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Garbage Collection As Unified Memory Management This is the first of what may become a small series of posts on advantages of garbage collection. I am not a person who sees garbage collection is the ideal system of memory management for all applications, but I see a tremendous amount of FUD about garbage collection in the public newsgroups, mostly coming from people who clearly have very little experience using it. Since the disadvantages of garbage collection are widely, if inaccurately, discussed, I'd like to shed some light on the other ...

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GUIDs: Unfit for Public Consumption GUIDs are like profanity: A useful item to have in your grammar when you need it, but not what you want for your public discourse. Places where GUIDs are useful include: Surrogate key values Win32 Delphi interfaces COM registration Some places where GUIDs are  completely, utterly unfit include: Directory names URLs Product registration codes...

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QuickTime As a Cross-Platform Malware Engine I've commented before on QuickTime's numerous security flaws and Apple's stunningly inept mishandling of them. Today I see that QuickTime had nearly twice as many security vulnerabilities this year as every other media player in the 2007 SANS top 20, combined! An unpatched QuickTime flaw is currently being exploited in the wild and could be used to attack Second Life players and steal "Linden Dollars," which can be exchanged for "real" money. Simply by wandering into the "wrong" area in Second L...

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No, Really: Don't E-mail Me My company is in the Microsoft Partner Program. Overall, it's a good deal. It gets us cheap software, co-marketing help, etc. But since the e-mails from the program have approximately 0.00% developer content, I've elected not to receive any of them. But today I got one anyway: Our records show that your current MSPP communications preferences do not allow you to receive many of these valuable communications. By setting your MSPP communications preferences, you help us understand what informatio...

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On Versioning DB Metadata Cary Jensen gave a presentation at today's CodeRage on versioning database metadata. In it, he showed a tool he had written which examines a database's metadata, converts it into a series of structured text files, and uses a version control system to record differences since the last check it. The presentation will eventually be available for download here, although it's not up at the time of this writing. Cary's tool was interesting to me since, some months ago, I had given serious thought...

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Rock Musician Reviews Rock Band I'm almost completely uninterested in video games, but enjoyed this nonetheless: Slate asked an actual rock musician, Carrie Brownstein of the late, great Sleater-Kinney, to review the game Rock Band. I had some friends over to play Rock Band a few nights later. [...] When I looked carefully, I realized I was having a party where people were sitting around playing video games. And, really, if you are going to play the game with a group of friends for more than a night, shouldn't you just form a...
On the Mixed Blessing of the Default Exception Handler I'm in a medical office this morning trying to schedule an appointment. The receptionist is clicking away with the computer mouse, and then she says, to no one in particular: "Cannot perform this operation on a closed dataset?!?" What's that mean? I replied, "It means that someone has a bug in their Delphi application."...

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Why Hide Information? Reg Braithwaite has got me thinking about information hiding. It's a tenet of modular programming, including OO. But why is information hiding worth bothering with at all? It makes the public interface easier to understand, and therefore the code more readable. It prevents clients of the class from accessing the physical layout of an implementation which is likely to change. By restricting client access to a well-defined and immutable interface, we have some assurance that changing the im...

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Is Visual Basic 9 "Haskell for the Masses?" A few days ago, I mentioned an interesting paper (one of several) from the recent OOPSLA conference called "Confessions Of A Used Programming Language Salesman (Getting The Masses Hooked On Haskell)." Today I'd like to discuss that paper in some more detail. The paper is written in an informal style, and includes some fairly audacious claims, such as, "Visual Basic is the ultimate language to democratize programming against the Cloud," (where "the Cloud" appears to be used more-or-less synon...

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D3v310p0rz! D3v310p0rz! D3v310p0rz!!! Via The Daily WTF, here's Microsoft's official handbook on "Leetspeak" for parents....

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