# Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"Apprenticeship Patterns: Guidance for the Aspiring Software Craftsman" by Dave Hoover and Adewale Oshineye is written primarily for people entering the profession of software development.

Hoover and Oshineye draw upon their years in the industry to provide advice on how to succeed - how to advance your skills and improve your career.

They present this advice as "patterns" - a term taken from the software design patterns made  famous by Gamma, Helm, Johnson, and Vlissides. Like the software patterns, these Apprenticeship Patterns favor general guidance over explicit step-by-step instructions. Often a chapter will end with a qualifying sentence, warning the user not to be too dogmatic in following an approach to its logical extreme.

Each pattern is presented briefly and concisely and includes action items that the user can apply to his or her own career.

Many of the Patterns provide advice on how to approach education. They begin with learning your first language and "Unleash your Enthusiasm" to motivate your quest for knowledge; applying that education to "Concrete Skills" in your job and  "Confront Your Ignorance" to recognize and address gaps in your knowledge.

Later chapters provide advice as you begin to master skills, including "Reflect As You Work" and "Record What You Learn".

Ultimately the book promotes Software Craftsmanship - a growing movement designed to improve the overall quality of the software industry. The authors relate the book's patterns to how they achieved a level of craftsmanship in their own careers. Hoover and Oshineye provide numerous examples of times that they and people they know applied these patterns in real-world scenarios.

Apprenticeship Patterns was published in 2009, but remains relevant today as thousands of young people continue to pour into the software industry. In fact, this book is more relevant than the vast majority of technical books written at the same time. This advice does not go out of date as new technologies are developed.

People beginning their software careers will benefit from this book. So did I, despite the fact that I switched to this profession decades ago. I read  good advice on expanding my skill sets; and I read good advice to pass on as I mentor junior developers.

I wish this book had existed when I first entered this profession.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 1:41:53 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, August 22, 2016
Monday, August 22, 2016 11:28:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, August 21, 2016

Last week, I interviewed Olivier de Jong of Airwave, a startup in the Netherlands that offers video conferencing. You can see the interview below or at this link.

Sunday, August 21, 2016 4:51:51 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, August 15, 2016
Monday, August 15, 2016 10:10:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Tuesday, August 9, 2016 1:14:51 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, August 7, 2016

Today I am grateful for a walk along Loyola Beach last night.

Today I am grateful for dinner with Emilija last night.

Today I am grateful for 3 days in Sydney, Australia - my first visit since 1998.

Today I am grateful for the opportunity to speak at and attend #ndcsydney.

Today I am grateful for a cruise around Sydney Harbor last night.

Today I am grateful for dinner last night with Rowena and Sabrina at a revolving restaurant at the top of the Sydney Tower.

Today I am grateful for
-a day in Vancouver for the first time in years
-finally arriving in Sydney after many delays.

Today I am grateful to participate in a successful Nodebots Day yesterday in Chicago.

Today I am grateful to spend much of this week learning Xamarin.

Today I am grateful for the party last night hosted by CJUG, ChiPy, and ChicagoRuby that extended well past its scheduled time.

Today is the birthday of my friend William Fink, who passed away in December. Today I am grateful that I had the opportunity to visit him and become closer to him in the last months of his life, when we both knew he was dying. And I am grateful for the lessons he taught me about facing tragedy with courage and dignity. Happy birthday Bill. Rest in peace, my friend.

Today I am grateful to dine in Chicago's Greektown yesterday for the first time.

Today I am grateful for lunch and coffee yesterday with Sven and Ebony.

Today I am grateful to see "C.S. Lewis On Stage: The Most Reluctant Convert" at the Mercury Theater yesterday.

Today I am grateful for:
-Breakfast yesterday with Debbie and Diane
-A visit with my mother yesterday.
-A quick trip to my brother Doug's Pawn Shop
-An afternoon with Megan
-A stranger who stopped to help me yesterday evening
-An unscheduled dinner and outdoor concert in East Lansing, MI last night
-Arriving safely home, following a few days in Michigan and a long drive home.

Today I am grateful for:
-Drinks with Ondrej, Godfrey, and Ed last ngiht
-The hospitality of Debbie and her family
-A great crowd at the Troy .NET User Group last night.

Today I am grateful for:
-My first time back at #MIGANG this year
-The hospitality and kindness of Ondrej and his family.

Today I am grateful to go to a movie theater last night - my first visit this year. (I saw Ghostbusters)

Today I am grateful for:
-A Cubs game at Wrigley yesterday
-A weekend with my boys

Today I am grateful for
-An evening at the IO Theater in Old Town.
-Taking Nick and Adriana to their first-ever improv show.

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

Today I am grateful to have Tim Giard in town for a few days.

Today I am grateful for:
-2 days at a resort in Orlando
-drinks with Joe and Chris
-presenting in front of a new audience
-help on my Angular project from John

Today I am grateful for fireworks outside my room last night.

Today I am grateful to make it safely to Orlando.

Today I am grateful I was able to get my laptop working again this morning.

Today I am grateful for my first time at the Taste of Chicago.

Today I am grateful for a good night sleep for the first time in weeks.

Today I am grateful to those who take the time to tell me they enjoyed one of my presentations.

Today I am grateful for coffee with Chris yesterday.

Today I am grateful for lunch yesterday with my new teammates.

Today I am grateful for a weekend in Lexington, KY.

Today I am grateful to celebrate the marriage of Christopher and Katie last night.

Sunday, August 7, 2016 1:11:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, August 2, 2016

In The Stand, Stephen King tackles the question: What would become of society if nearly all of the people disappeared within a few weeks.

At the beginning of the novel a biological weapon leaks from a quarantined military base and people begin to get very ill very quickly. The U.S. government tries to cover up its error and the weapon it created - often through violent means - but within 2 months, over 99% of the world's population is dead.

In America, the survivors group together - drawn by visions in their dreams. Some travel to Boulder, CO to join with 108-year-old Mother Abigail and some go to Las Vegas, NV to follow the the mysterious Randall Flagg. Mother Abigail has a good heart and talks of love for one another;  Randall Flagg is a malevolent wizard who delights in the chaos created by this epidemic.

Along the way to Boulder and Las Vegas and the final confrontation between the two camps, King explores a myriad of characters and their journey to either the light side or dark side. Even many who end up in Boulder with Abigail are tempted by the dark wizard Flagg. The characters are rich and their back stories before the disaster help us to understand their actions after.

I loved the evolution of characters: Larry Underwood was a self-absorbed and irresponsible rock star before the plague, but found himself willing to sacrifice himself for those he loved after the tragedy; Trash Can Man and Nadine Cross cannot avoid the blackness of their souls and where their destiny takes them, but they still find a way to partially redeem their lives.

It's not surprising that many King fans list this as their favourite novel. King pits good against evil; God against the Devil; chaos against order; and the collapse of civilization against attempts to rebuild it. The climax is a long time coming, but the payoff is excellent.  I've read over a dozen of King's books and this is now my favourite.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016 2:14:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, August 1, 2016
Monday, August 1, 2016 2:20:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, July 25, 2016
Monday, July 25, 2016 9:10:12 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Recently, I was interviewed by Matthew Groves for his Cross Cutting Concerns podcast. We talked about Machine Learning in general and Microsoft Cognitive Services in particular. You can listen to the interview here or in the embedded link below:

Or better yet, subscribe to this podcast!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 7:31:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)