Welcome to the non-April-Fools fourth edition of The Catch Block!

A set of bricks making up a wall.
All in all you're just another brick in the wall. Photo by Ilario Piatti / Unsplash

In this edition: Blazor, front-line warriors, NuGet packages, accessibility, middleware, a letter to the self, damn fine weather, and tuples.

A Dispatch from the Front Lines of the COVID-19 War

My sister-in-law R and my wife's best friend L are a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and a Registered Nurse (RN) respectively. Both work at major hospitals in the Phoenix area, and both are dealing with firsthand encounters with COVID-19.

Detail of stethoscope. Doctor woman with white coat and stethoscope.
Please keep these front-line warriors in your thoughts. Photo by JESHOOTS.COM / Unsplash

R specifically told me that at her hospital they do not have enough masks, face shields, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to go around, so among other things they are having to reuse masks (which cannot be sanitized) for an entire day. They must also wear face shields at all times, must be temperature scanned when entering and leaving the building, and cannot eat lunch together with their coworkers.

On the home front, the quarantine continues. The family and I have been stuck inside our house, with limited access to outside things, for around two weeks. Plus, just this week, Arizona's governor closed the state's schools through the end of the school year and issued a stay-at-home order, so now K.C. and I are scrambling to figure out exactly how we're going to keep our three kids occupied for the next two months and not have them fall too far behind. I talked about this in the previous edition of The Catch Block.

Something cool: a bunch of regular citizens have banded together to 3D-print face masks:

But you know what the real kicker is? This is the "damn fine weather" season here in Phoenix. During March and April, our Valley of the Sun has festivals, food gatherings, farmers markets, concerts, garden walks, all kinds of interesting and fun events, and they are all uniformly cancelled due to the coronavirus. It's a minor thing, but it sucks, as events like those help remind me that this is a community, a group of people who care about each other. Without those events, the city feels hollow.

White meadow by a mountain stream
And not a gathering in site. Photo by Luca Baggio / Unsplash

But it is the right decision for us all to be quarantined. We're all in this fight together, and we need to keep in mind that our isolation is not just for our own good, but for the good of the grandparents, friends, and relatives who might be vulnerable to this virus. We isolate to keep them safe, too.

Seriously COVID-19, you couldn't have gotten here in, say, July? At least during the summer none of us desert rats go outside anyway.

A Note For Subscribers

In the previous post about named handler methods, I mentioned at the end that next week we would be starting a new series on using TypeScript and a drawing canvas. This is incorrect; that series starts in two weeks, on April 13th. Next week, guest writer Vladimir Vozar will publish a four-part series on creating a Hexo blog with GitHub Pages. Don't forget to check it out, and let Vladimir know how he did!

Published This Week

Cool Reads

Releases, Announcements, and Previews

  • Visual Studio 2019 Version 16.6 Preview 2 (Jacqueline Widdis) - I point this out specifically because of a new tool that is purported to be coming to Visual Studio: a new .NET Async Tool. According to this article, "you can use this tool to get exact timing information for a variety of tasks including how long they waited to be dispatched to a thread, how long it took to complete, and if the tasks were chained together." If this is true and accurate, it could make debugging asynchronous applications much simpler. Here's hoping!
  • Improved Git Experience in Visual Studio 2019 (Pratik Nagagouda) - Oh hell yes. Now we can create branches and resolve merge conflicts directly from VS2019!
  • Blazor Web Assembly 3.2.0 Preview 3 Release Now Available! (Daniel Roth) - I LOVE the concept and execution of Blazor. If I never have to write more JavaScript, I will be a happy man.
  • Announcing TypeScript 3.9 Beta (Daniel Rosenwasser) - As you'll see in a couple of weeks, I have a major blog series forthcoming that uses TypeScript. I personally liked it quite a lot, so I'm glad to see some of the new features that are coming to the only flavor of Javascript that I might actually like.

Other Neat Reads