Tag computing

In the Windows 7 kernel

Ooh, it looks messy in there. Some of the stuff about how they’re resolving the DLL dependencies is interesting, although I suspect it’ll make DLL Hell even more complicated.

I loved this particular gem, though:

Microsoft observed that 15 per cent of all user-mode crashes and 30 per cent of shutdown crashes were caused by heap corruption: applications that try to access freed memory, or memory beyond what is allocated. Its solution was a feature called the Fault Tolerant Heap (FTH).

If an application crashes a few times, Windows will automatically apply a shim that intercepts its memory operations. FTH will over-allocate memory, and keep a copy of freed memory so that attempts to re-read it will succeed. The user gets better reliability at the expense of performance, which suffers by up to 15 per cent or so, while buggy applications work better than you would expect.

Developers expressed some concern. Were their mistakes being disguised so that they would remain unfixed? It is a risk, though if Windows detects a debugger the feature turns itself off. You can also disable FTH, though not on a per-process basis.

Or you could write your operating system correctly the first time so that an application crash doesn’t bring the whole bloody machine down.

Things I have in common with Bill Gates…

…well, for one thing, apparently we both learnt to program at one of these.

Game developer looking for Welsh speakers

to translate their niche adventure game, Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches, which is (fairly obviously) based on the Mabinogion. They want to do it in Welsh, but there are only three of them and they’re all English monoglots, and they can’t afford the dosh (as a tiny wee indie developer) to translate all 30,000 words of the text.

They say they’re looking for a "school, a language society or a group of Welsh-language adventure gamers who might be able to help."

I reckon they’d be better off creating an online community to do it, rather than finding a pre-existing group.

scary thought

The irony is, most of the kids making games now probably never used the computers that kickstarted our industry, a 16 year old for instance, wouldn’t have even been born when Commodore imploded, taking the Amiga with it…

Good grief.

From an interview at the Dyson site (the game, not the hoovers, and if you haven’t played it, do so.)


Via Alec, two bits of news on this venerable and insane operating system, which ran on GEC mainframes back from the late 70’s through to the turn of the century, and was a part of UK Internet history.

Firstly, he’s managed to get hold of an emulation of the bloody thing; and secondly, the Wikipedia page is under threat of deletion for non-notability. As Alec says, poppycock.

Although I never really poked around inside it, I recall its bizarre directory structure and its awesome command syntax: everything you did sounded like it was a command to launch the nuclear weapons from some 80’s hacker movie. FCOPY USER SINK TRACE DESTROY for example, to delete all a users files (IIRC).

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