The walls of my friend’s house sometimes randomly got corrupted

One evening, I had a series of three dreams. In each one, I visited an unusual home.

In the third dream, I visited the home of a friend of mine. He lived in a white stucco split-level, a stereotypical suburban home. What made the house interesting was that if you did things just right, dark dots would appear on the wall and slowly consume it.

My friend explained, "This house is running a very old build of DirectX, and sometimes it just does that."

We set up a repro and calculated that when the dots appeared, stack usage was exactly 5124 bytes. This was a 16-bit house, and the stack overflow into the heap caused a return address to be changed to point into the DirectDraw flood fill function.

When I told my friend about this strange dream, he quipped, "I've since then upgraded to a 64-bit house."

Comments (16)
  1. j b says:

    Do you know what a two-storey house is?

    A house were the salesman tells you one story befor you pay for the house, and a completely different story after you've paid for the house…

  2. Falcon says:

    Raymond, did you ever see the same cat walk past twice in this house?…/tt0133093

  3. OldKarlm says:


    I am trying to help someone unsubscribve from this blog – see [How to] Unsubscribe from a MSDN Blog? on…/how-to-unsubscribe-from-a-msdn-blog

    Sadly, I too subscribed by filling in the "Subscribe w/ Email Address" textbox when I was NOT logged into MSDN with any account – note that this textbox is not visible when logged in. I DID subscribe with an email address which is associated with a Windows LIVE id.

    So, Now, when I login to the MSDN site with that Live ID, I see a "email subscribe" link – I can click that, and it changes to "email unsubscribe" – but even after clicking "email unsubscribe", emails still are sent by MSDN.

    This is affecting multiple people.

    Is there anything you can do to fix this?

    [Anybody who is having trouble unsubscribing can send me email and I will forward it to the site administrators. Is this a longstanding problem or something that showed up recently? (If it is recent, then I can ask the admins if they applied any patches that may have introduced the problem.) -Raymond]
  4. Simon says:

    @OldLarlm –

    I reckon your best bet is to go to the blogs home page – – and use the 'Provide Site Feedback' link. There was a blog post some time ago (not Raymond's blog) telling people to use that to get email passwords reset. Might work….

  5. OldKarlm says:

    I'd email you if I could find an email address :)

    This seems to have been an on-going issue. Bing shows many people are simply blocking emails from as spam….


  6. Just Karl says:

    Got this from Site Feedback …..

    Hello Karl,

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention.  Currently we know about this issue and while we don’t have tools to remove you at this time, we ask that you hold off for a blog update that will be pushed out soon.  There will be a feature to allow you to unsubscribe from email notifications.

    Thank you,

    MSDN Site Feedback

  7. Joshua says:

    Hmm straight from 16 to 64. I wonder how confused 64 bit code that walks the process tree would get if it encountered a 16 bit process. For some reason, Wine allows both to exist simultaneously.

  8. Azarien says:

    There is no such thing as a "DirectDraw flood fill function" unless you write one yourself. Or you can use [Ext]FloodFill but that's not DD specific.

    [News flash: It's a dream. -Raymond]
  9. Scarlet Manuka says:

    I just like the idea that if you're having trouble with your house, you can set up a repro house to investigate it.

    I wonder if I can attach a debugger to my house to warn me when the termites come back?

    [We set up a live repro on the production house since there was no test house. -Raymond]
  10. ErikF says:

    I guess you could call Raymond "the repro man" :-)

  11. Boris says:

    Clearly off-topic, but does anyone know why Michael Kaplan's blog and Twitter accounts disappeared without prior warning?

  12. Marcel says:


    His twitter seems to be fine, but he lost his blog somehow ("I'm apparently blog-less…"):…/405921321634107392

  13. That is the most awesome dream, ever.

  14. Nicholas says:

    Well, 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 cubic feet* ought to be enough for anybody! :)

    (Unless of course his house is actually only 48-bit, in which case he'll have to live with 281,474,976,710,655 ft³)

    * (though sadly even 64-bit isn't enough if we want to be exact and measure things in Planck lengths).

  15. @Nicholas says:

    The house might only be 48-bit, but there's a 64-bit virtual address space still. The house pages in and out out cubit feet to neighboring houses.

  16. jas88 says:

    "[We set up a live repro on the production house since there was no test house. -Raymond]"

    No, no, no! Shakespeare explained this years ago: All the world's a stag[ing server]!

    Overflow causing an unrequested flood-fill can be reproduced on physical houses as well as virtual ones, too: trigger an upstairs sink/bath overflow, and on the floor below, "dark dots would appear on the wall and slowly consume it". (As happened here earlier this year, due to installing a bad plumber.)

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