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Henk Devos Henk's Random Thoughts March 2004 Entries
Microsoft convicted in Europe
The European Commission (EC), something like the government of the European Union (EU), has convicted Microsoft to paying a fine of 500 million EURO (1 EURO is a bit more than 1 US$), disclosing information, and releasing a stripped-down Windows version within 120 days. As always, John Lettice comments in The Register. The EC concludes that Microsoft is abusing a monopoly position for unfair competition. The main problem is Media Player, which is shipped with Windows, but competing with other applications. ......

Posted On Wednesday, March 24, 2004 11:33 PM

Self-programming computers
Computers are really dumb. They can only do what we, poor hard working developers, tell them to do. Never come up with an idea themselves. Wouldn't it be much easier if computers could just program themselves? Our life would be a lot easier. Every now and then we can go check up on the computer, see how the software development is progressing, and for the rest do nothing and be paid for the computer's work. Hopefully the computer would even do a better job than we can do ourselves. Fortunately, the ......

Posted On Wednesday, March 24, 2004 9:01 PM

The Al Qua'eda swarm

In the TV news, i heard someone refer to al Qua'eda as a swarm.
The organization doesn't have a central control anymore. All the cells of the organization (as they happen to be called) function independently.

I wonder if their synergy is now purely based on the media?

Posted On Wednesday, March 24, 2004 8:51 PM

Half a brain

I heard the story of someone who had only half a brain working.
The one half stopped functioning completely at a very young age because of a severe cold.
This person is functioning completely normally.

Isn't it amazing how our brains can adapt?

Posted On Wednesday, March 24, 2004 8:49 PM

Termites on stage
The Flemish actor Josse De Pauw (if you are Flemish, you know him) is now performing in a play about termites. He is fascinated by the intelligence of termites and their capability of building complex nests. The title of the play is The soul of the ant. As you know, termites and ants have the same type of synergy. The opening scene of the play goes like this: A biology professor at a university asks his students to make an assignment at home. They have to find a cockroach, put it in the microwave, ......

Posted On Wednesday, March 24, 2004 8:44 PM

How to reverse engineer a COM interface
Many people have asked me how i repeatedly succeeded in getting the exact definition of an undocumented COM interface. It is actually quite easy. I always do this in the Visual C++ debugger, with full Windows debug symbols installed. First you have to get hold of an implementation of the interface. This is usually the hard part. Once you have the interface pointer, see which address the pointer points to. Copy this address to the memory window. Your memory window is now displaying the vtable for ......

Posted On Monday, March 15, 2004 7:27 PM

Terrorists win!
Everybody seems to ignore it, but we have now given terrorists a very bad signal: Because of the attacks in Spain, the Partido Popular has lost the elections. This must be the highest achievement possible for a terrorist organization: Causing a regime change. Why do we go on giving these encouraging signals to terrorists? Furthermore, why is this attack considered so much more important than for example the earthquake in Iran, where 200 times more people were killed? This attention is part of the ......

Posted On Monday, March 15, 2004 9:22 AM

Cellular Automata
Cellular Automata are simple agents that take a fixed number of binary inputs to generate a binary output. You can think of them as simple lookup tables: The same inputs will generate the same output. Cellular automata are usually shown on a grid. The most popular example is the Game of Life. Imagine a grid that has black and white cells. You can see the black cell as 1 and the white cell as 0. Now imagine the inputs of the cells to be the neighboring cells. The setup i want to discuss here is like ......

Posted On Monday, March 1, 2004 6:11 PM

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