The Old New Thing

Sometimes the bug isn’t apparent until late in the game

I didn't debug it personally, but I know the people who did. During Windows XP development, a bug arrived on a computer game that crashed only after you got to one of the higher levels. After many saved and restored games, the problem was finally identified. The program does its video work in an offscreen buffer and transfers it to ...

Storsjöodjur hunting season will opening soon

Scotland doesn't have the corner on monsters in lakes. You'll also find them in Norway, in Sweden (read about a recent expedition), and in Canada, among many, many others. Anywhere there are lakes, there's bound to be a legend about a monster in one of them. It appears, however that Sweden's Storsjöodjur is about to lose its ...

Why isn’t the original window order always preserved when you undo a Show Desktop?

A commenter asked why the original window order is not always preserved when you undo a Show Desktop. The answer is "Because the alternative is worse." Guaranteeing that the window order is restored can result in Explorer hanging. When the windows are restored when you undo a Show Desktop, Explorer goes through and asks each window ...
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Converting a byte[] to a System.String

For some reason, this question gets asked a lot. How do I convert a byte[] to a System.String? (Yes, this is a CLR question. Sorry.) You can use String System.Text.UnicodeEncoding.GetString() which takes a byte[] array and produces a string. Note that this is not the same as just blindly copying the bytes from the byte[] array into a ...
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What about Steve?

The Annals of Improbable Research highlighted a few days ago the pioneering work of researcher Eugenie C. Scott on The Morphology of Steve. The value of these results to the growing field of Steve Theory cannot be understated...

More dictionaries you didn’t realize you needed

Apparently there are a lot of strange dictionaries out there. Otherwise-well-respected German dictionary publisher Langenscheidt announced that it is producing a German-Woman/Woman-German dictionary. (Psst, Toronto Star, it's "Also sprachen die Fräulein"... Third person plural, past tense of strong verb, ending is "en". You're welcome...

The shift key overrides NumLock

Perhaps not as well-known today as it was in the days when the arrow keys and numeric keypad shared space is that the shift key overrides NumLock. If NumLock is on (as it usually is), then pressing a key on the numeric keypad while holding the shift key overrides NumLock and instead generates the arrow key (or other navigation key) printed ...

Even in computing, simultaneity is relative

Einstein discovered that simultaneity is relative. This is also true of computing. People will ask, "Is it okay to do X on one thread and Y on another thread simultaneously?" Here are some examples: You can answer this question knowing nothing about the internal behavior of those operations. All you need to know are some physics and...
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Why does Windows keep your BIOS clock on local time?

Even though Windows NT uses UTC internally, the BIOS clock stays on local time. Why is that? There are a few reasons. One is a chain of backwards compatibility. In the early days, people often dual-booted between Windows NT and MS-DOS/Windows 3.1. MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 operate on local time, so Windows NT ...