Scott Hanselman

Using Tailscale on Windows to network more easily with WSL2 and Visual Studio Code

January 22, 2021 Comment on this post [4] Posted in Linux | Open Source | Win10
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Tailscale is a zero config mesh "VPN" that runs atop other networks and effectively "flattens" networks and allows users/services to more easily (and securely) communicate with each other.

For example, I've written extensively on how to SSH into WSL2 on Windows 10 from another machine and you'll note that there is not only a ton of steps but there's more than one way to do it!

I have talked about this for SSH, but if you're an active developer and want to share the services and sites you're working on with your coworkers and collaborators, there's a non-trivial amount of setup, management, and maintenance to deal with.

Phrased differently, "wouldn't it be easier if we were all just on the same network and subnet?"

WSL1 shares its networking stack with Windows 10, so the "machine" is the same. Whatever YourMachineName is, running a service on 5000 is the same if it's a Windows service or an app running in Linux under WSL1. However, in WSL2, your Linux environment is "behind" your Windows host. While WSL2 makes it easy to hit http://localhost:5000 by transparent port-forwarding, your WSL2 Linux machine isn't really a peer on the same network as your other devices.

Using a zero-configuration networking system like Tailscale (and similar services) levels the playing field - and the network. Due to some characteristics of WSL2 there are a few gotchas. Here's how I got it working for me.

Tailscale on WSL2

Get WSL

Get Tailscale

Modify WSL2

  • I can't get Tailscale today to startup on WSL2 with ipv6 install, so I disable it.
sudo sysctl -w net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6=1
sudo sysctl -w net.ipv6.conf.default.disable_ipv6=1

Run Tailscale

Here you startup the daemon. There's no systemd (yet) on WSL2, but if you're on a version over Windows 10 build 21286, there are ways run commands on startup in the Windows Subsystem for Linux. Personally, I just do this in a bash script.

sudo tailscaled 

WSL doesn't have a way to do an interactive login process, so you wan tot create a pre-authentication key to authenticate a single machine. Then use that key, as I do here, to bring up Tailscale within WSL:

tailscale up --authkey=tskey-9e85d94f237c54253cf0

I like to keep this open in another Terminal Tab or Window Pane so I can watch the logs. It's interesting and verbose!

Within the Tailscale machines admin panel, you can see all the machines living on your new Tailscale network. Note that I have scottha-proto listed as Windows, and scottha-proto-1 listed as Linux. The first is my Host machine and the second (the -1) is my Linux WSL2 instance! They are now on a flat network! 

A list of all my Tailscale machines

I was also able to invite a user from outside my network with the new (coming soon) Tailscale node sharing feature. My friend Glenn is NOT in my organization, but just like I use OneDrive or DropBox to create a link to access ONE entity but not the WHOLE system, I can do the same here.

Shared my node with someone outside my network

Now I can have Glenn hit a service running in WSL2 from his house.

Make a Service and Bind it to the Tailscale Network

I've installed .NET 5 in my WSL2 Ubuntu system, made a folder, and run dotnet new web to make a Hello World microservice.

When I run the service - .NET or Node, or whatever - it essential that the service listen on the Tailscale network. Your Linux system in WSL2 is 'multi-homed' and is connected to multiple networks. By default my developer systems listen only on localhost.

For .NET there's several ways to listen on all networks (including Tailscale) but I used this one:

dotnet run --urls http://*:5100;https://*:5101

So here I've got myself connecting to the Tailscale IP that's associated with my WSL2 instance and hitting my Linux service running within:

Image

How far can we take this? Well, since I'm on the Tailscale network and Glenn has connected to it, the whole network is flat, so hitting my service is trivial! Here I am on Teams with my desktop on the bottom and Glenn's desktop on the top.

My service in WSL2 being hit my Glenn from a remote system

Cool. How far can we go?

Add Visual Studio Code and the Remote Development SSH Extension

Ok, so flat secure network, no limits! Can I make my WSL2 instance be treated as a remote development system for Glenn? Sure, why not?

To be clear - this is just me talking and experimenting, but there's something here. This can also be cross platform, Mac to Windows to WSL2, etc. You can also certainly use this section to create a VM in any cloud host or hoster, install Tailscale, stop worrying about port forwarding, and use it as a development box. Yes, you can just use WSL local, but this is fun and can be exploited in other cool ways.

