Turn off Google Chromes “Switch To Tab” Feature

When I’m browsing, I tend to use tabs a lot. I clean up my tabs when I’m done with them, and I open new ones when I want new ones.

Recently, Google Chrome, introduced a feature which attempts to fix issues of tab proliferation by offering a “Switch to Tab” feature. This feature shows up in the Omnibar when you start typing something in the Omnibar that is similar to a tab you already have open.

It’s an interesting idea, but not useful to me. I find that it negatively impacts my experience using Chrome. Things that use to work (example, right arrow copies selected tab url into current url bar) don’t work with Google Chrome’s new “Switch to Tab Feature”.

I like to think I’m knowledgeable and responsible enough to switch tabs when I want to switch tabs, and open new tabs when I want to open new tabs. That said, I’ll be disabling the “Switch To Tab” feature.

To disable the “Switch to Tab” feature in Google Chrome first find the omnibox-tab-switch-suggestions flag in the Chrome flags menu. (Psst: it’s here: chrome://flags/#omnibox-tab-switch-suggestions). Then… select “Disabled” from the dropdown options.

Restart Google Chrome and you should be free of that annoying “Switch to Tab” feature 👍🙂

Clean up Previously Merged Git Branches

First things first, I tend to build up a lot of local branches. No, I don’t pro-actively remove them from my machine. (Who does that extremely smart thing? 🙄) At work we use GitHub and Windows. As such I use posh-git to perform almost all my git interactions (you should too cause it’s 👌).

Our current process is:

  1. Create Feature Branch
  2. Create Pull Request
  3. Squash and Merge Pull Request
  4. Delete Feature Branch from Remote

Any developer can have any number of feature branches out at a time waiting to be merged.  As we are using a “Squash and Merge” process our branches are not *actually merged*. We delete the original branch after the squash.

But that doesn’t really matter to you. Come to think of it, it doesn’t really matter to future me. What does matter is, how can I remove local git branches that aren’t on the git remote anymore? (Remote meaning GitHub, Gitlab, Bitbucket, etc…). No, we aren’t talking about the remote tracking branches that are removed by pruning. Otherwise, one could just prune, no?

I continuously search for this, so I’m documenting it here so I NEVER HAVE TO SEARCH EVER AGAIN 😤

First of all, the answer to the question comes from this question on StackOverflow.

git checkout master; git remote update origin --prune; git branch -vv | Select-String -Pattern ": gone]" | % { $_.toString().Trim().Split(" ")[0]} | % {git branch -d $_}

If you are in a position where you Squash & Merge then you will need to replace the git branch -d with git branch -D. This will successfully remove all “:gone” branches from your local machine.

But Why?!

Any git branch you have checked out essentially has three branches.
1. The remote branch on GitHub
2. The remote tracking branch on your machine
3. The local branch you do your work on.

When we push a feature branch live (merge a pull request) we delete the “remote branch on GitHub” (#1 above).

When we run `git fetch origin –prune` we remove the remote tracking branch (taking care of #2) above.

However, taking care of #3 above often requires manual clean up. That’s where the piped command above comes into play, it takes care of cleaning up branch #3.

Disabling Autolaunch of Programs after Shutdown

Last year around this time of year, Microsoft added an Autlolaunch feature to Windows 10. This feature will automatically relaunch certain programs after a Restart or Shutdown of Windows. You’ve likely seen this happen most often with Chrome.

The feature was originally introduced to make Windows Updates feel more seamless, and less invasive. The idea was that, while yes, Windows Updates automatically restart your computer, at least it keeps the windows you had open open! That’s good, right?!

No. That’s not good. That’s annoying. We who restart our computers like to know that they are starting from a fresh state. Those of us who don’t restart our computers like to keep a billion random windows open and probably fill our desktops up with icons. Desktop Icon pointillism art is a thing.

After an extreme amount of backlash from users Microsoft decided to adjust the way the Autolaunch feature worked. This is documented in this thread. You can *disable autolaunch* by disabling the “Use my sign-in info to automatically finish setting my device after an update or restart” setting. You would think Microsoft might make a completely different setting for “Automatically re-launch previously open programs on startup”. But – for now that’s not the case.

Disable Autolaunch
You can *disable autolaunch* by disabling the “Use my sign-in info to automatically finish setting my device after an update or restart” setting.

Above we have the description of how to turn off autolaunch, below we’ve got a picture of where this setting is.

