# Thursday, January 23, 2014

I began to write web applications in the 1990s and, from the beginning, I understood that client-side scripting would enhance my applications. If I wanted to update part of a web page, client-side scripting could do so quickly and elegantly and without sending a new request to the server or refreshing the entire page and I knew it.

JavaScript quickly became the de facto language of the web and, unfortunately, I was never very good at JavaScript. One reason I struggled with JavaScript was because each browsers implemented JavaScript in its own way and sometimes the language diverged from one browser to the next. For example, the following JavaScript code is necessary to perform the simple task of retrieving an element from a web page:

var id = "Div1";
var elm = null;
  if (document.getElementById)
    elm = document.getElementById(id);
  else if (document.all)
    elm = document.all[id];
  else if (document.layers)
    elm = document.layers[id];

Notice there are several different JavaScript commands that retrieve an element by its ID. Some commands work in some browsers, but not in others. The code snippet above has to test the validity of each command until it settles on one that works within the current browser.

This simple task is complicated by the different JavaScript engines.

Eventually, I discovered jQuery and the problem of cross-browser client-side program went away. jQuery is a JavaScript library that allows a developer to write code that works across disparate browsers, without the necessity of trying multiple commands. The jQuery core library takes care of the different JavaScript implementations. For example, the code above is simplified in jQuery to

var elm = $("#Div1");

This is a simple task, yet it underscores the terseness and simplicity of jQuery. All the cross-platform code is abstracted away when I use jQuery, making my JavaScript much easier to read and maintain.

Thursday, January 23, 2014 5:37:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Wednesday, January 22, 2014

It was a little over five years ago in Sandusky, OH. I was attending Codemash - a conference that had yet to become as famous as it is today - and I had brought a video camera with me. My plan was to interview conference attendees on camera - asking them about a favourite technology or a project of which they were particularly proud. The first person who agreed to an interview was Steve Smith. Steve was delivering a talk later in the day on performance and scalability, so we talked about that. It went really well and gave me confidence to interview a few more people. I discovered that John Kellar also brought a video camera and was involved in a similar project. He had already released a couple episodes, so I interviewed him about his strategies for producing his show. It took me almost a month before I was able to edit the videos and produce something worth sharing. Originally, I posted them to my blog; but within a year, I had registered the TechnologyAndFriends.com domain and moved all episodes over to that site. 

I elected to make John’s interview Episode 1 because that served as a good intro to the show.

I’ve made a few changes to the format over the years: The show tends to be a little longer now than the first few episodes, some of which were under 5 minutes; I’ve created a couple different intros and outros for the show over the years; and I’ve experimented with the show’s music, now settling on an open source song recorded by DJ Cline, which I like and which won’t tempt copyright lawyers.

Last week, I published Episode 300, which featured clips from the previous 99 episodes. I marked episodes 100 and 200 with similar montages.

I’m proud to see the show last as long as it has; I’m proud that people still watch and tell me they enjoy it; I’m proud of the outstanding guests I’ve been able to persuade to appear on the show. I’ve learned enough over the years to improve the quality of the show – I’m better able to think on my feet and ask follow up questions, and I’ve bought much better audio equipment and become more proficient at my editing tools. One thing I’m particularly proud of is that I have released a new episode every week for the last 2 years. I believe this consistency is important in order to maintain a regular viewership.

I can’t predict how long I will continue this project, but my hope is it will be at least another 5 years and at least another 300 shows.

If you are a regular viewer, I thank you. If you are unfamiliar with the show, I welcome you to check it out at http://technologyandfriends.com.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014 4:40:52 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Are We There Yet? displays a list of popular vacation destinations, organized by destination type, such as national parks, cities, and attractions. Drill down into each destination to learn more about traveling there. The app also includes travel tips, and uesful links such as directions and weather. This is a small app, but useful if you are planning a vacation. You can download Are We There Yet? at this link.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014 8:47:16 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, January 20, 2014
Monday, January 20, 2014 10:22:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, January 13, 2014
Monday, January 13, 2014 10:21:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Wednesday, January 8, 2014

With the help of others in the developer community, Rob Gibbens hosted a Windows 8 / Windows Phone development hackathon. Despite the winter storm, over 2 dozen developers showed up and submitted 17 apps. Here are a few of the apps created that day:

Windows 8 Store apps

Text Adventure RT

Tells a bit of an adventure story; then, asks the reader what to do next. The next bit of the story depends on the reader's choice.

