# Wednesday, 11 November 2015

In my role as a Technical Evangelist, I attend and mentor at a lot of hackathons. I did not attend Hack The North in Waterloo, Ontario earlier this fall, but I heard about an incident and it caught my attention.

On the hackathon Facebook page, one student posted "Anyone building a clock for the haack?" Two students replied - one said he was building a bomb that looked like a clock; the other replied "My clock is the bomb."  This exchange was an obvious joke referring to the Texas 14-year-old, Ahmad Mohamed, who was recently arrested and suspended from his high school officials believed his homemade clock looked like a bomb.

HackTheNorth

Major League Hacking (MLH) was an organizer of Hack Up North and they took quick action after one attendee reported feeling "unsafe" due to the posts.

MLH kicked all three students out of the hackathon, sending them home - presumably to a different city.

I believe that some of you reading this believe that MLH took appropriate action and some of you do not. I won't share here my opinion on MLH's actions, but I will say this: It doesn't really matter!

I attend Hackathons as a guest of the organizers and as a representative of my employer. I've established limited agreements with both of these organization that I will abide by their rules.

In this case the rules were set by the hackathon's code of conduct and interpreted by MLH.

Some will look at this as a free speech issue, as if free speech were an absolute right, which it is not. Even setting aside the fact that this hackathon took place in Canada where the US Constitution's First Amendment holds no weight, our rights of free speech are limited by the rights of others and by agreements into which we enter. Also, free speech only protects us from the law - not from social consequences that our words trigger. If you visit my house and say something offensive to me, I'm well within my rights to kick you out of my house.

The lesson here is a simple one: Think before you post something in a public forum. How will it be interpreted? Will others feel threatened by it? How will you be perceived by those who read it?

At a minimum, pausing to consider your next public post may save you from embarrassment. It may even save you an early and unexpected trip home.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015 11:32:36 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The nice thing about Fundamentals of Azure: Microsoft Azure Essential by Michael Collier and Robin Shahan is that it assumes no prior knowledge of Azure or cloud computing. Each chapter describes the technology and walks the user through how to implement that technology using Microsoft Azure.

The step-by-step instructions are very explicit, even including screenshots of each step. Collier and Shahan take you through the process of the most common Azure tasks, including creating Web Apps; setting up Virtual Machines and Virtual Networks;

Of course, the Azure team is adding new features very quickly; so occasionally, you will run into instructions that do not exactly match the portal. But Collier and Shahan do a good job of explaining the concepts, so the user can often find their way through any inconsistencies.

If you are new to Azure and want an overview of the platform or if you want help with specific features, Fundamentals of Azure will help.

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Michael Collier and David

Azure | Books
Tuesday, 10 November 2015 01:04:06 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 09 November 2015
Monday, 09 November 2015 20:39:28 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, 06 November 2015

Last month, I interviewed Pixel Squad CEO Will Malouk. Pixel Squad uses Azure to enhance their popular Crime Coast game. He discusses the technical challenges of developing this game and his reasons for moving from AWS to Azure.

Azure | DevRadio | Games
Friday, 06 November 2015 12:50:02 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 02 November 2015
Monday, 02 November 2015 12:35:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, 01 November 2015

11/1
Today I am grateful for lunch with Noelle yesterday.

10/31
Today I am grateful to attend my first Hack Night at the University of Chicago yesterday.

10/30
Today I am grateful that I was part of something very special yesterday.

10/29
Today I am grateful to share the Hololens experience with so many people at the event in Chicago this week.

10/28
Today I am grateful for a much-needed night of sleep.

10/27
Today I am grateful for a chance to play with a Hololens yesterday.

10/26
Today I am grateful for brunch yesterday with Corrina and Chris, who I haven't seen in years.

10/25
Today I am grateful -that I made it home safely after way too many miles driving and way too little sleep this week. -for a surprise call from my brother Dan in Australia to tell me he's coming to visit. -for an amazing week at a series of fortunate events.

10/24
Today I am grateful for #CloudDevelop

10/23
Today I am grateful for speaker gifts.

10/22
Today I am grateful for a chance to go back and speak last night at #MIGANG - where I used to spend so much of my time and energy!

10/21
Today I am grateful for a successful cloud computing workshop at Michigan State University last night.

10/20
Today I am grateful to all those who volunteer their time to the tech community.

10/19
Today I am grateful for a weekend in West Lafayette, IN.

10/18
Today I am grateful that miracles sometimes happen.

10/17
Today I am grateful that Mark Dantonio has raised the level of MSU football, while maintaining a high standard of integrity for the program. #GoGreen

10/16
Today I am grateful that Indian food is a thing in America.

10/15
Today I am grateful to all those who invite me to their tech events.

10/14
Today I am grateful for 2 years at the best job I have known.

10/13
Today I am grateful for a quiet morning at home and a chance to catch up on some things.

10/12
Today I am grateful to see the Titans-Bills game at Nissan Stadium yesterday.

