# Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Our new Fiscal Year begins in a couple weeks, so I compiled a list of community developer events that I expect will take place in the next 12 months.

Please let me know if I am missing an important event in the region, if a date has been confirmed, or if you notice any errors in this list.

Event Location Dates URL
Codestock Knoxville, TN July 15-16 http://www.codestock.org/
Iowa Code Camp Coralville, IA July 23 http://iowacodecamp.com/
Cincinnati Day of Agile Westchester, OH July 29 http://dayofagile.org/ 
PyOhio Columbus, OH July 30-31 http://pyohio.org/
M3Conf Columbus, OH Aug 5 http://www.m3conf.com/
Tulsa Tech Fest Tulsa, OK Aug 5 http://techfests.com/Tulsa/2016/default.aspx
That Conference Wisconsin Dells, WI Aug 8-10 https://www.thatconference.com/
MidwestJS Minneapolis, MN Aug 10-12 http://midwestjs.com/
Music City Code Nashville, TN Aug 18-20 http://www.musiccitycode.com/
CloudDevelop Columbus, OH Aug 26 http://clouddevelop.org/
DogFood Con Columbus, OH Oct 5-6 http://dogfoodcon.com/
Ohio LinuxFest Columbus, OH Oct 7-8 https://ohiolinux.org/ 
Technology Hub Appleton, WI Oct 13 http://www.technologyhubconference.com/
DevSpace Huntsville, AL Oct 14-15 https://www.devspaceconf.com/
DevUp Conference St. Louis, MO Oct 20-22 http://devupconf.com/
Midwest Game Dev Expo Columbus, OH Oct 28-30 https://www.thegdex.com/
MKE DOT NET Milwaukee, WI Oct 29 http://www.centare.com/mke-dot-net/ 
Milwaukee Code Camp Milwaukee, WI Oct or Nov http://milwaukeecodecamp.com/
Chippewa Valley Code Camp Eau Claire, WI Oct 22 http://chippewavalleycodecamp.com/index.html
Detroit Dev Day Detroit, MI Nov? http://detroitdevday.org/
SharePoint Fest Chicago Chicago, IL Dec 6-9 http://www.sharepointfest.com/Chicago/
CodeMash Sandusky, OH Jan 10-13 http://www.codemash.org/
Northeast Wisconsin Code Camp Appleton, WI March? http://newcodecamp.com/
GR Dev Day Grand Rapids, MI March? http://grdevday.org/
Chicago Code Camp Chicago, IL April? http://chicagocodecamp.com/
Twin Cities Code Camp Minneapolis, MN April? http://www.twincitiescodecamp.com/#/home
Nebraska Code Camp Lincoln, NE May? http://nebraskacode.com/
PHPTek St. Louis, MO May? https://tek.phparch.com/
Chicago Coder Conference Chicago, IL June? http://chicagocoderconference.com/
Open Source North Minneapolis, MN June? http://opensourcenorth.com/
KCDC Kansas City, MO June? http://www.kcdc.info/
Wednesday, 15 June 2016 14:55:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 14 June 2016

I was in high school the first time someone asked me to name my favourite band. and I had to think about it for a while before I decided it was Steely Dan. They set themselves apart from others making good music because I enjoyed all of their songs and because they played a variety of music and because their style of combining jazz arrangements over pop melodies was so different from what other artists of the last 1970s were doing. Walter Becker and Donald Fagen established themselves as one of the great songwriting pairs in pop music history and always surrounded themselves with top-notch studio musicians.

Decades later, Steely Dan remains one of my favourites; but, remarkably, I've never seen them perform live. That changed last night when I caught their performance at the FirstMerit Bank Pavilion in Chicago. They did not disappoint.

Steve Winwood warmed up - another artist I've always enjoyed, but never saw perform live. Winwood had a successful solo career in the 1980s and he performed the popular "Higher Love" from this era; but most of the performance was taken from his earlier bands, such as Traffic and Blind Faith. He closed with a rocking performance of "Gimme Some Lovin’", a song he wrote and recorded for the Spencer Davis Group in 1966 at the age of 18. 

