# 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)
# Monday, March 25, 2019

Episode 554

Bret Stateham on IoT Edge

Bret Stateham describes how to effectively use IoT Edge to move some of your processing and logic closer to your IoT devices.

Monday, March 25, 2019 8:20:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, March 23, 2019

RabbitRunHarry "Rabbit" Angstrom isn't much good at anything. In high school, he was an outstanding basketball player, but he has accomplished little since then. After tasting that early success, life feels empty at 26 - trapped in a boring job and a loveless marriage to an alcoholic wife.

So, one day, he abandons his pregnant wife Janice and their toddler son and moves in with a prostitute.

Rabbit - the main character of John Updike's 1960 novel Rabbit, Run - is decidedly unlikeable. He is self-absorbed and shallow and oversexed and manipulative. Still, those around him seem to like him and are more than willing to give him multiple chances to prove his integrity. It may be because he says and does whatever comes into his head. But his tendency toward immediate gratification is his main problem and often comes at a high cost to others. Rabbit never considers the consequences of his actions or the people he hurts as he runs from his responsibilities and obligations.

In particularly examples of self-absorption and manipulation, he coerces his lover into performing fellatio, because he learns she once did it for someone else. The next morning, he abandons his lover and returns to his wife without even a phone call. A few weeks later, he storms out of his apartment when his wife refuses to have sex with him shortly after giving birth.

Updike has a way of keeping the reader engaged, even during the most mundane moments. We see inside Rabbit's mind and feel his rationalizations. But the story isn't just about Rabbit. Updike tells the thoughts of the others in Rabbit's lives and their troubles. And many of them also run from their troubles - particularly Janice, who escapes into alcohol.

Of course, the most dramatic parts of the story are also engaging. I could not look away as Updike described the inevitable tragedy near the end of the book. Rabbit's wife is home with their baby, and she is drinking when "the worst thing that has ever happened to any woman in the world has happened to her." We see it coming a mile away, but it is still a shock, when it happens.

Rabbit, Run is a good look into the psyche of an American male trying to find himself, and what happens when he focuses too much on that goal.

Saturday, March 23, 2019 8:08:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, March 21, 2019

GCast 40:

IoT Hubs

Azure IoT Hubs allow you to send and receive messages between devices all over the world and Azure.

Thursday, March 21, 2019 8:35:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, March 18, 2019

Episode 554

Kevin Griffin on Whats New in SignalR

Kevin Griffin returns to the subject of SignalR, describing the advances in this push technology since we last spoke of it years ago.

Monday, March 18, 2019 8:11:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, March 17, 2019

NakedLunchNaked Lunch by William S. Burroughs is a difficult book to read and to understand. I'm still not sure I do.

The book consists of a series of descriptions of the visions seen while high on heroine, morphine, or some derivative thereof. Many of the visions consist of deviant sexual fantasies, including sadomasochistic scenarios so extreme that they lead to murder and suicide.

Burroughs was one of the most famous writers of the influential "Beat Generation", although he never approached the fame and success of his friends Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac

Burroughs spent much of his adult life in a drugged-out haze and many of the visions told here are based on his own experiences. "Naked Lunch” written largely in a drug-induced haze, which may have increase Burroughs's creativity; but it clearly pushed him toward a very confused story.

Shortly after its publication, Naked Lunch was banned as pornography in Massachusetts.

I disagree with attempts to ban this book; but I fail to see its value as a classic. It is a non-linear narrative with no discernable plot or story. Apparently, several of the characters are the same character with different pseudonyms. But I don't know how anyone could figure that out without being told. As a result, it is far less compelling than other non-linear classics, such as Joseph Heller's excellent Catch-22.

I respect the fact that Burroughs pushed boundaries in the literary world and that he influenced other writers. The author sometimes captures the paranoia and other-worldliness of drug addiction. But Naked Lunch tries too hard to shock the reader. I can only take so much talk of vomit and jizz and people shitting themselves before it all sounds like rambling.

I will give the book the credit it deserves for one thing: The great rock/jazz band Steely Dan took their name from a brand of sex devices described in Naked Lunch.

