# Saturday, April 13, 2019

Femme fatale? Check.

Wisecracking Private Investigator? Check.

Corrupt police chief? Check.

Ruthless criminals? Check.

Fixed boxing match? Check.

Double-crosses? Check.

Back-stabbing (both literal and figurative)? Check.

RedHarvestThese elements are cliché in the noir genre of film and books. But, in 1929, when Dashiell Hammett published Red Harvest, the genre was in its infancy. It was Hammett's success that led others to copy these elements so much that they became clichés.

The unnamed narrator - a private investigator from San Francisco is called to meet with a newspaper publisher in the small town of Personville. Personville is so infiltrated with mob corruption that many people call it "Poisonville". This nickname is reinforced when the publisher is murdered before the narrator meets with him.

The narrator (often referred to as "The Continental Op", because he is an operative for the Continental Detective Agency) is then hired by the murdered publisher's father Elihu Willsson, the most powerful man in town to investigate his son's murder; then to clean the town of corruption. When the Op solves the murder, Willsson tells him to forget about cleaning up the town, but the Op decides to do it anyway.

He does so by setting the rival mobs against one another and the corrupt police force.

As a detective story, Red Harvest does not offer much. Many of the crimes are solved when someone confesses. But as an action story, it is remarkable. Dozens of people are killed in the gang war. And as a study in character, it holds up well. We never know quite what motivates The Op to continue his quest to clean up the town. He is nearly framed for murder for his troubles.

Although Red Harvest falls short of being a classic, its influence on literature and film noir cannot be ignored. And it is a fun read.

Saturday, April 13, 2019 9:59:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, April 11, 2019

GCast 43:

Angular pt 2: The Application Shell

This video walks you through creating the application shell for the Angular Tutorial at angular.io

Thursday, April 11, 2019 10:25:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, April 8, 2019

Episode 558

Melanie Adcock on TechMonthChicago

Melanie Adcock has a passion for the Chicago tech community
She organizes TechMonth Chicago each October to shine a light on the numerous activities at meetups, startup incubators, public libraries, and schools in the city. This includes a website, a printed newspaper, and a semi-monthly radio show on Lumpen Radio 105.5 WLPN.





Monday, April 8, 2019 3:02:37 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, April 7, 2019

Today I am grateful for the Spring Brunch in my building yesterday.

Today I am grateful for a mid-day nap.

Today I am grateful I can work from home when it makes sense.

Today I am grateful
-to have the opportunity to mentor Hubbard High School students with their STEM projects this year.
-to see Mott the Hoople in concert last night

Today I am grateful to make it back to the gym yesterday for the first time since my surgery.

Today I am grateful to attend the NCAA Women's Regional Basketball Final in Chicago last night.

Today I am grateful for:
-Spending the day with Tim
-Lunch with Tim and Natale yesterday
-The Spartans in the Final Four after an exciting victory over the most talented team in the country

Today I am grateful to attend a hackathon at Georgia Tech this weekend.

Today I am grateful to visit the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum yesterday.

Today I am grateful to attend an OpenHack this week in Chicago and learn a lot about managing data in Azure.

Today I am grateful to see Nick Moss and Dan Carelli at Buddy Guy's Legends last night.

Today I am grateful that so many others from the CSE team are in Chicago this week.

Today I am grateful for dinner with Brent last night.

Today I am grateful for an exciting NCAA basketball tournament.

Today I am grateful to deliver my first community presentation of 2019 yesterday.

Today I am grateful to the lady who comes to my home every month to clean it.

Today I am grateful to spend time yesterday with my team.

Today I am grateful to work from home for a few days while I recover.

Today I am grateful for good health insurance.

Today I am grateful for everyone's prayers yesterday.

Today I am grateful to witness the Spartans win another championship at the United Center yesterday.

Today I am grateful for lunch with Nick yesterday

Today I am grateful
-to deliver a guest lecture at Michigan State University yesterday
-to see "Miss Saigon" in East Lansing with Amanda last night.

Today I am grateful for bike-riding weather.

Today I am grateful for the new speaker on my TV.

Today I am grateful for a choice of many coffee shops to work in when I feel like it.

Today I am grateful for 3 days in Bellevue.