Steely Dan hit the stage on a muggy night as the sun set and a breeze thankfully blew off nearby Lake Michigan. Steely Dan's core remains singer/keyboardist Donald Fagen and guitarist Walter Becker.

Fagen was the leader on stage, introducing most songs and singing lead. Becker is a great songwriter, but had little stage presence (although he did sing lead on "Daddy Don't Live In That New York City No More". But these limitations are easily ignored when one surrounds oneself with an excellent set of musicians.

And Becker and Fagen brought with them an excellent band which they referred to as "The Steely Dan Orchestra". The two highlights of this orchestra were drummer Keith Carlock and lead guitarist Jon Herington, both of whom have traveled with Becker and Fagen for over a decade.

The 3 female backing vocalist provided depth to most songs and sang lead on "Dirty Work", a song originally sung by David Palmer before Fagen took over all lead vocals.

I loved the live arrangements of their songs. Most did not stray far from the excellent studio arrangements that made Steely Dan famous in the first place, but they toyed with some songs, including a slow jam version of "Josie".

Seeing Steely Dan after all these decades of listening to their music was like meeting an old friend after a long absence - Familiar yet somehow new.

I fell in love with them at My Old School and now they had me reeling in my years.

WP_20160611_21_58_14_Pro WP_20160611_22_03_18_Pro

Tuesday, 14 June 2016 14:08:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 13 June 2016
# Monday, 06 June 2016
Monday, 06 June 2016 12:42:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, 05 June 2016

6/5
Today I am grateful for
-the number of people who traveled far to attend Open Day yesterday.
-Chicago style pizza on the Gold Coast last night with friends and colleagues.

6/4
Today I am grateful for dinner last night in Downers Grove, IL with a bunch of MVPs.

6/3
Today I am grateful for Japanese BBQ with my team last night.

6/2
Today I am grateful for all the online references, articles, lessons, videos, and tutorials that make learning new technologies much more accessible.

6/1
Today I am grateful for dinner at a Swedish restaurant last night.

5/31
Today I am grateful for my camera, which helps me preserve and share memories.

5/30
Today I am grateful to all those who gave their lives in the service of our country.

5/29
Today I am grateful for an excellent week in Romania.

5/28
Today I am grateful for wine tasting with friends at a castle in Jidvei, Romania

5/27
Today I am grateful for another excellent #ITCAMP16.

5/25
Today I am grateful for my first visit to Bucharest.

5/23
Today I am grateful to arrive safely in Romania.

5/22
Today I am grateful for:
-seeing Nonnie's new house
-breakfast with Debora, David, Sue, and Gary this morning in Forest Park.

5/21
Today I am grateful for a walk around Andersonville last night.

5/20
Today I am grateful for:
-Lunch at Superdawg in Norwood Park
-An afternoon walk along Lake Michigan

5/19
Today I am grateful for a chance to play with a HoloLens yesterday.

5/18
Today I am grateful for pierogis with Christina last night.

5/17
Today I am grateful that my son began his internship yesterday.

5/16
Today I am grateful to see Gary Numan in concert last night.

5/15
Today I am grateful for a hot latte to start the morning.

5/14
Today I am grateful for a vibrant startup community in Chicago.

5/13
Today I am grateful that the skies here have cleared up, giving us a brilliant sunny day.

5/12
Today I am grateful for a day spent writing code.

5/10
Today I am grateful for lunch yesterday with Nick and Tim.

5/9
Today I am grateful:
-to be able to spend most of yesterday with my mother
-to my brother Doug and sister-in-law Sherree housing me for the weekend
-for a rare chance to spend time my brother Dan, who lives in a different hemisphere.
-Mother's Day dinner with family

5/8
Today I am grateful to be back in Michigan with my brothers and other family members.

5/7
Today I am grateful for the ability to binge-watch an entire season of my favourite TV shows.

5/6
Today I am grateful for every person who ever came up to me after a presentation to tell me they enjoyed it and learned something.

