James O'Neill's blog

Windows Platform, Virtualization and PowerShell with a little Photography for good measure.

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  • Blog Post: Doing our bit ... but wishing we didn't have to.

    One of the pieces of music I have in my car is Anne Clark's Elegy for a lost summer. One line from this is "Can you feel this pain, and keep your heart unbroken" . I'm the father of a 3 year old, so the coverage from Portugal about Madeleine McCann keeps bringing that line back to me. There is no news...
  • Blog Post: And I get paid for doing this ?

    Actually, no. I got bribed with free sandwiches to use my lunch time testing stuff for First lego League. I didn't even know we supported these folks, but my colleague Paul Foster does a lot of work with enthusiast communities like these, in places like robotics. 400 teams of 9-16 year olds participate...
  • Blog Post: Systems of belief ... and Ray Ozzie.

    My colleague Orlando has a thankless task. We have our big training event this week and Orlando has the job of pulling together the "summit" for evangelists the weekend before the event. Past summits have made it difficult to believe in the value of these events. No one wants to give up family...
  • Blog Post: Who makes a good decision ?

    I provided Eileen with a quote to use in the Management Excellence programme she's been involved in.  She called me a "Non-manager who championed management Excellence", and I replied I was "in favour of all kinds of Excellence*. My view was summed up in the quote If you can't do...
  • Blog Post: Top travel tip. Use the calendar. Properly

    One of the things that we noticed on the roadshow was the *much* better system for getting us feedback (see here and here oh and here ) and - always looking for ways to improve our processes - a couple of us noted that there's a big document mailed out with the event information for the presenters, but...
  • Blog Post: Cars, jobs, and retailing. Why belief matters

    A few days ago now, I ordered the replacement for my company car. If you don't live in the UK, it's probably news to you that our tax system means that many people get a car and fuel as part of their salary. Those who qualify at Microsoft get to choose between a car with fuel paid for, money and fuel...
  • Blog Post: My enduring love for OCS .. and a Nice windows 7 feature

    My job as an evangelist focuses on Windows platform (client and Server OS), including management (i.e. PowerShell) and Virtualization. But there are other Microsoft products which from my day to day use of them I feel evangelical about. One is Windows Live Writer which is the best tool for composing...
  • Blog Post: Good news.

    For nearly half my life I've been woken in the mornings by the Today Programme on BBC radio 4 . So much of the news seems bad that to wake up and hear that Alan Johnston has been freed was fantastic. I'm having a bit of a mixed up week because my 3 year old son has Chicken Pox. My wife and I are taking...
  • Blog Post: Xbox 360 - a nice surprise at Amazon.co.uk

    I've been dragging my feet about upgrading my Xbox, but some of the bearings are getting a bit noisy, and the more time I spend with Vista's Media Center the more I want to use the Xbox as an extender. Then there's the gaming side: I quite like driving games and to be honest the wheel I have has been...
  • Blog Post: On Ninjas.

    Over the weekend one of the many Davids I count among my friends mailed me a curious job title from his organization. Yesterday, in one of those moments of serendipity Viral told me about one of the guys in Redmond who has the job title of "Zune Ninja" - he explains how the the title came about...
  • Blog Post: Are you a Time lord ? (Or a shift shaper)

    Well.... Eileen's said some things that I never expected , but "I need you to stop evangelizing about working for me, because now we've got too many people who want to work for us." made me laugh out loud. So I'll have to ask forgiveness for a post which starts by talking (again) about why I like this...
  • Blog Post: What's your job title ?

    I hate it when a web site demands you register and asks you for everything from your date of birth to your shoe size. And I'm painfully aware that some Microsoft sites are part of this tendency. We do try group people in some broad buckets either to send them the right information in the future, or to...
  • Blog Post: Who says health and safety people have no sense of humour ?

    This from a colleague who says her team's blog is far to serious for this kind of Friday afternoon frivolity. I was walking through [Microsoft UK Building 5]  lobby and saw one of our maintenance guys putting up a display box with a sword in it. I stopped and asked him about it. It is an award from...
  • Blog Post: A stapler on every desk and in every home

    Not everything about working for Microsoft UK is perfect. I've mentioned some of the daft e-mails we get (The ones which use great streams of long words to convey nothing. The "I'm pleased to announce improvements to X" kind, which list 10 things which are now worse about X. Or the ones which are sent...
  • Blog Post: Tales from a weekend of PowerShell: Get-Needle -haystack ...

    First to explain the title: Sooner or later I will stop banging on about hot-desking and the bedlam which is our office area - last week it did seem to plumb new depths with one team sitting round a speaker phone in the open plan office yelling into a conference call and another playing the flutes/recorders...
  • Blog Post: A uniquely good day to be at Microsoft

    I don’t think you can have missed that today was the day Windows 7 became generally available. I’ve been trying to come up with some unique angle on this for a blog post and not getting anywhere. Two thoughts related thoughts I will share. The first: sometimes on these occasions the press turn up and...
  • Blog Post: Mail stress.

    I started typing this blog post at 07:21. Outlook has already received the first 50 items of the day. Most of which were from night-owls in the US, a few from Asia/Pacific, and only a couple from European insomniacs. Yesterday it pulled down at least 426. I know this because yesterday I set up 3 new...
  • Blog Post: Pigs and drugs and naked dwarves ...

    Yes folks they're all part of life's weird tapestry as a British Microsoft employee at a Microsoft event in Seattle. After I referred to Snowclones recently it I should point out that blank and drugs and blank blank blank is a snow clone modeled on Ian Dury's "Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll" . Dury...
  • Blog Post: Technical Careers Showcase: an Open evening on June 7th

    I've blogged before about what a good place to work Microsoft can be. Well the Microsoft Recruitment Team has asked us to spread the word that they are running a Recruitment Open Evening on Thursday 7th June to showcase the exciting technical career opportunities. Feel free to pass this invitation to...
  • Blog Post: Pigs and blogs and Naked dwarves (Part 2)

    I'm back from Seattle, and after my outbound trip , the return was uneventful. I'd hoped to come back with plenty of stuff to blog about but most of what I heard that was interesting is still confidential. Before I left I had time to do "the Walk of Pork" and check out some more of Seattle's Pigs on...
  • Blog Post: IE 8 testing - part 2

    One of the things about a new browser is that various web sites expect particular ID strings to identify browsers they know and get awkward if they don't recognize the browser ID. So one of the nice things in IE 8 beta 2 is that you can select compatibility mode for particular sites and send the string...
  • Blog Post: I aten’t dead

    On Monday someone came up to me and asked “Are you still working here?” I seem to be the subject of rumours ranging from some dreadful family tragedy to being fired for what I wrote in a previous post. Let’s start with that post. I wrote quite a long and, to be honest, somewhat scattergun, post about...
  • Blog Post: On knowing your sh*t

    It's been an interesting few days, Monday was the Glasgow road-show event and Thursday was our day in Newcastle. The team didn't look upon flying with any great enthusiasm. So rather than returning home, drawing breath and heading North again we decided to stop en-route for an extra day and night: since...
  • Blog Post: Post removed

    This article has been removed. The article implied a number of traits about Mr Richard Morrell which are entirely without basis. I apologise for both the factual inaccuracy and the offence caused to Mr Morrell through this article.
  • Blog Post: Off topic. The Cost of fuel, market forces and being green

    Part of my salary package working at Microsoft UK is a company car, for which Microsoft buys the fuel. I can opt out of this scheme and take money instead (which is taxed like any other Salary payment) and the Tax office also works out the notional value of the car and fuel (both are based on the C02...