# Tuesday, October 4, 2016

In the beginning,there was CodeMash - a small Tech Conference at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, OH. CodeMash was a developer conference run by volunteers, but it had a twist. The Kalahari features an indoor water park, so attendees could slip away to enjoy the water slides or bring their families, who would enjoy the water park while they attended sessions.

CodeMash was successful enough that some folks in Illinois and Wisconsin created a similar conference - That Conference - at the Kalahari in Wisconsin Dells, WI.

Last year, a Kalahari opened in Pocono Manor, PA, so naturally someone had to create a tech conference and host it there.

The inaugural TechBash took place September 28-30 at the Pocono Manor Kalahari and I was honored to be a part of it. I delivered 2 presentations: "Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to Your Apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services" and "Building Powerful Applications with AngularJS and TypeScript". The classroom was completely full for the latter talk.

The 3-day conference featured 2 keynotes: Pete Brown opened the event by showing off some of his favourite maker projects; and Glenn Block opened the final day of the conference talking about some of his favourite open source projects.

Speakers came from all over the US and one - Iris Classon - traveled from Sweden to present.

With a limited budget, the organizers did not have a lot of frills at this conference. Meals were simple and after-hours events were limited. There was no bacon bar or giant-size Settlers of Catan game, as we've seen at the other - more established - Kalahari conferences. But the content was excellent and I heard positive feedback from many both attendees and speakers.

Many attendees and speakers brought their families to enjoy the water park - either during the conference or on the weekend following the conference.

At 170 registrants, TechBash is about the size CodeMash was in its first year. The organizers announced their plans to host TechBash 2017 and plan to grow it in attendance and scope.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016 11:11:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, October 3, 2016
Monday, October 3, 2016 11:49:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, October 2, 2016

Today I am grateful for dinner with Emilija last night.

Today I am grateful for:
-The organizers and volunteers of the inaugural TechBash for all their hard work that paid off in a very good conference.
-Stephen showing me how to connect to my company's VPN.
-Making it home last night, despite a flight being delayed, then canceled.

Today I am grateful for dinner last night with Kendall, Joel, Ondrej, and Glenn.

Today I am grateful for dinner last night with James, Glenn, and Justin

Today I am grateful for fact-checkers.

Today I am grateful for a photo walk around the South Loop to capture all the local artwork.

Today I am grateful for a productive week.

Today I am grateful for coffee yesterday with Lwin, Min, and Tierney.

Today I am grateful for coffee with Pete yesterday.

Today I am grateful for
-dinner and drinks last night with Tierney, Jason, and Claire
-my first (awful) taste of Jeppson's Malort

Today I am grateful for a weekend with Tim.

Today I am grateful to watch the Spartans defeat the Irish at Notre Dame Stadium yesterday - my first game there since 1989.

Today I am grateful that my son is in town this weekend.

Today I am grateful for a week in the Seattle area.

Today I am grateful to attend an offsite event with teammates I don't see often enough.

Today I am grateful for a boat cruise last night around Lake Washington and Lake Union.

Today I am grateful to see many of my teammates from across the country yesterday.

Today I am grateful for:
-My first Seahawks game at Century Link Field yesterday;
-Dinner with Ted and Charlotte and friends last night.

Today I am grateful for lunch with Kelly yesterday.

Today I am grateful for an infinite selection of online music.

Today I am grateful that my son played for a Hall of Fame basketball coach.

Today I am grateful for my first time guest-lecturing at the University of Illinois.

Today I am grateful I had a chance to spend time yesterday with Matthew after he arrived in Chicago and before I left town.

Today I am grateful for finally finding the motivation to clean my bathroom.

Today I am grateful for a short vacation to Milwaukee, including my first visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Sunday, October 2, 2016 6:28:27 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, October 1, 2016

Thousands of years ago, society began to collapse on the the planet Arbre. The intellectuals of the time retreated into concents - monasteries in which the occupants are sealed off from the rest of the world - sometimes for centuries at a time.

Although the concents were founded to preserve the knowledge of Arbre, most of the occupants (known as avouts) are kept ignorant and even forbidden from learning many things about the world around them.

Erasmas - an avout of the Concent of Saunt Edhar - has his world turned upside down when his friend and mentor Orolo discovers an alien spacecraft orbiting Arbre. Orolo is thrown out of the Concent for daring to use forbidden technology that allowed him to observe the spacecraft. Shortly afterward, Erasmus and his friends are also exiled and pursue Orolo to discover what he has learned.

The novel climaxes in a battle between the Arbrelings and one faction of the aliens.

It takes a while to get there as it explores the concept of how alternate versions of the same reality can manifest themselves in multiple cosmos and what happens when people move between these alternate realities.

Anathem satirizes the idea of those who try to preserve knowledge, but restrict access to new information and discovery. The novel succeeds brilliantly with its social satire and its attention to detail. For some, it may fall short with its slow pacing and lack of action.

If you prefer your science fiction more cerebral than swashbuckling, Anathem is for you.

Saturday, October 1, 2016 8:34:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, September 26, 2016
Monday, September 26, 2016 11:41:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, September 25, 2016

Yesterday, I posted a YouTube video of a recent presentation. The group that recorded the video began recording well before I went on stage, so the video contained over 10 minutes of silence and a couple minutes of announcements.

I wanted to embed the video on my blog, but I wanted it to start playing at the moment the organizer introduced me.

YouTube provides an easy way to embed a video. Click the “Share” icon (Fig. 1) below the video

Fig. 1

Then, click the “Embed” link (Fig. 2) that appears below the “Share” link.

Fig. 2

If you click the “SHOW MORE” link, you will get a few options for your video (Fig. 3) but not the option to change the default start time. By default, your video will start at the very beginning when the user starts playing it.

Fig. 3

YouTube provides HTML that you can paste into your web page to embed a video. It looks similar to the following:

<iframe width="560" height="315" 
 frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>

To set the start time, add a “start” parameter to the end of the URL in the iframe’s “src” attribute, as in the following example.

<iframe width="560" height="315" 
 frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>

The value of the “start” querystring parameter is the number of seconds from the beginning at which you want the video to start playing.

I wanted my video to start at the 12 minute, 33 second mark, so I had to do some math:


So I appended “start=753” to the src URL.

Sunday, September 25, 2016 4:19:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, September 24, 2016

At the Chicago Geekfest meetup last week, I delivered a presentation on AngularJS 2 and TypeScript. You can see the presentation below.

It’s worth watching just to hear Chris’s introduction at the beginning.

Saturday, September 24, 2016 3:53:03 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, September 23, 2016

Last month, I delivered a presentation on Cognitive Services at That Conference in Wisconsin Dells, WI. Carl Schweitzer of MS Dev Show interviewed me to discuss the features of these APIs. My interview starts at the 7:58 mark of the video below.

Friday, September 23, 2016 5:44:26 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, September 19, 2016
Monday, September 19, 2016 12:38:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Tuesday, September 13, 2016 12:36:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)