The Old New Thing

Suburbs make you fat, researchers conclude
Suburbs make you fat, researchers conclude
Researchers have determined that living in the suburbs makes you fat. That and all the super-sized value meals. Speaking of super-sizing your value meal: people are tearing down their McMansions in order to build... a bigger McMansion (WSJ, paid registration required, sorry...
The default answer to every dialog box is "Cancel"
The default answer to every dialog box is "Cancel"
The problem with displaying UI is that people will take every opportunity to ignore it. This story of how people deal with virus warning dialogs (via Don Browning) is a template for how users treat any unexpected dialog: They try to get rid of it. We see this time and time again...
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Setup could not verify integrity of file
Setup could not verify integrity of file
When you try to install a patch, you may get the error message "Setup could not verify integrity of file. Make sure the cryptographic service is running." This typically means that the signature catalog has been corrupted. There was a patch to fix this problem, but of course if you haven'...
Painting only when your window is visible on the screen
Painting only when your window is visible on the screen
Sometimes you want to perform an activity, such as updating a status window, only as long as the window is not covered by another window. The easiest way to determine this is by not actually trying to determine it. For example, here's how the taskbar clock updates itself...
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Hardware backwards compatibility
Hardware backwards compatibility
Backwards compatibility applies not only to software. It also applies to hardware. And when hardware goes bad, the software usually takes the blame. The HLT instruction tells the CPU to shut itself down until the next hardware interrupt. This is a big win on laptops since it reduces power ...
What are those little overlay icons?
What are those little overlay icons?
Windows XP ships with a number of icon overlays. The black clock is particularly baffling because you sometimes see it even if your system is not equipped with Hierarchical Storage Management. When this happens, it's because some program (...
Rotating the Z-order
Rotating the Z-order
Sometimes you run into a conflict where you need the controls laid out in one Z-order to get hit-testing to work, but need a different order to get keyboard TAB order working. For example, consider this dialog template, which has been simplified for expository purposes. The...
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Windows brings out the Rorschach test in everyone
Windows brings out the Rorschach test in everyone
It seems that no matter what you do, somebody will get offended. Every Windows 95 box has an anti-piracy hologram on the side. The photographer chose his infant son as his model, since the human face is very hard to copy accurately. The baby sits next to a computer, and as you turn the hologram...