28 February 2006

I work at Microsoft

Summary: I work at Microsoft. I started working here when I was 18. I grew up in Redmond, Washington. I attended Redmond elementary, Redmond Junior High and graduated from Redmond High School. It's only fitting that I should work at Microsoft. :) When people ask me what I do at Microsoft I say matter-of-factly, "I work in the Macintosh Business Unit." It's fun to see the consistently quizzical expressions on people's faces when I say that. A while back I got the hesitant response, "So, did Microsoft buy the Mac?" No, Microsoft has not "bought the Mac", but we do make some mighty fine software for the Mac OS. I am a part of the Infrastructure team. This means I'm a programmer that writes code that's used internally by most everyone else in the Business Unit. We write all our Mac tools almost exculsively with Xcode and the Cocoa APIs. It's a great place to be. It's a great time to be a Mac developer. My official title is Software Design Engineer in Test, which is a fancy way of saying a large part of my efforts are spent improving our testing efforts in the MacBU. Note: Almost no one ever says, Macintosh Business Unit, since everything at Microsoft must have a ancronym, ours is MacBU which is said, "mac boo". So that's the summary. More details to follow...


I just recently returned from a wedding. It was wonderful to see family and meet new friends and relatives. Invariably the small talk and conversation turns to questions about what I do for work. I find myself following this general pattern: Other Person: "So, where do you work?" Me: "I work at Microsoft." Other Person: "Really, what do you do there?" Me: "I work in the Macintosh Business Unit." Other Person: "You what? There's Mac stuff at Microsoft? ..." Insert 30 second history lesson about the computing industry here along with random comments about small screened Macs they used in High School or College. Other Person: "So, I've got this problem with my PC, maybe you could help..." At this point, it get to exercise one of the great blessings of my current employment: Me: "You know, that sounds complicated. I don't really know the answer for that problem, I spend all my time on the Mac and that's really where my expertise lies. Have you used a Mac or iPod lately?" Other person: "Yeah, they are so simple and just work..." Me: "Yeah, that's what I like about my job. It's great!" So, gentle reader, I've decided to focus the next few post on what I do at work. I do this because it's often difficult to explain what I do in a 30 second small talk sound bite and the next time I'm asked, well, I'll just give them my URL. :)

My MacBook Pro!

I just got my new MacBook Pro and it's very nice. I'm upgrading from a 1.25 GHz PowerBook G4 with 512 MB RAM to a 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo MacBook Pro with 512 MB RAM. I need more RAM! I took the plung and even risked using the Migration Assistant and in fact, 1 hour later, I'm mostly up and running! I'm just resyncing my iDisk and iSync stuff, and that just takes time. - The AirPort reception seems much better. From the same spot in house I can see 4 new wireless networks. :) - The AirPort speed seems worse which makes no sense to me. I'll keep an eye on this. - The track pad is wider. About double the original size, which makes the machine look wider, but infact it's only a tad bit wider. - The extra screen realestate is much needed for my dev work. - The mouse button also clicks much better/softer and I like that. The best part is the engraved mirror "MacBook Pro" text in the lower center of the display housing. This used to be just gray paint, and would always ware away. This engraved text should last longer. Well, actually the best part and worst parts are all connected. The power supply for this thing is huge! It's and 85 watt brick and did I mention it's huge? That's the worst part. The best part is the magnetized way it attached to the laptop. The "charging" LED indicator is on both sides and the connector, while rectangular, not round, can work in both right side up, and upside down! Again, Apple sweats the details. All in all I'm a very happy camper. Now, I wonder if I can install Vista... ;-)