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Discussions

earnshaw earnshaw Jack Sleeps
  • Reflection

    When a program takes a moment out of its busy day to have a look at its own metadata, that's called reflection.  I suppose the word indicates a sense of the program looking at itself in a mirror to check whether its lipstick is on straight, or something.  But, wouldn't introspection be more spot on?  Smiley

  • Sluggish Vista

    One thing is for sure:  Vista is slow when compared to, say, Windows 2003 Server or Windows XP.  I suppose the thinking is that the hardware platforms on which Vista is intended to run will be sufficiently more speedy than "legacy" hardware, that the increased overhead and attendant delay won't be noticed.  An outside observer might wonder what in the world Microsoft did that would entail this amount of overhead. 

  • Please, Write Better ​Documentati​on

    The preferred mode of learning unfamiliar software seems to be to toss the manual, if any, aside, put in the CD, and play around.  Eventually, one will have explored every nook and cranny and become expert.  That must be the case, because the written work that comes with the CD often reads like stereo instructions:  long, boring, unenlightening, generally a waste of time.  Or the instructions are in overly fragmented hypertext with bits and pieces reduced to a sentence or two whereupon the user must, once again, follow a link and get lost.  Writers are overwhelmed and overwhelming with detail.  The big picture is a hazy glow off in the distance.  Everything covered is presented as if it were equally vital, ranging in importance from fundamental concepts to arcane factoids that are of no interest to anybody.  I propose a New Frontier for study in Computer Science:  How to Better Describe Your Work and Help Others Benefit from It.  Think of the time that would save those on the receiving end of your development efforts!  As one who often has to “make it go” and “have it done by yesterday,” I’d thank you.

  • Windows Vista and ​"​Compatibili​ty" Issues

    Having run Vista for a few days under Microsoft Virtual PC 2004, I have learned that much of what was common practice before is now questionable or prohibited.  An IT Professional is supposed to learn the best way to deal with each instance of incompatibility.  Much of the time, Vista merely demands a userid/password combination to authenticate the human who may be trying to do something dangerous.  At other times, programs malfunction without warning.  Users accustomed running as Administrator will still be running as Administrator, yet this Administrator is by default feeble.   There are at least 3 different modes in which the IT Pro may convince the system to let a program "with issues" run.  1) A system utility program installs "shims" under the program (i.e. puts entries in a system database) that artificially elevate certain privileges that the program must have.  2) Group policy can be changed to give privilege to all programs that they would not have under default conditions. 3) Certain registry keys have a similar function.  This is all very confusing.  I don't get Microsoft's intent as to under what conditions these tools individually or collectively are to be used.  There doesn't seem to be a list of newly prohibited program behaviors.

  • Windows Vista and Microsoft Virtual PC 2004

    The good news is that Windows Vista build 5308 does, in fact, boot under Microsoft Virtual PC 2004.  I wasn't so sure it would.  I created the Vista setup disk from an ISO image provided by Microsoft.  I created a virtual machine from Windows XP Professional's I386 folder, figured out how to get the virtual machine to talk on my LAN (there is a checkbox on the host machine's TCP/IP configuration panel), and repeatedly applied Windows Update patches, over and over again until I reached SP2, which is an absolute must.  Without SP2, Windows Vista installation fails at the point where you enter the Product Key on a call to DecodePointer (new security code which we need not dwell upon).  The message is clear as to what happened but not why.  The why is that you are not up to SP2, yet.  Upgrading to Windows Vista Build 5308 from Windows XP SP2 is fairly straightforward.  I simply mapped a drive letter on the virtual machine running Windows XP to a DVD-ROM drive on the LAN and ran the Vista setup program.  Start/Run has been moved in Vista to Accessories.  Anybody who is so retro as to run command line programs needs to know this. 

  • Trouble Downloading the Videos?

    Right click?  Click Save Target As?  In my experience this sometimes works.  Mmm sometimes I get only a "shortcut" to the download site.  So, I discount that as a solution.  And, besides, the download still stalls.

  • Trouble Downloading the Videos?

    I'm not alone having trouble downloading videos from Channel 9.  I prefer to view Channel 9 in the comfort of my media room.  Good sound.  Good picture.  Comfortable seating.  To get my fix, I must download the video and burn a DVD.  I find pressing the DOWNLOAD button to be an exercise in shear terror.  Well, that's stretching a point.  I had to reconfigure My Computer/Tools/Folder Options/File Types so that a WMV file would not automagically launch Windows Media Player and would instead go to logic that seeks to download the video to a folder on spinning magnetic media.  The trouble is, the standard downloader runs out of patience after a while and stops downloading.  Eventually it times out.  Having to the goose the thing to the end is a pain.  There are download monitors out there that fix the process when it stalls.   Why doesn't Microsoft implement that as the gold standard for Windows download?  Anyway, I should be able to use plain old FTP to download the videos.  I would if I had an address I could use.

  • Documentati​on

    I think by "Innovating," Microsoft believes in its heart-of-hearts (if it has one) that it is making its products intuitive (i.e. "dumbed-down") so that documentation is unnecessary.  And they are the sole judge as to whether that is happening.  Perplexed

  • Documentati​on

    It is just me or is somebody else also disappointed about how Microsoft describes its products?  I'd like to read chirpy little articles about fun new things, like Click-Once, that do not dwell on technical minutiae, but rather reveal the essential facts with which one can a) understand what a feature offers and b) learn how one can begin to use the feature in under one hour.  For example, I would like a little friendly pointer as to how to publish an application.  As usual, it involves right-clicking somewhere special.  As usual, it doesn't work for every kind of application.  As usual, I cannot find satisfying written materiaI for customer consumption.  I cannot afford to buy a 900 page book specifically to learn a fundamental fact that is badly explained on page 82.   I cannot afford to send myself to the Developer's Conference.  Que sera, sera. I'm thinking, "Maybe I ask too much of Microsoft."  But, on the other hand, I'd have more fun and be more productive if I were able to find what I want when I need to find it.

  • C++ errors (maurits and other peeps out there, help me pls)

    Geez.  When I read this I thought he wanted a list of C-compiler implementation errors.  You know, bug lists.  Things that went awry during the creation of Visual Studio.  Bad code generated by the compiler.  Compiler crashes.  Undocumented limitations.  That sort of thing.