Scott Hanselman

I was annoyed by the web font issues at Upworthy...you won't believe what I did next!

August 16, '14 Comments [6] Posted in HTML5
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Sorry about the title, I had to. ;)

I was running Windows and Google Chrome and I clicked on a link to an Upworthy.com video. When I go to Upworthy recently (don't judge me) I've been seeing this weird font for the last few months. It's obnoxious, and I was surprised they'd let this fly.

Upworthy has weird fonts

Later, though, I looked in another browser, and it looked fine.

Upworthy rendered in IE

Ok, time to F12. According to IE's Developer Tools there are three webfonts coming down and they each are downloading completely.

IE dev tools say the WOFF file is fine

Interestingly Chrome says the same thing:

Chrome agrees

What's the DOM expecting the font to be? Well, basically all of them. ;)

That's a long font-family

Seriously, though, IMHO pick a font or font family and move on. There's really no need to make a list of 11 font types in the order you'd prefer them. Either your web font works or it's Helvetica time.

Gill Sans? I don't see a Gill Sans available here. Gill Sans is a Mac OS X system font, but it seems that Google Chrome on Windows REALLY don't like being asked for it. ;)

I took each of the downloaded WOFF files and tried to open them at http://www.pkmurphy.com.au/glyphviewer/ to see if one was Gill Sans. Of course, none contained any of the first their fonts they're asking for. Unless you explicitly download a web font, a list of fonts like these are a just a designer's wish list.

Web Designers: Design for the web, not the cool fonts you have on your machine.

On 99% of Windows machines you're going to end up with Segoe UI with this CSS font-family as most folks won't have those first three fonts. It seems that Chrome gives up (?) after a few tries (not sure?) but if I remove Gill Sans as the first item it renders fine.

image

The font is correct with a smaller font-family

I tried to find a bug on this in the Chromium bug database...I'm not sure if it might be this one?

I hope a CSS person at Upworthy sees this and solves the mystery! What are your thoughts, Dear Reader?


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Surface Pro 3 - Initial Impressions

August 15, '14 Comments [51] Posted in Reviews
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I went out and bought a Surface Pro 3. I bought the i7 8 gig RAM 256 gig storage version. It was paid for with my own money and there were no discounts. It's been a while since I had a high-powered laptop that was my own, not my employers, so I was mostly happy to spend the money. I bought the "Microsoft Complete" plan that covers accidental damage, even from drops.

That's a Surface Pro 3 there

I was a big fan of the size of the the Surface RT and the Surface 2. Those were the tiny thin ARM-based Surfaces. I used them all the time for email, Videos, browsing. I have an iPad Air, but used the Surfaces for their keyboard and their split screen abilities. Sitting on a plane with an 8 hour battery life device doing email and watching a movie at the same time is killer. If my iPad could do split screen that would be something.

I was NOT a fan of the Surface Pro 2. I have a lot of friends who have some but it was just so thick and heavy. The differential between the thickness of the keyboard and the thickness of the device itself was near comical. I wasn't going to try a Pro until it was as thin as a Surface 2.

And the Surface Pro 3 is thin. It's crazy thin. It's 9.1mm thick and about 800grams. That's about 1.8 lbs.

Now, I'm never going to be able to do a review like Paul Thurrott or AnandTech so I'd encourage you to read those uber-reviews. Instead, I'm going to cut through the specs and get to the questions and answers that matter to me.

Oh, and this is random as I'm not a sticker person. I have no stickers on any of my laptops but this Decal from DecalGirl was too awesome so I went all in.

What IS this device? The Obvious Comparisons

IMG_8260The difference between my Lenovo X1 Carbon and my iPad Air is clear. One's a powerhouse laptop and one is a lightweight tablet. I do work on the X1 and I surf and relax with the Air. I throw them both in my bag and go. I'll do a little light email on the iPad but it's largely my media and gaming device. They are separate and their difference makes sense to me.

After carrying the Surface Pro 3 around for a week, two interesting things happened. The screen on my iPad now feels small and the screen on my X1 seems HUGE. The Surface is basically the size and weight of a large magazine or a stack of papers.

The Surface occupies a space in my brain like a real hybrid. I want to throw the Surface on the couch with abandon like I do my iPad, but somehow I carry it with more reverence. That's likely because I didn't get the cheapest Surface. My subconscious knows it's a non-trivially-priced laptop rather than a tablet. 

