Stick to the normal candy and nobody gets hurt

Hallowe’en is a family affair at Microsoft. It typically starts at around 3 or 4 o’clock, with costumed kids roaming the hallways collecting treats from offices. One year, one of my colleagues decided that the kids deserved more than the usual candy bars and chocolates. Even though he is Caucasian, he went to the local…


Working with ambiguous and invalid points in time in managed code

Public Service Announcement: Daylight Saving Time ends in most parts of the United States this weekend. I pointed out some time ago that Win32 and .NET deal with daylight saving time differently. Specifically, Win32 always deals with the time zone you are currently in (even if it’s not the time zone that corresponds to the…


Dude, the admission bracelet goes around your wrist

Short stories from the 2008 PDC: On the bus heading to the attendee party at Universal Studios, I overhear one person advising another on how to put on the band that grants admission to the park: “Be careful not to catch any hair on the glue. Otherwise it’s a real pain in the butt.” Dude,…


If you’re going to reformat source code, please don’t do anything else at the same time

I spend a good amount of my time doing source code archaeology, and one thing that really muddles the historical record is people who start with a small source code change which turns into large-scale source code reformatting. I don’t care how you format your source code. It’s your source code. And your team might…


PDC 2008 notes: How to get to room 406A, and other notes

Today is the day of my talk. I’m always a bit nervous before these things, because I’m never sure if what I’m going to present matches up with what people are expecting. Most people who come to my PDC talk don’t know who I am, so they aren’t expecting me to toss out a few…


Why does my Run dialog say that tasks will created with administrative privileges?

“I don’t know what happened, but now when I open the Run dialog on my Windows Vista machine by typing Windows+R, there is a shield under the edit box that says This task will be created with administrative privileges. What’s going on?” One my colleagues used psychic powers to solve this problem: “I imagine that…


Typo patrol at the 2008 PDC

Typo patrol got off to a very quick start. One of the flyers in the attendee goodie bag is from a company which offers two free months of service to PDC attendees. The first step in obtaining the service is “Just signup and mention the PDC by January 31, 2008.” Okay, just hang on while…


To climb the corporate ladder you’ll need some rope, but rope has many purposes

When KC told me about a trick she learned to get an area expert to respond to her email, I cautioned her that the trick might backfire: A friend of mine (let’s call him Bob) happens also to work in the technology industry, and the manager for the part of the project he worked on…


Ah, local Los Angeles television news, how I miss thee

Sitting in my hotel room the night before the 2008 PDC, I’m watching the Los Angeles local news, and the field reporter just said, “The police say this is an isolated incident, but it could happen anywhere.”


If you don’t want to try to repair the data, then don’t, but you should at least know that you have corrupted data

When I wrote about understanding the consequences of WAIT_ABANDONED, I mentioned that one of the possible responses was to try to repair the damage, but some people are suspicious of this approach. Mind you, I’m suspicious of it, too. Repairing corruption is hard. You have to anticipate the possibility, create enough of a trail to…