Sunday, March 17, 2019 8:37:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, March 16, 2019

OddAndTheFrostGiantsNeil Gaiman knows how to tell a story. And Odd and the Frost Giants is no exception.

Odd was a crippled Norse boy in the age of the Vikings. Odd's father was dead, and his mother had re-married a neglectful man. One day, Odd rescued a bear and was followed home by the beast, along with an eagle and a fox. The three creatures turned out to be the gods Thor, Odin, and Loki transformed by an evil frost giant and cast out of Asgard, as part of a plot to steal Thor's hammer Mjolnir and to kidnap the beautiful goddess Freya.

Odd and the trio set out for Asgard to rescue Mjolnir and Freya.

Undersized and weak, Odd proves more valuable than expected.

This is a short, but delightful book - not only for its story and its characters - but for Gaiman's prose. One can imagine him sitting around a campfire and relaying the tale to a circle of Vikings who listen in wonder. As a bonus, each chapter features a beautiful ink drawing by Brett Helquist. Readers of "A Series of Unfortunate Events" will know his work; but, in this book, each drawing has the look of a woodcut, giving it a distinctly Nordic feel.

Odd and the Frost Giants is targeted at school-age children, but I am well into my 50s and I enjoyed it.

Saturday, March 16, 2019 8:33:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, March 15, 2019

IMG_3727Not only did I fail to see "Miss Saigon" in the 20 years since its premier in London's West End, I failed to learn anything about the show. I didn't know who wrote it, I haven't heard a song, and I did not know the plot. I didn't even know that it is an adaptation of Puccini’s "Madame Butterfly" opera.

That all changed Thursday night at the Wharton Enter in East Lansing, MI. My niece and I braved a hail storm and flooded streets to grab second-row tickets to see a touring company as it passed through mid-Michigan.

To spoil it for those of you who did as little research as I did: Miss Saigon tells the story of Chris, an American G.I., who falls in love with Kim, a young Vietnamese girl during the Vietnam War. When Saigon falls to the Viet Cong, Chris escapes, but Kim does not. It's a tragic story of war and lost love and what might have been.

The performance at Wharton was wonderful,

Emily Bautista and Anthony Festa moved our hearts as the star-crossed lover.

But the show was stolen by "The Engineer" - a sleazy night club / brothel host/manager, who manipulates Kim and other women, but somehow gains some sympathy from the audience. I believe Thursday night's performance featured understudy Eymard Cabling, rather than the regular Red Concepcion in this role. Regardless, he played the character flawlessly.

Another scene-stealer was the micro-urchin who played Kim's son Tam. He had no lines, but he overwhelmed us with is cuteness every time he stepped on stage.

I didn't hear any hit songs, but he music of "Miss Saigon" always satisfied. Song flowed into song so frequently that there were fewer opportunities to applaud than most shows afford. There were no low points in a lovely musical score, which was carried well by the cast.

The stage setting was very impressive for a small-city touring company. The highlight was a helicopter that loomed over the U.S. Consulate in Saigon to rescue the last of the refugees before the city's fall. One could almost smell the diesel coming off this impressive effect.

The final scene left the audience in tears.

Our attendance was a late decision, but this was an evening very well spent and one I will remember for a long time. It was well worth a trek through the hail and floods.

Friday, March 15, 2019 2:20:53 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, March 14, 2019

GCast 39:

Azure Search REST API

Azure Search allows you to make your internal data searchable in the same way that search engines like Google and Bing make public information on the Internet searchable.

Thursday, March 14, 2019 8:31:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Sometimes, I like to build fancy automations in Microsoft PowerPoint.

PowerPoint provides a simple way to animate objects on a slide. The steps are:
Select an object,
choose an animation
Set properties (e.g. timing) of that object

When a slide has a complex animations, you can end up with a lot of objects to manage. Sometimes those objects are stacked on top of one another, as shown in Fig. 1.

sp01-OverlappingShapes
Fig. 1

This makes it difficult to select the desired object. Further, if some shapes look alike, it's difficult to know which one to select.

PowerPoint provides a feature to help with this: The Selection Pane.

It's a good bet you've never used the Selection Pane, because it is not obvious where to find it.

