The Old New Thing

We've traced the call and it's coming from inside the house: Operating system names

As the Windows Server 2003 project wound down, somebody reported a serious bug that went something like this: Subject: Windows Server 2003 still refers to itself as Windows .NET Server Previous versions of Windows report the product name correctly, but Windows Server 2003 still calls itself "Windows .NET Server" instead of Windows Server...
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If you can detect the difference between an emulator and the real thing, then the emulator has failed

Recall that a corrupted program sometimes results in a "Program too big to fit in memory" error. In response, Dog complained that while that may have been a reasonable response back in the 1980's, in today's world, there's plenty of memory around for the MS-DOS emulator to add that extra check and return a better error code. Well yeah, but ...

No good deed goes unpunished, part 2, redux

I noted some time ago that I have taken to "blaming" Exchange when someone assumes that my reply to a thread on a distribution list implies that I have taken responsibility for resolving their problem. One of my colleagues in another group is in a similar situation with respect to a different product, and he has taken to using the same basic...

An insight into the balance between forgiveness and permission

One of my colleagues shared this valuable insight into the balance between forgiveness and permission, which he in turn learned from a high-level manager in his organization: The statement that it is better to ask for forgiveness than to obtain permission is true 90% of the time. The key to success is knowing where the other 10% is...

If Windows 3.11 required a 32-bit processor, why was it called a 16-bit operating system?

Commenter Really16 asks via the Suggestion Box how 32-bit Win32s was, and why Windows 3.11 was called 16-bit Windows when it required a 32-bit CPU and ran in 32-bit protected mode. First, let's look at how Windows worked in so-called Standard mode. Actually, it was quite simple: In Standard mode, Windows consisted of a 16-bit protected-mode ...

Maxing out the upsell-o-meter

Many grocery stores in the United States have a printer next to the cash register which prints out coupons customized to your purchases. If you buy the house brand of spaghetti, it might print out a coupon for a slightly more expensive brand of spaghetti. The goal with these coupons is to get you to try a fancier (and therefore more profitable...

How do I prevent users from dragging and dropping files in Explorer?

More than once, I've had a customer ask, "How do I prevent users from dragging and dropping files in Explorer?" Actually, three of them in the past year phrased it in an even more provocative way: "I want to write a program that hooks Explorer and displays a prompt before every drag/drop operation." This is one of those cases where you have ...

Things the locals know: How to have lunch at El Brillante

One of my colleagues moved to Granada last year, and he kindly provided me some recommendations for places to eat in Madrid. We found El Brillante easily, positioned across the street from the Atoche train station, with its back door and terrace facing the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (which mercifully goes by the nickname Museo...

Why can I type a lowercase s with caron with the numeric keypad, but not a lowercase r with caron?

For concreteness, let's assume that you are using 437 as your OEM code page (which as we all know is not actually provided by the OEM) and 1252 as your ANSI code page (which as we all known is not actually the product of the American National Standards Institute). You can use Alt+0154 to type a Latin small letter s with caron because ...

The problem with setting up a story is that people focus on the set-up and miss the point of the story

In writing, one of the steps you need to perform is motivating the discussion. Now, technically, you don't have to do that, but if you just dive into the guts of a topic right off the bat, people are going to say, "What the heck is going on and why should I care?" Consider, for example, an article I wrote a while back on how to use WMI to ...