The Old New Thing

What are your high school language students complaining about today?

One of my friends is a high school language teacher, and I used to ask her, "So, what are your students complaining about today?" That was back when her school used the traditional "First we learn the personal pronouns, then we learn the present tense of regular verbs, then we learn nouns in nominative case..." grammar-based language ...

How does Raymond decide what to post on any particular day?

Occasionally somebody asks about the timing of an entry I've written and wants to know how far ahead with this blog thing I really am. To give you an idea of how far in advance I write my blog entries, I wrote this particular entry on February 13, 2008. Generally, the articles are published in the order I wrote them; this particular entry ...

Pressing a registered hotkey gives you the foreground activation love

One category of application that people complained about is the application launcher which keys off a hotkey and doesn't get the foreground love. Well, except that windows with registered hotkeys do get the foreground love. After you call the RegisterHotKey function to register a hotkey, the window manager will send you a WM_HOTKEY ...

Star Trek meets The A-Team

Rumors swirl that there's a movie version of The A-Team in the works. If they haven't decided on the casting yet, here's an option they may have overlooked: The cast of Star Trek. (I like how in the clips used in the fake trailer, they use one of an episode where Kirk is old. And in Hollywood, making a character older means graying their ...

Smart quotes: The hidden scourge of text meant for computer consumption

Smart quotes—you know, those fancy quotation marks that curl “like this” ‘and this’ instead of standing up straight "like this" 'and this'—are great for text meant for humans to read. Like serifs and other typographic details, they act as subtle cues that aid in reading. But don't let a compiler or ...

Rob Cockerham investigates those companies that pay cash for gold

Rob Cockerham seems to have a lot of spare time, which is great for the rest of us, because he investigates all those things we simply don't have the time for, and then posts the results on his Web site ("The sixth-best website in the world"). Today's highlight is a pair of investigations he performed some time ago which seem to show two ...

Email tip: Just because you get answers when you misuse a mailing list doesn’t doesn’t mean you should continue to misuse it

A few years ago, there was a question on a mailing list for topic X, but the question was about unrelated topic Y. The question was nevertheless answered by the people on the topic X mailing list out of the kindness of their hearts (above and beyond the heart-sourced kindness that powers most mailing lists in the first place). I...

Why is there no supported way to get the command line of another process?

Commenter Francisco Moraes wonders whether there is a supported way of getting the command line of another process. Although there are certainly unsupported ways of doing it or ways that work with the assistance of a debugger, there's nothing that is supported for programmatic access to another process's command line, at least nothing ...
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Announcements on the ferry, and hills that grew while I was away

This weekend is the annual Chilly Hilly bike ride, an early wake-up call to bicyclists in the Seattle area to get their act together and hit the road. Last year, I joined my 2999 closest friends up and down the hills of Bainbridge Island. Unfortunately, the hills had grown taller in the two years since my last ride. There was an ...

Foreground activation permission is like love: You can’t steal it, it has to be given to you

This is the blog entry that acted as the inspiration for the last topic in my 200 PDC talk. When somebody launches a second copy of your single-instance program, you usually want the second copy to send its command line to the first instance (and deal with the current directory somehow), and then you want the first instance to come to the ...
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