Scott Hanselman

Solved: Surface Pro 3 USB Driver Issues with the Surface Diagnostic Toolkit

June 21, '17 Comments [5] Posted in Hardware
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I've got a personal Surface Pro 3 that I like very much. It's worked great for years and I haven't had any issues with it. However, yesterday while installing a 3rd party USB device something got goofed around with the drivers and I ended up in this state.

Universal Serial Bus (USB) Controller banged out in Device Manager

That "banged out" device in my Device Manager is the root Universal Serial Bus (USB) Controller for the Surface. That means everything  USB didn't work since everything USB hangs off that root device node. I know it's an Intel USB 3.0 xHCI Host Controller but I didn't want to go installing random Intel Drivers. I just wanted the Surface back the way it was, working, with the standard drivers.

I tried the usual stuff like Uninstalling the Device and rebooting, hoping Windows would heal it but it didn't work. Because the main USB device was dead that meant my Surface Type Keyboard didn't work, my mouse didn't work, nothing. I had to do everything with the touchscreen.

After a little poking around on Microsoft Support websites, a friend turned me onto the "Surface Tools for IT." These are the tools that IT Departments use when they are rolling out a bunch of Surfaces to an organization and they are regularly updated. In fact, these were updated just yesterday!

Surface Diagnostic Toolkit

There are a number of utilities you can check out but the most useful is the Surface Diagnostic Toolkit. It checks hardware and software versions and found a number of little drivers things wrong...and fixed them. It reset my USB Controller and put in the right driver and I'm back in business.

This util was useful enough to me that I wish it had been installed by default on the Surface and plugged into the built-in Windows Troubleshooting feature.


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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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Get Solarized - Awesome command prompt colors for VS, VS Code, cmd, PowerShell, and more

June 17, '17 Comments [18] Posted in Musings
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imageI was on a call with my co-worker Maria today and she commented on how nice my command prompt in Windows looked. I told it was "Solarized" and then our conference call fell apart as we collected all kinds of fun info about how you can get Solarized in your favorite apps on Windows.

Solarized is a sixteen color palette (eight monotones, eight accent colors) designed for use with terminal and gui applications. It's by Ethan Schoonover and it's spread all over the web. You can see screenshots and learn about it on GitHub.

Solarized for your Windows Command Prompt (cmd, powershell, bash)

By default when you right click and hit properties on a shortcut for a prompt like cmd, powershell, or bash, you'll get a dialog that looks like this.

Default Colors in CMD

You'll see there's 16 colors, usually 8 colors on the left, and then the "light/intense/bold" version of each color on the right. I usually used Intense Terminal Green on black before Solarized.

Those values (the defaults) are stored in the registry here HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Console

Where default colors are stored in the Registry

Those defaults are used for NEW shortcuts or consoles that start afresh, via Windows+R. This won't change existing shortcuts you may already have created. There's a few ways to fix this.

I've found the easiest manual way is to recreate the shortcuts. You can do this by just copy-pasting a shortcut and using the new one.

However, there is talk of programmatically updating .lnk (Start Menu link files) with PowerShell.

You'd just go to the location of each LNK file you want to change, then run Update-Link.ps1 YOURLINK.LNK "light|dark" and it'll load up the .lnk file using Windows APIs and save it with a new Color Table.

I've started that work here and I'll PR the main repo if I can solve one issue - I can't get it to switch to Solarized Light, just Dark. It might be something wrong on my side. Please take a look if you're a Win32/PowerShell internals type.

Here I went to where the Start Menu stores most of the LNK files. You can also search for an item in your start and right-click "Open File Location."pow

Programatically Update your LNKs with PowerShell

Here's before and after with my Developer Command Prompt for Visual Studio 2015.

Solarized!

NOTE: Once this is done, in cmd.exe you can also switch between light and dark with "color f6" or "color 01" which is nice for presentations. I'm not sure how to do this yet in PowerShell or Bash.

Here is the palette after:

Solarized Palette

For PowerShell there is also an extra-step you'll want to put into your Microsoft.PowerShell_profile.ps1 where you map things like Errors, Progress Bars, and Warnings internally in PowerShell. Be sure to read the instructions.

