Corporate Memorabilia

It looks like I failed to attract any Microsoft readers, but I have at least two readers from the Big Blue. Let the pandering to the audience commence!

As those of you who actually read my journal might know that I used to work for a dot com agency called iXL where I had many unforgettable experiences.

(I finally found a metrocard that casa” posted in his journal a while ago).

Anyway, iXL had a logo that looked like this:

In the beginning it was a hip company – dress code was not enforced and neither was anyone required to come in at 9 AM. I don’t remember what it was, insistance on business casual or the mandatory 9AM meeting that made sysadmin named Lee to make enough of these buttons for everyone to wear in the 9AM meeting.

Some Microsoft Poetry

I have not had any problems with Windows 2000 for years. Until the last couple of months. One of the patches must have done something to the crispy crunchy goodness that is Windows graphics code. Since then – nothing but trouble. It seems to begin when I have too many windows open. It happens both at work and at home where I have completely different video cards.

I already replaced a floppy drive in my home computer with an internal memory card reader. This left me totally unprepared to nasty progression of : messed up window rendering -> bungled driver upgrade -> 640×480 only mode -> 640×480 only mode in safe mode only -> crash -> crash -> crash -> fundamental system file corrupted -> repair boot that DEMANDS THE STUPID RAID DRIVER ON A FLOPPY -> a whole weekend with a computer that has all my files on it that won’t even boot. This is what you get when your operating system of choice has graphics code mixed in with everything else.

That’s it. From now on there will be a fully built Linux server with all my files on it somewhere in my apartment. Hopefully in a couple of years I’ll be able to make a complete switch to Linux. Lets face it: Windows XP is slow, buggy and generally crappy. Especially in it’s Tablet PC variety. I can’t even imagine what crap they are whipping up right now without Dave Cutler, but that doesn’t matter. It’s going to be too little too late. Now, if there was a whole lot of developers walking around MS campus with Cutlers boot squarely up their collective asses things might have been different. And now Windows 2000 is messed up by patches. Linux starts to look better and better.

Developers! Developers!! Developers!!!

is my favorite Microsoft blogger:

“… When I was interviewing for jobs, I got more questions about the very oldest job on my resume than any other. Interviewers would say “Monkey Boy? You put Monkey Boy on your resume?!”
“Well, sure. I spent a summer in high school in charge of the care and feeding of 120 juvenile new-world monkeys. And I learned plenty that was relevant to the software industry. Like, when someone is being really disagreeable, you can just pin their little arms behind their back with one hand and control the legs with the other. Just keep their teeth away from anything you don’t want bitten.” … “

(full article)

I used to include my job at Nathan’s Famous of Coney Island in my resumes. Coding is just like working in a clam bar — you hands hate you for it.

TT : Thought Tally : Dude, Where’s My Biochemistry Degree? or Kinky Crew Superstar

is going to like this. As I learned from TV Guide Magazine, Ashton Kutcher majored in Biochemistry.

According to one of the most annoying things a customer can do at the checkout line is to say “He heh. I guess it must be free” when the scanner beeps and refuses to scan the code. See, I could never come up with that stupid and apparently common joke. A Null is not a zero.

This kind of reminded me about a dude who was playing an electronic one arm bandit in Moscow when the machine crashed with 999999 rubles in the payout window. He stayed at the gaming parlor for days guarding the machine, but in the end the machine was rebooted and he wasn’t given any money. Or so I heard.

Coca cola definitely tastes better when it’s sold in those glass bottles. You know the ones that are probably based on the shape of the cacao pod (which was mistaken for the kola nut by the designer or something). They still make those in Mexico and sometimes they are sold in a few bodegas in NYC. I always thought it tasted better because of the glass, but finally found out the true reason:

“She told me that they were bottled in Mexico and I nodded since I already knew that and said, “I think it is because they use real sugar.”
She shook her head, “No, no, not the sugar. It’s the water.”
She leaned in like she was telling me a secret, “Mexican water is the BEST water in the entire world.”
Just then a smaller woman leaned in beside her grinning with a single eyebrow raised and whispered.
“It’s MAGIC water!”

Apparently it is not Montezuma’s revenge that assails unsuspecting tourists, but the magic waters that sour in the bellies of the unimaginative, somewhere South of the border.”

Many big corporations in order to retain employees use powerful “cult team building” techniques. One thing that I noticed is that worker ants usually have very peculiar job titles. For instance at Kinko’s the official title is “Co-worker”. At McDonald’s – “Crew Member”. From Gig I learned that Kinko employees unofficially use “Kinkoid” instead of “Co-worker”. And from an lj user in I learned that a McDonalds crew member who has formidable years of experience, but isn’t a manager is called “Crew Superstar”. I guess it’s kind of like “Research Fellow” at Microsoft :)

The Programmer’s Font

Yesterday I spent a good deal of time searching for a good font to use with Ultraedit. There are three well-known requirements for a font to use in programmer’s editor:

1) It has to be a fixed width font.
2) Visual distinction between letter “O” and zero. Usually zero is “crossed”.
3) Visual distinction between Capital lower case letter “l”, capital letter “I” and number “1”.
In general such a font should be super legible in small point sizes.

