for both of these platforms to provide users the ability to manage their expenses on additional devices.

Dev Days 2014

Microsoft’s Refactor Your Dev Skills at Dev Days 2014 is a conference where Microsoft shares the latest Operating System, cloud, device, development and developer tools. Much of the material is inspired from the 2014 Build Conference, with exciting announcements expected in all of the categories above. If you didn’t have time to view as many build sessions as you would have liked, and didn’t have time to pull together the key developments, this is the conference for you. These events are meant to distill an overview of the latest developments on Microsoft platforms and highlight some of the best new capabilities coming in each areas below:

Agenda

  • An overview of what was announced at Build
  • What’s new in the cloud platform?
  • What’s new in building web technology native apps?
  • What’s new in .NET Language apps?
  • What’s new in Visual Studio and Application Lifecycle Management?
  • How to get started using new capabilities.

Windows Azure Developer Camp: Make It Happen In The Cloud

Join a Microsoft Azure Developer Camp and leave with code running in the cloud! This is a free, one-day Microsoft Azure Instructor led Workshop where you roll up your sleeves and get hands-on with the latest Microsoft Azure development tools and technologies.
We will start with the basics and build on to more advanced topics, featuring instructor led
hands-on labs for:
-  Learn how to build infrastructure at the speed of code with Virtual Machines in the cloud
-  Build your first cloud native application, and deploy it into an auto-management environment
-  Easily configure single sign-on for your ASP.NET application, and learn how to extend your corporate identity store to apps in the cloud.
Throughout the day, you’ll hear from local Microsoft Azure Partner specialists and Microsoft product team members. We’ll talk about how Microsoft Azure, Microsoft’s open and flexible cloud platform, enables you to quickly build, deploy or move existing applications to the cloud. And don't worry, we speak your development language, .NET, node.js, PHP, Python, and all developers are welcome!
Be fully prepared for this hands-on day of coding by bringing your laptop and signing up for the free Microsoft Azure trial

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 18:08:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 21 April 2014
Monday, 21 April 2014 23:01:22 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 15 April 2014

This Windows 8 app made me smile. Open the app and touch an icon and your PC plays a recording that sounds like you have an emergency in your house, giving you the opportunity to politely hang up on a telemarketer or other annoying-but-difficult-to-get-rid-of caller.

Sounds include Doorbell, Crying Baby, Gunshot, and CSI, which plays a voice saying "Get off the phone. We need to clean the blood out of the carpet." That last one is my favourite.

Download Anti-telemarketer Soundboard at
http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/app/anti-telemarketer-soundboard/595568f0-bb7c-4530-adb2-3751abae5c90

Screenshot.319636.100000[1]

Tuesday, 15 April 2014 18:56:58 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 14 April 2014
Monday, 14 April 2014 22:27:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, 11 April 2014

On March 7, Tim Benham and I made plans to meet Dave Bost for lunch. Dave cancelled at the last minute. His e-mail is below. It breaks my heart to read it today.

"I'm sorry guys. I'm going to have to take a rain check. I'm out of commission today at home with a debilitating migraine headache.
I'm really sorry.
How's next week?."

2 days later, Dave was in the hospital and doctors were operating on his brain; 3 days and 2 surgeries later , he was in a coma. He never awoke from that coma. 

Monday evening – about a month after he checked into the hospital - Dave passed away.

I don't know his age, but I know he was younger than me and I know he left behind a wife and daughters.

For years, I have been part of the developer community and Dave, in his role as a Developer Evangelist, was charged with helping to build and support this community. But it was always clear that this was never just a job to Dave. He genuinely wanted to help people and to teach people. I never saw him talk down to anyone, regardless of their skill level. He was one of the most personable people I've known. When I think of Dave now, I always think of his smile, his positive attitude, and his relaxed, disarming manner. I think these attributes shine through in this interview I recorded in 2010: http://www.davidgiard.com/2010/02/10/DaveBostOnTheThirstyDeveloper.aspx

My first week at Microsoft was Dave's last with the company. It was his job to train me. He took the time to show me how he approached the job, where to find everything and what I needed to be successful.  We stayed in touch after he left the company, but we never got together for lunch as we planned.

Tomorrow, Dave's body will be buried and we will miss him and remember how much brighter the world was with him and his smile in it. I’ve taken comfort these past few days in reading all the tributes to Dave and seeing all the photos of him posted on social media by those who knew him better and longer than I did. It’s clear he touched many lives during his time on Earth.

