# Saturday, October 30, 2021

An Acceptable Time concludes the "Time Quintet" that began with Madeleine L'Engle's classic novel "A Wrinkle in Time".

The series follows the Murrys - a family that are frequently thrust into adventures that span multiple planets, dimensions, and eras.

In this story, Meg's daughter Polly is staying with her grandparents in New England when their neighbor retired Bishop Colubra discovers a "time gate" - a doorway to three thousand years in the past. Polly and friends find themselves trapped in the past, caught between two Native American tribes at war.

As in so many of her books, L'Engle spices the story with religious references and philosophies. She never overwhelms the reader with preaching or dogma; rather, she raises questions and shows different relationships between men and God. Some worship a single creator, while others see gods in their ancestors or in each force of nature; some believe in a loving, parental God, while others fear a vindictive god, who demands blood sacrifices. Unlike stories in the Old Testament, the snake featured in this story is a force for good. I found it interesting that the Christian Bishop was accepting of the beliefs of druids. They had fundamental theological differences, but they chose to focus on their common beliefs.

There are a few weaknesses. The skepticism of Polly's grandparents is inconsistent with their previous encounters with time and space travel; and conflicts are resolved a little too conveniently at the end. Coincidences occur that border on a well-timed miracle. It stretches belief, but that is probably ok in a book about time travel.

An Acceptable Time is a story of selfishness and betrayal. But it is also about forgiveness and redemption and the different aspects of love. It is a story of hope and a fitting end to this series.

Saturday, October 30, 2021 9:09:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, October 25, 2021

Episode 684

Guy Royse on Probabilistic Data Structures

Guy Royse discusses Probabilistic Data Structures - a pattern that results in high performance, but with a tradeoff in accuracy. He describes when such a tradeoff makes sense and how to implement this pattern in tools like Redis.

http://guyroyse.com/

Monday, October 25, 2021 9:59:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, October 24, 2021

Miles Vorkosigan is in love with the recently-widowed Ekaterin Vorsoisson. Several obstacles inhibit his hopes at courtship: She is still in mourning for her late husband; her husband was abusive toward her; and Vorkosigan enemies are spreading rumors that Miles was implicit in the husband's death.

In her science fiction / romantic comedy "A Civil Campaign", Lois McMaster Bujold takes the reader through this adventure. She intertwines the main story with several others - a noblewoman who undergoes gender reassignment surgery in order to claim an open Countship (only males are eligible for this honor); a business started by Miles's clone/brother Mark to produce and market dairy products from genetically-engineered insects; and the upcoming wedding of the Galactic Emperor. Bujold cleverly ties together all these stories in the end.

This is mostly a lighthearted romantic comedy; but it also tackles some serious issues around gender roles. Bujold provides us with numerous examples of strong, independent women trying to navigate a patriarchal society. And there is moral philosophy: "Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself."

It has been a couple years since I set aside Bujold's series of books on the future universe inhabited by Miles Vorkosigan. I am glad I did. Reading this book felt like a reunion with old friends.

Sunday, October 24, 2021 9:22:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, October 23, 2021

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn is the story of how a tragic murder can affect a small town. But it is also the story of a young woman's struggles to confront the past she tried to escape.

Camille Preaker was a Chicago reporter sent to cover the story of a child killer in her hometown of Wind Gap in southern Missouri. Returning after years away, Camille reopens wounds caused by her relationship with a mother who never loved her, memories of a dead sister, and regret of the person she used to be. The longer she stays in this town, the more she reverts to her teenage self - repeating the mistakes of her youth.

Camille is isolated and self-destructive - both emotionally and physically, which makes it difficult to investigate the case, challenging to live a normal life, and impossible to form meaningful relationships. Flynn takes the reader inside the head of the character, making us feel for her, even if we cannot identify with her or like her. Camille grew up with a twisted sense of morality. At one point, she rationalizes statutory rape - a gang rape, at that.

