Why is MSDN Search so painful?

Since leaving Visual Studio, I have been using MSDN Online as my Help system. (I don’t use integrated Visual Studio Help for reasons I’ll spare you). As a Win32 programmer, I find MSDN Search a huge PITA. Its not that it can’t find things, but the order it presents the results seem to be the…


Video Players for Kids

Our 2.x-year-old is a video-lover, and it keeps the peace. Some folks won’t agree, but hey: it works for us. She is very accustomed to TiVo, VideoNow and DVD players: when I was her age my parents owned a tiny black & white TV and I have no recollection of watching anything other than the…


Failures on IDirect3DDevice9::ColorFill

I am only a few months into DirectX programming, but this one just burned me so I thought I would share it: IDirect3DDevice9::ColorFill will return D3DERR_INVALIDCALL if the rectangle falls outside the surface at all. If you are expecting GDI-type functionality (as I was) where it would just clip the rectangle, think again. I figured…


My Vonage Story

A few months ago we switched at home to Vonage VOIP, and we’re loving it. Even without dumping our phone line, we’re still saving money, over $250 a year before we even make a call! Why We SwitchedOur local phone service and DSL is provided by Verizon, and long distance was provided by AT&T. What…


Good Places to Eat with Toddlers #2: Redhook Brewery

Redhook’s pub, Forecasters, has a casual attitude and admit minors, so it makes a great family destination. It goes without saying that they have great beer, the food is not bad either, but the best bit is in the summer: the beer garden out back. It’s great for kids as it is pretty well walled in,…

Where is the Windows BMP Format defined?

You’d think this would be simple: on MSDN surely. Even Google has trouble finding any microsoft.com site that defines the bmp file format. Here’s how I found it (eventually): I started with a printed version of the GFF book, which is ancient, but pretty good. It talks about the ugly history of BMP and various versions….


Why do Searches timeout and not support Back?

Bit of a rant, sorry. I’m going to pick on Amazon, but others do this too: why does a Search timeout in a web browser? Here is the scenario: do a Search on Amazon. See something interesting in the result list, click on it. Read the info, decide its not the right thing, hit Back…


Good places to eat with toddlers: #1, Pagliacci Pizza, Bridle Trails

Eating out with toddlers (and babies) is a challenge: you want some decent food, but you dont want to be surround by growling faces if your kid lets out a yell occasionally. Ideally you also want the place to keep your child engaged. We recently discovered a new perfect place: Pagliacci Pizza in Bridle Trails….

New blog category: Fatherhood

As it is difficult for me to blog about my work for the moment, I decided to blog about something that takes most of the rest of my time up: Fatherhood. We have a darling 2yr old daughter, Madeline, and the last 2.5 years have been combinations of fun, tiredness, frustration, and delight. When I…

Updated NoStepInto article for Whidbey

I have updated the post at http://blogs.msdn.com/andypennell/archive/2004/02/06/69004.aspx to include information on Visual Studio 8.0 (Whidbey) as the registry location has changed. Sorry for the lack of blogging for the last few months, I have some more in the works, honest.