# Sunday, 05 March 2017

3/5
Today I am grateful to see Booker T. Jones in concert last night in Evanston.

3/4
Today I am grateful for a long-overdue haircut.

3/3
Today I am grateful that the worst cold in 5 years is now behind me.

3/2
Today I am grateful for all the birthday wishes yesterday - especially to those who took the time to call or send a personal message.

3/1
Today I am grateful
-to all those who braved the storm last night to hear the world premiere of my Big Data on Azure presentation
-that I made it home safely last night, avoiding tornados in the area

2/28
Today I am grateful to attend a very interesting Diversity Panel last night in Chicago.

2/27
Today I am grateful to the organizers, volunteers, student hackers, and mentors who worked so hard to made #HackIllinois excellent this past weekend.

2/26
Today I am grateful for the number of students who were inspired enough to use the technologies I showed in my workshops yesterday.

2/25
Today I am grateful for medicine to battle this cold - especially when I want to sleep.

2/24
Today I am grateful to the lady who pointed out the approaching meter maid yesterday in time for me to move my car.

2/23
Today I am grateful for dinner in Chicago last night with my team.

2/22
Today I am grateful to Mostafa for volunteering his time yesterday and providing me valuable feedback on my presentation.

2/21
Today I am grateful for coffee with Kasia yesterday.

2/20
Today I am grateful for dinner last night in Little Italy with Gary and Patricia.

2/19
Today I am grateful for dinner and a movie last night with Emilija and Larissa.

2/18
Today I am grateful for: -Lunch with Jaidev yesterday -A drink with Beckyy last night

2/17
Today I am grateful for my first time speaking at the Northwest Chicago JavaScript meetup.

2/16
Today I am grateful for a chance to finally edit some of the photos I've taken in the past few months.

2/15
Today I am grateful for a 6-course gourmet meal last night at River Valley Farmers Table.

2/14
Today I am grateful I've completed the coursework for the Xamarin certification.

2/13
Today I am grateful to discover 2 new coffee houses in my neighborhood yesterday.

2/12
Today I am grateful to see Ladysmith Black Mambazo in concert last night.

2/11
Today I am grateful to complete my passport application after numerous false starts.

2/10
Today I am grateful to people who ask me questions and to people who answer my questions.

2/9
Today I am grateful for dinner with Esteban last night.

2/8
Today I am grateful to Christina, who brought me some homemade soup yesterday.

2/7
Today I am grateful for:
-A first visit to a new gym yesterday
-A long walk in Chicago in my shorts last night. In February!

2/6
Today I am grateful to watch an exciting Super Bowl yesterday.

Sunday, 05 March 2017 16:19:27 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb is an Epic Fantasy, a Coming-of-Age story; and a story of Political intrigue.

It is the story of FitzChivalry Farseer. Fitz is the bastard son of Prince Chivalry, who is heir to the throne of the Six Duchies kingdom.

At the age of 6, the nameless boy is unceremoniously delivered to the castle of his birth father, where he is raised by the king's stablemaster.

Fitz has magical gifts - the ability to communicate telepathically with both animals and humans, which sometimes helps him and sometimes marks him for the hatred of others (along with his illegitimate birth). When his grandfather King Shrewd takes notice of the boy, he orders that he be trained as an assassin.

The climax occurs when, as a teenager, Fitz is ordered to kill the innocent prince of a neighboring kingdom. He must balance his duty to his king with his own conscience and his loyalty to those around him.

It's a complex story with many subplots and many well-developed characters. It's often difficult to tell who is loyal and who is conspiring against our hero.

Assassin's Apprentice is Book 1 of the Farseer Trilogy, which is the first of several trilogies and novels Hobb has written about Fitz and his universe. I plan to return to this series in a few months. For now, I am savoring this volume.

Sunday, 05 March 2017 01:03:04 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, 02 March 2017

JesusOnDeathRowThe story of Christianity is the story of Jesus Christ – his birth, his life, his trials, his death, his message, and his resurrection.

In Jesus on Death Row, Mark Osler walks us through the biblical story of Jesus's trial, conviction, and execution; and compares it to the criminal justice system in the United States of today.

Osler draws upon the 4 Gospels for the details of Jesus's trial; and upon his own experience as a prosecutor (he is now a law professor) for analogous stories in today's legal system.
   
The similarities are often striking.

