today is my 5 year anniversary at microsoft and seems like a great time to think back through the changes in the past 5 years.  i already had a windows mobile phone (and had gotten rid of a traditional “home phone”) when hired and computers (desktops and laptops), a windows media center, tv tuners, portable music players, an xbox and a lot of other gadgets.  i used internet explorer as my browser and was excited to receive my first tablet pc on october 31, 2005.  so many things haven’t changed, but there were a number of events over the past 5 years that have changed the way i live, work and play.

1.  virtualization

i could talk about how operating system and application virtualization have changed everything for me in the past 5 years, but it really started prior to the microsoft acquistion of connectix in 2003 for me.  sometime in 1999 was the first time i saw an operating system virtualized.  training, development, hardware, storage, testing anywhere access – the list goes on and on.

2.  ford sync

this was a gamer changer for me (along with #3 on my list).  i do a lot of driving for my job – just being able to focus on the driving part – really important.

3.  gps navigation

i end up going places i haven’t been before (or am not really familiar with) a lot for work – a gps became a requirement 5 years ago.

4.  voip

i now don’t' miss the fact that we don’t have a traditional phone in our home.  i’ve got what looks like a traditional phone in our office, but it’s connected to microsoft through our home internet.

5.  high definition (everything)

i resisted getting a blu ray player, a hd television and digital cable (with hd), but all have come to pass.  now even shows that stream from netflix (number 11 on my list) are available in hd

6.  bing!

a decision engine (not just search)

7.  office web apps/docs.com

i had outlook web access for years – now the rest of office is just a browser away.

8.  windows 7

my favorite number and favorite version of windows ever

9.  xbox 360

can’t wait for kinect – another game changer!

10.  natural user interface (obviously kinect but even games like guitar hero and rockband, speech recognition, touch)

there are so many examples of this from microsoft and other companies – i can’t wait to see what the next 5 years bring…

11.  netflix dvds by mail (but really streaming!)

dvd rental by mail cool – on demand?  a game changer!

12.  gmail (and the extended beta)

this was in beta for the majority of my five years at microsoft.

13.  netbooks

thin and light notebooks have been available before I started at microsoft, but usually for a premium (or at least more than an average notebook).  netbooks are thin, light and many are at or below the $300 price tag.

14.  microsoft store

oakbrook, il will be the 5th retail store we open – can’t wait for november 4th!

15.  facebook allows microsoft employees to join

i had heard of facebook before joining microsoft (and myspace was the thing for online when i joined microsoft), but facebook became for me what classmates.com always wanted me to pay for (reconnecting with friends from school as well as previous jobs, people that have moved away, friends, etc.)

16.  apple’s move to the intel platform

this meant you can run mac’s os or with the beta of bootcamp, microsoft’s os on apple hardware. 

17.  digital pictures and video (on my phone, my computer, displays in my house, outdoors, you name it)

years ago when visiting disney’s epcot center, motorola had a number of technologies of the future (active voice translation is the one i can recall) and wanted you to “vote” for the one you wanted most.  for me having most (not all, but most) of these technologies in one device is my dream for the future.

18.  flat screen televisions, monitors, etc.

19.  microsoft commercials (i’m a pc, windows 7 and live essentials) that i’m proud of.

20.  wifi everywhere (not just panera)

this blog didn’t exist 5 years ago, i wasn’t on twitter or linkedin but today I reminisce about the early days on archive.org, can learn about various information on wikipedia, movies at imdb and watch television on demand from various websites.  here’s to the next 5 years…