# Wednesday, 30 January 2019

ADeathInTheFamilyIt was years ago, but I still remember waking up to the phone, telling me about my sister's collapse. I drove across town to see her, but she was brain-dead by the time I arrived at the hospital, and her heart stopped beating within minutes of taking her off the machines that kept her organs functioning for 24 hours.

I remember the pain and the guilt and the anger and the confusion. I didn't know for what I was feeling guilty or at whom to direct my anger, but I felt it all.

James Agee captures these emotions beautifully in his powerful novel A Death in the Family - the story of a family dealing with the sudden and unexpected death of a father / husband / brother / son, who is killed instantly in an automobile accident, while returning from a visit to his own ill father.

Agee takes us back to the family before the death - showing us both the mundane and the memorable.

He takes us through the painful uncertainty experienced by the family, after they know of the accident, but before they know whether he survived.

He takes us through the heartbreaking trial of telling his children their father will never come home again.

He takes us through the pain and the anger and the guilt and the denial of dealing with unexpected loss.

He takes us along the dynamics of the family as they try to support one another and the helplessness of knowing that, in many ways, they cannot.

He takes us into the minds of all the survivors in the family and it rings very true to those of us who have lost a loved one - either suddenly or slowly over time.

A Death in the Family is light on plot, but heavy on emotions. Events just happen and Agee dives deep into the thoughts and emotions of the survivors. It rang true for me and brought back memories of my own lost family members.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019 02:23:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 29 January 2019

ConfessionsOfNatTurnerSometimes a novel with very few facts can contain a lot of truth.

The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron was written in 1967 and was inspired by a slave rebellion 136 years earlier.

In August `1831, Virginia slave Nat Turner led a rebellion that killed 55 white people in southeast Virginia. Turner, was captured, confessed to the crime, and was executed. He claimed that he did what he did because he was directed by God.

Almost nothing is known about Turner, other than the documents pertaining to his arrest and trial. So, Styron attempts to recreate his life - not by researching historic records and biographies - but by hypothesizing how an educated black slave could come to lead such a rebellion. The result is far from accurate in a personal sense, but very real in relating the conditions of slavery and the relationships between slaves and masters in the antebellum U.S. south.

Very little in The Confessions of Nat Turner is true. Styron takes liberties with the day-to-day activities and with Turner's thoughts. But it rings true, because so many of Nat's reactions spring logically from a lifetime of being treated as property.

The hypothetical Nat of the novel is originally owned by a man who treats his slaves better than most slaveowners do. He believes in the potential of blacks, ensures that Nat receives and education, and even makes plans for Nat to serve an apprenticeship in Richmond and ultimately earn his freedom. But these plans of freedom are abandoned when a failing economy forces the owner to sell off some of his slaves, including Nat. This broken promise underscores the unfairness inherent in the institution of slavery. An owner may speak to his slaves with respect and refuse to beat them; but, ultimately, a slave was a possession the owner may do with what he wishes with that possession. Virginia law fully supported this inequity.

Nat passes to several more masters - some more cruel and some less so. Overall, his life is better than most American slaves of the time, but he has lost the hope of freedom that was promised to him, and he is left facing a lifetime of servitude. Nat's strong faith in God helps to sustain him, so he begins to preach to other blacks in the area and soon gains a following. When he is finally inspired to emancipate his fellow slaves, he enlists this following to help him execute his plan.

Some critics claim that Styron's skin color prohibits him from making any assumptions or writing about a black slave - particularly writing in the first person, as he does in this novel. But Styron does a good job of humanizing the mysterious Turner and of shining a light on the dehumanizing institution of slavery.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019 03:20:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 28 January 2019

Episode 547

Jon Skeet on Versioning

Versioning is more complex than most people believe. Jon Skeet describes the issues and how we can deal with the complexities to keep software libraries from breaking client applications.

Monday, 28 January 2019 08:11:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, 27 January 2019

Microsoft Teams is a tool for communication and collaboration that is included in Office 365.

