Saving my precious pixels

I grew up in the computer world when hi-res meant 256 by 192 pixels. I think this is the main reason for my cult of screen space. I try always to use small fonts and arrange windows to avoid any waste.Windows (without MS prefix) are powerful way to present your application, but they come with a cost of wasted pixels around the border (and for the caption bar). Now Windows 7 (this this with the MS prefix) adds some more decorations with the only purpose of sacrificing some more pixels to the altar of uselessness.
Not happy with this move, the engineers from Redmond decided to hide deep in the configuration menus the option to get those space back.
If you want save those pixel, then you have to follow this procedure –

  • click on an empty area of the desktop,
  • select Customize (“Personalizza” in italian),
  • click on Window colors (“Colore finestre”),
  • then click on Advanced Settings (“Impostazioni avanzate per l’aspetto…”). At this point, if you are an old Windows aficionado, you are looking at a familiar sight.
  • Click on the Element (“Elemento”) drop down list and seek for Border Filling (“Riempimento bordo”);
  • on the Size (“Dimensioni”) spin field set the value 0 (or the value that best suites your taste).

Et voila. Your pixels are back, ready for some useful task.
(English terms in the UI I listed above are inferred from the Italian version of Windows 7).

New Job – First Day

First day at a new employer. If you are reading these lines then it’s likely that you know me personally and therefore it’s even more likely you know why I changed job. My new employer is Dylogic (but beware, it is spelled “dylogic”, but it is pronounced “Dynamic Solutions” 😉 ), a solution provider in the field of video-conferencing, video-communication, video-answering-machines, and more or less everything that begins with “video” but doesn’t end with “games”.
If you ever dealt with networking and communication you know how many TLA and ETLA are there. In case that wouldn’t be enough, there’s plenty of 3DN and 4DN (invented right now: 3 digits number and 4 digits number). It would be nice to listen a speech between communication experts…
The company is rather small providing an informal and warm environment. On the first day I learned some basics of IP telephony and discovered some amusing facts about the UMTS (AKA 3G) mobile phones. Do you know that video-call in 3G devices is achieved through H324M, which is basically the H324 protocol revisited. The amusing part is that this protocol is for videoconferencing over PSTN (Public Service Telephone Network), and is not packet based. Not something that makes you fall from your seat… but somewhat unusual in this world of IP connectivity.
On the tools part I’m going to use Visual.NET 2002 along with Vss. Visual 2002 C++ implementation is quite far from the ISO/ANSI standard. Lacking, if memory serves me right, of template partial specialization as the most important flaw. This alone is a major showstopper for STL and the C++ standard library. Microsoft corrected most (maybe all) of non-standard behavior of their C++ compiler with the 2003 edition of Visual .NET.
I’d like to have a look whether interesting libraries (such as boost, spirit, ace, blitz) could work fine with this compiler or to which extent are limited.
I enjoyed an XP installation, that is, to tell the truth, quite straightforward. To be completely honest the hardware was nothing unusual. But what I appreciated is the security assessment performed by the system as soon as it is installed (with ServicePack 2). For example you get informed that no antivirus has been installed and a bright red crossed shield informs you that your PC is at security risk. Another nice feature is the “Install updates and shutdown” option when shutting down the box. If I am right, this option is only present when the auto-updated detects some “pending” updates. In this way the user could instruct XP to auto-update in a semi-unattended fashion.