Why are companies so worried about retraining costs?

Remember, most people do not view the computer as a world to be explored. It is merely a means to an end. So they learn the five steps they need to follow, and if they can’t do them, they get stuck. “I hit Alt+Tab like I always do, to switch to another program, but instead…

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An anecdote about improper capitalization

I’ve already discussed some of the strange consequences of case-sensitive comparisons. Joe Beda mentioned the Internet Explorer capitalization bug that transformed somebody’s name into a dead body. Allow me to elaborate. You might learn something. This bug occurred because Internet Explorer tried to capitalize the characters in the name “Yamada” but was not mindful of…

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Just follow the rules and nobody gets hurt

You may have been lazy and not bothered calling VirtualProtect(PAGE_EXECUTE) when you generated some code on the fly. You got away with it because the i386 processor page protections do not have a “read but don’t execute” mode, so anything you could read you could also execute. Until now. Starting with Windows XP Service Pack…

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The long and sad story of the Shell Folders key

When you are attempting to architect an operating system, backwards compatibility is one of the ones you just have to accept. But when new programs rely on app hacks designed for old programs, that makes you want to scream. Once upon a time, in what seems like a galaxy far far away (a Windows 95…

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Why highlighting by inverting colors is a bad idea

Often people will say, “Oh, we can highlight by inverting the color.” This may have worked great on two-color black-and-white displays, but in the world of 32-bit color this no longer is effective. Consider the following picture. See if you can guess which one is inverted.     One Two Answer: The one on the…

14

I thought you said people don’t know how to read analog clocks

I had mentioned in passing in a comment on 10/10/2003 10:07PM that one of the reasons the clock on the taskbar isn’t analog is that some disturbingly high percentage of people (30%? 40%? I forget exactly) do not know how to read an analog clock. Yet there is is in the Longhorn sidebar. What gives?…

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Drawing an active-looking caption even when not active

“Why would somebody ever want to do that?” you might ask. Well, this is a common appearance for floating toolbars. (But aside from that case, I can’t think of any other valid reason to draw a window as active even though it isn’t.) Fortunately this is easy to do. Just add this line to the…

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When vendors insult themselves

During Windows 95, when we were building the Plug and Play infrastructure, we got an angry letter from a hardware vendor (who shall remain nameless) complaining that we intentionally misspelled their company name in our INF files in a manner that made their company name similar to an insulting word. This is of course a…

14

Getting a custom right-click menu for the caption icon

Explorer does it. Now you can too. It’s a simple matter of detecting a context menu on the caption icon and displaying a custom context menu. Here are the simple changes to our scratch program to display a rather pointless one-item menu. // Add to WndProc case WM_CONTEXTMENU: if (lParam != -1 && SendMessage(hwnd, WM_NCHITTEST,…

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