Monday, July 25, 2005

Sun Breaks with a Chance of Showers

Another post where I just spew forth a lot of little random things that have been piling up vs. a bunch of little posts. Not exactly content free, but it's sort of like a colonic for my ragged, stained notepad that lets me move on.

Over at Proudly Serving, Mr. Barr provides the post 10 Slightly Unusual Ideas to Mildly Perturb Microsoft in response to the whole 10 Crazy Ideas thing. There are some good comments in there, too. I would love if this "ideas" caught on as a blogs.msdn.com meme and everyone took a chance to reflect on Microsoft changes they think would best suit the company, its employees, and shareholders. Use this to channel feedback as we prepare for the Company Meeting.

And as for the paper itself: true, not crazy ideas. But it's like the first crack in the rock. From what I understand, Gates did read the paper and provided feedback. Hopefully something better than TTSFTIEH.

Thank goodness the Company Meeting is back to being a real company meeting at SafeCo field! Now, why is Mr. Fire-Them-All so happy to blow money on the Company Meeting? Well, like I said when I bemoaned its weird replacement last year, I just love going in for the morale building influence of it. True!

But it makes me wonder... if we were going to have a button for the disgruntled to wear this year, what would it say?

I'm not too good at this. I'll have to think, but please feel free to post your suggestions here or in your blog.

Next item: kudos to the IE / RSS team for getting such a nice bit of consensus together around their future feature set. When I learned of the team, I was really worried (especially given at least one person on the team I know being an untalented cool-hunter). But they pulled it off, along with grudging kudos from the crowd who doesn't think Microsoft can ever do anything right. Obviously, due to our past excessive sins, we have a long road from perdition to hike just to make it to purgatory and hang out for a while. It's interesting that at the same time, Apple updated iTunes and just crapped XML-ish goo all over the RSS for blogcastin'. And the Alpha-Geek reaction to that was more measured, "Gee, I weally wish that Apple wouldn't do that."

Next... for some odd reason, I'm feeling more and more MSFT-Patriotic as of late. One thorn I'm really beginning to get tired of, strangely enough, is O'Reilly media. Ever since I was a long-haired Unix geek I relied on O'Reilly. But I'm just getting tired of their begrudging support of Microsoft while at the same time snarking at us from their blogs and conventions. Annoyed with us? Then do us a favor and don't go publishing anymore Microsoft-centric titles and make money elsewhere. As soon as I can find a reliable publisher that does as good a job of editing and producing texts, I'm switching. I really regret ever dollar now I spend towards buying an O'Reilly book when there's not a quality alternative. Oh, Addison & Wesley, get off the Agile Scrum scam-train and start publishing good, strong technical books again!

It's interesting to see Mr. Steven Sinofsky's Technical Career Forum blog. Now, I don't know much about Mr. Sinofsky. But earlier in the year I was over in the absolute worst and poorly designed building on campus - #36, the home to just about all things Office - and the discussion about the current and previous releases of Office came up. Mostly around how Windows had screwed Office really really well over constantly slipping and cutting features that Office was trying to synchronize a release with. One thing related to me, that I have great respect for Mr. Sinofsky if true, is that Sinofsky more or less told anyone hawking a .NET CLR integration demand on Office to take that CLR and JIT it up where the sun don't shine. I have great respect for that.

(flip, flip, flip) Oh, I should mention the comment from Microsophist saying all is cool with the former blogger and the transition to "Ex-Microsophist" was just a personal decision. In the meantime, I noticed that another blog has popped up worth mentioning: MSFT Bagholder. The feed is at http://msftbagholder.blogspot.com/atom.xml .

Next to last: my goodness, how are you going to keep them down on the farm when they see the cool things that Google is doing? Why, you're going to sue their ass! EricR had to be involved in that decision. Lawsuits certainly make our Microsoft v. Google competition all haired-over and grown-up now. While this is pending though, you'd best not wander over to Google unless they are hiring you to do something pretty damn different than you're doing now. It reminds me of how eventually groups in Microsoft blow their lid when the new sexy group ramping up hiring is grabbing all the good people they can find. Eventually, "Pouching!" is cried out and the sexy group is told to keep their hands off. Too bad for those left who wanted to go but just where too slow.

