Scott Hanselman

Self-care matters: Pay yourself first

July 14, '16 Comments [40] Posted in Musings
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My sonI was meeting with a mentee today and she was commenting how stressed out she was. Overwhelmed with work, email, home, life, dinners, the news, finances...you know. LIFE. I am too. You likely are as well.

We spent about on the phone talking about how to make it better and it all came down to self-care. Sometimes we all need to be reminded that we matter. It's OK to take a moment and be selfish. You are the center of your universe and it's important to take time for yourself - to appreciate your value.

Depending on your personality type, you may give so much of yourself to your family, your work, your family and friends that you forget what's at the core! You! If you don't take care of yourself then how will you take care of everyone else?

This may seem obvious to you. If it does, that's cool. Click away. But sometimes obvious things need to be said and for my mentee and I, today, we needed to hear this and we needed a plan.

Here's some of our ideas.

  • Cancel a meeting.
    • Maybe cancel two. If you look at your day with absolute dread, is there a ball that you can drop safely? Perhaps ask a coworker if they can handle it for you?
  • Pay yourself first
    • Finances are a stressor for everyone. My wife and I used to argue about little $5 debit card things because they not only added up but they filled up the register, were hard to track, and generally distracted us from important stuff like the rent. Now we get an allowance. I don't use a credit card, I have a certain amount of cash each week (we get the same amount). I can buy Amazon Gift Cards or iTunes cards, I can eat at Chipotle whenever, or buy an Xbox game. Now when an Xbox game shows up she is interested in hearing about the game, not sweating how it was purchased. Pay yourself first.
  • Setup Formal Me-Time
    • Once a week my wife and I have a day off. From each other, from the family, just...off. I leave at 5pm and come back late. She does the same. Sometimes I see a movie, sometimes I walk around the mall, sometimes I code or play Xbox. The point is that it's MY TIME and it's formal. It's boxed and it's mine. And her time is hers. You shouldn't have to steal an hour when you're super stressed. PAY yourself an hour, up front.
    • We also do a weekly date night. Always. Gotta prioritize. I hate hearing "we haven't seen a movie or had a dinner in years...you know, kids." Nonsense. Get a sitter from the local uni and pay yourself first with TIME.
  • Self-care
    • Schedule a massage. Have your nails done (everyone should do their nails at least once). Get a haircut. Dance. Clean your office. Sleep. Do whatever it is that feeds your spirit.
  • Say no
    • Sometimes "No. I just can't right now." is enough to stop an email thread or a something when you feel you just can't. Drop the ball. Life is somewhat fault tolerant. Use your judgment of course, but truly, unless your software is saving babies, maybe take a break. Even an hour or a "mental health day" helps me no burn out.

Do you pay yourself first? Do you need to be reminded that you deserve health and happiness? Let me know in the comments.


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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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Where's DNVM? Safely running multiple versions of the .NET Core SDK and Tooling with global.json

July 10, '16 Comments [15] Posted in DotNetCore | Open Source
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On June 27th both the ASP.NET Core and .NET Core 1.0 runtimes were officially released. They are now version 1.0 and are both supported frameworks. However, the "tooling" around .NET Core remains in a Preview state. However, it's really easy and safe to swap between command-line tooling versions.

  • NET Core SDK = Develop apps with .NET Core and the SDK+CLI (Software Development Kit/Command Line Interface) tools
  • .NET Core = Run apps with the .NET Core runtime

You'll see over on the .NET Advanced Downloads page the complete list of downloads including those for Windows, Mac, and several flavors of Linux. It's even supported on RedHat Enterprise Linux...it's surreal to see that RedHat even has .NET Core docs on their site.

Where's DNVM List?

A year ago before ASP.NET Core and .NET Core fully merged and the "dotnet" command line was created, there was a command line tool called "dnvm" or the .NET Version Manager. It would give you a list of the .NET Core runtimes you had installed and let you switch between them. While that exact style of functionality may return as the SDK and tools continues development, you can easily have multiple .NET Core SDKs and CLIs installed and switch between them on a per project basis.