The lessons from tragedies like this are almost always the same: Life is precious; tomorrow is not promised to you; appreciate those around you while they are here. Sometimes it takes a tragedy to remind us of these truths.

When I get home, I’m going to call an old friend and schedule lunch.

IMG_9255-X2[1]

Friday, 11 April 2014 17:05:04 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 07 April 2014
Monday, 07 April 2014 18:38:24 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, 06 April 2014

4/6
Today I am grateful for students who are so passionate about learning that they are willing to stay up all night finishing a cool project.

4/5
Today I am grateful for those people with the talent, time and willingness to work to make outstanding movies for me to enjoy.

4/4
Today I am grateful for the amazing tools I work with every day.

4/3
Today I am grateful for all the time I spent with my son this week while he was in town.

4/2
Today I am grateful that I'm getting paid to watch the #BLDWIN keynote address.

4/1
Today I am grateful for this sunburn and this cold and this back pain and this heartache and a sleepless night and my inability to stop breaking wind.

3/31
Today I am grateful I am taking my son to his first Detroit Tigers Opening Day!

3/30
Today I am grateful I was able to spend time last night with old friends I hadn't seen in years - Pat and Joe in the early evening; and John and Melissa after dinner.

3/29
Today I am grateful for all those who donated their time to host a local edition of the Global Windows Azure Boot Camp all over the world.

3/28
Today I am grateful for the dozens of people who gave up their evenings to hear me speak in Bloomington, Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus this week.

3/27
Today I am grateful for lunch with friends yesterday and a great turnout at the Dayton .NET Developers Group last night.

3/26
Today I am grateful for

  1. Lunch with Barry Fridley, whom I haven't seen in years.
  2. A great audience at the Cincinnati .NET User Group last night.
  3. Going to the pub with the local Cinci devs.
  4. Hanging out with Nino late into the night.

3/25
Today I am grateful for the hospitality and generosity of Nino Benvenuti and his wife Shannon.

3/24
Today I am grateful that I spent nearly all my waking hours yesterday with my son.

3/23
Today I am grateful for excellent community events like #GrDevDay and for those work to put them on.

3/22
Today I am grateful that Lino told me he looks forward to my daily gratitude posts.

3/21
Today I am grateful for a long phone call with my sister, who I only see every few months.

3/20
Today I am grateful that the Great Lakes Area .NET User Group is still going strong years after I stepped away from leading it.

3/19
Today I am grateful for my first nerd lunch in a long time. It was good to see everyone again.

3/18
Today I am grateful for a few days at home before I hit the road again.

3/17
Today I am grateful for the Michigan State Spartans, who won a Big 10 basketball championship game in Indianapolis, just like the MSU football team in November!

3/15
Today I am grateful that, even though I am only home for a few hours, I get to spend much of it with my son.

3/14
Today I am grateful to #VSLive for inviting me to speak here. I had a great time!

3/13
Today I am grateful for 11 hours sleep and no morning commitments.

3/12
Today I am grateful for those who trust me enough to share their secrets with me..

3/11
Today I am grateful for a few days in the desert to recover from a brutal Michigan winter.

3/10
Today I am grateful that I am on my way to VSLive for the first time.

3/9
Today I am grateful I was finally able to resolve my e-mail client issues of the past week.

3/8
Today I am grateful for all this great recorded music from which I can choose.

3/7
Today I am grateful for a large and enthusiastic crowd for my presentation in Chicago last night.

3/6
Today I am grateful for the cartoonist Herge and the pleasure his character Tintin brought to so many of his fans, including me.

3/5
Today I am grateful for a packed room at the Findlay Area .NET User Group last night and for the the guy in the front row who helped me troubleshoot my failing demo.

3/4
Today I am grateful for my 8 apps that were approved for the Windows 8 and Windows Phone store this past week.

3/3
Today I am grateful for the 12 books I sold on eBay this weekend.

3/2
Today I am grateful for all the kind birthday wishes yesterday.

3/1
Today I am grateful I made it safely to Columbus last night, despite driving while exhausted.

Sunday, 06 April 2014 19:27:56 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 03 April 2014

Like Day 1, there were a number of big announcements from Microsoft during the Day 2 keynote at the Build conference. The most exciting parts were the new features of Windows Azure (now “Microsoft Azure”), as that team continues to push out new features at an impressive rate.

