The Old New Thing

Fees disguised as taxes

It has become customary in the telecommunications industry to quote a low price and then add half as much to it in "fees". Regulatory Programs Fee. It sure sounds like a government tax. It isn't. There's been a new round of official-sounding line items on telephone bills, which are really just ways for telephone companies ...

Why does the Links folder keep re-creating itself?

Those of you who dislike the Links folder have probably tried to delete it, only to discover that it keeps coming back. Why is that? This is Internet Explorer trying to do some auto-repair. It noticed that the Links folder is missing, so it figures, "Gosh, it must be corrupted! I'd better fix the problem by creating a replacement." ...

You can already see the bug report that led to this dialog box

It's like stupid warning labels on consumer products: Once you read the warning label, you can already imagine the lawsuit that required the warning label to be written in the first place. Use that same imagination to interpret this Windows XP SP2 setup error message. [Dumb typo in title fixed 7:43am...
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The difference between thread-safety and re-entrancy

An operation is "thread-safe" if it can be performed from multiple threads safely, even if the calls happen simultaneously on multiple threads. An operation is re-entrant if it can be performed while the operation is already in progress (perhaps in another context). This is a stronger concept than thread-safety, because the second attempt ...
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When does SHLoadInProc unload a DLL?

The SHLoadInProc function instructs Explorer to create an instance of a particular CLSID. This causes the DLL responsible for that CLSID to be loaded. But when is it unloaded? This is one of those puzzles you should be able to figure out by thinking about it. Consider: The object is created by calling CoCreateInstance and then...
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Ringside seats at Fruit Fly Fight Club

The first rule of Fruit Fly Fight Club: Flies can't talk about Fruit Fly Fight Club. Because they can't talk at all. At least not to humans. Researchers at Harvard Medical School took a break from studying lobster fighting and shifted their focus to fruit fly fights, and even mutant fruit fly fights. (Via The Annals of ...

The suggestion box is now open

Please post suggestions for future topics in the suggestion box instead of posting off-topic comments. Note that the suggestion box is emptied and read periodically so don't be surprised if your suggestion vanishes.And now that there's a suggestion box, I'm going to prune off-topic comments more aggresively...
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Suggestion box

Post suggestions for future topics here instead of posting off-topic comments. Note that the suggestion box is emptied and read periodically so don't be surprised if your suggestion vanishes. (Note also that I am under no obligation to accept any suggestion.)Topics I are more inclined to cover: Topics I am not inclined to cover...
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Hong Kong crocodile caught at last.

After over half a year of eluding experts, the Hong Kong crocodile was caught at last. What amused me was that the article said that the creature had eluded an expert crocodile hunter from Australia named... John Lever? (Curiously, in this article, he is given credit for capturing the croc.) Not the self-proclaimed Crocodile ...

Monitor giving you a headache? Check the refresh rate.

Some people are more sensitive to lower monitor refresh rates than others. Go to the display control panel and click to the Settings tab. From there, click the Advanced button and go to the Monitor tab. From there, you can adjust your screen refresh rate. As a rule of thumb, higher refresh rates are less likely to cause eyestrain. If ...