Scott Hanselman

Changing your colors in Visual Studio.NET - Black versus White

September 7, '06 Comments [31] Posted in Musings
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UPDATE: http://studiostyles.info/ for a great growing community of Visual Studio Styles and Themes. You can create, import and export themes in your browser!

VsbeforefontsI run my Visual Studio.NET with Consolas 15pt and have since I discovered Consolas. I like to run at a big(ger) font for a few reasons. First, it looks best at 15pt. 16pt? Crap. 13pt? Please. I also run it with a white (paper-like) background and the default colors. I also tend to run FullScreen with SHIFT-ALT-ENTER.

More and more though I hear that folks are vibing on the black background again. Personally, I've always found the black blackground folks to be a little creepy - just a little too black t-shirt, if you know what I mean.

Lately, though, it seems, that folks I respect have been trying the black background thing. A while back Atwood blogged about this.

There's a lovely theme for Mac folks running TextMate using the Monaco Font by this fellow at Vibrant Ink.

Folks with "TextMate Envy" can get a free Monaco Font for Windows here. Since that was so easy to find, I figured I'd try black background world also. But not just "switch to black background," no, no, that'd be too simplistic. I need to pump up the color on the foreground as well.

Vsafterfontsthumb

Now, that doesn't look too bad. Here's what I did from Tools|Options inside Visual Studio.NET

  • Changed the font to Monaco in Environment|Fonts and Colors under "Text Editor"
  • Changed:
    • Plain Text - White
    • Line Numbers - Silver
    • Comments - 213,0,213 (Purpley)
    • Identifier - 253,223,57 (Mustardy)
    • Keyword - 244,122,0 (Orangey)
    • Operator - White
    • String - Lime
    • UserTypes - 179,179,0 (Mustardy)

I think I'll leave it like this for a while and see what happens.

Feel free to post links to a screenshot of your colors and fonts in your editor in the comments. Put the link to your screenshot in the Home Page field in the comment and your name in the comments will automatically turn into a hyperlink.

Now, gray background people? Well, they're just freaks. ;)

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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Grandpa

September 7, '06 Comments [15] Posted in Musings
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John Joseph HanselmanForty-three years ago today my grandfather, John Joseph Hanselman died after a long struggle with MS. He was bedridden and in the hospital for 11 years, nearly silent until a final day of nearly complete lucidity before slipping away.

My grandmother, now 90 and a joy, saw my grandfather in the 7th grade and announced to her best friend that she would marry that man right there, and she did. They had three kids, Michael, David (my father), and Susan who died after a struggle with MS as well.

John and Jean HanselmanI often look at his face and think, what a kind man this fellow seems. I am proud to - as some have said - share my grandfather's face, if only in a small way.

My dad is now a Grandpa himself and although my parents live quite a few cities away, he's up playing with Z a couple of times a week at least.

He can't begin to imagine how much that means to me, for Z to have a Grandpa when I didn't. He can't begin to understand what at fine job he and Mom did raising my brother and I. Every few years, usually around the Holidays he says something like "You're both great boys, you're not on drugs, and you're doing what you love."

Some of my earliest memories of my dad were of him telling my brother and I that if Ditch Digging was our passion then we should dig the best damn ditches we could. He told me to open doors for women and treat them with respect.

When I wanted money, he encouraged me at 14 to get a job, and I did, folding shirts at Nordstrom. When I asked for a car at 16, he said "good luck with that!" but when I did buy my $300 Datsun he helped me fix it up. He always had that way of pushing without shoving, enabling without being a crutch.

I was a fantastic nerd in school (Scott? No, really? You don't say? Please, go on...) but when my Dad showed up for Show-And-Tell with the entire Fire Engine and dressed up my 4th grade class in all things Fire-Bureau, for a day I was the coolest kid in school. Dad does stuff like that. He's always thinking of others; what he can do for others.

Sometimes I'll see a shadow or a glimpse of my Dad in a window as I pass, and when I turn to greet him, it's me. Sometimes when I'll ask a sick child "You feelin' a little punky, kiddo?" and I hear my Dad's voice in mine.

When I stop by a local Fire Station to visit my younger brother, a fire-fighter like my dad was for 30 years, the old timers at the station squint and me and announce, "You're Hanselman's kid, right" before I open my mouth and I smile and ask "Is it that obvious?" (Of course, then next query is always "Are you the Computer One?" and my smile quickly fades, but that's another post. ;) )

My Dad didn't know his Dad, didn't have a father for nearly long enough. He was robbed of a Father and it makes me heartsick. But he persevered, raised in the 60's by a single mother when it wasn't fashionable - and it certainly wasn't easy.