Today I am grateful to be part of a successful IoT hackathon at T-Mobile this weekend.

Today I am grateful for breakfast with Josh yesterday.

Today I am grateful for 4 days in Toronto - one of North America's great cities!

Today I am grateful to learn so much about IoT and Azure this week.

Today I am grateful for dinner last night at the top of the CN Tower overlooking downtown Toronto.

Today I am grateful that my son sometimes calls me just to chat.

Today I am grateful to see "Hamilton: The Musical" yesterday.

Sunday, April 7, 2019 4:12:42 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, April 6, 2019

TheHeartOfTheMatterGeorge Scobie is a British policemen, who has been living and working in a west African colony for the past 15 years. World War II now rages around him, but he and is wife Louise are isolated in a small port city, far from the civilization they knew. The love has long evaporated from their marriage and Louise is unhappy with her life and begs George to buy her a ticket to South Africa. George cannot afford the ticket on his small salary, so he borrows the money from a local black marketer of questionable scruples. After Louise's departure, George begins an affair with the recently-widowed Helen Rolt.

This is the happy plot of The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene.

It is not an adventure story because very little action takes place. It is not a love story, because George clearly does not know what love is, although he tells himself that he does.

It is an exploration of the mind and sould of a weak, but well-intentioned man, who struggles with morality and his choices and his sins.

George Scobie tries to be a good man; but he is never honest with himself - even deluding himself into believing his affair is kept secret from others in town. He is weak: He recognizes and confesses his sin; but is powerless to keep stop from repeating it. His best trait is that he does not want to hurt anyone. He is motivated by pity (an emotion he often mistakes for love) and he tries to find a solution that will hurt neither Helen nor Louise. Invevitably, everyone is hurt by his inactions.

Scobie is a practicing Catholic, but he cannot go to confession because he knows his adultery will continue and, therefore, will not receive absolution. He is tempted by suicide, but his religion has taught him this is an unforgiveable sin that will result in eternal damnation.

In the end, this unrepentant sinner rationalizes a path that he thinks will hurt the least number of people; but, ultimately has no positive impact on anyone.

The Heart of the Matter raises moral questions, but leaves it to the reader to answer them.

Saturday, April 6, 2019 9:08:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, April 5, 2019

Yeah, it's a mighty long way down rock 'n' roll!
As your name gets hot so your heart grows cold!
And you gotta stay young man, you can never be old!
All the way from Memphis!

-Mott the Hoople

MottTheHoople (1)In 1974, Mott the Hoople recorded and released a live album, probably without realizing it would be their last. Ian Hunter's decision to pursue a solo career led to the band's breakup a few months after the album's release.

In 2019, the surviving members - guitarist/vocalist Hunter, keyboardist Morgan Fisher, and guitarist Ariel Bender - reunited to tour North America. Wednesday night, that tour landed at the Chicago Theatre and a legion of gray-haired and graying haired fans came to pay tribute.

The opening act was The Suburbs - a pretty good band from Minneapolis, whose music sounded like the synth-heavy, horns-enhanced music of 1990s MTV. The singer joked "As you can tell, we are very young", even though gray hair sat atop the heads of most of the band members. They filled a pleasant 40 minutes.

Around 9PM, the stage darkened, and the recorded music of Gustav Holst filled the theatre as Mott the Hoople marched onstage. The spotlight shone on Hunter and Fisher, who performed an acoustic version of the opening of Don McLean's "American Pie". After the line about "the day the music died", Hunter asked: "Or did it?" and the rest of the band launched into an energetic version of "The Golden Age of Rock 'N' Roll". They had begun the concert exactly as they had begun the 1974 tour!

For almost 2 hours, this trio and the five others in the band entertained a theatre full of aging rock fans. The band consisted of keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, and one virtuoso, who kept switching instruments.

MottTheHoople (2)Through power rock and rockabilly and ballads, the band kept the audience on their feet, singing along and cheering on the heroes of their youth. Mott the Hoople was known for great originals, like "All the Way from Memphis" and covers like Lou Reed's "Sweet Jane" and they played plenty of both on this night. Other highlights of the night were "I Wish I Was Your Mother", "Roll Away the Stone", and "Walking with a Mountain", which featured a blistering guitar solo by Bender. For local color, they sang the chorus of Hunter's hit "Cleveland Rocks", replacing the iconic line with "Chicago Rocks" to the pleasure of the locals. On the rock numbers, the band sometimes featured 4 guitar players - not counting the bass guitar.