On my WSL2 machine, I'll start up the ssh service. I could share public keys and do proper key-based login, but for this I'll do it by username.

I'll edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config and set the port, ListenAddress, and PasswordAuthentication to Yes. Here's an example:

Port 22
#AddressFamily any
ListenAddress 0.0.0.0
ListenAddress ::

PasswordAuthentication yes

I made glenn a local super user just in my WSL2 instance:

sudo adduser glenn
usermoid -aG sudo glenn

Glenn then installs the VS Code Remote Development pack and connects using Remote via SSH to my Tailscale IP. Here you can see VS Code from Glenn's machine is actually installing the VS Code Server and remote developers, and Glenn and code with VS Code architecturally split in half with the client on his Windows machine and the server on my WSL2 instance.

Note in the lower left corner, you can see his VS Code is connected to my WSL2 Linux instance's Tailscale IP!

Connected to Tailscale with VS Code

What do you think?

You may compare Tailscale to things like NGrok which offers a developer-oriented localhost tunneller, but there are some important differences. Do your research! I have no relationship with this company other than I'm a fan.


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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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Exploring my creativity through TikTok and YouTube technical education videos

January 15, 2021 Comment on this post [4] Posted in Musings
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Last year kind sucked, and the end of last year was particularly lame. I got off Twitter for a while and discovered TikTok. I went there as a creative outlet. If you choose to sign up you may get inundated with a bunch of stuff that makes no sense or has no relevance. However, within just a few days by searching for an “liking” topics that I wanted to hear about, I found a wonderful, joyful, diverse TikTok and have learned about everything from Sea Shanties to Indigenous Dances to Woodworking. It’s a lovely little community and I’ve enjoyed my week on it.

I've been trying out video lately, during these trying times, and have very much enjoyed both TikTok and YouTube as creative outlets. I sent out some of my favorite TikTok videos in my occasional newsletter this week.

Here’s some highlights of lovely things on TikTok I’ve found:

I also recently hit 100,000 subscribers on YouTube which is fun. Apparently they are sending me a plaque, so more on that soon. My most recent video is here What happens when you type a URL in the browser and press enter? I encourage you to go subscribe. You can get to my main playlist with the alias http://www.computerstufftheydidntteachyou.com

What kinds of creative outlets have you been exploring (to stay sane or otherwise) last year, and what are your plans for this year?


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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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Looking back on Software Development in 2020 and forward to 2021

January 14, 2021 Comment on this post [7] Posted in Musings
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Together mode in TeamsI think we can all agree 2020 sucked. Hopefully 2021 will be better.

I've been a remote worker for 13 years by choice but in 2020 I HAD TO DO IT because, well, most programmers and tech workers did. I wrote about how Remote work != Quarantine Work while our whole division and then the whole company moved back home! We were a fairly remote-friendly company before but I have to admit I didn't always think my coworkers had really deep empathy for the remote...until they, too, were forced to be remote.

Last week on the podcast, I got to speak with Amanda Silver. She's a CVP in the Microsoft Developer Division who has been coding and thinking deeply about coding for many years. She's leading the creation of tools like Visual Studio, Visual Code, Live Share, Code Spaces, IntelliCode, and other collaborative productivity products. She's always thinking about what coding will look like in 1, 5, and even 10+ years.

We talked about her thoughts on moving the division remote and whether it would slow us down. Would it change how we develop software? What about when everyone comes back? After talking to her about her thoughts on 2020 and where she thinks we're heading, I got to thinking myself and wanted to put those thoughts down.

2020 broke everything, and developers like to fix things

Somewhere in the spring as we started into lockdown, developers started making sites. Sites to track COVID, GitHub projects with scripts to scrape data and analyze it. Javascripters started making D3.js visualizations and codepen users started building on top of them. Bots on twitter would tweet out updates and parse new data.

When there's a problem - especially a scary or untenable one - developers run towards the challenge. Necessity breeds invention and 2020 was definitely a year where we were collectively reminded there was a bunch of stuff that was always possible, but we needed a push. Cameras and mics were upgraded, ring lights were purchased, home networks got fancier, and everyone who could called their ISP and got an upgraded plan. We could have done all this before, but why? Remote work happened for the first time in 2020, and I say that having worked remotely forever.

