Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

College is finally over

November 1, 2008 Comments off

My wife informed me a couple days ago that my final college loan payment was made a few weeks ago, and we just received an official letter stating the loan is paid off and closed.  Wow.  At 32 years old I’m finally done with college!

It’s nice to have that paid off, but at the same time it was kind of my last connection with being a decade younger than I am now.  🙂

My career seems to be taking me in a more technical direction than I once hoped, and where I used to think that getting my Masters some day was good goal, now I’m not so sure.  Sure I could be wrong, but at this point I don’t really see a big benefit.

So here’s to the good old days of just worrying about making it to classes and determining the best strategy for winning a game of Spades at 3am.   But at the time, here’s to having a few glasses of a nice merlot while answering the door on Halloween while my wife and daughter are out raking in the goods!

Of course I just thought of another interesting tidbit: I’ve come full circle.  When I was in college I thought it would be the coolest thing to work at Microsoft, but knew it was pretty darn hard to get hired there.  In the last 10 years I’ve done a lot, and even reached the point where I thought Microsoft wouldn’t be the right place for me.  Today I can’t think of anywhere else, or another team I’d rather work on than Messenger Ops at Microsoft.

That deserves another glass of merlot.

Categories: job Tags: ,

I’m a PC

September 19, 2008 Comments off

I had the distinct pleasure of attending my first Microsoft Company Meeting yesterday at Safeco Field.  I can assure you, you’ve never been to a business meeting like this before!  Does your office gathering have Rainn Wilson as MC?  A pitching mound?  Beach balls and pyrotechnics?  A drum line?  20,229 paper airplanes (and hundreds more unofficial flying paper objects)?  Gigantic display screens?  4 seating levels?  20,000+ people (more than a Mariners game these days…)?  A traffic jam?

Jaw-dropping demos of technology that your company (maybe even YOU) helped put together?  Steve Balmer running around the room chest bumping people, screaming his head off, and inadvertently knocking defenseless women over?  (seriously – that was funny as hell!)

I can’t wait to get using the next versions of Windows, Windows Mobile, Office, and a bunch of the other stuff I saw.  I can honestly say that coming from the outside (of MS) recently, that while you may think the Microsoft has lost “the touch” I can tell you you’re wrong.  Just wait for this stuff to get out.

Speaking of – check out the new beta version (public) of Windows Live Messenger (and the other WLx products).  Head over to  Messenger is WAY cleaned up from the UI of old, you can leave it logged in on multiple computers (chats appear on both and when you close a window on one it closes on the other – great for folks like me with multiple PC’s), and you can see “What’s New” with all the people in your address book.  My extended team runs Messenger, the address book platform, as well as the stuff that makes “what’s new” work.

Lastly, I’m so happy to see Microsoft finally get off it’s ass and compete in the marketing space.  Far too long, IMHO, have we countered Apple’s Mac v. PC ads with either nothing or the kind of over-detailed over-engineered non-passionate advertising Microsoft is known for.  It’s time to stick up for ourselves and the fallacy that cool people use, and cool things happen, only on a Mac.  Great things happen on the PC platform every day, and I’ve heard lots of stories about just as many issues on Macs as Windows boxes.

I’m a PC … and I help tens of millions of people every day connect to their friends, family, and community … one IM at a time.  🙂

Categories: Microsoft Tags: , ,

Don’t look behind the curtain!

July 8, 2008 Comments off

I spent the first couple days of this week at Microsoft’s campus working with a small group of folks doing a refresh of the certification exams for ISA Server 2004 and 2006 (70-350 and 351).  ISA stands for Internet Security and Acceleration – basically it’s Microsoft’s network firewall product that runs on top of a Windows server.  It’s a great too for publishing apps in a secure manner to the Internet, speed up web browsing for your users (by keeping a copy of commonly-accessed web content on the ISA server), and providing remote access to a network (VPN)

I’m under NDA so I can’t tell you a lot of details on what we did and discussed, but I can tell you that it was a really cool experience.  If you’ve ever taken a test and thought “these questions are stupid” I had a chance to avenge your experience (as long as your complaints were with either the 70-350 and 70-351 exams).  🙂

It was a blast to hang out with some wicked smart people and get into technical debates about best practices and firewall techniques.  Kudos to the whole group for, in my opinion, making some great progress on these exams!

The one part that bummed me out … well pissed me off really … was having 5 people who’ve been using the ISA product since it was called Proxy Server 8+ years ago all look at a test question, debate it, all arrive at an answer, find out we’re all wrong, and then learn that the people who have taken the exam in the last few months have gotten that question right about 90% of the time.  What the f…

Folks – don’t cheat.  Brain dumps are illegal (people go in to take an exam and steal the content and then post it online), and you’re not doing yourselves any favors.  The more people who pass exams by cheating the more diluted the pool of certified engineers becomes, and then you get to a point where having a certification doesn’t matter.  Effectively you’re screwing yourself over by making your certification useless, plus you’re lying to your employer (and yourself) in saying that you’re competent in a product or technology when you really aren’t.


Or, maybe you should just keep on doing it.  I know a PhD Psychometrician who’s an expert in Wii Boxing that’s gonna get ya!


The Smoking Gun

June 30, 2008 Comments off

Check out Steve Gillmor’s post over at TechCrunchIT about his best guess at the future of Microsoft’s online services/platform strategy.  Pretty compelling arguments, and perhaps we’re seeing an opportunity for Microsoft to climb out of 3rd place in the online ecosystem.  Only time will tell, but this sure seems plausible!

As Bill Gates closed the door for the final time Friday on his ex-office (Ballmer takes over Monday) the rhetoric about continued one day a week doesn’t match the reality. Whether you believe Bill will have an ongoing role in Office and Windows futures, I bet most of Bill’s input is already factored in by the owners of those two dominant sources of Microsoft revenue.

What comes next depends on whether Microsoft can pivot to the open Web paradigm as predicated in the Live Mesh strategy, or meander along while attempting to catch up in search and failing to buy Yahoo. You can find plenty of the latter analysis elsewhere, but here we’ll go for the throat of Microsoft’s disruptive opportunity by using a time-honored approach when faced with few facts but a lot of clues. Namely, building a case out of circumstantial evidence. And a smoking gun.

[ … GO READ THE REST!!! … ]

The Live Desktop is Mesh plus Silverlight. A Silverlight Office, however iteratively it is rolled out, will provide Microsoft the leverage to frame the discussion of an Internet Operating System. By mandating openness at all costs combined with a clear user contract trading software for services, the strategy puts Google and Apple in the position of explaining how they too get from here to there. Perhaps a SIlverlight-like runtime from either company is in the pipeline, but more likely are the Gears and SproutCore developer frameworks which are lighter-weight and less fundamental to each companies’ current success.

Contorting the words of Johnnie Cochran, if the glove fits you must convict. Will a Silverlight-only Live Desktop emerge soon after Election Day? If so, what will Microsoft or its developers do with it? Will Ray Ozzie, who spent the first half of his career as the most successful third-party application developer in Windows NT’s history with Lotus Notes, lead a wave of Live Desktop development under the rubric of Services with just enough Software? If the Himel post goes 404, maybe not.

The Smoking Gun
Steve Gillmor
Sat, 28 Jun 2008 20:28:27 GMT

Categories: Microsoft Tags: ,