Many practices of Jesus's time persist today. Prosecutors still rely on paid informants to bolster their case as the Pharisees famously paid 30 silver coins to Judas Iscariot; the appeal process of today, although slower, is not unlike the process that Jesus went through as he was brought before the Jewish Elders, Pontius Pilate, and Herod; Arrests today are often made when a suspect is vulnerable and unprotected, which is how Jesus was arrested at night in the garden.

There are differences, of course. Crucifixion was an extremely painful way to die and would not pass today's ban against cruel and unusual punishment.

Osler discusses the last meal of prisoners, which is probably the death row event with which average people can most easily identify. He notes that Jesus's last supper the night before his execution was well documented in the gospels and is a key event in Christian history.

Jesus on Death Row leaves the reader with a sense of uneasiness about the death penalty, which is a final and irrevocable sentence - particularly as we see it applied to Jesus Christ, who was guilty of no violent crime. This undercurrent isn't surprising as Professor Osler spends part of his time fighting for the rights of inmates on death row.

I found the book fascinating. I've read the Gospels, but not with an eye toward the legal aspects and how they compare with today's law. "Jesus on Death Row" gave me a new perspective on an old and familiar topic.

Thursday, 02 March 2017 06:10:42 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Last week, Ed Charbeneau interviewed me for his Eat Sleep Dev podcast. The topic was Cognitive Services – a technology I’m passionate about.

You can listen to that interview below.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017 15:43:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 27 February 2017
Monday, 27 February 2017 14:15:14 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, 24 February 2017

Last week, I delivered a presentation on Angular 2 and TypeScript at the Northwest Chicago JavaScript meetup. The organizers recorded my presentation, which you can watch here or below.

Friday, 24 February 2017 19:51:23 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 20 February 2017
Monday, 20 February 2017 14:08:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, 18 February 2017

Yesterday, I posted a list of community technical events in the US Central Region.

I thought this would be a useful reference to those who want to attend or speak at conferences. This is a living document as I learn about more conferences and as conferences announce their dates.

The problem with this post is that it is time-stamped and will farther and farther down the list of posts as the months pass. So I created a copy of this list and pinned it to the top of my site. You can reach this list at any time by clicking the “Tech Events” tab at the top of each page. Or you can just click here.

Saturday, 18 February 2017 03:16:09 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, 17 February 2017

Here is a list of community technical events (conferences, code camps, etc.) in the US Central Region. I have listed the dates, if they are published. If no 2017 date is published, my estimate is based on last year’s date. I provided a link to each event’s home page so you can check the latest information directly from the source.

Please let me know if I am missing any.

