Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Very Nice Gesture

August 8, 2015 Leave a comment

After using Windows 10 for a week, I experienced my first BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) while using the shiny new operating system:


After sharing my experience on Twitter, I was pleasantly surprised when I received this offer to help, out of the blue, from someone on the Windows team :

Win Fix

From all the way back to when the world’s greatest current philanthropist, Bill Gates, was equated with Darth Vader, I’ve always liked Microsoft.

Nice Gesture

Constrained Evolution

September 9, 2011 Leave a comment

In general, I’m not a fan of committee “output“. However, I do appreciate the work of the C++ ISO committee. In “Evolving a language in and for the real world”, Bjarne Stroustrup articulates the constraints under which the C++ committee operates:

Bjarne goes on to describe how, if the committee operated with reckless disregard for the past, C++ would fade into obscurity (some would argue that it already has):

Personally, I like the fact that the evolution of C++ (slow as it is) is guided by a group of volunteers in a non-profit organization. Unlike for-profit Oracle, which controls Java through the veil of the “Java Community Process“, and for-profit Microsoft, which controls the .Net family of languages, I can be sure that the ISO C++ committee is working in the interest of the C++ user base. Language governance for the people, by the people. What a concept.

The Parallel Patterns Library

August 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Kate Gregory doesn’t work for Microsoft, but she’s a certified MVP for C++. In her talk at Tech Ed North America, “Modern Native C++ Development for Maximum Productivity”, she introduced the Parallel Patterns Library (PPL) and the concurrency runtime provided in Microsoft Visual C++ 2010.

The graphic below shows how a C++ developer interfaces with the concurrency runtime via the facilities provided in the PPL. Casting aside the fact that the stack only runs on Windows platforms, it’s the best of both worlds – parallelism and concurrency.

Note that although they are provided via the “synchronization types” facilities in the PPL, writing multi-threaded programs doesn’t require programmers to use error-prone locks. The messaging primitives (for inter-process communication) and concurrent collections (for intra-process communication) provide easy-to-use abstractions over sockets and locks programming. The messy, high-maintenance details are buried out of programmer sight inside the concurrency runtime.

I don’t develop for Microsoft platforms, but if I did, it would be cool to use the PPL. It would be nice if the PPL + runtime stack was platform independent. But the way Microsoft does business, I don’t think we’ll ever see linux or RTOS versions of the stack. Bummer.

The Future Is Already Here…..

….for those people who are lucky enough to work in truly enlightened orgs that really walk the talk.

Check out this case study: “How Microsoft Netherlands Reinvented the Way of Work”. Yes, you read that right. It’s a division of that polarizing behemoth, Microsoft.

Just in case you don’t have the time, but you’d like the cliff-dozer00 notes version of the article’s highlights, here they are:

  • There are no assigned desks as well as no private offices for managers (not even the General Manager).
  • There are no physical “Departments”, each of the 900 employees of MS Netherlands can work anywhere in the office building by using a laptop, headset, webcam, or Windows based Smartphone and connecting to the network either wirelessly or by plugging in at a desk.
  • People are encouraged to work from home more often, whenever it is appropriate and are allowed to work whatever times they wish to work. The only requirement is that they “get the job done”.
  • If you wish to work until late at night on a project and take the morning to see your son’s school play, you can do that too – and you don’t have to ask your manager for the time off.

So, how can one judge whether these Theory Y policies have worked out? Managers love metrics (cuz metrics give them the illusion that they’re in control), so here are a few:

Of course, managers who who are dead set on clinging to their FOSTMA thinking UCBs (regardless of what they espouse) won’t believe the results; or they’ll play ostrich and ignore their existence – because it would take too much courage and “work” to effect a similar, massively positive change in their CCFs.

Cog Diss

December 18, 2009 3 comments

If interested, check out Mary Jo Foley‘s hindsight blog post regarding Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer‘s screw-up on the Vista fiasco: Feedback Failure. Mary laments:

“As a result, I’m left wondering about Vista, as many are/were about the current financial crisis: Why didn’t anyone inform us sooner of the impending meltdown? Weren’t there warning signs? Where was everybody?”

Surely Mary, you’re joking, right? You’re wondering where everybody was and why nobody informed us? In short, at least some Microsoft DICS who weren’t deeply and personally invested in the Vista project either:

  • knew about the impending doom but were afraid to speak up,
  • did have the courage to speak up but were “ignored” or slapped down,
  • disconnected and distanced” themselves from the project because they didn’t give a chit about it (apathy)

Those who were fully ensconced in the quagmire were blinded by the light. They suffered from the common and pervasive human malady called “cognitive dissonance“. Cog Diss is where you convince yourself that you’re looking at a pile of gold when in reality you’re staring at a pile of poop. However, deep down, you sense the mismatch and experience uneasy feelings as a result.

All the dysfunctional behaviors described above are caused by living life too long within the confines of an unchanging and soul-busting CCH bureaucracy.

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