ip - Dave's Blog


jacobrossi: shipping Project Spartan to Windows XP might treat a symptom, but doesn't fix the problem. People need an up to date OS too!

2 days ago
Jacob Rossi @jacobrossi :
@domenic shipping Project Spartan to Windows XP might treat a symptom, but doesn't fix the problem. People need an up to date OS too!

WIRED: Our exclusive hands-on with Microsoft’s unbelievable new holographic goggles

8 days ago
WIRED        ✔ @WIRED :
Our exclusive hands-on with Microsoft’s unbelievable new holographic goggles http://wrd.cm/1CBSqwN  pic.twitter.com/VufKcTcSfE

David_Risney: Egg toy unboxing youtube videos made millions via advertising. My 3yo is already ahead of me on what's hip.

9 days ago
David Risney @David_Risney :
Egg toy unboxing youtube videos made millions via advertising. My 3yo is already ahead of me on what's hip. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/youtube-s-highest-paid-star-is-a-woman-who-unboxes-disney-toys-062606350.html …

Image Manipulation in PowerShell - Windows PowerShell Blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

24 days ago

Great blog post and set of powershell scripts for manipulating images.

PermalinkCommentsprogramming coding powershell

The Interview ending interpretation

2014 Dec 25, 2:29

As the title suggests, spoilers for The Interview follow.

Towards the end of the movie, after Dave Skylark is shot, he miraculously has a bullet proof vest, blows up Kim Jong-un, finds a random tunnel and is picked up by Seal Team Six. These are the same details of the unbelievable scenario that Dave Skylark describes to Agent Lacey at the beginning of the movie.

This isn’t a coincidence. Everything after Dave is shot is his fantasizing about how things should have gone as he dies in the interview chair. Unsurprisingly his fantasy closely matches his original ridiculous thoughts about how he would assassinate and escape.

This is similar to movies like Brazil in which the later fourth of the movie is the main character’s romantic fantasy as he is tortured and killed in real life. Or Total Recall where the end of the movie matches the description of the memories that the main character will have implanted at the beginning.

Its safe to assume that after Dave is killed, Aaron and Sook are captured and also killed.


Live coding in VR with the Oculus Rift, Firefox WebVR,...

2014 Oct 6, 2:45

Live coding in VR with the Oculus Rift, Firefox WebVR, JavaScript and Three.js

"I built a live-coding web app for the Oculus Rift where you code in JavaScript using Three.js and watch the world change around you in real-time."

PermalinkCommentsvideo programming javascript 3d vr oculus-rift technical

Houston, We Have A Public Domain Problem

2014 Jun 24, 3:18

A bogus SoundCloud takedown anecdote and a brief history of and issues with US copyright law.

Another reminder that the rest of the Western world has a public domain day every year in which new IP enters the public domain

PermalinkCommentslaw copyright

JS NICE: Statistical renaming, Type inference and Deobfuscation

2014 Jun 3, 9:36

JS NICE | Software Reliability Lab in ETH

JS NICE has indexed over 10,000 JavaScript projects from GitHub and then probabilistically infers newly suggested names and types for all of the local variables and function parameters of new JS.

PermalinkCommentstechnical javascript js coding

gitfiti - github contributions pane pixel art

2014 Jun 2, 8:07

gitfiti - abusing github commit history for the lulz

A script that abuses github submissions to draw pixel art in your github contributions pane.

PermalinkCommentstechnical humor github pixel art

Cloud Share - New App

2014 May 23, 4:06

I've put a new app on the Windows Store: Cloud Share. It connects the web to your Windows 8 share charm.

I did the development on GitHub and quite enjoyed myself. I wasn't sure I liked the game-ification of development in GitHub's dashboard showing you your longest development streak in days. However I realized that it encourages me to do work on my personal project and anything that aids in holding my attention on and helping me finish these projects is a good thing.

PermalinkCommentsdevelopment github javascript JS technical windows

Debugging anecdote - the color transparent black breaks accessibility

2014 May 22, 10:36

Some time back while I was working on getting the Javascript Windows Store app platform running on Windows Phone (now available on the last Windows Phone release!) I had an interesting bug that in retrospect is amusing.

