The Old New Thing

The network interoperability compatibility problem, first follow-up of many

Okay, there were an awful lot of comments yesterday and it will take me a while to work through them all. But I'll start with some more background on the problem and clarifying some issues that people had misinterpreted. As a few people surmised, the network file server software in question is Samba, a version of which comes with most ...

Diese Briefe wurden von unserem chinesischen Freund übersetzt

A friend of mine is taking a vacation to Germany with her husband, and she asked me for help in booking a guest room in a seminary in one of the cities they will be visiting. I translated her initial inquiry into German, and she e-mailed both the English and German versions to the manager. The response was entirely in German. For the next ...

How would you solve this compatibility problem: Network interoperability

Okay, everybody, here's your chance to solve a compatibility problem. There is no answer yet; I'm looking to see how you folks would attack it. This is a real bug in the Windows Vista database. A beta tester reported that Explorer fails to show more than about a hundred files per directory from file servers running a particular brand of the ...

Inadvertently passing large objects by value

One mark of punctuation can make all the difference. One program was encountering a stack overflow exception in a function that didn't appear to be doing anything particularly stack-hungry. The following code illustrates the problem: (In reality, the algorithm for comparing two tests results was much more complicated, but that's ...
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The rise and fall of the German language

Kyle James reports for a variety of public radio programs and networks, including Deutsche Welle via Worldview (see March 26), NPR, and PRI's Marketplace. His English grammar is perfect, the pronunciation impeccably American, but if you listen, you'll still notice something odd about his voice. It may even take you a few listens before you ...

Why are there two copies of Notepad?

You may have noticed that there's a copy of Notepad in %windir%\notepad.exe and another in %windir%\system32\notepad.exe. Why two? Compatibility, of course. Windows 3.0 put Notepad in the Windows directory. Windows NT put it in the System32 directory. Notepad is perhaps the most commonly hardcoded program in Windows. many Setup ...

Public service announcement for Roman Catholics: Sunday is not a fast day

At dinner yesterday, I mentioned how I felt ripped off when I eventually learned that the Lenten fast does not apply to Sunday. If you give up, say, chocolate for Lent, you are not held to that obligation on Sundays. Those who are mathematically inclined would have noticed that something was up: Lent is forty days long, yet if you count ...

Why doesn't the window manager just take over behavior that used to be within the application's purview?

A commenter named "Al" wondered why the window manager couldn't just take over behavior that used to be within the application's purview, such as painting the non-client area, in order to avoid problems with applications not responding to messages promptly enough. If the window manager were being rewritten, then perhaps it could. But to do it...
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The simplified office

In response to my description of my own office, my colleague Colin Birge shared this anecdote about one Microsoft employee who took office simplification about as far it could go: He was one of the earliest usability specialists in Office, later to become the usability manager before ultimately retiring. As befits a person of seniority, ...

Where technology names came from: WiFi and FireWire

Phil Belanger tells the story behind the name WiFi (and it is not short for "Wireless Fidelity"). Meanwhile, Michael Johas Teener tells the story of where the name FireWire came from. (Scroll down to "Why all these names?") [9:30am - I originally had a link to a NY Times article, but it was the wrong article and I can't find the right one...

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