In this issue from September 2017: Techniques for your next public speech; creating great slides; Fira Code should be your next coding font; Rob Connery opines on diversity; Jon Skeet also has diversity requirements; fix a Git vulnerability; Update Visual Studio 2017 now; 10 presentation antipatterns; and how to get started with public speaking.

Sharpen the Saw is a somewhat delayed repost of a semi-regular newsletter of information I publish for the professional development of software developers. While targeted primarily at developers working with the Microsoft technology stack, content will cover a wider range of topics.

To subscribe, send me an email and I’ll put you on the list. Membership is moderated.


Always a way to improve the code you write every day.

Don’t Just “Imagine Everyone Naked” at Your Next Public Speech

Speaking in front of a group of people can be intimidating. It can also be career enhancing and is, therefore, a skill worth developing. There are a bunch of ways to meet the challenge and succeed - and imagining everyone naked is not good advice.

Instead, try the advice from this LifeHacker article.

For more, check out this list of 62 tips on public speaking.

How to create great slides for presentations

Here’s a great presentation on creating great presentations.

Read now

Software and Updates

A new or upgraded tool can be a beautiful thing.

Fira Code, my new favorite VS Code dev font

The choice of font to use while coding is a very personal one. Some people stick with whatever comes out of the box with their chosen tool, other people chose Courier New or Consolas. A few notable heretics (like myself) do all their programming with a proportional font, not a traditional monospaced one.

If you’re open to a change, Fira Code is well worth a look. It’s clean, clear, easy to read - and does some stunning things with ligatures to make your code more readable.

Read now

Being Professional

A great developer does more than just write great code.

Diversity and Speaking

Notable speaker Rob Connery is not known for suffering a fool. Much the reverse, he’s very likely to tell you exactly what he thinks in no uncertain terms. In this post, he weighs in on the current hot topic of diversity in the IT sector.

Read now

Diversity and speaking engagements

Speaker and author Jon Skeet is the top rated user on StackOverflow by a large margin. When he’s invited to speak at a conference (as happens fairly regularly), he now has a list of requirements related to the diversity of the conference and its audience. This is thought provoking reading.

Read now

Staying Secure

Staying safe online and writing secure systems are both harder than we think.

GIT security patch

Versions of git prior to v2.14.1 have a vulnerability that allows an attacker to run any application on your machine by crafting an ssh://... URL. This can be embedded within a git repo, allowing the attack to occur simply by cloning or pulling changes.

Update all your git clients to the latest version now.

Read the advisory

Visual Studio 2017 v15.3.1

The latest update of Visual Studio 2017 includes a fix for the recent git security vulnerability - you should upgrade as soon as possible to stay secure.

Read now


Sometimes the answer is random.

Speaker style bingo: 10 presentation anti-patterns

It’s not often that Troy Hunt goes to a conference without speaking. While at AusCERT 2015, he came up with ten anti-patterns - things that presenters should not do. Check out his post to learn what not to do - and to get some good ideas on what to do instead.

Read now

While these anti-patterns might limit a speakers effectiveness, Troy also makes the point that at least they’re up there speaking - which is more than most people do.

Video of the Week

Take some time to feed your mind.

How to get started with technical public speaking!

The On .NET video podcast recently featured an ensemble cast talking about technical public speaking, including top rated speakers Scott Hanselman, Kasey Uhlenhuth and more. This video is a lot of fun and well worth your time.

Read now


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March 2018