Reopen Apps on Restart

Enjoy not having Chrome automatically start when you reboot your computer 😊

Include Surrounding Lines with Grep

I find it extremely useful to include surrounding lines when I’m searching through log files or whatnot for a string of text. It certainly helps provide some context as to what I’m looking at.

However, I constantly forget the flag for including surrounding lines. So I’m posting it here so that, at least when I forget, I know where to find it 😮

The flag is -C. I suppose it should be easy to remember since I want “Context” and “Context” begins with “C”. 🤔

Below is a quick example for just in case you want the whole command or you enjoy copying and pasting all the things – hey… no judgement here.

grep -C 5 "[5aa027aeb0ebb]" my_special_log.log

Debug Chassis.io WordPress with Visual Studio Code

I just recently got Visual Studio Code hooked up with the virtual Vagrant machine hosting my local dev version of WordPress. I’m posting the steps I took here. In the end it’s fairly simple to do.

Most of the guides out there show you how to hook up VS Code with a locally running copy of WordPress. However, I’m using Chassis.io for my dev version of WordPress. Chassis.io makes use of Vagrant and a virtual machine. I did not find anything that showed me how to hook VS Code with a copy of WordPress running on a virtual machine, as is the case with a Chassis.io setup.

This post assumes that you’ve already setup the Chassis XDebug extension.

Setup Chassis for Debugging with Visual Studio Code

The first thing we need to do to setup the Chassis XDebug extension to work with Visual Studio Code is to setup the IDE Key. Setting up the IDE Key consists of two steps.

  1. Set the IDE Key in the Chrome XDebug Helper extension. (You should have this extension if you followed the Chassis XDebug Extension setup guide)
  2. Set the IDE Key for the Vagrant machine.

Set the IDE Key in the XDebug Helper Extension

Bring up the XDebug Helper extension options page. You can do this by Right Clicking the extension icon and selecting Options.

XDebug Extension Options
XDebug Extension Options

Find the section for the IDE Key. Select Other as the default sessionkey and type in VSCODE.

XDebug Extension IDE Key Setting
XDebug Extension IDE Key Setting

Save it. Next we need to set the IDE Key for the Vagrant machine.

Set the IDE Key for the Vagrant Machine

This step is pretty simple. First you need to navigate to the root Chassis directory. Mine is located at C:\projects\chassis.

  1. Create a config.local.yaml file if one doesn’t already exist.
  2. Add ide: VSCODE to the config.local.yaml file.
  3. Run vagrant provision which should update the settings on your local vagrant machine.

To confirm that the IDE Key is indeed VSCODE see the “xdebug” section on the PHPInfo page for the machine.
Example: http://vagrant.local/phpinfo.php

xdebug section on the PHP Info page
xdebug section on the PHP Info page

Setup Visual Studio Code for Debugging with Chassis

If you are using Visual Studio Code to develop PHP than you should install the PHP Extension Pack. Bring up the VS Code Extensions menu and search for “PHP Extension Pack”. This extension will include the PHP Intellisense plugin and the PHP Debugger plugin. You will need the PHP Debugger plugin for debugging.

Next we need to setup a debugging configuration.

VS Code Debugging Window
Click the Gear to setup a Debugging configuration.
  1. Bring up the VS Code debugging window.
  2. Click the “Gear” icon.
  3. Select “PHP” as your environment from the popup textbox.

Now you will see a “launch.json” file in your VS Code window. This contains some default settings for debugging PHP. The file will not work for our purposes as it is. We need to add a couple properties to the JSON to hook VS Code up with our WordPress site.

  1. serverSourceRoot – This is the directory for your code on the server (Chassis.io).
  2. localSourceRoot – This is the directory for your code on your development machine.

The serverSourceRoot needs to be the path to your source code on the server. In my case the value is /vagrant/content/plugins/my-awesome-plugin.

The localSourceRoot is used to match the server source up with your local source. In my case I set this to ${workspaceRoot} which is a special variable referring to the path of the opened folder in VS Code.

In the end my launch.json file looked like this:

{
    "version": "0.2.0",
    "configurations": [
        {
            "name": "Listen for XDebug",
            "type": "php",
            "request": "launch",
            "port": 9000,
            "serverSourceRoot": "/vagrant/content/plugins/my-awesome-plugin",
            "localSourceRoot": "${workspaceRoot}"
        },
        {
            "name": "Launch currently open script",
            "type": "php",
            "request": "launch",
            "program": "${file}",
            "cwd": "${fileDirname}",
            "port": 9000
        }
    ]
}

All Done

Alright! That should be it. Save your launch.json file, set a breakpoint in your code, and start the debugger. When you visit the relevant WordPress page on your Chassis box you will notice your breakpoint is hit.

