Scott Hanselman

Visualizing your real-time blood sugar values AND a Git Prompt on Windows PowerShell and Linux Bash

December 17, '17 Comments [5] Posted in Diabetes
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imageMy buddy Nate become a Type 1 Diabetic a few weeks back. It sucks...I've been one for 25 years. Nate is like me - an engineer - and the one constant with all engineers that become diabetic, we try to engineer our ways out of it. ;) I use an open source artificial pancreas system with an insulin pump and continuous glucose system. At the heart of that system is some server-side software called Nightscout that has APIs for managing my current and historical blood sugar. It's updated every 5 minutes, 24 hours a day.

I told Nate to get NightScout set up ASAP and start playing with the API. Yesterday Nate added his blood sugar to his terminal prompt!

I love this. He uses Linux, but I use Linux (Ubuntu) on Windows 10, so I wanted to see if I could run his little node up from Windows (I'll make it a Windows service).

Yes, you can run cron jobs under Windows 10's Ubuntu, but only when there is an instance of bash running (the Linux subsystem shuts down when it's not used) and upstart doesn't work yet. I could run it from the .bashrc or use various hacks/workarounds to keep WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) running, but the benefit of running this as a Windows Service is that I can see my blood sugar in all prompts on Windows, like Powershell as well!

I'll use the "non-sucking service manager (NSSM)" to run Nate's non-Windows-service node app as a Windows service. I ran "nssm install nsprompt" and get this GUI. Then I add the --nightscout parameter and pass in my Nightscout blood sugar website. You'll get an error immediately when the service runs if this is wrong.

NSSM Service Installer

From the Log on tab, make sure the service is logged on as you. I login with my MSA (Microsoft Account) so I used my email address. This is to ensure that with the app writes to ~ on Windows, it's putting your sugars in c:\users\LOGGEDINUSER\.

Next, run the service with "sc start NSPrompt" or from the Services GUI.

My sugar updater runs in a Windows Service

Nate's node app gets blood sugar from Nightscout and puts it in ~/.bgl-cache. However, to be clear since I'm running it from the Windows side while changing the Bash/Ubuntu on Windows prompt from Linux, it's important to note that from WIndows ~/ is really c:\users\LOGGEDINUSER\ so I changed the Bash .profile to load the values from the Windows mnt'ed drives like this:

eval "$(cat /mnt/c/Users/scott/.bgl-cache)"

Also, you need to make sure that you're using a Unicode font in your console. For example, I like using Fira Code Light, but it doesn't have a single character ⇈ double-up arrow (U+21C8), so I replaced it with two singles. You get the idea. You need a font that has the glyphs you want and you need those glyphs displaying properly in your .profile text file.

You'll need a Unicode Font

And boom. It's glorious. My current blood sugar and trends in my prompt. Thanks Nate!

My sugars!

So what about PowerShell as well? I want to update that totally different prompt/world/environment/planet from the same file that's updated by the service. Also, I already have a custom prompt with Git details since I use Posh-Git from Keith Dahlby (as should you).

I can edit $profile.CurrentUserAllHosts with "powershell_ise $profile.CurrentUserAllHosts" and add a prompt function before "import-module posh-git."

Here's Nate's same prompt file, translated into a PowerShell prompt() method, chained with PoshGit. So I can now see my Git Status AND my Blood Sugar. My two main priorities!

NOTE: If you don't use posh-git, you can remove the "WriteVcsStatus" line and the "Import-Module posh-git" and you should be set!

function prompt {
Get-Content $ENV:USERPROFILE\.bgl-cache | %{$bgh = @{}} {if ($_ -match "local (.*)=""(.*)""") {$bgh[$matches[1]]=$matches[2].Trim();}}
$trend = "?"
switch ($bgh.nightscout_trend) { "DoubleUp" {$trend="↑↑"} "SingleUp" {$trend="↑"} "FortyFiveUp" {$trend="↗"} "Flat" {$trend="→"} "FortyFiveDown" {$trend="↘"} "SingleDown" {$trend="↓"} "DoubleDown" {$trend="↓↓"} }
$bgcolor = [Console]::ForegroundColor.ToString()
if ([int]$bgh.nightscout_bgl -ge [int]$bgh.nightscout_target_top) {
$bgcolor = "Yellow"
} ElseIf ([int]$bgh.nightscout_bgl -le [int]$bgh.nightscout_target_bottom) {
$bgcolor = "Red"
} Else {
$bgcolor = "Green"
}

