Nice historical post from Charles Petzold

Charles Petzold, whose books we’ve all read by now, has a post on his 20 years of Microsoft Windows talk, in which he describes actually writing a new Windows 1.0 program. For all of the irritation I feel whenever I have to write for Win32, the thing is really amazing when you consider the time line:

  • The PC was released in 1981
  • Windows 1.0 was begun in 1983ish
  • Windows 1.01, the first public version, was released in 1985
  • Windows NT was started in 1989

In only four years, we went from the introduction of the PC to the introduction of Windows. Imagine Outlook Web Access showing up in 2000, five years ago, with most of the stuff that makes modern AJAX apps tick. It has taken us longer to build the web into an AJAX platform than it took Microsoft to release the first version of Windows. And we have lots more brains working on this sort of thing now.

Am I the only one who thinks TiVo is expensive?!

Om Malik has a post up about another one of TiVo’s little marketing gimmicks. I swear, I almost got myself convinced to buy one, even though I watch exactly 1 hour of TV per week (which is, atm, occupied by Rome on HBO). But then I read the fine print: 13-17 bucks per month – no way, not even close.

I know I’m a Luddite in this respect, and everyone around me is busy extolling TiVo’s virtues, but I just don’t get it. How do these people make their money?

I’ll say one thing for them, though: they’re forcing some really fascinating copyright-related analysis right now. But hey, I have Grokster & Co. for that.

Visual Stuido 2005 Call Graphs

Seen on my internal IRC:

[11:29]  VS2005's call graph rocks
[11:29]  that's *so* useful
[11:29]  absolutely wonderful if you're trying to understand someone else's code
[12:00]  SkywingDev: is it a source level call graph?
[12:00]  yeah
[12:00]  how do you generate it ?
[12:00]  just right click something and say generate call graph
[12:01]  can follow it to any depth you want too

Infone Goes Dark

I got this message from Infone this morning:

Dear Infone Customer:

It is with deep regret that we must announce that Infone LLC will be discontinuing its enhanced directory assistance and call completion services effective December 31, 2005. If you have questions you may contact us by e-mail at customer.service@infone.com. Please be advised that this discontinuation does not change the service you have with your designated long distance carrier. It has been our pleasure serving you and we thank you for your patronage.

Infone LLC

Too bad; I liked them.

Control Kernel Debugging From The Target

Drew Bliss from Microsoft posted a note on NTDEV today, in response to a question about debugging and CLR, and in the process pointed out a really interesting utility that ships with the new debugging packages called kdbgctrl. I decided to look into it.

It only works on 3790 and better, meaning Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP x64 Edition, and Vista of course. Here’s the output from a Vista box (identical to my x64 box):

C:\Program Files\Debugging Tools for Windows 64-bit>kdbgctrl
Usage: kdbgctrl 
Options:
  -c          - Check kernel debugger block-enable
  -ca         - Check kernel debugger auto-enable
  -cb         - Check kernel debugger enable block
  -cdb        - Check kernel DbgPrint buffer size
  -cu         - Check kernel debugger user exception handling
  -cx         - Check kernel debugger enable and exit with status
  -d          - Disable kernel debugger
  -da         - Disable kernel debugger auto-enable
  -db         - Disable kernel debugger block-enable
  -du         - Disable kernel debugger user exception handling
  -e          - Enable kernel debugger
  -ea         - Enable kernel debugger auto-enable
  -eb         - Enable kernel debugger block-enable
  -eu         - Enable kernel debugger user exception handling
  -sdb  - Set kernel DbgPrint buffer size
  -td   - Get a kernel triage dump

C:\Program Files\Debugging Tools for Windows 64-bit>kdbgctrl.exe -c
Kernel debugger is enabled

C:\Program Files\Debugging Tools for Windows 64-bit>kdbgctrl.exe -ca
Kernel debugger auto-enable: false

C:\Program Files\Debugging Tools For Windows 64-bit>kdbgctrl.exe -cb
Kernel debugger enable block: false

C:\Program Files\Debugging Tools for Windows 64-bit>kdbgctrl.exe -cdb
Kernel DbgPrint buffer size: 0x1000

C:\Program Files\Debugging Tools for Windows 64-bit>kdbgctrl.exe -cu
Kernel debugger user exception enable: true

That last option, -cx, looks useful for scripting. Other than this, documentation is very light on this tool. It was mentioned a few times in the newsgroups and on the mailing lists, but not much else.

How to enable a remote kernel debugger connection on a computer that is running Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 has some more information.

More On Software As A Service

Well, the whole blogosphere is buzzing about the Ray Ozzie memo that was “leaked” (intentionally, obvs) recently. Ray summarizes Web 2.0 quite nicely, and discusses the place of a company that has traditionally made its money off of shrink-wrap and licenses in a world that makes its money off of advertising and gives its code away.

Related, sorta: Writetly, a web-based word processor.

It’s ironic that my company, Positive Networks, has been a Web 2.0 player since 2001, when we launched our VPN-As-A-Service company. The only problem was that we didn’t know what to call it then. Fortunately, the web has caught up with us. 😉

Will Apple Please Fix Their Apps?!

Warning: No PC-related content. Proceed with caution.

Two huge annoyances for me, courtesy of our pals at Apple:

  • Mail.app spins and spins and spins… 100% CPU in top all the time… ARGH! And it can’t count any more – since the 10.4.3 update, It re-marks mails as unread and it forgets to decrement the “new messages” counter when I read mails. Usually this happens under load. Vicious cycle.
  • OK, this one is totally inexcusable: Safari Crashes On .Text and Community Server. Come ON! I’ve only reported this bug to apple about a a gozillion times… it’s the sole reason Firefox is in my Dock. 100% reproducible. FIX ME!

Okay, now back to regularly-scheduled programming. [Get it? programming? hahaha…]

The Best Stuff Is Free

Microsoft has released free “express” editions of the visual studio products, including Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition. Maybe it’s not totally earth-shattering news considering that the DDK is also free, but regardless, it still amazes me that one of the best compilers in the world is a freebie. The irony is that they charge *lots* for (what I consider to be) the much less valuable components.

via Scoble