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Remote work isn't normal. It's great when it's not quarantine work, to be clear. I've worked remotely with success for over 13 years and written about it extensively. I'm pro-remote work. But. Doing zoom calls all day can be super productive but they are also physically and emotionally exhausting. O...

I like to showcase interesting and cool open source projects that need more attention! Go give our friend a star on GitHub! NetCoreBlockly on GitHub is clever and fun! Blockly is a JavaScript library for building visual programming editors. If you've used languages like Scratch you've seen block-sty...

We've all learned the hard way that Quarantine work is not Remote work. It doesn't feel the same because it's not the same. It's a hard time right now and tension is high. "People are overwhelmed, afraid, and stressed. There's a background pressure - a psychic weight or stress - that is different i...

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) points out that "Master-slave is an oppressive metaphor that will and should never become fully detached from history" as well as "In addition to being inappropriate and arcane, the master-slave metaphor is both technically and historically inaccurate." The...

During the Microsoft Build keynote last week - that you can watch free online here - we snuck in a LOT of detail and easter eggs. We planned the whole thing out like a live stage play (I have a background in theatre) and one of the things that mattered to me was lighting. If you're going to watch s...

I've been spending a lot of time with Docker lately. Docker Desktop on Windows is great and getting better every day. Now that WSL2 (Windows Subsystem for Linux) is rolling out stable over the coming weeks and Docker Desktop supports WSL to host Linux containers directly, I'm finding myself using Vi...

I was offered a Surface Book 3 to use as a loaner over the the last 5 weeks. I did a short video teaser on Twitter where I beat on the device with a pretty ridiculous benchmark - running Visual Studio 2019 while running Gears of War and Ubuntu under WSL and Windows Terminal. I have fun. ;) Hey the...

Last year Microsoft rebooted PowerToys and it's open source and on GitHub. It's a few months later and PowerToys is getting even better. You can download and install it from https://github.com/microsoft/powertoys releases. FancyZones is one of the highlights of PowerToys. I'll do other blog posts on...

At our house, we use home automation for a lot of different things. One of them is the ability to get a quick overview of the state of our appliances such as the washer, dryer and dishwasher. That way we don’t accidentally forget to turn over the laundry or empty the dishwasher. A red tile on our ...

After showing some pictures of our smart home dashboard, questions started coming in about the cables going in behind the books. Where is the modem and what else is going on? Spoiler alert, the books are fake. Here you see a couple of cables going in behind the books on the top shelve. Removing...

I’ve had some questions lately about how we keep track of all the home automation devices spread across the house. So, I thought I’d share how our dashboard is set up. The dashboard is the web-based SharpTools that runs in Fully Kiosk Browser on an Amazon Fire Tablet HD 10 which is magnetically atta...

Hey! It’s been a few years since I last blogged here! Let’s get this blog thing back in action, starting with something non-technical that I’ve had a few requests for – my story of two years of daily exercise. Happy New Year! Today’s a day where half the world contempla...

Motion, contact, and light sensors are the most commonly used sensors for home automations in my house. With these sensors, you can make a wide variety of automations. But there are so many different manufacturers, protocols, and price points that it can be hard to choose which devices to buy and us...

Here are a bunch of home automation ideas for your inspiration. These are examples of automation rules that have worked well for my family. They might work well for yours too. The ideas are technology agnostic and describe the concept rather than the exact implementation. They should work with just...

After having spent a lot of time and effort installing smart devices throughout my entire house and automating them, I’ve learned a lot of do’s and don’ts. It’s been a long process of trial and error to come up with the right automations that work for all scenarios. Along the...

Recently, I’ve updated over 30 of my extensions to support Visual Studio 2019 (16.0). To make sure they work, I got my hands on a very early internal build of VS 2019 to test with (working on the Visual Studio team has its benefits). I’ve learned that the upgrade process is probably the easiest I’v...

I’m often asked how to best learn to build Visual Studio extensions, so here is what I wished someone told me before I got started. Don’t skip the introduction It’s easy to create a new extensibility project in Visual Studio, but unless you understand the basics of how the extensibility system wor...

Having great samples to help you learn about any programming language or paradigm can be very valuable. In my opinion, a good sample can be characterized by: Being easy to replicate Having clear steps that guide the reader to replicating the behavior of the sample into their own code base is param...

Building extensions for Visual Studio has its challenges, but as the new PM on the extensibility team I’ve made it my mission to make it easier. One way of doing that is to provide features that can take some of the pain out of common tasks associated with extension authoring. Here are three brand ...

It’s a new year! Even though years are an arbitrary construct and all that, you feel reinvigorated! Alive! Ready to take on the world! And you’ve read all those posts and tweets and instatumblrs about blogging! They’re pretty compelling, really, and you’re in a suggestible st...

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