CHRISTmas Music Videos

A collection of music videos featuring Christmas music played by Christian artists.


An RSS reader that allows you to categorize your feeds

This app allows the customers ofJenptik Industrial Metrology North America designs (JIMNA) to view items in their system. One needs a username and password to use this app.


This app allows the customers ofJenptik Industrial Metrology North America designs (JIMNA) to view items in their system. One needs a username and password to use this app.

SportsTube – Michigan State Football


A collection of videos of the storied MSU football team.


Remember When


This app allows you to keep track of the last time you did something, such as changing your oil or getting a hair cut. It costs $.99 but there is a free trial.

Apps | Phone | Windows8
Wednesday, January 8, 2014 4:09:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Tuesday, January 7, 2014 11:25:31 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, January 6, 2014
Monday, January 6, 2014 6:25:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013 was a year of transition - a year of change. A lot of change. Big change.

In May, my father passed away after a long illness. He suffered from Alzheimer’s the last years of his life. During the last two years of his life, I was able to travel many times to Florida to see him. During that time, we became closer than we have ever been and I am still grateful I had the chance to connect with him at the end of his life, even though it was difficult watching him deteriorate during his illness. My last visit was just a few weeks before his death. In May, my sister called to tell me he was gone. My siblings and I traveled to Florida to say our last goodbyes. The funeral was an amazing event. I was able to deliver a eulogy (you can view it below or read a paraphrasing at http://www.davidgiard.com/2013/06/16/MyFatherTheSurvivor.aspx) and I the US Navy sent a team to perform full military honors outside the church (also shown below). Although we all mourned my father's death, I don't think most of us viewed it as tragic. It wasn't nearly the shock of losing my sister a few years ago. My father's long illness helped prepare us for his passing and gave us a chance to say goodbye. When he finally went, we were prepared and spent the time celebrating his life and appreciating those who remain.

My mother also has gone through many transitions this year, following the death of her husband with whom she shared over five decades. In October, she moved into an Assisted Living facility and put her house up for sale. The adjustments this year took a toll on her health and she spent several weeks in the hospital and in rehabilitation, but she seems to have rebounded in recent weeks.

My sons went through transitions this year. In August, they both moved out of state. I knew it was coming and I've always looked forward to their independence, but it was still a shock as they both moved out the same week. Timmy is now a freshman at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN and Nick graduated from Michigan State University (BBA, Management) and almost immediately enrolled in graduate school at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL, where he is a graduate assistant for the basketball team. As a single father, I've planned nearly every weekend the last 10 years around the activities of one or both of my sons. Years ago, I moved here to Michigan and the only reason was to be closer to them. With both of them gone, my life has changed a great deal. Although I've missed them, I'm excited for them to move to the next phase of their lives and I see this as an opportunity to be more flexible with my own life (more on this later)

In 2013, I resolved to make an effort to be more optimistic. The most public display of this is my new habit of waking up each morning and thinking of at least one thing for which I am grateful. I’ve been sharing these thoughts on Facebook and Twitter and others have told me they appreciate and are inspired by them. I decided to do this because found that I was doing a lot of whining on social media and I realized this was not who I wanted to be and this was not the image I wanted to project to the world. My final negative post before my optimism resolution was a Facebook post on what would have been my 25th wedding anniversary. Publicly lamenting the loss of my marriage definitely did not sit well with my girlfriend, who is now my ex-girlfriend. Since committing to thinking of a new gratitude each morning, I've found my attitude is generally more positive and this helps me to accomplish more each day. Others have told me they've found inspirations in my daily gratitude posts. You can read more about this commitment at http://www.davidgiard.com/2013/08/07/DailyGratitudeAndANewAttitude.aspx

I continued my practice of public speaking in 2013, but I targeted some larger conferences. In June, I spoke at Tech Ed North America for the first time and in October, I spoke at DevConnections. You can view the Tech Ed presentation at http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/NorthAmerica/2013/DBI-B220#fbid=. Of course, I also delivered dozens of talks at user groups and community events. Next year, I have been invited to speak at VSLive and I'm hopeful to speak at some international conferences.