My notes from the Day 2 Keynote are below. Just like yesterday, these are just my raw notes and it’s possible I missed or misheard or mistyped something. So back off, ok? ;)

Azure
    Create, Delete, Manage Azure VMs from within Visual Studio
    Enable Remote .NET Debugging on VM
    Use Puppet to manage Azure VMs
    Intelligent Routing with Traffic Manager
        Route user to closest data center
        Manage failover
    Provision Azure from Visual Studio
    Powershell editor in Visual Studio
        Azure deployment scripts
    Browser Link
        2-way communication between VS and any web browser
    Web Jobs
        Run Background tasks
        Web Jobs SDK
    Free SSL certificate with every web site instance
    Publish code from VS to Azure Mobile Services
    Single Sign on with Active Directory
    Enable Java on Azure
    SQL Azure
        Max SQL Database size 500GB (was 150GB max)
        Automatic backups
        Self-service restore
            roll back db to point in time
            Built-in feature. On by default
        Active geo replication
            Primary DB in read-write mode
            Secondary in Read-only mode
            In case of catastrophe, you can initiate failover
.NET and C#
    Visual Studio suggests refactoring
    Roslyn project is now Open Source
    Xamarin can use Roslyn Compiler
New Azure Portal
    Service Health
        Snapshot of global health of data centers
        Drill down via "blades" - flyout panels
    Visual Studio online integrated into Azure portal
        Team project
        Automated builds
        Source control
        Edit code in browser (syntax highlighting)
        Check in changed code
        Azure Resource Manager

Thursday, 03 April 2014 20:48:32 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

Day 1 of the Microsoft Build conference is in the books. The keynote included some exciting announcements. The most significant changes were about Windows Phone 8.1, however there were also some interesting upgrades to Windows 8.1 and Microsoft office, along with a look at new phones from Nokia.

Below are the notes I took during the keynote. I learned most of this information at the same time as the rest of the world. If my notes contain any errors or important omissions, it’s because they are just that – raw notes.

Windows Phone 8.1
    Action Center
        Accessible from anywhere
        Show important apps and settings
    Customize lock screen (personalize)
    start screen
        Show more tiles (High-density)
        Background
    Cortana
        Digital assistant
        Powered by bing
        Replaces WP8 Search button
        Quiet hours
        Infers places and interests, but you can override or add to these
        Personal assistant:
            "What's on my calendar for Saturday?" "Wake me up at 7AM" "Put dentist appointment on my calendar for August first at 10AM"
            Lets you know about conflict
            Cortana is currently in BETA!
        "Next time I talk with X, remind me to talk about Y"
            Sets reminder. Reminds during next phone call, chat, or e-mail with X.
    Enterprise VPN on phone
    S-MIME E-mail
        Digitally signed e-mail
    MDM Policy: Workplac settings: workplace apps; restrict apps or saving to phone by role
    Workflow keyboard
        drag finger across letters
        Set Guiness record for fastest phone typing
    IE11
        Reading mode
        In-private browsing
    Availability
        Rolling out to consumers in next few months
        On new phones in late April / Early May
Windows 8.1 Update
    Mouse and Keyboard users
        Minimize Modern app
        User can make taskbar visible
        Switch between Win32 and Modern apps
        Power, Search, and Settings on-screen (top-right)
        Right-click menu on Metro side
        CTRL+Click
        New apps highlighted
    Availability
        April 8

App Dev
    Universal Windows apps
    Same code to produce apps for phone, tablet, and client
    Migrate existing app
        Drag common code to "Shared" node in Project Explorer
        Create custom controls for each platform
    Common app experience across devices
        Shared App Identities
        Customers can buy 1 app and it will work on phone and PC
        In-app purchaces cross platforms (e.g., buy sword)
        Devs can choose different experience if desired
    Submitting app to store now 50x faster

Office
    Optimized for touch
        Larger ribbon icons
    Galleries
    Faster - more responsive
    Unlimited Undo & Redo
    Automatically saving Office docs to OneDrive
    Pinch to zoom
    Same office version runs on PC, Tablet, and Phone
Phone
    Silverlight apps still run on WP8.1
WinJS = cross-platform

Thursday, 03 April 2014 06:38:54 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)