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This blog has served me well but it’s time to go back home! 🏠


Let them die 💀

I know COVID has become a political hot potato but I still don’t understand the folks that won’t mask or get vaccinated.

The delta variant has an R0 of between 4 and 9. According to reports that’s as contagious as chicken pox and close to measles, which we have a vaccination for. Hell, Ebola, which everyone is terrified of, has an R0 of between 1.5 to 2.5.

But folks like to point out that only 4.23 million people have died since the pandemic started. Of those we’ve “only” had 600,000 deaths in the United States. Peanuts!

AHHHHHH!Ok, sure, in the big scheme of things we’ve lost an extremely small number of people compared to our population, which people like to point to and say “See, it’s no big deal. It’s like the flu or a common cold.” It’s not like the flu or the common cold and I don’t think 600,000 dead Americans is acceptable, do you? Especially for something we could’ve slowed down if we’d had competent leadership early on in the pandemic. I’ve heard from someone I trust that 70% of deaths were in obese people. Ok, sure. Do obese folks not matter all of a sudden?

I honestly believe the anti-vax/anti-mask crowd have some twisted sense of machismo. It’s a kill or be killed mentality. It’s macho men comparing… well, you know.

Why the deep down desire to see people suffer and die? I just cannot wrap my brain around that.

And another thing. For all the drum beating around “reopening the country” these folks don’t seem to understand getting a vaccine will help us open the country sooner!

The logic, or lack thereof, boggles my mind.

Get a vaccine, save lives. And for goodness sake, wear a mask until we can stomp this thing down.


Working from home

A wonderful bouquet of flowers.Reddit: “The space ship is all inhuman open workspace. The only people who like this kind of environment are managers — because it is cheap — and extroverts — because it allows them to leech energy off of others so much more easily. But it is a soul-killing nightmare.”

A lot of the comments in that Reddit thread really hit home, no pun intended. I really enjoy working from home. No commute time, quite, I have great control over my environment, and it’s super easy to dial someone up on Zoom if I need to do a “hallway chat” so many company execs quote as important to work. I honestly believe my focused problem solving time has improved being at home. Sometimes those all important hallway conversations happen right next to you if you’re in an open office space. I’m not easily distracted but if I do get distracted it can cause me to lose my train of thought and have trouble getting it back.

“The fortune 100 I’m working for fits this description. They are against full remote because ‘culture’ and ‘hallway talk’. I think its just because the company has money tied up in their expensive office buildings.The return to work plan seems to constantly be changing as their deadline to begin hybrid approaches in September.”

It’s not for everyone. Some folks love being at the office and that’s perfectly fine. I don’t mind going in but I prefer being at home. It’s a simple matter really.

“Even the best office culture can’t beat affordable housing and a comfy commute.”

Oh, working from home doesn’t mean I’m being lazy. It can have the opposite affect. I’ve been working from home for years. When I started I’d often spend too much time working. It’s easy to go down that rabbit hole when you slide into focused mode. I’ve learned to balance things as I’ve gotten older – either at home or at work.

These days I value my time. It’s the only thing we really have, isn’t it?

Microsoft Windows

Windows 11

I’m excited for Windows 11. It’s nice to see a visual refresh of the user interface and hopefully some of the new top level improvements lead to a better user experience. I’m just excited for the change and it really has me excited about my plans for a version of Stream that runs on Windows.

As an old Windows user and developer I am disappointed with some aspects of Windows 11. Granted, we haven’t seen a final build yet, but I have my doubts we’ll see everything cleaned up between now and release.

I am really disappointed Microsoft has failed to bring the entire user interface forward. Not everything has been refreshed. There’s a really great piece on NTDEV called “State of the Windows: How many layers of UI inconsistencies are in Windows 10?” go read it. It definitely saved me from having to go track down all the icky UI remnants from various different releases of Windows.

One would think it would be a simple matter of creating windows, buttons, and other elements to maintain consistency. Well, not so fast, hoss. Microsoft’s Windows API is extremely rich and allows you to tweak UI elements to your hearts content. Does that explain why certain apps and parts of the OS look so different? Maybe, I’m not at all certain, but it did make me think about how the Windows API works today and how one might make old apps just work in the new Windows 11 world.

Just update the API, dummy

I’m sure there would be a really great discussion on Raymond Chen’s The Old New Thing discussing what an HWND is but I can’t find one at the moment and I’m being lazy so here’s one from a Microsoft getting started guide called “What is a Window?”

The TL;DR for the impatient is this, it’s an identifier assigned by the Windows API when you create a window. It’s a number. That’s it. A button is a window, a list is a window, a radio button is a window. You get the picture. All visual elements are windows. You compose all these things together to create an app UI. Each on is assigned an HWND.

Remember the Windows SDK, or API, is a procedural C based API. You call functions that operate on things maintained by your app and the OS. When you want to take action on a window in your app you do it by using the HWND you’re given as a result of calling CreateWindow or CreateWindowEx.

So, when you’re ready to, say, close your window and be done with it, you’d call DestroyWindow like this:

BOOL destroyed = ::DestroyWindow(hWnd);

That’s it! Your window is now kaput!


With that in mind I asked myself “Self, why doesn’t Microsoft update window functions to use Win UI 3 under the hood?” It seems doable, right? Since an HWND is just an identifier why not replace the guts and everything that doesn’t do custom drawing should just work, right?

