The Old New Thing

The danger of making the chk build stricter is that nobody will run it

Our old pal Norman Diamond suggested that Windows should go beyond merely detecting dubious behavior on debug builds and should kill the application when it misbehaves. The thing is, if you make an operating system so strict that the slightest misstep results in lightning bolts from the sky, then nobody would run it. Back in the days of 16-...

What is that horrible grinding noise coming from my floppy disk drive?

Wait, what's a floppy disk drive? For those youngsters out there, floppy disks are where we stored data before the invention of the USB earring. A single floppy disk could hold up to two seconds of CD-quality audio. This may not sound like a lot, but it was in fact pretty darned awesome, because CDs hadn't been invented yet either. Anyway, ...

The tradition of giving cute names to unborn babies

Many of my friends gave names to their unborn babies. Most of them were based on various objects that were the size of the adorable little parasite¹ at the time they discovered that they were pregnant: There were a few outliers, though. That last one takes a bit of explaining. Having grown tired of people asking her what she was ...

What does the executable timestamp really mean?

A customer was looking for some information on the executable timestamp: I would like my program to display the date it was linked. The IMAGE_FILE_HEADER.Time­Date­Stamp looks like what I need. Is there an easy way to retrieve this information so I don't have to parse the EXE header myself? Also, what functions exist for formatting ...

At least it'll be easy to write up the security violation report

Many years ago, Microsoft instituted a new security policy at the main campus: all employees must visibly wear their identification badge, even when working in their office. As is customary with with nearly all new security policies, it was met with resistance. One of my colleagues was working late, and his concentration was interrupted by a ...

Windows has supported multiple UI languages for over a decade, but nobody knew it

In the early days of Windows, there was a separate version of Windows for each language, and once you decided to install, say, the French version of Windows, you were locked into using French. You couldn't change your mind and, say, switch to German. The reason for this is that there were bits and pieces of language-dependent information ...

We've traced the pipe, and it's coming from inside the process!

We saw last timeone of the deadlocks you can run into when playing with pipes.Today we'll look at another one:Our program runs a helper process with stdin/stdout/stderr redirected.The helper process takes input via stdin and prints the resultto stdout.Sometimes we find that the Write­File from the controllingprocess into the ...
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And… that cadence means it's halftime, concert-goers!

In college, one of my classmates (who is now the conductor of an orchestra, so I guess that whole music thing worked out for him) coined the term halftime to refer to a resounding cadence in the first half of a piece, the type of cadence that might fool an inattentive or unseasoned listener into thinking that the piece is over, when in fact it...