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Showing posts from October, 2010

KB976902 - "Black Hole" update

Update February 27, 2011 - Windows 7 Service Pack 1 appeared in my update queue with the checkbox unchecked. Hmm. To update or not to update?

Update January 14, 2011 - This appeared again in my Windows Updates. I figure installing it is okay now that Microsoft appears to have their ducks in a row. After the first fiasco, they probably took their time to release it correctly. This is the precursor to installing Windows 7 SP1. From Microsoft's website: "Windows 7 SP1 Release-to-Manufacturing (RTM) will be available in the first half of calendar year 2011. When released, it will be made available as an integrated release." This updates the installer in Windows 7 so it can upgrade to SP1 later. SP1 isn't available yet.

What follows is the original post.

Today, a mysterious Windows Update was released to all Windows 7 users. I'm going to preface this by saying what some Microsoft MVPs are saying: DO NOT INSTALL!

The update says, "Install this update t…

Easy Invoice Numbers

If you are building or using an e-commerce system and want to look all professional, you need invoice numbers. Invoice numbers are required, at the very least, for auditing purposes by most businesses. However, nothing says "not professional" quite like "dressing in a shirt that is flashier than a light pinstripe" or invoice numbers based solely on a MySQL 'auto_increment' field starting at '1' or, worse, a false arbitrary starting value.

Searching Google for an industry-standard practice of creating an invoice number turns up pathetic results. So this blog entry aims to correct this severe oversight of the Internet and bring it down to the level of the average programmer.

Businesses that are large enough have dedicated finance departments. These people like things to be EXTREMELY organized. If you are developing an application that is going to bring in money (e.g. an e-commerce solution), it needs to generate sequential orders that can be verifi…

Forget flock() and System V Semaphores - use WebMutex instead

While developing my latest PHP-based project, WebCron, I ran into an issue that has bothered me for a while - atomicity. An atomic operation is one where only one thread of one process is allowed to execute some piece of code. Actually, even under C/C++, I've been bothered by this issue.

Unlike Linux, Windows really has the most friendly approach to creating an environment where atomic operations may thrive. Named mutexes is one area where Windows really, truly shines above all the OSes out there. Try porting CreateMutex() to another OS and you'll inevitably have some real head-scratching sessions when you try to do a cross-process, named mutex. So-called 'mutexes' under *NIX OSes are usually 'pthread'-based, which are really more in line with Windows "critical sections" than "mutexes". A programmer coming from the Windows world is going to be utterly confused because they've been pampered by Microsoft and no one in the Linux commun…