Andy Pennell's Blog

See me blather about software development, Gadgets, Technology, Fatherhood, plus anything else that gets me going.

  • Andy Pennell's Blog

    Need Two Camera Baby Monitor

    • 18 Comments
    I am pleased to announce that early next year there will be a new member of the Pennell family. This is of course a time of joy, not least of which because I get to buy some more gear. Specifically I need a baby monitor that supports two cameras. As far...
  • Andy Pennell's Blog

    What am I working on? iHD, that's what

    • 3 Comments
    So what have I been working on that I haven't been able to blog about? iHD, that's what! Its the interactivity layer for the next generation DVD format, and I'm really excited by HD-DVD, with its greatly improved picture quality, capacity, and of course...
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    Places where software should never fail: Your Dentists

    • 2 Comments
    There are certain places where software should never fail. Obvious ones like aircraft, missile control systems etc. Well here's a new one: when you are lying in a dentist's chair, mouth wired up, with a tooth freshly dremeled away, and the dentist and...
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    Shock! Horror! Microsoft release usable keyboards!

    • 24 Comments
    Many of us at Microsoft have hated our own keyboards for a number of years. I personally am a natural keyboard fan, and I hoarded the original "good" Natural Keyboard and the only decent follow-up, the Natural Keyboard Pro. Since these great keyboards...
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    10 Years at Microsoft

    • 3 Comments
    I started at Microsoft the day after Labour Day, 1995 (which I soon learned was spelled Labor Day). This was about a week after the Windows 95 launch , so things were still pretty crazy on campus. It took years for the football (er, soccer) fields to...
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    10 Years in the USA

    • 6 Comments
    When I arrived here, ten years ago today: I was single I was childless I had lived in tiny house in Milton Keynes, England That house contained no actual PCs, but it did have a computer with a 1200 baud modem I had two email accounts (on BIX and CIX)...
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    Why is MSDN Search so painful?

    • 20 Comments
    Since leaving Visual Studio, I have been using MSDN Online as my Help system. (I don't use integrated Visual Studio Help for reasons I'll spare you). As a Win32 programmer, I find MSDN Search a huge PITA. Its not that it can't find things, but the order...
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    Video Players for Kids

    • 3 Comments
    Our 2.x-year-old is a video-lover, and it keeps the peace. Some folks won't agree, but hey: it works for us. She is very accustomed to TiVo, VideoNow and DVD players: when I was her age my parents owned a tiny black & white TV and I have no recollection...
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    Failures on IDirect3DDevice9::ColorFill

    • 1 Comments
    I am only a few months into DirectX programming, but this one just burned me so I thought I would share it: IDirect3DDevice9::ColorFill will return D3DERR_INVALIDCALL if the rectangle falls outside the surface at all. If you are expecting GDI-type...
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    My Vonage Story

    • 21 Comments
    A few months ago we switched at home to Vonage VOIP, and we’re loving it. Even without dumping our phone line, we’re still saving money, over $250 a year before we even make a call! Why We Switched Our local phone service and DSL is provided by Verizon...
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    Good Places to Eat with Toddlers #2: Redhook Brewery

    • 0 Comments
    Redhook's pub, Forecasters, has a casual attitude and admit minors, so it makes a great family destination. It goes without saying that they have great beer, the food is not bad either, but the best bit is in the summer: the beer garden out back. It...
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    Where is the Windows BMP Format defined?

    • 1 Comments
    You'd think this would be simple: on MSDN surely. Even Google has trouble finding any microsoft.com site that defines the bmp file format. Here's how I found it (eventually): I started with a printed version of the GFF book , which is ancient, but...
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    Why do Searches timeout and not support Back?

    • 3 Comments
    Bit of a rant, sorry. I'm going to pick on Amazon, but others do this too: why does a Search timeout in a web browser? Here is the scenario: do a Search on Amazon. See something interesting in the result list, click on it. Read the info, decide its...
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    Good places to eat with toddlers: #1, Pagliacci Pizza, Bridle Trails

    • 0 Comments
    Eating out with toddlers (and babies) is a challenge: you want some decent food, but you dont want to be surround by growling faces if your kid lets out a yell occasionally. Ideally you also want the place to keep your child engaged. We recently discovered...
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    New blog category: Fatherhood

    • 0 Comments
    As it is difficult for me to blog about my work for the moment, I decided to blog about something that takes most of the rest of my time up: Fatherhood. We have a darling 2yr old daughter, Madeline, and the last 2.5 years have been combinations of...
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    Updated NoStepInto article for Whidbey

    I have updated the post at http://blogs.msdn.com/andypennell/archive/2004/02/06/69004.aspx to include information on Visual Studio 8.0 (Whidbey) as the registry location has changed. Sorry for the lack of blogging for the last few months, I have some...
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    Moving on from the Debugger Team

    • 6 Comments
    Here is a (slightly redacted) email I sent to the C# team recently: I have accepted a dev position on the Windows Media team, on the the "Professional Content Group". I have worked on the debugger for over nine years (my entire time at Microsoft excluding...
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    Windows XP Bluetooth Rant: One Year Later

    • 12 Comments
    In my blog from a year ago I ranted about the poor state of bluetooth in Windows at the time, and the pain in syncing my Sony Ericsson P800 phone over bluetooth. Its now 12 months later, XP SP2 has long since shipped, plus S/E have updated their sync...
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    Does anyone use dbgclr? Or even know what it is?

    • 22 Comments
    My third blog entry in a row which is a question, and its becease we really want your input on these things. Do you use dbgclr? If you dont even know what it is, then the answer is clearly no. For those folks, dbgclr is a GUI managed debugger that ships...
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    Six Year Old MS Debugger better than current Open Source debuggers?

    • 14 Comments
    There is an interesting post on a Firefox developers blog that describes how great the VC6 debugger still is, despite being almost six years old, chiding the open source folks for still not competing with it. We should be flattered I guess. Although I...
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    We want to cut Crashdump support : will you let us?

    • 4 Comments
    See Scott's blog for why we want to cut "classic" W2K crashdump from the VS2005 Whidbey debugger. If you agree or disagree, please use the Feedback section on his blog to say why. I personally want to cut this too. Classic crashdumps are a bad file format...
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    The Da Vinci Code: Fantasy Movie Cast

    • 58 Comments
    Here my wife and I are in Mexico having a super-relaxing holiday, and we both just finished The Da Vinci Code, a truly awesome book. Over some find food we were discussing who should be in the inevitable movie, and here are our choices: Langdon: George...
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    DVDs in 1080i, from a network share: Nirvana

    • 8 Comments
    I have moved this posting regarding the beta 2.0 software for the Roku HD1000 to my personal web site at ControlAV . Sorry for the inconvenience.
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    Viewsonic V150p Airpanel Smart Display Review

    • 12 Comments
    A have posted a full review of the Viewsonic V150p Airpanel Smart Display on my web site and this is the place for any comments or feedback.
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    My Theory about HD Tivo problems: Turn off Suggestions

    • 1 Comments
    You may remember back in October when I kind of lost it about TiVo , as it was misbehaving badly. Well DirectTV replaced my hardware, though I still believe the core issue to be a software one. I re-entered all my Season Passes into the new box (I should...
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