Thursday, July 31, 2014

Recently, I recorded an interview with Greg Levenhagen about the Beerology Windows 8 app he helped build. This interview is available on the DevRadio podcasat and below.

Thursday, July 31, 2014 7:43:39 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
 Monday, July 21, 2014
Monday, July 21, 2014 1:02:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
 Monday, July 14, 2014
Sunday, July 13, 2014 11:52:42 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
 Monday, July 07, 2014
Sunday, July 06, 2014 11:23:41 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
 Sunday, July 06, 2014

7/6
Today I am grateful for the hospitality and generosity of my cousin Sharon and her family, who shared their San Rafael home with us this week.

7/5
Today I am grateful for an afternoon watching the Oakland A's win in walk-off fashion yesterday with Tim Giard and cousin Billy.

7/4
Today I am grateful for my first trip to California in 6 years.

7/3
Today I am grateful for a successful apartment search yesterday.

7/2
Today I am grateful for:
1. Running into old friends yesterday
2. A good night's sleep last night
3. Staying close to home most of June before the crazy travel month of July.

7/1
Today I am grateful to my friend Mike for taking the time yesterday to teach me about Azure Notification Hubs.

6/30
Today I am grateful for a strong end to the first Fiscal Year with me on the inside.

6/29
Today I'm excited that I've had the chance to meet so many entrepreneurs the past couple months. Their energy is contagious!

6/28
Today I am grateful for a few hours hanging out yesterday in my hometown of Grosse Pointe, MI.

6/27
Today I am grateful I could spend yesterday evening with my son Tim.

6/26
Today I am grateful I had a chance to spend yesterday afternoon with Nick Giard before he returned to Florida this morning.

6/25
Today I am grateful for my teammates, who often go out of their way to support one another.

6/24
Today I am grateful I have the opportunity to work from home when it makes sense.

6/23
Today I am grateful by the overwhelming choice of videos I can watch whenever I have free time.

6/22
Today I am grateful for some extra sleep this weekend to make up for the last few weeks.

6/21
Today I am grateful for a combined birthday/Father's Day dinner celebration last night with my boys.

6/20
Today I am grateful I finally got my car fixed after being unable to open my trunk for a month.

6/19
Today I am grateful for the Great Lakes Area .NET User Group. Volunteering the past 6 years has been a great experience! I will miss you guys!  #‎MIGANG‬

6/18
Today I am grateful for a week full of user groups and other dev community stuff!

6/17
Today I am grateful to all those who missed the USA-Ghana World Cup game last night to hear me talk about Azure Mobile Services at the Windows Developer Group in Columbus.

6/16
Today I am grateful I could spend Father's Day with my 2 favourite people - Nick Giard and Tim Giard - at the Tigers game yesterday. (and a walk-off RBI)

6/15
Today I am grateful for
1. The example set and the lessons taught by my father.
2. The privilege of being a father to my 2 boys who have grown into excellent young me.

6/14
Today I am grateful for
1. Sushi with my boys
2. Technical assistance from a friend.

6/13
Today I am grateful my son found a summer job yesterday.

6/12
Today I am grateful for a successful Dev Day yesterday in Columbus - our final first-party event of FY14.

6/11
Today I am grateful I could spend time yesterday with my boys and I got to meet Nick's girlfriend for the first time..

6/10
Today I am grateful my son's car trouble was easily repaired.

6/9
Today I am grateful for the network of smart people I find myself surrounded by.

6/8
Today I am grateful to the organizers and attendees of the Pittsburgh TechFest for making me feel welcome here. ‪#‎pghtechfest‬

6/7
Today I am grateful for dinner and an evening with Randy and Pam in Pittsburgh. It has been too long.

6/6
Today I am grateful to see my son Nick yesterday for the first time in months and to share dinner with both my boys last night.

6/5
Today I am grateful for a full day yesterday and a chance to meet so many new people.

6/4
Today I am grateful for
1. Lunch with an old friend I haven't seen in years
2. A chance to clear the air
3. The enthusiasm in the audience last night for my Azure talk at The Factory Co-Working space in GR.

6/3
Today I am grateful to my brother Doug, who found and fixed up a used car for my son.

6/2
Today I am grateful to Peter Ritchie and Susan Yount, who said nice things about me in public.

Sunday, July 06, 2014 6:21:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
 Monday, June 30, 2014
 Sunday, June 29, 2014
Sunday, June 29, 2014 7:22:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
 Thursday, June 26, 2014

I’ve been home from Romania for a few weeks and I’m really glad I made this trip. I hope I can go back next year and I hope I can schedule multiple European conferences during the same trip.

Here are a few final thoughts about the trip

International Travel is much easier for Americans

To travel to Romania, I had a passport, an airline ticket, and a hotel reservation. After I arrived, I decided to go to Hungary. I rented a car and was at the border crossing 12 hours after making that decision. I didn't need to call anyone in Hungary to let them know I was coming.

Europeans have it different. To travel to the US - even for vacation - a Romanian must apply for a Visa. Visas are granted by lottery, so chances are he will not get one on his first application.

I speak only English fluently and know only a few phrases in other languages - none of which are common to eastern Europe. Yet I had very little problem communicating in Romania and Hungary. Why? Because Europeans grow up learning multiple languages and guess what the most popular language is? Nearly everyone in a large city's service industry speaks passable English, as does nearly everyone under 30. It was blind luck that the language I grew up speaking is the common language for these countries.