The narrative is often uncomfortable. Wind Gap is filled with narrow-minded people a stereotype often depicted for those in a small town.

This was Ms. Flynn's debut novel - written well before she gained fame with "Gone Girl". It is not for everyone. The topic is disturbing, and the characters are deeply flawed. But I liked her depiction of the damaged prodigal daughter struggling against her past.

I found it entertaining.

Saturday, October 23, 2021 9:20:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, October 18, 2021

Episode 683

Richard Campbell on the Future of Space Travel

Richard Campbell discusses the history of private space travel and where this industry is headed.

Monday, October 18, 2021 9:32:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, October 17, 2021

PatMethenySome musicians have extremely high technical proficiency; others bring a great deal of emotion to their performance. Pat Metheny is the rare one who has achieved both.

He proved it Friday evening at Pilsen's Thalia Hall. It was my first visit to Thalia Hall and my first time seeing Metheny, who I discovered decades ago during my college years.

Mr. Metheny switched between ballads and electric fusion and funk and straight-ahead jazz with the same effortlessness with which he switched guitars. His arsenal of guitars was impressive, and each brought a unique sound. He played acoustic guitar and electric guitars - both solid and hollow-bodied; but he also boasts some unusual instruments in the guitar family. His synthesizer guitar sounds more like a horn section than a stringed instrument; and he made beautiful melodies with his custom-made 42-string "Pikasso" guitar.

And for this music, the melody often takes center stage. Between the improvisations, there was always a beautiful tune to enjoy.

Accompanying Metheny on stage tonight were James Francies on keyboard and Joe Dyson on drums. Collectively, the trio calls themselves Side Eye and their synergy was great. Francies and Dyson are accomplished musicians in their own right and gave us some impressive solos; but their real strength was in backing the master guitarist.

It is hard to believe that Pat Metheny is now 67 years old and not just because he still retains a full head of his signature wild hair. His energy, enthusiasm, and dexterity are those of a much younger man.

Photos

Sunday, October 17, 2021 9:17:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, October 16, 2021

RENT-1The musical "RENT" debuted 25 years ago in New York City. At the time, it must have caused some people to be uncomfortable. It  included homosexuals and drag queens and drug addicts and interracial relationships and fighting back against capitalist greed and AIDS.

Set in Manhattan's East Village, it paints a bleak picture of life for struggling bohemians of that area.

RENT-2But it also presents a message of hope. Despite the tragedies he suffers, Tom Collins remains optimistic. Despite the pain of a dead girlfriend, Mark attempts to love again. Despite losing his girlfriend to another woman, Mark becomes friends with the lesbian couple. And the cross-dressing Angel inspires us all, despite dying of AIDS.

And, of course, there is the music. RENT is filled with rock songs and ballads and show tunes to lift you up and to pull at your heart.

It took me 25 years to see this classic. But I finally made it to the CIBC Theatre in Chicago last week. I am glad I did.

Saturday, October 16, 2021 9:18:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, October 14, 2021

GCast 116:

Azure Active Directory B2C Token Generation With No User Interaction

Learn how to configure Azure Active Directory B2C, so you can request an Authentication Token without any user interaction. This is ideal for running automated processes that require a token, such as an integration test that calls a secure API.

Azure | GCast | Screencast | Security | Video
Thursday, October 14, 2021 9:12:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, October 11, 2021

Episode 682

Sam Nasr on Cognitive Services

Cognitive Services allow you to take advantage of Machine Learning using pre-built models and REST APIs. Sam Nasr describes the different types of Cognitive Services and some of the apps he has built for his customers using these services.

Links:
https://www.customvision.ai/
https://www.luis.ai/
https://globalai.community/global-ai-back-together/north-america-cleveland-4472/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCU4ffaIzhsvMr_cCt9kjQMw

Monday, October 11, 2021 9:09:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, October 10, 2021

MelissaEtheridgeMelissa Etheridge has been writing, playing, singing, and recording music for over 30 years. Sunday night, she entertained a full house at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan, IL.