I had just finished a work item to get accessibility working for JS WinPhone apps when I got a new bug: With some set of JS apps, accessibility appeared to be totally broken. At that time in development the only mechanism we had to test accessibility was a test tool that runs on the PC, connects to the phone, and dumps out the accessibility tree of whatever app is running on the phone. In this bug, the tool would spin for a while and then timeout with an error and no accessibility information.

My first thought was this was an issue in my new accessibility code. However, debugging with breakpoints on my code I could see none of my code was run nor the code that should call it. The code that called that code was a more generic messaging system that hit my breakpoints constantly.

Rather than trying to work backward from the failure point, I decided to try and narrow down the repro and work forwards from there. One thing all the apps with the bug had in common was their usage of WinJS, but not all WinJS apps demonstrated the issue. Using a binary search approach on one such app I removed unrelated app code until all that was left was the app's usage of the WinJS AppBar and the bug still occurred. I replaced the WinJS AppBar usage with direct usage of the underlying AppBar WinRT APIs and continued.

Only some calls to the AppBar WinRT object produced the issue:

        var appBar = Windows.UI.WebUI.Core.WebUICommandBar.getForCurrentView(); 
// appBar.opacity = 1;
// appBar.closeDisplayMode = Windows.UI.WebUI.Core.WebUICommandBarClosedDisplayMode.default;
appBar.backgroundColor = Windows.UI.Colors.white; // Bug!
Just setting the background color appeared to cause the issue and I didn't even have to display the AppBar. Through additional trial and error I was blown away to discover that some colors I would set caused the issue and other colors did not. Black wouldn't cause the issue but transparent black would. So would aqua but not white.

I eventually realized that predefined WinRT color values like Windows.UI.Colors.aqua would cause the issue while JS literal based colors didn't cause the issue (Windows.UI.Color is a WinRT struct which projects in JS as a JS literal object with the struct members as JS object properties so its easy to write something like {r: 0, g: 0, b: 0, a: 0} to make a color) and I had been mixing both in my tests without realizing there would be a difference. I debugged into the backgroundColor property setter that consumed the WinRT color struct to see what was different between Windows.UI.Colors.black and {a: 1, r: 0, g: 0, b: 0} and found the two structs to be byte wise exactly the same.

On a hunch I tried my test app with only a reference to the color and otherwise no interaction with the AppBar and not doing anything with the actual reference to the color: Windows.UI.Colors.black;. This too caused the issue. I knew that the implementation for these WinRT const values live in a DLL and guessed that something in the code to create these predefined colors was causing the issue. I debugged in and no luck. Now I also have experienced crusty code that would do exciting things in its DllMain, the function that's called when a DLL is loaded into the process so I tried modifying my C++ code to simply LoadLibrary the DLL containing the WinRT color definition, windows.ui.xaml.dll and found the bug still occurred! A short lived moment of relief as the world seemed to make sense again.

Debugging into DllMain nothing interesting happened. There were interesting calls in there to be sure, but all of them behind conditions that were false. I was again stumped. On another hunch I tried renaming the DLL and only LoadLibrary'ing it and the bug went away. I took a different DLL renamed it windows.ui.xaml.dll and tried LoadLibrary'ing that and the bug came back. Just the name of the DLL was causing the issue.

I searched for the DLL name in our source code index and found hits in the accessibility tool. Grinning I opened the source to find that the accessibility tool's phone side service was trying to determine if a process belonged to a XAML app or not because XAML apps had a different accessibility contract. It did this by checking to see if windows.ui.xaml.dll was loaded in the target process.

At this point I got to fix my main issue and open several new bugs for the variety of problems I had just run into. This is a how to on writing software that is difficult to debug.