Write-Host $bgh.nightscout_bgl -NoNewline -ForegroundColor $bgcolor
Write-Host $trend" " -NoNewline -ForegroundColor $bgcolor
[Console]::ResetColor()

$origLastExitCode = $LASTEXITCODE
Write-Host $ExecutionContext.SessionState.Path.CurrentLocation -NoNewline
Write-VcsStatus
$LASTEXITCODE = $origLastExitCode
"$('>' * ($nestedPromptLevel + 1)) "
}

Import-Module posh-git

Very cool stuff.

Blood Sugar and Git in PowerShell!

This concept, of course, could be expanded to include your heart rate, FitBit steps, or any health related metrics you'd like! Thanks Nate for the push to get this working on Windows!


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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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Setting up a managed container cluster with AKS and Kubernetes in the Azure Cloud running .NET Core in minutes

December 14, '17 Comments [11] Posted in Azure
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After building a Raspberry Pi Kubernetes Cluster, I wanted to see how quickly I could get up to speed on Kubernetes in Azure.

  • I installed the Azure CLI (Command Line Interface) in a few minutes - works on Windows, Mac or Linux.
    • I also remembered that I don't really need to install anything locally. I could just use the Azure Cloud Shell directly from within VS Code. I'd get a bash shell, Azure CLI, and automatically logged in without doing anything manual.
    • Anyway, while needlessly installing the Azure CLI locally, I read up on the Azure Container Service (AKS) here. There's walkthrough for creating an AKS Cluster here. You can actually run through the whole tutorial in the browser with an in-browser shell.
  • After logging in with "az login" I made a new resource group to hold everything with "az group create -l centralus -n aks-hanselman." It's in the centralus and it's named aks-hanselman.
  • Then I created a managed container service like this:
    C:\Users\scott\Source>az aks create -g aks-hanselman -n hanselkube --generate-ssh-keys
    / Running ...
  • This runs for a few minutes while creating, then when it's done, I can get ahold of the credentials I need with
    C:\Users\scott\Source>az aks get-credentials --resource-group aks-hanselman --name hanselkube
    Merged "hanselkube" as current context in C:\Users\scott\.kube\config
  • I can install Kubenetes CLI "kubectl" easily with "az aks install-cli"
    Then list out the nodes that are ready to go!
    C:\Users\scott\Source>kubectl get nodes
    NAME                       STATUS    ROLES     AGE       VERSION
    aks-nodepool1-13823488-0   Ready     agent     1m        v1.7.7
    aks-nodepool1-13823488-1   Ready     agent     1m        v1.7.7
    aks-nodepool1-13823488-2   Ready     agent     1m        v1.7.7

A year ago, Glenn Condron and I made a silly web app while recording a Microsoft Virtual Academy. We use it for demos and to show how even old (now over a year) containers can still be easily and reliably deployed. It's up at https://hub.docker.com/r/glennc/fancypants/.

I'll deploy it to my new Kubernetes Cluster up in Azure by making this yaml file:

apiVersion: apps/v1beta1
kind: Deployment
metadata:
name: fancypants
spec:
replicas: 1
template:
metadata:
labels:
app: fancypants
spec:
containers:
- name: fancypants
image: glennc/fancypants:latest
ports:
- containerPort: 80
---
apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
metadata:
name: fancypants
spec:
type: LoadBalancer
ports:
- port: 80
selector:
app: fancypants

I saved it as fancypants.yml, then run kubectl create -f fancypants.yml.

I can run kubectl proxy and then hit http://localhost:8001/api/v1/namespaces/kube-system/services/http:kubernetes-dashboard:/proxy/#!/overview?namespace=default to look at the Kubernetes Dashboard, proxyed locally, but all running in Azure.

image

When fancypants is created and deployed, then I can find out its external IP with:

C:\Users\scott\Sources>kubectl get service
NAME TYPE CLUSTER-IP EXTERNAL-IP PORT(S) AGE
fancypants LoadBalancer 10.0.116.145 52.165.232.77 80:31040/TCP 7m
kubernetes ClusterIP 10.0.0.1 <none> 443/TCP 18m

There's my IP, I hit it and boom, I've got fancypants in the managed cloud. I only have to pay for the VMs I'm using, and not for the VM that manages Kubernetes. That means the "kube-system" namespace is free, I pay for other namespaces like my "default" one.

image

Best part? When I'm done, I can just delete the resource group and take it all away. Per minute billing.

