# Thursday, August 8, 2019

GCast 60:

Text Recognition Cognitive Service with Binary Images

The Text Recognition Service supports sending a binary image and reading any text in that image. This video shows you how.

Thursday, August 8, 2019 1:24:10 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Santana-41Santana and the Doobie Brothers were two of my favourite bands as I was growing up in suburban Detroit. Sadly, I never had the chance to see either of them in concert. Until this week.

Both bands were on stage Sunday night at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Tinley Park.

DoobieBrothers-62The Doobie Brothers opened the show with an energetic performance - their trademark funky mix of rock, blues, country, and soul.

Michael McDonald is not part of the current Doobie lineup (a stand-in sang "Takin' It to the Streets"), but the last 1970s core of Tom Johnson, Patrick Simmons, and John McFee were there and this was the version of the band I first fell in love with. This was the first time I've ever seen a warmup act come out for an encore, but the audience loved it when they returned to play "Listen to the Music" and "Black Water" (my personal favourite).

DoobieBrothers-37After a brief intermission, the sun set, the lights dimmed, and Santana opened their set with "Soul Sacrifice", their percussion-heavy instrumental from their 1969 debut album.

The centerpiece of this band is and has always been Carlos Santana, from whom the band takes its name. But Carlos has always surrounded himself with excellent musicians and they proved their prowess tonight. Instrumentals alternated with vocal songs; hits alternated with deep cuts; ballads alternated with songs of high-energy and the band was great throughout. It was particularly special when Carlos took over with a guitar solo. At 72, he remains one of the world's great guitarists. He can showcase his technical prowess and bring emotion to his music.

Santana-76 Santana has been able to stay relevant through five decades by reinventing themselves - not only artistically, but also commercially.

He played to the audience between songs, mentioning the influence of Chicago Blues legend Otis Rush on the arrangement of "Black Magic Woman".

Santana-26 After an encore that included the 1999 mega-hit "Smooth", the band finally left the stage - over 4 hours after the show began.

This was my first visit to the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, my first time seeing the Doobie Brothers, and my first time seeing Santana. It was a night to remember.


More Santana photos

More Doobie Brothers photos

Wednesday, August 7, 2019 7:14:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, August 5, 2019

Episode 574

Mercedes Bernard on Dev Together

Mercedes Bernard started Dev Together to connect new software developers with mentors that would help them learn valuable skills. Over a year later, it is popular and spreading to other cities.

Monday, August 5, 2019 4:24:39 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, August 4, 2019

8/4

Today I am grateful to attend my building's annual summer party yesterday.

8/3

Today I am grateful for the gym on the 70th floor of the Aon Center.

8/2

Today I am grateful for so many excellent taco places in Chicago.

8/1

Today I am grateful for my bicycle.

7/31

Today I am grateful to find $30 in an old jacket yesterday.

7/30

Today I am grateful to accidentally stumble across a Rev. Sekou concert last night at Millennium Park.

7/29

Today I am grateful for:

-Seeing Peter Frampton in concert last night with my son

-My first visit to Maxwell Street Market

7/28

Today I am grate for:

-an afternoon at the Field Museum with my son

-dinner with my sister-in-law, my nephews, and my sons last night.

7/27

Today I am grateful for 5 years living in Chicago.

7/26

Today I am grateful to see a show at Second City last night.

7/25

Today I am grateful for my first visit to the Tampa Museum of Art.

7/24

Today I am grateful for dinner last night in Tampa with Kevin and Judy.

7/23

Today I am grateful to speak at the Chicago Cloud Conference yesterday.

7/22

Today I am grateful for a weekend in Detroit.

7/21

Today I am grateful for:

-3rd row seats to see Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra last night with old friends;

-The hospitality of Ken

7/20

Today I am grateful for:

-breakfast with Josh yesterday

-a chance to see my sister Debbie for the first time since she moved to Hawaii.

7/19

Today I am grateful to deliver a presentation on Azure Functions at Indy Software Artisans in Indianapolis last night - my first user group presentation of 2019!

7/18

Today I am grateful for dinner and drinks last night with Nick and Tim.

7/17

Today I am grateful my espresso machine is cleaned out and now producing a much tastier beverage much more quickly.