PermalinkCommentsbug debug javascript JS technical windows winrt

location.hash and location.search are bad and they should feel bad

2014 May 22, 9:25
The DOM location interface exposes the HTML document's URI parsed into its properties. However, it is ancient and has problems that bug me but otherwise rarely show up in the real world. Complaining about mostly theoretical issues is why blogging exists, so here goes:
  • The location object's search, hash, and protocol properties are all misnomers that lead to confusion about the correct terms:
    • The 'search' property returns the URI's query property. The query property isn't limited to containing search terms.
    • The 'hash' property returns the URI's fragment property. This one is just named after its delimiter. It should be called the fragment.
    • The 'protocol' property returns the URI's scheme property. A URI's scheme isn't necessarily a protocol. The http URI scheme of course uses the HTTP protocol, but the https URI scheme is the HTTP protocol over SSL/TLS - there is no HTTPS protocol. Similarly for something like mailto - there is no mailto wire protocol.
  • The 'hash' and 'search' location properties both return null in the case that their corresponding URI property doesn't exist or if its the empty string. A URI with no query property and a URI with an empty string query property that are otherwise the same, are not equal URIs and are allowed by HTTP to return different content. Similarly for the fragment. Unless the specific URI scheme defines otherwise, an empty query or hash isn't the same as no query or hash.
But like complaining about the number of minutes in an hour none of this can ever change without huge compat issues on the web. Accordingly I can only give my thanks to Anne van Kesteren and the awesome work on the URL standard moving towards a more sane (but still working practically within the constraints of compat) location object and URI parsing in the browser.

URI Design and Ownership - IETF Draft

2014 May 21, 2:06

URI Design & Ownership - On the issues with and alternatives to requiring well known filenames and extensions in URIs. You must love the draft’s URI.

PermalinkCommentstechnical uri

The Doritos origin story: Repurposed garbage from Disneyland

2014 May 6, 7:16


A reminder that those Doritos you love are trash:

Shortly after Disneyland opened in 1955, the founder of Frito-Lay got permission from Walt Disney to open a restaurant in Frontierland with a Mexican-ish theme. “Casa de Fritos” was, unsurprisingly, all about the Fritos. Customers got free Fritos, and Fritos were incorporated into many of the dishes. Fritos were dispensed by an animatronic vending machine that featured the terrifying “Frito Kid”asking his assistant “Klondike” to bring the bag up from a mineshaft. I guess the conceit is that Fritos were mined by Forty-Niners?

Casa de Fritos contracted their tortilla production to a company called Alex Foods. One of the salesmen from Alex Foods, making a delivery to Casa de Fritos, noticed stale tortillas in the garbage and gave the cook a little tip: fry them and sell them as chips instead of throwing them away. Casa de Fritos began making these fried, seasoned chips to enormous success, but didn’t report this new menu item to the Frito-Lay company.

Eventually Frito-Lay found out what they were doing with the chips, packaged them, and sold them by the truckload. See, dumpster diving works out sometimes!


Creating type-safe properties with ECMAScript 6 proxies | NCZOnline

2014 Apr 30, 9:12

Clearly the one JS feature we all agree on is ubiquity.

After some experimentation, I discovered that it’s possible to add type safety to JavaScript objects [via ES6 proxies] with just a few lines of code.

PermalinkCommentstechnical javascript es6 proxies

Internet Archive lets you play one of the earliest computer...

2014 Apr 28, 9:39

Internet Archive lets you play one of the earliest computer games Space War! emulated in JavaScript in the browser.

This entry covers the historical context of Space War!, and instructions for working with our in-browser emulator. The system doesn’t require installed plugins (although a more powerful machine and recent browser version is suggested).

The JSMESS emulator (a conversion of the larger MESS project) also contains a real-time portrayal of the lights and switches of a Digital PDP-1, as well as links to documentation and manuals for this $800,000 (2014 dollars) minicomputer.

PermalinkCommentscomputer-game game video-game history internet-archive

Untrusted - a user javascript adventure game

2014 Apr 8, 6:53

The game is to figure out what constrained modifications you must make to beat the game.

PermalinkCommentstechnical programming javascript game

honeysweetsugaricklepie: Uhh has anyone notice Garry Marshall’s...

2014 Feb 24, 11:57


Uhh has anyone notice Garry Marshall’s Wikipedia page?


Wiki user ‘Gillian Marshal’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Garry_Marshall&diff=prev&oldid=596787114) updated his page yesterday. Nice and subtle only editing the summary section on the right.

PermalinkCommentsgary-marshal humor wikipedia gillian-jacobs gillian-marshal comedy-bang-bang


2013 Dec 17, 9:03

What is good and common of all JS promise designs collected as Promises/A+


An open standard for sound, interoperable JavaScript promises—by implementers, for implementers.

PermalinkCommentstechnical javascript

JavaScript Promises: There and back again - HTML5 Rocks

2013 Dec 17, 9:02

The ES6 form of Promises.

PermalinkCommentstechnical javascript
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