# Monday, 05 September 2016

9/4
Today I am grateful for all the information and code samples available online.

9/3
Today I am grateful that my son Tim continues to make me proud 22 years after his birth. Happy birthday Tim!

9/2
Today I am grateful for the start of the college football season.

9/1
Today I am grateful we are finally starting to code this project we have been talking about for months.

8/31
Today I am grateful for students at Purdue last night who were eager to learn.

8/30
Today I am grateful for drinks with Kevin last night.

8/29
Today I am grateful for a visit to Jane Adams's Hull House at UIC yesterday.

8/28
Today I am grateful to attend the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio tour yesterday in Oak Park.

8/27
Today I am grateful that I have no overnight trips planned for the next 2 weeks.

8/26
Today I am grateful for meetings at Microsoft this week that addressed my number 1 concern: better communication.

8/25
Today I am grateful for a reception at the Purple Café in Bellevue last night.

8/24
Today I am grateful for the espresso machine in my kitchen.

8/23
Today I am grateful for a day at home to catch up on a hundred little things.

8/22
Today I am grateful for the flights of Wine at Andie's Mediterranean in Andersonville last night.

8/21
Today I am grateful for a visit to Madison, WI yesterday.

8/19
Today I am grateful for:
-Seeing the "America After the Fall" exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago
-Stumbling upon the "Chefs on the Grill" event at Millennium Park
-Dinner at Vapiano for the first time
-An apology from United Airlines

8/18
Today I am grateful for 2 days in Champaign, IL.

8/17
Today I am grateful to kick off this project at the University of Illinois.

8/16
Today I am grateful for sleep. Lots of sleep.

8/15
Today I am grateful for:
-a visit with my mother yesterday morning
-touring the MSU Museum & the Art Broad Museum in E. Lansing yesterday afternoon
-my first visit to the Journeyman Distillery in Three Oaks last night

8/14
Today I am grateful for dinner last night with my siblings and cousins.

8/13
Today I am grateful for 2 days in Minneapolis - one of my favourite cities.

8/12
Today I am grateful for:
-Help on my software project from Jeremy and Jon
-Attending a St. Paul Saints game last night

8/11
Today I am grateful for kind words by my boss during my annual review yesterday.

8/10
Today I am grateful to the organizers of #ThatConference for another great conference.

8/9
Today I am grateful for an excellent audience for my presentation yesterday at #ThatConference.

8/8
Today I am grateful to Ondrej for a ride to Wisconsin yesterday.

Monday, 05 September 2016 00:06:43 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 29 August 2016
Monday, 29 August 2016 22:31:32 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, 26 August 2016

I have a number of presentations scheduled in the next few months. I hope you can make it to some of them.

Date Event Location Topic  
8/27/2016 PyData Chicago Chicago, IL Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to Your Apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services link
8/30/2016 University recruiting event Purdue University Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to Your Apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services  
9/20/2016 GeekFest Chicago, IL Building Powerful Enterprise Apps with Angular 2 and TypeScript link
9/28/2016 TechBash Pocono Manor, PA Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to Your Apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services link
9/28/2016 TechBash Pocono Manor, PA Building Powerful Applications with AngularJS and TypeScript link
10/5/2016 Dog Food Conference Columbus, OH Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to Your Apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services link
10/5/2016 Dog Food Conference Columbus, OH Microsoft Azure without Microsoft link
10/13/2016 Technology Hub Appleton, WI Open Source Technologies in Microsoft Azure link
10/20/2016 DevUp Conference St. Charles, MO Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to Your Apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services link
10/20/2016 DevUp Conference St. Charles, MO The Hitchhiker's Guide to Azure Mobile Apps link
11/28/2016 Mobile Monday East Lansing, MI The Hitchhiker's Guide to Azure Mobile Apps link
Friday, 26 August 2016 16:27:32 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, 24 August 2016

"Apprenticeship Patterns: Guidance for the Aspiring Software Craftsman" by Dave Hoover and Adewale Oshineye is written primarily for people entering the profession of software development.

Hoover and Oshineye draw upon their years in the industry to provide advice on how to succeed - how to advance your skills and improve your career.

They present this advice as "patterns" - a term taken from the software design patterns made  famous by Gamma, Helm, Johnson, and Vlissides. Like the software patterns, these Apprenticeship Patterns favor general guidance over explicit step-by-step instructions. Often a chapter will end with a qualifying sentence, warning the user not to be too dogmatic in following an approach to its logical extreme.

Each pattern is presented briefly and concisely and includes action items that the user can apply to his or her own career.

Many of the Patterns provide advice on how to approach education. They begin with learning your first language and "Unleash your Enthusiasm" to motivate your quest for knowledge; applying that education to "Concrete Skills" in your job and  "Confront Your Ignorance" to recognize and address gaps in your knowledge.

Later chapters provide advice as you begin to master skills, including "Reflect As You Work" and "Record What You Learn".

Ultimately the book promotes Software Craftsmanship - a growing movement designed to improve the overall quality of the software industry. The authors relate the book's patterns to how they achieved a level of craftsmanship in their own careers. Hoover and Oshineye provide numerous examples of times that they and people they know applied these patterns in real-world scenarios.

Apprenticeship Patterns was published in 2009, but remains relevant today as thousands of young people continue to pour into the software industry. In fact, this book is more relevant than the vast majority of technical books written at the same time. This advice does not go out of date as new technologies are developed.

People beginning their software careers will benefit from this book. So did I, despite the fact that I switched to this profession decades ago. I read  good advice on expanding my skill sets; and I read good advice to pass on as I mentor junior developers.

