# Monday, July 6, 2020

Episode 616

Yina Arenas on Microsoft Graph

Microsoft Graph is a tool that allows you to query and analyze data about a user - including messages, calendar items, SharePoint lists, shared documents, devices, and many mores. Program Manager Yina Arenas describes how developers can use Graph to generate insights and enhance their applications. She also lists some of the new and recently-announced features of Graph.




Monday, July 6, 2020 8:20:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, July 5, 2020

Today I am grateful to watch fireworks from my balcony last night.

Today I am grateful to be a citizen of the United States of America.

Today I am grateful for easy Amazon returns.

Today I am grateful for new bike pedals.

Today I am grateful to ride the northern part of the Chicago Lakefront Trail for the first time since the lockdown.

Today I am grateful for meals from 2 different African countries yesterday.

Today I am grateful for my new iPhone.

Today I am grateful for my first visit to Jackson Park.

Today I am grateful for my first car wash in almost a year.

Today I am grateful for a long bike ride yesterday.

Today I am grateful to have Nick and Adriana here this week.

Today I am grateful for dinner with family in a beer garden last night.

Today I am grateful to those who have had a positive influence on my character.

Today I am grateful to spend Father's Day with family and friends.

Today I am grateful to be a father.

Today I am grateful for a chance to visit many places in south Chicago honoring the contributions of African Americans to this city and country.

Today I am grateful for a day off to relax and reflect.

Today I am grateful to those who provide constructive feedback.

Today I am grateful for all the public art in my city.

Today I am grateful for so many beautiful churches in my city.

Today I am grateful for eBooks.

Today I am grateful to all those who donated over $1700 to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline last week.

Today I am grateful to Eric for inspiring me to publicly support mental health this past month.

Today I am grateful for my new bike lock.

Today I am grateful for my new shorts, so I no longer need to choose between long pants and gym shorts on a hot day.

Today I am grateful for mailmen (and women)

Today I am grateful that the Chicago Public Library re-opened yesterday.

Today I am grateful for a weekend in southwest Michigan.

Sunday, July 5, 2020 1:45:27 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, July 4, 2020

05-CasanovasChineseRestaurantThe fifth novel of Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time is the darkest so far in the series.

Powell bookends his story nicely with a visit to

The novel begins with a flash-forward to a woman singing near a bombed-out restaurant in war-torn London, which reminds narrator Nick Jenkins of a dinner years earlier with the now-deceased Mr. Deacon, musician Hugh Moreland, music critic Maclintick, and other English bohemians at the Italian-turned-Chinese restaurant named Casanova's Chinese Restaurant, which is also the title of this book. During the flashback, the group discusses marriage, seduction, suicide, and other topics that become relevant later in the novel. The conversation is recalled near the end when one of the group of friends kills himself, following the destruction of his marriage.

Earlier books in the series presented relationships and marriages that failed for various reasons, but CCR presents one particularly dysfunctional relationship in which the couple bicker constantly - often to the embarrassment of those around them. The situation is at first amusing but leas to a tragic end.

Characters from previous novels make appearances. The eccentric Erridge has disappeared to fight in the Spanish Civil War, only to return at the story's conclusion. And Nick's school friend Stringham shows up unannounced and drunk at his mother's party.

Again, the narrator's life takes a back seat to those around him. Nick's wife miscarries their child, but that event is glossed over and only seems a reason to run into Morland at the hospital and more attention is devoted to the     birth and death of Morland's child.

This book is darker than the first four with its suicide, infidelity, alcoholism, and divorce. But it is not without its humor.

Saturday, July 4, 2020 9:09:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, July 3, 2020

StemChallengeLast month, I completed a school year working with students at Infinity Math, Science & Technology High School.

The students were participating in the Illinois Science & Technology Institute's STEM challenge and I was one of a group of volunteers helping to mentor them. This year's theme asked students to design projects using Artificial Intelligence. I was impressed by the projects - each of which was designed to help those less fortunate. The three projects delivered were:

Fast Food Sign Language - an application designed to assist deaf people communicating their order at a fast food restaurant

OS-Fruitable - an app designed to help blind people by identify a fruit and its level of spoilage, based on a phone photograph

Pal Protect - a virtual friend device that allows parents to track younger children and for children to call for assistance when needed, while also providing entertainment.

We were supposed to host the school presentations at the Chicago Microsoft office; then select one team to represent the school at the statewide showcase to be held at the Museum of Science and Industry. But the COVID-19 crisis threw a monkey wrench into those plans. So this event was entirely virtual.

It was a pleasure to see the ideas that students came up with to help their communities using AI. And it was a pleasure mentoring high school students for this event the second year in a row.

I am looking forward to next year!

Friday, July 3, 2020 5:14:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, June 29, 2020

Episode 615

Sven Aelterman on Data in Education

Sven Aelterman is a Cloud Solution Architect and a former IT manager amd professor at a university. He talks about the type of data used by educational institutions, some of the compliance requirements around educational data, and tools used for managing student information.