Solarized in Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code

As for Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code, they're far easier. You can just Ctrl-K then Ctrl-T in VSCode and pick Solarized.

Solarized in VS Code

For Visual Studio (all versions) you can head over to @leddt's GitHub and download settings files for Solarized that you can then import info VS from Tools | Import and Export Settings.


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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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How to reference a .NET Core library in WinForms - Or, .NET Standard Explained

June 16, '17 Comments [13] Posted in DotNetCore
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I got an interesting email today. The author said "I have a problem consuming a .net core class library in a winforms project and can't seem to find a solution." This was interesting for a few reasons. First, it's solvable, second, it's common, and third, it's a good opportunity to clear a few things up with a good example.

To start, I emailed back with "precision questioning." I needed to assert my assumptions and get a few very specific details to make sure this was, in fact, possible. I said. "What library are you trying to use? What versions of each side (core and winforms)? What VS version?"

The answer was "I am working with VS2017. The class library is on NETCoreApp 1.1 and the app is a Winforms project on .NET Framework 4.6.2."

Cool! Let's solve it.

Referencing a .NET Core library from WinForms (running .NET Full Framework)

Before we parse this question. Let's level-set.

.NET is this big name. It's the name for the whole ecosystem, but it's overloaded in such a way that someone can say "I'm using .NET" and you only have a general idea of what that means. Are you using it on mobile? in docker? on windows?

Let's consider that ".NET" as a name is overloaded and note that there are a few "instances of .NET"

  • .NET (full) Framework - Ships with Windows. Runs ASP.NET, WPF, WinForms, and a TON of apps on Windows. Lots of businesses depend on it and have for a decade. Super powerful. Non-technical parent maybe downloads it if they want to run paint.net or a game.
  • .NET Core - Small, fast, open source, and cross-platform. Runs not only on Windows but also Mac and a dozen flavors of Linux.
  • Xamarin/Mono/Unity - The .NET that makes it possible to write apps in C# or F# and run them on everything from an iPad to cheap Android phone to a Nintendo Switch.

All of these runtimes are .NET. If you learn C# or F# or VB, you're a .NET Programmer. If you do a little research and google around you can write code for Windows, Mac, Linux, Xbox, Playstation, Raspberry Pi, Android, iOS, and on and on. You can run apps on Azure, GCP, AWS - anywhere.

What's .NET Standard?

.NET Standard isn't a runtime. It's not something you can install. It's not an "instance of .NET."  .NET Standard is an interface - a versioned list of APIs that you can call. Each newer version of .NET Standard adds more APIs but leaves older platforms/operating systems behind.

The runtimes then implement this standard. If someone comes out with a new .NET that runs on a device I've never heard of, BUT it "implements .NET Standard" then I just learned I can write code for it. I can even use my existing .NET Standard libraries. You can see the full spread of .NET Standard versions to supported runtimes in this table.

Now, you could target a runtime - a specific .NET - or you can be more flexible and target .NET Standard. Why lock yourself down to a single operating system or specific version of .NET? Why not target a list of APIs that are supported on a ton of platforms?

The person who emailed me wanted to "run a .NET Core Library on WinForms." Tease apart that statement. What they really want is to reuse code - a dll/library specifically.

When you make a new library in Visual Studio 2017 you get these choices. If you're making a brand new library that you might want to use in more than one place, you'll almost always want to choose .NET Standard.

.NET Standard isn't a runtime or a platform. It's not an operating system choice. .NET Standard is a bunch of APIs.

Pick .NET Standard

Next, check properties and decide what version of .NET Standard you need.

What version of .NET Standard?

The .NET Core docs are really quite good, and the API browser is awesome. You can find them at https://docs.microsoft.com/dotnet/ 

The API browser has all the .NET Standard APIs versioned. You can put the version in the URL if you like, or use this nice interface. https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dotnet/api/?view=netstandard-2.0

API Browser

You can check out .NET Standard 1.6, for example, and see all the namespaces and methods it supports. It works on Windows 10, .NET Framework 4.6.1 and more. If you need to make a library that works on Windows 8 or an older .NET Framework like 4.5, you'll need to choose a lower .NET Standard version. The table of supported platforms is here.

