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§ MIDI startup delays under Windows XP

Anyone who has tried running old Windows programs that use MIDI music under Windows XP knows what a frustrating experience it is: every time the program switches to a MIDI track, it locks up solid for a couple of seconds. This behavior wasn't present in Windows 95/98, and although it is avoided by playing MIDI files through DirectShow, that doesn't help old programs that use Media Control Interface (MCI) to play their music. Interestingly, enough, the pause doesn't get any shorter on a faster system.

This behavior annoyed me enough that I attached a debugger to figure out what was causing the pauses. The cause turned out to be rather surprising.

(Read more....)

§ Compiling VirtualDub with Visual C++ 2005 Express

Microsoft finally shipped the long-awaited Visual Studio 2005 this week. Although most were simply wanting a service pack for Visual Studio .NET 2003 (or even a second one for VS2002), VS2005 does have a lot of cool improvements as well. The really good news, though is that Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition is available for free download for a year:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express/visualc/

As far as I can tell, no registration or activation is required. The Express edition does have some limitations: no 64-bit support, no source code control integration, no ATL/MFC, no Win32 resource editor, no macro assembler (MASM), and you must download and manually integrate the Platform SDK (using some ugly instructions in the help). However, it does come with the optimizing compiler, can generate 100% native executables, and does have the Threads pane that was taken out during beta 2. I highly recommend getting it, if for no other reason than that it has a very capable GUI debugger.

There are some minor changes that have to be made to the VirtualDub 1.6.11 sources to get it to compile under VC2005 Express.

(Read more....)

§ An exercise in futility

News is already spreading about DRM installed by copy protected CDs from Sony that install drivers into Windows that attempt to stealth themselves in manners similar to those used by rootkits. Now, I think just about everything I'd want to say about this has already been said, except I couldn't help but be quite amused at the thought of a device driver trying to hide itself on the machine of the guy who wrote RegMon, FileMon, DiskMon, Process Explorer, and NTFS for Windows 98, does professional consulting on kernel-mode development, and probably debugs kernel minidumps during breakfast. Whoever wrote that "DRM" software must be having a bad day, because that must have been the absolute worst machine for that software to land on, and now the author of some of the most powerful IT tools for Windows is very pissed off.

Incidentally, browsing through his past blog posts, I found that at least as of April, Mark Russinovich was still using Visual C++ 6.0, too (MSDEV.EXE). Very interesting.

(Read more....)