Fig. 1 shows the Microsoft Teams interface (with my organization's Teams, channel's and conversations covered up).

at01-MSTeams
Fig. 1

Fig. 2 shows the list of tabs at the top of a channel.

at02-TabsList
Fig. 2

Click the [+] button to add display the "Add a tab" dialog, as shown in Fig. 3.

at03-AddaTab
Fig. 3

The "Add a Tab" dialog lists templates available on which to base your new tab. Click the "Website" button (Fig. 4) in this dialog. To find this button more easily, you can filter this list by typing "Website" in the "Search" textbox.

aw04-WebsiteButton
Fig. 4

The "Website" dialog displays, as shown in Fig. 5.

aw05-WebsiteDialog
Fig. 5

At the "Tab name" field, enter a name to display in the tab list, identifying this tab.

At the URL field, enter a URL accessible by team members. This can be external or internal; but it must be an SSL site, so it must begin with "https://".

If you check the "Post to the channel about this tab", a message will be added to the "Conversations" tab with a link to the new tab.

Fig. 6 shows a new tab with the https://microsoft.com site displayed.

aw06-WebsiteTab
Fig. 6

Fig. 7 shows the link in the "Conversations" tab. Users can click the link to navigate to the new tab.

aw07-PostedToChannel
Fig. 7

You have now learned to add a new tab pointing to web site. The real power of this is if you create and deploy a custom site that adds functionality useful to your team members and publishing that site on the Internet or your corporate Intranet, where users can access it through Teams.

If your organization uses Office 365, it is likely that you have access to Microsoft teams. If you do not, call your organization's IT department and ask them: "What's the problem?"

Sunday, 27 January 2019 07:56:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, 26 January 2019

Microsoft Teams is a tool for communication and collaboration that is included in Office 365.

Among other features, it allows team members to share and collaborate on files with one another.

Fig. 1 shows the Microsoft Teams interface (with my organization's Teams, channel's and conversations covered up).

at01-MSTeams
Fig. 1

The "Files" tab is a space for Team members to upload, download and share files with other members. If files exist in the Files tab, you can create a tab displaying one of those files for easy access, editing, and collaboration.

Fig. 2 shows the list of tabs at the top of a channel.

at02-TabsList
Fig. 2

Click the [+] button to add display the "Add a tab" dialog, as shown in Fig. 3.

at03-AddaTab
Fig. 3

The "Add a Tab" dialog lists templates available on which to base your new tab. You can filter this list by typing in the "Search" textbox, as shown in Fig. 4.

at04-Filter
Fig. 4

Fig. 5 shows the dialog if you select "Excel" as the template.

at05-Excel
Fig. 5

Excel files in this channel are listed. Select the file you want; then click the [Select] button to create the new tab. If you check the "Post to the channel about this tab", a message will be added to the "Conversations" tab with a link to the new tab.

Fig. 6 shows a new tab pointing to an Excel spreadsheet in the channel's files.

at06-ExcelTab
Fig. 6

Fig. 7 shows the link in the "Conversations" tab. Users can click the link to navigate to the new tab.

at07-PostedToChannel
Fig. 7

Users can click the [Edit] button to quickly make changes to this file. When editing, there is no need to save, as changes are auto-saved.

You have now learned to add a new tab pointing to an Excel file. The process is similar for adding other types of tabs.

If your organization uses Office 365, it is likely that you have access to Microsoft teams. If you do not, call your organization's IT department and ask them: "What's the problem?"

Saturday, 26 January 2019 08:37:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, 25 January 2019

Microsoft Teams is a tool for communication and collaboration that is included in Office 365.

Among other features, it allows team members to share and collaborate on files with one another.

Fig. 1 shows the Microsoft Teams interface (with my organization's Teams, channel's and conversations covered up).

af01-MSTeams
Fig. 1

By default, each channel has a "Files" tab, as shown in Fig. 2.

af02-FilesTab
Fig. 2

The "Files" tab is a space for Team members to upload, download and share files with other members.

You have the ability to upload a file to this tab or to create a new file directly in this interface.

Create a New File

To create a new file, click the [New] button and select the type of file from the dropdown menu, as shown in Fig. 3.

af03-AddFile
Fig. 3

At the next dialog, enter a name for your file, as shown in Fig. 4.

af04-Create
Fig. 4

The file is created and displays within the tab. Fig. 5 shows an Excel file. Note that changes to the file are automatically saved. There is no reason to click a [Save] button.

af05-EditFile
Fig. 5

Upload an Existing File

To upload a file, click  the [Upload] button; then navigate to a file on your local system and select the file you want to upload, as swoon in Fig. 6.

af06-UploadFile
Fig. 6

If your organization uses Office 365, it is likely that you have access to Microsoft teams. If you do not, call your organization's IT department and ask them: "What's the problem?"

