The Old New Thing

2014 mid-year link clearance

Another round of the semi-annual link clearance. James Mickens section January 2014: This World of Ours I have seen a video called “Gigantic Martian Insect Party,” and I have seen another video called “Gigantic Martian Insect Party 2: Don’t Tell Mom,” and I hated both videos, but this did not stop me from ...

Undefined behavior can result in time travel (among other things, but time travel is the funkiest)

The C and C++ languages are notorious for the very large section of the map labeled here be dragons, or more formally, undefined behavior. When undefined behavior is invoked, anything is possible. For example, a variable can be both true and false. John Regehr has a list of interesting examples, as well as some winners of the ensuing ...
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For Honor, For Excellence, For Pizza

Hacker News member citizenlow recalls the time I went over after hours to help out the Money team debug a nasty kernel issue. They were running into mysterious crashes during their stress testing and asked for my help in debugging it. I helped out other teams quite a bit, like writing a new version of Dr. Watson for the Windows 98 team...

Getting past the question to solving the problem, episode 2014.06.25

Today is another example where the right thing to do is not to answer the customer's question but rather to solve the customer's problem. A customer liaison asked, "What do the registry keys X and Y do? We noticed that they are both read from and written to when you open a common file dialog. Just curious." I replied, "I'm curious as to your...

The social interactions in two preschool classes, in graphic form

Each preschooler at my daughter's school was asked a few simple questions, and the answers were printed in the yearbook. Among other things, the preschoolers were asked to complete the sentence, "I like to play with (person)." This is the type of question that leads to tears and hurt feelings. Whatever. Their parents are going to be stuck ...

Finding the "Run as administrator" command, a game of hide-and-seek

Back in the old days, the "Run as administrator" menu option was placed on the extended menu. To get the extended menu, you hold the shift key when you right-click on the shortcut. In Windows 7, the "Run as administrator" option was moved to the primary menu, so you no longer need to hold the shift key to get it. Well, except that ...

Adding a sound to the Alt+Tab window

Today's Little Program plays a sound when the Alt+Tab window appears and disappears. The program registers an accessibility event hook for the EVENT_SYSTEM_SWITCH­START and EVENT_SYSTEM_SWITCH­END events. The Start event fires when an Alt+Tab operation begins, and the End event fires when an Alt+Tab operation completes. As noted in...
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Once you go input-idle, your application is deemed ready to receive DDE messages

Feel free to stop using DDE. There was one customer who confessed that they were still using DDE, and they asked for help debugging a DDE problem. They found that sometimes, when their application was launched for DDE, it never received the WM_DDE_INITIATE message. Instead, the Shell­Execute function returned ERROR_DDE_FAIL. If launched ...
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What happened to the Shut Down menu in classic Task Manager?

The great thing about open comments is that anybody can use them to introduce their favorite gripe as long as it shares at least four letters of the alphabet in common with the putative topic of the base article. xpclient "asks" why the Shut Down menu was removed from Task Manager. I put the word "asks" in quotation marks, because it's ...

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