NextGenHacker101 owes me a new monitor

Because I just got soda all over my current one… One of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while.    And yes, I know that I’m being cruel here and I shouldn’t make fun of the kids ignorance, but he is SO proud of his new discovery and is so wrong in his interpretation…


A Tree Grows… How?

Valorie’s currently attending a seminar about teaching science at the middle-school level. Yesterday, her instructor asked the following question: “I have in my hand a Douglass Fir tree seed that masses 1 gram [I’m making this number up, it’s not important].  I plant it in my yard, water it regularly, and wait for 20 years….


Wait, that was MY bug? Ouch!

Over the weekend, the wires were full with reports of a speech recognition demo at the Microsoft’s Financial Analysts Meeting here in Seattle that went horribly wrong.  Slashdot had it, Neowin had it,  Digg had it, Reuters had it.  It was everywhere. And it was all my fault.   Well, mostly.  Rob Chambers on the…


What’s up with the Beep driver in Windows 7?

Earlier today, someone asked me why 64bit versions of windows don’t support the internal PC speaker beeps.  The answer is somewhat complicated and ends up being an interesting intersection between a host of conflicting tensions in the PC ecosystem.   Let’s start by talking about how the Beep hardware worked way back in the day[1]. …


Tipping Points

One of my birthday presents was the book “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell. In it, he talks about how epidemics and other flash occurances happen – situations that are stable, and a small thing changes and suddenly the world changed overnight. I’ve been thinking a lot about yesterdays blog post, and I realized that…


What’s this untitled slider doing on the Vista volume mixer?

Someone sent the following screen shot to one of our internal troubleshooting aliases.  They wanted to know what the “Name Not Available” slider meant.   The audio system on Vista keeps track of the apps that are playing sounds (it has to, to be able to display the information on what apps are playing sounds…


Open Source and Hot Rods

I was surfing the web the other day and ran into someone linking to this article by Jack Lanier from Edmunds (the automotive newsletter people). The article’s entitled “Friends Don’t Let Friends Modify Cars”. From the article: Today, it’s difficult to make cars better and extremely easy to make them worse. Or dangerous.As a journalist…


Why do people think that a server SKU works well as a general purpose operating system?

Sometimes the expectations of our customers mystify me.   One of the senior developers at Microsoft recently complained that the audio quality on his machine (running Windows Server 2008) was poor. To me, it’s not surprising.  Server SKUs are tuned for high performance in server scenarios, they’re not configured for desktop scenarios.  That’s the entire…


It’s the platform, Silly!

I’ve been mulling writing this one for a while, and I ran into the comment below the other day which inspired me to go further, so here goes. Back in May, Jim Gosling was interviewed by Asia Computer Weekly.  In the interview, he commented: One of the biggest problems in the Linux world is there…


Resilience is NOT necessarily a good thing

I just ran into this post by Eric Brechner who is the director of Microsoft’s Engineering Excellence center. What really caught my eye was his opening paragraph: I heard a remark the other day that seemed stupid on the surface, but when I really thought about it I realized it was completely idiotic and irresponsible….