The Old New Thing

On the linguistic productivity of the word spam

The word spam has spawned off its own corner of the English language. I'm impressed by how productive the root word spam has become. Gratuitous cross-promotion: My colleague Terry Zink occasionally writes about spam on his Cyber Security Blog...

If you want to use GUIDs to identify your files, then nobody's stopping you

Igor Levicki proposes solving the problem of file extensions by using a GUID instead of a file name to identify a file. You can do this already. Every file on an NTFS volume has an object identifier which is formally 16-byte buffer, but let's just call it a GUID. By default a file doesn't have an object identifier, but you can ask for one ...

Why does WaitForMultipleObjects return ERROR_INVALID_PARAMETER when all the parameters look valid to me?

A customer asked for assistance with the WaitForMultipleObjects function: I am getting ERROR_INVALID_PARAMETER when calling Wait­For­Multiple­Objects even though all the parameters are valid as far as I can tell. I've narrowed it down to this simple program. First of all, thank you for narrowing the issue down to a minimal ...
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iPhone pricing as economic experiment

Back in 2005, Slate's Tim Harford wondered why Microsoft didn't raise the introductory price of Xbox 360 game consoles. With the price set at $300, lines were long and shortages were many. Harford's readers came up with their own theories for resisting the laws of supply and demand and holding to a fixed price. The Xbox 360 is ...

Shortcuts are serializable objects, which means that they can be stored in places other than just a file

It's true that the vast majority of the time, people consider the shell shortcut object as synonymous with the .lnk file it is normally saved into, shortcuts need not spend their time in a file. You can put a shortcut anywhere you can save a hunk of bytes. Here's a program that creates a shortcut to the file name passed on the command line (...
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How long does an idle UNC connection remain active before it is automatically disconnected?

When you access a resource via a UNC, the Windows network redirector keeps the virtual circuit open for a while even after you close the resource. This is done to take advantage of locality: If you access a network resource once, you're probably going to access it again in a short time, so the redirector leaves the connection open for a ...

Dr. Watson and the bluescreen – a story from the trenches

A fellow Microsoft employee volunteered a story from his prior work at a hospital as their enterprise architect. I received an escalation from our Tier 1 service desk on a Dr. Watson. Why would I get a simple escalation? Strange... Since I hadn't seen the outside of my cubicle for a while, I decided to walk over to talk to the ...

Sharktopus: Just when you thought it was safe to see what movies are coming out

Sharktopus: Half-shark. Half-octopus. All-killer. I am not making that up. The Web site is sharktopusmovie.com, presumably because sharktopus.com was already taken. I am not making that up. I guess they wanted to ride the coattails of Megashark vs. Giant Octopus? Even more disturbing discovery: Megashark vs. Giant Octopus has a sequel...

If an operation results in messages being sent, then naturally the target window must be processing messages for the operation to complete

If an operation includes as part of its processing sending messages, then naturally the target window for those messages must be processing messages (or more precisely, the thread which owns the target window must be processing messages) in order for the operation to complete. Why? Because processing messages is the only way a window can ...
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