Taking a little side-step from the normal networking-based Sunday hero worship, today’s Secret Sunday is a pointer to Microsoft’s Raymond Chen, sometimes referred to as “Microsoft’s Chuck Norris“. But John, you say, it’s Microsoft; why would you do that to us? Simple. The guy is a genius and, quite often, a hoot.
Raymond blogs at The Old New Thing (a Microsoft blog) and while many of the posts cover the nasty details of writing programs for Windows, many do not. I should say, when it comes to those nasty details, Raymond is the boss of complex software interactions and if you program for Windows, the tips he gives must be incredibly helpful. The content I love more than anything though are either the standard case studies on stupidity, the “psychic debugging”, and the stories about what goes on inside Microsoft, especially the history of things in Windows where you’ve probably said “Why on earth did they ever do that?”; there’s usually a reason, and it’s sometimes quite funny.
There’s a phenomenal post history to dig into, so here are a few I’ve selected to give you a taste of the more fun stuff that Raymond posts:
- Why was Pinball removed from Windows Vista?
- A brief and also incomplete history of Windows localization
- That mysterious J
- I wrote FAT on an airplane, for heaven’s sake
- No, you can’t lock a gadget to the top of the sidebar
- Who wrote the text for the Ctrl+Alt+Del dialog in Windows 3.1?
- Why does Outlook map Ctrl+F to Forward instead of Find, like all right-thinking programs?
- How do I create a topmost window that is never covered by other topmost windows?
- Psychic debugging: Why your expensive four-processor machine is ignoring three of its processors
Lest you think I’ve totally lost it and gone all Microsoft on you, consider that there are parallels between some of what Raymond discusses, and networking. For example, his psychic debugging stories often make me think about how we are presented with problems to troubleshoot. His sarcasm about software authors and their requests is refreshing (e.g. the app that always wants to be “on top”, but doesn’t consider what would happen if Windows offered such a feature and two apps used it at the same time). I often skip the deep programming posts, but I sometimes read them and almost follow along at times. The non-programming content though is worth the wait. Enjoy!
30 Blogs in 30 Days
This post is part of my participation in Etherealmind’s 30 Blogs in 30 Days challenge.