The Old New Thing

You probably don’t want to run programs directly off your USB memory drive

You probably wouldn't want to run Windows or applications directly off your USB memory drive, even if you could. The reason is that the solid-state memory used by these drives support only a limited number of write cycles per block. (Originally measured in the thousands, though I'm led to believe that it's gone up since then.) Most software ...

Whole lotta cranking going on

Slashdot covered hand-cranked radios and other electronica a while ago. I keep an old-model Freeplay flashlight in the trunk of my car. It sort of fits the whole energy-counter-culture ethos, since I drive an early-model Toyota Prius. Freeplay is a South African company, and one of my South African colleagues pointed out that the Freeplay ...

On the ambiguity of uniqueness

The MSDN documentation for says [T]he implementation of GetHashCode provided by the String class returns unique hash codes for unique string values. This is another case of ambiguous use of the word "unique". The intended meaning is "for each string value, the same hash code is returned". Even though "unique" means "one and only one...
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We Microsoft bloggers do talk to each other occasionally, y’know

Every so often, somebody will spam all the Microsoft blogs with a survey or a plea for a job or some other boilerplate message. Don't think you're fooling anyone. It's not like each blogger lives in a separate world and never talks to anyone else. In reality, we exchange information quite freely and even occasionally get together—usually...

Your debugging code can be a security hole

When you're developing your debugging code, don't forget that just because it's only for debugging doesn't mean that you can forget about security. I remember one customer who asked (paraphrased) We have a service, and for testing purposes we want to be able to connect to this service and extract the private data that the service is ...
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On the inability to support hardware that nobody makes any more

Windows Vista will not have support for really old DVD drives. (The information below was kindly provided to me by the optical storage driver team.) When PC DVD drives first came out in 1998, the drives themselves did not have support for region codes but instead relied on (and in fact the DVD specification required) the operating ...

The not-entirely-unwitting victims of the Daily Show interview

NPR's On the Media covers the world of the fake news interview, the leading example of which in the United States is The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Despite what you may think, the people interviewed by the likes of Ed Helms and Samantha Bee actually know that they're being interviewed by a fake news show and go along with it anyway. But ...

Using a physical object as a reminder

On our team, we have a mailing list where people can report problems. Those people could be testers from our team or they could be people from elsewhere in the company. Everybody on the team is expected to keep an eye on the messages and debug problems in their area. The job of monitoring the mailing list to ensure that every issue is ...