# Monday, May 29, 2017
Monday, May 29, 2017 12:26:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, May 23, 2017

By now, you have probably seen the 1987 movie based on this book (If not, stop reading and go watch it now. You're welcome). The plot of the movie follows closely the book on which it was based. This is not surprising; William Goldman wrote both the novel and the screenplay. But the backstory of Goldman's life and reactions is much richer in the written version.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman is a story within a story.

In "The Princess Bride", William Goldman invents a fictitious novel by a fictitious author (S. Morgenstern) about a fictitious "historic" event in a fictitious country centuries ago. He then invents the story of how his father would read this book to him when he was a boy. When fictional Goldman buys the same book for his fictional son, he discovers that his father had been skipping all the boring parts, which are considerable. This, Goldman claims, was his motivation for creating an abridged and annotated version of Morgenstern's work. The result is a story within a story - a fairy tale wrapped by a family story.

In the fairy tale, young farmhand Westley falls in love with the beautiful Buttercup. He leaves Buttercup's family farm to seek his fortune. When news reaches Buttercup that Westley has been killed by the Dread Pirate Roberts, she agrees to marry the wicked Prince Humperdinck.

Along the way, Goldman introduces a menagerie of memorable characters - most notably Fezik, the Giant, who loves to make rhymes; and Inigo the Spaniard, who is obsessed with finding and killing the 6-fingered man who killed his father.

It's a fairy tale; it's an adventure story; it's a tale of political intrigue; but, most of all, it's a love story between a farmer's daughter turned princess and a farm boy turned pirate turned rescuer.

It's silly and it's fun and (spoiler alert) it has a happy ending.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 10:30:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, May 22, 2017
Monday, May 22, 2017 1:55:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, May 15, 2017
Monday, May 15, 2017 1:49:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, May 14, 2017

I was told there would be corn. I did not see one ear of corn.

Last week, I made my first visit ever to Iowa. In 3 days, I drove over 500 miles from Chicago to Dubuque to Cedar Falls to Cedar Rapids to Iowa City to Des Moines.  Between 6PM Monday and 8PM Wednesday (just 50 hours), I spoke at 4 user groups ion 4 different cities

This trip came about as my friend Javier and I were chatting online recently about upcoming speaking opportunities. He invited me to speak at his user group in Des Moines and I asked if he could connect me with other groups in Iowa.


I entered Iowa by crossing the Mississippi from Illinois at Dubuque and I was surprised by the landscape. Cliffs rose along the river and and rolling hills marked the landscape for miles on either side. This contradicted my mental image of Iowa as hundreds of miles of flat prairie and farmland.

The Dubuque group was small but engaged. I talked about Cognitive Services, which is an exciting technology and fun to talk about. The only issue I had was the at Microsoft changed the Cognitive Services web site the day before m presentation and I found it difficult to find some of the features I wanted to show off.

Tuesday morning, I drove to Dyersville, IA to see the site where the 1989 film Field of Dreams was filmed. The Lansing family still owns the farm and continues to maintain the iconic baseball field carved out of the corn field by Kevin Costner. They built it; I came.


I continued for a lunchtime presentation on Angular and TypeScript at the Cedar Valley .NET User Group in Cedar Falls. This was another small group, but I enjoyed it - in part because it was held in the back room of a restaurant that served excellent pizza.

Tuesday evening found me in Cedar Rapids for the CRINETA group, where I give another presentation on Cognitive Services. The room was full as the organizers cross-promoted with the local SQL PASS user group.


Wednesday morning, I stopped in Iowa City for lunch near the University of Iowa before heading west toward Des Moines. This was the most stressful part of the trip as I drove through a driving rainstorm surrounded by semi trucks.

But I arrived in Des Moines for the Iowa .NET User Group and spoke to a packed room on Angular and TypeScript.

I delivered the following presentations at the following user groups in the following cities:

Date User Group City
Mon May 8 Dubuque .NET Software Development User Group Dubuque
Tue May 9 (noon) Cedar Valley .NET User Group Cedar Falls
Tue May 9 (evening) CRINETA Cedar Rapids
Wed May 9 Iowa .NET User Group Des Moines

It was a great experience and I enjoyed meeting people and engaging local developer communities and seeing the sites and driving across the prairie.

Now, I have to return when the corn is in season.

Sunday, May 14, 2017 1:54:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, May 8, 2017
Monday, May 8, 2017 1:58:38 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, May 7, 2017

Today I am grateful for:
-My son Tim graduating from Indiana University yesterday
-Guy King concert last night at Buddy Guy's Legends with Kevin Remde

Today I am grateful for dinner last night with Ondrej and J.

Today I am grateful to complete all the paperwork on my car yesterday.

Today I am grateful for dinner with Hadi last night.

Today I am grateful for:
-dinner last night at Untitled Supper Club
-a chance to meet Java developers from all over the world

Today I am grateful for my first time speaking at GoTo Chicago

Today I am grateful for:
-My first visit to the Baha'i temple in Wilmette yesterday
-Drinks last night with Bryan and other out-of-state Azure experts planning a workshop in Chicago tomorrow.