I used to use Courier New, but finally found a font that I like much better, Andale Monotype. Microsoft used to distribute that font with IE 5, but now it’s not available for free download anymore.

And next day the most famous Joel on the Web wrote a post about another very nice programmer’s font called “ProFont”. I tried it along with another similar font called “Sheldon”. I think I still like Andale better.

UPDATE: This seems to be a holy war in the making. I especially like the guy who uses “Comic 12 pt “. If it is what I think it is, this dude’s code must read like a comic book. Bam! Pow!

Embed With Microsoft

An auction for a special Microsoft shirt:

This reminded me of a t-shirt I’ve seen somewhere that said: “Embed me, link me, treat me like an object”.

Logo apparel is an amazingly effective propaganda tool. My favorite Microsoft shirt says “MS Commerce Server 2000 Surf Naked”. I still wear it even though it’s 3 years old.

I really want to get “Apple T-Shirts: A Yearbook of History at Apple Computer”, but it’s apparently rare and expensive at $180. Dang.

Some pretty cool shirts at
Heh heh, so Outlook’s original code name was Ren. I am still working on that database of Microsoft codenames. Stay tuned.

I think Dave Cutler gave out Zero Bugs shirts also, but Netscape’s shirt is more famous.

How I wish there was a source for logo polo shirts from cool companies. I could go for some Amdahl, Cray, Microsoft, Apple, Xerox PARC shirts.

TT: Thought Tally #1

Ok, just now I came up with a name for the “slashback” type posts in my journal. They will be called “Thought Tally” or “TT”. The other type of “named” post that I have is “What Michael Learned” or “WML”.

Just now I looked up the word “tally” in a dictionary and learned the following about the word’s origin:
… Originally, a piece of wood on which notches or scores were cut, as the marks of number; later, one of two books, sheets of paper, etc., on which corresponding accounts were kept.

Note: In purchasing and selling, it was once customary for traders to have two sticks, or one stick cleft into two parts, and to mark with a score or notch, on each, the number or quantity of goods delivered, — the seller keeping one stick, and the purchaser the other. Before the use of writing, this, or something like it, was the only method of keeping accounts; and tallies were received as evidence in courts of justice. … “

Pretty cool, huh? Of course I got the idea from listening to that Survivor CD that I like so much.

You see, many bloggers put way too many posts with small tidbits of information, single thoughts. I find it hard to read for exactly that reason. These would go great in an aggregated post, like in ‘s journal.

So, here goes.

* Had a dream about winning an Emmy award for something (must have been for blogging, har). Even though Emmys are a dime a dozen, this one was supposed to be from the last batch to be given out. Somebody stole it from me later in the dream.

* Last evening was trying to find a good archival scrapbook album to buy. Bought some deacidification spray. The damn thing is expensive. I wonder what’s the main ingredient. Unobtanium? Tears of virgins (the non-geek variety)?

* Need to start shopping around for new computer and monitor for my wife. God, how many different types of ram are there? Oh, and it’s so difficult to find a good motherboard review that doesn’t cater to stupid overclockers. I don’t want marginal speed improvement. I want stability, dammit.

* Ordered a fat caliper.

* Need a good .NET hosting solution. And a good .NET based Wiki. Maybe I’ll write my own though. Thinking about making a canonical list of Microsoft project code names in a Wiki.

* Another thought – I’ll probably undertake a small project of making an app that will tell the train car model from a serial number in NYC subway. Could be a cool Pocket PC app (but I don’t own one). Could do it in Tablet PC in order to learn something, but it’s not very practical. On the other hand it’ll make an awesome web app on the manner of Where George. Yeah, that’s probably what I’ll do.

* Stay tuned for a monumental rant about innovation. And I am still planning that post about eBooks. Yeah.

Worldwide Plaza

I see this building daily. I’ve even been inside a few times attending some sort of Microsoft training (they have a few floors there). After I took this picture I decided to find out a few things about the triangular beacon on the top.

Turns out that it’s called “David’s Diamond” (after David Childs of SOM). Digging deeper, I found out that the diamond was put together on the ground, then disassembled and assembled again on the top. And if I understand this correctly, the diamond was made by “Mohawks who live on a reservation near Montreal”. That’s so freaking cool.

More than that, the smaller tower of the Worldwide Plaza complex contains condominiums. $0.55M to $0.75M for a 2-bedroom. Hey, compared to what you can have for that much in Brighton Beach it’s a good deal methinks. A two bedroom in Oceana goes for $535,000 these days. Huh.

Maybe there will be a time in the future, in a galaxy far, far away when middle class people (an not just the upper and proletariat) will be able to afford to live in a highrise in Manhattan. But so far it looks like that’s not happening any time soon.