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Just a couple of whimsical things today.

Amazingly, I actually had a good "I wrote this" experience today!

I was out at my local pack-n-mail, sending that copy of CodeWizard (see 9/1/99) back to the manufacturer with a note that would singe your eyebrows. In the course of chatting with the guy who ran the place, he asked what kind of games I wrote. I mentioned that they were discount rack stuff, and probably nothing he'd heard of. He commented that he didn't really know anything about computers, and the only games he played were some that he was given as a gift. He then pointed to the desktop of his computer. He was pointing at the big red "24" icon that was the icon of 24 Games for Windows, my original game pack!

At first, he didn't believe that I wrote the games he played every day. I then instructed him to bring up the "about" box and showed him that I was indeed the author. He was quite impressed, as he'd never met a real live author before. He started to mention his favorite game when I cut him off with "Lemme guess. . .Bulldozer". He concurred, saying that he was up to level 19. He asked if I had any sneaky cheat stuff in my games. I admitted that I have no cheat codes, and I don't normally give away Bulldozer passwords.

FWIW, if you are really stuck in Bulldozer, call Expert tech support. Last I spoke to 'em, they would provide Bulldozer passwords if pressed.

Secondly, kudos to Symantec for actually following through with their beta testers. About two months ago, they posted an announcement that they were looking for beta testers for Speed Disk for NT. Since I didn't have a disk defragmenter for NT, I signed up. I sent 'em a report on my disk usage, using a utility that they included with the beta. I tried out the product, but didn't really notice anything resembling a bug. It worked just fine.

Anyway, I got an email from 'em last week thanking me for the report and asking for my address. I got a bright yellow package today containing a copy of the shipping version. Nice work guys!

FWIW, it's a nice product that works very well. One big speed-thing that it does is defragment your swap file. NT, unlike Win98, uses a fixed size swap file, but it doesn't necessarily put it in one contiguous block. SpeedDisk can, as you use it, defragment your swap file into one big block, speeding up your machine noticeably.

I was actually rather surprised that Symantec was getting into the NTFS defragmenting market. For the uninitiated, the market is currently dominated by Diskeeper, a very nice product. Given that Diskeeper works and is only $40, I can't imagine that Symantec will be making a lot of money on this product. I imagine, though, that it's the first step in Symantec releasing NTFS versions of all their Norton Utilities, given that Win2K is gonna make NTFS much more ubiquitous.

Finally, one more slab of anti-kudos to Microsoft for their support of DirectX under NT. It doesn't bother me much that DirectX for NT is behind the times. It bugs me that I can't install it at all!

Lemme explain what Microsoft did. MS released DirectX 3 with one of their service packs (specifically SP 3). When you install SP 3 on your machine, it also installs DirectX. MS never made a standalone DirectX installer for NT, and they did not put DirectX on any of the later service packs.

When I installed NT on my development box, I obliviously went ahead and installed SP 5, because it contained all the fixes in the previous service packs. Little did I know that it did NOT include DirectX. I now have all the fixes, but no DirectX. I cannot retroactively install SP3, as it recognizes that a later service pack has already been applied and refuses. I'm basically screwed for DirectX unless I somehow can figure out how to install it manually. There's little chance that MS will be releasing a DirectX installer for NT, as Win2K is coming out in a few months that contains a much more up-do-date DirectX.

Bad form, Microsoft!
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