5/5
Today I am grateful for Tacos and margaritas at the Taco Joint last night.

5/4
Today I am grateful for a fresh latte, without leaving my kitchen.

5/3
Today I am grateful for an excellent steak dinner with Kevin last night.

5/2
Today I am grateful for lunch yesterday with James.

Sunday, 05 June 2016 20:29:24 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 02 June 2016

On April 7 in Arlington Heights, IL, Michael Blumenthal and the PSC Group organized a day-long event, titled “Azure and the Modern Data Center”. The event featured a single track of speakers presenting on topics related to managing Azure from an IT Infrastructure perspective.

My colleague Brian Lewis delivered the keynote at this event and I gave a presentation on Virtualization Containers. Other topics included Compute & Storage Infrastructure, Networking Infrastructure, and Disaster Recovery.

The event was recorded and the videos are now available on Channel 9.

The complete agenda for the day is here:

Welcome Michael Blumenthal
Keynote: Why the Cloud will Change Your Life Brian Lewis
Azure Network Infrastructure Michael Blumenthal
Designing Azure Compute and Storage Infrastructure Bill Lee
Virtualization Containers David Giard
Device Showcase Scott Sheehy & Linda Baez
Deployment with ARM templates and GIT Geremy Reiner
Hybrid IT Management Rishi Bhatia
ASR recovery for protection and migration from on-premises Dan Rey
Designing Identity solutions with AAD Brice McDowell
Closing Remarks and Raffle Michael Blumenthal

image

Thursday, 02 June 2016 16:11:53 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, 01 June 2016

Recently I interviewed Sally Buberman and Ignacio Lopez, who turned an Imagine Cup project into a successful startup. Wormhole uses gamification to make online learning more engaging. Watch the interview below or at: Startup Stories: An Interview with Sally Buberman and Ignacio Lopez from Wormhole

Wednesday, 01 June 2016 18:20:04 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 30 May 2016
Monday, 30 May 2016 13:57:55 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, 29 May 2016

Mihai Tataran stood next before a group of technologist at the Jidvei winery and castle in Cetatea de Balta, Transylvania. IT Camp had ended the day before and the conference organizers took the speakers to the winery for a tour, a lunch, and a wine tasting. Mihai laughed and translated into English the tour guides jokes comparing wine with a beautiful woman. The group was tired from the activities surrounding the conference, but energized by the fresh air and the sunshine.

The speakers (including me) had come to Transylvania to speak at the 6th annual IT Camp in Cluj-Napoca. Cluj-Napoca is arguably the tech center of Transylvania - the region of northern Romania which has established itself in recent years as a growing technology hub.

IT Camp has grown from a small Microsoft-focused developer event into a 2-day, 6-track, multi-platform event with many presentations covering topics outside of software development, such as business skills and DevOps. This was my third visit to IT Camp in as many years.

The conference featured 3 keynote presentations - all on Day 1:

Cluj Mayor Emil Boc opened the conference by talking about the emergence of the tech industry and the advantage of the universities in his city.

Jayson Street described some things he has done wrong in his career as a security analyst and the lessons he learned from those incidents.

Laurent Ellerbach showed off his IoT-enabled garden that does everything from analyze the soil to automatically turn on sprinklers to take photos on demand.

IT Camp features an impressive list of speakers from at least 9 different countries - mostly from Europe.

I had a chance to see a few sessions presented by others, including Raffaele Rialdi's "Introduction to .NET Core", Mihai Coroș's "Building Your First SPA with Aurelia and ASP.NET MVC 6", and Radu Vunvulea's "Azure microservices in practice".

I delivered 2 sessions at IT Camp: "Open Source Technologies in Microsoft Azure" and "Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to your apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services".

The Open Source Azure session was well-received by the 30 or so attendees. This was a variation on a talk I've done in the past titled "Microsoft Azure Without Microsoft". In it, I highlight many of the open source technologies that are available in Microsoft Azure (e.g., Linux Virtual Machines and PHP web applications) and with which Microsoft Azure can work (e.g., REST services consumed by Java or Ruby).