To show this pane, select the Home ribbon (Fig. 2); then, select Select | Selection Pane, as shown in Fig. 3.

sp02-HomeRibbon
Fig. 2

sp03-SelectionPaneButton
Fig. 3

The Selection Pane displays, as shown in Fig. 4.

sp04-SelectionPane
Fig. 4

Each object on the current slide is listed. Notice that it each item is given a generic name, based on the type of shape.

You can rename any shape by double-clicking the shape name in the Selection Pane, typing in a new name, and pressing ENTER, as shown in Fig. 5 and Fig. 6.

sp05-RenameObject1
Fig. 5

sp06-RenameObject2
Fig. 6

Fig. 7 shows all the objects with more meaningful names. When I'm working with a complex slide, I like to rename each object to something to easily identify it.

sp07-RenameAllObjects
Fig. 7

Clicking the icon to the right of each object name allows you to toggle the visibility of that object. Hiding objects on top of and around an object can make it much easier to select and work on a given object. Fig. 8 shows the slide with every object hidden except the 2 circles.

sp08-HideObjects
Fig. 8

When you are finished working on objects, click the icon(s) again to reveal the hidden objects.

The PowerPoint Selection Pane is a little-used feature that can make it much easier to work with animations and complex slides in PowerPoint.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 7:04:08 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, March 12, 2019

In a previous article, we saw how to create an Azure IoT Hub.    

In this article, we will show how to add devices to the IoT Hub.

When I first began working with IoT hub devices, I was confused by language that suggested I was "Adding" or "Creating" a device. What we are really doing is registering a device with the hub, so that a physical device of the same name can communicate with this hub. When you see words like "Add" and "Create", think of the fact that it is adding and creating the registration entry.

To begin, log into the Azure Portal and navigate to your IoT Hub, as shown in Fig. 1.

id01-IotHubOverviewBlade
Fig. 1

Click "IoT devices" to open the "IoT devices" blade, as shown in Fig. 2.

id02-IotDevicesBlade
Fig. 2

If this hub has any devices, you will see them listed. You can use the fields at the top to filter the list to more quickly find one or more devices.

To add a new device, click the [Add] button (Fig. 2) to display the "Create a device" blade, as shown in Fig. 3.

id03-AddDeviceButton
Fig. 3

id04-CreateADevice
Fig. 4

At the "Device ID", enter a name for this device. The name must be unique among this hub's devices.

At the "Authentication type", select the type of authentication you wish this device to use. If you select "Symmetric key", you have the option to enter your keys or allow the system to generate keys for you.

Click the [Save] button to create this device.

After a few seconds, the device is created and displays in the device list of the "IoT devices" blade, as shown in Fig. 5.

id05-IotDevicesBlade
Fig. 5

If you click on the device, you can see the "Device details" for this device, as showin in Fig. 6.

id06-DeviceDetails
Fig. 6

The connection string is required to target this specific device.

Now that you have a device registered, a device of that name can communicate with this hub.

Azure | IoT
Tuesday, March 12, 2019 9:48:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, March 11, 2019

Episode 554

Ondrej Balas on 2-Factor Authentication

Ondrej Balas discusses advances in 2-Factor Authentication and tells us how to add this security to our applications.

Monday, March 11, 2019 9:31:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Brodie Set were a group of six pre-teen girls at The Marcia Blaine School in Edenborough, who were completely devoted to their favourite Teacher - Miss Jean Brodie.

Miss Brodie was proud and eccentric. She refused to teach the defined curriculum - instead instructing girls on how to be proper young ladies or captivating them with tales of her travels and adventures. Miss Brodie believed she was in her prime and she let everyone know it. She would often brag "Give me a girl at an impressionable age and she is mine for life." "You girls are my vocation", she insists. "I am dedicated to you in my prime." This does not endear the teacher to the administration of this 1930s private school, who search for a reason to dismiss her.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark follows the girls throughout their school years, as they grow up under the influence of Miss Brodie, who takes them to museums and tea parties and to the homes of her friends. Brodie continues to be a strong influence on their lives, even after they graduate to the Senior school and she is no longer their teacher.