For now, if you want the equivalent to "dnvm list" to see what .NET Core SDKs are installed at a system level, you'll look here.

Where is the .NET Core SDK installed?

When you install the .NET Core SDK on Windows it shows up in C:\Program Files\dotnet\sdk.

C:\Program Files\dotnet\sdk

In this screenshot I have four .NET Core SDKs installed. The SDK that ships with .NET Core 1.0 is 1.0.0-preview2-003121. However, you'll note that I have two newer .NET SDKs installed. Since it's all open source, you can head over to https://github.com/dotnet/cli and scroll down a bit.

There are CI (continuous integration builds) and a complete table of versions that you can download. Be sure to check the Build Status and see that things are passing and healthy, but also have a reason for downloading a daily build.

Know WHY you want a daily build of the .NET Core SDK. Are you checking on a specific bug to see if it's fixed? Is there a new feature that you require?

image

I noticed a specific bug that was bothering me in the Preview 2 tooling. I like to use the new logging system and I like that it uses ANSI Colors when logging to the console. When I go "dotnet run" I get very nice ANSI-colored output. However, when I used "dotnet test" or "dotnet watch," I would lose all my ANSI colors from the same logging calls and just get plaintext. I commented on the GitHub issue here as it's clearly a bug.

ANSI Colors are lost with dotnet watch

It's a cosmetic bug on the way dotnet.exe works with child processes, but it was still annoying to me. The cool part is that when it was/is fixed, as it was with this pull request, I can get a build and install it without fear.

Side by Side .NET Core SDK installs and global.json

I can check the version at the command line like this:

C:\>dotnet --version
1.0.0-preview2-003121

C:\>dotnet --info
.NET Command Line Tools (1.0.0-preview2-003121)

Product Information:
Version: 1.0.0-preview2-003121
Commit SHA-1 hash: 1e9d529bc5

Runtime Environment:
OS Name: Windows
OS Version: 10.0.143xx
OS Platform: Windows
RID: win10-x64

Here I've got the version that shipped with .NET Core 1.0. I want to use the latest one, then go back to my app and use "dotnet watch" or "dotnet test" and see if the bug was really fixed in this version. But what if want my app to be driven by this new dotnet CLI?

I've got a global.json in the root of my solution in c:\lab2 that looks like this. I'm going to change the version to the new one in a moment.

{
"projects": [ "src", "test" ],
"sdk": {
"version": "1.0.0-preview2-003121"
}
}

My projects are in src and my tests are in test, all underneath the main solution folder that contains this global.json file. If the "sdk" section didn't exist, running dotnet --version would pick up the latest one.

If the sdk is "pinned" to a specific version that means that when I run dotnet --version while in this folder or below, I'll get the specific version I've asked for.

Now I'll go to https://github.com/dotnet/cli and install (for example) 1.0.0-preview3-003180. This daily build has the fix for that ANSI bug I care about. Again, you can see this version is installed by looking in the first Windows Explorer screenshot above, and in c:\program files\dotnet\sdk.

Remember that my global.json in my c:\lab2 folder specifies (pinned) preview2? Now running dotnet.exe looks and works like this...read carefully.

C:\lab2>dotnet --version
1.0.0-preview2-003121

C:\lab2>cd ..

C:\>dotnet --version
1.0.0-preview3-003180

C:\>where dotnet
C:\Program Files\dotnet\dotnet.exe

See that? I get preview2 inside the lab2 folder but I get the latest anywhere else. But how?

A little known Windows command line trick is the "where" command. You can say "where notepad" and if there are more than one on the PATH, you'll get a list. However, here there's just one dotnet.exe, but I get different results when I run it in different folders. Exactly how this works is explained in exquisite detail in Matt Warren's post "How the dotnet CLI tooling runs your code" but it LOOKS like this, as viewed in Process Explorer:

DotNet.exe picks up the SDK version from global.json

And when I change the version in global.json to the daily I downloaded?

Here dotnet.exe uses the a newer installed SDK

The dotnet.exe application will look at global.json and then do the right thing. This way I can have lots of projects bring driven by different versions of the "dotnet" command without having to type anything other than "dotnet run" or "dotnet test."