10/11
Today I am grateful for my first ever visit to Alabama.

10/10
Today I am grateful to spend time last night in Huntsville with old friends.

10/9
Today I am grateful for: -Dinner with Michael in Huntsville last night -Chris arranging a workshop for me at UAH yesterday afternoon.

10/8
Today I am grateful for a visit yesterday with Kent and his family at his home in Tennessee.

10/7
Today I am grateful that the weather is still nice enough to ride my bike around town.

10/6
Today I am grateful to all those who help me do my job better.

10/5
Today I am grateful for the ability to watch my favourite TV shows when it's convenient to me.

Sunday, 01 November 2015 11:52:54 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, 31 October 2015

When I moved to Chicago, I did not know many people in the developer community. But after living here over a year and working here for over 2 years, I've discovered that the metropolitan Chicago area boasts a strong developer community, led by a number of dedicated influencers. I was impressed by the number of meetups, code camps, and other events that are run by volunteers.

On October 19, Microsoft invited influencers from Chicago and its surrounding areas to come to our office for a Chicago Influencers Summit.

The goals of the summit were:

  • Get to know the influencers better;
  • Let them know that I am here to help;
  • Let them know about Microsoft DX and what we can offer
  • Give influencers a chance to get to know one another better

We invited leaders of key user groups from around Chicagoland, as well as influencers who frequently lead community events.

Not all the influencers were from the .NET community, as we invited leaders from Java User groups, the node.js meetup, Ruby developers, and many others who have very little interest in Microsoft technology but who still volunteer their time supporting the local developer community. 18 influencers attended, as well as Microsoft Technical Evangelists Sarah Sexton and me.

We began by giving everyone a chance to introduce themselves, followed by an introduction Microsoft DX and its goals within the community.

We had an excellent discussion about how we can better communicate with one another and debated the value of regular phone calls, threaded discussions with tools like Yammer and Slack; and a community calendar. We decided on creating a Wordpress site with a calendar and a comment section. We also decided to reboot the monthly "Midwest Geeks Call" - a once-popular Skype call that has not been well-attended in recent months. We settled on a more convenient day and time for this call.

An open discussion on issues faced by event organizers yielded some interesting conversation topics, including an exchange of ideas on the importance of diversity among conference speakers and how to increase diversity.

We also discussed the possibility of hosting a community event in early 2016, but did not finalize plans for this before adjourning for the day.

The biggest benefit we gained from this event was an opening of communication channels - not only between Microsoft and the community; but also between supporters of disparate areas of the developer community. I believe this will be a good step in the direction of keeping these communication channels open.

Saturday, 31 October 2015 15:26:41 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, 30 October 2015

Hurricane Joaquin pounded the east coast much of the week and threatened to cause havoc with thunderstorms in Huntsville, AL, hundreds of miles from the ocean. Chris Gardner, organizer of the first DevSpace conference, crossed his fingers, glanced at the sky and hoped the weather would not deter attendees and speakers.

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Huntsville, AL

Ultimately, the thunderstorms did strike Huntsville, but only in the evening and they were not enough to disrupt the first DevSpace conference.

In its first year, the DevSpace conference in Huntsville, AL attracted about a hundred attendees.

Although the attendees were mostly from within 200 miles of Huntsville, the speakers came from all over the US, including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, and California.

Sessions covered a variety of software development technologies, including JavaScript frameworks, Application Lifecycle Management, PowerShell, Azure Machine Learning, Unity game development, and Python.

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There were a surprising number of presentations on Application Lifecycle Management and quite a few talks on soft skills, such as Finding Leadership Opportunities, Public Speaking, and Improving Listening Skills.

Alan Stevens of Knoxville, TN delivered an excellent keynote in which he talked about the inherent imperfections in production code and how we can continually improve that code base.

I delivered 2 sessions: Own Your Own Career - Advice from a Veteran Consultant; and Microsoft Azure Without Microsoft.

IMG_3304

Huntsville, AL is also home of the University of Alabama - Huntsville and Chris arranged a student workshop for me at the university the day before the conference. I was able to teach students about cloud computing and Azure and get them to activate their Dreamspark Azure accounts and deploy a web app.

DevSpace is one of several smaller conferences that have started or grown recently in response to the cancellation of DevLink in Nashville, TN.

Conference organizer Chris Gardner announced plans for a 2016 edition of DevSpace.

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Chris Gardner

This was my first visit to Alabama and I really enjoyed it. The people were friendly, the area is beautiful, the conference was enjoyable, and Hun4tsville has a quaint, pleasant downtown area. My only regret is that I did not get  a chance to visit the Space Museum. But that gives me a reason to return.

Friday, 30 October 2015 14:21:42 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, 29 October 2015

In this screencast, you will learn 3 different ways to create an Azure Web App using the Azure Management Portal.

Azure | GCast | Video | Web
Thursday, 29 October 2015 22:42:58 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 27 October 2015
Tuesday, 27 October 2015 02:41:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)