VS Code Caught Breakpoint
We caught a breakpoint!

The Pros and Cons of Working in an Office

That Office Life
That Office Life

One of my friends recently asked me what my thoughts were on “Working from Home” vs Commuting. So, I wrote down a list.

The Pros of Working in an Office

There are definitely a couple pros that I can think about when working from the company office.

  1. The People.
    1. You get to have the random watercooler conversations.
    2. You don’t feel so “alone”
    3. You can easily bounce ideas off of others or weigh in on conversations that you otherwise would not have been involved in.
    4. It’s harder for people to avoid you. (So you can finally get Bill to provision that extra RAM you requested weeks ago)
  2. You have a better sense of the state of the company.
    1. You overhear information about how the company is doing
    2. You can literally see Manager1 and Manager2 rush down the hall to the CEO’s office. Which gives you a clue that something might be up.
  3. You can take part in the office perks (only available to office goers)
    1. Work provided lunch?
    2. On site Gym?
    3. On site Massage?
    4. Work provided chairs and desks

The Cons of Working in an Office

On the other hand there are certainly some flaws too.

  1. The People
    1. They are loud
    2. They don’t know when to leave you alone.
    3. Manager stands behind you pretending not to look directly at you (might as well be parked in a big white van right across the aisle from your desk).
    4. You overhear conversations you don’t want to hear
    5. Gloria complained that it was too cold in the office so now the thermostat is set at a flat 76 degrees during the summer and 82 degrees in the winter.
    6. Ted never washes his hands after using the restroom.
    7. Ted enjoys randomly giving you back massages while telling you some inappropriate joke.
    8. Ted works here.
    9. The restroom is always out of toilet paper.
    10. Ted is your boss.
    11. The restroom is also out of acceptable toilet paper substitutes, like paper towels, because someone decided using a TON OF ENERGY to heat up and blow hot air at your hands was better for the environment.
    12. Amanda plays with the action figures on your desk when she comes over to ask you a question. (BTW you’ve already answered this question three separate times via email, chat, and in a meeting).
    13. MEETINGS -> you are all literally in the same room. Ted is there.
  2. You have a better sense of the state of the company.
    1. Nobody knows what they’re doing. This company is doomed.
  3. You can take part in the office perks (only available to office goers)
    1. Work provided chairs and desks. Why do they even buy them?
    2. There is no work provided lunch, gym, or massage. But they do pay half the monthly fee for your space at the parking structure a couple blocks down the street.
    3. You have to commute to work, which means you might get stuck in traffic.
    4. Your space at the parking structure has a pillar in it.
    5. That couple blocks is a long way to walk.
    6. Your company believes in an “Open Office” environment. That means you work at a long fold out table in an old warehouse. The good news is that there are no cubes so you can see Ted clipping his finger nails. Also, you’re elbows are constantly bumping into Bills elbows who sits immediately to your right. You don’t bump into anyone on the left, because on your left is the wall and you’re just squished against it all day.

I think that sums it up? Feel free to drop your own Pro/Cons in the comments.

Connect to a Chassis.io Vagrant Hosted WordPress Database

Chassis.io is an excellent tool to get you quickly setup for WordPress development. Barring any timeout issues, the setup is typically as simple as following their QuickStart guide.

Chassis.io uses Vagrant and VirtualBox to setup a Virtual Machine that hosts your WordPress site. This post covers how you can connect to your WordPress database that exists on that Virtual Machine. I’ll be using Windows and HeidiSQL for the purpose of this post. The connection information I use in this post comes from this GitHub issue.

Connecting with HeidiSQL

HeidiSQL is my favorite query browser for MySQL and MariaDB databases. I like the layout and the interface is nice and clean.

When you first open HeidiSQL you will see the interface for creating a new Database connection.HeidiSQL Session Manager
Choose whichever name you want to help you remember what this connection is for. I’ve named mine “Chassis” because it’s my connection to the database Chassis.io setup. You’ll also want to set the following settings:

  • Network type: MySQL (SSH tunnel)
  • Hostname / IP: localhost
  • User: wordpress
  • Password: vagrantpassword
  • Port: 3306

That’s it for the basic settings. Now for the SSH Tunnel settings.