Event Location Start End URL
Event Location Start End URL
CodeMash Sandusky, OH 1/10/2017 1/13/2017 http://www.codemash.org/
SQL Saturday Chicago Chicago, IL 3/11/2017 3/11/2017 http://www.sqlsaturday.com/600
Northeast Wisconsin Code Camp Appleton, WI 3/25/2017 3/25/2017 http://newcodecamp.com/
Indy.Code Indianapolis, IN 3/29/2017 3/31/2017 http://indycode.amegala.com/
SQL Saturday Madison Madison, WI 4/8/2017 4/8/2017 http://www.sqlsaturday.com/604
Twin Cities Code Camp Minneapolis, MN 4/22/2017 4/22/2017 https://twincitiescodecamp.com/#/home
Global Azure Boot Camp Multiple Locations 4/22/2017 4/22/2017 https://global.azurebootcamp.net/
Chicago Code Camp Chicago, IL 4/29/2017 4/29/2017 http://chicagocodecamp.com/
GoTo Chicago Chicago, IL 5/1/2017 5/2/2017 gotochgo.com/
Codestock Knoxville, TN 5/5/2017 5/6/2017 http://www.codestock.org/
Stir Trek Columbus, OH 5/5/2017 5/5/2017 http://stirtrek.com/
Convergence Conference Detroit, MI 5/11/2017 5/13/2017 https://www.convergeconference.org/
Midwest Management Summit Minneapolis, MN 5/15/2017 5/18/2017 https://mmsmoa.com/
Nebraska Code Lincoln, NE 5/17/2017 5/19/2017 http://nebraskacode.com/
Self Conference Detroit, MI 5/19/2017 5/20/2017 http://selfconference.org/
Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference Grand Rapids, MI 5/22/2017 5/22/2017 http://glsec.softwaregr.org/
PHPTek St. Louis, MO 5/24/2017 5/26/2017 https://tek.phparch.com/
Music City Code Nashville, TN 6/1/2017 6/3/2017 http://www.musiccitycode.com/
Codepalousa Louisville, KY 6/7/2017 6/9/2017 http://www.codepalousa.com/
Open Source North Minneapolis, MN 6/8/2017 6/8/2017 http://opensourcenorth.com/
Beer City Code Grand Rapids, MI 6/9/2017 6/10/2017 http://beercitycode.com/
SQL Saturday Iowa City Iowa City, IA 6/10/2017 6/10/2017 http://www.sqlsaturday.com/634
Chicago Coder Conference Chicago, IL 6/26/2017 6/27/2017 http://chicagocoderconference.com/
Detroit.Code Detroit, MI 7/10/2017 7/12/2017 http://detroitcode.amegala.com/
Cincinnati Day of Agile Westchester, OH 7/28/2017 7/28/2017 http://dayofagile.org/
PyOhio Columbus, OH 7/29/2017 7/30/2017 http://pyohio.org/
KCDC Kansas City, MO 8/3/2017 8/4/2017 http://www.kcdc.info/
That Conference Wisconsin Dells, WI 8/7/2017 8/9/2017 https://www.thatconference.com/
MidwestJS Minneapolis, MN 8/16/2017 8/18/2017 http://midwestjs.com/
VSLive Chicago, IL 9/18/2017 9/21/2017 https://vslive.com/Events/Chicago-2017/Home.aspx
Madison PHP Madison, WI 9/22/2017 9/23/2017 http://2017.madisonphpconference.com/
Prairie.Code Des Moines, IA 9/27/2017 9/29/2017 http://prairiecode.amegala.com/
Technology Hub Appleton, WI 9/28/2017 9/28/2017 http://www.technologyhubconference.com/
Midwest Game Dev Expo Columbus, OH 9/29/2017 10/1/2017 https://www.thegdex.com/
M3Conf Columbus, OH 08-2017?   http://m3conf.com/
Tulsa Tech Fest Tulsa, OK 08-2017?   http://techfests.com/Tulsa/2016/default.aspx
CloudDevelop Columbus, OH 08-2017?   http://clouddevelop.org/
Iowa Code Camp Coralville, IA 10-2017?   http://iowacodecamp.com/
DogFood Con Columbus, OH 10-2017?   http://dogfoodcon.com/
Ohio LinuxFest Columbus, OH 10-2017?   https://ohiolinux.org/
DevSpace Huntsville, AL 10-2017?   https://www.devspaceconf.com/
DevUp Conference St. Louis, MO 10-2017?   http://devupconf.com/
MKE DOT NET Milwaukee, WI 10-2017?   http://www.centare.com/mke-dot-net/
Milwaukee Code Camp Milwaukee, WI 10-2017?   http://milwaukeecodecamp.com/
Chippewa Valley Code Camp Eau Claire, WI 10-2017?   http://chippewavalleycodecamp.com/index.html
Detroit Dev Day Detroit, MI 11-2017?   http://detroitdevday.org/
SharePoint Fest Chicago Chicago, IL 11-2017?   http://www.sharepointfest.com/Chicago/
Friday, 17 February 2017 15:14:21 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, 16 February 2017

LMB01Last week, Ladysmith Black Mambazo brought a bit of South Africa to Chicago. The vocal group performed at The Old Town School of Folk Music Saturday February 11.

LBM was formed by Joseph Shabalala in Ladysmith, South Africa in 1964. Shabalala did not make this trip, but a number of his sons still perform with the 8-man group. Westerners learned of their talents in the 1980s when they recorded the classic "Graceland" album with Paul Simon; but they have been touring and recording on their own for decades. Their tight harmonies and blend of African and western music make them appealing to audiences all over the world.

LBM delighted the audience in a too-short (about 80 minutes) performance before a sold-out theater. They blended harmonies and melodies and humor and Zulu dancing to entertain us. There were no instruments because there was no need for instruments.

LMB02They sang some songs in English and some in the Zulu language. "Homeless" and "Diamonds on the Souls of her Shoes" from "Graceland" were crowd pleasers; but most of the night consisted of traditional African songs and their own compositions. For most songs, a different member of the band would step to the front of the stage to sing lead, while the remaining 7 harmonized behind him. Some songs were accompanied by coordinated Zulu dances.

The night concluded with a stirring rendition of "Amazing Grace".

Ladysmith Black Mambazo has long been on my list of bands to see live. Now I can cross them off the Bucket List. Until the next time they come to town.

Photos

Thursday, 16 February 2017 19:03:59 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)