A pleasant walk through computing


Use Visual Studio for Git Diff/Merge

The instructions below are for Visual Studio 2017 Community Edition. Substitute Professional or Enterprise as needed.

[difftool "vstudio"]
  cmd = 'C:/Program Files (x86)/Microsoft Visual Studio/2017/Community/Common7/IDE/CommonExtensions/Microsoft/TeamFoundation/Team Explorer/vsDiffMerge.exe' $LOCAL $REMOTE Source Target //t
[mergetool "vstudio"]
  cmd = 'C:/Program Files (x86)/Microsoft Visual Studio/2017/Community/Common7/IDE/CommonExtensions/Microsoft/TeamFoundation/Team Explorer/vsDiffMerge.exe' $LOCAL $REMOTE $BASE $MERGED //m
  trustedExitCode = true

# To use as default
	tool = vstudio
	tool = vstudio
	conflictstyle = diff3
	keepBackup = false

Command line use:

git mergetool
git difftool

git mergetool --tool=vstudio
git difftool --tool-vstudio

Variables, prefixed with $, are specifying file paths. Note they are enclosed in quote marks, so that spaces in file paths won’t break the command. Source and Target are just labels Visual Studio will use for the files . The /t flag will open the diff in a temporary tab instead of a persisted tab. The /mflag denotes it is a merge in contrast to diff.

3 Chrome Extensions for Performance, Research, and Blogging

Efficiency Rag 1

I like to be efficient in my work. But I don't like to use technology when I don't have to. I've found too much technology reduces productivity. So, I might try out a whole bunch of utilities to make my life better, then settle on just a few of them.

These three Chrome extensions are useful, simple and don't use much memory.


I often find myself with twenty or thirty tabs open when I'm trying to solve a programming problem or learn a software tool (or buy new flashlight). Just as often, I want to temporarily save those tabs and look them up later. I previously used Chrome's right-click > bookmark all tabs feature. That worked, but OneTab is much better.

OneTab will collapse all open tabs (except pinned) to a single tab containing links that can be ordered. A set of tabs can be named. Clicking on a link restores the tab and removes the link. Ctrl-click restores and keeps the link. This makes it easy to research a subject, keep a set of tabs around for a week or so, then dump them.

Added huge benefit? Collapsing to a single tab reduces memory consumption tremendously.

The Great Suspender

Even when I'm not researching, I'll have a dozen tabs open. But I won't be using them all. The Great Suspender suspends tabs after a period of time, reducing memory usage. Open the tab, choose Click to Reload, and it comes back up.

I love a simple tool that keeps my computer running at its peak.

Create Link

Create Link has made my tech writing, email and--especially--blogging life not just simpler but more enjoyable. In the past, to create a Markdown link of a web page, I'd type or copy/paste the title, then copy the URL, then select the text in my editor and create the link.

With Create Link, I press CTRL-M (a configurable shortcut key), and a Markdown link is created in my clipboard. I paste it to my editor, and I might have to edit the title text. I love this!

The utility also lets you create a link in HTML, plain text and MediaWiki.

(By the way...SVG does not suck)

Chrome Browser Pinned Startup Tabs

I finally "fixed" an irritation that's been part of my Death by a Thousand Cuts. I have a setup of web pages I want to open at startup in Chrome. However, I also want them to open pinned, as shown above.

Chrome provides three startup tab options:

  1. Open a New Tab page
  2. Continue where you left off
  3. Open a specific page or set of pages

Many people use #2 to accomplish what I want. But, you have to close all the other tabs before closing Chrome.

For years, I've used option #3. The problem was, my pinned tabs would typically appear but so would all my startup tabs, like this.

I'd then have to delete the regular-sized tabs. But if the pinned tabs didn't load, at least my startup tabs would appear and I could repin them.

The solution: a Chrome extension named Save Pinned Tabs.

This extension lets me save a named set of currently open pinned tabs. I can have multiple sets (not that I need them...yet), and mark one as Autoload.

I then changed my startup tab options to #1 Open a New Tab page and, et voila!, Chrome opens how I've always wanted!

It'd be nice if the extension let me edit the pinned tabs directly, but at the worst I can load a set, change them, and resave.

One less!