It also allows me to keep using the .NET 1.0 runtime that is released and supported, while quickly testing new tooling features and checking on fixed bugs like this ANSI one that was annoying me.


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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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Is your stuff backed up? Recovering from a hardware failure

July 7, '16 Comments [30] Posted in Musings
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My computer died and I am sadI had a massive hardware failure over the holiday weekend. I can only tell you what I think happened. I'm not an electrical engineer so if you know more (and I'm sure you do), do feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

For my main machine in my home office I'm running the Ultimate PC that Jeff Atwood was so kind to build for me a few years back. It's not the Ultimate anymore, but I will say it's still VERY competent. I've upgraded the memory, video card, and SSD (more on the SSD in a moment) and it's a great machine and very very fast.

The tower was connected to an APC 850VA UPS that had worked nicely for a while. I replace just the batteries in my UPS's every 18-24 months. This last week the UPS started a low "scream" so I went over to check it out. It had turned off suddenly, so the PC and all the accessories were also off. I turned it back on and there was a series of snaps and pops, another screen, followed by a non-trivial amount of smoke and a burning electrical smell.

When it was all over, the main fuse of the house had popped, the UPS was dead and smoking, and the power supply in my computer was dead and smoking. Ugh.

I headed down to the local electronics shop and bought a new 1000W power supply, a new APC BR1000G, and went to town, rebuilding my machine. After redoing all the cables and stuff...it didn't boot. I didn't even see the hard drive (SSD). The drive is a Crucial c300. I loved this drive and it worked great for like 6 years...and now it's dead. Turns out that these Crucial drives are known to die when they lose power quickly. I tried to bring it back to live using all the various forums and whitepapers about this known issue, but nope. It's dead.

OK, so have I lost data? What now? Fortunately I backup my systems. And I hope you, Dear Reader, also backup as well.

Stop reading this now and please, think about your backups. Do you have one? Have you tested to see if you can restore from your backups?

Backups always succeed. It's restores that fail. Test your backups by restoring from them.

I've got a number of backups because I practice the Backup Rule of Three.

  • 3 copies of anything you care about - Two isn't enough if it's important.
  • 2 different formats - Example: Dropbox+DVDs or Hard Drive+Memory Stick or CD+Crash Plan, or more
  • 1 off-site backup - If the house burns down, how will you get your memories back?

Here's what my backup situation is/was and how I restored.

While you can use Imaging Software and restore an entire image of Windows or Mac, I find that reinstalling Windows takes less than an hour. I keep a bootable USB key of Windows 10 around. You can also download an ISO and make a USB key quickly. You don't usually need an activation key if you're reinstalling Windows. In my case, I installed the new drive, booted off the USB, signed into Windows with my Live ID (Microsoft Account) and it picked up my Windows license already.

Windows File History

I have a 4TB external drive on my desk that uses Windows 10 File History. This is like the Mac Time Machine feature. It's one of the best little "hidden" features of Windows 10 and everyone should use it. It's actually been around for years. My Documents, Desktop, and any other folders I want are automatically backed up as often as I want. I have a backup going every 30 min and I never think about it. It just works, and I don't notice any performance issues.

In this case, I *did* have crap on my desktop that wasn't in Dropbox and wasn't yet backed up to the cloud. I just hooked up the drive and restored from File History. I literally lost nothing. All my desktop crap was restored in place. If you have an external drive that you always have hooked up but it's not really getting use, setup File History in just minutes.

Multiple Cloud-based Backups

I have a number of clouds in my backup rotation:

  • GitHub - I have github repos, both private and public for code.
  • DropBox - My primary cloud files backup
  • OneDrive for Business - My work cloud files backup
  • Synology - I love my Synology. It's a complete home NAS Server with massive storage, RAID, VPN, Docker, and so much more. A daily joy and a local cloud.
  • CrashPlan - I keep TBs up there and pay them happily for the service.

