Thoughts, Ruminations, & Pontifications

2021
What happens with a decoupled App Store?
21st March 2021, seven minutes to read
Concerns about walled-garden stores are growning. No-one talks about possible outcomes, and what that might look like. There’s a lot of discussion & hand wringing about the various App Store walled gardens. Many are asking if they should be dismantled, some suggest they be opened up through regulation. The final outcome is not yet clear, but what if decoupled app stores are part of the aftermath? What does that world look like? Lets explore!
2020
Better default architecture target for Visual Studio Solutions
28th December 2020, five minutes to read
Ever wanted to make your Visual Studio solution buildable on open? Read on! For a long time, I’ve always been frustrated with the default CPU target when opening a Visual Studio solution — ARM. I don’t have an ARM CPU device to deploy to, let alone the machine opening the solution having an ARM CPU.
Three Displays, Three Times the Fun, Triple the Pain
27th September 2020, eight minutes to read
Turns out, connecting three high resolution displays to a MacBook Pro 13” is a bit bothersome. Getting it just-so, total pain. Worth it. I’ve always liked large displays. Prior to The Distancing™ I was constantly going between meetings & my workspace, so one large 40” monitor sufficed to stop me from being hunched over a 13” laptop display at my desk. With work-from-home, I pined for mo’ monitor. I’ve never been able get into the groove with dual monitors though. With one dead-ahead, one to the side always felt lopsided. If you put one either side of the center, you’re staring at a seam all day; no thank you!
Using embedded and IoT devices with a VPN
26th July 2020, seven minutes to read
I needed to connect smart devices to a VPN. Here's what I found Modern embedded devices such as connected media players (Apple TV, Roku, Smart TVs), or IoT (internet of things) devices are constrained in what you, the end user, can change in configuration, and the software you can run. This is for good reasons — providing a secure environment for media devices, or enabling ‘zero maintenance’ of IoT devices.
Thoughts On Working From Home
26th July 2020, six minutes to read
A little waffle on working from home during the pandemic I’ve never enjoyed working from home. I’ve always found it more intense, more stressful, and just, well, generally more. Sure, I’d work from home if I had to (snow storms etc), but in the 16 years I’ve been employed I’d always favour being at work when real work was needed — even when it was on a weekend for just a few hours.
2019
Computers are a utility — they should behave like one
21st April 2019, three minutes to read
Wherein I get a bit ranty about some bad computering. This post inspired by yet again going to pootle around on my personal “computers” at the weekend, and yet again one of them decides to just get “in the way” for nearly an hour before I can actually use it for the purpose intended.
2018
Generating sharable UWP test certs
25th February 2018, two minutes to read
Update Dec 28th 2020: Visual Studio 2019 no longer generates certificates by default when creating a UWP project (yay), so you don’t end up broken out of the box! Plus, when you go through the ‘Create App Package’ flow, it will ask to create certifcates – when prompted for a password, just don’t enter one, and it’ll do the right thing. Hurrah!
My Mixpanel client library for Windows UWP
25th February 2018, two minutes to read
tl;dr: I needed a client for calling Mixpanel’s API to log telemetry. Existing ones were either C# or Javascript-delivered-over-the-web. I wrote one C++. Find source here, and NuGet here.
2017
The ogre at the end of the keyboard
7th July 2017, five minutes to read
I’m not talking about trolls on Twitter, flunkies on Facebook, or the ill-informed on the internet that have you seeing red.
Always be looking ahead. Not everyone is an asshole.
29th May 2017, two minutes to read
Recently, I was watching a talk by Matt Drance from his 2015 CocoaConf talk “What The Race Track Taught Me About Software Development” [Currently unavailable]. I wanted to watch it because I’ve found his tweets & writings in the past to be interesting & thought provoking — that and I like to think I’m kinda a car guy. Race tracks? Software development? Sure, this should be fun!
co_wait, C++/CX and the UI Thread
16th January 2017, three minutes to read
I was working on some supporting code for my Windows 10 Instapaper client, and I ended up going down a rabbit hole of trying to understand the way that co_await works with the XAML/WinRT dispatcher. I ended up writing some sample code & sharing on GitHub. I’ve included the readme below, but the most up to date details will be on the repo.
FileDeduper
7th January 2017, 1 minute to read
Why I wrote a tool to find duplicate files (by MD5-hash) I’ve authored a tool called FileDeduper, which scavenges a file system, MD5-hashes all the files, and then moves all the duplicates to a destination directory keeping the original tree structure. The intent with “move” rather than “delete” was to keep data rather than accidently delete it. Sure, the MD5 hash should mean this isn’t a risk, but you know, safety first.
2007
Thoughts on testing
3rd September 2007, 14 minutes to read
Extract from my book on testing with Visual Studio 2005 Many — many — years ago I wrote a few chapters for a book: “Professional Software Testing with Visual Studio 2005 Team System”. While I think the book is now probably out of date, I thought it would be worth posting some of the more timeless content (aka not the “Press this button” parts) as a blog post. Do note this was written back in 2007. Also, the publisher was pushing to hit a specific page count to justify the price, so in some cases I am… wordier… than one should be. Sorry.