Although she was backed by three other musicians, the focus remained on Etheridge the entire night. She wowed the audience with her guitar playing and her singing. Etheridge's signature coarse vocals remain strong after all these years and her playing is impressive.

Etheridge has become a favourite of the LGBT community since coming out as a lesbian in 1993. Recently, she released an album of songs written before that date, which she held back because she feared they might be too personal. She shared some of them with us on this night.

She saved most of her hit songs ("Bring Me Some Water", "I'm the Only One", "Come To My Window") for later in the show.

During her encore, she climbed behind the drummer and the two shared a duet on the same drum set - an impressive feat for the woman who is proficient at a number of instruments.

Etheridge's music continues to be a powerful force for all people. She gave her all Sunday night and the audience responded.


Photos

Sunday, October 10, 2021 7:59:49 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, October 9, 2021

POTR-1Lukas Nelson strode onto the Vic Theatre stage, smiled at the audience, and announced "Hi, I'm Lukas Nelson; and this is Promise of the Real!" He seemed genuinely excited to be there performing in front of a sold-out audience  September 30. The band quickly launched into the kinetic song "Start to Go", quickly followed by "Perennial Bloom" - a song from his new album which was released just a few months ago.

Nelson's enthusiasm did not wane throughout the evening. He raced from song to song, sometimes switching from rock to ballad, sometimes pausing briefly to swap guitars or switch to the piano, but always with an eye toward keeping the music flowing. He managed to engage the audience while doing so, focusing his attention outward to those on the main floor and balcony, rather than inward toward himself, his instrument, and his band.

The energy was not exclusive to the lead singer. Bassist Corey McCormick had a bounce in his step that he maintained as he kept a mean rhythm on the multiple bass guitars he played and as he sometimes danced with Lukas. Logan Metz kept busy moving between steel guitar, piano, electric keyboard, and harmonica; while drummer Anthony LoGerfo could be seen singing along to every song, despite the absence of a microphone.

POTR played a few more songs from their recent release, which contains an impressive collection of music. A classical piano solo led into "More Than We Can Handle" - another impressive new song; and "Leave 'em Behind" was an emotional song about a woman encouraged to escape an abusive relationship (a true story about his friend, according to Nelson.)

They also drew from the rest of their 7-album catalog released over the past 11 years. "Start to Go", "Perennial Bloom", "Fool Me Once", and "Carolina" were all crowd-pleasers.

POTR-2Nelson was sentimental in his delivery of "Just Outside of Austin" and "Forget About Georgia" - two songs of the opposite sides of a young person falling in love, but turned cynical with "Four Letter Word", told from the point of view of a husband growing tired of his wife two years into their marriage. Other highlights included "Start to Go", "Perennial Bloom", "Fool me Once", and "Carolina".

For the encore, bassist McCormick returned to the stage first for an impressive solo before the rest of the band joined him and played for another half hour.

Nelson has a long way to go to match the songwriting legacy of his father - legendary country star Willie Nelson. But he has a solid start with six studio albums and songwriting credit in the recent "A Star is Born" remake. He is a solid composer and brings enthusiasm and charm when he performs live. He and his band have also established a place in the music industry by recording and touring as Neil Young's backing band.

Lukas retains much of his father's charm and adds a charm that makes him a joy to watch perform.

Saturday, October 9, 2021 8:42:08 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, October 7, 2021

GCast 115:

Registering an Azure Account Subscription

Sometimes, you may receive the following error message, when trying to do something in Azure: "The subscription is not registered to use namespace 'Microsoft.AzureActiveDirectory'. This video walks you resolving fixing this issue.

Azure | GCast | Screencast | Security | Video
Thursday, October 7, 2021 9:11:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, October 4, 2021

Episode 681

Tudor Damian on Cybersecurity and Ethical Hacking

Tudor Damian is a Certified Ethical Hacker. He describes how he uses this skill to protect his customers from malicious hackers and to increase their cybersecurity.

