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PowerShell vs. PowerShell Core, what you need to know

2018-01-12 13:45:50

Microsoft announced the general availability of PowerShell Core 6.0 on January 10, 2018.

PowerShell Core is a new version of PowerShell, a command-line shell and scripting language that ships with Microsoft Windows.

The release of PowerShell Core increases the number of PowerShell editions to two. There is the decade-old PowerShell that is integrated into all recent versions of Microsoft’s Windows operating system and the new PowerShell Core.

Microsoft sees PowerShell Core as an evolution of PowerShell. The former is available as a cross-platform application, the latter only for Windows.

powershell core 6.0

The cross-platform nature of PowerShell Core means that scripts that you write will run on any supported operating system. You can write PowerShell Core scripts on Windows, and use them on supported Mac OS X or Linux devices. There are even experimental (unsupported) versions for ARM devices.

Microsoft works actively on PowerShell Core. PowerShell, on the other hand, is in a state that can best be compared to extended support for Windows versions. Microsoft has no plans to add features to PowerShell, but it will release critical bug fixes and security updates.

However, there are currently no plans to introduce new functionality to Windows PowerShell. This means that the risk of regression will be very low for Windows PowerShell, so you can count on it as a stable platform for your existing workloads.

PowerShell Core installs side by side on Windows. In short: PowerShell Core does not affect Windows PowerShell in any way on Windows devices.

powershell 6.0.0

PowerShell Core 6.0 is not as powerful as PowerShell 5.1. One core reason for that is that PowerShell has access to the .NET Framework and .NET Standard while PowerShell Core to the less-feature-rich .NET Core and .NET Standard.

Some technologies available to Windows PowerShell are not supported by .NET Core. Microsoft notes that some of the technologies may return in future releases but that this won’t be the case for all of them.

The company mentions PowerShell Workflows, PowerShell Snap-ins, WMlv1 cmdlets and executing Desired State Configuration resources specifically. The Breaking changes for PowerShell 6.0 document offers further details.

The differences between PowerShell and PowerShell Core

PowerShell PowerShell Core
Versions 1.0 to 5.1 6.0
Platforms Windows only (client and server) Windows, Mac OS, Linux
Dependency .Net Framework .Net Core
Usage Relies on .Net Framework runtime Relies on .Net Core runtime
Launched as powershell.exe pwsh.exe (Windows), pwsh (Mac and Linux)
$PSVersionTable.PSEdition Set to Desktop Set to Core
Update policy critical bug fixes only all updates (features, bugs)

PowerShell Core downloads

  • PowerShell Core for Windows is available at this link.
  • PowerShell Core for Mac OS X and Linux is available at this link.

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Firefox Tab Warming explained

2018-01-12 12:47:41

Tab Warming is a relatively new feature of the Firefox web browser that can best be described as preloading when switching tabs. Mozilla’s intention with the feature is to speed up the tab switching process by improvement the performance of the switching process.

While Firefox does a very good job most of the time when it comes to the tab switching performance, some sites have noticeable delays between activing the tab and Firefox switching to it.

A page that uses SVGs and CSS for animation may have a noticeable tab switching delay. Tab Warming works by initiating the rendering of the page the moment the mouse cursor hovers over a background tab in the Firefox browser.

Firefox gains the time that it takes the user to activate the tab with a mouse-click to start the rendering early.

With tab warming enabled, when you hover over the tab with your mouse cursor, the rendering of that sophisticated SVG will occur while your finger is still on its way to click on the mouse button to actually choose the tab.

Here are all scenarios played out for you:

Tab Switching enabled Tab Switching disabled
hover and click delays are reduced or eliminated may notice delays on select pages
hover and no click minimal resource usage no change

Tab Warming eliminates the noticeable delay that Firefox users would experience without the feature completely in best case. It will reduce the delay at the very least if delays were noticeable on a web page. Worst case is that users hover over tabs but don’t activate them.

firefox tabs warming

Tab Warming is not enabled right now in the web browser. Firefox Nightly supports Tab Warming already but users need to enable the feature before it becomes active.

  1. Load about:config?filter=browser.tabs.remote.warmup.enabled in the web browser’s address bar.
  2. Double-click on the preference.

A value of True means that Tab Warming is enabled, a value of False that it is disabled.

A quick test confirms that Tab Warming makes a difference. You may not notice a difference on all tabs open in the browser; if a tab switch was instant, Tab Warming cannot speed that up further. Your mileage may vary as things may depend on the device as well.

I did not notice a performance impact after enabling Tab Warming in Firefox Nightly.

Closing Words

Tab Warming is a useful feature that promises to improve the tab switching delay in the Firefox browser.

Now You: What’s your take on Tab Warming? Did you try it?

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Windows 10 Fall Creators Update reaches final rollout phase

2018-01-12 10:04:08

Microsoft announced yesterday that the most recent update for Windows 10, the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, reached its final rollout phase.

Microsoft released the Fall Creators Update on October 17, 2017 officially after months of testing on the Windows Insider channel.

