# Sunday, 06 November 2016

11/6
Today I am grateful for dinner last night with Randy and Emilija.

11/5
Today I am grateful for lunch yesterday with Aalap.

11/4
Today I am grateful that I recovered a keyboard that I left weeks ago in a Starbucks 140 miles from my home.

11/3
Today I am grateful to sip scotch and watch baseball last night with J.

11/2
Today I am grateful for a 7-game World Series.

11/1
Today I am grateful for a quiet corner table I a restaurant to unwind while traveling.

10/31
Today I am grateful for open and honest debate, free of ad hominem attacks and untruths. I do wish they were more common.

10/30
Today I am grateful to see a Jeff Daniels play last night at the Windy City Playhouse

10/29
Today I am grateful to ride my new bike to and from work yesterday.

10/28
Today I am grateful for my new phone.

10/27
Today I am grateful for a friend who will listen to me rant when I'm feeling overwhelmed.

10/26
Today I am grateful for dinner with Manohar last night.

10/25
Today I am grateful for lunch yesterday with Jimmy in Austin.

10/24
Today I am grateful for drinks last night with Jeff and Chrissy.

10/23
Today I am grateful for college students with a passion for learning.

10/22
Today I am grateful to be part of DevUp this year.

10/21
Today I am grateful to be back in St. Louis.

10/20
Today I am grateful for dinner with Nick last night.

10/19
Today I am grateful Emilija was able to meet for a late dinner before I leave town for a week.

10/18
Today I am grateful that an old friend called me to ask for some advice.

10/17
Today I am grateful for these 2 bikes that I bought from my brother last week.

10/16
Today I am grateful for my first visit to the Milwaukee Public Market yesterday.

10/15
Today I am grateful for dinner last night with Gary, Patricia, Andrew, and Lisa.

10/14
Today I am grateful for 3 years at the best job I've ever had.

10/13
Today I am grateful for a day in Champaign, IL.

10/12
Today I am grateful to my 2,000 Twitter followers who think I'm saying something worth listening to.

10/11
Today I am grateful for:
-Great crowds at MSU and #SEMJS last night
-Lunch with Matt yesterday.
10/10
Today I am grateful that my brother, my nephew and I had a chance to visit my mother yesterday.

10/9
Today I am grateful for a weekend in Detroit.

10/8
Today I am grateful for an afternoon with my mother yesterday.

10/7
Today I am grateful for:
-Attending and speaking at #dogfoodcon for the first time
-An unexpected drink with Stuart and Michele last night.

10/6
Today I am grateful for a full room at each of my presentations yesterday.

10/5
Today I am grateful for audiobooks on a long drive.

10/4
Today I am grateful for:
-Lunch yesterday with Thad
-Dinner last night with Dan

10/3
Today I am grateful for all the people who came out to hear my presentation on a Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, 06 November 2016 22:40:43 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 31 October 2016
Monday, 31 October 2016 18:43:55 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 24 October 2016
Monday, 24 October 2016 09:53:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Microsoft Cognitive Services provides a number of APIs to take advantage of Machine Learning. One of the simplest APIs to use is Sentiment Analysis.

Sentiment Analysis examines one or more text entries and determines whether each text reflects a positive or negative sentiment. It returns a number between 0 and 1: A higher number indicates a more positive sentiment, while a lower number indicates a more negative sentiment.

To use this service, POST a JSON message to the following URL: https://westus.api.cognitive.microsoft.com/text/analytics/v2.0/sentiment

Unlike some web Cognitive Service URLs, this one takes no querystring parameters.

In the HTTP header, pass the following information: Content-Type and the Ocp-Apim-Subscription-Key.

The API is a simple REST web service located at https://api.projectoxford.ai/emotion/v1.0/recognize. POST to this service with a header that includes:
Ocp-Apim-Subscription-Key:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

where xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx is your key.

In the Content-Type, pass "application/json".

For the Ocp-Apim-Subscription-Key, include the the Text Analytics key. You can find your key at https://www.projectoxford.ai/Subscription?popup=True

In the body, pass a JSON object that contains an array of documents. Each document contains 3 properties:

language - the Language of the text you want to analyze. Valid values are "English", "Spanish", "French", and "Portuguese".

id - A string that uniquely identifies this document. Used to match the return value to the corresponding text.

text - the text to analyze

Below is a sample JSON body:

{
"documents": [
{
"language": "English",
"id": "text01",
"text": "This is a great day."
}
]
}

After you POST this to the URL, you should expect a response that includes JSON. If all goes well, you will receive an HTTP 200 response and the returned JSON will include an array of documents (the same number that you passed in the Request body). Each Response document will contain

id - matching the id of the document in the Request document.

score - A value between 0 and 1. The higher the score, the more positive the sentiment of the text; The lower the score, the more negative the text sentiment.

