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: http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/366ad100-0003-4c9a-81a8-337d4e7ace05

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 http://blogs.msdn.com/b/zainnab/archive/2012/06/14/turn-off-the-uppercase-menu-in-visual-studio-2012.aspx.  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

Options

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.

Hardware

Software

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  • Microsoft Windows 8

Configuration