HeidiSQL – Plink.exe and Private Key

HeidiSQL uses a utility called “plink.exe” for it’s SSH capabilities. plink.exe is made by the same author who wrote PuTTY (which I’m sure you’ve heard of). If you haven’t got plink.exe downloaded you can find the latest exe on this page. You’ll want to grab both plink.exe and puttygen.exe. I stuck both utilities inside a “PuTTY” folder in my Program Files (x86) directory. You can stick them wherever you want to.

Ok, before we setup the SSH Tunnel settings we are going to want to setup the Private key file that plink.exe will use to communicate with your Virtual Machine. PuTTY utilities use specific private key files called .ppk files. We are going to want to convert the Vagrant provided private key file to a .ppk file for use by plink.exe. Luckily, the puttygen.exe utility you downloaded makes this conversion simple.

Launch puttygen.exe. This will launch the “PuTTY Key Generator”. Load in the Vagrant provided private key file by using File > Load Private Key. Navigate to the location of your Vagrant private key file. Mine was located in C:\projects\chassis\.vagrant\machines\default\virtualbox. Your location may be different depending on where your Chassis project is. Find the “private_key” file and open that. The PuTTY Key Generator will take care of loading the key in for you. You should see a “Successfully imported foreign key …” message. Now click “Save private key”, choose a name for it, and save it. I just saved it exactly where the other private_key was.

PuTTY Key Generator
Location of the “Save private key” button

Woot! Now we can fill out the HeidiSQL SSH tunnel settings. Remember where you saved that .ppk file because you’ll need it for this next step.

HeidiSQL – SSH Tunnel Settings

Click on the tab for “SSH tunnel” to access the HeidiSQL Session Manager SSH Tunnel settings.

HeidiSQL SSH Tunnel Settings
HeidiSQL SSH Tunnel Settings

Alright, let’s plug in the values!

  • plink.exe location: Insert the path to your plink.exe utility.
  • SSH host + port: localhost and 2222
  • Username: vagrant
  • Password: just leave this blank
  • plink.exe timeout: default is fine
  • Private key file: Path to the .ppk file we created above
  • Local port: 3307 is fine

Now we come to the moment of truth. Push the “Save” button on the HeidiSQL session manager to save your changes. Now push the “Open” button and HeidiSQL should connect to your Vagrant hosted WordPress database. Woot!

Chassis.io Timeout Issue

TL:DR -> Try enabling Virtualization in your BIOS.

I’m trying out http://chassis.io as a way to easily setup a WordPress development environment on Windows. It’s actually quite easy and everything works almost exactly like the Chassis Get Started guide describes.

However, I ran into a timeout issue when attempting to boot up the Virtual Machine using vagrant up. On first run the process installed necessary dependencies and wired most things up. However, it hung for a considerable amount of time when booting up the virtual machine. Eventually it told me that it had timed out. It didn’t start the virtual machine.

VT-x/AMD-V hardware acceleration is not available on your system

Hrmm… I wonder why it’s timing out. Chassis.io uses Vagrant and VirtualBox. So I spun up VirtualBox to see if I could manually start the VM myself. As it turns out, I could not. VirtualBox threw up the following error:

VirtualBox - Error
VT-x/AMD-V hardware acceleration is not available on your system. Your 64-bit guest will fail to detect a 64-bit CPU and will not be able to boot.

Well, that’s nice… (Hint: it’s not nice).

First Try: Disabling Hyper-V

I did some searching. I found a number of posts that indicated the solution was to disable Hyper-V. It sounds like this works for a lot of people. Scott Hanselman actually wrote up a post about how to “Switch easily between VirtualBox and Hyper-V with a BCDEdit boot Entry in Windows 8.1“. I tried this approach. It did not work for me (you can remove a bcdEdit entry using bcdedit /delete {ENTRYGUID} btw).

Second Try: Enabling Virtualization via BIOS

During my search I stumbled upon this SuperUser answer. The answer indicated that, depending on your system, Virtualization could be enabled via the BIOS.

In my case, enabling Virtualization via BIOS involved booting to the UEFI Firmware Settings. I’ve outlined the steps below.

