The Old New Thing (the book) allegedly now stocked at the Microsoft Company Store (Redmond)

I've been informed that the Redmond branch of the Microsoft Company Store has begun stocking the dead tree edition of my book.

"But wait, your book isn't printed by Microsoft Press; it's published by Addison-Wesley Professional. I thought the company store only stocked Microsoft Press titles."

I'm told that this is a pilot program. (And no, I don't know what the success criteria are.)

When I stopped by the store a few days ago, they were in the process of reorganizing the book section, so not only was my book not up, neither were any others! But it should be there "any day now."

And remember, I'll gladly sign your book but you have to tell me what to write.

Comments (11)
  1. J says:

    An easy way to make sure your antecedents are clear is to make your pronouns demonstrative adjectives or just the original noun itself (or more importantly, the noun you _really_ meant).  I hate ambiguous bug reports and technical documentation.  For example,


    Program XYZ is popping up an odd window and then it freezes, but when I click OK, then it starts responding.  Is that a known problem?

    Pronouns replaced:

    Program XYZ is popping up an odd window and then [the main window] freezes, but when I click OK [on the odd window], then [the main window] starts responding.  Is [that freezing behavior] a known problem?

    Ahh, much better.

  2. JamesNT says:

    This has got to be one of the biggest problems I face with my clients.  Pronouns without antecedants.  

    All to often have I had clients call me up and use the word it in a string of five sentences with no antecedant whatsoever.

    "I had opened it up when it said this error and I thought I had done it wrong but maybe it was just being buggy."

    And then they get pissed off when I tell them I have no idea what they are talking about.


  3. Jim T says:

    I love posts like this, now I have a vague idea what an antecedent is, and, consequently, an anaphor.

  4. Ian says:

    > And then they get pissed off when I tell them I have no idea what they are talking about.

    If you have no idea what person X is talking about, the chances are that person X doesn’t know either. Far too many people just blather on in vague terms rather than simply admit that they don’t really understand something.

  5. JamesNT says:


    Sometimes that is the case but in others the person is just talking to fast or making assumptions (or doesn’t want to take the time to type out a well-formed email).


  6. Bryan says:

    The worst is when you get some kind of problem report and it consists of "When I try to do X, it doesn’t work".


    It’s obvious it doesn’t work.  If it worked, you wouldn’t be calling!  What isn’t obvious is why it doesn’t work for you!

  7. James Schend says:


    A big problem in computing is that a lot of users don’t know the terminology. Imagine trying to describe a problem in Word’s UI if you don’t know the terms "toolbar" or "icon."

  8. poochner says:

    "What is it doing that’s different from what you expect?"

  9. Raymond has had lots of great posts over the years on how to not get a question answered. Some of the

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