Scott Hanselman

White House Visit - Foster Care and Technology Hackathon

May 24, '16 Comments [12] Posted in
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Going to the White HouseHey friends! I am so proud to be a technology advisor for the the White House Foster Care and Technology Hackathon this week!

While I'm participating in this event and advising as a private citizen, there is a Microsoft team. Here is a brief statement about the Microsoft team's involvement in this cause:

The Microsoft team is honored and excited to participate in this year’s White House Foster Care and Technology Hackathon on May 26th-May 27th. It is a wonderful opportunity for top technical talent across different industries to work together in collaboration with the White House, the Dept of Health and Human Services, Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Think of Us, with the goal of improving the US foster care system and outcomes for children and families who experience care.

The hackathon participants are tackling the biggest problems in the foster care system including topics such as empowering foster youth and alum with decision-making abilities, getting more innovative technology into child welfare agencies, and preventing homelessness and unplanned pregnancy for youth.

Another huge area of concern in the foster care system is that of substance exposed infants and children. Each year, nearly 440,000 infants are affected by prenatal alcohol or illicit drug exposure. Oftentimes, the mothers of these children who are battling substance abuse struggle with seeking care and treatment for themselves and the children. Many of these mothers are young and do not have the support system that they need to get advice and help to both overcome their additions, and take care for their children. Even if they have the inclination to get help, where do they start? And how can they do this without being stigmatized?
The Microsoft hacking team is looking to create a streamlined process by which mothers can access the resources they need, and easily ask for help.

Mothers with addiction problems often struggle to keep their addiction and pregnancy secret, and are therefore hesitant to seek the help they and their children so desperately need. The solution must take this sensitivity into account. Locating relevant information about available resources is another problem. It must aggregate resources into a single place that is simple and easy to use but also non-judgmental.

The team seeks to create a marketplace for social services that will be useful to the mothers in need. Rather than solely aggregate data, the marketplace will include a recommendation system based on the anonymous inputs of the users’ needs, backed by a rating system that is commonly seen online. Influenced by the ratings systems of websites like Yelp, the team seeks to create an atmosphere that younger generations are used to by allowing them to anonymously rate the services they used, and benefit from the feedback of others.

The team is made up of Program Manager, Yossi Banai, along with technologists Paul DeCarlo, Mostafa Elzoghbi, Stacey Mulcahy, Heather Shapiro and tech advisor Scott Hanselman. Several members of the team have been personally touched or affected by the problem of pregnant and parenting mothers dealing with substance abuse and are passionate about improving the current situation for struggling mothers and their children. They will continue their efforts after the hackathon by maintaining the resources and programs created.

I'll take as many photos and instagrams as I'm allowed. Many thanks to Sixto Cancel from Think of Us, Kishau Rogers, and Vida Williams for including me on this project. I'll be speaking on Thursday along with a room full of amazing folks across the Child Welfare System and the Administration.

I'm excited to meet all the teams including the folks from StackOverflow, Slack, Clef, Uber, Twillio, Prek12Plaza, and more!


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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.NET Core 1.0 RC2 - Upgrading from previous versions

May 19, '16 Comments [25] Posted in ASP.NET
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.NET Core at http://dot.net.NET Core RC2 is out, it's open source, and it's on multiple platforms. I'm particularly proud of the cool vanity domain we got for it. http://dot.net. ;) It makes me smile.

Here's the important blog posts to check out:

Head over to http://dot.net and check it out. A great aspect of .NET Core is that everything it does is side-by-side. You can work with it without affecting your existing systems. Be sure also explore the complete .NET Downloads Page for all the manual downloads as well as SHA hashes.

The best way to develop with .NET Core on Windows is to download the Visual Studio official MSI Installer and the latest NuGet Manager extension for Visual Studio. If you don't have Visual Studio already, you can download Visual Studio Community 2015 for free.

We'll have documentation and insights on how to moving from ASP.NET 4.x over to ASP.NET Core 1.0 soon, but for now I've collected these resources for folks who are upgrading from previous versions of .NET Core and ASP.NET Core (the framework formerly new as ASP.NET 5).

Enjoy!


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Playing with TensorFlow on Windows

May 15, '16 Comments [23] Posted in Open Source
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TensorFlow is a machine learning library from Google. There are no Windows builds but I wanted to run it on Windows. There are some other blog posts that show people trying to get TensorFlow running on Windows with VMs or Docker (using a VM) but they are a little complex. This seems like a great chance to see of I can just run Bash on Windows 10, build TensorFlow and run it.