Last: while Todd Bishop's article about the software market heating up notes the sad fact about Microsoft hiring a bunch of people over the past year, there is a silver lining. Lots of local software companies are hiring. So as you look around and decide, "This is not my passion!" about what you're doing day to day, know that local, energized companies are ramping up their hiring. You finished your review feedback recently, so use that momentum to update your resume and CV and fish that around. Maybe those who bite won't be too interesting. But you just might find yourself pleasantly surprised in snagging a great position outside of Microsoft.

And since July 1st has passed, your review bonus is all yours.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's "poaching", not "pouching".

How about buttons that say "I'm Mini" or "I da'Punk"?

Anonymous said...

I'd love to know who the "untalented cool hunter" is on the IE/RSS team since I know all of them and have my own opinions?

Does the person's name start with an 'A'?

Anonymous said...

Mini, sometimes I agree with you, sometimes I don't, but this time there is one thing I strongly disagree with you about:

I don't know about the stock chart, I have no idea what BillG, SteveB and BrianV should do and it's too early to comment on WinFS (what other features?), but you're way off with the CLR, for one extremely simple reason.

If it weren't for the CLR and the .NET Framework, very few remaining masochists would write software for Windows today. Remember the development tools Microsoft used to sell for Windows in 1998-2001?

Visual C++ - fine, as long as you're a C++ guru. It turns out most MFC users weren't.

Visual Basic - fine, as long as you stick to single-threaded simple UIs. If you needed complex components, you ended up writing them in C++. But then again, most Visual C++ programmers weren't gurus.

ASP - fine, as long as you enjoy Calvin doing his trademark thing on you. You try creating an enterprise website in ASP. At the time, JSP was kicking ASP's behind in enterprise apps and PHP still kicks ASP/ASP.NET's butt in small-scale web projects. Oh, and if you're going to need complex components in ASP, you're better off writing them in C++, 'cause VB ain't meant for that. But you know, good C++ programmers are rare.

More complex stuff like message queueing, distributed transactions, COM+ and so on? Good luck, kid.

Average programmers (not the elite that Joel arrogantly talks about in http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/HighNotes.html) know shit about Win32 API or intricate COM details. You should thank whoever came up with .NET for otherwise you wouldn't have had a job today.

If you're criticizing .NET, do it for not emerging earlier, or for not having an Express suite in 2002. 'Cause if you bash it for simply existing, you don't understant crap from what's going on around you.

Anonymous said...

Other features? Castle is the last big one I know of. I found out at the last WIM. Er . . . "Longhorn Unwinder". Or is it "Vista Unwinder"? Whatever. Made me queasy. I was really looking forward to something more managable for SORGs. I guess it's all up to SBS now. Not that it wasn't before, of course. SBS is my hero.

- Drew

Anonymous said...

Speaking of WinFS - here's something to ponder upon.

The first jet engine was built in 1910, rediscovered in 1930 but it began to be widely used in the late 1940's. The idea had been patented back in 1791 (!) and the guy who finally built the first prototype in 1910 was a genius, but the idea was still way too far ahead of its time.

Why is it that hard to accept that maybe the time hasn't come for WinFS? The idea is there since OFS and Cairo, right? Surely, announcing the feature and pulling it back is bad (bad, bad, bad and stupid) PR, but maybe the day isn't here just yet.

Anonymous said...

"But it makes me wonder... if we were going to have a button for the disgruntled to wear this year, what would it say?"

Suggestions:

- "Paddles! Clear!" and a picture of MSFT's multi-year chart
- "I'm with Stupid" and a picture of Ballmer
- "I wanted Longhorn but all I got was this silly button"
- "We're Soft"
- "SS MSFT crew member"
- "Wasting away in Redmondville"
- "I'm not the caterer - I'm just paid like one"
- "Shipping software? We don't need no stickin products"
- "OpenOffice.org"
- "If only I'd bailed in 99"
- "Go Steve - please".