We HAVE to collaborate remotely now

Back in 2010 I spoke to PhDs at Microsoft Research about how people feel when they are remote and what they can do to be more connected. Ten years! Folks thought it was pretty "out there" but I sure needed my virtual cubicle buddy this year.

2020 accelerated what was possible with remote collaboration. I spent hours coding with Live Share, pushing text and coding context over the wire, not a ridiculous 4k worth of pixels. Having two cursors (mine and my friends) - or even 10! - in one Visual Studio seemed like magic. Even more magic is me pressing F5 and my coworker hitting their localhost and seeing our app running! We needed tech like this more than ever in 2020.

I heard one story where a company sent everyone home but folks had disparate desktops and laptops so they set up 100s of Virtual Desktops over a weekend so everyone was able to log into secure work systems from their home machines.

For us, since we use Github and Azure DevOps here in DeviDiv, our collaboration model is asynchronous and distributed whether we are in the office or not. Can you imagine everyone working remotely while using a locking source control system in 2020? I feel bad for those who are in that predicament.

Can something be BETTER remotely?

Many of us miss being in the same room with co-workers, and we will be together again one day, but are there some things that the constraint of being remote can make better? In the podcast episode Amanda said that our new hire bootcamp was so much better remotely!

She said (paraphrasing a bit):

We have a bootcamp for anybody who's newly started on the team. They actually fly out for two weeks. And the first week is introduction and the second week is our customer driven workshop. And our customer driven workshop is basically this really intense team project where you break up into groups of five to six people, and you're given a business assignment like - how could we double the number of Python developers using Visual Studio Code.

You're basically doing like stickies on the wall the entire week - that's how you collaborate. I've been so amazed that that has transitioned to be remote first. And it's better. It's better. That was a brainstorming process that I thought was only possible in person it's better.

When we moved remote, we had to essentially reboot the way that we thought about our meeting culture to actually make it much more inclusive. And if we go from 40 to 50% of the people participating to just 2 people participating, that's a huge, not only degradation, but you're wasting people's time. Right?

Now if we can actually take six people who've never met each other before and get them to work super collaboratively on a new problem area that they've never worked on before. It's incredible. And the thing that's also really awesome about it is they are forced by nature of the fact that this is remote to actually create it as digital content. Whereas in the beginning they would literally walk us through sticky notes on the wall and they had fantastic ideas, but it was really kind of somewhat unorganized and, and it was hard to be able to see and, and retain and share out afterwards what these incredible ideas were that they came up with.

But when remotely starts with this digital format by necessity because everyone is remote first, we actually now have all of these things archived. We can come back to them, we can go back and actually see, you know, what was the genesis of the thought and, and pursue a lot of these things that we really weren't being able to pursue previously.

Constraints breed innovation!

It was nice to be reminded that People are People

2020 normalized being a person. Having a boss welcome a sad child to sit with them during a meeting reminded me that, what, my boss is a person? With a life and kids? Having meetings while going for walks, talking about treadmill desks, and video called parties with family, and OMG when will this be over is the most horrible team building exercise ever.

It's forced us to rethink our group's culture, how our interpersonal dynamics work, how many meetings we have (let's have less), and it's given everyone the joy of somewhat flexible hours. We talk more now about 'is everyone in this meeting being heard?' than ever before. We use the "hand raising" tool in Teams to make sure all voices get a chance to speak.

If 2020 hadn’t happened, we may not have made these important leaps forward. MAYBE this would have happened by 2025 or 2030 but COVID was the pivot point that forced the issue.

Here's some other blog posts that are both reflecting on our last year and hopeful for the coming year:


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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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Microsoft Teams Buttons for Stream Deck to Mute, Share, Hang up, and Manage Cameras

January 07, 2021 Comment on this post [5] Posted in Tools
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The Stream Deck! (amazon link) is a lovely little device with bright LCD buttons that you can program to do basically anything. I decided to finally add a few hotkeys for Microsoft Teams.

I wanted pretty icons, so I used the same ones that Teams uses! The images in a Stream Deck are 144x144 so I used Ctrl-PLUS in Teams to scale the Teams interface up to a large size. The icons look great since Teams uses SVGs (scalable vector graphics).

Paint.NET making Teams buttons for Stream Deck

I saved each icon in its own PNG and put it in DropBox/OneDrive so I can sync it to all my machines.

