March, 2009

  • The Old New Thing

    Why is there a dry fountain in the Redmond North campus?


    One of the things that may strike you if you visit Microsoft's Redmond North campus is that there's a large, dry fountain outside the cafeteria. Why isn't the fountain running?

    The Redmond North campus was purchased from Safeco, and with the purchase, Microsoft obtained title to a fountain whose design had two fatal flaws:

    1. It had chronic and serious problems with water leakage.
    2. It was built atop a parking garage.

    Having large quantities of water dripping into a parking garage is not a good situation, and the Facilities people shut off the water and drained the fountain to prevent any further water damage. Further investigation revealed that the problem was quite serious and was not a simple fix. In fact, things were so bad that repairing the fountain was ruled out as an option. To bring a fountain back to the area, the old fountain would have to be removed, the existing garage shored up to support the weight of a large fountain as well as making the joints waterproof, and then a new fountain designed and installed, an undertaking which is, shall we say, "not cheap."

    Given that the Redmond North campus has drainage problems during the rainy season¹ as it is, you definitely don't want to compound the problem with a leaky fountain.

    Consensus has yet to be reached on the unofficial nickname for the dry fountain. Some people call it The Moonscape; others call it The World's Largest Zen Rock Garden. But so far, the leader in the naming competition appears to be simply The Broken Fountain.

    Whatever its name, the dry fountain remains, a desolate tribute to bad civil engineering.

    Pre-emptive snarky comment: Microsoft itself is a giant tribute to bad engineering.

    ¹Standard Seattle joke:
    Q: "When is the Seattle rainy season?"
    A: "It runs from January 1 to December 31."

  • The Old New Thing

    Do QueryProcessCycleTime and QueryThreadCycleTime include cycles spent in kernel mode?


    Do QueryProcessCycleTime and QueryThreadCycleTime include cycles spent in kernel mode?

    Yes, they do. They count cycles spent both in user mode and in kernel mode.

  • The Old New Thing

    The Suggestion Box is for suggestions, that's why it's called a Suggestion Box


    As you may have noticed, Mondays are generally used for responding to suggestions posted to the Suggestion Box. But often people post things into the Suggestion Box that aren't actually topic suggestions.

    Commenter Ulric decided to take up a slot in the suggestion box by pointing me to a funny video because he "couldn't resist." Actually, I was wrong about saying that it's not a topic suggestion. The video itself is the topic, so there you have it. Though I think some people may need to do a little better at exercising self-restraint.

    Commenter Yuhong Bao posted a series of entries to the suggestion box which seem to take the form of disconnected neuron activity.

    re: Memory Management Trickes Us

    That is probably AWE.

    re: ACPI keys: most evil UI misfeature ever?

    Before Windows XP, yes, but not anymore.

    re: How much is Win9x DOS?

    Well, first the DOS inside Win9x is started and then it starts, which is a DOS application. Basically it is like Win3.1 in 386 enhanced mode which is also more like an OS than a DOS frontend.

    There doesn't appear to be anything actionable here. It's just random muttering.

    Please use the suggestion box for suggestions. If you want to comment on an entry, then post a comment to that entry. If comments for that entry are closed, then post your comment on your own Web site. (And if you just enjoy hearing yourself talk, then do that on your own Web site, too.)

    "But I want to comment on that entry even though comments are closed."

    Tough. Comments are closed. You had your chance. You don't call a radio show and say, "Hi, I know your topic today is the world financial crisis, but I have a comment about car safety, which was a topic you covered last month."

    Maybe what this Web site needs is a call screener, like radio shows have.

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