In some ways, Miss Brodie is a lovely person: She is bright and imaginative, passionate about art and music and history, and fiercely loyal to her girls. But in other ways, her flaws show through. She is an admirer of fascism in the years before World War II, showering compliments upon both Mussolini and Hitler.

Worst of all, she is manipulative of the girls she is mentoring. At one point, Brodie falls in love with a married teacher and, knowing she cannot have him, she conspires to have one of the girls sleep with him instead. She even makes sure another girl is with them to report back to Miss Brodie. The plan backfires when the art teacher begins an affair with the wrong girl.

The story often jumps ahead to the grown-up girls of the Set - sometimes by parenthetically revealing a bit about a girl's future ("Rose, who would later be famous for sex") and sometimes with an entire scene taking place among the older girls or with an aging Miss Brodie, who dies shortly after passing out of her "prime".
  Because of the flash-forwards, we know that Jenny will become a nun; that Mary will die young; that Rose will be famous for sex; and that Miss Brodie will be fired after being betrayed by one of her pupils. But the humor and intelligence of Spark's writing keeps the reader engaged until the end.

In fact, it is Spark's wit that kept me engaged throughout this short novel. She perfectly captures the eccentric schoolteacher and the teenage girls gossiping about school and sex and who they are and what they will become.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is a short, but excellent novel about the effects - both positive and negative - that a strong role model can have on impressionable youth. It is told in a way to delight the reader.

Sunday, March 10, 2019 9:57:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, March 9, 2019

Sometimes, the American dream is a reality. And sometimes, it is an illusion.

Seymour "Swede" Levov had the perfect life. He grew up tall and handsome and was the best athlete in Newark, New Jersey. After the war, Swede married Miss New Jersey, fathered a beautiful little girl, and began training to take over his father's glove factory. He was good at his job; his wife loved him; his daughter was perfect, except for a stuttering problem; he was successful at work.

Everybody body loved and admired Swede Levov.

Everybody envied Swede Levov.

But Swede's life was far from perfect.

"American Pastoral by Philip Roth tells Swede's story.

In high school, Swede's daughter Merry became involved in the anti-Vietnam War movement; and, at the age of 16, she blew up the local general store and Post Office, killing a local physician. She disappeared that day.

Too much came easy for Swede. His great skill was excelling at those things that were expected of him; and he spent most of his life trying to do just that: He worked hard, he was kind to others, he loved his wife and daughter. He even kept his Newark factory open after the city was racked by riots and crime increased and it became impossible to hire high-quality craftsman. It wasn't enough.

Swede's idyllic life was an illusion. His outward success is a façade, hiding the turmoil and tragedy that plagued him and his family.
 
Swede searches (mostly) in vain for his daughter. His efforts result in disappointment and exploitation. Even when he finds her, he gains no closure from the incident. Merry has moved from her life as a violent terrorist; but now embraces a self-destructive philosophy that leaves her sick and pathetic and still rejecting the morals of her father.

Swede almost deals with his weaknesses and the weaknesses of those closest to him with logic and hard work and perseverance.

It is never enough.

In the end, he beats himself up trying to decide who is to blame for Merry's fall. Did she fall because of some mistake he made as a parent? Was she seduced by a radical organization?

He never finds the answers.

I loved Roth's prose and the inner dialogue he gave to his main character and the outer dialogue between the characters. The sequences where Swede and his teenage daughter argue about her limits ring true to anyone who has raised intelligent and sometimes defiant teenagers.

Roth's story gripped me throughout. I felt Swede's helplessness; I felt the jealousy of his brother; I felt the frustration of Merry, who could not live up to her parents ideals and chose a path of self-destruction instead; I felt the disappointment of those who discovered he wasn't the hero they believed; I felt the victimization of Swede's wife, who was bullied by her father-in-law before their wedding; and I felt the collapse of the American dream.

At least, the dream of Swede Levov.

Saturday, March 9, 2019 9:44:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, March 8, 2019

The Internet of Things, or IoT, allows you to capture data from devices across the planet and use the power of the cloud to store and manage that data.

Microsoft Azure offers IoT Hubs as a way to capture data from Internet-connected devices.

