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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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….

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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…

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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.