I was much more happy with the Cognitive Services presentation. The audience filled a room with a capacity of over 100 persons and were impressed by this technology that exposes models built with machine learning to any application that can call a web service.  A line of attendees came to the stage afterward to ask questions.

I also had an opportunity to meet with the Technical Evangelists on the DX Romania team - both in Bucharest before the conference and during IT Camp.

Few conferences treat their speakers as well as IT Camp. Perks of speaking here, included:

  • A room at the Beautiful Grand Hotel Italia, overlooking the city of Cluj-Napoca
  • A buffet breakfast every morning and gourmet dinners every night
  • Evenings spent talking and drinking with other speakers and the conference organizers
  • A field trip the day after the conference. This year, a bus took us to the winery and castle in Jidvei.

I'm writing this recap from an airport lounge in Munich, waiting for a flight to take me home to Chicago. I'm exhausted from a lack of sleep this past week, but I'm happy I had the opportunity to take part in IT Camp and to reconnect with so many people that I only see once a year.

Sunday, 29 May 2016 10:08:34 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 26 May 2016

Walking through the Old City in Bucharest in a pouring rain looking for a restaurant among the winding streets, it was hard to remember that I came here for a vacation. But I did.

For the third year in a row, I was invited to speak at IT Camp in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. When speaking in Europe, I always make an effort to take a little extra time and see something new; so I  arrived  Monday evening, although the conference did not start until Thursday.After my ticket to Cluj was booked, I looked around for a place to visit for 2 days and I settled on Bucharest. This was my third trip to Romania, but the first time I set foot in its capital city or the region of Wallachia.

As with all overseas trips, this one began with a flight - or rather with 3 flights. I counted 23 hours between the time I left my apartment to the time I arrived - exhausted - at the Bucharest hotel. Despite the long travel time, it was not a bad trip.

It was late Monday night when I arrived in Bucharest, but the JW Marriott upgraded my room and gave me access to the members' lounge, so I relaxed a bit before bed and slept through my alarm the following morning. It was noon by the time, I ventured out on the streets.

I stopped for about an hour at the Microsoft office in Bucharest and met Radu Stefan - a local Technical Evangelist with whom I had been corresponding. He recommended the City Tour Bus, which takes one past many of the city's cultural and historic landmarks, providing recorded narration as it passes each landmark.

A recommendation from Twitter encouraged me to eat at Caru cu Bere in the Old Town section of Bucharest. The waiter recommended the "House Beer", which was so good I drank 2 (a rare thing for me). I didn't realize until after the waiter brought it, that I had ordered dinner "for 2". It was a good thing I skipped lunch.

Caru cu Bere is located in the Old City - a pedestrian area with cobblestone streets and many old building. I spent a lot of time walking through this section of town - in part because of a desire to explore and in part because it was difficult to find the restaurant. A steady rain fell on me while I walked, attempting unsuccessfully to dampen my spirits.

On Wednesday, I hired a tour guide and driver for the day, who took me around Bucharest. The city has a rich, multicultural history. In the early part of the 20th century, after Romania gained independence, Bucharest was known as the Paris of the East for its beautiful architecture and rich cultural attractions. But the Communists who gained control following World War II had little interest in the Bucharest of the past. Dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu destroyed hundreds of blocks of historic neighborhood to create the enormous and lavish Parliament Building.   Ceaușescu was deposed and executed before this building (the second largest administrative building in the world) was completed.

Highlights of my guided tour were:
-A walk through part of the Parliament Building
-The Village Museum - an outdoor area consisting of old homes from many parts of Romania
-The Romanian Patriarchal Cathedral on Dealul Mitropoliei

Wednesday evening, I boarded a plane for Cluj-Napoca for the IT Camp. I only spent 2 days in Bucharest, but I saw a lot of the city and I learned a lot of its history. It was definitely a worthwhile excursion. No amount of rain could dampen that.

Thursday, 26 May 2016 11:13:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)