To create a new IoT hub, navigate to the Azure portal and log in.

Click the [Create a resource] button (Fig. 1) and select Internet of Things | IoT hub from the menu, as shown in Fig. 2.

ih01-CreateNew
Fig. 1

ih02-Menu
Fig. 2

The "IoT hub" blade displays, as shown in Fig. 3.

ih03-IoTBlade
Fig. 3

At the "Subscription" field, select the subscription in which you want to store this hub. Many of you will have only one subscription and it will already be selected.

At the "Resource Group" field, select a Resource Group in which to store this hub. You can create a new Resource Group by clicking the "Create new" link and entering a name for the new group, as shown in Fig. 4.

ih04-NewResourceGroup
Fig. 4

At the "Region" field, select the geographic region in which you want your hub to be located. Considerations include the location of the devices that will connect to this hub and the location other systems with which the hub will interact.

At the "IoT Hub Name" field, enter a unique name for this hub.

After you have completed the form, click the [Review + create] button. A summary page displays, as shown in Fig. 5.

ih05-iotHubConfirmation
Fig. 5

If any errors display, click the [Previous] button and correct them; Otherwise, click the [Create] button to create a new IoT Hub. It will take several minutes to deploy all the necessary resources and create this hub.

After the hub is created, you can navigate to it, as showing in Fig. 6.

ih06-IotHubOverviewBlade
Fig. 6

The "Overview" blade is selected by default and displays summary information about your hub, as well as links to documentation, so you can learn more about managing and working with this hub.

In this article, you learned how to create a new Azure IoT hub. A hub requires more configuration to be useful. We will cover this configuration in a future article.

Azure | IoT
Friday, March 8, 2019 9:47:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, March 7, 2019

GCast 38:

Azure Search

Azure Search allows you to make your internal data searchable in the same way that search engines like Google and Bing make public information on the Internet searchable.

Thursday, March 7, 2019 9:50:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Internet of Things (or IoT) has revolutionized the way we think of computing.

In the past, computers were self-contained, general purpose machines that could load complex operating systems, run multiple applications, and perform a wide variety of tasks. They could communicate with one another in order to either share data or distribute workloads.

Now, tiny computers can be found in a huge number of devices around one's home or workplace. When these devices are connected to the cloud, they become far more powerful because much of the processing and storage traditionally done on the computer is moved to the massively-scalable cloud.

At home, refrigerators, thermostats, and automobile contain computers that send and receive information, making them better able to adapt to the world around them.

Businesses take advantage of devices connected to manufacturing machines or vehicles or weather detectors to monitor local conditions and productivity. Capturing data from these devices allows them to respond to anomalies in the data that may indicate a need for action. Imagine a monitor on a factory floor that monitors the health of an assembly line and sends an alert to a repair team if the line breaks down. Or, better still, if the data indicates a strong probability it will break down soon. Imagine a shipping company being able to track the exact location and health of every one of their trucks and to re-route them as necessary.

Industries as disparate as transportation, clothing, farming, and healthcare have benefited from the IoT revolution.

Cloud tools, such as Microsoft Azure IoT Hub allow businesses to capture data from many devices, store that data, analyze, and route it to a particular location or application. As applications become more complex, cloud tools become both more powerful and simpler to create.

These tools offer things like real-time analytics, message routing, data storage, and automatic scalability.

This IoT revolution has enabled companies to capture huge amounts of data. Tools like Machine Learning allow these same companies to find patterns in that data to facilitate things like predictive analysis.

The cost of both hardware and cloud services has fallen dramatically, which has accelerated this trend.

The trend shows no signs of slowing and companies continue to think of new ways to connect devices to the cloud and use the data collected.

The next series of articles will explore how to process IoT data using the tools in Microsoft Azure.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 9:46:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, March 5, 2019

HamiltonCombine a history lesson with great music, great dancing, and a very talented cast and you begin to understand "Hamilton". The extremely popular Broadway musical has been playing continuously at Chicago's CIBC Theater for over two years, and I finally saw a performance Sunday afternoon.

This hype for this show was considerable, but Sunday's performance was up to matching it.