I truly love my iPad Air. It works, it turns on, it runs one app at a time, and runs them well. I play games like Modern Combat with my Steelseries Stratus bluetooth controller and am amazed.

But then I plug the Surface Pro into my 30" monitor, add a keyboard, mouse, or an Xbox controller and play a Steam Game, and I realize this is an i7 PC. It's a weird shift that has taken me the week to get my head around.

The Good

From a consumers point of view (and in this context, that's me) it seems there are a lot of updates coming down for the Surface. Just yesterday an update came in that gave me more control over the touchpad and its right-click behavior. I hope that the updates continue. According to the Penny Arcade review they are looking at updates to improve the pen and other little details.

Can it run Visual Studio? Sure. I have been using it full time for a week and it's been fine. I wish it had 12 gigs of RAM, but I wish everything did.

The Type Cover 3 is WAY better than the Type Cover 2, and that one was pretty good. I thought the fold-up extra magnet was a gimmick but it's not. It does more than change the angle of the keyboard, it adds lateral stability to the device and makes it feel more like a laptop and less like a tablet with a keyboard attached.

The screen is fantastic. I mean, truly awesome. It's "retina" in that I can't see individual pixels and it's super bright and clear. The resolution on devices like the Yoga 2 Pro are so high that they can be overwhelming. The Surface Pro 3's 2160x1400 is such that I can run it at 100% (no scaling) and find it usable. I am running at 125% right now and am not having any of the high-dpi issues that happen when you scale out to 200%. It's also worth noting that you can scale the desktop and full-screen apps separately.

There is a micro-SD card slot hidden under the stand. I popped it a 64-gig card and told Windows to store videos there. Easy expansion and my movies take up no space on my main drive.

NOTE: Having a USB3 port is awesome, so I got a 3 port USB3 hub with Ethernet and it works great. I added a tiny Smart Card reader and a 3-in-1 mini DVI video adapter (DVI/HDMI/VGA) and got my bag of adapters down to just these three.

The Bad

Noting that I have an i7 version, and not the i3 or i5, I have noticed both fan noise and heat when the Surface Pro 3 is working hard. By working hard, I mean sustained CPU over 50-60% plus hard drive access plus wireless. So, playing Steam Games, installing Visual Studio, running Handbrake.

I was initially really disappointed that there was a fan at all. But again, after a week, I realized that the laws of physics are what they are and I'm carrying around an i7 the size of a paper notebook. I also went back to my X1 Carbon Touch and installed Visual Studio 2013.3 and noticed that the fan turned on noted it was hot too. In fact, hotter than I remembered.

So, is there a fan and will it blow when needed? Yes. I'm cool with it, because 90% of the time, it's off. It did take a mental adjustment.

Conclusion

I'm 90% happy with the Surface Pro 3. It's small and it's fast. It's not my desktop but it's definitely as fast as my beloved Lenovos when doing regular stuff. Right now I've got Outlook, Chrome, Firefox,  and IE all open. I've got 20+ tabs going, Windows Live Writer and an instance of Visual Studio. I've ordered the Docking Station and will report back when I've hooked it up.

Do any of you have a Surface Pro 3? What are your thoughts?


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Exploring Impostor Syndrome in Technology - SXSW '15

August 13, '14 Comments [19] Posted in Musings
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I've written before about the idea of Imposter Syndrome or being a "Phony." It's the idea that on the surface you're an accomplished technologist but inside you're always questioning if you're really good enough. It turns out that this is SUPER common. You're not alone.

That little voice or feeling that "I can do better." Or, "I'm not 100% qualified but I think I can push through this" can sometimes be a motivator.

This is Indexed

This wonderful index card is by Jessica Hagy of This Is Indexed. Explore her blog and book! 

Remember that while you may feel like a phony, those around you who think they are awesome may not be!

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled people make poor decisions and reach erroneous conclusions, but their incompetence denies them the metacognitive ability to recognize their mistakes.

But the most important part is:

...people with true ability tended to underestimate their relative competence.

My excellent friend and very accomplished phony Chanelle Henry will be exploring these concepts on stage at SXSW 2015...if our panel is accepted!

You may have heard Chanelle on Hanselminutes Podcast episode #401 on "An Internet of Inclusion" or read her viral essay "Is it too late to be awesome?"

You can help us by quickly making a SXSW account and casting your Thumbs Up Vote (and leaving a comment) for our session proposal! Even better, tweet or blog your thoughts and encourage others to vote if you'd like to see content like this at the South By Southwest Interactive Conference.

