While I took this Christmas Eve off from work, the spouse still has some office duties to address. This gave me a bit of unexpected free time this morning which I’ve spent cleaning up my development environments and trying out a few utilities from my To Do list. Here are a few links and notes as impromptu stocking stuffers. Hopefully you’ll find more interesting tchotchkes than white elephants here!


My primary development hosts are Windows 10 machines. While not the trendy OS X devices that the cool folks are using (Apple and I go way back to the IIe days and my first desktop Linux box was MkLinux on my PowerPC), with a sprinkling of VMWare Workstation, a heaping measure of ChefDK, and a dollop of Vagrant, I’ve had little issue being fully productive on the platform. One thing I have missed is tmux for efficiently multiplexing console windows (or PowerShell sessions, in my case). I finally got around to downloading and installing ConEmu and am kicking myself for having waited so long. A terrific tabbed console experience that allows me to have multiple PowerShell (both elevated and non-elevated) tabs along with GUI programs (think PuTTY) and more all from a very slick tabbed and console like environment.

Color Schemes

Since most of my Unix shells are ephemeral hosts, I’ve not put a lot of effort into creating highly customized environments. Now that I’ve started a person dotfiles repository, that excuse is fading away. ConEmu supports a number of common color schemes from the Unix work, including a number of variations on the very popular Solarized theme. I’ve heard a good recommendation from Bob Rudis for the Merbivore Soft scheme as well. Importing custom color schemes into ConEmu takes a little bit of work and I haven’t gotten around to trying that one out yet.


Another long delayed suggestion also comes from Mr. Rudis -  f.lux. This intriguing little utility for Windows, Mac, Linux, and even some mobile platforms auto-adjusts your screen colors to the rising and setting of the sun for your local geography, helping to prevent eye strain and disruption of sleep cycles. Having a bit of experience with lightboxes to help deal with wonky sleep patterns, the concepts behind these are interesting to me and so far the program is working without a hitch. My screens warmed up gradually with the rising of the sun here in the Pacific NW and will soon start dimming as we shift to the final count down to Christmas proper.

VeraCrypt - A Puzzle

This last one is a bit of a puzzle I’ve yet to crack. After converting from TrueCrypt over to VeraCryptsome time ago, my desktop system has been unable to access one of my data drives when working from the console with administrative privileges. Windows Explorer and non-privileged consoles all worked without a hitch. This got annoying enough that I started trying to debug and eventually “solved” by adding the drive as a pre-login system favorite. Strangely, other drives on other systems do not have this configuration and don’t exhibit this problem. This is a spinning hard disk that already acts a little weird (performance seems far lower than what I’d expect even from a spinning disk). Hopefully these aren’t signs of an impending failure..er…opportunity to exercise my backup and recovery strategy!

Until next time - happy holidays to all!