The Old New Thing

Most people who go to an open house aren't actually interested in buying it

You have a house for sale. You hold an open house. But not everybody who attends is there because they're interested in buying the house. The first wave are neighbors who are curious about the house they've seen for years only from the outside. Then there are the people who just enjoy looking at other people's houses. And occasionally, ...

If you're handling an out of memory exception, you probably shouldn't allocate memory

With the assistance of Application Verifier, specifically, low resource simulation (also known as fault injection), a tester found a stack overflow condition. As we learned earlier, the important thing to look at when studying a stack overflow is the repeating section. When this stack trace was shown to the development team, they ...
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Start with a $50,000 grant, hold a fundraiser, lose $47,000

Phase three: Not profit. Coolidge High School received a $50,000 grant from AOL Time Warner to help keep the school computer systems running. Add a bizarre and disastrous fundraiser run by a confessed fraudster, and the next thing you know, nearly all of the money vanished before the year was out...

Management-speak: Focus

Management likes to use the word focus. They like it so much, that anything important is called a focus. That's an interesting scenario, one which we hope to address, but it's not our main focus. We're focusing on three features for this release. But how can you focus on more than one thing? The first citation implies that there's more ...

Hey, you look Chinese, we have a class for people like you

(The title is a callback to this article from a few months ago.) A member of my extended family grew up near the city of Nanaimo, Canada. While it's true that she's ethnically Chinese, it's also true that she's a fourth generation Canadian. The community is overwhelmingly English-speaking, and English is her first language. She grew up ...

When you agree to write to a particular length, make sure your content is actually that length

One of the lesser-known skills of writing for print is the ability to write to length. Remember in school when your teacher assigned you a five-page paper? Yeah, it's sort of like that. If your first draft comes up short, you'll have to sit down and come up with some more information. If you have too much, you'll have to decide what to cut. ...

Things other people have written that have amused me, Episode 2

Somebody posted a time-saving tip and concluded with "You'll save yourself at least 5 minutes per year." I jokingly wrote back, "I already do XYZ which does this automatically, and besides, saving 5 minutes per year isn't much anyway. I spend that much time picking my nose." The response: "Yeah, but now you can do both nostrils...

Thanks for identifying the good programmers for us

Many years ago, my manager told me about a recruiting trip he made. In response to a large number of job applications submitted from a city where a major competing software company had its offices, a small group of Microsofties travelled to that city to interview those applicants and hold a mini-job fair, so that other interested parties could...

Two-year-old as finite state machine

Some time ago I joined a family for dinner, and they had a two-year-old. During dinner, the two-year-old accidentally knocked over her glass, and liquid quickly spread across the table. The adults at the table sprang into action, containing the spill on the table, wiping it up, and checking for leakage onto the floor. After all the ...

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