# Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Yesterday's keynote at Microsoft Ignite was hosted by CEO Satya Nadella, but featured demos and presentations by many others from Microsoft and its partners.

Highlights of the 112-minute keynote were

  • Running Azure services on-premises
  • Azure Synapse: a tool for tracking and reporting on telemetry data
  • Microsoft Edge browser updates
  • Advances in Quantum Computing
  • Power Automate and Power Virtual Agents - 2 new tools for "Citizen Developers"
  • Major update to the Edge browser
  • Project Cortex, a service that makes it easy to find related information from within an application
  • Bing integration with searching internal searching

Personally, I plan to explore Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents, and Visual Studio Online first.

You can view a recording of the keynote here.

Below are my notes while watching the keynote:

Azure Stack Edge

Hardware with built-in Azure services


Rugged series


For harsh environments


Azure Stack Hub

Azure Stack VI

VMs in Azure


Azure Arc

Extend azure services to my datacenter

Access to Azure security




on-premise data

Azure datacenter



Azure Synapse


App metrics


Fast query of telemetry data

Integration with PowerBI


Autonomous System

Simulation environments

Self-driving vehicles


Azure Quantum

Open platform

3 partners


Quantum algorithms can be run on classic hardware


Cyber Security

Last year cyber crime cost $1 trillion

Microsoft endpoint manager

Deploy policy to all data and locations



Visual Studio online

In-browser IDE

Existing tools





Power Platform

"Citizen Developers"

Power Automate

Connectors for business applications

API connectors

Record UI steps

Power Virtual Agents

Language understanding

Uses Bot Framework


Customer Insights

Data platform

Pre-built connectors

Aggregated data stored in Azure

Can run analytics with Synapse (see above)


Productivity Cloud

Built with M365

Human attention

Microsoft Teams


Project Cortex

Converts data inside your organization into knowledge


look up acronym meaning in email

Find experts inside organization on a given topic

Ask contract: when is first payment due?

Voice Enhancement feature

Remove background noise to hear voice more easily


Detect whiteboard

Make people transparent as they walk in front of white board


Connections between applications across devices


Microsoft Edge browser update

Chromium browser


Runs on multiple operating system

Drag and drop pages, images, and metadata on right of browser


Export to Excel



Search internal sites, along with the web

Internal information shown at top of search page (semantic understanding of question and information)

Power BI results output integrated


Minecraft Earth



Tuesday, November 5, 2019 11:58:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, November 4, 2019

Episode 583

Edward Thomson on GitHub Actions

GitHub Actions is a new feature at github.com allowing users to run custom code on GitHub. Edward Thomson describes this feature and how to use it.

Monday, November 4, 2019 8:59:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, November 3, 2019

Today I am grateful to watch my son's first game as a head coach yesterday at Kalamazoo College.

Today I am grateful to have no work travel for the past month.

Today I am grateful for the first snowfall of the winter.

Today I am grateful to see John Hiatt in concert last night.

Today I am grateful to attend the Grand Opening of the Chicago Microsoft Technology Center yesterday.

Today I am grateful to volunteer yesterday for the Hero Box event with my co-workers

Today I am grateful for all the Trick-or-Treaters who came to my door yesterday.

Today I am grateful for my new eyeglasses.

Today I am grateful to get my bike repaired.

Today I am grateful to see Incognito in concert last night with Thad.

Today I am grateful for a visit to the Elks National Veterans Memorial in Chicago.

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

Today I am grateful to see Madonna in concert for the first time.

Today I am grateful to randomly and unexpectedly meet a former NFL player yesterday.

Today I am grateful to see Kansas in concert last night and my first visit to the Genesee Theatre.

Today I am grateful to attend an excellent Willie Nile concert last night.

Today I am grateful for a nice kitchen in my home.

Today I am grateful to be able to watch movies at home.

Today I am grateful for $1 tacos at Flaco's Tacos on Tuesdays.

Today I am grateful for the hospitality and generosity of Jay and Christina.

Today I am grateful for 6 years working at Microsoft and all the amazing people I've learned from.

Today I am grateful to attend my first Vegas Golden Knights game last night.

Today I am grateful to go to the Henderson, NV Harvest

Today I am grateful to present at the Las Vegas .NET User Group for the first time.

Today I am grateful for:
-Everyone who agreed to an interview this week at VSLive.
-Dinner last night with J., Walt, and Jim

Today I am grateful for lunch yesterday with Tim and Nick.

Today I am grateful for the memories of good times.

Today I am grateful to see the US Women's National Soccer Team play Korea yesterday at Soldier Field.

Sunday, November 3, 2019 12:59:02 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, November 2, 2019

Hiatt-16I love that John Hiatt seems to love performing.

Hiatt is not known for recording hit songs. Bonnie Raitt, Joe Cocker, Three Dog Night and many other artists have reached the charts with covers of his songs.

But Wednesday night at the City Winery, he was on stage performing his own songs to a full house with a smile on his face.

Hiatt-21He didn't have a backing band; He didn't need one. Hiatt accompanied himself on guitar and (sometimes) keyboards and sounded as he sang. His voice still sounds good and still maintains that midwestern twang; and, if he struggles to hit high notes, he does so with passion.

The Indianapolis-born troubadour performed for about 100 minutes and seemed to gain strength and energy as the night went on.

