# Tuesday, September 3, 2019

IMG_5744Glenn Tilbrook celebrated his birthday with us in Chicago.

Tilford - along with Chris Difford - are the driving force behind the band Squeeze. Squeeze began as a New Wave band in the late 1970s, but progressed to become one of the most creative bands of the early 1980s - producing some very inventive melodies, rhythms, and arrangements. Difford and Tilbrook were the founders, songwriters, and leaders of the band and they are the only two original members to remain with the group today.

Saturday night at the Chicago Theatre, they were joined by a very good backing ensemble, especially a drummer, filled with kinetic energy and a masterful keyboard player.

From the moment they walked on stage, they were focused on the music. The band played four songs before they paused to greet the audience.

Mixed in with some lesser-known album cuts, the band played many of their hits, including "Annie Get Your Gun", "Cool for Cats" (a rare Difford vocal), "Goodbye Girl", and "Up the Junction". Highlights of the evening included an acoustic version of "Tempted" and a rousing version of "Black Coffee in Bed" to close the night.

The seats at the Chicago Theatre were a little too close to allow any pogo dancing; but the audience got on their feet when they recognized a song.

IMG_5748During their heyday, Squeeze was moderately popular on American radio stations, while they enjoyed much greater success in their native UK and on my college dorm room stereo.

At the end of the show, Difford wished his friend a Happy Birthday, showed a video from back home, and led the crowd in singing "Happy Birthday".

We all celebrated.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019 9:34:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, September 2, 2019

Episode 577

Lorena Mesa on the Python Software Foundation

Lorena Mesa is a GitHub data engineer and a Director of the Python Software Foundation.

She describes the mission of the Foundation and how they assist Python developers and the Python community.



Monday, September 2, 2019 9:33:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, September 1, 2019

Today I am grateful to attend the Squeeze concert last night with John.

Today I am grateful for a visit yesterday to the September 11 Memorial and Museum in lower Manhattan.

Today I am grateful for:
-My first visit to Birdland Jazz Club
-Seeing "The Phantom of the Opera" on Broadway

Today, I am grateful for my first visit to Purchase, NY.

Today I am grateful for my first visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art yesterday.

Today I am grateful that I've had a few weeks without work travel.

Today I am grateful to attend Mass at Assumption Church for the first time.

Today I am grateful for a bike ride along the lakefront in Milwaukee yesterday.

‪Today I am grateful to see Max Weinberg’s Jukebox in concert last night. ‬

Today I am grateful for dinner with John last night.

Today I am grateful for a tour of the Glessner House Museum yesterday.

Today I am grateful for a hot bath last night.

Today I am grateful for a weekend in Flagstaff with Dan.

Today I am grateful for a visit to Walnut Canyon National Monument, Grand Falls, and Winslow yesterday.

Today, I am grateful for a drive through the deserts, canyons, mountains, and plateaus of central Arizona.

Today I am grateful to attend an extra-innings Giants-Diamondbacks baseball game last night at Chase Field.

Today I am grateful for:
-the Dell technician who fixed my motherboard yesterday;
-a chance to speak at the Chicago .NET User Group last night

Today I am grateful for my longest bike ride of the year (so far)

Today I am grateful that so many electronics can be fixed by turning them off and on.

Today I am grateful that downtown Chicago becomes more bike-friendly every year.

Today I am grateful to visit the United States Pizza Museum yesterday.

Today I am grateful to see Sam Shepard's "True West" last night on my first visit to the Steppenwolf Theatre.

Today I am grateful for my new dresser.

Today I am grateful for a few days in southwest Michigan.

Today I am grateful for a walk around Saugatuck yesterday.

‪Today I am grateful to watch the sun set over Lake Michigan last night. ‬

Today I am grateful for dinner last night with Emilija and Larissa.

Today I am grateful to see Santana and the Doobie Brothers in concert last night.

Sunday, September 1, 2019 4:47:07 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, August 31, 2019

William Faulkner's Light in August opens as Lena Grove arrives in Jefferson, Mississippi after traveling hundreds of miles to Jefferson, Mississippi in search of Lucas Birch - the father of her unborn child. Lucas left Alabama, promising to send for Lena as soon as he was settled, but she never heard from him.

Lena learns that Lucas has been living in Jefferson for months under an assumed name. He has been bootlegging with a drifter named Joe Christmas.

Christmas was raised in an orphanage, then adopted by an abusive stepfather, whom he murdered. He has been on the run ever since. At the beginning of the novel, he is having a relationship with Joanna Burden - a local descendent of abolitionists, who is shunned by the whites in town because of her tolerance and kindness toward the blacks.

Each major character we meet is a misfit: an unwed mother or a defrocked preacher or a criminal or an abolitionist or an orphan. Many of them are self-destructive and all of them are interesting. When Faulkner introduces each character, he takes the time to review their backstory - explaining how they came to their troubles.

Soon, there is a murder and a manhunt and a town seeking justice for someone they never liked.

Race plays a huge role in this novel. One character looks white but is filled with self-loathing because he believes he is part black. The local white folks are quick to believe the guilt of an alleged murderer when they learn he may be part negro.

One thing the racism of the characters succeeds in doing is masking the extreme misogyny of many of the characters.

Sometimes the frequent time hops make this a difficult story to follow; but, stay with it. It is filled with tragedy and human drama and raw emotion.