You may also receive an array of errors. Each error contains the following properties:

id - matching the id of the document in the Request document.

message - a detailed error message.

Below is an sample response JSON body

{
"documents": [
{
"score": 0.95412,
"id": "text01"
}
]
}

Here is a bit of code to call this API from JavaScript. I am using jQuery's Ajax method and displaying output in a div, like the following:

<div id="OutputDiv"></div> 

var subscriptionKey = "566375db01ad43dc8f62dcc8dc3e5c1f";
var textToAnalyze = "Life is beautiful";

var webSvcUrl = "https://westus.api.cognitive.microsoft.com/text/analytics/v2.0/sentiment";

var outputDiv = $("#OutputDiv");
outputDiv.text("Thinking...");

$.ajax({
type: "POST",
url: webSvcUrl,
headers: { "Ocp-Apim-Subscription-Key": subscriptionKey },
contentType: "application/json",
data: '{"documents": [ { "language": "en", "id": "text01", "text": "'+ textToAnalyze + '" }]}'
}).done(function (data) {
if (data.errors.length > 0) {
outputDiv.html("Error: " + data.errors[0]);
}
else if (data.documents.length > 0) {
var score = data.documents[0].score;
if (score > 0.5){
outputText = "That is a Positive thing to say!";
}
else{
outputText = "That is a Negative thing to say!";
}
outputDiv.html(outputText);
}
else {
outputDiv.text("No text to analyze.");
}

}).fail(function (err) {
$("#OutputDiv").text("ERROR! " + err.responseText);
});

Tuesday, 11 October 2016 06:48:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 10 October 2016
Monday, 10 October 2016 05:38:20 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 06 October 2016

Lately, I've been using Visual Studio Code to create TypeScript projects.

When working with TypeScript, I always create a file with ".ts" extension and allow the TypeScript Compiler to create a ".js" and a ".map" file. It's rare that I ever open the js or map files, let alone modify them. In fact, it's a fool's errand to modify these files because they will be overwritten the next time the ".js" file changes.

So it is generally easier to work with a TypeScript project if I don't even see these files.

Visual Studio Code allows me to hide files in a project. To do so, select File | Preferences | Workplace Settings.

This creates a ".vscode" folder in the root of my project and adds a file named "settings.json" to this folder. In settings.json, add the following code:

{
"files.exclude": {
"**/*.js": true,
"**/*.map": true
}
}

Of course, you can add any file mask to this "files.exclude" extension to hide specific files or folders.

File matching patterns are described in this Help topic.

Save this file and the specified files will remain on disc but will not clutter the left pane of Visual Studio Code.

Thursday, 06 October 2016 05:32:33 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, 05 October 2016

This was not the book I was expecting.

Joe Jackson's recording career has spanned decades - from the late 1970s until the present. But this memoir ends where that recording career began - with the release of his excellent debut album Look Sharp.

"A Cure For Gravity: A Musical Pilgrimage" details Jackson's education and the evolution of his musical style before he secured a recording contract.

Jackson was an outsider in the working class town of Portsmouth, England. He was sickly and introspective and no good at sports, which made him unpopular with his classmates. And he was obsessed with music, which made him odd.

But he loved music enough to pursue it - almost single-mindedly - for his entire youth. He attended the Royal Academy of Music during the Day, while performing at small pubs nights and weekends with rock & roll or punk bands. He was the musical director of a cabaret in order to save money to record an album of his own material.

Through Jackson's education and his musical experience, he encountered many characters and many different styles of music and he was influenced by them all. This helps to explain why his recorded music crosses so many different genres - from jazz to rock to reggae to new wave to classical. "When people ask who has influenced me", he writes, "I always sense that they're expecting to hear certain names: John Lennon, David Bowie, Graham Parker.  The truth is that I'm influenced by everything, but especially by the people I've worked with closely, people no one else has heard of."

Jackson's style is often clever and frequently self-effacing. He acknowledges his youthful awkwardness and his lack of success with women. And he tells stories of driving for hours and waiting all day outside a pub, then changing in a small restroom to perform for a small, audience that didn't want to hear a band or didn't like the music they played.  He speaks freely of his musical frustrations and his inability to find his voice. But his love of music kept him going.

Jackson was driven to succeed in music, never considering any other career. "I had to succeed in music," he insists. "I was no good at anything else."

