# Monday, November 4, 2019

Episode 583

Edward Thomson on GitHub Actions

GitHub Actions is a new feature at github.com allowing users to run custom code on GitHub. Edward Thomson describes this feature and how to use it.

Monday, November 4, 2019 8:59:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, November 3, 2019

11/3
Today I am grateful to watch my son's first game as a head coach yesterday at Kalamazoo College.

11/2
Today I am grateful to have no work travel for the past month.

11/1
Today I am grateful for the first snowfall of the winter.

10/31
Today I am grateful to see John Hiatt in concert last night.

10/30
Today I am grateful to attend the Grand Opening of the Chicago Microsoft Technology Center yesterday.

10/29
Today I am grateful to volunteer yesterday for the Hero Box event with my co-workers

10/28
Today I am grateful for all the Trick-or-Treaters who came to my door yesterday.

10/27
Today I am grateful for my new eyeglasses.

10/26
Today I am grateful to get my bike repaired.

10/25
Today I am grateful to see Incognito in concert last night with Thad.

10/24
Today I am grateful for a visit to the Elks National Veterans Memorial in Chicago.

10/23
Today I am grateful for my first visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art yesterday.

10/22
Today I am grateful to see Madonna in concert for the first time.

10/21
Today I am grateful to randomly and unexpectedly meet a former NFL player yesterday.

10/20
Today I am grateful to see Kansas in concert last night and my first visit to the Genesee Theatre.

10/19
Today I am grateful to attend an excellent Willie Nile concert last night.

10/18
Today I am grateful for a nice kitchen in my home.

10/17
Today I am grateful to be able to watch movies at home.

10/16
Today I am grateful for $1 tacos at Flaco's Tacos on Tuesdays.

10/15
Today I am grateful for the hospitality and generosity of Jay and Christina.

10/14
Today I am grateful for 6 years working at Microsoft and all the amazing people I've learned from.

10/13
Today I am grateful to attend my first Vegas Golden Knights game last night.

10/12
Today I am grateful to go to the Henderson, NV Harvest

10/11
Today I am grateful to present at the Las Vegas .NET User Group for the first time.

10/10
Today I am grateful for:
-Everyone who agreed to an interview this week at VSLive.
-Dinner last night with J., Walt, and Jim

10/9
Today I am grateful for lunch yesterday with Tim and Nick.

10/8
Today I am grateful for the memories of good times.

10/7
Today I am grateful to see the US Women's National Soccer Team play Korea yesterday at Soldier Field.

Sunday, November 3, 2019 12:59:02 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, November 2, 2019

Hiatt-16I love that John Hiatt seems to love performing.

Hiatt is not known for recording hit songs. Bonnie Raitt, Joe Cocker, Three Dog Night and many other artists have reached the charts with covers of his songs.

But Wednesday night at the City Winery, he was on stage performing his own songs to a full house with a smile on his face.

Hiatt-21He didn't have a backing band; He didn't need one. Hiatt accompanied himself on guitar and (sometimes) keyboards and sounded as he sang. His voice still sounds good and still maintains that midwestern twang; and, if he struggles to hit high notes, he does so with passion.

The Indianapolis-born troubadour performed for about 100 minutes and seemed to gain strength and energy as the night went on.

With dozens of albums and hundreds of songs in his catalog, he had plenty to choose from and we heard some of his best, including "Thing Called Love", "Crossing Muddy Waters", "Have a Little Faith in Me" and "Lift Up Every Stone".

He returned to the stage to sing "Memphis in the Meantime" as an encore to a standing ovation.

His joy in playing came across to the audience. And hopefully our joy in listening came across to him.

Saturday, November 2, 2019 8:24:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, October 31, 2019

GCast 65:

Artificial Intelligence, Whale Sharks, and WildBook

With help from Microsoft's AI for Earth, Wild Me has created WildBook to use artificial intelligence to track the location and migration of animals.

AI | GCast | Screencast | Video
Thursday, October 31, 2019 1:51:29 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, October 28, 2019

Episode 582

Jeremy Likness on Blazor

Blazor is a framework for building full-stack web apps in the browser using C#. Jeremy Likness describes how it works and how to use it.

Monday, October 28, 2019 8:32:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, October 27, 2019

IMG_6295I wasn't familiar with Incognito, the acid jazz band formed in the early 80's in the UK; but my friend Thad was a big fan.  He called to suggest we see them at Park West Thursday evening, so I listened to a couple of their albums and I was sold.

Their live performance did not disappoint. Incognito founder Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick has assembled a talented group of musicians from all over the world (UK, Jamaica, Trinidad-Tobago, China, Italy, US) and they played and sang a set of tight arrangements that delighted a nearly full concert hall.

Bluey brought a long 4 singers. All were excellent, but the featured singer was Maysa Leak (aka "Maysa"), who has carved out a solo career for herself and impressed with both her range and her emotion.

IMG_6305Highlights of the night included a cover of Ronnie Laws's "Always There" (Thad's favourite song), "Deep Waters", which featured a medley of love songs, and a long jam on their penultimate song that featured an excellent solo by every member of the 9-piece band.