  1. Hold down the Shift key while you click Restart. This will cause your computer to bring up a special menu.

    Hold Down Shift and Restart
    Hold down “SHIFT” and click Restart
  2. Next you need to navigate the option screens to find “UEFI Firmware Settings”
    1. Select “Troubleshoot”
    2. Select “Advanced options”
    3. Select “UEFI Firmware Settings”
    4. Restart

    Steps to UEFI Firmware Settings
    Steps to UEFI Firmware Settings
  3. This will reboot you into your PC’s UEFI settings which looks a lot like a typical BIOS menu.
  4. Enable Virtualization
    Your system may be different. My system had a “Virtualization” setting located under the “Security” tab. Once I located the “Virtualization” setting I noticed that “Intel (R) Virtualization Technology” was indeed set to Disabled. I enabled it, saved the setting, and restarted my machine.

    Enable Virtualization via BIOS
    Enable Virtualization via BIOS

After enabling “Virtualization” I tried to start the VirtualBox VM one more time. BOOM. It worked. I ran vagrant up via a ConEmu console and… success.

In Conclusion

Chassis.io is a pretty sweet project. If your system is setup correctly then Chassis.io “just works”. In my case my system needed “Virtualization” enabled via a UEFI Firmware Setting.

Have a stupendous day! 🙂

John Lasseters Favorite Jungle Cruise Joke

I watched a documentary titled “Disneyland: Secrets, Stories, & Magic” recently. Towards the end of the documentary they interview the Chief Creative Officer of Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, John Lasseter. In his interview he talks about the time he spent as a guide on the Jungle Cruise. At one point he mentions his “favorite joke”.

John Lasseters Favorite Jungle Cruise Joke

As you go through the cruise the guide tells you about various parts of it. At one point the guide sees a pile of skulls and he hides behind a small child. The guide explains how you are now entering the land of the natives. The natives are very dangerous but can sometimes be friendly.

John Lasseter's Favorite Jungle Cruise Joke

They’re doing their famous “I can’t find the bathroom” dance. Everybody laughs, you let them laugh a little bit and you go on… long pause and then you go “that’s why they call them headhunters”.

But what does it mean?

I’m going to be honest. I had no idea what this meant. I mean it’s one of those jokes that you laugh at because everyone around you is laughing but you really don’t know why anyone is laughing and everyone actually feels the same way just looking at eachother in a weird state of laughter.

I researched it. Turns out that a “head” is what they call a “toilet” on a ship. So. Now you know. They are “head hunters” because they are looking for the toilet. You probably deduced the meaning of the joke from the context. However, you may not have known what a toilet on a ship is called. And now you do. And now it makes a bit more sense why the guide on the jungle cruise might call a toilet a “head”. You are on a boat after all.

Entity Framework: Update-Database Migrates the Wrong DB

Recently I made the switch from using Visual Studio 2015 to using Visual Studio 2017. For the most part the transition was easy. However, I ran into an issue with Entity Framework updating the wrong database. I’m posting the solution here so I don’t forget 🙂

TL:DR
If you are experiencing issues with Entity Framework then check that your startup project is the correct one.

EF Update-Database Is Not Working

My current setup involves using a local SQL Server Express database. I check the database via SQL Server Management Studio (ManStu) when I run Update-Database to ensure my changes take place. When I run Update-Database from Visual Studio 2015 the changes are reflected in the database. When I run Update-Database from Visual Studio 2017 the changes are not reflected in the database.

Why does Update-Database work correctly in Visual Studio 2015 but not correctly in Visual Studio 2017? Why does Visual Studio 2017 tell me that the changes were applied successfully?

I decided to take a look at the output of Update-Database -Verbose to see if it yielded any helpful information. There I saw:

Target database is: 'MySpecialDB' (DataSource: (localdb)\v11.0, Provider: System.Data.SqlClient, Origin: Convention).

Entity Framework was using (localdb) and not the SQL Server Express database I setup in the app.config. That explains why the changes were applied successfully. However, why was Entity Framework using the wrong database?

The Not So Thrilling Simple Solution

I pursued a number of different routes looking for the solution to this issue. In the end the solution is so simple. The wrong startup project was selected. That’s it. In Visual Studio 2015 I was using a different startup project. In Visual Studio 2017 I never setup a startup project and so one was selected automatically.

As it turns out Entity Framework pulls meaningful information (like database connection information) out of the startup project. The fact that I had the wrong startup project selected in Visual Studio 2017 was the reason why my Entity Framework Update-Database commands were not working the way I expected.

So, lesson learned, if you are experiencing issues with Entity Framework then check your startup project. It could be that you have the wrong startup project selected 🙂