# Saturday, 25 July 2015

The Milky Way galaxy of Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep is divided into 4 major concentric sections, known as "Zones of Thought": 

The Unthinking Depths at the center of the galaxy, in which little or no intelligent life has evolved;

The Slow Zone, where the Earth exists. Intelligent life has evolved here but there is no true artificial intelligence and faster-than-light travel is not possible in this zone;

The Beyond, where intelligent species have mastered faster-than-light travel and and advanced civilizations have arisen;

The Transcend, the home of mysterious races of hyper-intelligent beings.

The intelligence that exists in these zones is not a coincidence - something about the physical properties of the zones prevent species and societies from evolving beyond a given allowable intelligence and technology.

In the novel, a group of humans have migrated from the Slow Zone to the Beyond-Transcend border, where they discover and accidentally awaken a dormant entity in the Beyond. The entity - known as the Blight - travels into the Beyond, destroying entire solar systems and threatens to destroy all life in the galaxy. Most of the story follows various inhabitants of the galaxy as they try to defend themselves and their worlds from the oncoming Blight.

The two factions have each adopted a human child - siblings whose parents were killed when they got in the way of a Tine battle.

I liked the universe that Vinge creates. He never explains why each zone restricts technology, but the fact that it does explains why species and societies evolve as they do within each zone.

I like the creatures with which he populates his universe, especially the Tines - a sentient, but primitive race that resemble long-necked dogs and group together in small packs that share a single consciousness; and the Skroderiders - a plantlike species that are able to travel thanks to a special cart built for them millennia ago by an unknown benefactor.

And I liked the contrast between the civil war waging on the Tines' world to gain mastery over a small bit of land and the oncoming Blight, which destroyed everything in its path and headed toward that same world.

But I found it difficult to sympathize or identify with Vinge's characters or their trials as much as I wanted to.  Reading the story, I learned of death and love and trust and betrayal and they passed over me without moving me.

A Fire Upon the Deep was good for my head but it left my heart wanting more.

Saturday, 25 July 2015 12:16:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, 24 July 2015

This video describes the basics of Azure Mobile Services and walks you through creating a new Mobile Service with a JavaScript backend.

G-Cast 1

Azure Mobile Services, Part 1 – Creating a Mobile Service

Azure | GCast | Mobility | Video
Friday, 24 July 2015 11:37:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

Every once in a while, I record a screencast and I post it on this blog.

You can find links here to a series of screencasts I did on Visual Studio Coded UI Tests.

It has been a long time since I did so because screencasts tend to be a lot of work when done correctly.

But now I’m motivated to start doing these regularly. I plan to keep them short – anywhere from 5-30 minutes and to keep each video focused on a single topic. My goal is to release a new video every Friday – in the same way that I release a new Technology and Friends episode every Monday.

As in the past, I’m branding these as “G-Cast” – an abbreviation of Giard’s Screencasts and I’m rebooting the franchise to start at Episode 1. I even have a fun intro sequence that will appear at the beginning of each video.

The first G-Cast will debut tomorrow and will be part of a series showing how to use Azure Mobile Services.

Stay tuned and let me know what you think of this project.

GCast | Video
Friday, 24 July 2015 02:25:33 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 21 July 2015

TechnologyAndFriends[1] 

Channel9Logo

Technology and Friends began in Sandusky, OH in January 2009. I brought my video camera to Codemash and walked into the speaker room asking people if they wanted to talk on-camera about their favourite technology.

I had an idea that I wanted to publish these interviews on-line but I did not know what form that would take. Eventually, this idea evolved into Technology and Friends and I've been regularly publishing this show for over 6 and a half years. It's rare that a Monday passes without the release of a new episode.

375 episodes later, we are moving. From technologyandfriends.com to Channel 9

This change offers several advantages:

Users can now subscribe to the show

This has been the single biggest request I've received. And it’s built into Channel 9.

Users can download each episode in the resolution of their choosing.

Channel 9 encodes all videos in High, Medium, and Low Quality.  If bandwidth or disc space is tight, you can choose the lower quality. For better viewing, choose the high quality. For lower bandwidth or limited disc space, choose the smaller files.

Users can download the audio

This was another common request from fans of the show. It's now possible to grab just the audio to listen while you're driving, exercising or working around the house.

Reduced cost

I've been paying for this show out of my own pocket and the online fees alone come to almost a thousand dollars a year.

Wider exposure

Channel 9 reaches a very broad audience and this show will be indexed along with their other content, making it easier to find for a number of people.

So far, I have migrated the last 6 months of shows. In the coming weeks, I plan to move more of the older shows to the new site. I hope you enjoy the experience. Let me know your thoughts.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015 15:58:14 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 20 July 2015
Monday, 20 July 2015 13:52:15 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

Want to learn how to use Powershell to manage your Azure IAAS assets, such as Virtual Machines and Virtual Networks?

Brian Lewis and I are recording a series of videos that walk you through a set of Hands-On Labs. These are the same labs I used to learn how to automate Azure with Powershell and Brian is the man who taught me.

So far, we have over 2 hours of content with more to come.

Check out this 3-part series by clicking the links below.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Monday, 20 July 2015 01:04:45 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, 17 July 2015

I move around quite a bit and my laptop connects to Wi-Fi networks all over the world. Sometimes I return to those places and re-connect to the same network weeks or months later.