I am so happy to have these experiences of my Dad and I forget how blessed I am every day that he's in my life, and now in my son's life as uKhulu kaZ*.

Thanks Dad for being a Grandfather to my son, a Father to Josh and I, and more and more, my Friend.

Scott and Dave Hanselman

*The Grandpa of Z

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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Secure and Private Browsing

September 6, '06 Comments [10] Posted in Tools
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TorparkSo, after the Browzar fiasco, I went looking for a simple, secure, private Portable Browser that I could use to surf the net in strange places with.

What I found is TorPark. It's a modification of Portable Firefox (a version of Firefox for running portably on USB sticks) with Tor built in. TorPark takes Portable Firefox and preconfigures a number of Privacy-related Extensions.

The more people who are using Tor at any one time, the more anonymous it is. It's basically a giant, distributed Proxy Server. Everyone gets pages for everyone else.

I tried it, and while it's slower of course than going directly, I saw that my traffic was routed through a number of countries, just by repeatedly visiting WhatIsMyIPAddress.com.

This seems like a much safer and reasonable alternative to Browzar if you're in the market for a portable, private browser.

Here's TCPView running while I run TorPark. Notice Firefox only talking to localhost while Tor.exe connects to random Tor proxies.

Tornetwork

I also run my installation of TorPark on a TrueCrypt encrypted Traveller Disk on my USB device. I talk about TrueCrypt in this post.

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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Microsummaries - Über Simple Syndication

September 5, '06 Comments [0] Posted in ASP.NET | DasBlog | Musings
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I'm still not quite sure why Microsummaries are useful...seems like USS (Über Simple Syndication - my term) to me. I've been meaning to add this to my blog since I heard about it a few months ago, but then MikeG added microsummaries to his site and I figured if a Luddite like Mike would support this emerging format, then I would too. :)

Basically this is how it works:

  • Add a <link> tag inside the <head> of your document like this.
  • In your Microsummary endpoint, return some text/plain with the text you want to show up in the live bookmark.
  • In FireFox Beta 2, either bookmark this site, or drag a link to this site to your toolbar:
    Hanselmanmicrosummaries
  • If you've created the link in your toolbar, right click and select Properties and pick the Microsummary (or "Live Title"). If you've created the link via Add Bookmark, you should already be at this dialog.
  • Once the Microsummary has been selected, it will show up as the title of your bookmark or toolbar button.

This is easy to do to any ASP.NET site. Add an very basic HttpHandler with code like this:

using System;

using System.Web;

 

namespace Foo.Web.Services

{

    public class MicrosummaryHandler : IHttpHandler

    {

        public MicrosummaryHandler() {}

 

        public bool IsReusable{get{return true;}}

 

        public void ProcessRequest( HttpContext context )

        {

             context.Response.Write("Yay Microsummaries...get your summaries here. Get them anywhere.");

        }

    }

}

And add it to your web.config, of course:

<httpHandlers>
            <add verb="*" path="microsummary.ashx"
                      type="Foo.Web.Services.MicrosummaryHandler, 
                            Foo.Web.Services" />
</httpHandlers>

You can also use Microsummary Generators that are basically formalized screenscraping of existing (x)HTML. You make an XSLT that yanks what you want and turns that into plain text suitable for a toolbar button.

Direct (free) support for this has been checked into DasBlog and will be in the daily builds if we ever get this g*dforsaken thing to ship. :)

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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Coding4Fun Hardware Webcast - Available Offline

September 2, '06 Comments [1] Posted in Coding4Fun
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Coding4funwebcast1A few months back I did a Coding4Fun Hardware Webcast. I'll probably do a few more, but for now, I just noticed that it's available offline.

You can download the Webcast as a WMV. You don't have to get the Live Meeting Player unless you want the better quality output.

You have to jump through a few Passport hoops to get to it, but considering that it was a Webcast about Hardware, it's pretty good. I use the Webcam to take photos of what I'm doing, so you get a pretty good idea of what's up. It's more code and demos than slides.

All the demos and code are based on Coding4Fun articles from my column "SomeAssemblyRequired" there. I have two articles in the hopper I've already turned in with two more on the way.

Dan Fernandez has blogged that he's having trouble keeping up, but they are in the middle of a V2 of the whole Coding4Fun site. Be sure to visit his blog and give feedback on what you think can be done to make the site better. There's definitely a Hobbyist Renaissance at Microsoft right now. I'm having a blast, as I hope you'll see in the next four articles where I interface .NET with lots of hardware, some years old, some brand new, some robots and some bar code readers. Very cool stuff.

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.