The Old New Thing

The great thing about URL encodings is that there are so many to choose from

The phrase URL encoding appears to mean different things to different people. First, Tim Berners-Lee says that URLs are encoded by using %xx to encode "dangerous" characters, or to suppress the special meaning that would normally be assigned to characters such as / or ?. For example, the URL http://server/why%3F/?q=bother is a request to ...

Non-Microspeak: Boiling the ocean

Some time ago, MSN Careers listed Boil the ocean as a workplace phrase you should learn. Thankfully, the phrase (meaning "to attempt something impossibly ambitious") is not currently in wide use in Microspeak. However, a friend of mine who works in another industry tells me that it is not only very much alive in his line of work, it became ...

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the yardstick for Wikipedia entries

I use Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Wikipedia entry as a yardstick for other Wikipedia entries. At the time I'm writing this blog entry, her Wikipedia article is 1600 words long. So 1600 words is how many words Wikipedia assigns to the 20th most powerful woman (and the most powerful female lawyer) in the world. By comparison, Wikipedia has ...

What happens to the control names in the IDE when my program is running?

nick_journals demonstrates some confusion about names in source code and their relationship to runtime behavior. A topic I am particularly interested in is the naming of controls, how it works... Every control gets a name from a developer...via the IDE (e.g btnOK) When using this function: GetWindowLong(handle,GWL_ID) it doesn't return ...
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WaitForInputIdle waits for any thread, which might not be the thread you care about

We saw last time that the WaitForInputIdle function waits only once for a process to go input idle. Even if the process later stops processing messages, WaitForInputIdle will return immediately and say, "Yeah, he's idle." The way a process is determined to be input idle is that it is waiting for user input when there is none. This translates...
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WaitForInputIdle should really be called WaitForProcessStartupComplete

The WaitForInputIdle function waits for a process to finish its initialization, which is determined when it reaches a state where it is just sitting around waiting for messages. The documentation for WaitForInputIdle doesn't even get around to the initialization part until the Remarks section. If all you read is the one-sentence summary, ...
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First, try reading the error message, episode 3: Even programmers see error messages without reading them

As we all know, users don't read error messages. And, sad to say, this behavior extends to the group of people you would think pay the most attention to error messages, namely, programmers, who are the people who cause your computer to display the error messages! Today's example comes from an internal programmer's tool which I will call ...

Why does it take longer to reject an invalid password than to accept a valid one?

You may have noticed that it takes longer to reject an invalid password than to accept a valid one. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, it simply takes longer to confirm that a password is invalid. Your local computer retains a password cache. This password cache improves performance of local authentication operations, such as ...

Germans are falling for the same trap as the Japanese: Importing words from English and changing the meaning, but the Germans do it even though the words didn't need to be imported at all

Languages borrow from each other all the time. English has historically been a happy perpetrator of word-theft, but in recent decades, it has been serving as the source for a lot of theft, too. What I find particularly interesting, though, is when a word is borrowed and given a meaning in its new language different from its meaning in the ...

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