Geek It Happened to Me Work

One Year at Microsoft

I knew that I might be a little too busy to write an anniversary blog post with my work schedule this week. That’s why I wrote that article last month to mark having worked at Microsoft for 11 months. My schedule was a little less hectic then. Go and read the article if you like – everything that I wrote then still applies today, with the notable exception of a month’s time having passed.

Having said that, I still like celebrating milestones, so I thought I’d mark this day with a quick photo-collage featuring Yours Truly on the job:

one year at microsoft

As I wrote earlier: “It’s been great so far. I’m going to stick around for a little while.”

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.

Geek It Happened to Me Work

My Half-a-versary

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.

Half a cake

That’s half-a-versary as in the celebration of something that took place half a year ago. It’s been half a year since I joined this organization:

Microsoft logo with the evil monkey from "Family Guy"

…and I have to tell you, it’s been quite good.

The two things I value most about my job as Developer Evangelist for The Empire are the freedom and the ability to make a splash. The only working situation where I’ve had even more freedom and control of my destiny was back in the late 1990s at a consultancy that was just me and one other guy, and I’ve never had the reach nor the opportunities that I now enjoy as a Sith Lord.

Darth Vader hot air balloon As a mobile worker, they cover my transportation costs too.

They’ve been pretty cool with my wacky ideas, from my re-appropriation of their image as “The Empire” to the stunt at Richard Stallman’s GNU auction at CUSEC to starting Coffee and Code, a weekly happening that most companies might dismiss as an attempt to loaf on company time.

I’ve been free to inject my offbeat, earthy sense of humour into my work, from celebrating InPrivate Browsing in Internet Explorer 8 to the time I made Bob Muglia – then a Senior VP, now President of the Server and Tools division — run away from me at a Los Angeles rooftop party when I serenaded him on accordion with a song about InPrivate Browsing, sung to the tune of Tina Turner’s Private Dancer:

I’m your private browser
A browser for po-orn
One-handed surfing for you…

And maybe, just maybe, I’ve either helped a software developer get some piece of information or consider using some Microsoft tool or technology. Maybe.

I’ve enjoyed my return to using Microsoft tools and tech, and there sure is plenty of that! It may take me another six months just to be able to say I’ve done a reasonable review of the stuff that I’m supposed to specialize in – the web and mobile spheres — and that’s just a piece of a much larger pie.

I relish the challenges of being an evangelist for The Empire. It’s easy to fling poop at Microsoft, and there are cases where the poop-flinging is warranted. It’s often harder to see that Microsoft is also behind some solid tech that drives our industry and is undergoing an interesting “sea change” in both its tech and its approach.

And most importantly, I enjoy the opportunities to make connections with people, both inside and outside Microsoft, from the students I met at CUSEC to developers I’ve met a various conferences and gatherings to my manager John Oxley and VP Mark Relph and especially with the Developer Evangelism team to which I belong, from:

  • Christian Beauclair (who, if we were the A-Team, would make an excellent Hannibal) to
  • Qixing Zheng (Face) to
  • John Bristowe (oh yeah, dude, you are soooo B.A. Baracus)

…I’m very honoured to be “Howling Mad Murdock” for this A-Team.

The A-Team


It Was Twenty Years Ago Today…

when the Exxon Valdez hit the Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, spilling about 40 million litres of crude oil.

The Exxon Valdez being escorted by Coast Guard ships
Click the photo to see it at full size.

Unlike many other oil spills, this one worked its way into popular culture:

  • The belief at the time was that the Exxon Valdez’ ship’s master Joseph Hazelwood was drunk, leading David Letterman to make a “Top Ten List” of his excuses, one of which was “I was just trying to scrape some ice off the reef for my margarita.”
  • In an episode of Futurama, the robot character Bender crashes an intergalactic tanker into a planet because he’s not drunk enough. In the world of Futurama, robots need alcohol to function properly.
  • In the movie Waterworld, the bad guys’ boat was named the Exxon Valdez, and their patron saint was Hazelwood. Hazelwood even appears in the movie, in portrait form – here’s a still featuring the movie’s chief villain, The Deacon (played by Dennis Hopper), talking to the portrait:
    Dennis Hopper looks at Joe Hazelwood's portrait in "Waterworld"

For a little more detail about the story, here’s a July 1989 Time magazine issue: Joe’s Bad Trip.