Blog Archives

Remembering COM

In the late ’90s I thought COM (Microsoft’s Component Object Model) was the way of the future. The whole architecture starting with the IUnknown interface was very elegant. And to hear Don Box explain it, COM was almost inevitable. I

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Posted in Software development

Humbled by a debugging book

I started developing software for Windows in 1995, but I hardly know anything about Windows. I feel like my understanding of Windows peaked around the turn of the millennium and has declined since. I was reminded of the depth of

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Posted in Software development

WinRT, Projections, and COM

Martyn Lovell gave a great talk on the new Windows Runtime at Lang.NEXT this week. You know it’s going to be a good talk when the speaker uses the word “soporific” four seconds into the presentation. One of the ideas

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Posted in Software development, Uncategorized

Clipboard history

The Windows clipboard only remembers the most recent thing you copied [1]. This can be very disappointing. Maybe you cut a large block of text intending to paste it somewhere, but without thinking you cut something else, and then realize

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Posted in Computing

Software knowledge shelf life

In my experience, software knowledge has a longer useful shelf life in the Unix world than in the Microsoft world. (In this post Unix is a shorthand for Unix and Linux.) A pro-Microsoft explanation would say that Microsoft is more

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Posted in Computing, Software development

Two-finger scrolling on Windows

One of my favorite features of Mac laptops is two-finger scrolling. This lets you scroll down a long document similar to the way the middle wheel does on a Windows mouse. I mentioned on Twitter this evening that it would

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Posted in Computing

Deleting the Windows recycle bin desktop icon

I’ve never kept many icons on my desktop, and tonight I decided to reduce the number to zero. Deleting the recycle bin icon took a little research. Windows Vista will let you simply delete the recycle bin but other versions

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Using the Windows file explorer without a mouse

The Windows File Explorer has a number of keyboard shortcuts that do not apply to Windows programs in general. First of all, you can type Windows key-E to open the File Explorer. You can close it by typing Alt-F4.

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Posted in Computing

Using Windows without a mouse

Why would you not want to use your mouse? Some tasks are most efficiently done with a mouse, but others can be done more efficiently with the keyboard.The problem isn’t so much using a mouse versus using a keyboard but

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Posted in Computing

Four patterns in Windows keyboard shortcuts

Here are four patterns for organizing the most common keyboard shortcuts for Windows. First I’ll list the patterns, then I’ll give some qualifications and elaborate on the patterns. Keyboard shortcuts involving letters are all of the form Control-<letter> or Windows-<letter>.

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Posted in Computing

PowerShell 2.0 for Windows XP etc.

PowerShell version 2.0 shipped with Windows 7 and with Windows Server 2008 R2, but it only recently became available for other versions of Windows. The release of PowerShell 2.0 has been more like a leak than a product launch. The

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Posted in PowerShell

Simple backup software

I was asking about backup software for Windows the other day and a couple people recommended Cobian Backup. It’s simple to use, but also very configurable. And it’s free. You can have the software simply copy files or you can

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Posted in Computing

Adding fonts to the PowerShell and cmd.exe consoles

The default font options for the PowerShell console are limited: raster fonts and Lucida Console. Raster fonts are the default, though Lucida Console is an improvement. In my opinion, Consolas is even better, but it’s not on the list of

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Posted in PowerShell, Typography

Numerical computing in IronPython with Ironclad

In a previous post, I discuss my difficulties calling some Python modules from IronPython. In particular I wanted to call SciPy from IronPython and couldn’t. The discussion following that post brought up Ironclad as a possible solution. I wanted to

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Posted in Python, Software development

R, Excel, and the Windows clipboard

The Windows version of R has functions for reading from and writing to the clipboard. These can be used to move data back and forth between R and Windows applications such as Excel. However, there are a few gotchas. See

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Posted in Computing