Today I am grateful for dinner, drinks, and fellowship last night in Kalamazoo, MI with old friends - especially Jim Holmes.

Today I am grateful to complete a project yesterday working with an excellent startup for the past 2 months.

Today I am grateful for tacos 3 days in a row!

Today I am grateful for dinner last night at Mercadito with teammates from around the country.

Today I am grateful for an internal hackathon to practice writing a full application.

Today I am grateful for dinner last night with Shahed, Sarah, and Ross.

Today I am grateful for:
-breakfast yesterday with Derek
-lunch yesterday with Lee

Today I am grateful for:
-My first time speaking at the Twin Cities Code Camp
-My 5th time at the Global Azure Boot Camp

Today I am grateful for my new car.

Today, I am grateful to Dan, who delivered an excellent presentation on health care data yesterday at UIUC and made me look good for inviting him.

Today I am grateful to the organizers, volunteers, speakers, and panelists who made the first Chicago Machine Learning Venture Capital Summit a success.

Today I am grateful for my first workshop at DePaul University

Today I am grateful to Mike, Mitch, and Lance for organizing & speaking at the Visual Studio Best of Launch event yesterday.

Today I am grateful to have my sons in town for Easter weekend.

Today I am grateful that God sent his only son to redeem us all.

Today I am grateful for coffee with Dave and Bobbi this morning.

Today I am grateful to see Eric Church in concert last night.

Today I am grateful for 2 user groups in 1 night.

Today I am grateful for lunch with Hao yesterday.

Today I am grateful for:
-Dinner with Tim last night
-The mechanic who quickly fixed my car yesterday and only charged me $20.

Today I am grateful for a weekend mini-vacation in Madison, WI.

Today I am grateful for a walk and drive around Lake Mendota yesterday.

Today I am grateful for all the people I met at dinner last night in Madison.

Today I am grateful to those who taught me and inspired me to learn more and do more.

Today I am grateful to speak at MadDotNet for the first time yesterday.

Today I am grateful that there is always something new to learn.

Today I am grateful for lunch with Aalap yesterday.

Today I am grateful to spend the weekend in East Lansing with some of my oldest friends, celebrating Patrick's retirement.

Sunday, May 7, 2017 4:08:52 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, May 5, 2017

Yesterday, I showed how to automatically generate lorem ipsum text in a Word document. While this is useful for showing what a document layout will look like with text in the appropriate places, you may prefer actual English words to the pseudo-language of lorem ipsum.

To generate paragraphs of English text, enter the following on an empty line of your document


Press ENTER and the text above will be replaced by the following:

Video provides a powerful way to help you prove your point. When you click Online Video, you can paste in the embed code for the video you want to add. You can also type a keyword to search online for the video that best fits your document.

To make your document look professionally produced, Word provides header, footer, cover page, and text box designs that complement each other. For example, you can add a matching cover page, header, and sidebar. Click Insert and then choose the elements you want from the different galleries.

Themes and styles also help keep your document coordinated. When you click Design and choose a new Theme, the pictures, charts, and SmartArt graphics change to match your new theme. When you apply styles, your headings change to match the new theme.

Save time in Word with new buttons that show up where you need them. To change the way a picture fits in your document, click it and a button for layout options appears next to it. When you work on a table, click where you want to add a row or a column, and then click the plus sign.

Reading is easier, too, in the new Reading view. You can collapse parts of the document and focus on the text you want. If you need to stop reading before you reach the end, Word remembers where you left off - even on another device.

I have confirmed that this works in Word 2016.

Friday, May 5, 2017 2:16:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, May 4, 2017

Here is a Microsoft Word feature I recently learned.

For sample documents, it is often useful to insert some meaningless text to fill sections of the document. This is especially useful when you are just starting a document and you don't have any content yet, but want to show how the completed document's layout will look. A popular method is to use "lorem ipsum" text filler - paragraphs of nonsense words that have similar word size and letter selections as English.

In Microsoft Word, you can quickly create a section of lorem ipsum text.

Type the following on an empty line of your document and press ENTER:


The entry above will be replaced with the following text, which you may delete or copy-paste to adjust the length.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Maecenas porttitor congue massa. Fusce posuere, magna sed pulvinar ultricies, purus lectus malesuada libero, sit amet commodo magna eros quis urna.

Nunc viverra imperdiet enim. Fusce est. Vivamus a tellus.

Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Proin pharetra nonummy pede. Mauris et orci.

Aenean nec lorem. In porttitor. Donec laoreet nonummy augue.

Suspendisse dui purus, scelerisque at, vulputate vitae, pretium mattis, nunc. Mauris eget neque at sem venenatis eleifend. Ut nonummy.

I am using Word 2016, but this appears to work on older versions as well.

Thursday, May 4, 2017 1:47:19 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, May 1, 2017
Monday, May 1, 2017 11:25:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)