And now for something completely different.


I'm pleased to announce that, in contrast to my many appearances at developer events over the years, I'll be speaking at the Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge (CPAK), Sept 30-Oct 2 in Palm Springs(Rancho Mirage), CA.


TL;DR – if you have any interest in ancient technologies like the Baghdad Battery and the Antikythera device, or in subjects like non-traditional Egyptology and the 10,000 year-old ruins of Gobekli Tepi in Turkey and throw a wrench into mainstream views of cultural evolution, read on.


I've attended CPAK in the past, and it's full of intriguing research and reports by some real characters, which I guess now includes me. :) But perhaps what attracts me most is this disclaimer on the conference's About page:


Warning: This conference may address untraditional viewpoints subject to prosecution by the paradigm police. If you work in an untenured position in academia or other learning institution where unorthodox thinking is discouraged we advise you to avoid this event.


For the curious, the origins of this conference and its subject matter starts back in the late 1800s, with one Swami Sri Yukteswar, who is known as the guru of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi–yes, the book that Steve Jobs, among others, rave about. Sri Yukteswar wrote a short book called The Holy Science that, among other things clarified the ancient Vedic tradition of the "yugas" or cycles of time. Based on faulty calculations in that tradition, many believe that the world is heading into a 432,000 dark age within a cycles of millions of years (abandon all hope, ye who enter here). Yukteswar instead wrote that the cycle is more on the order of 24,000-26,000 years, and is related to the astronomical phenomenon known as the precession of the equinoxes (see Wikipedia). Accordingly, he pointed out that we today are in an ascending arc of an age of energy, which makes a lot of sense looking at the last couple hundred years. Yogananda made note of this in Autobiography of a Yogi (Chapter 16, read online here or here).


Based on Yukteswar's work as well as worldwide traditions about similar cycles–e.g. the Greek traditions of Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Iron ages–a number of historians, scientists, and other researchers have taken an active interest looking for evidence of the cycle within ancient sites and ancient knowledge (e.g. myths and legends). There have been general studies, such as Hamlet's Mill, The Yugas (the author of which is my next door neighbor) and Lost Star of Myth and Time (written by CPAK's organizer), and the DVD The Great Year (narrated by James Earl Jones).


There is also a host of more specific, ongoing research, such as the work of Boston University geologist Robert Schoch and Egyptologist John Anthony West, TV programs like The Pyramid Code (on Netflix), and more. I just recently finished reading two books by software engineer Laird Scranton that analyze ancient creation myths of both the Egyptians and a modern-day tribe in Mali called the Dogon, demonstrating that those myths clearly spell the atomic and subatomic theories of matter along with the fundamental tenants of modern string theory. Go figure.


Like I said, something completely different, and I'm looking forward to participating as a speaker this year. My topic is Participating in the Cycle of the Ages, Today. Should be fun!


Perhaps you might join us! Register at



I'm delighted to announce that Microsoft Virtual Academy has just posted an ~80 minutes couse (in nine segments) that I recorded with Jonathan Carter, Getting Started with Unit Testing for Cross-Platform Mobile Apps. This follows from the documentation I wrote on the subject for the earlier in the year, but is expanded to include both JavaScript and C# demonstrations.

The course is a great introduction to both the subject and to the type of content that Microsoft Virtual Academy has in general–all for free!

Yeah, it's been a while since I've posted anything, thanks to an intensive project in February and March, followed by a series of travel including //build, Xamarin Evolve, a graduation at Pacifica Graduate Institute, and a two-week road trip into eastern Oregon, among others.

Better late than never, though–specifically, the "intensive project" that I was on earlier in the year was MyDriving, which you can explore on

This was a project that Scott Guthrie asked for leading up to //build. He wanted to see a real-world, comprehensive demonstration of an IoT scenario that involved mobile apps, Power BI, a rich Azure back end, and complete documentation including an ebook reference guide that would explain how everything worked. So we got a team together to pull this off in about 8 weeks, and my particular role was leading production of the docs and the ebook.

With the help of a number of other writers in my org, especially Dominic Betts, Alan Wills, and Seth Mannheim, we were able to produce what I think turned out to be a pretty good 141-page ref guide, which you can download directly from I especially enjoyed the chapter on machine learning, which Alan write, because that's a space I wasn't familiar with. The same goes for the chapters on IoT from Dominic. I did the section on the mobile app and Azure App Service, and recruited a number of others for some of the other Azure topics. I also got to edit the whole thing multiple times, as is necessary when you're getting material from multiple writers.

All in all, it's quite interesting to see how many Azure services combine in the back end to make the system work. I hope you enjoy it too.

PS Right now I'm working on content related to DevOps for mobile apps. I have stuff on UI testing for Cordova apps using Appium that'll soon be on, and am working on a series of articles for MSDN Magazine that will roll out in August. Stay tuned!