Related Links

Here's some additional reading on ways to back up your system. Please do also help non-technical relative back up their stuff as well. Every week I hear about someone working on their PhD thesis losing their whole life's work an instant. Backup is a system and it CAN be automatic.

What do you do for backup?


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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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VIDEO: How to run Linux and Bash on "Windows 10 Anniversary Update"

July 1, '16 Comments [18] Posted in Win10
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Ya, I'm not a fan of the name Windows 10 "Anniversary Update" but it has been a year since Windows 10 came out. It's my daily driver and it gets better every month. This year it's gonna get better (like Windows 10.1 better if you ask me) with an update that's coming August 2nd!

In that update (or in the Windows 10 Insider Builds you can get if you're a techie or adventurous) you're going to get a lot of nice polish AND the ability to optionally run Linux (ELF) Binaries on Windows 10 at the command line. The feature is the Linux Subsystem for Windows or "Bash on Windows" or sometimes "Ubuntu on Windows." Call it what you like, they're real, and they're spectacular.

We first saw Bash on Windows 10 in march of this year at the BUILD conference.

Developers can run all their Linux user-mode developer tools like Redis or even TensorFlow (without GPU support).

I went and recorded a 20 min video screencast showing what you need to do to enable and some cool stuff that just scratches the surface of this new feature. Personally, I love that I can develop with Rails on Windows and it actually works and isn't a second class citizen. If you're a developer of any kind this opens up a whole world where you can develop for Windows and Linux without compromise and without the weight of a VM.

I hope you enjoy this video! Also check out (and share) my other Windows 10 videos or my Windows 10 playlist at http://hanselman.com/windows10.

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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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.NET Core 1.0 is now released!

June 27, '16 Comments [54] Posted in ASP.NET | Open Source
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I feel like it's the culmination of all these years of work in .NET and Open Source. This is why I came to work at Microsoft; we wanted to open source as much as we could and build a community around .NET and open source at Microsoft. 15 years and the work of thousands of people later, today we released .NET Core 1.0.

Take a moment and head over to http://dot.net and check out the download page. It's got a really nice place you can try out C# directly in the browser without having to install anything! There's also a great C# Tutorial with interactive browser-based tools as well.

.NET Core 1.0 runs on Windows, Mac, and several flavors of Linux including RedHat Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu. It supports C#, VB (soon), and F# and modern constructs like generics, Language Integrated Query (LINQ), async support and more. The Core Runtime, libraries, compiler, languages and tools are all open source on GitHub where contributions are accepted, tested and fully supported.

Getting started with .NET Core

What is .NET Core? Here's some details from the .NET Blog:

.NET Core is a new cross-platform .NET product. The primary points of .NET Core are:

  • Cross-platform: Runs on Windows, macOS and Linux.
  • Flexible deployment: Can be included in your app or installed side-by-side user- or machine-wide.
  • Command-line tools: All product scenarios can be exercised at the command-line.
  • Compatible: .NET Core is compatible with .NET Framework, Xamarin and Mono, via the .NET Standard Library.
  • Open source: The .NET Core platform is open source, using MIT and Apache 2 licenses. Documentation is licensed under CC-BY. .NET Core is a .NET Foundation project.
  • Supported by Microsoft: .NET Core is supported by Microsoft, per .NET Core Support

.NET Core is composed of the following parts:

  • A .NET runtime, which provides a type system, assembly loading, a garbage collector, native interop and other basic services.
  • A set of framework libraries, which provide primitive data types, app composition types and fundamental utilities.
  • A set of SDK tools and language compilers that enable the base developer experience, available in the .NET Core SDK.
  • The ‘dotnet’ app host, which is used to launch .NET Core apps. It selects and hosts the runtime, provides an assembly loading policy and launches the app. The same host is also used to launch SDK tools in the same way.

Blogs

Here are the major blogs carrying the announcement.

We are also releasing .NET documentation today at docs.microsoft.com, the new documentation service for Microsoft. The documentation you see there is just a start. You can follow our progress at core-docs on GitHub. ASP.NET Core documentation is also available and open source.

Have fun!


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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.