The show's story focuses on the friendship and rivalry between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Both were major figures in early American history. Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury, who built the U.S. financial system. Burr was a Senator, a state Attorney General, a Vice President and (spoiler alert) the man who killed Hamilton in a duel.

Some actors got the day off for this matinee performance - most notably, JJ Jeter for Miguel Cervantes as Hamilton and Keith Webb for Akron Watson, but I would not have known I was seeing understudies without looking at the program. Jeter and Webb captured the spirit of their characters - Hamilton's idealism and Burr's ambition - perfectly.

A high point of the interpretation was the character of Thomas Jefferson, who was portrayed as a cocky Prince clone, returning from Paris to set the new country afire.

One of the most interesting aspect of the Hamilton musical is that nearly every major part is played by a person of color - African-American or Latinx. George III was the only speaking role is played by a Caucasian. Of course, the leaders of 18th century United States were almost all white. But this change works well and fits the music, features a lot of R&B and Hip-Hop influences.

I bought tickets to treat myself to a birthday present and I invited my son to join me. We both enjoyed it immensely. I would not be surprised to see this show run for another 2 years in Chicago.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019 9:45:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, March 4, 2019

Episode 553

Jennifer Marsman on AI for Earth

Jennifer Marsman describes how Microsoft's AI for Earth team is using data to make the world a better place.

Monday, March 4, 2019 9:07:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, March 3, 2019

3/3
Today I am grateful that my shower is finally fixed.

3/2
Today I am grateful for the many kind words posted here yesterday.
   
3/1
Today I am grateful for another successful trip around the sun.

2/28
Today I am grateful for someone to recruit me personally and sincerely (even though I'm not going anywhere).

2/27
Today I am grateful to Tim for helping me connect my sound bar to my TV last night.

2/26
Today I am grateful for my personal trainer.

2/25
Today I am grateful for a Spartan victory over um in both men's and women's basketball yesterday.

2/24
Today I am grateful for my new living room furniture.

2/23
Today I am grateful to sleep in this morning.

2/22
Today I am grateful to live close to so many good restaurants.

2/21
Today I am grateful for the opportunity to mentor high school students on their STEM projects in southwest Chicago yesterday.

2/20
Today I am grateful for a hot bath on a cold afternoon.

2/19
Today I am grateful for cheeseburgers with Tim last night.

2/18
Today I am grateful to see bluesman Jimmy Johnson at The Lagunitas Tap Room last night.

2/17
Today I am grateful that I finally bought a new couch for my home to replace the beat-up old furniture I've been living with all these years.

2/16
Today I am grateful for a call from Kevin last night.

2/15
Today I am grateful to see a home Chicago State University basketball game last night for the first time.

2/14
Today I am grateful I finally got my broken Surface Book replaced.

2/13
Today I am grateful for a walk around central Ottawa with my team in last night's snowfall.

2/12
Today I am grateful for an unexpected jazz big band at dinner last night.

2/11
Today I am grateful to see an overtime Bruins-Avalanche game yesterday in Boston.

2/10
Today I am grateful for my first visit to Williamstown to see Nick this weekend.

2/9
Today I am grateful to attend my first home Williams College basketball game last night.

2/8
Today I am grateful to see an exciting Lakers-Celtics game on my first visit to TD Garden last night.

2/7
Today I am grateful for 3 consecutive days with my personal trainer.

2/6
Today I am grateful to see an exciting basketball game in Champaign last night.

2/5
Today I am grateful to the friend who reached out to me when he noticed I was down.

2/4
Today I am grateful for a chance to donate blood yesterday for the first time in years.

Sunday, March 3, 2019 11:48:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, March 2, 2019

APassageToIndiaAziz was a doctor and a father and a widow living in central India during the time of British colonization.

He was friendly and open with the English people and become close with some of those visiting, including the elderly Mrs. Moore, Adela Quested, who was engaged to Mrs. Moore's son, and Cyril Fielding, who ran a nearby government college. One day, Aziz invited some of his new friends to explore nearby caves.

During their spelunking expedition, Adela and Aziz were separated. Adela became disoriented inside a cave and later accused Dr. Aziz of trying to rape her.