TensorFlow on Ubuntu on Windows 10

I'm running Windows 10 Insiders Build 14422 as of the time of this writing. I launched Bash on Windows and followed these pip (Python) instructions, just as if I was running Linux. Note that the GPU support won't work so I followed the CPU only instructions from my Surface Pro 3.

$ sudo apt-get install python-pip python-dev
$ sudo pip install --upgrade https://storage.googleapis.com/tensorflow/linux/cpu/tensorflow-0.8.0-cp27-none-linux_x86_64.whl

It built, then I tested it like this:

$ python
...
>>> import tensorflow as tf
>>> hello = tf.constant('Hello, TensorFlow!')
>>> sess = tf.Session()
>>> print(sess.run(hello))
Hello, TensorFlow!
>>> a = tf.constant(10)
>>> b = tf.constant(32)
>>> print(sess.run(a + b))
42
>>>

Cool, but this is Hello World. Let's try the more complex example against the MINST Handwriting Models. The simple demo model for classifying handwritten digits from the MNIST dataset is in the sub-directorymodels/image/mnist/convolutional.py. You'll need to check when your mnist folder is.

$ cd tensorflow/models/image/mnist
$ python convolutional.py
Successfully downloaded train-images-idx3-ubyte.gz 9912422 bytes.
Successfully downloaded train-labels-idx1-ubyte.gz 28881 bytes.
Successfully downloaded t10k-images-idx3-ubyte.gz 1648877 bytes.
Successfully downloaded t10k-labels-idx1-ubyte.gz 4542 bytes.
Extracting data/train-images-idx3-ubyte.gz
Extracting data/train-labels-idx1-ubyte.gz
Extracting data/t10k-images-idx3-ubyte.gz
Extracting data/t10k-labels-idx1-ubyte.gz
Initialized!
Step 0 (epoch 0.00), 9.3 ms
Minibatch loss: 12.054, learning rate: 0.010000
Minibatch error: 90.6%
Validation error: 84.6%
Step 100 (epoch 0.12), 826.7 ms
Minibatch loss: 3.289, learning rate: 0.010000
Minibatch error: 6.2%
Validation error: 7.0%
...

This set appears to be working great and is currently on Step 1500

There's bugs in the Bash on Windows 10, of course. It's in Beta. But it's not a toy, and it's gonna be a great addition to my developer toolbox. I like that I was able to follow the Linux instructions exactly and they just worked. I'm looking forward to seeing how hard I can push Ubuntu and Bash on Windows 10.


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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10 years and over 520 episodes of podcasting - Tech is a marathon, not a sprint

May 12, '16 Comments [31] Posted in Musings
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Hanselminutes

I try not to be prideful, as a rule, but darnit, I'm REALLY proud of my podcast. As of this writing I've done 526 episodes. Each one 30 minutes long. Every Thursday, for the last decade. That's over 250 hours of technology talk that promises not to waste your time.

I started Hanselminutes: Fresh Air for Developers almost as a joke. Podcasting was just starting up and I felt at the time that it was largely kind of a vapid copy of talk radio. Hours of directionless rambling. I said to my buddy Carl Franklin that a show shouldn't waste your time and force you to fast-forward 20 minutes in to get to the meat. He said, you should start a show. I laughed, and I did.

HanselminutesOver 10 years later, here we are, having built a significant piece of creative, informational, and pseudo-journalistic work. While other podcasts come and go, many with the "two dudes on Skype" format, I've chugged along. While I do over a million downloads a year, I've never cracked into any mainstream technology podcasting charts or iTunes Top Ten. I think about that sometimes, a little bummed, but I realize that this show and it's content is as much for me as it is for you, Dear Listener. This isn't a popularity contest...as much as one can appreciate recognition.

I talk to anyone and everyone about all things tech. The show started before I went to work at Microsoft and will continue long after, I'm sure. It's a non-denominational technology show.

The show also aims to be intentionally inclusive without being heavy-handed. Showcasing diversity in technology isn't about "hey, we need a Black guy this week, know anyone?" That's insulting to everyone. Instead, I've cultivated an amazing network of amazing people from all over the world, and I talk to them about what they love to do. This has some wonderful side effects when recently without planning, 7 of the last 8 shows featured women!