Well, maybe, I suppose? Throwing out apps that do their own custom drawing might just work but then again there are thousands and thousands of apps out there running on Windows computers. How could you possibly know if all those apps will draw their UI’s properly if Microsoft replaced the guts of all the windows functions? I suppose we can’t?

Having said that, I sure wish there was an easy way for Microsoft to change the base API’s used by so many Windows apps to just work. I have some ideas on the matter beyond just replacing the underlying API’s but no matter how it’s done it would be a ton of work and maybe, just maybe, Microsoft doesn’t want to do that work. Maybe they just want to move forward.

Maybe it’s time to stop worrying about backward compatibility and leave those old nasty Windows API based apps to evolve or rot until nobody uses them any longer?


Government Life

Hope and Worry

Steve Beschloss: “Yet we would be remiss to ignore the many ways life has improved. So share your thoughts: How has your life improved since Trump was evicted?

I worry less about having a sociopathic, narcissistic, idiot, misogynist, antisemite in the White House. All Presidents have their flaws, we’re only human, but at least we have someone in charge who cares about America and our place in the world.

I do continue to worry the Neo Republican Party continues to devolve into a party of conspiracy theories with their eye toward an oligarchy in charge of the country. A ruling class that makes all the rules and pushes us peasants down even further. In some ways we already have that. The GOP wants to codify that with a Dictator at the top.

I don’t understand the want – need for – power like that. How much money can you spend and how much influence is enough? To feel the need to dictate life to an entire nation to satisfy your psychological faults is beyond me. Yes, I said psychological faults. It clearly takes someone with delusions of grandeur to need that kind of power.

Until we can remove the ruling GOP class and their puppet masters I will worry about the survival of our democracy.

Tumblr WordPress

Automattic ❤️ Day One

John Philpin: “There’s so much Automattic could have done to improve Tumblr – they didn’t …

I was just wondering what was going on at Tumblr. At one point I’d put links to my blog posts out on Tumblr, then I kind of forgot about it. That’s kind of sad, isn’t it?

I hope they’re still working on their transition plan to use WordPress as the backend to Tumblr.


Windows 11: Sun Valley

Windows Central: “The next major Windows update, known widely as Sun Valley, is expected to debut in October 2021. Microsoft is planning to unveil the next generation of Windows, and the teaser appears to suggest that a “Windows 11” could be announced.

I recently replied to a Jennifer Gentleman tweet asking if we’d stuck to a single OS more or less over the years. I was a Windows developer for years and years. From 1989 to 2006 I worked in Windows.

In 2006 I became a development lead for a small team and spent less time writing code. At that time work purchased me a MacBook Pro. I’d SSH to my Linux box and ran Windows in a VM. Even when I went back to being a contributor the same workflow was just fine. It even lead me to building a GDI based renderer for our media pipeline because DirectX wouldn’t work in a VM at that time.

I’ve been all in on Mac since 2006.

At some point Microsoft really shifted focus to web based messaging and I feel like they lost their messaging on the desktop. Now, to be fair, that could have been me falling out of touch with Microsoft and Windows as a developer. It seems like C#/.Net are the definitive language and runtime choice but what about the desktop framework? I’m old. I learned on Win32, AKA the Windows API. It was so simple and straight forward to develop with. Sure it was all C code. Sure it was procedural. None of that mattered. It provided base level functionality necessary to build a great Windows application. Heck, it was really easy to wrap in C++ to build your own framework. My 20 year old little framework still works to this very day.

So, what should you use today to do a great Windows Desktop application? Is it Win32, WinForms, WPF, UWP, or the latest offering, Windows UI 3? Oh, and don’t forget WinRT as a replacement for Win32.

My sincerest hope is Windows 11 is a rework of the Windows user interface that makes everything consistent and that it provides a clear and concise guide for all Windows apps moving forward. So, I’m thinking a combination of WinRT and Windows UI 3 are the way to go.

Here’s hoping Windows 11, or whatever it’s called, gives new life to Windows.

I’d love to build a Windows version of Stream after I complete the Mac version. To that end I’m building a C++ framework just for Stream that handles the network, feed processing, models, and database persistence. That framework will be coupled with a native Windows UI 3 user interface. At some point I believe I’ll bring all that code back to iOS and Mac.

We’ll see.


Eastbound Day Four: Cookeville, TN to Charlottesville, VA

What can I say besides I’m tired. That’s about all there is to say at this point.

We routed around road work yesterday which took us up into Missouri and back down through Kentucky. Beautiful countryside. Especially a little town in the southwest mountains of Missouri called Van Buren.

It looks like we’ll cover 467 miles and take about six and a half hours.


Eastbound Day Three: Yukon, OK to Cookeville, TN

I prefer driving West. At least then we’re traveling back in time. Heading east always makes the days feel longer. 😃

Today’s drive will cover 773 miles and clock in at around 12.5 hours.


Eastbound Day Two: Gallup, NM to Yukon, OK

Yesterday was a downright slog. Siri rerouted us and I swear we added two hours to the trip. We pulled into Gallup around 3:20AM local time. We’re both pretty ragged this morning.

The one lovely thing about pushing through to Gallup is Gallup Coffee Company! We’ll definitely be enjoying a cup from them this morning.

Today we should make it to Yukon, Oklahoma. Maps says it’ll take just over nine hours and cover 661 miles.