Sunday, November 12, 2006

Rantings of a boxed up software developer on a Sunday night

I vaguely remember waking up just 14 hours ago, and quickly realize I haven't left my home once all day.

In 14 hours, I've showered once, folded 2 loads of laundry, cooked 3 meals, drank 4 cups of tea, watched 2 episodes of House, and 2 episodes of CSI. I spent the rest of the day and night working - pouring through dozens of emails I had flagged for follow-up and skimming through thousands more, watching several pre-recorded internal presentations on new technology, contributing to a patent application, and doing a little "real" work.

On the flipside, I've not turned on my Xbox 360 once, nor have I read any blogs.

Well, actually, I did come across a new blog - a diamond in the rough among the thousands of emails earlier. In fact, it's what got me to sign into Blogger and share this... Minesweeper/Flower Garden:

shell: revealed is an awesome blog by a bunch of the people who work on the Windows shell. The diamond I came across was this post on the redesign of Minesweeper in Windows Vista. Reading it, I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cringe - and I'll just stop short of commenting further on the "Microsoft Tax" right now.

Another gem I found was this look into the feature design process in which the author posted a real live version of the Windows Vista Aero Wizard UI Spec.

I've seen a lot of specs across a lot of products at Microsoft - they range from scribbles on napkins to photos of whiteboards to highly structured documents like the one posted on shell: revealed. However, none of them resemble anything I learned to do in college. In order to graduate with a Computer Science degree from the University of Michigan, we had to take several Technical Communications courses. The processes these courses taught us to follow and the documents they taught us to write were a joke - relics from the height of professors' former careers in decades past - completely detached from current or best practices in software development (at Microsoft or otherwise).

And now, off to sleep. G'night.

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