# Wednesday, June 21, 2017

In the province of Calderon in the land of Aleron, there are furies. Furies are magical beings with the power to control air, fire, earth, or water. Every person in Aleron can control at least one of these elements and at least one fury.

Everyone except Tavi.

Tavi is an orphan shepherd boy who lacks the basic powers of every other citizen of the realm. But it is Tavi who is thrust into the center of a battle for dominion of the realm.

Rebels led by Aldrick ex Gladius and assisted by the traitor Fidelias launch an attack against the reign of First Lord Gaius Sextus. Tavi, his uncle Bernard, and those loyal to the First Lord must fight off the invading usurpers

At the same time, warlike Marat are also invading and attacking and the sadistic rival landowner Kord is attempting to crush Bernard's family and enslave those around him.

The story builds to a climax as multiple factions clash during a siege that lasts for days. Sometimes, it is difficult to tell who is fighting whom and where alliances lie.

Jim Butcher builds a world and weaves an adventure that keeps the story constantly moving forward. He drew me in with his characters and he kept me going with the action.

This is the first novel in Butcher's 6-volume Codex Alera series and he does an excellent job of creating a tangible universe. The story stands on its own; but, in the end, not every villain is defeated and not every question is answered. One still wonders about the true identity of Tavi and a few others. I'm looking forward to the sequels.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 2:56:53 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I was in college when I discovered Jean Luc Ponty. My friend Tom had a copy of Enigmatic Ocean and he played it for me and I loved Ponty's style of jazz-rock fusion.

Shortly thereafter, I headed to the local used record store to add Enigmatic Ocean, Cosmic Messenger, and Imaginary Voyage to my vinyl collection.

I spent many hours replaying these albums and others over the years; but I never had the chance to see Jean Luc in concert.

Until last night.

Jean Luc Ponty and his band played 2 sold out shows at Chicago's City Winery Monday and Tuesday night. I was lucky enough to get a ticket to the Monday night show.

Ponty is focusing this tour on "The Atlantic Years" - performing the songs he recorded in the 1970s and 1980s - exactly the time that I discovered him.

Ponty, now 74 years old, brings the energy of a much younger man to his performance. He played 2 sets and 1 encore over more than 2 hours, drawing music from the 1970s and 80s.

As one would expect from a craftsman like Ponty, he surrounded himself with top-notch musicians for this tour: Jamie Glaser on guitar; Wally Minko on keyboards; Baron Browne on bass; and Rayford Griffin on drums. The group was talented and tight and matched Ponty's energy.

Jean Luc did not speak much between songs, which allowed him to focus on the music; but it was good to hear he retained his accent from his youth in France.

He closed his second set with an amazing version of Enigmatic Ocean, which began slowly and ethereally before building to a rocking frenzy.

Local violinist Edgar Gabriel joined the band on stage for an encore to match Ponty's and the band's intensity for one extended song.

Jean Luc Ponty changed the way we view the violin in jazz music and he continues to turn heads today. I was happy to finally catch his energy in concert.


Jean Luc Ponty homepage

My photos

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 11:27:04 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, June 19, 2017
# Monday, June 12, 2017
Monday, June 12, 2017 12:54:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, June 7, 2017


This was my fourth year in a row attending IT Camp in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Cluj is a technology hub in the heart of Transylvania. Now in its 7th year, IT Camp attracted over 500 attendees from the region.

Speakers traveled from around the world for this conference. I counted speakers from the US, the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Hungary, Poland, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Norway, and (of course) Romania.

Over 500 people attended the event – most from Romania.

The conference was primarily focused on Microsoft technologies, but not exclusively so. The conference began with a speech by Emil Boc, the Mayor of Cluj-Napoca. This was the only talk delivered in Romanian, so I was not able to follow; but it was well received.


The mayor was followed by 4 keynotes:

  • Mihail Rottenberg contrasted his experience starting 2 businesses - BreezeCom, a pioneering wi-fi company in the 1990s; and a winery he recently began.
  • Ben Armstrong described how Microsoft's advances in virtualization are influencing their cloud strategy.
  • Peter Leeson discussed how companies can measure quality
  • Jayson Street related stories of security breaches around the world.

I delivered 2 presentations: Big Data Solutions in Azure; and Building Powerful Applications with Angular and TypeScript. Over 150 people crowded into my room for the  Angular presentation.

The day before IT Camp, I spoke at a local consulting company – Yonder – about how to “Own Your Own Career”.

As always, the day after IT Camp featured a cultural experience to which all the speakers and volunteers were invited. This year, we toured the salt mines in Turda, Romania.


