# Thursday, January 24, 2019

GCast 32:

Handwriting OCR with Cognitive Services

See how to perform OCR on images with handwritten text, using Microsoft Cognitive Services. I walk through the API and show sample JavaScript code.

Thursday, January 24, 2019 8:21:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Microsoft Teams is a tool for communication and collaboration that is included in Office 365.

Each team can have multiple channels. See this article to learn how to create a new team. By default, a team contains a "General" channel, but you can add more.

Fig. 1 shows the Microsoft Teams interface (with my organization's Teams, channel's and conversations covered up).

Fig. 1

To create a new channel, select the team in which you want to create a channel, as shown in Fig. 2.

Fig. 2

Then click the […] button and select "Add channel" from the popup menu, as shown in Fig. 3.

Fig. 3

The "Create a channel" dialog displays, as shown in Fig. 4.

Fig. 4

At the "Channel name" field, enter a name for the channel you wish to create. 

At the "Description", enter a brief description of this channel, if you wish.

If you check the "Automatically favorite this channel for the whole team" checkbox, the new channel will appear in the Favorites list of every member of this team.

Click the [Add] button to add the channel. The Channel will now appear below the Team in the side menu, as shown in Fig. 5, and be available for any member of this team.

Fig. 5

Congratulations! You have just added a new channel to an existing team.

If your organization uses Office 365, it is likely that you have access to Microsoft teams. If you do not, call your organization's IT department and ask them: "What's the problem?"

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 8:24:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Microsoft Teams is a tool for communication and collaboration that is included in Office 365.

You can create multiple teams in the Microsoft Teams software. My organization creates a team for broad interest groups, like "Social" and for each new project. How you organize your teams is up to you and your organization, but here is how to create a new Team.

Launch the Microsoft Teams client.

Fig. 1 shows the Microsoft Teams interface (with my organization's Teams, channel's and conversations covered up).

Fig. 1

A menu (Fig. 2) displays along the left side of the screen.

Fig. 2

Click the [Teams] button (Fig. 3) on the menu to display a list of all the teams in your Favorites list.

Fig. 3

Click the [Join or create a team] button (Fig. 4) at the bottom of the screen to display the "Join or create a team" page, as shown in Fig. 5.

Fig. 4

Fig. 5

Click the [Create a team] button (Fig. 6) to display the "Create your team" dialog, as shown in Fig. 7.

Fig. 6

Fig. 7

At the "Team name" field, enter the name of your new team.

At the "Description" field, enter a brief description of your team.

At the "Privacy" dropdown, select "Private" to allow only Team Owners to add new members; or "Public" to allow any member to add new members to the team.

Click the [Next] button to advance to the "Add members to team" dialog, as shown in Fig. 8.

Fig. 8

Here, you can search for people in your organization and add them to the team by clicking the [Add] button. Click the [Skip] button to defer this until later.

The new Team page displays and is selected on the left, along with a default "General" channel, as shown in Fig. 9.

Fig. 9

The "General" channel is shown in Fig. 10.

Fig. 10

Team members can communicate in threaded conversations on the "Conversations" tab, which is selected by default.

Team members can upload files to share them with others on the "Files" tab.

Team members can enter notes on the "Wiki" tab.

In this article, you learned how to create a new team.

If your organization uses Office 365, it is likely that you have access to Microsoft teams. If you do not, call your organization's IT department and ask them: "What's the problem?"

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 8:32:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, January 21, 2019

Episode 547

Geisa Faustino on Teaching

Geisa Faustino loves to teach. She developed this love in her previous career as a university professor and continues to teach as a Software Engineer at Microsoft. She explains what she gains from teaching and how she helps others to learn.

Monday, January 21, 2019 8:06:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, January 20, 2019

HiBob88-year-old Bob Newhart sits down with other comedians to discuss the art of comedy and their experiences as comedians.

Hi, Bob by Bob Newhart exists only as an audiobook, so it sounds more like a 4-hour podcast than a traditional book.

The audio cuts between conversations with Will Ferrell, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Judd Apatow, Conan O'Brien, Sarah Silverman, and Marc Maron - often with Bob repeating the same questions to different comics. We hear the stories of these comedians and of Bob himself (the oldest of the group), who shares what it was like to break into comedy in the days before comedy clubs. You can hear the age in Newhart's voice, but you also can treasure his experience of 60+ years in this field.

Hi, Bob is informal, informative, and very funny.

Sunday, January 20, 2019 10:23:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, January 19, 2019

"Dead men are heavier than broken hearts."

"I sat there and poisoned myself with cigarette smoke and listened to the rain and thought about it."

TheBigSleepPhillip Marlowe was one tough detective. And Raymond Chandler introduced him in his 1939 novel The Big Sleep. Marlowe is cool, hardnosed, and wisecracking. He sometimes breaks the rules; but he has a code of honor that he will not break.

Marlowe is hired by millionaire General Sternwood to investigate a main who is blackmailing his daughter Carmen. The blackmailer is murdered, and Carmen tries to seduce Marlowe and Carmen's sister Vivian tries to seduce Marlowe and the family chauffeur is found dead in the river and then it gets complicated.

It's a gritty novel of crime and betrayal and urban tough guys and femme fatales and all the elements of a noir detective story.

The narration is often poetic - filled with imagery and metaphors. So many writers have copied and parodied this style that it may sound cliché to hear this style of storytelling.

Chandler's similes are remarkable

"I was as empty of life as a scarecrow's pockets."

