Alma Mater of the American University in Beirut

I was listening to Richard Feynman’s 1964 lectures at Cornell University and this is the first time I realized that Cornell’s Alma mater sounds exactly like the Alma mater at the American University of Beirut. Well, it is the same music!

Richard Feynman is one of my favorite scientists and teachers. He has this remarkable gift of explaining science in the most interesting way. With great passion, he makes you imagine things and link them to physics and natural phenomena with a joyful and fascinating manner. My favorite piece is his fire explanation (here).


Back to AUB’s Alma mater, It seems that many universities used that same melody. Visiting Cornell’s Department of Music website, I found the below.

“The original melody was taken from a melancholy ballad, Annie Lisle, written by Boston musician H. S. Thompson in the late 1850s. Although Cornell is believed to be the first school to have used the melody for its Alma mater, it has since been copied by high schools and universities around the world, including Indiana University, the University of Missouri, the University of Georgia, the University of North Carolina, and even the American University in Beirut.” Cornell University Department of Music (source)

Here is the original melody: Annie Lisle by H.S. Thompson

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Microsoft Data Amp 2017

With 12 billion dollars yearly investment in R&D, Microsoft is really shaping our future with their amazing innovation. I just watched Microsoft Data Amp keynote by Scott Guthrie and got so excited about all the new technologies injected to the data platform ecosystem.

Microsoft Data Amp was on April 19, it is an online event focused on Microsoft data platform. It is of interest to developers and anyone working with data, analytics, and artificial intelligence. Below are some of the announcements from the event:

SQL Server 2017

  • SQL Server for Linux, you can now install it on Linux!
  • You can also install it on any Docker-based system
  • Adaptive query processing (the database will fine tune your queries intelligently)
  • Introducing SQL Graph, an extension to create graph objects and schemas
  • Support for R and Python with the new Machine Learning Services on SQL Server

These added features are really impressive for a commercial database.

Migration Service for Azure SQL

You can now literally migrate an Oracle, MySQL or SQL Server on premise to an Azure SQL running on the cloud. Just run a wizard on the Azure Portal.

Azure Analysis Services made GA (generally available)

An enterprise grade OLAP engine and BI modeling platform offered as a fully managed platform-as-a-service. This will let you combine data from multiple sources and create your own BI semantic model. You can connect it to Power BI, Excel and even Tableau.

Azure SQL additional features

SQL Agents, Service Brokers, SQL Profiler, R support and Transaction Replication are all made available to the cloud database.

What's more impressive is the new Threat Detection for Azure SQL which leverages machine learning to secure your database and guard its performance.

DocumentDB Spark connector

DocumentDB is one of the loveliest things on the platform, a highly available NoSQL database that stores your data as JSON objects (documents) and with an added value of indexing on all properties of the document. With the new Apache Spark connector, you can get the most efficient processing and simply scale to a global level while using DocumentDB as a data lake.

Also to mention more announcements on the Cortana Intelligence, U-SQL, Azure Data Lake Analytics and Azure Data Lake Services GA. Also R Server 9.1

You can check the event and keynote on the below links:


All sessions:

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Async & Await for Beginners

In response to the complexity of Threading in .Net, async and await keywords step in .Net 4.5 to make asynchronous programming easier. Asynchrony is quite essential when doing certain tasks like: calling web services, working with files and working with images. Microsoft technologies like Windows 8 and Windows Phone rely heavily on this new async programming.

So here is an elementary sample on async and await:

        public Foo()
            displayMessage = "Getting Message…";
        private async void LazyMethod()
            string result = await LazyMethodAsync("Geeks live longer");
            displayMessage = result;

        private Task<string> LazyMethodAsync(string message)

            return Task.Run<string>(() => "Welcome to " + message);


Async and await are always a pair. You can have multiple awaits in one method as long as it is marked async.

For more visit full msdn documentation.

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Top Samples : Windows Phone 8

Many of the times looking at a working code will cut through the confusion and get us straight to the thing we want to implement or the feature we are adding to our wp8 app. 

Below is a chart of top 30 samples that walk through Windows Phone 8 features and technologies.

Windows Phone Samples Chart



Other Samples 

Learn through code :

Nokia Code Samples :

Developer Code samples


Happy coding !

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Open source frameworks on Windows Phone 8

For the first time, and since the release of the new sdk, WP8 now supports so many open source platform frameworks. This shows how much communities are excited to work with Windows Phone.

This means a lot to developers, to be able to use their own acquired skills and expand the market opportunity. In the same time it’s extremely important for Windows Phone Market Place.

Check out the various supported frameworks:

  1. Apache Cordova (known as PhoneGap) now supports Windows Phone 8
  2. The next release of Sencha Touch 2 arrives with added support for Windows Phone 8
  3. A new jQuery Mobile theme for Windows Phone 8 is available
  4. SQLite can be used to build Windows Phone 8 applications. You can find the bits here.
  5. Here is a preview version of Cocos2D supporting Windows Phone 8
  6.  Ogre3D on Windows Phone 8
  7. has been updated to support Windows Phone 8
  8. SharpDX (an open-source C#/Managed DirectX API for.NET) is now available for Windows Phone 8
  9. Popular open source MVVM Light Toolkit gets a fresh new version supporting Windows Phone 8. Read the details on Laurent Bugnion’s blog

This added support for Windows Phone 8 in diverse open source and cross platform frameworks was made possible thanks to new features in Windows Phone 8: native C++ programming and Internet Explorer 10 expanded HTML5 support.

Developers who have applications based on these frameworks can publish them to the Windows Phone Store in record time. And this applies to various domains, like gaming with C++ or C# frameworks such as Cocos 2D, Ogre 3D and SharpDX, or cross platform development with HTML5 and JavaScript leveraging Apache Cordova,, Sencha Touch or jQuery Mobile. Developers using popular open source tools and frameworks such as SQLite or GalaSoft MVVM toolkit will also be able to reuse their code and skills.

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