The Old New Thing

How organizations inadvertently confirm facts when they try not to

On the Media in its story "Fact? Check!" forwarded the revelation (uncovered by the PBS program Frontline in the first part of their "News War" series) that the fact that the United States Justice Department launches a leak investigation implicitly confirms the leak! That's because one of the prerequisites for a leak investigation is that ...

What is the difference between Directory and DirectoryBackground?

One item I left off the list of special progids is Directory\Background. Recall that Directory is the progid for file system folders (a subset of Folder which represents all shell folders, both file system and virtual). Closely related is Directory\Background, which isn't really a progid, but it is a place where shell extensions can ...
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How do I quickly position two windows side by side using only the keyboard?

alexx is looking for a keyboard-only equivalent to the ctrl+click trick I mentioned a few days ago. Not as quick, but it still works. And it works even if the windows you want got converted into a group. Of course, on Windows 7, you can use the Win+Left and Win+Right hotkeys. (Users with multiple monitors can couple this with Win+...

What is the difference between CSIDL_DESKTOP and CSIDL_DESKTOPDIRECTORY?

Among the various CSIDL values you can pass to functions like SHGetSpecialFolderLocation are CSIDL_DESKTOP and CSIDL_DESKTOPDIRECTORY. What's the difference between them? The CSIDL_DESKTOP is the virtual folder that represents the desktop. The contents of this virtual folder is what gets displayed on top of your wallpaper. The CSIDL_DESKTOP ...
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The advantage of knowing your limits of discrimination

A story a while back about ridiculously expensive speaker cables and James Randi's challenge to tell the difference between them and modestly-priced cables reminded me of a conversation I had with a wine-loving friend of mine. He went on a wine tasting tour and sampled wines of varying quality and price. His conclusion was that he could ...

How do I put a window at the edge of the screen without triggering the automatic positioning behavior?

Last time, we saw that Windows 7 lets you position windows to fill the left or right half of the screen by just dragging the window to the appropriate edge. (This also works for the top and bottom half of the screen.) But what if you just want a window near the edge without the automatic positioning? Just grab the window from the far ...

Mr. Lee CatCam lets you see what a cat does all day

Jürgen Perthold modified a lightweight camera and hung it around his cat's neck, snapping a picture every few minutes. Join Mr. Lee on a trip through the neighborhood. If those trips aren't enough, you can also see what Jacquie is up to...

How do I quickly position two windows side by side?

Commenter n/a posted a laundry list of feature requests. I'm not going to address all of them here (though I inadvertently addressed one of them a while ago). But today I'm going to address request number two, "A simple switch to create two windows, one alongside the other, vertically split." That feature has been around since Windows ...

Conway-Kochen Free Will Theorem: Lecture series

Some time ago, there was a bit of excitement when researchers John H. Conway (best known to geeks as the inventor of The Game of Life, a Turing-complete cellular automaton) and Simon Kochen (best known to geeks as, um, okay, he's not known to geeks) concluded that if human beings have free will, then so too do elementary particles. In ...

Polling by sleeping versus polling by waiting with a timeout

Commenter Francois Boucher asks it's better to write a background worker thread that polls with Sleep() and a flag, or polls by waiting for an event with a timeout? "Which scenario is better? The first one uses only 1 handle for the thread. The second one will use 2. But is the first scenario wasting more thread time? Is it worth using ...
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