I regret to inform you that Programming Zen will be on hold for a good while due to tragic personal circumstances.
On the evening of Thursday, October 13, 2016, an 18 year old girl having a domestic dispute with her mother allegedly set her own house on fire. The fire spread quickly to the whole fourplex, which included our townhome. (The girl has since been arrested by the police.)
My wife and I managed to rescue our dog, Annie, in the process. She came close to dying, but she is doing okay and is expected to recover.
Despite trying for several minutes in black acrid smoke, we simply couldn’t find our beloved cat of 8 years, Stella, anywhere in the house and she is sadly presumed dead in the fire at this point.
We lost everything we owned as the flames fully engulfed and gutted our house. It took firefighters the whole night to subdue the flames and smoke. In a twist of irony, this went down on our 12th wedding anniversary. Not how we expected to celebrate it.
My large collection of programming, computer science, and math books went up in flames. Including copies of my own two books.
As well as high-end electronics, laptops, passports, and everything else. I made it out with my wallet, phone, and car keys only. My wife lost everything too, including countless irreplaceable items as well as her business, in the process.
Unfortunately, due to the extreme circumstances I’m forced to put this blog and others on a temporary, potentially long hiatus, as I focus on slowly rebuilding our lives.
The only silver lining is that we’ve received an incredible amount of support from family, friends, colleagues, and readers during this difficult time.
If you’d like to contribute to the campaign setup by friends to help us get back on our feet, please consider a donation here:
Antonio Cangiano is a Software Developer and AI Evangelist at IBM. He authored Ruby on Rails for Microsoft Developers (Wrox, 2009) and Technical Blogging ( The Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2012, 2019). He is also the Marketing Lead for Cognitive Class, an educational initiative which he helped grow from zero to over 1 Million students. You can follow him on Twitter.