The Old New Thing

Early versions of Aero Peek: Aladdin, Bat Signal, and Squeegee

The feature now known as Aero Peek wasn't born that way. It went through several iterations before becoming what eventually shipped in Windows 7. At the MIX09 conference, Stephan Hoefnagels showed some of the precursors to Aero Peek. Here are the highlights, and the corresponding time codes if you want to jump straight to the demos. ...

Mom and dad's event-filled first day of school

I dreamed that my wife and I had dropped our daughter off at her new school for the first time, and I made a wrong turn and ended up going the wrong way. We got off at an exit for highway I-5, and the on-ramp turned into a two-lane highway hundreds of feet in the sky. To keep people from going too fast, the road rolled back and forth: First ...

Programmatically editing the metadata of an audio file

Today's Little Program edits the metadata of an audio file, ostensibly to correct a spelling error, but really just to show how it's done. Today's smart pointer class library is... (rolls dice)... CComPtr! We open with two helper functions which encapsulate the patterns Get property from property store Call IProperty­Store...

How to rescue a broken stack trace on x64: Recovering the stack pointer

Recovering a broken stack on x64 machines on Windows is trickier because the x64 uses unwind codes for stack walking rather than a frame pointer chain. When you dump the stack, all you're going to see is return addresses sprinkled in amongst the stack data. Begin digression: According to the x64 ABI, each function must begin with a prologue...

Why are my posted messages getting lost when the user drags my window around?

This question was inspired by an actual customer question, but I changed a lot of it around to make for a more interesting story. (Trust me, the original story was even more boring.) A customer's background thread posted a message to the main UI thread to signal something (details not important). They found that the posted message was never...
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How permanent is the "Remove from this list" action on the Start menu?

From Windows XP to Windows 7, the Start menu showed the programs it thinks you've run most frequently, by employing a conceptually simple but complicated-in-practice algorithm. You can right-click an item on the menu and select Remove from this list. What exactly does this option do? Does it reset the points back to zero, or does ...

If your product is client-managed, how do you sell the server?

A friend of mine told me about a project he worked on two decades (and three employers) ago. Let's call it Project Nosebleed. Their project used a client-managed database: You have a central file server that houses the database files, which were in a proprietary file format that only the clients understood. All the client applications open the...

If you had to deal with preschoolers all day, you'd need a nap too

Today, I'm turning it around: This is a dream that one of my friends had about me! She dreamed that she took her camera to school to take some pictures, possibly for the yearbook. She was somewhat surprised to discover that I was the new preschool teacher. When she popped in to my classroom to get a couple of pictures of me, she wasn't able ...

What is the official name of the most popular work visa in the United States?

The most popular work visa in the United States is the H1-B visa. But have you looked at its official name? H-1B Specialty Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models (Today is Labor Day, a holiday in the United States which celebrates the end of summer. Not really, but that's what it has ...

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