All Blog

Canned meat and statistics

I put up my first post to this blog on May 30, 2006. Today is January 16, 2007, which is 231 days later. In that time, I’ve made a total of 44 posts and received 482 comments. That works out to about one post every five days, and about 10 comments per post.
In that same time period, I’ve received 9043 (!) spam comments, or just over 39 per day. The number is actually a little higher because I’m only counting the comments caught by Akismet — every so often it misses a few and I have to manually delete them.
That’s a spam level of 94.9%! Funny enough, Akismet’s own world-wide statistics show spam at around the 94% level, so I guess I look like a nice average target to the comment spammers. Oh for the days before Canter and Siegel!

All MacBU

Whistle while you work

I got back to Seattle on Thursday night, only to find that I couldn’t actually get all the way home due to ice on the roads. I had to park my car a block and a half away in a nearby parking lot because the snow (!) that fell on Wednesday had been packed down and subsequently frozen into a solid sheet of ice. What is with this year’s weather anyway? Snow, ice, wind, torrential rain, gale-force winds, more snow, more ice — what’s next?!
Anyway, as far as work goes, MacWorld was pretty good this year. I met a number of interesting folks in the Microsoft Blogger Lounge and answered a ton of questions over at the main Microsoft booth. Apparently I’m a “docile developer” — I’m glad that Brandon liked the personal tech support. On Tuesday evening I got to chat with Jacqui Cheng of Ars Technica at the Microsoft Press Party. Apparently Jade had wandered off to someother event so I didn’t get to experience the full snark effect, but Jacqui and her friend Herschell (sp?) were quite pleasant to talk to. I’ve been following a few threads on the Ars Macintosh forum, where a few commenters insist on dragging the MacBU through the mud as often as they can (and you can see a few of their comments on some of my other posts here). Somehow Jacqui and I got to talking about the perceptions you get as you scan people’s comments. So many of them are negative that it is easy to get kinda down about blogging. I mean, who really wants to share some personal insights only to get cursed out all the time? It’s a little odd, but most of the positive comments I get are sent to me in private email, whereas the people who have some issue or complaint about me or the MacBU usually post public comments (dare I call them diatribes, at times?). Jacqui said she’s noted the same thing with her columns on Ars. I wonder why that is? Are there any human behaviorists reading this who care to hazard a guess?
On Wednesday at the Blogger Lounge I spent a long time talking with Eric Albert, a former Microsoft employee (although not with the MacBU) who’s now been involved with development on both the Intel Macs and the new iPhone. We chatted about the development of Xcode, including his perceptions of how easily 3rd party (ie, non-Apple) developers would be able to switch their codebases to it (hint — not as easily as Steve Jobs said!) and the various experiences we’ve both had with various chip and system architectures. I asked him about working on the iPhone, and aside from the normal “I can’t tell you that” sorts of stuff, it sounds pretty cool. He had some funny anecdotes to share about the secrecy involved, including having to stand guard around the demo model with his coat flared out for privacy at 5 or 6am the morning of the keynote as someone else ran through the demo to ensure it worked! (Here you can see Eric chatting with Nadyne and myself. I’m in the center wearing black with the yellow Office logo all over my shirt, Nadyne the red-haired woman to my left, and Eric is facing us wearing a grey shirt.)
Oh, and I’d like to welcome all you Macintouch and MacFixIt readers — it seems that my post on VB is making the rounds again. I guess that will be my 15 minutes of Internet fame, doled out in little bits a month or so at a time. Some of the comments I’ve seen recently about Office 2008 wonder why we didn’t demo much in the booth at MacWorld. I’m not in any position to answer that, but I do know there’s a lot more to Office 2008 than you’ve seen. There are a bunch of screenshots that show visuals for features we haven’t demoed publicly yet. By the way, all those rows of buttons in the Elements Gallery collapse — they are only expanded while you are working in the EG, so it doesn’t take up so much screen real estate on a permanent basis. I’ve asked some folks in MacBU to get a screenshot of the default state so you can see the difference. In the meantime, AppleInsider has a few rough camera shots from our booth demo that show the EG in a collapsed state.
So beyond all that, what’s up? Lots more coding at work. My manager and I got a large new chunk of code to link on Friday that we’ve been working on for several weeks, and that removes the block on the Excel converter work I’m scheduled to do next. I’ve got some work to do on integrating Cocoa nibs into our localization process, so that we can apply localization transforms to them automatically, rather than doing them by hand each time the English nib changes, which in turn lets us autogenerate a complete localized build every day (something that we haven’t had working for the internal builds yet this cycle, yeesh!)
Ok, I’d better go to sleep so I can get something done tomorrow. If you hear me whistling on the bus tomorrow morning, say hi!

All MacBU

Live from MacWorld, it's Tuesday afternoon!

I’m sitting in the Microsoft Blogger Lounge on the MacWorld show floor as I write this. I missed the SteveNote today as I was somewhere around 35,000 feet over Oregon as the show was going on, but it sounds like some neat gadgets were revealed today. Too bad I don’t use Cingular as my cell phone provider… 🙂
Anyway, the big news for MacBU today was our announcement of Mac Office 2008. (Finally, I can stop calling it “the next version of Office” all the time!)
There’s a couple of screenshots over on Ars Technica (along with some good old Charles Jade commentary — I see he had fun tlaking to Geoff) and MacFixit has a short writeup as well.
Please let us know what you think. There’s still more to come; we’ve got converters coming out in beta in a few months, as well as more information on new Office 2008 features in the months leading up to our release in the 2nd half of this year.
I spent a little while at the main Microsoft booth today. One person asked me about VB and another about file converters, but most of the questions were about things that users didn’t know they could do in Office 2004. It’s always nice to be able to show someone how to solve their problem on the spot!

All MacBU

Going back to Cali…

One of the more interesting aspects of working in the MacBU is the fact that our group is split into two main geographic locations — about half of our group is based in Redmond at Microsoft’s main campus, and the rest of the team is based in Mountain View at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus. Most recurring meetings that involve cross-locational groups of people occur by phone or video-conference, since otherwise whenever we need to get a particular mix of the MacBU together in person (like all the development leads, or whomever), many of them have to travel. Often the SVC (Silicon Valley Campus) folks travel to Redmond, but this month a meeting I need to attend in person has been set up in California. For me that would normally mean experiencing the ‘joy’ of a 18.5-hour work-day commute to the San Jose airport and back. (In order to get to the SVC campus for a normal work-day, I have to leave my house at 5:00am to catch a 6:30am flight, and then I get back home around 11:30pm! Bleargh.)
Not this time!
Since the meeting is happening during the 2nd week of January, I’m combining the travel for that meeting with a jaunt over to the Moscone Center. I’ll be at the 2007 San Francisco MacWorld Expo on Tuesday and Wednesday January 9-10. I haven’t been to a MacWorld in a long time; I think the last one I went to was MacWorld Tokyo in March 2002! The main reason I’m going this year (other than to avoid a brutal day of travel!) is to participate in some of the blogger events that Microsoft is sponsoring. In particular, I’ll be hanging out at the Microsoft Blogger Lounge (booth #702 in the South Hall) on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons from 3:00 to 5:30pm or so, and a little bit at our main booth (#1112). Depending on what time my plane lands, I might get there a bit earlier on Tuesday.
So, if any of you reading this are planning to be at MacWorld, feel free to drop by with any questions or comments you may have, or your resumé if you’d like. If you want to be sure I’m around, you can send me an email from this page. I believe some of the other MacBU bloggers will be at MacWorld as well, so look for several of us there over the course of the week.