Monday, October 4, 2021 7:32:47 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, October 3, 2021

9/6
Today I am grateful to see NRBQ in concert last night in Berwyn.

9/7
Today I am grateful to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with friends last night.

9/8
Today I am grateful for my annual physical yesterday.

9/9
Today I am grateful for a day to recover.

9/10
Today I am grateful for NFL football.

9/11
Today I am grateful to Matt, who answered my questions and helped me resolve a difficult technical issue.

9/12
Today I am grateful for a full day yesterday:
-Seeing Lemony Snicket at the Printer's Row Lit Fest in the morning
-Tacos and margaritas in Old Town in the afternoon
-Seeing Alanis Morissette and Garbage in concert last night in Tinley Park

9/13
Today, I am grateful to:
-Watch a book reading and Q&A with Colson Whitehead yesterday afternoon
-See Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder in concert last night

9/14
Today I am grateful to complete a difficult task on this project after struggling with it for weeks.

9/15
Today I am grateful for new pillows.

9/16
Today I am grateful:
-to Ted for loaning me his laptop charger
-for my first time at an Ax-Throwing venue.

9/17
Today I am grateful to deliver technical presentations in person for the first time in about 2 years.

9/18
Today I am grateful to Jeffrey, Jonathan, Heather, and all the organizers and volunteers who made KCDC an excellent conference

9/19
Today I am grateful:
- for a visit to the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City yesterday
- to Tim for a ride home from the airport last night
- for 4 enjoyable days in Kansas City

9/20
Today I am grateful to see Asleep at the Wheel in concert last night.

9/21
Today I am grateful for caramel praline ice cream.

9/22
Today I am grateful to return to the gym after an absence of almost 2 weeks.

9/23
Today I am grateful to the store that gave me a bunch of free groceries to make up for a mistake on my order.

9/24
Today I am grateful for all the natural areas in my city

9/25
Today I am grateful to see Joan Osborne in concert last night.

9/26
today I am grateful to see Ravi Coltrane in concert last night.

9/27
Today I am grateful to finally replace all the dead light bulbs in my home.

9/28
Today I am grateful for an unexpected impromptu visit by my sons last night.

9/29

9/30
Today I am grateful for 2 months without a flat tire on my bike.

10/1
Today I am grateful to see Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real in concert last night wit h Pete.

10/2
Today I am grateful to be invited to speak at #CodeMash for the first time in years.

10/3
Today I am grateful breakfast in Elmhurst yesterday with Tim and Nick

Sunday, October 3, 2021 7:36:30 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, October 2, 2021

RaviColtraneRavi Coltrane is back in Chicago. He performed two sets a night for four nights at the Jazz Showcase in the South Loop.

I attended the late set Saturday evening, and I was not disappointed.

Coltrane is a man of few words. He did not speak to the audience until he introduced his band near the end of his set. Instead, he spoke to them through his music. He and his quintet (pianist Gadi Lehavi, guitarist David Gilmore, bassist Lonnie Plaxico, and drummer Elé Howell) brought great energy to the sold-out venue. Ravi is a naturally talented musician, as you would expect, given his lineage. Coltrane's father was the legendary saxophonist John Coltrane, and his son has adopted his father's instrument and passion for jazz. While not the innovator that his father was, Ravi has great technical chops, which he showed off on this evening. He was also willing to step aside to showcase the talents of his band. Guitarist Gilmare stood out in particular, but every member of the group was outstanding. At times, they seemed to be racing frantically to keep up with one another.

I had the privelege to see Ravi in 2005 when he celebrated the 40th anniversary of his father's classic album "A Love Supreme" by performing the entire set live on stage. He has matured and developed his own style in the 16 years since that concert.

It was an excellent show and a tribute to the strength of the local community that this small neighborhood jazz club can continue to attract national talent like Coltrane.

Saturday, October 2, 2021 9:41:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)