Stream log files with Powershell

Just learned this, in case you didn’t know, on Windows you can easily stream log files with:

Get-Content -Path “C:\application.log” -Wait

If the file you are tailing already has a lot of contents, use parameter -tail to  start listening at the end of the file.

I like it, it’s a free and simple alternative that doesn’t to tools like BareTail.

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Stream log files with Powershell

Digital addiction and the illusion of free will

Junkies

I’m currently reading Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. I’m interested in the subject as a way of empowering myself to detect and defend myself against the psychological traps employed by the Facebooks, YouTubes, Amazons, and so many more.

By chance, I came across an interesting documentary on this topic. I recommend watching it as an entry to the subject, to raise awareness and protect yourself against the persuasion methods used in technology:

Free will

Now I’m not trying to be dramatic, but if you’re not in full control of your thoughts and free will, then you’re an addict. And your thoughts are so easily influenced, while free will is a very shaky concept at best.

Check Sam Harris’ Free Will if you haven’t spend time on the topic yet. He walks you through what you think free will is, making you see that really your actions can all be explained as reactions (don’t dismiss it based on my poor explanation here). How I see it, this pretty much makes you programmable, in the context of persuasive technology.

The more I learn about how successful digital products operate, the more it becomes clear you really have to actively to take control of what goes into your senses. Or it is the Internet of Things, only you are the Thing being controlled.
And I really thought it was all about usability to win users.

South Park also has a great episode that breaks down how games employ addictive tactics.
So I don’t think these are big secrets or some conspiracy. But we just wrongly assume we are more in control then we really are.

Act

Sean Kennedy used to have a great suggestion, to protect against the assault from ads: wear sunglasses. Now he was talking about classic billboards, which trick your senses with colors to get your attention, which the shades distort by affecting the colors you see. But I like the idea, of counteracting against the endless unsolicited hidden sales pitches.

they-live

For the digital word, Tristan Harris has what seems a great initiative with pratical suggestions. He also appears in the documentary above, and his blog post is also really relevant How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist

If you can’t stop refreshing reddit or some news site, The News: A Users’s Manual can liberate you.

Obviously, AdBlock or privoxy. Don’t buy into the sad “we make money this way” line from websites. It’s about you being influenced, being subconsciously convinced you want things in your life you don’t need. Don’t treat this as a trivial thing, they somehow deserve.

Last year I also removed all app alerts from the lock screen on my phone. The only thing I see are whether someone texted or called, since it is a phone. But all the other things, status updates, email count, are gone. This minimized the number of times I check my phone in a day. Plus I also got to use my personal inbox as a TODO list again (by not checking it all day, messages staid unread and it was clear in the evening which mails were not handled yet)

Digital addiction and the illusion of free will

ASP.NET Core 1.0 to Azure App Services

A half year ago, I decided that Microsoft opening up to Linux with .NET Core, was the perfect opportunity for me to also try to embrace Linux again.

I concluded that if I was going to spend effort on a learning curve, why not put that effort towards expanding my toolbox by trying existing platforms in Linux, instead of just sticking to .NET in another environment.

Unfortunately so far, I have not spend enough effort and willpower yet to cut the Microsoft umbilical cord and climb the unavoidable learning curve of new (for me) platforms.

So for now I ended up dabbling with ASP.NET Core on Ubuntu, for some dead-end pet projects 🙂

Ubuntu to Heroku

Looking for a free option to try some things, I tried deploying an ASP.NET Core app to Heroku. This was my first choice, because I like their free option with negligible limitations.

Heroku supports Linux technologies and .NET Core runs on Linux, so should be easy. They have a concept of buildpacks to compile your app. .NET Core is obviously not officially supported yet, since even the tooling on Windows is still in preview (sidenote: I don’t think .NET Core 1.0 tooling will ever go passed preview, after reading this, until .NET Core “1.2” when .csproj is back)

There is an experimental ASP.NET 5 buildpack, but it uses an older version of .NET Core (when ASP.NET Core was still called ASP.NET 5). I could not get Heroku to detect my application language.

I needed too much knowledge of the .NET Core internals to troubleshoot the problem and lacked enough Heroku experience, to see any fun in continuing with this.

Ubuntu to Azure App Services

So ditching Microsoft development tooling and hosting environment completely, was too big of a bite.

So I tried sticking to Microsoft hosting, with Azure App Services which supports ASP.NET Core.

Too my disappointment, without Visual Studio, it’s a poor experience.
You can publish with a click from inside Visual Studio, you can continuously deploy from GitHub, and so on. But only if your app comes with a Visual Studio project. Because all those deployment options are build via MSBuild on Azure, which looks for a Visual Studio solution or project to perform its job.

The only deployment option without requiring Visual Studio, is deploying via FTP.
Deploys via FTP cannot be rolled back like the other options. I had to write my own script, to put up an app_offline.htm. Then optimize to only upload differences. The FTP upload regularly fails, because files are in use. Pff.

Getting something on Azure App Services, should be the cloud service experience where you put something up in minutes. This was not it.

I expected .NET Core on Linux would be a smooth introduction to developing on Linux.
The poor experience and guidance, made me wonder if this will really take off.
In the meantime, I should really pick an existing choice on Linux instead of wasting spare time in 1.0 versions and preview tooling.

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ASP.NET Core 1.0 to Azure App Services