The faces on this archive page go on and on. I'd encourage you to scroll and explore the wall of topics. There's hundreds of highlights, but here's a few favorites:

I am also proud of the show talking to people before (sometimes) they went mainstream or got famous. From interviews with Tim Ferriss in 2007, Kimberly Bryant from BlackGirlsCode in 2012Baratunde Thurston in 2010, Dr. Michio Kaku, author Lauren Beukes, as well as the now legendary show on Geek Relationship Tips with my wife, I've got you covered! You'll often hear it here first.

We were also one of the first podcasts to have a transcriptions/PDFs of the show for the hard of hearing and folks who like to read along while they listen. I struggle with keeping transcripts up to date and we're about a year behind but I'm looking for sustainable solutions. I'd like to get the transcripts available in HTML and posted on the side next to the shows so they'd be more easily searchable.

I want to thank you and remind you and yours that the show exists and continues weekly in earnest, every week with amazing topics and powerful guests. Above all, don't just keep listening, but please, share episodes socially and do encourage your friends and colleagues to listen and subscribe. Your letters and your kindness (as well as your guest suggestions) keep me going.

THE HANSELMINUTES PODCAST: Fresh Air for Developers

Thanks everyone for your support and help over the last decade. Here's to another ten years, eh?


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Chatting with Prince on AOL in 1999 - "this way is modern"

April 24, '16 Comments [12] Posted in Musings
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Erica Kennedy chats with Prince on AOL in 1999Before the Internet as we know it today, before social media, there was AOL. Specifically there was AOL chat rooms. The digital world was smaller but Prince was always there. He was so ahead of his time digitally. The Purple One did group chats with fans all the time on AOL. A "room" in AOL chat parlance was like a Twitter DM - a private chat room.

Six years ago my friend Erica Kennedy and I were talking about what she was going to write for her next book. She had just released her second book, Feminista, and was pretty well known for her first book, Bling that satirized the music industry that she came up in. We had the idea of  a Kindle Single detailing her interactions with Prince while she was working on a profile for InStyle Magazine. You can see photos of Prince's Spanish Villa and a few lines of Erica's AOL chats with Prince over at InStyle now.

This is the AOL chat log detailing her interactions with Prince that Erica emailed me while we were planning her novella.

Here, of course, "NPG---" was Prince's private AOL chat handle at that time while Ekj4 is Erica. I have kept all the typos exactly as they occurred in 1999.

Erica K to me - u r the 1st person 2 c this outside of the N style staff.

NPG---:   high
Ekj4:       hi 2 u
NPG---:  is ur last name kennedy?
Ekj4:       no it's my middle name that i use for writing, trying to stay on the dl
NPG---:  r u alone?
Ekj4:       sure am
NPG---:  have u ever spoke in private chat space?
Ekj4:       all the time!
Ekj4:       i'm a terrible typist though
NPG---:  would u like 2 go a room?
Ekj4:       what room? what's wrong with this way?
NPG---:  don't like
Ekj4:       ok, where's the room?
NPG---:  it's called...
NPG---:  amatteroftime
Ekj4:       how do i get THERE?
NPG---:  use the icon that says....people
NPG---:  c it?
Ekj4:       yes. and...
NPG---:  start ur own chat
NPG---:  private
NPG---:  type in the space....amatteroftime
Ekj4:       is it only going to be u and i?
NPG---:  yes
Ekj4:       ok
NPG---:  scared?
Ekj4:       no
NPG---:  yea,right!
NPG---:  r u there?
Ekj4:       yep
 
IN THE PRIVATE CHAT ROOM
NPG ---: is ur hair done?
EKJ4:       it’s up in a ponytail and truth be told, it’s lookin’ kinda busted.
NPG---:  lol!
EKJ:        my hair doesn’t have the bounce of your ‘do.
NPG---:  do u stay up late?
EKJ:        24-7.  Actaully more like 20-7.
NPG---:  good.
EKJ:        y?
NPG---:  my flight gets in at 1 am
EKJ:        great, ur  coming 2 ny?  u want me 2 meet u at 2?
NPG---:  I can send a car 4 u
NPG---:  if u like
Ekj4:       yes, that would be great. don’t have a sister trying to hail a cab in crooklyn at all hours.
NPG ---:  r u a sista?
Ekj4:        haven't we been over this?  u will c
NPG---:   what do u look like?
NPG---:   describe urself!
Ekj4:        i'm skinny
NPG---:   u eat meat?
Ekj4:        on occasion
NPG---:   then y r u skinny?
Ekj4:        just got it like that
NPG---:   skinny parents
Ekj4:        i actually eat way too much junk food
Ekj4:        i'm skinnier than everyone in my family
NPG---:   do u think we could complete an interview like this?
Ekj4:        no, we cannot do the interview this way, but doesn't matter. u'll be here in a minute
NPG---:   y
NPG---:   then u have direct quotes

