Random things about working at Microsoft for a year

While I’ve only worked there for a year, because I was “acquired” in an “asset” in an acquisition, I have 11 years of “service” for things like vacation and office placement, so that’s handy.  In no particular order:

  • I’ve installed Windows a lot in a year. 2 different versions of Windows 7 a total of 9 times, 2 different versions of Server 2008 3 times. (And 3 Win7+1 Server2K8R2 installs at home!) Although i haven’t installed windows in several months, though.
  • I’ve installed Visual Studio 2010 even more.  Probably something like 20 different internal builds on 3 machines and several VM’s. Although since the RTM version was available, i haven’t had to install that anymore either. Visual Studio 2010 is so much better than 2008.  After using Eclipse for years, i’ve gotten used to so many of the built in features there that i was really surprised that visual studio doesn’t have similar functionality.  There are some add-ons that add a lot of the refactoring things and other tools, but like visual studio, most of them are not free.
  • It’s amazing how many IM conversations i have. At rosetta we would have just gotten up and walked over there instead of using IM. Communicator at MS works way better than it did at Merck.  Even the desktop sharing works really well.  At Merck, the old version of netmeeting we were using was pretty finicky.
  • I’ve had 4 different offices (not counting the conference room we worked out of for a week+)
  • There’s an email mailing list (or 2) for anything and everything.  The email alias often has a name that makes no sense unless you know what the codename of a product was 5 years ago.  And with all the email, there are still a ton of people with no email etiquette whatsoever.  And there are people that have 30 lines of crap in their signature.
  • Across 4 computers and 2 VM’s i’ve had exactly one bluescreen, and it was in the windows2008 server installer. (apparently it didn’t like the USB headset i had plugged in!)
  • I use OneNote all the time to take notes.  I’d never used it before.  And the 2010 version of OneNote makes some other things even easier.  I only write on paper now when i go to meetings and don’t take my laptop, or if i’m sketching out paper prototypes.  Sadly, it looks like the mobile version of onenote is pretty crippled compared to the full version.  i only see numbered and bulleted lists, when i use the other tags like checkboxes and colors all the time.
  • C# as a language (and the .net framework in general) is pretty awesome.  Especially LINQ and lambdas.  Likewise,  WPF + the xaml language and bindings makes it trivial to do a lot of things without much (or any) code. The visual GUI designer tools in VS2010 and Blend are the first ones i’ve used that don’t generate horrible horrible code.  And the binding functionality makes hooking data up to controls trivial.
  •   Expression Blend + SketchFlow are pretty awesome.  I need more time to learn them both, as they’re way more powerful and useful than i’m using them.   But there are some things that take like 2 seconds in Blend that are painful in visual studio.
  • There is a HUGE amount of available training.  Classroom, online, books, everything, and most of it that i have used as been very very good.
  • like half the people I know have iphones.  windows phone 7 looks cool at all, its just so far behind/away.  Apple has released 4 hardware revisions and major OS versions in the time its taken MS to do 1?  Since my first gen iphone is effectively a dead end now that it is no longer upgradable, I’m waiting for it to be worth my time to buy a new phone…
  • The company meeting at Safeco field is crazy.  Last year had lots of great stuff, with Windows 7 and Office 2010 coming.  This year’s should be interesting, with Win Phone 7 and Kinect coming soon.  It would also be cool if they gave some more Windows 8 details.
  • I’d say like 33% of the people I know/have met are hardcore pro MS people.  Another 33% are just there for a job that pays the bills.  Another 33% are pro MS but realistic about the areas where we could be doing better.  That last 1% is a crazy rabid anti microsoft bunch that thinks we’re on the wrong track completely about everything we do no matter what it is.  We could be curing cancer and they’d still be upset.
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