The Old New Thing

2010 mid-year link clearance

Another round of the semi-annual link clearance. And, as always, the obligatory plug for my column in TechNet Magazine: Starting in June 2010, TechNet Magazine publishes each issue in two stages, and my column appears in the second half of the month, so don't freak out when you don't see it when a new issue first comes out...

Management fallacy: If I send people email, then they will work harder

A project many years ago neared the conclusion of one of its project milestones. Things were getting down to the wire, and upper management was concerned that the project may not reach the milestone on schedule. To ensure success, they decided to send email. From: Senior Manager Subject: READ NOW!!!! More than one bug Please see the ...

The illusory repair powers of black electrical tape

Back in the crazy dot-com boom days, I knew someone who was into high-performance automobiles. And since these were the crazy dot-com boom days, he had the money to satisfy his urge to drive high-performance automobiles. He bought a used Ferrari, but found that it spent more time in the repair shop than on the road. To solve this problem, he ...

Redneck Scrabble: It's fun unless you had to do it for real

In response to my story about creative-spelling Scrabble, some people volunteered their own personal variations, like Plausible Scrabble or Rude Word Scrabble. One variation my friends and I sometimes play is Redneck Scrabble. All words must be spelled the way a redneck might spell it. We enjoy playing it, except for my schoolteacher ...

How do I get a radio button control to render its text transparently?

Commenter Andrei asks via the Suggestion Box for help with making the text transparent using WM_CTL­COLOR­STATIC. "Instead of the radio button now there's a black background." Let's look at this problem in stages. First, let's ignore the transparent part and figure out how to render text without a black background. The background ...
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6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-3), 70-68: The scoreboard doesn't even go that high

The match went so long that it exceeded the limits of the scoreboard! Deadspin pulls some choice quotes out of Xan Brooks's descent into madness live-blogging the marathon Wimbledon match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. Just read it. You can follow him as he loses his grip on reality before your very eyes. It's just a shame somebody...

My life as a square (pixel)

The shape of the Windows screen pixel has changed over the years. It has always had a rectangular shape, but the ratio of height to width has varied. (Someday, somebody will come up with a display adapter with hexagonal or triangular pixels, and then everything will fall apart.) Our story begins with the Color Graphics Adapter, better known ...
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When setting expectations, you also have to deny them when necessary

Occasionally the shell team will get a request from a customer via their customer liaison that requests information on how to accomplish something or other, and before we'll answer the question, we want to know what the support boundaries are. For example, we might provide a mechanism that works on Windows Vista but comes with no ...

The best way to prove somebody incompetent is to make up stuff and then point out that it's idiotic

One way to show that somebody is incompetent is to tell them that something they're doing is stupid, even when it's not what they're doing. Take for example this comment saying that it's stupid for copy and paste to use data objects which can allow code to execute. Um, we were talking about drag and drop, not copy and paste. And in fact, the ...

How do I customize the Favorite Links section of the File Open dialog?

In the standard File Open dialog in Windows Vista and Windows 7, the top of the navigation bar contains a section called Favorite Links (on Windows Vista) or just Favorites (on Windows 7). These items also appear in the Explorer window's Navigation Pane. How do I customize those links? You add or remove them from your ...

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