but this way is modern

Ekj4:        it neesd to be face to face
NPG---:   y?
Ekj4:        yes, but i have to set the scene. you get better feeling about the person that way
Ekj4:        anyway, this could be aaron for all i know.
NPG---:   but this way is modern
Ekj4:        yes, it is. i love to chat online
NPG---:   eye am not a liar
NPG---:   this way is cooler
NPG---:   and eye don't get motion sickness
Ekj4:        so u think we will just have some time tonight or would you be down to...
Ekj4:        hang over the weekend if i need more time?
Ekj4:        ur not going to be all drowsy, r u?
NPG---:   eye have 2 fly 2 oakland
NPG---:   2morrow
Ekj4:        for what? the all star game?
NPG---:   eye am never drowsy
NPG---:   yes ...the game
Ekj4:        u r going?
Ekj4:        i watch all teh games. i love the t-wolves and kg
Ekj4:        but i root for the knicks
NPG---:   eye maybe cannot go if eye go 2 new york
NPG---:   2 much flying makes me barf
Ekj4:        npg---, u sleepin'?
NPG---:   eye wanna c the slam dunk competition up close
Ekj4:         is kg in it?
NPG---:   no doubt
Ekj4:        you hang with him in minn?
NPG---:   if u were me...would u fly thamuch
Ekj4:        no i don't like to fly that much.  the loss of control and everything
Ekj4:        y ru coming here for 1 day? to do the interview?
NPG---:   yes, eye am coming unless u allow me 2 do something cooler
Ekj4:        i think u should come
NPG---:   eu
Ekj4:        eu?
NPG---:   do u know what that means
Ekj4:        please explain
NPG---:   this:
NPG---:   :P*******
NPG---:   me barfing
Ekj4:        lol!!!!
Ekj4:        why r u barfing?
NPG---:   HEY,not so loud!
Ekj4:        so r u coming or not?
NPG---:   yes, eu
Ekj4:        GREAT!

u type like me

NPG---:   we will call when eye ge there
Ekj4:        1derful
NPG---:   u type like me
Ekj4:        now that u have my e-mail, don't send me any spam!
Ekj4:        chain letters and nonsense
NPG---:   won't send u any mail
NPG---:   ever
NPG---:   many people use this screenname...
Ekj4:        ok, npg---
NPG---:   it's secret, so don't divulge it, ok?
Ekj4:        oh, good so you can maintain your privacy. of course, bro
NPG---:   ever go 2 prince. org?
Ekj4:        can't say that i have. do u?
NPG---:   once or twice
NPG---:   interesting?
NPG---:   yes
Ekj4:        i don't think i would like 2 c what random people r saying about me
NPG---:   sometimes it is funny
Ekj4:        taht would be strange but i guess you have become accustomed 2 it
NPG---:   yes
NPG---:   so, eye must go and pack, then
NPG---:   bye bye
NPG---:   c u 2night
Ekj4:        c ya later, inshallah
NPG---:   peace

I loved these chats because they are a reminder that our legends are also real people. He loved technology, Prince started YesWeCode with Van Jones to inspire more Black Youth to get involved in tech.

I talked to Erica on the phone just two day before she passed away. I miss our regular talks and her energy but most of all I miss my friend.  Prince is gone now as well, and even though he was a legend he was also a real human who loved people. He was a tech visionary who appreciated very early on how technology could bring us all together.

20 years later Prince would still reply to fans directly on Twitter (and often delete the tweets, adding to his air of mystery.) He was known to even engage in lengthy private DMs with fans and superfans.

I love what InStyle said about these Prince's AOL chats.

Internet chat from a rock star looks like Internet chat from anybody else.

I miss you two and what you brought to our lives. I'm glad we have your legacy and your work to remember you by.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.