7/16

Today I am grateful to celebrate Emilija's birthday with her friends and family at a Costa Rican restaurant yesterday.

7/15

Today I am grateful for a day in Whitefish Bay, WI.

7/14

Today I am grateful to visit the Taste of Chicago last night.

7/13

Today I am grateful for a visit the National Hellenic Museum yesterday.

7/12

Today I am grateful for the 50 years we had with Denise before she left us 10 years ago today.

7/11

Today I am grateful that I finally figure out how to record TV shows and movies off DirectTV.

7/10

Today I am grateful to the Chicago Bicycle Company for fixing my bike seat yesterday.

7/9

Today I am grateful to work with high school students through the Northwestern Academy yesterday.

7/8

Today I am grateful to attend my first Joliet Slammers game yesterday, which concluded with an extra-inning walk-off RBI for the home team.

Sunday, August 4, 2019 3:11:36 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, August 3, 2019

PortraitOfTheArtistA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is James Joyce's somewhat autobiographical novel. Joyce channels his own childhood and young adulthood through the character of Stephen Dedalus.

The book recounts young Stephen's school years, where he passes through a number of phases. He is at first intimidated by the older students, teachers, and priests at his school, struggling to fit in; later, he pursues the carnal pleasures of life; a sense of guilt turns him away from this life and he considers becoming a priest; after deciding against this, he begins to reject all society's values he grew up with and escapes to a life as an artist. These are major swings in a short time, but they are during his formative years, when Stephen is deciding who he will become. In the end, he turns away from the faith of his youth because so much of it was based on fear of damnation and a rejection of worldly pleasures, and he could not reconcile that with a love of beauty. In doing so, he rejects everything he knows to begin anew in a foreign place.

I don't know how much of Portrait applies to Joyce's own life, but he makes the novel personal, bringing us inside Stephen's mind as he struggles with his conflicts.

If you like books with a lot of action, skip this one. But if you like poetic writing and insights into the evolution of a philosophy, this book may be for you.

Saturday, August 3, 2019 9:57:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, August 1, 2019

GCast 59:

Cognitive Services Text Recognition service

Learn to extract text from an image using the new Text Recognition service.

Thursday, August 1, 2019 11:53:50 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Frampton (6)A father and son sharing a passion is a wonderful thing.

Sunday night in Chicago, Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin experience opened for Peter Frampton, where Jason played tribute to his father. Jason is the son of the late Zeppelin drummer John Bonham and he has assembled a group that sounds exactly like his father's band - down to the musical arrangements and a voice replica of Robert Plante.

Bonham's band would have been a great concert on its own, but the main attraction was Peter Frampton, the 69-year-old singer / guitarist, who recorded his first hit at the age of 18 with Humble Pie.

The thing I love about Peter Frampton is that he continued to evolve, without rejecting his past.

Frampton enjoyed his greatest commercial success in the 1970s, culminating with the recording and release of "Frampton Comes Alive" - Rolling Stone Magazine's 1976 album of the year.

Frampton (9)Sunday night in Chicago, Frampton drew extensively from his hits of that era - "Baby, I Love Your Way", "Do You Feel Like We Do", "Show Me the Way", ...), even opening with "Something's Happening", the song that opened his legendary live album; but he also exposed us to much of the new material on which he has been working the past 4 decades. He played from his cover of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" from his Grammy-winning 2006 album "Fingerprints" and several tracks from his recent "All Blues" album.

Between songs, he charmed us with stories of his career and the musicians with whom he has interacted.

His 3-song encore consisted of songs from "Humble Pie", the band he co-founded at the age of 18.

No artist has become more associated with the Talk Box than Peter Frampton and he used it in this show - but sparingly enough that it remained fresh and not just a gimmick to prop up his songs.

DGAndTimThis was Frampton's final tour. He is retiring due to a diagnosed with a degenerative muscle disorder that will ultimately impair his ability to play guitar. But there was no evidence of any health problems at this show. His energy was high, and his playing was flawless. He and his band were on stage for nearly 2 hours.

I was excited to finally see Peter Frampton in concert - decades after originally discovering his music. And more excited that I shared the experience with my 25-year-old son, who seemed by far the youngest attendee.