Monday, June 29, 2020 9:20:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, June 28, 2020

04-AtLadyMollysAnthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time marches into the summer of Nick Jenkins's life with volume 4 in the series - At Lady Molly's.

Nick becomes engaged but relays this information almost as an afterthought as he continues to focus attention on other characters.

The Tolland family figures heavily in this book, as numerous siblings, in-laws, and others pop in and out of the story. It is a large family with some eccentric characters - most especially the patriarch Erridge, who rejects society's expectations and decides to live among the proletariat in order to understand their struggles.

Widmerpool again figures heavily in this story as we learn of his engagement to a much older woman.

Weaved throughout is the story of Mona - a relatively minor character who establishes relationships with major characters, then leaves each for another. She seems to represent the impermanence of the current life of everyone in this intra-war England.

The outside world invades the bohemian and upper-class dinner parties more in  this book than in previous ones as the characters discuss the likelihood of war with Germany and Marxist Quiggin associates with Erridge.

The characters still intrigue me and, with a third of the story behind me, I am committed to continuing this series.

Sunday, June 28, 2020 9:16:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, June 27, 2020

03-TheAcceptanceWorldThe Acceptance World is the third novel in Anthony Powell's epic A Dance to the Music of Time series.

Narrator Nick Jenkins has progressed somewhat in his career and has even written (but not published) a book.

We get a bit of mysticism (a fortune teller and a séance), a bit of politics with Quiggin expressing his Marxist views, and a bit of economics with Widmerpool's long-winded speech on the topic.

And we get numerous marriages and divorces - a sign of the fast times of the Jazz Age in England. But the Jazz Age has passed, and 1930s England is experiencing the upheaval of worldwide economic depression and the spread of new political ideas.

This novel reveals more of Nick than the first two and he finally connects with Jean Templer - sister of his school friend Peter - even though Jean is married to someone else.

The first quarter of the series is now complete. I don't know if Powell planned it this way, but the first three volumes are sometimes referred to as "The First Movement", as if the entire series were a symphony; or as "Spring" to separate Nick's life into four seasons.

Saturday, June 27, 2020 9:21:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, June 22, 2020

Episode 614

Jeff Fritz on Migrating from Web Forms to Blazor

Blazor allows you to create client-side applications using C#. Jeff Fritz discusses the process of migrating applications based on Web Forms to take advantage of Blazor, without re-writing the entire application. He is building an Open Source project - Blazor Web Forms Components - live on his Twitch channel.


Monday, June 22, 2020 9:04:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, June 21, 2020

02-ABuyersMarketBuyer's Market is the second book in Anthony Powell's "A Dance to the Music of Time" series.

Our narrator Nick Jenkins has graduated from university and moved to London where he has a job at a publishing house, a girlfriend named Barbara, and invitations to a lot of parties. He encounters many of the characters introduced in volume 1 (A Question of Upbringing), such as Uncle Giles, Stringham, and Widmerpool; and Powell introduces a few new characters, such as Mr. Deacon, an artist who was a friend of Nick's parents.

Like the first novel, this book explores the changing relationships between Nick and his friends. Only Uncle Giles seems consistent in his behavior as the years pass.

For me, the most interesting character was Widmerpool, who displays and odd combination of social awkwardness and arrogance - a trait I have observed in others; a trait that moves me to both annoyance and pity.

The other plot point that intrigued me was Jenkins's relationship with women. We see his affair with Barbara (presumably his first girlfriend) and his dealings with the rambunctious and sexually liberated Gipsy Jones.

Nick's career has not yet started; his love life is erratically beginning; and his place in the universe. The character development compensates for a minimal story and lead me to volume 3.

Sunday, June 21, 2020 9:45:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, June 20, 2020

01-AQuestionOfUpbringingA Question of Upbringing kicks off Anthony Powell's 12-volume cycle A Dance to the Music of Time.

Nicholas Jenkins narrates the story of his school days in England in the 1920s.

Not much happens in this story. At school, Jenkins hangs out with his two friends - Charles Stringham and Peter Templer. They play a prank on their annoying housemaster and they laugh about their odd classmate Widmerpool. At the end of the term, Jenkins first visits with Templer's family; then spends the summer in France with friends of his family, where he encounters Widmerpool and begins to reassess his opinion of him. When Jenkins returns to school, he finds that he and his friends have drifted apart.

This book stands alone, but it seems incomplete. Each scene seemed disconnected from the others until at least two-thirds through the novel - almost like a collection of short stories.

However, I enjoyed the individual scenes, I enjoyed Powell's prose, and I enjoyed the characters, which I am told will reappear and develop throughout the series.

I am ready for Book 2.

Saturday, June 20, 2020 9:46:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)