Saturday, August 31, 2019 7:48:19 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, August 29, 2019

GCast 63:

Sentiment Analysis JavaScript Demo

In this video, I walk you through a JavaSript application that calls the Sentiment Analysis Cognitive Service.

Thursday, August 29, 2019 1:09:57 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, August 26, 2019

Episode 576

Dan Rey on Microsoft Surface

Dan Rey describes the different versions of Microsoft Surface and how you can use them to be more productive.

Monday, August 26, 2019 9:16:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, August 25, 2019

WhiteTeethWhite Teeth by Zadie Smith follows the lives of old friends Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal. They met when serving together in a tank in World War II, where they got lost, missed the end of the war, and sentenced a war criminal to death; they remained friends; married much younger women; had children; worked menial jobs in north London; and spend their free time in a filthy pub drinking beer and eating greasy food.

But they are very different. Archie is English and simple and easygoing; Samal is a fiery and opinionated Bangladeshi immigrant, who wants his family to maintain the traditions of his homeland.

Samal is so troubled by the English influence on his family that he sends his son Magid back to Bangladesh so he can learn his ancestral ways.

The plot becomes more complex as Smith introduces more characters and tells their backstories and their lives become more and more intertwined. In addition to Archie and Samad, she gives us:

Clara: Archie's young Jamaican wife, who is trying to escape the influence of her Jehovah's Witness mother.

Alsana: Samad's wife. She never forgives Samad for sending away their son.

Millat and Magid: Twin sons of Samad and Alsana. They grow up with very different personalities. After Magid is sent to Bangladesh, Millat turns to a life of pot-smoking and womanizing for a few years, before embracing Islam. Magid rejects religion and embraces intellectualism.

Irie: Archie and Clara's daughter. She is intelligent but lacks self-esteem and has a hopeless crush on Millat.

The Chalfens, an intellectual, liberal, well-meaning, dysfunctional family, who try (sometimes successfully) to mentor the Jones and Iqbal children.

There are other characters, and each has their backstory and their quirks, but the narrative revolves largely around the characters listed above. The book often jumps around in time to reveal the backstories of each character. But it does so succinctly and successfully. In the end, all the characters end up in the same room with different goals and an unexpected result.

Smith explores several conflicts including the struggle between immigrant assimilation and tradition to the role of race in society; the difficulty of parents and children to understand and relate to one another; and the meaning of religion in individual lives. She does so with a good story and with a witty prose, as in the following:

"Oh he loves her; just as the English loved India and Africa and Ireland; it is the love that is the problem, people treat their lovers badly."

I enjoyed the characters and I enjoyed the story.

White Teeth is one of the best novels I've read this year.

Sunday, August 25, 2019 7:38:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, August 24, 2019

Weinberg-10A jukebox (for those too young to remember) was a machine filled with black vinyl discs - each containing a different song. They could be found in a lot of bars and diners and patrons could insert one or more coins and select the songs they wanted to hear.

Max Weinberg's Jukebox works on the same principle. A screen next to the stage continuously scrolled a list of almost 200 songs and Max periodically went into the audience to ask what people wanted to hear. And then he and his band played those requests.

Weinberg (for those too young to remember) rose to fame as the drummer of Bruce Springsteen's legendary E Street Band; and later led Conan O'Brien's house band for both the Late Show and the Tonight Show.

Max Weinberg opened his City Winery show Friday evening with Cream's "White Room" and Tom Petty's "American Girl" before soliciting requests from the audience. Anything on the scrolling list was fair game and the list was packed with classic rock favourites from The Beatles, The Who, The Stones, Springsteen (of course), and a host of others. Max played the drums and was accompanied by 2 guitarists and a bass player - each of which took turns singing lead.

In 2+ hours, I counted 26 songs performed by the band, including "Lola", "Drift Away", and "Me and Julio" - each delivered with tight playing, high-quality musicianship and great enthusiasm.

It was like listening to a really good bar cover band with one famous guy in it.

Weinberg-22They closed the night with a trio of high-energy Springsteen songs: "Pink Cadillac", "Dancing in the Dark", and "Glory Days". For the final song, Max invited audience members to join the band onstage.

A great concert (for those too young to remember) happens when both the audience and the performers enjoy themselves. This was one of those evenings.

More photos

Saturday, August 24, 2019 7:01:42 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, August 23, 2019

Recently, I was working on a VM that someone else provided me and I needed to download an executable from the Internet onto this VM. I discovered that the only installed browser on the VM was Internet Explorer 11 and that the browser was configured to prevent anyone from downloading files from the Internet.

I don't know if this is the default setting for IE 11, but here is how to change the setting to allow users to download files.

Open Internet Explorer.

From the menu, select Tools | Internet Options

The "Internet Options" dialog displays. Select the "Security" tab, as shown in Fig. 1.

Fig. 1

Click the [Custom Level] button. The "Security Settings" dialog displays. Scroll down to the "Downloads/File download" section, as shown in Fig. 2.

Fig. 2

Select the "Enable" radio button and click the [OK] button. If prompted for confirmation, click [Yes].

Click the [OK] button to close the "Internet Options" dialog.

Now you can download files linked within the browser.

Friday, August 23, 2019 11:17:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

GCast 62:

Sentiment Analysis Cognitive Service

This video explains the Sentiment Analysis service, which is part of the Text Analytics Cognitive Service.

Friday, August 23, 2019 4:47:19 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)