"Terminal, Tailscale, and Hanselman"

Quick shout out to Scott Hanselman, who recently gave an ACM tech talk on running Linux Apps on Windows, which I would recommend.

First, as is perhaps often the way, an “off-topic” comment of his struck me, and partially inspired this post. I paraphrase from memory.

I always think that we have a limited number of keypresses in our life, so I want to use them well. If someone asks me a question, I blog the answer so that the keypresses live on. E-mails are where keypresses go to die.

Anyway, aside from the stuff I learnt about WSL, there were a couple of other gems in this talk which I wanted to flag up.

Tailscale

This is a flat / peer to peer VPN topology built on top of WireGuard that looks really nice. You connect all your devices (PC, server, phone, docker container, EC-2 instance) to your Tailscale network, and they are all visible to one another with static 10.x IP addresses.

I haven’t had a play with Tailscale yet, but I did set up WireGuard on a raspberry pi, and put the client on my phone, so I can now access my home private network from my phone even when I’m out and about. It could barely have been easier to set up (did have some fun and games with some of the dependencies on the pi, but reddit saw me good). My use case is probably more allowing my kids to play Factorio or Minecraft together even when they’re not in the same house. Obviously there are many other ways to solve this problem, but this one is essentially free.

Tailscale looks even nicer – my reading is that is is essentially adding a management layer to WireGuard, so all your devices can automagically join the network without needing to know all the other devices certificates and IP addresses ahead of time.

Windows Terminal

Windows Terminal is the long overdue replacement (ish) to the Windows command prompt. Scott has another post on
the difference between a console, a terminal, and a shell.

Windows terminal basically brings the command prompt up to date, with multiple windows/tabs, configurable menus, and so on.

I’ve been using at work this week, and it is just a much nicer way of managing the varioius command prompts I usually have open for Docker, Git bash, Powershell, SSH, etc. Possibly my favourite thing is the ability to add the Visual Studio command prompt as a menu item. While I hardly ever use it, it alwys seems to take me ages to find it on the Windows start menu.

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