The Old New Thing

Technology hypochondriacs

One phenomenon I've noticed quite a bit is something I'm going to call "technology hypochondria", the belief that you are suffering from whatever problem you just read about. It reminds me of this joke: A man goes to his doctor. "Doctor," he says, "I'm pretty sure I've got this disease here. All the symptoms match. I'm suffering from ...

Email tip: Don't add people to a thread without saying why

If you add me to an existing discussion, you have to say why. Do you have a specific question for me? Do you want my opinion on something? Are you just sharing a funny joke? Sometimes, I'll get a piece of mail that goes like this: From: Xxxxx To: Aaaaa; Bbbbb; Ccccc; Raymond Adding Raymond. --- Original Message --- ... Gee, that's very...

Performance evaluation euphemisms invading everyday speech (ironically)

There was a morning meeting event at which donuts were provided as an enticement. Someone commented on the food thus: "These donuts failed to meet expectations." Peter Sagal remarked that the phrase "emerging to standard" has entered currency in his family as a euphemism for "substandard". (Opening panel round, final question, time code 1:20...

Why doesn't the window manager unregister window classes when the owning DLL unloads?

If you look at the documentation for the UnregisterClass function, you'll see that it calls out different behavior depending on whether you're running Windows 95 or Windows NT. Commenter Vipin asked why Windows NT doesn't follow Windows 95's lead. Back in the old days, 16-bit Windows did unregister classes automatically ...

Do I need rush processing? Beats me!

During the preparations for the 2005 PDC, I was filling out an application for a corporate credit card. (The rant behind why I was filling out this application in the first place will have to wait for another day.) One of the options was to check a box to request rush processing at an additional charge of $10. There was one key piece of ...

Who is most likely to be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship?

You can count on The Annals of Improbable Research to produce groundbreaking results. One of my favorites is Who is most likely to be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship?, in which researcher (and AIR editorial board member) Eric Schulman performs a careful statistical analysis of previous winners of the MacArthur Fellowship in order to ...

Why does my property sheet blink and the immediately disappear?

Occasionally, a customer will ask, "I'm trying to display a property sheet, but when I call the PropertySheet function, the property sheet blinks onto the screen and then immediately disappears. What is wrong?" Recall that displaying a property sheet entails filling out a PROPSHEETHEADER structure, which in turn contains a pointer to either ...
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Maintaining standards of Japanese food abroad

They've been nicknamed the sushi police. In response to horror stories from Japanese travelling abroad and being shocked by what passes for Japanese food outside their borders, the Japanese agriculture ministry is developing certification standards for restaurants abroad that want to call themselves Japanese. Their results are supposed to be...