Aziz's guilt was assumed, and the trial began quickly.

In A Passage to India, E.M. Forster focuses more on his characters than on the action of those characters and the most interesting character in the novel is Dr. Aziz.

Falsely accused by one he trusted and to whom he showed kindness, Aziz re-evaluates his attitude toward the British colonizers.

The novel explores the difference between the cultures and the attitudes of the English and Indians. It shows the bigotry inherent in colonialism, particularly (but not solely) among the English. Sometimes that bigotry is explicit, as many English consider themselves superior to the Indians - or any darker race, for that matter. Sometimes, it is more subtle, as when the English authorities and population are more likely to believe the false accusations of Adela, even before the trial begins.

The book explores whether personal friendships can exist under the shadow of colonialism. Aziz's opinion on this subject changes, after he is falsely accused.

A Passage to India is a beautifully written novel that makes the reader feel for the characters and think about the relationship between people, countries, and races.

Saturday, March 2, 2019 9:23:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, March 1, 2019

Azure Search allows you to create a service making your own data searchable, in much the same way that public search engines like Google and Bing make data on the Internet searchable.

In previous articles, I showed how to create an Azure Search Service; and how to import and index data in that service.

In this article, I will show how to use a REST API exposed by the Azure Search service to return indexed results, based on search criteria.

You can do some limited searching using the Azure portal. Navigate to the Azure portal and login; then, navigate to the Azure Search service, as shown in Fig. 1.

as01-OverviewBlade
Fig. 1

Click the [Search explorer] button (Fig. 2) to display the "Search explorer" blade, as shown in Fig. 3.

as02-SearchExplorerButton
Fig. 2

as03-SearchExplorerBlade
Fig. 3

At the "Query string" field, you can enter a search term and click the [Search] button to return all the data (in JSON format) that matches the search term in any field you marked "FILTERABLE" in your index. Clicking the [Search] button issues an HTTP GET against the Search service's REST API. The results are shown in Fig. 4.

as04-SearchExplorerResults
Fig. 4

You have more flexibility calling the REST API with a POST request. This is not possible through the portal; but you can use a tool like Postman to make these requests.

The URL to which you POST can be found on the Azure service's "Overview" tab, as shown in in Fig. 5.

as05-Url
Fig. 5

The URL takes the form:

https://<servicename>.search.windows.net

where <servicename> is the name you assigned to this service.

You will also need the Query key. You can find the Query key by opening the Azure Search service's "Keys" blade (Fig. 6) and clicking "Manage query keys" to display the "Manage query keys" blade, as shown in Fig. 7.

as06-KeysBlade
Fig. 6

as07-ManageQueryKeys
Fig. 7

To test POSTing to the REST API, open Postman and open a new tab, as shown in Fig. 8.

as08-Postman
Fig. 8

At the Verb dropdown, select "POST".

At the "Request URL" field, paste in the URL. This will be the URL copied from the "Overview" tab, followed by "/indexes/<indexname>/docs/search?api-version=2017-11-11

where <indexname> is the name of the index you created in the Azure Search service.

This is shown in Fig. 9.

as09-PostmanParamsTab
Fig. 9

Select the "Headers" tab, as shown in Fig. 10.

as10-PostmanHeaderTab
Fig. 10

Enter the following 2 key/value pairs:

Key="api-key"; value=the Query key copied from the service.

Key="Content-Type"; value="application/json"

These are shown in Fig. 11.

as11-PostmanHeaderTab
Fig. 11

Select the "Body" tab to enter search parameters, as shown in Fig. 12.

as12-PostmanBodyTab
Fig. 12

The example shown
{
   "select": "*",
  "filter": "state eq 'IL'",
  "orderby": "presentationDate desc"
}

instructs the API to select all the fields' to filter the data, returning only those in which the "state" field equals "IL"; and sort the results in descending order by presentation date.

The results are shown in Fig. 13.

as13-PostmanResults
Fig. 13

In this article, you learned how to use the REST API to access an Azure Search service.

Click  the [Send] button to POST to the API.

Friday, March 1, 2019 9:27:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)