The martial arts logon picture

Raymond Chen

Along the lines of Windows as Rorschach test, here’s an example of someone attributing malicious behavior to randomness. Among the logon pictures that come with Windows XP is a martial arts kick. I remember one bug we got that went something like this: “Windows XP is racist. It put a picture of a kung fu fighter next to my name – just because my name is Chinese. This is an insult!” The initial user picture is chosen at random from among the pictures in the “%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\Microsoft\User Account Pictures\Default Pictures” directory. It just so happened that the random number generator picked the martial arts kick out of the 21 available pictures. I’m also frustrated by people who find quirks in spellcheckers and attribute malicious intent to them. You know what I’m talking about. “Go to Word and type in <some name that’s not in the dictionary> and tell it to spellcheck. Word will flag the word and recommend <some other word that is somehow opposite to the first word in meaning> instead. This is an insult! Microsoft intentionally taught the spellchecker to suggest <that word> when you type <this word>. This is clear proof of <some bad thing>.” More on spell checking tomorrow.

[Raymond is currently on vacation; this message was pre-recorded.]


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