NOTE: I put the ZIP file with my Teams Stream Deck icons here for you, if you want it.

Here's the icons in my folder.

Stream Deck Icons for Teams

Next just go into Stream Deck's editor and make a new Hotkey button for each.

Making a Stream Deck Teams Row

The Hotkeys are like Ctrl+Shift+B to leave and Ctrl+Shift+M for mute. Your Teams (or zoom) has to be the topmost app for the Hotkey buttons to work as Stream Deck is just "pressing the keys" for you when you press the Stream Deck button. There's no Universal Mute button in Windows...yet.

NOTE: There are some 3rd party utilities you can use to change your systems mic and speakers and make system wide changes with a Stream Deck. I've blogged about how.

It takes just a few minutes, but this little quality of life change makes daily Teams calls just a little nicer. I'd encourage you to take a moment and do the same if you have a Stream Deck! (amazon link)

A few minutes of work up front will make each day a little nicer and that time adds up!


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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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Scott Hanselman's 2021 Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List for Windows

December 22, 2020 Comment on this post [57] Posted in Tools
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Can you believe it's been 6 years since my last Tools list? Tools have changed, a lot are online, but honestly, it's just a LOT OF WORK to do the tools list. But here's one for 2020-2021. These are the tools in my Utils folder. I made a d:\dropbox\utils folder and I added it to my PATH. That way it's on all my computers and in my path on all my computers and I can get to any of them instantly.

This is the Updated for 2020-21 Version of my 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2014 List, and currently subsumes all my other lists. I’ve been doing this for over 17 years. Wow. I need to do better, I guess. 

Everyone collects utilities, and most folks have a list of a few that they feel are indispensable.  Here's mine.  Each has a distinct purpose, and I probably touch each at least a few times a week.  For me, "util" means utilitarian and it means don't clutter my tray.  If it saves me time, and seamlessly integrates with my life, it's the bomb. Many/most are free some aren't. Those that aren't free are very likely worth your 30-day trial, and very likely worth your money.

These are all well loved and oft-used utilities.  I wouldn't recommend them if I didn't use them constantly. Things on this list are here because I dig them. No one paid money to be on this list and no money is accepted to be on this list.

Personal Plug: If this list is the first time you and I have met, you should subscribe to my blog, and check out my podcasts, and sign up for my newsletter of Wonderful Things.

Please Link to http://hanselman.com/tools when referencing the latest Hanselman Ultimate Tools List. Feel free to get involved here in the comments, post corrections, or suggestions for future submissions. I very likely made mistakes, and probably forgot a few utilities that I use often.

THE LIFE AND WORK-CHANGING UTILITIES

"If everything was perfect, you would never learn and you would never grow." - Beyoncé

  • Windows Subsystem for Linux - It really can't be overstated how WSL/WSL2 has put the cherry on top of Windows 10. It runs on any build 18362 or higher as it was recently backported and it's integration with Windows is fantastic. It's also WAY faster than running a VM. Go learn more on my YouTube
  • Windows Terminal - Finally Windows has a modern terminal. You can run shells like Command Prompt, PowerShell, and Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). Its main features include multiple tabs, panes, Unicode and UTF-8 character support, a GPU accelerated text rendering engine, and the ability to create your own themes and customize text, colors, backgrounds, and shortcuts. It also includes a pseudo-console so 3rd party Terminals like hyper, conemu, terminus and more work better!
  • Windows PowerToys - They are back and they should be built into Windows. Install them here and get a color picker, fancy zones, file explorer addons, image resizers, keyboard manager and remapper, an Apple Spotlight-like running in the form of PowerToyrs Run, the Shortcut Guide and more!
    • Also check out Ueli as a great launcher/spotlight for Windows!
  • VS Code - Visual Studio Code is hella fast and is my goto text and code editor. I still use notepad sometimes and I'm in full Visual Studio a lot, but VS Code is like the Tesla of code editors. Check out my Favorite VS Code Extensions below.
  • PowerShell/OhMyPosh/PoshGit/Cascadia Code - I've had a blast this year taking my console prompt to the next level. Try these out but also look at Starship. Whatever you do, play! Don't accept the defaults!
  • ZoomIt - A true classic but also the answer to the #1 question I'm asked. How do you draw on the screen when you're sharing your screen? ZoomIt has been THAT TOOL in my toolbox. Really take some time and learn how to do boxes, arrows, colors and more and you'll be a more effective screen-sharer. In fact, just go get the whole SysInternals suite and put it all in your PATH.
  • Winget - It's apt-get for Windows. Similar to choco which I've used in the past, WinGet is going to be included in Windows 10 and has a ton of nice features. I use it to setup a machine in an hour from the command line, versus a day before doing it manually. Just add your MSA (Microsoft login) to the Package Manager Insiders Program and get it from the Store. It's bundled with the Windows App Installer. Then just "winget search <tool>" and winget install whatever!
  • QuickLook - Free in the Windows Store, just highlight a file in Explorer and press Space to get a preview!