Go read my blog post called "I'm a phony" and if it helped you, help me by voting for our session at SXSW! Thanks!


Sponsor: And a big thanks to Raygun for sponsoring the feed this week! I love Raygun and use it on all my apps. Get notified of your software’s bugs as they happen! Raygun.io has error tracking solutions for every major programming language and platform - Start a free trial in under a minute!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Fixing the Touch Screen in Windows 8.1 on my old HP TouchSmart with NextWindow Drivers

August 8, '14 Comments [12] Posted in Win8
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HP TouchSmartWe've got an older HP TouchSmart all in one computer that we use as the "Kitchen PC." It's basically a browsing, emails, YouTube, and recipes machine. It's lovely machine, really. I've actually seen them at Goodwill, in fact, for cheap. If you can pick one up inexpensively, I recommend it.

Mine was starting to get sick so I opened it up (a challenge, but OK if you count all the screws) and replaced the Hard Drive. It comes with a 500gig 5400RPM full size SATA drive as I recall, but that was on its last legs. I happen to have a first gen 64G Intel laptop SSD around, so I use some 3M Command double-sided tape and basically taped this tiny hard drive to the inside of the thing and reinstalled Windows. This time, however, instead of the Windows Vista that it came with, I put on Windows 8.1.

You'd think I'd be asking for trouble. In fast, it's amazing. Literally everything worked, first try, with ZERO third party drivers. Blueooth, wireless, graphics, everything. Worked and worked immediately. Nothing was banged out in Device Manager. Even the touch screen worked, but only with 1 point of touch. That meant no pinch to zoom in browsers or maps. Cool, but I wanted to see if I could fix it.

These HP TouchSmarts had touch screens made by a New Zealand company called NextWindow, except they recently went out of business. Their website includes a few drivers, but not the one I needed.

I've mirrored them here because I don't trust that their website will be around long.

Here's the actual driver I needed for the TouchScreen. It doesn't appear to be available anywhere else, so I'm mirroring it here, as-is. It's the "HID Driver" (Human Interface Device) driver for the NextWindow 1900 TouchScreen. It's version 1.4 from May 24th, 2012. It works with NextWindow 2150 and 2700 touchscreens as well and it works under Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, and now Windows 8 and 8.1!

This completely brought my HP TouchSmart new life with proper multitouch. It's paved completely with a new Windows 8.1 installation and just one third party driver and NO HP crapware.

Hope this helps you, random internet visitor.

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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You aren't using Resource Monitor enough

August 5, '14 Comments [21] Posted in Tools
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Most folks learn how to use Task Manager pretty quickly. We've all been on the phone with non-technical-relative and ask them to open up Task Manager.

As we move from user to technical-user we are introduced to SysInternals tools and perhaps Process Monitor for finding out what's happening to a disk. However, I find that for quick questions that using Resource Monitor is faster to access and the information is easier to interpret.

You can bring Task Manager up, of course, by right clicking the Taskbar and clicking Task Manager. Or, hit Ctrl-Alt-ESC as a hotkey for Task Manager.

From Task Manager, you may never have noticed the Open Resource Monitor link at the bottom of the Performance tab.

image

Click that and open up a whole new insight into what's going on.

Disk

This is all great stuff but I find myself exploring the Disk tab the most.

Disk Activity

Remember to sort by Read or Write bytes/sec. I often sort by Total and often find things like DropBox in there.

CPU and the CPU usage of Services

Task Manager is great but it doesn't easily show how much CPU is being used by a Service. Resource Monitor not only lets you easily Filter processes with a checkbox, but you can also sort services by CPU usage.

Service by CPU time

On the CPU tab, is an Associated Handles pane. If Resource Monitor is a well-kept secret, then Associated Handles is a secret within a secret. You can search across all processes for an open file name (or any handle), as well as filter by Process or Service.

Filtered by Chrome

Network Activity

The Network Activity tab is super useful and jam-packed with information. It makes it easy to find a process from a port or TCP connection.

Network Activity

You have this tool and all these views now, and I suspect you might not be using it to the fullest. Perhaps you pull from a number of smaller applets or shareware utilities to pull it all together.

Once I reminded myself that Resource Monitor could be launched directly from the Task Manager (an app that I have open often a lot already) I started using it even more. I may just pin it to the Taskbar!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.