The Old New Thing

Even advanced users liked the Windows XP Start menu

In addition to testing out the Windows XP Start menu on beginners, we asked advanced users (including lots of system administrators) what they thought of it, and the response was still positive. This was kind of surprising, for advanced users tend to be resistant to change. In fact, system administrators like the new Start menu so much ...

How does the Windows XP Start menu decide that a program is newly-installed?

Actually, I discussed this topic already, but I'm mentioning it again here since it's thematically related to the other Start menu articles. I'm told that there have been a few tweaks to the rules for Windows Vista. Some installers set the time stamps on the program to match the time stamp of the install media. This makes for pretty ...

In order to serve you better: Frequent flyer miles expiring sooner

At the beginning of the year, United quietly changed its policy on frequently flyer points. Under the old rules, your account remained active provided there was some sort of account activity in the past three years. The activity could be taking a flight, redeeming points for product, or earning points through one of their partners. Anything ...

More Start menu fine-tuning: Choosing a better representative for a frequently-run program

If you paid really close attention to the way a representative shortcut is selected for a program, you may have noticed a problem with it. Here's the rule again: If there are multiple shortcuts to the same program, then the most-frequently-used shortcut is selected as the one to appear on the front page of the Start menu. Suppose there ...

I'm pretty sure he's going to be the envy of his next school reunion

Masi Oka has pretty much everything the dorky nerd geek has ever dreamed of. Right out of college, he lands a job at Industrial Light and Magic doing digital effects, developing complex algorithms for water and other fluid effects seen in movies like The Perfect Storm. That'd already be enough to make him the hit of his next school reunion...

What is the impact on the Start menu of long-running programs?

Let's take another look at the basic principle that determines which programs show up in the Start menu: Each time you launch a program, it "earns a point", and the longer you don't launch a program, the more points it loses. If you stare at this long enough, you might see a hole in this principle: What about a program that you launch once...

Project Update 3: Voyage to Our Hollow Earth

Alas, the original plan for the trip to the hole in the Arctic Ocean had to be scrapped due to the passing of organizer Steven Currey. But hollow earthers, don't give up hope! U.S. scientist Brooks Agnew has announced his plans to take the place of Mr. Currey, chartering the same ship and taking the same itinerary with the same goal. ...

Why does a new user get stuff on their Start menu right off the bat?

In the initial designs for the Start menu, the list of most-frequently-used programs on the Start menu would be completely empty the first time you opened it. This was perfectly logical, since you hadn't run any programs at all yet, so nothing was frequently-used because nothing had been used at all! Perfectly logical and completely stupid-...

"Super" watch, episode 2

Not just "super exciting" but "super-super-exciting". (But at least he's not super super super excited.) I don't consider this super encouraging. Episode 1...

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