Amazing .NET and Developer utilities

"Power means happiness; power means hard work and sacrifice." - Beyoncé

  • CodeTrack - CodeTrack is a free .NET Performance Profiler and Execution Analyzer. It works on basically every version of .NET and will give you massive insight into how your code is running! The flamegraph view is fantastic. It's free but you should donate as it's a one-person amazing app!
  • LINQPad - Interactively query your databases with LINQ with this tool from Joseph Albahari. A fantastic learning tool for those who are just getting into LINQ or for those who want a code snippet IDE to execute any C# or VB expression. Free and wonderful.
  • WinMerge - WinMerge just gets better and better. It's free, it's open source and it'll compare files and folders and help you merge your conflicted source code files like a champ. Also see Perforce Visual Merge which free and also can diff images, which is pretty amazing.
  • WinDbg - Low-level and classic but also new and fresh! WinDbg (Wind-bag?) is now in the Windows Store with ALL NEW VISUALS and more!
  • Insomnia and Nightingale are great alternatives to Postman for doing REST APIs!
  • NuGet Package Explorer - This app allows browsing NuGet packages from an online feed and viewing contents of the packages
  • WireShark - What's happening on the wire! WireShark knows!
  • GitHub Desktop - Gits, ahem, out of the way! Watch my Git 101 on YouTube!
  • RepoZ - This is a powerful repository hub for Git that enhances Windows Explorer with git superpowers! See your git details in your Windows Explorer title bar!
    • Also from Andreas, if you're a .NET person you'll want to look at Fusion+, a modern alternative to the Microsoft Assembly Binding Log Viewer!

Useful Windows Utilities that should be built in

"I love my job, but it’s more than that: I need it" - Beyoncé

  • Ear Trumpet - Fantastic advanced volume control for Windows! If you have ever wished that volume on Windows could turn their UI up to 11, Ear Trumpet is that app.
  • Teracopy - While I use the excellent built in copy features of Windows 10 the most, when I want to move a LOT of files as FAST as possible, nothing beats TeraCopy, an app that does just that - move stuff fast. The queue control is excellent.
  • AutoHotKey - This little gem is bananas. It's a tiny, amazingly fast free open-source utility for Windows. It lets you automate everything from keystrokes to mice. Programming for non-programmers. It's a complete automation system for Windows without the frustration of VBScript. This is the Windows equivalent of AppleScript for Windows. (That's a very good thing.
  • 7-Zip - It's over and 7zip won. Time to get on board. The 7z format is fast becoming the compression format that choosey hardcore users choose. You'll typically get between 2% and 10% better compression than ZIP. This app integrates into Windows Explorer nicely and opens basically EVERYTHING you could ever want to open from TARs to ISOs, from RARs to CABs.
  • Paint.NET - The Paint Program that Microsoft forgot, written in .NET. It's 80% of Photoshop and it's free. Pay to support the author by getting the Windows Store version AND it will auto-update! It's only $7, which is an unreal value.
  • NimbleText - Regular Expressions are hard and I'm not very smart. NimbleText lets me do crazy stuff with large amounts of text without it hurting so much.
  • Markdown Monster - While I love VSCode, Markdown Monster does one thing incredibly well. Markdown.
  • Fiddler - The easy, clean, and powerful debugging proxy for checking out HTTP between here and there. It even supports sniffing SSL traffic.
  • NirSoft Utilities Collection - Nearly everything NirSoft does is worth looking at. My favorites are MyUninstaller, a replacement for Remove Programs, and WhoIsThisDomain.
  • Ditto Clipboard Manager - WindowsKey+V is amazing and close but Ditto keeps pushing clipboard management forward on Windows.
  • TaskbarX - It literally centers your Taskbar buttons. I love it. Open Source but also $1 in the Windows Store.
  • ShellEx View - Your Explorer's right click menu is cluttered, this can help you unclutter it!
  • OneCommander and Midnight Commander and Altap Salamander - As a long time Norton Commander user (google that!) there's a lot of great "reimaginings" of the Windows File Explorer. OneCommander and Altap Salamander does that, and Midnight Commander does it for the command line/CLI.
  • WinDirStat - A classic but still essential. What's taking up all that space? Spoiler - It's Call of Duty.
  • FileSeek and Everything - Search it all, instantly!
  • I like Win+Share+S for Screenshots but also check out ShareX, Greenshot, and Lightshot
  • Alt-Tab Terminator - Takes your Alt-Tab to the next level with massive previews and search
  • PureText - PureText pastes plain text, purely, plainly. Free and glorious. Thanks Steve Miller
  • I still FTP and SCP and SFTP and I use WinSCP to do it! It's free or just $10 to get it from the Windows Store and support the author!
  • VLC Player - The best and still the best. Plays everything, everywhere.
  • PSReadline - Makes PowerShell more Bashy in the best way.
  • Yori and all Malcolm Smith's Utilities - Yori is a reimagning of cmd.exe!

