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. 2010s in review tells more: https://twitter.com/BruceDawson0xB/status/1212101533015298048

Arranging Invisible Icons in Quadratic Time

Near the end of January I was pointed to a twitter thread where a Windows user with a powerful machine was hitting random hangs in explorer. Lots of unscientific theories were being proposed. I don’t generally do random analysis of … Continue reading

Posted in Investigative Reporting, Performance, Programming, Quadratic, Rants, Symbols | Tagged , | 13 Comments

Windows Timer Resolution: The Great Rule Change

The behavior of the Windows scheduler changed significantly in Windows 10 2004 (aka, the April 2020 version of Windows), in a way that will break a few applications, and there appears to have been no announcement, and the documentation has … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Ditching WhatsApp

WhatsApp has served me well as a communications medium for my family, but I was never thrilled with its ownership by Facebook, and the recently announced privacy changes made it necessary for me to move on.

Posted in Computers and Internet, Security | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

ARM and Lock-Free Programming

I was inspired by the release of Apple’s M1 ARM processor to tweet about the perils of lock-free programming which led to some robust discussion. The discussion went pretty well given the inanity of trying to discuss something as complicated … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Floating Point in the Browser, Part 3: When x+y=x (y != 0)

A few years ago I did a lot of thinking and writing about floating-point math. It was good fun, and I learned a lot in the process, but sometimes I go a long time without actually using that hard-earned knowledge. … Continue reading

Posted in Chromium, Computers and Internet, Floating Point | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Floating Point in the Browser, Part 2: Bad Epsilon

A few years ago I did a lot of thinking and writing about floating-point math. It was good fun, and I learned a lot in the process, but sometimes I go a long time without actually using that hard-earned knowledge. … Continue reading

Posted in Chromium, Computers and Internet, Floating Point | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Windows Timer Resolution: The Great Rule Change

The behavior of the Windows scheduler changed significantly in Windows 10 2004 (aka, the April 2020 version of Windows), in a way that will break a few applications, and there appears to have been no announcement, and the documentation has … Continue reading

Posted in Environment, Investigative Reporting, Performance, Rants | Tagged , | 41 Comments

Floating Point in the Browser, Part 1: Impossible Expectations

A few years ago I did a lot of thinking and writing about floating-point math. It was good fun, and I learned a lot in the process, but sometimes I go a long time without actually using that hard-earned knowledge. … Continue reading

Posted in Chromium, Computers and Internet, Floating Point | Tagged , | 23 Comments

The Easy Ones – Three Bugs Hiding in the Open

I write a lot about investigations into tricky bugs – CPU defects, kernel bugs, transient 4-GB memory allocations – but most bugs are not that esoteric. Sometimes tracking down a bug is as simple as paying attention to server dashboards, … Continue reading

Posted in Bugs, Code analysis, Code Reliability, Debugging, Floating Point, Linux, Performance | Tagged | 23 Comments

GDI leaks and the importance of luck

In May 2019 I was asked to look at a potentially serious Chrome bug. I initially misdiagnosed it as unimportant, thus wasting two valuable weeks, and when I rejoined the investigation it was the number one browser-process crash in Chrome’s … Continue reading

Posted in Bugs, Chromium, Debugging, Programming | Tagged | 25 Comments