Hotels

I was surprised that most Romanian hotels did not have an alarm clock – something that is now standard in American hotels. Some hotels also did not provide a washcloth. I looked and was surprised not to find one.

In the Cluj-Napoca hotel, there was a low sink about the size of a toilet next to the toilet. I don't know what it's for but I did not wash my face in it.

In the second hotel I stayed in Budapest, the pillows were enormous - way bigger than I've ever seen on a bed before. I wonder what sort of creatures usually stay there.

Infrastructure

Romania has only one highway. Major cities are often connected only by 2 or 3 lane roads.

The roads in Romania and Hungary are not as well marked as in the U.S. Often the road names are on the side of a building, rather than close to the intersections. In Budapest, the many road sign are printed with a fancy font, making them difficult to read in a hurry.

Miscellany

Smoking is more common in Romania and Hungary than in the U.S. Smoking is allowed in restaurants and many people smoke while eating. I had forgotten how much that bothers me.

Every single person I met in Romania and Hungary was friendly and willing to try to help. I was lost several times and I received help from complete strangers, who went out of their way for me.

The landscape in Romania is much prettier than in Hungary (at least where I traveled). Transylvania was filled with green, rolling hills, farms, and small towns everywhere I went. But Budapest was a nicer city than any I found in Romania. I liked the Romanian cities but Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited.

This is part 4 of a series describing my 2014 trip to Romania and Hungary.

Photos of Romania

Photos of Budapest

Thursday, June 26, 2014 3:16:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
 Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Last month, I wrote about the advantages of the BizSpark program. Here, I will describe how to apply for this program.

There are two ways to sign up: With and without an Enrollment Code. If you don’t have an Enrollment Code, your application goes into a queue and is evaluated by someone at Redmond and you will hear back in a week or two with a message indicating whether or not you were accepted into the program. If you sign up with an Pre-Approved Enrollment Code, you can begin accessing your benefits immediately! I or another BizSpark Champion can provide you with a Pre-Approval Enrollment Codes.

Qualifying startups can email me to receive a Pre-Approval Enrollment Code.

Here is the process for signing up for BizSpark.

1. Navigate to https://www.microsoft.com/bizspark/

BizSpark-01

You may need to log in with a Microsoft account (formerly known as a Live account). If you use Microsoft services, such as OneDrive or Instant Messaging, you already have a Microsoft account; If not, you can get one here.

Click "Join Now".

2. Select Language

The “Language” page displays, as shown below.

BizSpark-02

Scroll down
    Select a Language from the Dropdown
    Click the [Next] button.

3. Enter Startup Information

The “Your Startup” page displays, as shown below.

BizSpark-03

Scroll down (again)
    If you have a Pre-Approved Enrollment code, enter it into the "Enrollment Code (optional)" textbox. If not, leave this box blank. NOTE: Although the Enrollment Code is optional, there is a great advantage to having one: a Pre-Approval code will enroll you immediately, instead of waiting a week; and it will guarantee your acceptance in the program.
    Enter the rest of the form with information about you and your company.
    Click the [Next] button.

4. Agree to Terms

The “Agreement” page displays, as shown below.

BizSpark-04

Scroll down (again)
    Click the Checkbox to indicate acceptance of the End-User License Agreement
    Click the [I Accept] button.

5. Confirmation

The “Thank You” / Confirmation page displays, as shown below.

BizSpark-05

At this point, you should be either enrolled in the BizSpark program or have submitted your application. Those who are enrolled can click “My Benefits” to see how to download software and activate their Azure account and immediately beginning taking advantage of the BizSpark benefits.

It only takes a few minutes to sign up. You can save yourself some time and uncertainty by emailing me and requesting a BizSpark Pre-Approved Enrollment Code.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 6:59:38 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
 Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I have 6 Windows Phone apps to show you this week. I tried each of them and they are all well done.

Applause Light

(Click here to install)

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This app displays a big "Applause" button. Hold down this button to hear applause; release the button to stop it. You can choose from Light applause, Standing Ovation, rowdy applause, or Small Crowd. You will probably hear me using this app at the next technical presentation I attend (or that I present at)

My Minutes

(Click here to install)

1b9081c7-03ec-48f4-ac09-4b64735b62c4[1]

Enter text notes about meetings you attend; A timer lets you record when the meeting  starts and stops, so it can calculate meeting duration. It even lets you assign notes to a particular time segment of the meeting.

World Flag Quiz

(Click here to install)

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This quiz displays the flag of a country. You need to guess the country that represents. You win by correctly identifying flags and by going through the quiz faster.

Motivational Penguin

(Click here to install)

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Open the app to see a penguin urging you to "Believe in Yourself!" or "Work hard! Keep fighting!" or "Don't give up your dreams!"
Set the Lock screen to update with one of these Penguin messages and change every hour (or daily or twice daily) so you can get random inspiration throughout the day.

Car Locator

(Click here to install)

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Open this app and Save the location of your car; return to the app later for directions where you left your car.

Pandamonium

(Click here to install)

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This is a game in which you move a Panda back and forth along the ground, trying to catch fruit as it falls from the sky. Points for catching fruit; You lose when too much fruit hits the ground.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 12:25:33 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)