Visual Studio Code Extensions

"I use the negativity to fuel the transformation into a better me." – Beyoncé

There's a million great Visual Studio Extensions. The ones I like won't be the that ones you like. But, go explore.

  • GitLens - Glorious. Just makes Git and VS a joy and adds a thousand tiny lovely features that will make you smile. You'll wonder why this isn't built in.
  • Version Lens - Do you have the latest package versions? Now you know
  • CodeSnap - Screenshots specifically tailored to make your code look nice.
  • .NET Core Test Explorer - Makes unit testing with .NET on VS Code so much nicer
  • Arduino for VS Code - The Arduino extension makes it easy to develop, build, deploy and debug your Arduino sketches in Visual Studio Code! So nice.
  • Coverage Gutters - This amazing extension highlights what code is covered with Unit Test and what's not. Ryan is looking for help, so go see if this is a great OSS project YOU can get started with!
  • Docker for VS Code - Container explorer and manager and deployer, directly from VS
  • GitHistory - Another nice add-on for Git that shows your Git Log
  • HexDump - I need this more than I would like to admit
  • LiveShare - Stop screen-sharing and start code and context sharing!
  • PowerShell for VS - A great replacement for the PowerShell ISE
  • Remote Containers - This is an AMAZING EXTENSION you have to try if you have Docker but it has a horrible non-descriptive name. But must be seen to be believed. Perhaps it's "Visual Studio Development Containers," I'm not sure. Open a folder and attach to a development container. No installs, just you debugging Rust, Go, C#, whatever whilst installing NOTHING. Amazing.
  • Remote SSH - Another in the VS Remote Family of Extensions, this one lets you use any remote SSH Server as your development environment.
  • Remote WSL - Edit and debug and build code from Windows...using Linux!
  • And finally, Yoncé, my current VS Code theme. Beyoncé inspired.

Things I enjoy

“We all have our purpose, we all have our strengths.” – Beyoncé

  • RescueTime - Are you productive? Are you spending time on what you need to be spending time on? RescueTime keeps track of what you are doing and tells you just that with fantastic reports. Very good stuff if you're trying to GTD and TCB. ;
  • Carnac - This wonderful little open source utility shows the hotkey's you're pressing as you press them, showing up as little overlays in the corner. I use it during coding presentations.
  • DOSBox - When you're off floating in 64-bit super-Windows-10-Pro land, sometimes you forget that there ARE some old programs you can't run anymore now that DOS isn't really there. Enter DOSBox, an x86 DOS Emulator! Whew, now I can play Bard's Tale from 1988 on Windows 10 in 2021! Check out Gog.com for lots of DOSBox powered classics

Oh yes, and finally Windows Sandbox - You already have this and didn't even know it! You can fire up in SECONDS a copy of your Windows 10 machine in a safe sandbox and when you close it, it's gone. Poof. Great for testing weird tools and utilities that some rando on a blog asks you to download.


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