My least effective Hallowe’en costume

One year I decided to dress as a nerd for Hallowe’en. I took an old pair of glasses with large lenses, “repaired” it with some masking tape, and combined it with a plaid dress shirt with a pocket protector and courduroy pants that were too short. Nobody at work realized I was wearing a costume….


Why isn’t my transparent static control transparent?

A customer reported that their application uses transparent static controls positioned over a bitmap image control, but even though they set the Transparent property on the static control, the static control isn’t transparent. The customer was kind enough to provide clear steps to illustrate the problem: Open Visual Studio 2005 or 2008. From the menu,…


Why do the pinned items in the Jump List go on the top instead of the bottom?

When you pin items to the Jump List, they go to the top of the menu that appears when you right-click the Taskbar item. Why not put the pinned items at the bottom? After all, over 98% of users leave the taskbar at the bottom of the screen, so putting the pinned items at the…


How can I get notified when some other window is destroyed?

A customer wanted to know whether there was a method (other than polling) to monitor another window and find out when it gets destroyed. The goal was to automate some operation, and one of the steps was to wait until some program closed its XYZ window before moving on to the next step. Finding the…


Raymond misreads restaurant names: Local 360

Okay, maybe this time I’m misreading it on purpose, but when I see the name of popular new restaurant Local 360, I think, “That doesn’t look all that low-calorie to me. I bet their dishes have more than 360 calories.” Or maybe it’s “We serve high-calorie foods five days a year. Congratulations, you happen to…


No good deed goes unpunished: Helping to redirect a question

It is a common occurrence that a question is sent to a mailing that is close, but not quite right. Usually somebody will provide information to help redirect the question to a more appropriate mailing list. But this effort does not always go unpunished. From: X A customer is encountering a problem with Product Q when…


Squeezing the last bit of enjoyment out of the lost half-inning of a baseball game

A colleague of mine complained, “When the home team is winning, they don’t bother playing the bottom half of the ninth inning. I’m getting ripped off! Make them finish the game!” This led to some speculation as to how the visiting team could manage to salvage a win out of that final half-inning, given that…


If the shell is written in C++, why not just export its base classes?

ton suggested that since the shell is written in C++, IShell­Folder should have been an abstract class, and then it could have used techniques like exceptions and Inversion of Control. Okay, first of all, I’m not sure how Inversion of Control is something that requires C++, so I’m going to leave that aside. Second of…


The video of Microsoft Store employees dressed in Windows colors, revealed by a falling curtain, gee that looks familiar, somehow

One of my former colleagues tipped me off to this video of the Grand Opening of the newest Microsoft Store, specifically calling out this moment at timecode 0:48 of a curtain dropping, revealing cheering employees dressed in Windows colors, which seemed familiar, somehow. Oh right, because I did the same thing over fifteen years ago,…


The PSN_SETACTIVE notification is sent each time your wizard page is activated

A customer had received a number of crashes via Windows Error Reporting and believed that they had found a bug in the tree view common control. In our UI, we have a tree view with checkboxes. The tree view displays a fixed item at the top, followed by a variable number of dynamic items. When…