I know, this sounds weird, but I forgot how much fun it was to hammer nails until yesterday. A group of managers from my team did a full day volunteer project at Habitat for Humanity in Daly City. This was my first H4H experience and I found it to be physically and mentally rewarding, not to mention the good that will come of bringing homeownership to a low-income family in the expensive Bay Area housing market.
At any rate, just remember, the key to successful hammering is to make the hammer work for you and get leverage by holding it closer to the bottom!
I have had three people ask me to explain what it is that I do at Microsoft as a Lead Program Manager. I’ll eventually get around to expanding this post more, but until then, here are some good links:
Most San Franciscans know that there are about five drop everything and have fun outside days per year. Without fail, I’m out of town for most of them. I think I’m going to start sharing my travel plans with weather forecasters.
In related news, it was a cold and dreary in Philadelphia and the red-eye flight out, all day meeting and late flight back were productive.
After running the Google toolbar for a long time, I switched to the new MSN toolbar with desktop search on my work machine. After using it for several weeks, I can attest that this is a great package of software and it’s still only beta! I’m now installing it on my home machines — that says a lot as I prefer to run very clean and tuned systems at home.
Here’s why I chose it over Google:
- Hotmail, Messenger and MSN spaces integration
- My MSN integration
- Form Fill — finally, the web toolbar people are following Mac IE 5 innovations introduced in 2000!
- MSN search beta integration – this is on its way to becoming a serious Google competitor. It’s not there yet, but it’s good enough for me to use it over Google now.
- Page viewer and highlighter for search terms
- Desktop search works as well or better than Google desktop search. The Outlook integration is killer.
Bill Gates came to Microsoft’s Silicon Valley Campus on October 1 to give a quick talk on stuff going on in the company, our strategy, etc. One neat thing about Microsoft is that BillG and SteveB come talk to employees and there is no holds barred Q&A.
I asked Gates a question about the increase in content protection and what that means for media sharing within the house, across devices and for Microsoft in general. I think that many CEOs would probably rattle off some high level comments about this but Gates is able to dive deep on a wide range of topics and he proceeded to do so. Without going into the specifics here, in sum Gates took a very reasonable stance saying that the PC needs to be a more trusted device within the home so that it doesn’t get shut out by such developments as the broadcast flag, 5C/DTCP, CCI, OpenCable, etc. At the same time, the marketplace for content needs to consider content providers and content providers need to consider whether or not they will alienate their consumers. Microsoft needs to balance the interests of consumers and content providers by providing a rich set of tools in the platform to address these issues. With our platform, content providers can be as tight or as loose as they please with their content. Ultimately, it’s their decision and Microsoft merely provides a platform that lets them be as smart or as dumb as they wish to be.
Consumers have rejected DIVX (the DVDs that died, not the MPEG-4ish codec), copy protected CDs that provide no means to rip and SCMS crippled DAT decks. Consumers know when their options for media usage are being taken away and they desire the freedom to share media in a fair and responsible way.