Once in a while, this causes a problem when a Wi-Fi network security credentials change and laptop's saved Wi-Fi settings continue to use the credentials I entered last time, without allowing me to enter the new credentials.

The simplest solution to this problem is to remove the Wi-Fi network from my laptop's list of saved networks Wi-Fi networks; then, re-add it. If it's not a hidden network, it should automatically appear when you are in range, even if it is not "saved".

But the option to remove a saved Wi-Fi network changes with each version of Windows and it may even be missing in some versions (I still can't find it in the Windows 10 preview I'm currently running).

However, you can use the command line to accomplish this. Here are the steps.

Open a command prompt as an Administrator. This is an option when you right-click the command prompt shortcut. It requires confirmation because you can wreak a lot of havoc as an administrator.

At the command prompt, type "netsh" and press ENTER to go into
network shell mode. The command prompt changes to
netsh>
as shown in Figure 1.

Forget-Fig1-netsh
Figure 1

At the netsh prompt, type "wlan show profiles" and press ENTER to display a list of all saved Wi-Fi networks, as shown in Figure 2.

Forget-Fig2-ShowProfiles
Figure 2 

Find the network you want to remove; then type "wlan delete profile name=<network name>", where network name is the network as listed in the last command. This must be surrounded by quotes. Spelling is important but capitalization is not. Press ENTER to remove this network, as shown in Figure 3.

Forget-Fig3-DeleteProfiles
Figure 3

That's it. You can close the command prompt or type "exit" and press ENTER to leave Network Shell Mode. I recommend not leaving and Administrator-level command prompt open in case you forget the power you have.

Here’s a summary of the steps:

netsh
 
wlan show profiles
 
wlan delete profile name=”<network name>
 

This method appears to work for Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10. Don’t get caught unable to connect to a wi-fi network again.

Friday, 17 July 2015 16:20:30 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 16 July 2015

Last night, I was the guest on the Azure podcast. The show is hosted by Cale Teeter, Evan Basalik and Sujit D'Mello and they have been recording since October 2013 – coincidentally, the same week that I joined Microsoft.

We talked about a number of topics, including education, startups, and Azure’s support for open source software. It was my first time on this podcast and I really enjoyed it.

You can listen the show by clicking this link.

Thursday, 16 July 2015 11:42:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Two hours after Codestock ended, I sat at a local restaurant enjoying dinner with Tennessee friends. I was tired and mostly listened to the conversation around the table.

I decided only recently to attend Codestock this year - primarily to help manage Microsoft's sponsorship of the event - but I ended up participating in 4 different presentations.

IMG_2511 Scott Hanselman delivered the keynote address at the beginning of Day 1 and we were allowed to introduce him to the audience and speak for about 15 minutes. Jennifer Marsman and I decided to highlight a golf scoring application created by Knoxville developer Wally McClure. We chose this app because it used many features of Azure and ran on multiple devices, including an iPad. Rather than simply talking about the app, we wrote a short skit in which Jennifer and I bragged about how much we knew about golf and Wally patiently explained how much more complicated golf scoring was than we understood. Performing a skit is a different way of delivering a message like this, but based on the feedback I received afterward, most people seemed to enjoy it. DavidWallyJennifer

On Day 1, I was asked to sit on a "Mobile Strategy Panel" because one of the panelists cancelled at the last minute. Sam Basu of Telerik asked each panelist questions about the state of various mobile platforms and took questions from the audience. The session was recorded by Ed Charbeneau (one of the panelists) for his podcast, so this recording should be publicly available soon.

I also signed up to deliver a 20-minute Lightning Talk titled "Microsoft Azure Without Microsoft" in which I described many of the open source technologies and alternate platforms that are supported on Microsoft Azure.

On day 2, I delivered a presentation: "I Did Not Know Microsoft Did That". This presentation was created and submitted by my colleague Bill Fink, but Bill fell ill and could not make it. The organizers liked Bill's topic and asked if I could deliver it. I used Bill's slides to talk about free programs offered by Microsoft, such as BizSpark, Dreamspark, and Microsoft Virtual Academy. Everyone in the audience I spoke with told me they were unaware of more than 2 of the dozen or so programs I covered and wanted to explore at least one of them more.

IMG_2521 The local Microsoft store was on-site with several tables full of PCs, laptops, tablets, phones, and even a 3D printer. This was an idea I pitched to Codestock last year and it was so well-received that the organizers contacted the store themselves this year.

I had a chance to attend a few sessions as well. Jennifer Marsman gave an excellent demonstration in which she used a device to measure EEG brain patterns and fed data into Azure Machine Learning to determine how the brain reacts when lying versus telling the truth; David Neal gave a very good overview of node.js for .NET developers; and Jeff Fritz showed off the features coming in ASP.NET 5.

WP_20150711_14_50_27_Pro_edited-1 I love attending Codestock because it gives me a chance to connect with people in a different part of the country than I normally interact with. I spoke with people about F# and video production and web development and cloud computing. I even captured a few video interviews, which I've already started sharing online.

Attendance nearly doubled this year over last year with nearly 900 developers making the trek. The organizers moved it to a much larger venue and may grow it even more in the future.

I think you can tell now why I was so tired following the conference. Luckily, I’m home now and I’ve already started to re-energize. For next year.

Photos

Codestlock.org

Tuesday, 14 July 2015 10:25:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 13 July 2015