Monday, January 16, 2006

'Been Vexed: Hex to Bin Binned!

There is a devious bug in the new Fuseki module that likely has something to do with 64-bit bitmasks and shifts performed on them so I need to verify & document what's going on.

But one of MS's updates (or perhaps x64 itself) "improved" the Calculator app. so much, that it became useless to me. I often need to convert 64-bit binary to hex, and vice versa.

MS managed to break that functionality by deciding to display large binary numbers in scientific notation, from now on. Now, when I convert a hex number I get things like 1.^+101100 instead of a nice string of bits. There is no workaround: Yet another MS app has been upgraded to death - my scientific calculator can't display 64-digit binary numbers either so I will have to look for some freeware that can perform this trick for me.

I am worried about the path Microsoft has chosen. I am dependent on Microsoft, my software does not run on other platforms than theirs. But every single update of every single piece of software Microsoft has released recently is worse. Another example: Their latest Media Player can't pause the movie any more by pressing the spacebar, or by any other method I can find. If a digital electronics engineer with 25 years of software development experience can't figure this out, not many others will. MS's problem is that they employ an army of codemonkeys and they have to be kept working, apparently regardless of the merits of their work. "New" is not always "better".