The Old New Thing

In pursuit of Michael Cassini, "the king of con"

Michael Cassini used forged documents to pretend that he was a Microsoft millionaire and managed to con people out of over $4.5 million before he was finally caught. Cassini claimed a net worth of $12.3 million, an annual income of $700,000; $8 million on account at Barclays Bank, and more. It was all right there on paper. And...

How the study of languages influences one's appreciation of international competition

One of the consequences of studying another language for me is that I develop some sort of mental connection with the people who speak that language, despite having no innate cultural basis for it. When I studied German, I found myself cheering for the German athletes in the Olympic Games. And in the men's 4x10,000 cross-country relay ...

Why does my program run faster if I click and hold the caption bar?

Sometimes, people discover that a long-running task runs faster if you hold down the mouse. How can that be? This strange state of affairs typically results when a program is spending too much time updating its progress status and not enough time actually doing work. (In other words, the programmer messed up badly.) When you click and hold ...
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Diving into kernel mode with Doron

My colleague Doron Holan has started writing about kernel mode driver programming, and it looks like he's jumping in with both feet. I have to admit that I don't understand what he's saying (not being a kernel-mode person myself), but I can assure you that he knows what he's talking about. (Note that he's writing about driver programming, so...
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Not all team integrations go smoothly

When writing the entry on Windows Integration Meetings, I was reminded of a team integration that didn't go quite so smoothly. I will not identify the teams involved because this is not an outlet for finger-pointing but rather a cautionary tale for managers and developers everywhere. Once upon a time, there were two teams developing projects...

Because programmers were trusted to do the right thing, part 2

Some time ago, I discussed briefly the philosophy of API design that prevailed in the early days. One of the places this manifested itself was in the area of power management. As originally designed, power management was a cooperative affair (as was nearly everything in Windows in the early days). When the user attempted to put the computer ...
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Recycling old PCs and cell phones

PC World reports that eBay has set up a recycling initiative called rethink. The web site includes organizations that will accept donations or recycle your old equipment. In the Seattle area, the Take It Back Network will accept your old equipment for reuse or recycling. On the other hand, I have equipment so old nobody would take it...
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The "symmetric" in symmetric multiprocessing really means "symmetric"

The Windows NT family of operating systems supports symmetric multiprocessing. And symmetric really means symmetric. All the processors have to be the same speed, the same stepping, the same manufacturer. They must be identical in every way. If you break any of these rules, you will get strange results. Strange results from ...
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Studs from Microsoft

Chris Sells reminded me of the Studs from Microsoft sketch (direct link to video), a parody of the dating game show Studs, as performed by the now-defunct local sketch comedy program Almost Live! And yes, in that sketch is Bill Nye at the midpoint of his rise to stardom. Between his careers as Boeing mechanical engineer and nationally-...
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Other things people do with beta versions of the operating system

Somewhat belatedly riffing on Larry and his discussion of time bombs in beta products, I'm reminded of one instance of a major PC manufacturer who apparently couldn't wait for Windows 95 to RTM. Tired of waiting, they shipped several thousands of machines with a late beta version of Windows 95 instead. That worked out really great...