Reason number 9,999,999 why you don’t ever use humorous elements in a shipping product

I just saw an email go by on one of our self hosting aliases: From: <REDACTED> Sent: Saturday, April 30, 2011 12:27 PM To: <REDACTED> Subject: Spelling Mistake for browser in event viewer Not sure which team to assign this to – please pick up this bug – ‘bowser’ for ‘browser’ And he included a…

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What does “size_is” mean in an IDL file?

My boss (who has spent a really long time working on RPC) and I got into a discussion the other day about the “size_is” IDL attribute (yeah, that’s what Microsoft developers chat about when they’re bored). For context, there are two related attributes which are applied to an array in IDL files.  size_is(xxx) and length_is(xxx). …

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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]. …

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The story behind the mysterious “Ding” in Windows Vista.

I just ran into this fairly old post on Channel 9.  mstefan reported that his applications played a “Ding” noise when selecting an item in a listview (or tree) control.   It turns out that I’d had the problem independently reported to me by one of the people here at Microsoft.  Here were his reproduction…

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Digging into the history bin (AKA: Microsoft Developer says that Windows is useless)

As I was writing my “25 years of Larry’s history at Microsoft in 1 year chunks” blog posts, I spent a fair amount of time digging through my email archives (trying to figure out exactly what happened at what time).  During this, I ran into a link to a post I’d made on the Info-IBMPC…

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24 years ago today (1985)

Way back in 1985 I was busy working on MS-DOS 4.0.  MS-DOS 4.0 was a multitasking derivative of MS-DOS 2.0 (during 1985 we integrated the changes for MS-DOS 3.1 to MS-DOS 4.1). It’s important to remember the difference between MS-DOS and PC-DOS.  PC-DOS was an IBM OS offering which was largely written by Microsoft.  MS-DOS…

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23 years ago today (1986)

23 years ago, I was working on finishing MS-DOS 4.0 and transitioning to work on MS-DOS 4.1.  We also moved from the original Northup campus to the brand new 4 building campus herein Redmond.  At the time the company mandated that we give up our President’s Day holiday and instead replace it with the day…

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20, 21 and 22 years ago (1987-1989)

Ok, at this point it should be blindingly obvious where this series is going :). In early 1987 I was still working on MS-DOS 4.1, a custom version of DOS for ICL in the UK.  I also got married to my wonderful wife Valorie in January.  We returned from our honeymoon and I wandered into work…

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Nineteen years ago today (1990)

In 1990 I joined the WIndows NT OS/2 team after working on Lan Manager for several years.  I was one of about 4-5 developers who moved from the Lan Manager team to join the much storied NT OS/2 developers.  I still have my copy of the NT OS/2 workbook in my office – it’s a…

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Seventeen years ago today (1992)

I was working on the NT team working on the NT browser.  I was also preparing for my first major vacation in about 8 years – I was going to take 6 weeks off to visit Worldcon in Orlando, spend some time at Disneyworld, and visit my family on the east coast to show off…

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