Friday, 25 January 2019 08:30:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, 24 January 2019

GCast 32:

Handwriting OCR with Cognitive Services

See how to perform OCR on images with handwritten text, using Microsoft Cognitive Services. I walk through the API and show sample JavaScript code.

Thursday, 24 January 2019 08:21:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Microsoft Teams is a tool for communication and collaboration that is included in Office 365.

Each team can have multiple channels. See this article to learn how to create a new team. By default, a team contains a "General" channel, but you can add more.

Fig. 1 shows the Microsoft Teams interface (with my organization's Teams, channel's and conversations covered up).

ac01-MSTeams
Fig. 1

To create a new channel, select the team in which you want to create a channel, as shown in Fig. 2.

ac02-TeamMenu
Fig. 2

Then click the […] button and select "Add channel" from the popup menu, as shown in Fig. 3.

ac03-ChannelMenu
Fig. 3

The "Create a channel" dialog displays, as shown in Fig. 4.

ac04-AddChannelDialog
Fig. 4

At the "Channel name" field, enter a name for the channel you wish to create. 

At the "Description", enter a brief description of this channel, if you wish.

If you check the "Automatically favorite this channel for the whole team" checkbox, the new channel will appear in the Favorites list of every member of this team.

Click the [Add] button to add the channel. The Channel will now appear below the Team in the side menu, as shown in Fig. 5, and be available for any member of this team.

ac05-NewChannelDisplays
Fig. 5

Congratulations! You have just added a new channel to an existing team.

If your organization uses Office 365, it is likely that you have access to Microsoft teams. If you do not, call your organization's IT department and ask them: "What's the problem?"

Wednesday, 23 January 2019 08:24:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Microsoft Teams is a tool for communication and collaboration that is included in Office 365.

You can create multiple teams in the Microsoft Teams software. My organization creates a team for broad interest groups, like "Social" and for each new project. How you organize your teams is up to you and your organization, but here is how to create a new Team.

Launch the Microsoft Teams client.

Fig. 1 shows the Microsoft Teams interface (with my organization's Teams, channel's and conversations covered up).

nt01-MSTeams
Fig. 1

A menu (Fig. 2) displays along the left side of the screen.

nt01-Menu
Fig. 2

Click the [Teams] button (Fig. 3) on the menu to display a list of all the teams in your Favorites list.

nt02-TeamsButton
Fig. 3

Click the [Join or create a team] button (Fig. 4) at the bottom of the screen to display the "Join or create a team" page, as shown in Fig. 5.

nt03-CreateOrJoinTeamButton
Fig. 4

nt04-JoinOrCreateTeamPage
Fig. 5

Click the [Create a team] button (Fig. 6) to display the "Create your team" dialog, as shown in Fig. 7.

nt05-CreateATeamButon
Fig. 6

nt06-CreateYourTeamDialog
Fig. 7

At the "Team name" field, enter the name of your new team.

At the "Description" field, enter a brief description of your team.

At the "Privacy" dropdown, select "Private" to allow only Team Owners to add new members; or "Public" to allow any member to add new members to the team.

Click the [Next] button to advance to the "Add members to team" dialog, as shown in Fig. 8.

nt07-AddMembers
Fig. 8

Here, you can search for people in your organization and add them to the team by clicking the [Add] button. Click the [Skip] button to defer this until later.

The new Team page displays and is selected on the left, along with a default "General" channel, as shown in Fig. 9.

nt08-TeamAndChannel
Fig. 9

The "General" channel is shown in Fig. 10.

nt09-ChannelPage
Fig. 10

Team members can communicate in threaded conversations on the "Conversations" tab, which is selected by default.

Team members can upload files to share them with others on the "Files" tab.

Team members can enter notes on the "Wiki" tab.

In this article, you learned how to create a new team.

If your organization uses Office 365, it is likely that you have access to Microsoft teams. If you do not, call your organization's IT department and ask them: "What's the problem?"

Tuesday, 22 January 2019 08:32:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 21 January 2019

Episode 547

Geisa Faustino on Teaching

Geisa Faustino loves to teach. She developed this love in her previous career as a university professor and continues to teach as a Software Engineer at Microsoft. She explains what she gains from teaching and how she helps others to learn.

Monday, 21 January 2019 08:06:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)