With dozens of albums and hundreds of songs in his catalog, he had plenty to choose from and we heard some of his best, including "Thing Called Love", "Crossing Muddy Waters", "Have a Little Faith in Me" and "Lift Up Every Stone".

He returned to the stage to sing "Memphis in the Meantime" as an encore to a standing ovation.

His joy in playing came across to the audience. And hopefully our joy in listening came across to him.

Saturday, November 2, 2019 8:24:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, October 31, 2019

GCast 65:

Artificial Intelligence, Whale Sharks, and WildBook

With help from Microsoft's AI for Earth, Wild Me has created WildBook to use artificial intelligence to track the location and migration of animals.

AI | GCast | Screencast | Video
Thursday, October 31, 2019 1:51:29 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, October 28, 2019

Episode 582

Jeremy Likness on Blazor

Blazor is a framework for building full-stack web apps in the browser using C#. Jeremy Likness describes how it works and how to use it.

Monday, October 28, 2019 8:32:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, October 27, 2019

IMG_6295I wasn't familiar with Incognito, the acid jazz band formed in the early 80's in the UK; but my friend Thad was a big fan.  He called to suggest we see them at Park West Thursday evening, so I listened to a couple of their albums and I was sold.

Their live performance did not disappoint. Incognito founder Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick has assembled a talented group of musicians from all over the world (UK, Jamaica, Trinidad-Tobago, China, Italy, US) and they played and sang a set of tight arrangements that delighted a nearly full concert hall.

Bluey brought a long 4 singers. All were excellent, but the featured singer was Maysa Leak (aka "Maysa"), who has carved out a solo career for herself and impressed with both her range and her emotion.

IMG_6305Highlights of the night included a cover of Ronnie Laws's "Always There" (Thad's favourite song), "Deep Waters", which featured a medley of love songs, and a long jam on their penultimate song that featured an excellent solo by every member of the 9-piece band.

Incognito did not come back for an encore, but it felt like enough. Everyone felt the energy, and everyone left satisfied.

Sunday, October 27, 2019 8:44:14 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, October 26, 2019

Madonna never does anything halfway.

Monday night was her third of seven shows at the Chicago Theatre and she did not disappoint.

The show opened with a silhouetted typist loudly pounding out a James Baldwin passage on an old typewriter. A dancer jerked as each word appeared above the stage until he was shot dead. The quote was about art and artists and truth.

Then, the curtains drew, and Madonna appeared, dressed as a pirate, surrounded by dancers and a large American flag and a set consisting of multiple moving staircases.

The evening's show featured multiple costume and set changes and switched between tightly choreographed numbers and Madonna chatting casually with the audience. It lasted over two hours.

While Madonna did sing a few songs from the 1980s, when she regularly topped the charts ("Express Yourself", "Vogue", "Papa Don't Preach", "Like A Prayer"), most of the evening was devoted to her newer works. Madonna now makes her home in Lisbon and she brought guests to the stage, including a group of Portuguese singers performing energetic harmonies; and a guitar player performing an excellent solo, which launched into the lead singer's medley.

Dressed as the enigmatic one-eyed Madame X, she preached her political philosophy of independence, freedom, and tolerance throughout the show, mixing this with a bit of potty talk.

She closed with all the singers backing her up for "I Rise" as they marched into the audience and out the back of the theatre.

The show reminded me of a Broadway production more than a concert.

Saturday, October 26, 2019 6:30:41 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, October 22, 2019

IMG_6187Sometimes, I will hear a song and it will take me back to the time I first heard it - to the friends I was with and where we were and what we were doing and what I was feeling. A familiar song can bring happy memories and sad memories flooding back.

When I listen to the progressive rock band Kansas's "Leftoverture" and "Point of Know Return” albums, I'm transported to my high school days. I bought these 2 albums within months of each other and they were among the first of couple dozen albums of the thousands I eventually ended up buying.

Saturday night at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan, IL, I felt I was surrounded by kindred spirits. The heads covered in gray hair (or lacking hair) suggested a crowd that also lived their youth in the 1970s. And the fact that so many gave a standing ovation after every song suggested that the memories invoked by the song were as important as the current performance of the song.

After 5 decades, only 2 founding members of Kansas remain - guitarist Rich Williams and drummer Phil Erhart. But the current members still respect the old songs and performed them very well. Original lead vocalist Steve Walsh is gone, but Chicago native and former truck driver Ronnie Platt sounded a heck of a lot like him; and David Ragsdale played an excellent electric violin, reminiscent of original violinist Robby Steinhardt, who gave Kansas its distinctive sound during their late 70s peak.

IMG_6191At Genesee, they played over half of "Leftoverture", including "Miracles Out of Nowhere" (my personal favourite) and "Carry on Wayward Son" (the evening's encore).

But the main draw of the performance was their "Point of Know Return", which the band played in its entirety. Hearing the tracks in order was like sitting in my parents’ basement with the stereo turned up loud while I pored over the lyrics, liner notes, and cover art. I was transported.

As were all the old folks around me.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 9:12:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, October 21, 2019

Episode 581

Laurent Bugnion on the Ignite Tour

The Microsoft Ignite conference takes place in November in Orlando, FL; but not everyone can attend.

So, Laurent Bugnion and his team are organizing the Ignite Tour, bringing much of the content to 30 cities around the world in the months following the conference.

Laurent discusses what people can expect at these events.

Ignite Tour Home

Monday, October 21, 2019 9:10:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)