The Old New Thing

Reading the error message carefully can help you see how the computer misinterpreted what you typed

The details have been changed since they aren't important but the lesson is the same. A customer had the following problem with a command-line tool: I've created a taglist but I can't seem to get it to work with the command. When I ask it to track the taglist, it can't find it. But if I ask for all my taglists, there it is. Yes, the...
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Grown in the middle of some very respectable Seattle suburbs, such as Renton

"The marijuana is grown in the middle of some very respectable Seattle suburbs, such as Renton." This is a funny sentence if you're a longtime resident of the greater Seattle area, because Renton has historically been a working-class town. (Here's Almost Live's parody of South King County to give you an idea of what Renton is up against.) ...

Woe unto PROGMAN.INI

Sad but true: Once you document a file format, it becomes a de facto API. The Windows 95 team learned this the hard way when they set out to replace Program Manager with Explorer. Not only were the settings in the file documented, so too was the binary file format of files. The binary file format was included for diagnostic purposes: ...

Welcome to the 11th annual Mid-Atlantic Road-E-O

The top sanitation truck drivers in the mid-Atlantic area converged on Pen Arygl, Pennsylvania for the regional finals of the SWANA Trash Collectors Road-E-O. And the results have been posted [pdf]. Only A Game's Ron Schachter reports [mp3]. (Despite the wackiness, the competition does highlight skills that all truck drivers need to master...

The wheels of government bureaucracy turn slowly: Green cards

When foreign nationals come to work at Microsoft, the legal department gets to work with the paperwork of applying for permanent residency (colloquially known as a green card even though the cards haven't been green for a long time). Obtaining permanent resident status in the United States takes a ridiculous amount of time, and I remember the...

Walt Mosspuppet: The return of the fake blog

Fake Steve Jobs put on the map the wonderful insanity of the fake celebrity blog. (I'm sure there were others before Fake Steve Jobs, but that's the one that made it cool and hip.) Copycats sprung up, from Fake Steve Ballmer to Mock Mark Cuban, but none of them really had the staying power of good old Fake Steve Jobs. (movie trailer voice...

One way to make sure nobody sends you feedback

Last year, somebody sent out a message to very large group of people describing a change to, well, what it described isn't important to the story. What's important is that the message ended with the following sentence: If you have questions, please send them to abcdef. If you don't see why this was a brilliant move, go back and check what ...