A father and son sharing a passion is a wonderful thing.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019 2:36:44 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, July 29, 2019

Episode 573

Ruth Yakubu on Machine Learning tools in Azure

Cloud Developer Advocate Ruth Yakubu describes Machine Learning Services and other new ML tools available in Azure.

Monday, July 29, 2019 8:48:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, July 28, 2019

HandfulOfDustTony Last appears to have a good life. He is are young and wealthy and married to a beautiful woman and he enjoys spending time at his family's country home. But Tony's wife Brenda is unfaithful; Tony is the only one unaware of Brenda's affair with John Beaver, the dull and lazy son of a well-to-do businesswoman.

Tony's biggest mistake is that he trusts his wife and expects she will soon spend more time at home, instead of traveling to London every weekend. As a result, he is unprepared when he learns of her betrayal. When she demands a divorce, he leaves his home in England, completely abandoning his comfort zone to cross the ocean and to search for a lost city in South America.

None of the characters are particularly likeable. Most are concerned with the self-absorbed, meaningless social life of 1930s high society England. Even Tony, for whom the reader feels the most sympathy, is shallow and too comfortable to ever consider leaving home until he is shocked into doing so by his impending divorce. Brenda, of course, is horrible. Not only is she cheating on her devoted husband; she cares so little for their young son that she expresses relief when she hears of his death, because she initially feared she was learning of the death of her lover.

The final third of the novel, in which Tony struggles through the South American jungles, seem a departure from the rest of the novel; but this section underscore how  much Tony's life has been turned upside down by the betrayal of a frivolous wife.

Evelyn Waugh's talent for satire is on full display in this A Handful of Dust. He mocks the English upper class, exposing many of them as frivolous, selfish, and cold-hearted.

This was an uncomfortable novel for me. Tony reminded me too much of my younger self, when I placed trust in someone I should not have. When I was betrayed, I was paralyzed by my own indecision, waiting for her to come to her senses. Like Tony, I was too focused inward and on my past and on my own comfortable routine to recognize what was happening and to prevent it. Tony's quest ended when he ran far from home, placing his trust in an incompetent explorer - a decision that cost him his freedom and his life deep in the Brazilian rain forest.

Hopefully, I am now smarter and have learned better than Tony how to control my own destiny.

Sunday, July 28, 2019 11:24:20 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, July 27, 2019

MrsDallowayNothing much happens in Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway\.

The entire book takes place on a single day in 1923 London. Clarissa Dalloway is preparing to host an evening dinner party; and Septimus Warren Smith is contemplating suicide, as he reflects on his experience fighting in World War I and watching his best friend Evans die shortly before the armistice. Septimus's wife Lucrezia wonders why he acts so strangely when the doctor said there is nothing wrong with him.

For every few lines of conversation, we get many paragraphs of inner monologue.

Mostly, the story consists of flashbacks: Septimus recalls his friendship with Evans and Clarissa remembers her old lover Peter (to whom she refused marriage, settling instead on the government bureaucrat Richard Dalloway) and her friend Sally (with whom she once shared a romantic kiss). The day is complicated when Peter shows up after years in India.

Septimus and Clarissa never meet in the novel, but they are tied together by their obsession with their own past and by a long-past relationship with a same-sex friend.

We also get glimpses into the lives and minds of other people - primarily through their connections with Clarissa Dalloway, even though that connection is often quite thin.

Woolf's stream-of-consciousness writing style and the lack of present-day action sometimes makes the book difficult to follow.

We shift from the thoughts of one person to another; and from the present to the past. It's all very confusing. But pay close attention. And we get commentaries on a wide range of topics:

  • The role and status of marriage in society: A woman attains higher status by marrying, but she loses much of her identity to her husband
  • Society's attitudes toward mental illness, specifically PTSD suffered by veterans
  • The effect our past choices and circumstances have on current lives
  • The inevitable movement of time and the importance of how we spend it
  • The shallow lifestyle embraced by many in high society.

There is much to absorb here. And Ms. Woolf's prose is enjoyable.

Saturday, July 27, 2019 7:34:05 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)