2023 in Review – Steve’s Perspective


2023 was another transition year as I continue to navigate my ALS with work. It has become harder to write or at least more work is required. I use Voice Access day to day which allows me to operate my system and dictate everything from messaging in Teams to documents and blog posts such as this. While the technologies allow me to continue to contribute in a variety of ways they are not without their flaws. I find myself doing a lot of correction or relying on friends and family to correct and modify documents and PowerPoints in particular. Despite these limitations, I continue to find ways to contribute and be productive at work and in the community when I am able.

Where I Am Today

At the beginning of the year, I was using a smaller wheelchair but was able to get around well and was still able to go to Usergroup meetings and travel the country. My wife and I made a trip to Disney in May of last year. This was a great opportunity to experience what Disney had to offer for those of us with the accessibility issues. I will tell you they do a great job! As a year progressed, I started to lose more functionality in my legs. It was particularly bad after surgery in June. At that point it became increasingly difficult for me to participate in events further away in the region.

Steve and Sheila at Disney World

I now have a great new power chair which allows me to get around easily and we can use a mobility access van as well. There are still limitations on my ability to travel but we were able to make it out to Kristyna’s wedding in October using these tools.

Kristyna And Steve at her wedding

The other big change for me has been the effect on my breathing. This has limited my ability to talk in long sentences or for long periods of times without requiring a breathing break. Because of this new limitation, I have begun limiting my external speaking and webinars because I would not be able to maintain a long session over 15 minutes or so. As you can imagine this is very disappointing for me as I spent much of my career in the public speaking arena.

I mention all this not so that you can feel sorry for me, but so that you can understand why you may see me in different circumstances or contributing in different ways I’ve never done before. I have always loved working in the community and wish to do so where I am able to. And more about that next.

Contributing to YouTube

This year we launched the new YouTube channel for Data on Wheels. We launched this channel to give me a voice to support some of the working with ALS content I have been creating. My first content was related to using Voice Access. This is a series of videos that introduced users to how to use Voice Access in practical ways. It has a particular focus on enabling users like me on the capabilities on Voice Access. I use Voice Access for most of my navigation and dictation needs in the day-to-day work. I do however lean on Microsoft 365 dictation for longer content creation such as this blog post. Someday I hope to do all of it in one tool.

Fabric 5 video series logo

One of the big contributions I wanted to make was a series of discussions on Microsoft Fabric architectural decision points. That was how the Fabric 5 was born! I was able to maintain about 5 minutes of good conversation regarding Fabric and the various architectural decisions customers should make. This is allowing me to continue to contribute to the community despite the disabilities in front of me. I look forward to contributing even more this upcoming year as Fabric continues to change the landscape of data analytics as we know it.

Spirit of 3Cloud

This year was capped off with my company awarding me the Spirit of 3Cloud award. This award reflects the contributions I have made to the company while battling my disability but at the same time providing support for other team members and growing our organization. I believe this award represents my ability to continue to encourage others to give their best in their lives and in work. Thank you to all of those who continue to support me in this journey, and I hope to continue to represent 3Cloud well throughout it all.

Steve with the Spirit of 3Cloud Award

What’s Next for Data on Wheels

This year I am handing the primary reins all the Data on Wheels blog and YouTube channel over to my daughter, Kristyna, as well as our Data on Rails program for new bloggers. I look forward to seeing great things from her as she continues to grow in her experience and community involvement. You should continue to look for great content from her as she takes the primary role and voice for Data on Wheels. I have truly enjoyed contributing to the blog for over 12 years and will continue to contribute as I’m able to both the blog and YouTube channel.

I am not totally getting out of all of this but want to express my sincere thanks for all the support you all have given us through the years. As I continue to work through my ever-changing disease, your support continues to be appreciated and I will keep you all up to date.

Thank you and Happy New Year!

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