Farewell Microsoft

For the past 6 years, almost to the week, I have been an employee of Microsoft. I was part of a small development team based out of an office in St. Paul, Minnesota. About 3 weeks ago our office was shutdown due to a wave of layoffs taking place in Microsoft and as a result I was also laid off. I have been given the option to relocate to Redmond and apply for a new job if I wish, but I have decided that I do not want to relocate right now after all. So it is at this point that I am saying farewell to Microsoft.

I worked on Expression Blend, Visual Studio and finally Internet Explorer. I have mostly enjoyed my time there, especially working with some great people over the years. It was not without its technical and social challenges to overcome but for the most part I come away from the experience better and stronger I believe. I believe the senior management and the changes they are making are actually good for Microsoft and look forward to seeing them ascend and take their rightful place among the tech giants once again.

I harbor no ill will towards Microsoft and I find myself feeling more relieved and excited to be onto a new chapter than I am worried or stressed, though this kind of uncertainty is never fun. So it is with mixed emotions I say farewell Microsoft, and thanks for all the fish.

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Two settings in IE9 I always turn off

Show only one preview per window

I have been struggling to find my tabs every since IE8 decided that abusing the fancy new Win7 window preview feature was a good idea. I use the order of the previews to keep track of which window is which not which tab is which. If you ever find yourself with more than one window those previews do more to hinder your ability to find the tab you want then help. And if you only have one window they’re still too small to help you much anyway.

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Single words in the omnibar are still queries

If you type a single word into the omnibar in IE9 it will first look on your intranet for a machine of that name and attempt to connect to it instead of issuing a query to your default search provider like every other browser. This is an especially annoying feature because not only does it do something unexpected it’s typically a lot slower to find and connect to a local intranet machine than a search provider, so your query ends up spinning for a long time then taking you to some unexpected server. Not cool.

If it isn’t a URL then it’s a query!

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Farewell Bob Pappas

Today was Bob‘s last day at Microsoft. He was the project manager of Sketch Flow and his contribution will be remembered. Bob leaves to join Apple where he will work on iPhoto and he will be replaced by Dave Carley as project manager of Sketch Flow. For those who didn’t know Sketch Flow is developed almost exclusively here in Minnesota.

Farewell Bob and good luck Dave!

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This is a photo of some of the Microsoft Twin Cities Development Center bowling at Bryant Lake Bowl. Bob stands at the left.

Ship It!

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Because my phone sucks so bad it’s a tiny picture but this is my first Ship It award from Microsoft for being apart of the team that shipped Expression Studio 3. Also, even though it looks like copper its actually a metallic silver. The inscriptions says:

Ship It

Every time a product ships, it takes us one step closer to the vision: empower people through great software-any time, any place and on any device. Thanks for the lasting contribution you have made to Microsoft History.

Steve Ballmer    Bill Gates

Justin Chase

 

Thanks Steve and Bill!

Silverlight 3 and Expression 3

After months of top secret work at Microsoft my labors are nearly realized. Yesterday Silverlight 3 and Expression 3 were released as an RC. If you haven’t checked it out you should definitely go and play around with the new bits. Here is a overview from Soma himself:

http://blogs.msdn.com/somasegar/archive/2009/07/10/launching-silverlight-3-and-expression-studio-3.aspx

Specifically I worked on the Photoshop Import functionality found in Expressoin Blend, Design and Web. It has been an exciting and rewarding project and I’m really looking forward to what is coming up next!

One of the other cool features to check out which was created by fellow Minnesotans, is Sketch Flow for Expression Blend. It’s a cool tool you can use to quickly prototype new applications and features.

MetaSharp mentioned on “M” Language Gallery

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/oslo/cc749619.aspx

MetaSharp

A simple Common Language Specification (CLS)-compliant, general purpose programming language for MetaSharp, a fully extensible, pipelined transformation engine that can be used for templated textual transformations (code generation), AST transformations and any combination thereof.
Justin Chase

There are a bunch of other cool grammars and Oslo related projects on there as well. Check em’ out.