# Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Recently, I was interviewed by Matthew Groves for his Cross Cutting Concerns podcast. We talked about Machine Learning in general and Microsoft Cognitive Services in particular. You can listen to the interview here or in the embedded link below:

Or better yet, subscribe to this podcast!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 7:31:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, July 18, 2016
Monday, July 18, 2016 6:51:39 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, July 11, 2016
Monday, July 11, 2016 11:14:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, July 10, 2016

The legend of King Arthur is so familiar to most of us that it is surprising to find a fresh re-telling of this story - particularly one as clever as T.H. White's The Once and Future King.

White recounts the life Arthur from his education as a boy by the string wizard Merlin to his rise to the throne, where he conquers England and attempts to use his power to bring a new age of peace and chivalry to his downfall at the hands of his enemies - particularly his son Mordred.

The story spans 4 books - The Sword in the Stone, The Queen of Air and Darkness, the Ill-Made Knight, and The Candle In The Wind. Originally, White planned a fifth book - The Book Merlyn, but he did not finish this before his death and many of the stories from this book found their way into the other volumes. The story is told chronologically and follows Arthur and his closest friends and enemies throughout his life. Each book stands on its own but is best read as an entire series, in order. (The Book of Merlyn is optional reading.)

White often omits details of Arthur's story, referring the reader to Sir Thomas Malory's "Le Morte d'Arthur". Instead, White focuses on the characters' thoughts and feelings and motivations. How did Merlin's training of the boy Arthur affect King Arthur's philosophy during his reign? What were psychological damaged was caused Lancelot when he was drugged and tricked into losing his virginity? Why does Mordred hate his father and plot revenge?

The books become darker as the series advances; The Sword in the Stone is a lighthearted story featuring bumbling knights and anthropomorphic animals; while the final 2 books focus on the cost of human sin and weakness.

Through it all, White maintains his wit and keeps the characters fresh and alive.

I recommend this series for any fan of the Arthurian Legend.

My notes on the individual books are below.

The Sword in the Stone

A fun story of the youth of King Arthur, when he went by the unflattering nickname "The Wort" and served at the castle of Sir Ector, doing the bidding of Ector's son Kay, until he met the wizard Merlin in the forest and convinced Ector to hire Merlin as his tutor.

Much of Merlin's tutelage consisted of turning the Wort into various animals and allowing him to interact with other animals, learning their ways and their values. We will see these lessons put into practice when Arthur later rises to become King of England.

The Queen of Air and Darkness

Arthur battles King Lot to gain control of Britain and decides to form his famous Knights of the Round Table, who will promote and enforce chivalry in his new kingdom. We are also introduced to Arthur's half-sister Morgause (the "queen" of the book's title), who plots to seduce Arthur through witchcraft and give birth to Mordred, leading to Arthur's destruction.

Although this book is short and contains less action than others in the series, its introduction of key characters and concepts make it an important book in the series.

The Ill-Made Knight

This volume follows Sir Lancelot - his arrival at Camelot and friendship with King Arthur; his affair with Arthur's wife - Queen Guinever; his wanderings in search of both the Holy Grail and redemption for betraying his friend's trust; and his return to Camelot and his battles with his own conscience.

Lancelot is universally regarded as the greatest knight in the world and he believes that his power comes from his purity. But when he loses that purity (he betrays his friend's trust and also fathers Gallahad out of wedlock), he loses not only his power, but his self-confidence and, for a while, his senses.

Candle in the Wind

The climax of the story in which Arthur's rivals (led by Mordred) convince Arthur to try and execute his wife for adultery and to go to war with Lancelot. Arthur's adherence to his law is tested against his love and loyalty to his wife and best friend.

The Book of Merlyn

Unpolished and incomplete, but published after White's death. Merlyn returns to Camelot when Arthur is an old man. He takes Arthur back to some of the animals who had originally taught him lessons of justice, peace, and war and Arthur begins to find meaning in his life, which he had suspected was wasted. Some of these stories found their way into The Sword in the Stone.

Sunday, July 10, 2016 8:18:39 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, July 4, 2016
Monday, July 4, 2016 4:40:04 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, July 3, 2016

Today I am grateful for dinner with Mike last night in Cincinnati.

Today I am grateful for an amazing month and year.

Today I am grateful for the very kind handwritten note from Jeff Yates that was in my mailbox yesterday.

Today I am grateful that Sharon's CT Scan yesterday revealed no sign of cancer.

Today I am grateful for:
-2 good interviews yesterday
-a walk around Northerly Island on a pleasant evening

Today I am grateful that Adam and Zsófia came to visit me in Chicago for 2 days.

Today I am grateful for: -An architecture cruise down the Chicago River -An afternoon at Navy Pier -A weekend with Rowena and Sabrina

Today I am grateful for a chance yesterday to take visitors to Grant Park, Lake Michigan, Buckingham Fountain, Millennium Park, Maggie Daly Park, Cloud Gate, Chase Fountain, and the Navy Pier fireworks.

Today I am grateful for: -My first visit to Lincoln Park Zoo -Seeing the SpongeBob Musical last night.

Today I am grateful for an evening in Chicago with my sister-in-law and niece.

Today I am grateful for lunch yesterday with Lora and her son.

Today I am grateful for a drive to Wisconsin yesterday.

Today I am grateful for dinner with John last night in Old Town.

Today I am grateful for lunch with Ayda yesterday.

Today I am grateful to attend my first Kane County Cougars baseball game last night.

Today I am grateful that I meet so many people that are willing to volunteer their time to help others.

Today I am grateful for an excellent audience last night for my Angular 2 & TypeScript presentation.

Today I am grateful -to be the most recent guest on the "Hello World" podcast. -to spend the afternoon hanging out with Shawn and Resa -to watch the Navy Pier fireworks from the 31st floor last night

Today I am grateful for a walk around the South Loop on a warm spring night.

Today I am grateful for the love and support of Jesus Christ, who helps me through the difficult times.

Today I am grateful to attend LitFest in my neighborhood this weekend.

Today I am grateful for -my first visit to Northerly Island -my first visit to FirstMerit Bank Pavilion -my first time seeing Steely Dan in concert -my first time seeing Steve Winwood in concert

Today I am grateful for breakfast with Derek in Minnesota yesterday.

Today I am grateful for pierogis and vodka with Lisa and Kevin.

Today I am grateful for: -breakfast with Kevin and Kasey in Chicago yesterday morning; -dinner and ice cream with evangelists and local devs in Minneapolis last night

Today I am grateful to all those who said kind things to me when I was having a bad day.

Today I am grateful to be invited to speak again at the Chicago Coder Conference this year.

Today I am grateful to spend a couple days with J. Tower this weekend.

Sunday, July 3, 2016 4:12:20 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, June 27, 2016
Monday, June 27, 2016 10:03:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, June 20, 2016
# Wednesday, June 15, 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, June 15, 2016 2:55:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, June 14, 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, June 14, 2016 2:08:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)