Author Archives: brucedawson

About brucedawson

I'm a programmer, working for Google, focusing on optimization and reliability. Nothing's more fun than making code run 10x as fast. Unless it's eliminating large numbers of bugs. I also unicycle. And play (ice) hockey. And sled hockey. And juggle. And worry about whether this blog should have been called randomutf-8.

Making Windows Slower Part 2: Process Creation

Windows has long had a reputation for slow file operations and slow process creation. Have you ever wanted to make these operations even slower? This weeks’ blog post covers a technique you can use to make process creation on Windows … Continue reading

Posted in Code Reliability, Investigative Reporting, Performance, Programming | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Commute Challenge 2018

I’ll bet I had more fun commuting during September 2018 than you did. In April 2017 I gave myself the challenge of commuting to work using a different method every workday for a month – twenty ways in twenty days! … Continue reading

Posted in Commuting, Environment, Unicycling | 7 Comments

24-core CPU and I can’t type an email (part two)

In my last post I promised to give more details about some rabbit holes that I went down during the investigation, including page tables, locks, WMI, and a vmmap bug. Those details are here, along with updated code samples. But … Continue reading

Posted in Investigative Reporting, memory, Performance | Tagged , , , | 25 Comments

24-core CPU and I can’t type an email (part one)

I wasn’t looking for trouble. I wasn’t trying to compile a huge project in the background (24-core CPU and I can’t move my mouse), I was just engaging in that most mundane of 21st century tasks, writing an email at … Continue reading

Posted in Investigative Reporting, memory, Performance | Tagged , , , | 50 Comments

Making Windows Slower Part 1: File Access

Windows has long had a reputation for slow file operations and slow process creation. Have you ever wanted to make these operations even slower? This weeks’ blog post covers a technique you can use to make all file operations on … Continue reading

Posted in Investigative Reporting, Performance, Programming, xperf | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Compiler bug? Linker bug? Windows Kernel bug.

See the end of the post for an October 2018 bug fix update, or read the whole story: Flaky failures are the worst. In this particular investigation, which spanned twenty months, we suspected hardware failure, compiler bugs, linker bugs, and … Continue reading

Posted in Debugging, Investigative Reporting, Programming | Tagged , , , | 65 Comments

Zombie Processes are Eating your Memory

Zombies probably won’t consume 32 GB of your memory like they did to me, but zombie processes do exist, and I can help you find them and make sure that developers fix them. Tool source link is at the bottom. … Continue reading

Posted in Debugging, Investigative Reporting, Performance, Programming, Rants | Tagged , , | 68 Comments