The Old New Thing

Why are RECTs endpoint-exclusive?

Endpoint-exclusive RECTs and lines are much easier to work with. For example, the width of a rectangle is right - left, and its height is bottom - top. If rectangles were endpoint-inclusive, then there would be annoying +1's everywhere. End-point exclusive rectangles also scale properly. For example, suppose you have two rectangles (0,0)-(...

The social skills of a thermonuclear device

Somebody@somewhere.else described me as having the social skills of a thermonuclear device. I don't remember the incident in question, but I'll have to accept that it happened. I have a very low tolerance for laziness. If you come to me for help, I expect you to have done your homework. (Though I try to scale my expectations to your position...

So what's to do in Sweden?

Here is where Raymond gets to abuse his power as a blogger to get some free travel advice. I will likely travel to Sweden in mid-March, with a whopping total of five months of Swedish under my belt. I'm sure I will embarrass myself horribly, but that's sort of the point, after all. The question is, "So what's to do in Sweden?" I was ...

The arms race between programs and users

There is a constant struggle between people who write programs and the people who actually use them. For example, you often see questions like, "How do I make my program so the user can't kill it?" Now, imagine if there were a way to do this. Ask yourself, "What would the world be like if this were possible?" Well, then there would be some ...

The Seattle Improbable Show (2004)

An overflow crowd attended The Seattle Improbable Show. It was, as expected, a rollicking good time. Mark Abrahams emceed and gave presentations, one on each of last year's Ig Nobel Prize winners, another chronicling various stages in the development of Project Grizzly. Other speakers were allotted five minutes (strictly and amusingly ...

Stories of going through airport security

I went through security three times at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport before my flight to Newark. My original flight was cancelled due to inclement weather in Newark, so I get rescheduled onto another flight that arrived three hours later. I thought to myself, "That's strange. Both flights are going to Newark. It's not like the ...

Bad version number checks

Version numbers. Very important. And so many people check them wrong. This is why Windows 95's GetVersion function returned 3.95 instead of 4.0. A lot of code checked the version number like this: Now consider what happens when the version number is reported as 4.0. The major version check passes, but the minor version check fails since 0...

Improbable Research comes to Seattle

The lunatics behind The Annals of Improbable Research and The Ig Nobel Prize will be in Seattle tomorrow night, Feburary 13. The meeting schedule lists the AIR presentation as "8:00PM-10:30PM, Special Event: Annals of Improbable Research (open to all registrants), Sheraton Hotel, Third Floor, Metropolitan Ballroom". The AIR folks said "Open to...

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