This is how it all started…

I didn’t start out trying to become a woodworker…

I needed a place to work on my other hobbies.  My “workbench” was the middle shelf in a set of metal storage racks in my garage.  It was made of particle board and was about 2 feet by 4 feet with a pegboard backer.  There were a few problems with this (i.e. why my workbench sucks):

  1. It was way too small
  2. There were no outlets nearby
  3. Pegboard creates about as many problems as it solves
  4. The shelving made a LOT of noise when I had to hammer anything

I decided I needed a new workbench.  I was overwhelmed at the styles, options and cost of what I found online.  Instead of ordering a book I decided to try and find one locally.  After googling around for a few minutes I found a place called Woodcraft, which looked promising.  I decided to make the 30 minute drive and see what I could find.

The store really blew my mind.  I can’t walk into a place like that without being overcome by desire to play with everything.  I grew up watching shows like The Woodwright’s Shop and This Old House on PBS.  While I never did any serious woodworking, I had dabbled a bit and always enjoyed learning about it.  I finally found their book section and decided to pick up a couple of books about workbenches, one of which was Workbenches: From Design and Theory to Construction and Use by Chris Schwarz.

While my goal was to learn about workbenches so I could make an informed decision, the Schwarz book actually changed the direction of my life — I decided I would build a workbench.

So, much like the never-ending song, There’s a Hole in the Bucket, I learned as a kid, I set off on the journey of building my workbench — always needing one more tool or having to learn one more technique — only to find out…  I need a workbench!

Somewhere along the way my repressed love for woodworking blossomed and I realized I had a new hobby.  I am a woodworker.

Roubo Workbench

Roubo Workbench

My Standard Visual Studio 2012 Configuration

The following is a list of things I typically change after doing a fresh install of Visual Studio 2012.

Install Color Theme Editor

You can find the free Visual Studio 2012 Color Theme Editor extension, created by Microsoft, at:

To get started, simply download and run (double-click) the .vsix file to install the extension.  The next time you start Visual Studio, you’ll be prompted to select a color template.

After you make your initial selection, you can change it at any time by selecting Tools > Change Color Theme from the menu.

You can uninstall the extension at any time by opening the Extensions and Updates dialog by selecting Tools > Extensions and Updates… from the menu.  From there it is just a matter of finding the Visual Studio 2012 Theme Editor in the list and clicking the Uninstall button.

Turn Off Uppercase Menus

Next, I turn off the UPPERCASE menus (bleh) by editing the registry and described in the Turn Off the Uppercase Menu in Visual Studio 2012 article at  The short version is using the Registry Editor to:

  1. Open HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\11.0\General\
  2. Add a DWORD value named SuppressUppercaseConversion and set it to 1


Finally, I typically make the following changes in Visual Studio.  You can find these on the Options dialog which you can access by selecting Tools > Options… from the menu.

  • Projects and Solutions
    • Check Track Active Item in Solution Explorer
  • Text Editor > All Languages
    • Check Line Numbers
  • Text Editor > XAML > Miscellaneous
    • Check Always open documents in full XAML view


A Simpler Life – Resources

The following is a list of links I referred to while planning, building and configuring my new home computer set up as described in my A Simpler Life series.  I’ll be updating the list as I add articles to the series.



  • Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  • Microsoft Windows 8