From the docs - When choosing a .NET Standard version, you should consider this trade-off:

  • The higher the version, the more APIs are available to you.
  • The lower the version, the more platforms implement it.

In general, we recommend you to target the lowest version of .NET Standard possible. The goal here is reuse. You can also check out the Portability Analyzer and run it on your existing libraries to see if the APIs you need are available.

.NET Portability Analyzer

.NET Standard is what you target for your libraries, and the apps that USE your library target a platform.

Diagram showing .NET Framework, Core, and Mono sitting on top the base of .NET Standard

I emailed them back briefly, "Try making the library netstandard instead."

They emailed back just a short email, "Yes! That did the trick!"


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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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LLBLGen Pro for .NET and .NET Core - Database Entity Modeling with any ORM

June 12, '17 Comments [20] Posted in Data
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There's opinionated frameworks, and then there's opinionated frameworks that also respect your opinion. LLBLGen is one of those. For many years it's been a great entity modeling tool as well as an excellent ORM (Object Relational Mapper.) It also supports all major ORMs in the .NET space like Entity Framework, NHibernate, Linq to Sql as well as, of course, their own included LLBLGen Pro Runtime Framework. It works with VS2015 and VS2017 and is actively supported and extremely actively developed. It's because of that active development that I wanted to check it out. It's got Getting Started videos and a TON of docs, so I figured I could do some damage pretty quickly with a 30 day trial.

NOTE: Just a reminder, I don't do sponsored posts for software. I just felt like checking out LLBLGen because it's been a few years since I looked at it least. All my observations are my own, unfiltered, as I know you like them, Dear Reader.

You can do Database First - a technique that is crucial for so many of us with existing databases but often downplayed with other ORMs - as well as Model First and then generate classes.

I decided to start with one of the newer SQL Server 2016 sample databases called Worldwide Importers. There's localdb versions, Azure SQL Database versions, and SQL Server 2016 backups. I made a database in Azure, uploaded a "bacpac" file to Azure storage, and imported the database into SQL Azure. Although I certainly could have done the work locally, I can get more horsepower in the cloud.

When I make a new Project in the LLBLGen GUI I can pick from a ton of different ORMs including 5 (!) versions of Entity Framework including EFCore, as well as NHibernate 4v and Linq to SQL (which is a nice touch as I have two L2S projects still in production.)

LLBLGen supports a bunch of ORMs

The WorldWide Importers sample is a nice one as it's typical and non-trivial in complexity. I pointed LLBLGen at it and let it rip. Make sure you wait until your database is totally restored into SQL Azure or your SQL Server or you may get weird errors about Zombie Transactions.

LLBLGen chewing on the DB

When it's done, you'll get an Errors & Warnings pane that will tell you how many stored procs, tables, views, etc that were imported, and that they are "unmapped," which is cool since you haven't mapped them.

Smart Errors in LLBLGen

You can switch your Target ORM Framework after you've imported your Data Model, but you really should put a little thought into how your database is structured and whether or not your preferred ORM supports all the features you (may) have used heavily in your Database. For example, if you're a very "stored proc"-style shop, it would be a problem if you really wanted to use an ORM that didn't support stored procs.

LLBLGen is rather extraordinary in that it not only has smarts about what's possible and what's not, but it also offers you a multiple-choice solution framework when something is wrong. For example, there's a mapping here that isn't support, so it's offering me three options to fix it, including (of course) changing the offending entity by changing/adding fields.

LLBLGen offers multiple fixes and can do them right there in the Errors pane

Once you have a valid model and have corrected any issues and/or made appropriate changes, you can Generate Source Code for your target platform, language, and ORM Framework.

Generating Code with LLBLGen

Make no mistake about it - there's a LOT of depth here. There's multiple kinds of templates and tons of options. You may not get it all right on the first try, but it's very forgiving. Just remember where the authoritative source of truth is. Is your model the truth? Or your database? As you move forward (depending on where you started) your source of truth will likely change. You can use any of the many code generators or expand them with your own modifications and metadata.

You'll also likely get addicted to the nice visual editors for entities (a good thing!).

LLBLGen Visual Editors

Quick Model is also nice if you want to visualize (and change) relationships between just a few of your many tables.