October brought a big change in my career. After spending 15 years as a consultant, I accepted a job with Microsoft as a Technical Evangelist. This is a job I have pursued for some time, so when an opportunity came up, I applied and was hired. For years, I've been heavily involved in the developer community and this involvement took much of in my free time. With this Evangelism role, I can focus much more on teaching, organizing, and helping other developers in the community. There is a lot to my new job, but the biggest part involves helping people build applications for Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Windows Azure. I'm spending a lot of time teaching people how to build and submit apps and it's this teaching aspect that I'm enjoying the most. For the next six months, I'll be covering two districts (7 states), but I'll be moving to Chicago in mid-2014 and focusing primarily on developers in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. I spent much of the holidays getting my house ready for sale.

The move to Chicago will be a big change, but with my boys gone from Michigan, it is the perfect time to do this. I've worked in Chicago many times in the past and I enjoy the city and I'm looking forward to making it my home. I've spent many weeks there the past few months, meeting with my new team and with developers and community leaders and students and I really like the enthusiasm and passion I'm seeing in these folks.

As I've been going through my possessions these past couple months and deciding what to keep, I realize how much less emphasis I now place on ownership of physical things. I don't know when this change took place, but I am very happy to sell or give away many things I've held onto for years - sometimes decades. I see this as an area of great personal growth.

All in all, 2013 was a year of great growth for me. Even the challenges that arose this year came with opportunities to grow and connect with others and to change for the better.  It is because of this that I feel more optimistic at the beginning of this 2014 than I have in a long time.

Saturday, January 4, 2014 6:21:26 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, December 31, 2013
This week's app is actually a set of apps.

In honor of all the college football bowl games this week and of conference basketball starting, I am featuring a set of college fight song apps created by Wireless Developer, Inc. of East Lansing, MI.

Normally, these apps sell for about $10 each; However, Wireless Developer is working with Microsoft to offer the first 100 downloads of each app for free. Act quickly because each app will return to its original price as soon as 100 people download it.

The links for each app are below. Surprisingly, the company’s hometown team and Big Ten Champions (and my alma mater) Michigan State is not included. Hopefully, this will be corrected soon.

College Fight Songs - Penn State Nittany Lions Album App

College Fight Songs - Virginia Tech Hokies Album App

College Fight Songs - Oklahoma Sooners Album App

 College Fight Songs - Wisconsin Badgers Album App

College Fight Songs - Nebraska Cornhuskers Album App

College Fight Songs - Texas Longhorns Album App

College Fight Songs - North Carolina Tar Heels Album App

College Fight Songs - Iowa State Cyclones Album App

College Fight Songs - USC Trojans Album App

College Fight Songs - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Album App

College Fight Songs - South Carolina Gamecocks Album App

College Fight Songs - Dayton Flyers Album App

College Fight Songs - Arkansas Razorbacks® Album App

College Fight Songs - Tennessee VOLS Album App

College Fight Songs - Texas Tech Red Raiders™ Album App

College Fight Songs - Syracuse Album App

College Fight Songs - Boston College Eagles® Album App

College Fight Songs - Clark Atlanta Panthers Album App

College Fight Songs - Colorado Buffaloes® Album App

College Fight Songs - East Carolina Pirates Album App

College Fight Songs - Fresno State Album App

College Fight Songs - Illinois Fighting Illini Album App

College Fight Songs - Indiana Hoosiers Album App

College Fight Songs - Maryland Terps® Album App

College Fight Songs - Memphis Tigers Album App

College Fight Songs - Miami Hurricanes Album App

College Fight Songs - Miami Red Hawks Album App

College Fight Songs - Ole Miss Rebels Album App

College Fight Songs - Pitt Panthers Album App

College Fight Songs - Purdue Boilermakers Album App

College Fight Songs - Toledo Rockets™ Album App

College Fight Songs - University of Massachusetts Minuteman Album App

College Fight Songs - Vanderbilt Commodores Album App

College Fight Songs - Villanova Wildcats™ Album App

College Fight Songs - Virginia Cavaliers® Album App

College Fight Songs - Wake Forest Demon Deacons Album App

College Fight Songs - Washington Huskies® Album App

College Fight Songs - Western Michigan Broncos Album App

Update: The following apps are still available but are no longer free:

College Fight Songs - Alabama Crimson Tide Album App

College Fight Songs - Ohio State Buckeyes Album App

College Fight Songs - LSU Tigers Album App

College Fight Songs - Texas A&M Aggies Album App

College Fight Songs - Clemson Tigers Album App

College Fight Songs - Arizona Wildcats® Album App

College Fight Songs - Kentucky Wildcats Album App

Tuesday, December 31, 2013 2:37:40 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)