C:\Users\scott\Sources>az group delete -n aks-hanselman --yes

Super fun and just took about 30 min to install, read about, try it out, write this blog post, then delete. Try it yourself!


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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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The 2017 Christmas List of Best STEM Toys for kids

December 9, '17 Comments [29] Posted in Reviews
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In 2016 and 2015 I made a list of best Christmas STEM Toys for kids! If I may say so, they are still good lists today, so do check them out. Be aware I use Amazon referral links so I get a little kickback (and you support this blog!) when you use these links. I'll be using the pocket money to...wait for it...buy STEM toys for kids! So thanks in advance!

Here's a Christmas List of things that I've either personally purchased, tried for a time, or borrowed from a friend. These are great toys and products for kids of all genders and people of all ages.

Piper Computer Kit with Minecraft Raspberry Pi edition

The Piper is a little spendy at first glance, but it's EXTREMELY complete and very thoughtfully created. Sure, you can just get a Raspberry Pi and hack on it - but the Piper is not just a Pi. It's a complete kit where your little one builds their own wooden "laptop" box (more of a luggable), and then starting with just a single button, builds up the computer. The Minecraft content isn't just vanilla Microsoft. It's custom episodic content! Custom voice overs, episodes, and challenges.

What's genius about Piper, though, is how the software world interacts with the hardware. For example, at one point you're looking for treasure on a Minecraft beach. The Piper suggests you need a treasure detector, so you learn about wiring and LEDs and wire up a treasure detector LED while it's running. Then you run your Minecraft person around while the LED blinks faster to detect treasure. It's absolute genius. Definitely a favorite in our house for the 8-12 year old set.

Piper Raspberry Pi Kit

Suspend! by Melissa and Doug

Suspend is becoming the new Jenga for my kids. The game doesn't look like much if you judge a book by its cover, but it's addictive and my kids now want to buy a second one to see if they can build even higher. An excellent addition to family game night.

Suspend! by Melissa and Doug

Engino Discovering Stem: Levers, Linkages & Structures Building Kit

I love LEGO but I'm always trying new building kids. Engino is reminiscent of Technics or some of the advanced LEGO elements, but this modestly priced kit is far more focused - even suitable for incorporating into home schooling.

Engino Discovering Stem: Levers, Linkages & Structures Building Kit

Gravity Maze

I've always wanted a 3D Chess Set. Barring that, check out Gravity Maze. It's almost like a physical version of a well-designed iPad game. It included 60 challenges (levels) that you then add pieces to in order to solve. It gets harder than you'd think, fast! If you like this, also check out Circuit Maze.

818Ly6yML

Osmo Genius Kit (2017)

Osmo is an iPad add-on that takes the ingenious idea of an adapter that lets your iPad see the tabletop (via a mirror/lens) and then builds on that clever concept with a whole series of games, exercises, and core subject tests. It's best for the under 12 set - I'd say it's ideal for about 6-8 year olds.

81iVPligcyL


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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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Accelerated 3D VR, sure, but impress me with a nice ASCII progress bar or spinner

December 4, '17 Comments [13] Posted in DotNetCore
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I'm glad you have a 1080p 60fps accelerated graphics setup, but I'm old school. Impress me with a really nice polished ASCII progress bar or spinner!

I received two tips this week about cool .NET Core ready progress bars so I thought I'd try them out.

ShellProgressBar by Martijn Laarman

This one is super cool. It even supports child progress bars for async stuff happening in parallel! It's very easy to use. I was able to get a nice looking progress bar going in minutes.

static void Main(string[] args)
{
const int totalTicks = 100;
var options = new ProgressBarOptions
{
ForegroundColor = ConsoleColor.Yellow,
ForegroundColorDone = ConsoleColor.DarkGreen,
BackgroundColor = ConsoleColor.DarkGray,
BackgroundCharacter = '\u2593'
};
using (var pbar = new ProgressBar(totalTicks, "Initial message", options))
{
pbar.Tick(); //will advance pbar to 1 out of 10.
//we can also advance and update the progressbar text
pbar.Tick("Step 2 of 10");
TickToCompletion(pbar, totalTicks, sleep: 50);
}
}

Boom.