LLBLGen Visual Designer

If you get fast enough, with practice you can use the Quick Model editor and it's Command Input palette to model most of a new database when interviewing domain experts. The visual designer is fast and flexible.

I've truly barely scratched the surface of this deep tool. The pricing is very reasonable considering all it does.

Have you used LLBLGen or similar tools lately? What's been your impression?


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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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Trying .NET Core on Linux with just a tarball (without apt-get)

June 8, '17 Comments [14] Posted in DotNetCore | Linux
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There's a great post on the .NET Blog about the crazy Performance Improvements in .NET Core that ended up on Hacker News. The top comment on HN is a great one that points out that the http://dot.net  website could be simpler, that it could be a one-pager with a clearer Getting Started experience.

They also said this:

Also, have a simple downloadable .tar.gz which expands into /bin + /lib + /examples. I loved C# back in my Windows days and I moved to Linux to escape Microsoft complexities and over-reliance on complex IDEs and tools, scattered like shrapnel all over my c:/

I will not run apt-get against your repo without knowing ahead of time what I'm getting and where will it all go, so let me play with the tarball first.

This is a great point, and we're going to look at revamping and simplifying the http://dot.net/core with this in mind in the next few weeks. They're saying that the Linux instructions, like these instructions on installing .NET Core on Ubuntu for example, make you trust a 3rd party apt repro and apt-get .NET, while they want a more non-committal option. This gets to the larger "the website is getting bigger than it needs to be and confusing" point.

.NET Core from a tarbar on Linux

Trying out .NET Core from a tarball

Go to https://www.microsoft.com/net/download/linux and download the .tar.gz for your distro to a nice local area.

NOTE: You MAY need to apt-get install libunwind8 if you get an error like "Failed to load /home/ubuntu/teste-dotnet-rc2/libcoreclr.so, error: libunwind.so.8: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory" but libunwind isn't very controversial.

Once you've unziped/tar'd it into a local folder, just be sure to run dotnet from that folder.

Desktop $ mkdir dotnetlinux
Desktop $ cd dotnetlinux/
dotnetlinux $ lsb_release -a
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description: Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS
Release: 16.04
Codename: xenial
dotnetlinux $ curl -o dotnet.tar.gz https://download.microsoft.com/download/E/7/8/E782433E-7737-4E6C-BFBF-290A0A81C3D7/dotnet-dev-ub
untu.16.04-x64.1.0.4.tar.gz
dotnetlinux $ tar -xvf dotnet.tar.gz
dotnetlinux $ cd /mnt/c/Users/scott/Desktop/localdotnettest/
localdotnettest $ ../dotnetlinux/dotnet new console
Content generation time: 103.842 ms
The template "Console Application" created successfully.
localdotnettest $ ../dotnetlinux/dotnet restore
Restoring packages for /mnt/c/Users/scott/Desktop/localdotnettest/localdotnettest.csproj...
localdotnettest $ ../dotnetlinux/dotnet run
Hello World!

There aren't samples in this tar file (yet) but there are (some weak) samples at https://github.com/dotnet/core/tree/master/samples you can clone https://github.com/dotnet/core.git and run them from samples. Note from the ReadMe that https://github.com/dotnet/core is the jumping off point for the other repos.

The more interesting "samples" are the templates you have available to you from "dotnet new."

localdotnettest $ /mnt/c/Users/scott/Desktop/dotnetlinux/dotnet new
*SNIP*

Templates Short Name Language Tags
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Console Application console [C#], F# Common/Console
Class library classlib [C#], F# Common/Library
Unit Test Project mstest [C#], F# Test/MSTest
xUnit Test Project xunit [C#], F# Test/xUnit
ASP.NET Core Empty web [C#] Web/Empty
ASP.NET Core Web App mvc [C#], F# Web/MVC
ASP.NET Core Web API webapi [C#] Web/WebAPI
Solution File sln Solution

Examples:
dotnet new mvc --auth None --framework netcoreapp1.1
dotnet new classlib
dotnet new --help

From here you can "dotnet new web" or "dotnet new console" using your local dotnet before you decide to commit to installing .NET Core from an apt repo or yum or whatever.


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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.