I wish this book had existed when I first entered this profession.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016 13:41:53 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 22 August 2016
Monday, 22 August 2016 11:28:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, 21 August 2016

Last week, I interviewed Olivier de Jong of Airwave, a startup in the Netherlands that offers video conferencing. You can see the interview below or at this link.

Sunday, 21 August 2016 16:51:51 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 15 August 2016
Monday, 15 August 2016 10:10:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 09 August 2016
Tuesday, 09 August 2016 01:14:51 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, 07 August 2016

8/7
Today I am grateful for a walk along Loyola Beach last night.

8/6
Today I am grateful for dinner with Emilija last night.

8/5
Today I am grateful for 3 days in Sydney, Australia - my first visit since 1998.

8/4
Today I am grateful for the opportunity to speak at and attend #ndcsydney.

8/3
Today I am grateful for a cruise around Sydney Harbor last night.

8/2
Today I am grateful for dinner last night with Rowena and Sabrina at a revolving restaurant at the top of the Sydney Tower.

8/1
Today I am grateful for
-a day in Vancouver for the first time in years
-finally arriving in Sydney after many delays.

7/31
Today I am grateful to participate in a successful Nodebots Day yesterday in Chicago.

7/30
Today I am grateful to spend much of this week learning Xamarin.

7/29
Today I am grateful for the party last night hosted by CJUG, ChiPy, and ChicagoRuby that extended well past its scheduled time.

7/28
Today is the birthday of my friend William Fink, who passed away in December. Today I am grateful that I had the opportunity to visit him and become closer to him in the last months of his life, when we both knew he was dying. And I am grateful for the lessons he taught me about facing tragedy with courage and dignity. Happy birthday Bill. Rest in peace, my friend.

7/26
Today I am grateful to dine in Chicago's Greektown yesterday for the first time.

7/25
Today I am grateful for lunch and coffee yesterday with Sven and Ebony.

7/24
Today I am grateful to see "C.S. Lewis On Stage: The Most Reluctant Convert" at the Mercury Theater yesterday.

7/23
Today I am grateful for:
-Breakfast yesterday with Debbie and Diane
-A visit with my mother yesterday.
-A quick trip to my brother Doug's Pawn Shop
-An afternoon with Megan
-A stranger who stopped to help me yesterday evening
-An unscheduled dinner and outdoor concert in East Lansing, MI last night
-Arriving safely home, following a few days in Michigan and a long drive home.

7/22
Today I am grateful for:
-Drinks with Ondrej, Godfrey, and Ed last ngiht
-The hospitality of Debbie and her family
-A great crowd at the Troy .NET User Group last night.

7/21
Today I am grateful for:
-My first time back at #MIGANG this year
-The hospitality and kindness of Ondrej and his family.

7/19
Today I am grateful to go to a movie theater last night - my first visit this year. (I saw Ghostbusters)

7/18
Today I am grateful for:
-A Cubs game at Wrigley yesterday
-A weekend with my boys

7/17
Today I am grateful for
-An evening at the IO Theater in Old Town.
-Taking Nick and Adriana to their first-ever improv show.

7/16
Today I am grateful for dinner and drinks last night with Nick, Tim, and Adriana.

7/15
Today I am grateful to have Tim Giard in town for a few days.

7/14
Today I am grateful for:
-2 days at a resort in Orlando
-drinks with Joe and Chris
-presenting in front of a new audience
-help on my Angular project from John

7/13
Today I am grateful for fireworks outside my room last night.

7/12
Today I am grateful to make it safely to Orlando.

7/11
Today I am grateful I was able to get my laptop working again this morning.

7/10
Today I am grateful for my first time at the Taste of Chicago.

7/9
Today I am grateful for a good night sleep for the first time in weeks.

7/8
Today I am grateful to those who take the time to tell me they enjoyed one of my presentations.

7/7
Today I am grateful for coffee with Chris yesterday.

7/6
Today I am grateful for lunch yesterday with my new teammates.

7/5
Today I am grateful for a weekend in Lexington, KY.

7/4
Today I am grateful to celebrate the marriage of Christopher and Katie last night.

Sunday, 07 August 2016 13:11:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 02 August 2016

In The Stand, Stephen King tackles the question: What would become of society if nearly all of the people disappeared within a few weeks.

At the beginning of the novel a biological weapon leaks from a quarantined military base and people begin to get very ill very quickly. The U.S. government tries to cover up its error and the weapon it created - often through violent means - but within 2 months, over 99% of the world's population is dead.

In America, the survivors group together - drawn by visions in their dreams. Some travel to Boulder, CO to join with 108-year-old Mother Abigail and some go to Las Vegas, NV to follow the the mysterious Randall Flagg. Mother Abigail has a good heart and talks of love for one another;  Randall Flagg is a malevolent wizard who delights in the chaos created by this epidemic.

Along the way to Boulder and Las Vegas and the final confrontation between the two camps, King explores a myriad of characters and their journey to either the light side or dark side. Even many who end up in Boulder with Abigail are tempted by the dark wizard Flagg. The characters are rich and their back stories before the disaster help us to understand their actions after.

I loved the evolution of characters: Larry Underwood was a self-absorbed and irresponsible rock star before the plague, but found himself willing to sacrifice himself for those he loved after the tragedy; Trash Can Man and Nadine Cross cannot avoid the blackness of their souls and where their destiny takes them, but they still find a way to partially redeem their lives.

It's not surprising that many King fans list this as their favourite novel. King pits good against evil; God against the Devil; chaos against order; and the collapse of civilization against attempts to rebuild it. The climax is a long time coming, but the payoff is excellent.  I've read over a dozen of King's books and this is now my favourite.

Tuesday, 02 August 2016 14:14:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)