Microsoft releases new versions of Windows in phases. This is not done primarily to ease the load on company servers but to gather feedback and react to new bugs and issues that come up on devices the operating system is deployed on.

windows 10 fall creators update prompt

Windows Update delivers new feature updates for Windows 10 to select devices only. If a device does not match the characteristics that Microsoft selected, it won’t get the update through Windows Update immediately. It is still possible to download and install Windows 10 updates manually though.

When a new feature update is released, we begin by targeting a select set of devices that we believe will have the best update experience based on device characteristics and testing done by us and our device partners.

Microsoft expands the list of devices and hardware configurations after the initial phase before distribution enters full availability, the final rollout phase.

All compatible devices running Windows 10 should get the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update offered to them through Windows Update as of yesterday.  Tap on the Windows-key, type Windows Update and select the item from the list of results to open the updating interface on the Windows 10 machine.

Click on check for updates to run a manual check for updates. Windows Update should pick up the Fall Creators Update automatically. The update is downloaded and installed automatically on the machine then.

I suggest that you create a full system backup before you install the update.

Windows 10 users and administrators can download the update using the Update Assistant as well.

Side note: I — still — can’t update one machine running the Creators Update to the Fall Creators Update.  The PC crashes with a blue screen when the update is applied.

John Cable, Director of Program Management, Windows Servicing and Delivery, revealed that the Fall Creators Update is the fastest release of Windows 10 to reach 100 million devices and that it achieved higher customer satisfaction ratings compared to previous updates.

The initial version of Windows 10 reached 100 million installs after less than two months, no doubt thanks to the free Windows 10 upgrade offer that Microsoft ran at that time. Users with Windows 7 or 8.1 product keys may still upgrade to Windows 10 for free.

Microsoft plans to release the next feature update for Windows 10, Windows 10 version 1803, around March/April of 2018.

Now You: which version of Windows do you run?

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DonationCoder NANY 2018 Software releases

2018-01-12 07:47:19

The friends over on DonationCoder hold an annual software development event called NANY — New Apps for the New Year — in which programmers pledge to release programs and apps.

The results of the NANY 2018 event have been published on the DonationCoder forum, and you may head over to the forum to download any app or program from there for free.

I write a summary each year to make this easier for you and as a thank you to DonationCoder as they have a remarkable thing going over there and deserve more attention than they get.

Without further ado the NANY 2018 apps and programs:

Linux

ytsearch for Linux is a Youtube search and stream app.

Misc

ymarks

BedPlanner is a Java application designed to plan sleeping arrangements. Designed for Red Cross volunteers, it can match a list of people with locations, rooms or beds.

Cnpaperplay is a set of utilities and pre-made books that reproduce the boardgame Codenames Duet. It comes as a series of PDF files that you need to print to get started. You need two players, a pencil and the printed books to play.

Joomla plugins. A set of plugins for Joomla, e.g., a log viewer or meta info viewer and editor.

twtxtc is a command line client for the twtxt micro-blogging network.

Solarized Minimal Visual Studio Code is a theme for the Visual Studio code editor.

UnClouder, an add-on for Firefox that replaces “the cloud” with “other people’s computers”.

WordPress plugins. Two plugins for WordPress multisite. One less site admins access their upload folder, the other is an audit log for the plugin WP Security Audit Log.

ymarks is a self-hosted open source alternative to XMarks that lets you synchronize bookmarks

Windows

what donationcoder 2018

BaseImage creates inline-base64 encoding of images.

BaseQuiz challenges you to convert numbers between mathematical bases.

Chrome Wire takes Chromecast wallpapers and sets them as Windows wallpapers.

Constant Info displays a list of prioritized items in ticker-style on the screen for use within workgroups.

Database utilities to dump Oracle, Microsoft SQL or SQlite data to CSV.

DualCopy, a helper application for TeraCopy and Fastcopy. Offers options to manage favorites, recently used folders.

Ethereum Denomination Converter to convert between denominations of the cryptocurrency Ethereum.

Folder Zip adds convert to zip and convert to folder to the context menu.

Gowser. A gopher browser for Windows.

Health Reader displays exported Apple iOS health XML data.

Image Card Printer is a printing program for Windows designed to print a large number of images on card stock paper (e.g., business cards).

Lock Screen Reflection takes the Windows 10 lock screen background image and sets it as the desktop wallpaper.

Mini Clip Mon. Simple clipboard manager for Windows.

morg, an open source markup language tool.

Multi-Launcher displays recent programs, documents, folders, and webpages so that you can launch them quickly again.

Overlap Wallpaper version 3 displays a photo on the desktop wallpaper. Supports transparency in the latest version.

Simple Reminders. Set task reminders. Designed specifically for daily tasks.

Speed Dial Image Warlock. Create Speed Dials for the Vivaldi browser.

PlainTasks. A simple task manager productivity app that supports up to three tasks.

Proofy helps professional proofreaders keep track of jobs and income.

Ready Bible Study is a feature-rich program for Bible studies.

Shortcuts Creator is a launcher to launch favorite apps, documents and other things.

Stick A Note (version 3) updates the previously released program. It is a sticky note program that sticks notes to program windows.

SubAHK, a front-end client for the Subsonic media streaming server.

TagMage lets you ta images quickly.

WHAT (Windows Hotkey Activator Tool) maps hotkeys to windows to bring them to the front when you activate the hotkey.

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