The Old New Thing

Beethoven as ambient music

Who knew that Beethoven wrote ambient music? The people at NOTAM took Beethoven's 9th Symphony and slowed it down so that the entire performance takes 24 hours. It's actually quite nice to listen to. (I like 2.1 myself.) [Rats, scooped by MetaFilter. Honest, it was in my queue! Nobody will believe me; they'll think I swiped it ...

A $2 billion bridge to one person

The New York Times reported on two enormous construction projects of dubious merit: [The first bridge] would connect [Ketchikan, population 7845] to an island that has about 50 residents and the area's airport, which offers six flights a day (a few more in summer). It could cost about $200 million. The other bridge would span ...

WM_KILLFOCUS is the wrong time to do field validation

"I'll do my field validation when I get a WM_KILLFOCUS message." This is wrong for multiple reasons. First, you may not get your focus loss message until it's too late. Consider a dialog box with an edit control and an OK button. The edit control validates its contents on receipt of the WM_KILLFOCUS message. Suppose the user fills in ...

Mapping all those "strange" digits to "0" through "9"

In an earlier article, I discussed how the Char.IsDigit() method and its Win32 counterpart, GetStringTypeEx report things to be digits that aren't just "0" through "9". If you really care just about "0" through "9", then you can test for them explicitly. For example, as a regular expression, use [0-9] instead of \d. Alternatively, for a ...

Sorry, no free ice cream in Tennessee; it's illegal

It seems that giving away ice cream has been illegal in Tennessee since 1957, when state legislators were trying to combat alleged unfair trade practices by the dairy industry. Upon its being alerted to the existence of this law, the state Senate and House unanimously passed a bill to repeal the law, sending it to the governor for ...

Astonishingly, rules apply to everyone.

Spain's Crown Prince and his fiancée are outraged that they had to go through airport security in Miami. "The prince and his bodyguard felt they should not be subjected to the screening, but if they do not have an escort from the State Department or the Secret Service, it is required," she added. "It is the law." Apparently...

Why can't I install Windows on my USB drive?

A collection of limitations (both hardware and software) currently prevent Windows from booting and running off a USB drive. Some of them are described in this whitepaper from WinHEC 2003. Another reason not mentioned in this paper is that during any hot-plug operation, the USB bus is completely reinitialized. Windows really doesn't ...

Playing on an entirely different level

Competitive Scrabble® is another game entirely. For example, here's a game from the 2001 World Championship. You can follow it move-by-move, or you can read the game commentary. The name "Stefan" you see in the commentary is Wall Street Journal reporter Stefan Fatsis, author of Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, ...

Not all short filenames contain a tilde

I'm sure everybody has seen the autogenerated short names for long file names. For the long name "Long name for file.txt", you might get "LONGNA~1.TXT" or possibly "LO18C9~1.TXT" if there are a lot of collisions. What you may not know is that sometimes there is no tilde at all! Each filesystem decides how it wants to implement short ...

First thing we do is kill all the jerks

There a fascinating article in today's New York Times on a troop of baboons which went pacifist: ... researchers describe the drastic temperamental and tonal shift that occurred in a troop of 62 baboons when its most belligerent members vanished from the scene. The victims were all dominant adult males that had been strong and snarly ...