Although Joe Jackson had a hit album at age 22, "A Cure for Gravity" chronicles what it took him to get there. The book gave me new insights into an artist I have loved since my high school days when I first heard his music on an A&M sampler LP and (a few months later) when I saw his concert at the Punch and Judy Theater in Grosse Pointe, MI. "A Cure for Gravity" is a delightful story that this lifetime Joe Jackson fan enjoyed immensely.

JoeJackson
Joe Jackson in concert, 1979
(photo by D Giard)

Wednesday, 05 October 2016 10:59:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 04 October 2016

In the beginning,there was CodeMash - a small Tech Conference at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, OH. CodeMash was a developer conference run by volunteers, but it had a twist. The Kalahari features an indoor water park, so attendees could slip away to enjoy the water slides or bring their families, who would enjoy the water park while they attended sessions.

CodeMash was successful enough that some folks in Illinois and Wisconsin created a similar conference - That Conference - at the Kalahari in Wisconsin Dells, WI.

Last year, a Kalahari opened in Pocono Manor, PA, so naturally someone had to create a tech conference and host it there.

The inaugural TechBash took place September 28-30 at the Pocono Manor Kalahari and I was honored to be a part of it. I delivered 2 presentations: "Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to Your Apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services" and "Building Powerful Applications with AngularJS and TypeScript". The classroom was completely full for the latter talk.

The 3-day conference featured 2 keynotes: Pete Brown opened the event by showing off some of his favourite maker projects; and Glenn Block opened the final day of the conference talking about some of his favourite open source projects.

Speakers came from all over the US and one - Iris Classon - traveled from Sweden to present.

With a limited budget, the organizers did not have a lot of frills at this conference. Meals were simple and after-hours events were limited. There was no bacon bar or giant-size Settlers of Catan game, as we've seen at the other - more established - Kalahari conferences. But the content was excellent and I heard positive feedback from many both attendees and speakers.

Many attendees and speakers brought their families to enjoy the water park - either during the conference or on the weekend following the conference.

At 170 registrants, TechBash is about the size CodeMash was in its first year. The organizers announced their plans to host TechBash 2017 and plan to grow it in attendance and scope.

TechBash2016a

Tuesday, 04 October 2016 11:11:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 03 October 2016
Monday, 03 October 2016 11:49:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, 02 October 2016

10/2
Today I am grateful for dinner with Emilija last night.

10/1
Today I am grateful for:
-The organizers and volunteers of the inaugural TechBash for all their hard work that paid off in a very good conference.
-Stephen showing me how to connect to my company's VPN.
-Making it home last night, despite a flight being delayed, then canceled.

9/30
Today I am grateful for dinner last night with Kendall, Joel, Ondrej, and Glenn.

9/28
Today I am grateful for dinner last night with James, Glenn, and Justin

9/27
Today I am grateful for fact-checkers.

9/26
Today I am grateful for a photo walk around the South Loop to capture all the local artwork.

9/24
Today I am grateful for a productive week.

9/23
Today I am grateful for coffee yesterday with Lwin, Min, and Tierney.

9/21
Today I am grateful for coffee with Pete yesterday.

9/20
Today I am grateful for
-dinner and drinks last night with Tierney, Jason, and Claire
-my first (awful) taste of Jeppson's Malort

9/19
Today I am grateful for a weekend with Tim.

9/18
Today I am grateful to watch the Spartans defeat the Irish at Notre Dame Stadium yesterday - my first game there since 1989.

9/17
Today I am grateful that my son is in town this weekend.

9/16
Today I am grateful for a week in the Seattle area.

9/15
Today I am grateful to attend an offsite event with teammates I don't see often enough.

9/14
Today I am grateful for a boat cruise last night around Lake Washington and Lake Union.

9/13
Today I am grateful to see many of my teammates from across the country yesterday.

9/12
Today I am grateful for:
-My first Seahawks game at Century Link Field yesterday;
-Dinner with Ted and Charlotte and friends last night.

9/11
Today I am grateful for lunch with Kelly yesterday.

9/10
Today I am grateful for an infinite selection of online music.

9/9
Today I am grateful that my son played for a Hall of Fame basketball coach.

9/8
Today I am grateful for my first time guest-lecturing at the University of Illinois.

9/7
Today I am grateful I had a chance to spend time yesterday with Matthew after he arrived in Chicago and before I left town.

9/6
Today I am grateful for finally finding the motivation to clean my bathroom.

9/5
Today I am grateful for a short vacation to Milwaukee, including my first visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Sunday, 02 October 2016 18:28:27 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)