The Old New Thing

When computer programmers dabble in economics: Buying prepaid lunch vouchers

Several years ago, the Microsoft cafeterias phased out their prepaid lunch voucher system. Under the new system, you "load up" your security badge with money (either by paying cash at any register or by having the amount deducted from your paycheck) and then swipe your badge at card readers installed at each register. But in the old days, the...

Meet the authors: Mario Hewardt and Daniel Pravat, authors of Advanced Windows Debugging

My colleague Mario Hewart just let me know that he and Daniel Pravat will be presenting at the PDC pre-con. In case you don't recognize the names, they're the authors of Advanced Windows Debugging, a book which I reviewed late last year. So if you want to get your debugging tips directly from the source, you know where to go. Besides, ...

Anybody can make up a generic mapping

Each component that uses ACLs to control access has its own idea of what GENERIC_READ, GENERIC_WRITE, and GENERIC_EXECUTE mean. It's not like there's a master list that somebody can make that lists them all, because I can make up a new one right here. Watch me: #define GIZMO_QUERY_STATUS 0x0001 #define GIZMO_QUERY_MEMBERS 0x0002 #define...
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ERRORLEVEL is not %ERRORLEVEL%

The command interpreter cmd.exe has a concept known as the error level, which is the exit code of the program most recently run. You can test the error level with the IF ERRORLEVEL command: IF ERRORLEVEL 1 ECHO error level is 1 or more <sidebar> The IF ERRORLEVEL n test succeeds if the error level is n or more. This was presumably ...
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The description of my 2008 PDC talk is wrong

The title is mostly okay, but the description is wrong. Thanks to the power of web scripting, I can't actually link to my talk; I can just link to the main session page, and then you'll have to go searching for it. (Maybe there's a direct link but I can't find it.) The title Windows 7: Deep Dive - What's New with Win32's user32 and ...

Even if a function doesn’t do anything, you still have to call it if the documentation says so, because it might do something tomorrow

If the documentation says that you have to call a function, then you have to call it. It may be that the function doesn't do anything, but that doesn't prevent it from doing something in the future. Today's example is the function GetEnvironmentStrings, which returns you all the environment variables of the current process in a single block...

When attending a training session on how not to mess up your life, try not to mess up your life

Like the NFL, the NBA has its own Rookie Transition Program for introducing new players to important issues such as life skills, money management, dealing with the media, and the importance of character and image in avoiding public embarrassment. Apparently it took longer than usual for these lessons to sink in for Mario Chalmers and Darrell...

How do I change the size of my desktop icons?

Occasionally, somebody asks how to change the size of the desktop icons, not because they want to change the size from the default, but rather because they somehow turned into giant marshmallow men and they want to get the default size back. There are two ways to change the size of the desktop icons on Windows Vista: When people get into ...

Microspeak: Space delivery

As I noted in an earlier entry of Microspeak, the real estate department here has their own weird jargon. Today's phrase is "delivering space": Listed below is the schedule for delivery of space over the next twelve months. Translation: "Listed below is the schedule for when new office space will become ready for use over the next twelve ...

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