Saturday, November 20, 2010

Protecting myself from myself

November 20, 2010 Posted by Jason 1 comment

Note: This is a COMPLETELY non technical post. Feel free to skip…

Back home (in Ireland…I now live in the US) the fall series of international rugby is in full swing. In order to watch every game I need to run through a few hoops and a combination of energy levels and other commitments means that I rarely get to see the games live on Saturday mornings/afternoons.

What is worst of all is that I have a subconscious tendency to navigate to the RTE (Raidió Teilifís Éireann – Irelands public service broadcaster) website many times a day, inevitably discovering game scores on the homepage and somewhat defusing the excitement of the games before I’ve had a chance to watch them.


I decided to take a stand and protect me from myself – I found a nifty little extension for Chrome named StayFocused which allows the user to define a daily allowance of time to be spent on a site per day. Setting this to 1 minute (while holding a notebook in front of my monitor to block the live score of the game :o) ) allowed me to block access to the RTE site on my computer for the day. Navigating to the RTE website I’m immediately redirected to the above page. Awesome!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Visual Studio 2008 – Garbled Text in XAML View

November 15, 2010 Posted by Jason , 1 comment

Since switching to Windows 7 on my work laptop I've had pretty constant issues with the XAML designer in Visual Studio 2008. Essentially, when I scroll through the XAML code the text becomes garbled and near impossible to read. Switching back and forth between views works, but is a dirty, frustrating and somewhat time-consuming solution. It is also one of those things that works fine on everyone else's computer (to be honest I'm still not sure why) and is difficult to find appropriate keywords for when searching online.



This morning I came across an issue logged on Microsoft's connect page ( with similar symptoms to my own. In the comments section Mark Wilson-Thomas (of the WPF and Silverlight team) suggested doubling the number of available GDI handles - which is defaulted to 10,000 on Windows 7.

So, I updated the following registry key DWORD value from 2710 hex (10,000 decimal) to 4e20 (20,000 decimal)

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows\GDIProcessHandleQuota

I then restarted VS2008 and, voila, no more garbled text. Happy days!