Cool ASCII Progress Bars in .NET Core

Be sure to check out the examples for ShellProgressBar, specifically ExampleBase.cs where he has some helper stuff like TickToCompletion() that isn't initially obvious.

Kurukuru by Mayuki Sawatari

Another nice progress system that is in active development for .NET Core (like super active...I can see they updated code an hour ago!) is called Kurukuru. This code is less about progress bars and more about spinners. It's smart about Unicode vs. non-Unicode as there's a lot of cool characters you could use in a Unicode-aware console that make for attractive spinners.

What a lovely ASCII Spinner in .NET Core!

Kurukuru is also super easy to use and integrated into your code. It also uses the "using" disposable pattern in a clever way. Wrap your work and if you throw an exception, it will show a failed spinner.

Spinner.Start("Processing...", () =>
{
Thread.Sleep(1000 * 3);

// MEMO: If you want to show as failed, throw a exception here.
// throw new Exception("Something went wrong!");
});

Spinner.Start("Stage 1...", spinner =>
{
Thread.Sleep(1000 * 3);
spinner.Text = "Stage 2...";
Thread.Sleep(1000 * 3);
spinner.Fail("Something went wrong!");
});

TIP: If your .NET Core console app wants to use an async Main (like I did) and call Kurukuru's async methods, you'll want to indicate you want to use the latest C# 7.1 features by adding this to your project's *.csproj file:

<PropertyGroup>
    <LangVersion>latest</LangVersion>
</PropertyGroup>

This allowed me to do this:

public static async Task Main(string[] args)
{
Console.WriteLine("Hello World!");
await Spinner.StartAsync("Stage 1...", async spinner =>
{
await Task.Delay(1000 * 3);
spinner.Text = "Stage 2...";
await Task.Delay(1000 * 3);
spinner.Fail("Something went wrong!");
});
}

Did I miss some? I'm sure I did. What nice ASCII progress bars and spinners make YOU happy?

And again, as with all Open Source, I encourage you to HELP OUT! I know the authors would appreciate it.


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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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Azure Cloud Shell - your own bash shell and container - right inside Visual Studio Code

December 3, '17 Comments [9] Posted in Azure
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Visual Studio Code has a HUGE extension library. There's also almost two dozen very nice Azure specific extensions as well as extensions for Docker, etc. If you write an Azure extension yourself, you can depend on the Azure Account Extension to handle the administrivia of the user logging into Azure and selecting their subscription. And of course, the Azure Account Extension is open source.

Here's the cool part - I think, since I just learned it. You can have the Azure Account Extension installed (again, you can install it directly or you can get it as a dependency) you also get the ability to get an Azure Cloud Shell directly inside VS Code. That means a little container spins up in the Cloud and you can get a real bash shell or a real PowerShell shell quickly. AND the Azure Cloud Shell automatically is logged in as you and already has a ton of tools pre-installed.

Here's how you do it.

VS Code Command Palette

It will pop up a message with a "copy & open" button. It'll launch a browser, then you enter a special code after logging into Azure to OAuth VS Code into your Account account.

image

At this point, open a Cloud Shell with Shift-Ctrl-P and type "Bash" or "PowerShell"...it'll autocomplete so you can type a lot less, or setup a hotkey.

Your Cloud Shell will appear along side your local terminals!

Azure Cloud Shell in VS Code

Note that there's a "clouddrive" folder mapped to your Azure Storage so you can keep stuff in there. Even though the Shell goes away in about 20 min of non-use, your stuff (scripts, whatever) is persisted.

image

There's a bunch of tools preinstalled you can use as well!

scott@Azure:~$ node --version
v6.9.4
scott@Azure:~$ dotnet --version
2.0.0
scott@Azure:~$ git --version
git version 2.7.4
scott@Azure:~$ python --version
Python 3.5.2
scott@Azure:~$ lsb_release -a
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description: Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS
Release: 16.04
Codename: xenial

And finally, when you type "azure" or "az" for the various Azure CLI (Command Line Interface) tools, you'll find you're already authenticated/logged into Azure, so you can create VMs, list websites, manage Kubenetes clusters, all from within VS Code. I'm still exploring, but I'm enjoying what I'm seeing.


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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.