The Old New Thing

We should just get rid of that stupid middle tier

One of our line-of-business applications sometimes gets very heavily loaded, and several times a day, when you try to issue a query or update a record, you'll get the error message, "Unable to contact middle tier. (other technical gibberish goes here)". Whenever this happens, I like to amuse myself by shouting "Stupid middle tier! We should ...

Das Leben der Anderen

A few weekends ago I finally got around to watching the movie Das Leben der Anderen. (English: The Lives of Others.) Apparently movies about the former East Germany get screen time in the States. Go figure. I'd been away from conversational German for a long time, but I was rather pleased that I was able to follow some parts without having...

Microspeak: The forcing function

At Microsoft, you'll hear the phrase "forcing function" and it won't be in reference to differential equations or to user interface design. Rather, it means a set of circumstances that forces a decision to be made or which forces an action to be taken that previously had no hard deadline. Example: "The impending Y2K threat served as a ...

Suggestion Box 3

Post suggestions for future topics here instead of posting off-topic comments. Note that the suggestion box is emptied and read periodically so don't be surprised if your suggestion vanishes. (Note also that I am under no obligation to accept any suggestion.) Topics I are more inclined to cover: Topics I am not inclined to cover...

Another chapter in Swedish political hypocrisy (2007 edition)

A few years ago, Gudrun Schyman, then-leader of Sweden's left-wing party, Vänsterpartiet ("The Left Party"), was forced to resign after it was revealed that she had been cheating on her taxes for at least five years, specifically by claiming fake deductions. This was particularly ironic because, as the left-wing party, Vä...

You're not my manager, so I'm not going to ask how high when you tell me to jump

This happens a lot. I'm minding my own business and then I start getting nag mail from somebody I've never heard of. It usually is marked "High Priority" and the content has lots of boldface and wording that makes it sound like the world is going to end tomorrow. (Pretend "elephant"† is some new buzzword.) URGENT - ACTION REQUIRED ...

The unidentified award

I have in front of me a small bag of a trail mix type of concoction. On the bag it proudly proclaims, "Award Winning Snack". First of all, there's a missing hyphen. (It should be "Award-Winning Snack" since "Award-Winning" is a phrasal adjective. The snack won an award. The award isn't winning a snack.) But what award is it? There is no ...

Don't be helpless: I don't know anything about MFC modal loops, but unlike some people, I'm not afraid to find out

Commenter Tom Grelinger asks via the Suggestion Box: If I have a modal CDialog that is visible and usable to the user. Let's say I receive an event somewhere else in the program and I call DestroyWindow on the modal CDialog from within the event. I notice that the OnDestroy is called on the CDialog, but DoModal never exits until a WM_QUIT ...
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Don't drive your pick-up onto the roof of a house, especially if, well, read on

Back in 2000, a crazy stunt made the front page of the local newspaper, and it still holds a special place in my heart years later. We begin with Man drives pickup onto friend's roof as a stunt. The story opens with the picture of said pick-up on the roof of a house with its proud owner. That picture already tells a story. The run-down house...

Getting in on the action while it's still there

Remember day trading? All the cool people were doing it. Glamour stories of people who tripled or quadrupled their stake in a single day. With all this money available for the taking, you'd be a fool not to be day-trading! During the era of day trading frenzy, I got a particular chuckle out of one PC manufacturer who produced a Precision ...