Incognito did not come back for an encore, but it felt like enough. Everyone felt the energy, and everyone left satisfied.

Sunday, October 27, 2019 8:44:14 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, October 26, 2019

Madonna never does anything halfway.

Monday night was her third of seven shows at the Chicago Theatre and she did not disappoint.

The show opened with a silhouetted typist loudly pounding out a James Baldwin passage on an old typewriter. A dancer jerked as each word appeared above the stage until he was shot dead. The quote was about art and artists and truth.

Then, the curtains drew, and Madonna appeared, dressed as a pirate, surrounded by dancers and a large American flag and a set consisting of multiple moving staircases.

The evening's show featured multiple costume and set changes and switched between tightly choreographed numbers and Madonna chatting casually with the audience. It lasted over two hours.

While Madonna did sing a few songs from the 1980s, when she regularly topped the charts ("Express Yourself", "Vogue", "Papa Don't Preach", "Like A Prayer"), most of the evening was devoted to her newer works. Madonna now makes her home in Lisbon and she brought guests to the stage, including a group of Portuguese singers performing energetic harmonies; and a guitar player performing an excellent solo, which launched into the lead singer's medley.

Dressed as the enigmatic one-eyed Madame X, she preached her political philosophy of independence, freedom, and tolerance throughout the show, mixing this with a bit of potty talk.

She closed with all the singers backing her up for "I Rise" as they marched into the audience and out the back of the theatre.

The show reminded me of a Broadway production more than a concert.

Saturday, October 26, 2019 6:30:41 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, October 22, 2019

IMG_6187Sometimes, I will hear a song and it will take me back to the time I first heard it - to the friends I was with and where we were and what we were doing and what I was feeling. A familiar song can bring happy memories and sad memories flooding back.

When I listen to the progressive rock band Kansas's "Leftoverture" and "Point of Know Return” albums, I'm transported to my high school days. I bought these 2 albums within months of each other and they were among the first of couple dozen albums of the thousands I eventually ended up buying.

Saturday night at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan, IL, I felt I was surrounded by kindred spirits. The heads covered in gray hair (or lacking hair) suggested a crowd that also lived their youth in the 1970s. And the fact that so many gave a standing ovation after every song suggested that the memories invoked by the song were as important as the current performance of the song.

After 5 decades, only 2 founding members of Kansas remain - guitarist Rich Williams and drummer Phil Erhart. But the current members still respect the old songs and performed them very well. Original lead vocalist Steve Walsh is gone, but Chicago native and former truck driver Ronnie Platt sounded a heck of a lot like him; and David Ragsdale played an excellent electric violin, reminiscent of original violinist Robby Steinhardt, who gave Kansas its distinctive sound during their late 70s peak.

IMG_6191At Genesee, they played over half of "Leftoverture", including "Miracles Out of Nowhere" (my personal favourite) and "Carry on Wayward Son" (the evening's encore).

But the main draw of the performance was their "Point of Know Return", which the band played in its entirety. Hearing the tracks in order was like sitting in my parents’ basement with the stereo turned up loud while I pored over the lyrics, liner notes, and cover art. I was transported.

As were all the old folks around me.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 9:12:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, October 21, 2019

Episode 581

Laurent Bugnion on the Ignite Tour

The Microsoft Ignite conference takes place in November in Orlando, FL; but not everyone can attend.

So, Laurent Bugnion and his team are organizing the Ignite Tour, bringing much of the content to 30 cities around the world in the months following the conference.

Laurent discusses what people can expect at these events.

Ignite Tour Home

Monday, October 21, 2019 9:10:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, October 20, 2019

WillieNile"I love quality" announced Willie Nile from the stage to the audience at SPACE in Evanston Friday night. And quality is what he delivered. From his 90-minute set to his excellent band (I was impressed by his new lead guitarist Jimmy Bones) to his charming demeanor to the warmup band (Georgia singer/songwriter Brad Ray, accompanied by his father).

If you don't know Willie Nile, you are not alone. He has carved out a successful career, recording a dozen studio albums that satisfied his fan base; but he has never cracked the top 40.

His music is old school rock and roll with cerebral lyrics. Think of Lou Reed crossed with Bruce Springsteen, crossed with the Clash.

WillieNile_DavidWith decades of material on which to draw, Nile had many quality choices. And he delighted the crowd with rockers like "House of a Thousand Guitars" and "All Dressed Up and No Place to Go", along with thoughtful slow songs like "The Innocent Ones", which he dedicated to the Kurds fighting for their lives in the middle east. For "The Streets of New York", he set aside is guitar and sat at the piano.

The band closed with a rousing rendition of "One Guitar" in which they were joined by Brad Ray and his dad).

Willie Nile stands about 5-foot-nothing and has sported a Cosmo Kramer haircut since years before there was a Cosmo Kramer. But Friday night in Evanston, he cranked out house rocking music a hundred feet tall.

And everything he did was filled with quality.

Photos

Sunday, October 20, 2019 4:09:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)