His description of people gives the reader a taste of the character he is describing and of the one doing the describing

"She lowered her lashes until they almost cuddled her cheeks and slowly raised them again, like a theatre curtain. I was to get to know that trick. That was supposed to make me roll over on my back with all four paws in the air."

"As honest as you can expect a man to be in a world where it's going out of style.”

The author often injects humor into serious situations.

"Neither of the two people in the room paid any attention to the way I came in, although only one of them was dead.”

"She bent over me again. Blood began to move around in me, like a prospective tenant looking over a house.”

Chandler succeeds in providing a view of the world around Marlowe, as well as the effect in has on his hero.

"It seemed like a nice neighborhood to have bad habits in.”

"I went to the kitchen to make coffee - - yards of coffee. Rich, strong, bitter, boiling hot, ruthless, depraved. The lifeblood of tired men."

The Big Sleep a complex story; and it's sometimes hard to keep straight all the characters and all the plot twists. But Chandler wraps it up well in the end and Marlowe has one last chance to philosophize about life and death.

"What did it matter where you lay once you were dead? In a dirty sump or in a marble tower on top of a high hill? You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that...You just slept the big sleep, not caring about the nastiness of how you died or where you fell. Me, I was part of the nastiness now."

Saturday, January 19, 2019 8:25:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, January 17, 2019

GCast 31:

OCR with Cognitive Services

Cognitive Services can automatically detect text from pictures of text. This video shows how.

Thursday, January 17, 2019 8:17:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, January 14, 2019

Episode 546

Jackie Becker on Mixed Reality in the Real World

Jackie Becker describes how companies are using virtual reality and augmented reality to solve real-world problems.

Monday, January 14, 2019 7:39:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, January 13, 2019

StarshipTroopersStarship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein a science fiction novel without much science. It is the story of earth fighting a war against bug-like aliens from another galaxy, but there are very few battle scenes. It describes a future Earth ruled by a military government, but this fascism is never questioned.

In fact, the book contains very little action and very little plot.

It's primarily the story of Johnny Rico, a rich earth kid, who decides to enlist in the Mobile Infantry against his father's wishes.

It's mostly a coming-of-age story for Johnny, who learns discipline, strength, duty, and courage while being indoctrinated into the armed forces.

The novel has sparked controversy for its praise of the military and for its casting the aliens as dehumanized invaders - much as Americans have dehumanized foreigners against whom they fought. I don't know about that. One should consider that the book was written and released before the social upheaval of the Vietnam War and the before the Civil Rights movement was widely covered; and Heinlein drew from his own experiences in the US Navy.

I do know that I liked Johnny. I felt for him when his mother was killed in the war; and identified with his struggle and reconciliation with his father.

And there is some good science - in particular, the powered armor worn by the soldiers that enhances the strength, information, and abilities of its wearer. This idea has been borrowed by countless other science fiction authors and by military organizations.

If you are looking for an enjoyable, quick read with a bit of action and sci-fi and a solid leading character, you could do worse than Starship Troopers.

Sunday, January 13, 2019 9:33:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, January 12, 2019

FriendsAs I write this, I realize I cannot recall exactly how many times I have attended CodeMash. Is it 11? 12? 13? I know I missed the first one and that I've attended every one since, so I'll call this one N-1.

This one was different than most. For years, I was a community speaker and I worked for companies that sponsored CodeMash (sometimes because I convinced them to do so). Then, I joined Microsoft as an Evangelist and large community events like this were part of my job.

Not this year. My role at Microsoft has changed and community is not a part of it. So I invited myself to CodeMash.

DavidJonJenniferFor the third year in a row, we invited Jon Skeet to speak at the Great Lakes Area .NET User Group - a group that I ran years ago - prior to CodeMash. So, I drove to Michigan and Ondrej and I picked up Jon from the airport after his flight from London, UK. He spoke that evening on Versioning 1.0.1, the same talk he planned to deliver at CodeMash. After the meeting, we drove a caravan from Southfield, MI to Sandusky, OH.

GorillaFor me, it was a working week, so I only attended about a third of the conference, but I still got a lot out of it.

I saw a few sessions. Some good ones were
Deep Learning like a Viking - Building Convolutional Neural Networks with Keras, in which Guy Royse demonstrated how to build a machine learning model to recognize pictures of Viking runes.
Notebooks are still cool…with Jupyter, in which Ryan Bales introduced Jupyter Labs - the next evolution of Jupyter notebooks.
Code Checkup: Tools to check the health of your code, in which Doug Mair described a number of IDE plug-ins and stand-alone tools to analyze code quality.
Modern 2FA in ASP.NET Core, in which Ondrej Balas showed how to make your applications more secure with the latest 2-Factor Authentication tools and technology.

During dinner Thursday evening, Brian Prince gave an inspirational talk about how he became interested in programming and how he stood on the shoulders of giants. He concluded with the call to action: "Be someone else's shoulders". This session resonated with me because Brian has had a strong influence on my career as we worked together for years.

MagicianThere were other activities, including Lightning Talks (most were by technologists, but not about technology); a kids' track, known as "KidzMash" that taught children about programming; a magic show; and a water park (I visited but did not immerse myself).

FriendsAs always, I invested a significant amount of time in what some call the Conference Hallway Track, asking questions of technologists and learning what they are working on and the things that affect their work. I had several conversations about diversity in technology and what we can do to improve it.

This part of the country has a strong developer community and I have always been impressed with the willingness people have to share their ideas.

I enjoyed the conference and I look forward to attending next year for (N+1) - 1.


Saturday, January 12, 2019 1:44:51 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)