Passenger announcements in the airport

While in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport yesterday, waiting for my flight to eventually be cancelled due to weather, then waiting for a replacement itinerary (um, the weather is the same at the destination; doesn’t matter which plane you take), then waiting for the replacement to be cancelled also (wow imagine that), I heard an announcement on…


Some reasons not to do anything scary in your DllMain

As everybody knows by now, you’re not supposed to do anything even remotely interesting in your DllMain function. Oleg Lvovitch has written two very good articles about this, one about how things work, and one about what goes wrong when they don’t work. Here’s another reason not to do anything remotely interesting in your DllMain:…


Undermining your own proclamation

I’m pulling for the Mars rovers as much as the next geek, but you still have to scratch your head at the following statement: Charles Elachi, the JPL director, said: “I am completely confident, without any hesitation, that I think we will get that rover back to full operation.” So he’s absolutely sure that he…


Blog going on autopilot for a while

I will be out of town for a few weeks, so I have set my blog on autopilot. There will still be an article every weekday at 7am Pacific time (assuming the autopilot machine doesn’t suffer a power outage or something), but I won’t be around (much) to respond to comments.


The hollow brush

What is the hollow brush for? The hollow brush is a brush that doesn’t do anything. You can use it when you’re forced to use a brush but you don’t want to. As one example, you can use it as your class brush. Then when your program stops responding and Windows decide to do the…


David Hasselhoff’s daughters normal in every way

(Forwarded to me my a friend who is apparently fascinated with David Hasselhoff.) David Hasselhoff says his daughters hate his music and change the channel whenever Knight Rider comes on the TV. Okay, I defended the Germans last week, but this one baffles even me. Do the Germans not realize that David Hasselhoff is a…


German as RPN

It should be noted that “Reverse Polish Notation” is named in honor of the Polish logician Jan Lukasiewicz, who developed prefix notation, wherein the operator comes before the operands. Postfix notation proved more useful for stack-based arithmetic computations, and so the opposite of prefix notation came to be known as “Reverse Polish Notation”. It was…


In defense of the German language

Some commenters deplored the inflectional complexity of the German language. I find the complexity reassuring rather than offputting, because it means that you always know where to find the functional parts of the sentence. The lack of inflectional complexity in English is made up for by its much more complicated structural form. English word order…


The white flash

If you had a program that didn’t process messages for a while, but it needed to be painted for whatever reason (say, somebody uncovered it), Windows would eventually lose patience with you and paint your window white. Or at least, that’s what people would claim. Actually, Windows is painting your window with your class background…


German, the language of love?

Love lures French kids to German: Come and learn German – a language of love! Hundreds of advertisements in France this week will promote the unusual message to try to woo teenagers to a language they often consider difficult and ugly. “Language is the key to understand a partner, his culture, working manners and lifestyle,”…