Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

Don't you dare say anything bad

Don't you dare say anything bad

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Earlier this week, a Microsoft employee asked (on an internal DL) about blogging "offshore" and if it is appropriate or not to discuss any frustrations with a Microsoft product on such a blog.

Well it's been done for years now.  Some employees do it anonymously...  I guess if you are going to rail on a feature or product and are worried about career limiting moves, that's one option.

Other employees go on the offensive and seek out the developers, program managers and even the vice presidents to document and discuss the thinking behind a feature or decision.  Channel 9 comes to mind.  Robert Scoble certainly comes to mind.

I think we all have to temper our frustrations with life.  There are things that are just beyond our control.  When you work the kind of hours we work, work is life.  Channel that energy from the force around you.  Don't give in to the dark side. 

Being on the inside of Microsoft, gives you the opportunity to alter the course of a product or strategy.  You don't always get your way, but being part of the process is fulfilling. Windows Vista is an interesting case.  What a great product.  I mean seriously, there is a lot of truly stellar work in the OS that will lay the foundation for more greatness over the next decade.

There are dramatic improvements in the graphics engine, shell improvements, security model, management, reporting, lots of new fun stuff and more to come. 

One of the most heavily debated features of all time is the Windows Vista feature called User Account Control (UAC).  Inside and outside Microsoft it evokes passion on what people love and hate about it.  People, that's why we blog.

I blog primarily to inform.  However, I can be a useful conduit back into the Microsoft ranks.  We are hard at work on the next set of improvements for Windows Vista.  If you want UAC changed, let me know how and why.  That goes for other features we shipped, or features you've heard about we cut or haven't shipped.

If you really want to make an impact, get involved.  It takes time and energy up front.  Lots of it.  Get deeply involved in the development process through our tap, ctp and beta programs.  That's how I got my job here.

You won't see me rail on a feature implementation here.  It's a bad use of your time.  If however you want to send me candid or negative feedback, feel free to use the contact form.  If you want to write a longer document, just ask for my email address.  No problem.  I'll be happy to forward your concerns.  Keep in mind we always want to know about the scenario, the impact, details, details.  Saying something sux isn't good enough for the type A's here.  We need data points... lots of data points.

[UPDATE]  As an example, see Mini-Microsoft at http://minimsft.blogspot.com/2007/02/stop-him-before-he-speaks-again.html and the comments for a really depressing read.  Mini indicates we should keep our CEO quiet so that the stock will be above the option strike price.  Hogwash.  Take a closer look at the stock graphs for the past month.  While you are at it, look at the past 3 or 6 month graphs.  Notice anything interesting?  If you look at the 3 month picture, we are sitting where we are three months ago (for the most part).  If you look over 6 months, we are in pretty good shape.  So stop complaining MINI !!!  Don't get me wrong, some of Mini's points are well taken, but it's a good example of the anon side of this issue.  Or more accurately, the good and the bad side of anonymous blogging.  And for the record, I am underwater, too.  Ever wonder if anyone has tried to figure out who Mini is? 

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  • People are complaining about UAC?  Man, I thought that's what we all have been asking for for like years now.  Now that we get it people are complaining?  Sheesh.  I know Microsoft is a favorite whipping-boy for everyone but give them some credit where credit is due.  Take IIS6 for example.  Where was SP1 for IIS6?  There never was one.  One was never needed.  We asked, they answered and we ended up with a great product.  Kudos.