Anonymous said...

>> Speaking of WinFS - here's something to ponder upon.

There's nothing to "ponder upon". This whole thing was implemented back in early 90's by Be in BeFS. And it was implemented by ONE GUY. Here's a book for you: http://www.nobius.org/~dbg/practical-file-system-design.pdf, written by the guy who single handedly wrote BeFS. It worked, it was rock-solid and it was lightning fast.

Anonymous said...

written by the guy who single handedly wrote BeFS

Yup, and he now works for Apple on...Spotlight. Whaddya know!

Anonymous said...

"Suggestions:"

Management Denial:

What me - worry?

Biblical:

(Picture of MSFT shareholder)

Jobe was a pussy

Topical:(in honor of Lance's victory and MSFT's repeated drubbing by Google)

Oh sure, they beat us this year, but how long can a winning streak like that last?

Historical/Politically incorrect:

Hard verk vil set ze free

(apologies in advance to the jewish community).

Financial:

Remember, we're billing this shindig to the R&D location code

Economic:

Will work for food - and pretty much am.

Juvenile:

Hey, Mini's over there - psyche.

Thx - we'll be here all week.

Anonymous said...

Apress (www.apress.com) may be the publisher you are looking for, their list of Microsoft titles is fabulous and they publish Joel Spolsky!

Anonymous said...

How does the bonus payout work anyway? I'm close to following mini's advice and not sure I can hold off until the official payment date....

Anonymous said...

How does the bonus payout work anyway?

Assuming they don't change your review score and assuming they still give you a bonus even though they know you're leaving/have left, you would get a check sent to you on the day the bonus goes through for everyone (Spet 15th?).

Microsophist said...

Thanks for the pointer to Bagholder's blog. The guy obviously does his homework. It's interesting to see an honest perspective on MSFT from the finance angle.

Note to Bagholder: your blog would be even better if you turned comments on.

Anonymous said...

"Note to Bagholder: your blog would be even better if you turned comments on."

Agree. Also think he should crystalize some of these concerns into a shareholder's petition, allow registered holders like myself to append my name and then deliver it to mgt at the shareholder's meeting with hopefully a few thousand signatures.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see a 2 - 3, whatever year moratorium on executive stock sales.

Ballmer should love the symbolism of ensuring that the execs have some skin in the game, that their heads are really behind all the initiatives of the last few years.

Anonymous said...

How confident are you about the Since-you-worked-July-1-your-bonus-is-all-yours comment?
(From someone thinking of leaving MS, but not wanting to ask HR what the story is.)

Anonymous said...

How confident are you about the Since-you-worked-July-1-your-bonus-is-all-yours comment?

Look it up. It's a stated policy. The bonus reflects the work you did. However, I'd be surprised if someone was actually granted a bonus if they quit before they personally got their numbers back.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I can beleive one should wait til one sees one's numbers -- but is that long enough? Could they still say, uh, nevermind, and not pay at that point?

(Handbook states you're "eligible" (more or less) if you've worked through June 30; it also says it's not guarenteed. But once you see the number is that it?)

And, hey, if you can ask HR, that'd be lovely. :)

Anonymous said...

"Could they still say, uh, nevermind, and not pay at that point?"

Honestly, you just aren't going to find out the real answer to that here. Without proof of identity (unlikely) no answer posted at this site is 100% believable. If the bonus is that important to you, wait it out. It wasn't for me.

Anonymous said...

The bonus is yours exactly when the funds are transferred into your bank account.

If you think most MSFT managers wouldn't try to pull your bonus after knowing you're leaving, then you've had a very different experience from me. I've seen guys get screwed on their reviews just for moving to a different group - why waste a 4.0 on someone no longer in your org?

Anonymous said...

I've seen guys get screwed on their reviews just for moving to a different group - why waste a 4.0 on someone no longer in your org?

This exactly mirrors my experience. I've worked at a lot of places in my career, but I've never seen the kind of pettiness and vindictiveness that my managers exhibited when I changed groups within MS.

joe said...

two things never can be the same

bruce said...

i agree with you, Mini!.