Of course, they finished the night with David Bowie's "All the Young Dudes" - Mott the Hoople's biggest hit.

It was amazing how much the band sounds the same, despite 45 years apart and vocal chords and fingers that are in their seventh decade. More impressive was how much fun they seemed to be having and how that fun energy transmitted itself to an audience. Band members and audience members connected with one another and for a couple hours, it was as if all the years had not passed and we were all still young fans and rock gods.

Friday, April 5, 2019 12:30:14 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, April 4, 2019

GCast 42:

Angular pt 1: Getting Started

Learn how to install Angular and its prerequisites and build a simple Angular application using the CLI.

Thursday, April 4, 2019 9:40:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, April 1, 2019

Episode 557

Brent Stineman on the Evolution of Serverless

Brent Stineman describes Serverless cloud technologies and how they have evolved to make applications more flexible.

Monday, April 1, 2019 9:22:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, March 30, 2019

IAmMalalaIt was October 9, 2012, just after noon. A group of Taliban terrorists boarded a bus in Swat District, Pakistan and shot 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai in the head. They targeted her for pursuing an education for herself and for promoting education for women - something The Taliban insist is forbidden by the Quran. They left her for dead.

But Malala did not die. Thanks to emergency medical attention in Pakistan, and further treatment in the UK, she survived to become an international advocate for female and youth education. Two years later, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (the youngest Nobel recipient in history), and she wrote I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban - a book chronicling her story.

Malala describes her home province as a beautiful landscape that serves as a vacation destination for many Pakistanis; but it is also a battleground between the Pakistani army and the Taliban - a fundamentalist terrorist organization that seeks power for itself and strict adherence to Muslim law. They strive to achieve these goals through violence and intimidation.

Malala's story starts long before the attack on the bus. Her father Ziauddin ran the school that his daughter attended. He was progressive enough to allow girls into his school and generous enough to allow some of the poorer students to stay and eat at the family's home. Ziauddin was an outspoken proponent of education for all, which hid not endear him to groups like the Taliban. At a young age, Malala herself began writing an anonymous blog, promoting the right to education for all.

The book's writing style reminds us that Malala is still a school girl; but the message is a powerful, adult one: A young girl's courage to stand up to terrorism, violence, and oppression can inspire us all.

I became aware of Malala shortly after her recovery from the assassination attempt, when she began speaking publicly and meeting with international officials, such as Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth. But I was unaware that she had been fighting for these things for most of her life. She was awarded Pakistan’s first National Peace Award for Youth at the age of 14 - an award that now bears her name.

She grew up during a turbulent time in northern Pakistan. National politicians largely ignored the remote region, except during elections. Political power in the district was concentrated among a few families. Drone attacks from the U.S. in the area and suspicion of U.S. spies led to a general distrust of America by the locals. The U.S. Military discovered Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden hiding in a compound a few miles from Malala's home and killed him during a raid. The Pakistani military did not assert its full power to maintain the safety of the citizens. All these factors allowed the Taliban to gain influence in the area and eventually assert control at least as strong as the Pakistani military. The Taliban arrived when Malala was 10 years old. They steadily increased their power in the region by recruiting the disenfranchised and by terrorizing any who disagreed with their interpretation of Islam.

I am Malala was co-written by British journalist Christina Lamb, but it still retains the voice of a teenage girl, concerned with her friends and her clothes and arguing with her brothers; but also recognizing the importance of what she and her father are doing. And having the courage to voice that importance. Malala Yousafzai miraculously survived an assassination attempt at point-blank range; and she seized the opportunity to spread her message throughout the world. This book is part of that.

Saturday, March 30, 2019 8:20:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, March 28, 2019

GCast 41:

Using the PowerPoint Selection Pane

The Selection Pane is a little-used PowerPoint feature that can make it easier to manage a complex slide.

Thursday, March 28, 2019 8:38:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)