Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Better Way To Book Travel

The Google Earth Blog reports it is now possible to browse and purchase KLM flights right from Google Earth.

I downloaded Google Earth and the KLM add-on to play around with it, and found it to be surprisingly useful for those times when you know you want to take a trip to some region of the world, and want to see which cities/countries would be least expensive.

I rarely if ever use popular sites like Orbitz anymore. Farecast or Kayak are much better - Kayak even has a Buzz feature similar (in fact more useful than) KLM's Google Earth add-on.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Wo shi xuesheng!

Woohoo! I'm code complete!

It still amazes me every time I see software with so many moving parts come together so quickly at once. It's very much like watching a building that seems indefinitely under construction, then finally suddenly is transformed into something finished and beautiful.

In the random fashion that is me, I recently started taking Mandarin Chinese classes. Later this year I'd love to finally take some time and travel through Asia. If anyone out there lives out that way and wants to show me around (or even lend me a couch for a couple of nights!), by all means drop me a line. I'd be happy to someday return the favor here. :-)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

> < close to code complete

It's been about 4 months since I traded in my PM job for a Dev job, and my first (Beta) code complete milestone as a developer at Microsoft is this coming Friday.

It's been a crazy last few months. I'm definitely thinking a "Dev versus PM" post is due, but haven't made the time to write it just yet.

Things seem like they're coming together well. I should have all my code finished in 5-10 days less than I estimated it would take, but with so many cross dependencies and changes being made during the milestone, it's too soon to tell whether or not everything will fit together and "just work" by Friday.

Assuming everything does work, I'll be going recruiting back at the University of Michigan College of Engineering next week. If anyone back at school is reading and interested in exploring internship opportunities with Microsoft, stop by and talk to me at the North Campus fair on Feb 1st!

In other news, there's been quite a bit of interest in Mates lately. We've gotten emails from individuals and organizations interested in building similar projects and/or building on our work, and even from venture capitalists interested in funding projects in the space. Unfortunately, I haven't had time to work much at all on Mates or Ping lately, but my friend Jeff and a few other folks back at the University are still working on an eventual launch of some Mates-powered service. I'm still incredibly passionate about this and other related technology, and while I haven't had time to devote to it lately, I expect that will eventually change again.

I'm trying to plan a work trip over to the MIX conference April 30 - May 2 in Vegas. There session list is looking pretty good - WPF/E, ASP.NET AJAX, Expression, LINQ, and XAML are goodness. Yeah, you can download CTPs & Betas and crack open books (and I do), but seeing new technology used in-person and having conversations with the folks who build it and others who use it is pretty sweet.

Finally, I'm almost through reading Freakonomics. While I'm a couple years late to the water cooler discussions on this one, I'm loving it none the less.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


End of a 15 hour work day. About to drive home through a blizzard on iced-over roads, I skim the news while waiting for my build to finish, and come across this email from Jim Allchin to Bill Gates.

A plethora of thoughts cross my mind - good and bad - and probably not all fit to share. But at the end of the day, I admire the self-criticism at the highest levels - the willingness to realize ones shortcomings and failures, call them out as such, and aspire to change.

Off to sleep.