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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Elliot Omiya, Frank Yerrace and I make a video…

Charles just let me know that he’s posted a video that Elliot, Frank and I did talking about the audio features added to Win7 and some of the architectural decisions that went into it.   Enjoy!

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A quick run through the new Windows 7 multimedia audio SDK samples

As I mentioned yesterday, the Windows SDK is now live.  For the Windows SDK, there are 9 new samples (and one changed samples).    Two of the SDK samples demonstrate the WIndows 7 “Ducking” feature – they’re actually based on the code I wrote for my PDC talk last year, but tweaked to show some…

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The Windows 7 SDK is live!

I just received email that the new Windows 7 SDK is now live!  Apparently it’s not on the Windows SDK download site yet, but if you click on the first link, you can download an ISO which contains the SDK.  For the Win7 SDK, I wrote about 8 new samples in the Multimedia\Audio category, they’re…

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A few of my favorite Win7 Sound features – Stream Switching

Way back when I was in college, I learned Lisp using a derivative of Lisp called MACLISP (named for MIT’s project MAC, not for anything that came from a fruity company in Cupertino).  One of the coolest features that MACLISP offered was the (DWIM) command – basically if you had a typo when entering an…

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A few of my favorite Win7 Sound features – Capture Monitor (aka Listen to…)

The capture monitor is a feature that allows you to listen to a portable media player (or any other microphone input) through your PC speakers.    First a bit of history.  Way back in the dark ages (Windows XP timeframe), audio solution manufacturers used to include an analog circuitry that connected the line in to…

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A few of my favorite Win7 Sound features – UI refinements

Well, we shipped Windows 7, and now I’d like to talk about a few of my favorite features that were added by the Sound team.  Most of them fit in the “make it just work the way it’s supposed to”, but a few are just cool. I also want to call out some stuff that…

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Windows 7 fixes the PlaySound(XXX, SND_MEMORY|SND_ASYNC) anti-pattern

A number of times in the past, I’ve mentioned that the PlaySound(xxx, xxx, SND_MEMORY|SND_ASYNC) pattern is almost always a bad idea.  After the last wave of crash dumps were received for this problem, our team decided to do something about it.  Starting with Windows 7, if you call PlaySound with SND_MEMORY|SND_ASYNC, instead of relying on…

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PlaySound(xxx, SND_MEMORY | SND_ASYNC) is almost always a bad idea.

Whenever you submit a crash report to OCA, a bug gets filed in the relevant product database and gets automatically assigned to the developer responsible for the code.  I had a crashing bug in the PlaySound API assigned to me.    In this case, the call was crashing deep inside of the waveOutOpen API and…

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When you do UX work, sometimes you have to worry about the strangest things…

I recently got a bug reported to me about the visuals in the sound control panel applet not being aligned properly (this is from the UI for a new Windows 7 feature): The problem as reported was that the microphone was aligned incorrectly w.r.t. the down arrow. – the microphone was too far to the…

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