IT Camp was a great chance to connect with a number of influencers from around the world and return to Romania, where I have many fond memories.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017 3:08:03 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Agolo is using Machine Learning to match employers with the right candidates for their open jobs. I spoke with CEO Sage Wohns when I was in New York City last week.

The interview is available on DevRadio at https://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/DevRadio/DR1730.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 10:11:19 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, June 4, 2017

Today I am grateful for a visit to Nashville and my first time speaking at the Music City Code conference.

Today I am grateful to experience the hot chicken at Hattie B's in Nashville yesterday.

Today I am grateful for my first visit to the American Museum of Natural History.

Today I am grateful for:
-a chance to be a part of #AngularNYC's 5-year celebration
-Preston's help in debugging my demo last night.

Today I am grateful for dinner at an outdoor café in Oak Park yesterday.

Today I am grateful for an amazing week in Transylvania.

Today I am grateful for a tour of the Salina Turda salt mines in Romania yesterday.

Today I am grateful to the organizers and volunteers who invite me to Romania and #ITCamp every year.

Today I am grateful that literally everyone here speaks English.

Today I am grateful for a chance to speak at a local company in Cluj-Napoca yesterday - my first private international presentation.

Today I am grateful for: -Breakfast yesterday with Peter, Mihai, Diana, Tudor, and Noemi; -A walk around downtown Cluj, exploring historical sites; -Dinner last night with Raffaele, Andrea, and Radu

Today I am grateful for dinner last night with Radu

Today I am grateful to arrive safely in Romania.

Today I am grateful for a chance to drive my new car around town yesterday.

Today I am grateful for -a week in Seattle -sleeping in my own bed after 2 weeks on the road

Today I am grateful for a tour of the Seattle Underground yesterday.

Today, I am grateful to spend an evening in Capitol Hill with Jason, Becky, and a bunch of Canadians.

Today I am grateful to watch a Mariners game from a suite at Safeco field last night.

Today I am grateful for -Tacos and drinks in downtown Seattle with Evangelists from around the world. -The Russian evangelists who gave me a ride to my hotel last night

Today I am grateful for lunch with Jeff yesterday in downtown Seattle.

Today I am grateful for: -a visit with my mother yesterday -dinner last night with my brother and his family to celebrate his son's birthday.

Today I am grateful for: -The opportunity to deliver a keynote at the Convergence conference in Detroit yesterday -Coffee with Richard yesterday morning -Dinner at Texas de Brazil last night

Today I am grateful for drinks and dinner in downtown Detroit last night with Michael, Aydin, Paul, and others.

Today I am grateful to complete a user group tour of 4 Iowa cities in 3 days.

Today I am grateful for a visit to the Field of Dreams movie site in Dyersville yesterday.

Today I am grateful for my first visit to Iowa.

Monday, May 8, 2017 at 7:27am CDT
Today I am grateful for a chance to finally edit the photos I've taken the past couple months.

Sunday, June 4, 2017 1:29:48 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, May 29, 2017
Monday, May 29, 2017 12:26:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, May 23, 2017

By now, you have probably seen the 1987 movie based on this book (If not, stop reading and go watch it now. You're welcome). The plot of the movie follows closely the book on which it was based. This is not surprising; William Goldman wrote both the novel and the screenplay. But the backstory of Goldman's life and reactions is much richer in the written version.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman is a story within a story.

In "The Princess Bride", William Goldman invents a fictitious novel by a fictitious author (S. Morgenstern) about a fictitious "historic" event in a fictitious country centuries ago. He then invents the story of how his father would read this book to him when he was a boy. When fictional Goldman buys the same book for his fictional son, he discovers that his father had been skipping all the boring parts, which are considerable. This, Goldman claims, was his motivation for creating an abridged and annotated version of Morgenstern's work. The result is a story within a story - a fairy tale wrapped by a family story.

In the fairy tale, young farmhand Westley falls in love with the beautiful Buttercup. He leaves Buttercup's family farm to seek his fortune. When news reaches Buttercup that Westley has been killed by the Dread Pirate Roberts, she agrees to marry the wicked Prince Humperdinck.

Along the way, Goldman introduces a menagerie of memorable characters - most notably Fezik, the Giant, who loves to make rhymes; and Inigo the Spaniard, who is obsessed with finding and killing the 6-fingered man who killed his father.

It's a fairy tale; it's an adventure story; it's a tale of political intrigue; but, most of all, it's a love story between a farmer's daughter turned princess and a farm boy turned pirate turned rescuer.

It's silly and it's fun and (spoiler alert) it has a happy ending.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 10:30:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)