I spent this week on campus up in Redmond, Washington. While it
is always hard on my wife to be a single mom for a week, the time I
spend on campus is vital to my role. It's also time I really
With Tim Heuer having moved over to the Silverlight product team
proper, I now split my time between WPF and Silverlight work, with
Jesse Liberty and I splitting the load as "the xaml team" in
Scott's group. While I spend time with the product teams and do
some content, I tend to lean more towards site management, and
Jesse more towards awesome content.
So what did I do this week? What's a week in this role look
like? While this is not quite a typical week (more meetings, less
content creation) it's actually not that far off from the types of
things we do on a regular basis. With a fair bit of redacting to
protect the innocent (and my job <g>) here's what I was up to
Here's my calendar after removing meetings that got canceled or
otherwise didn't happen. I was thinking of writing an Outlook
add-in to let me play Breakout against the meetings ;) (times are
eastern. subtract 3 hours for Redmond time)
(oh, and not trying to impress with the calendar. You should see
Hanselman's. It looks like he's about to lose an enormous game of
We didn't plan it this way, but Jesse and I were both up in
Redmond the same week. That worked out really well, and saved
product team time.
8:00 am flight out of Washington Reagan National airport on the
fully packed Alaska Air flight 1. Middle seat behind the wing.
Pilot had a lead foot, so we arrived at the gate a half hour early:
10:00 Redmond time (that's a 5 hour trip)
Picked up the rental from avis. They gave me a nifty two door
Altima with push-button start and a sports shift…and a tiny 4cyl
Sensors and Location
Arrived on campus, grabbed lunch in one of our numerous and
incredibly inexpensive cafeterias, and headed over to building 27.
Spent an hour with Gavin Gear, one of the API PMs in Windows,
talking about sensors and location, cool things we can do now,
nifty stuff for the future, and ideas I'd like to see implemented.
Passed along community feedback as well as info from my own messing
around with the APIs. He asked me to take a walk through the trails
with him for half the meeting, so I also spent a fair bit of the
meeting realizing just how out of shape I am, wheezing and whatnot
:) My wife approved of this meeting. heh.
WPF and Silverlight
From sensors and location, I went and talked with the some folks
in charge of my favorite technologies. We discussed plans for the
future. Can't say more than that other than it was incredibly
Monday afternoon, I met with a great guy who has ported the
Infocom z-machine (the virtual machine than ran all the text
adventures) to C#/WPF calling it Frotz.net.
He showed me the awesomeness and we recorded a video to be put up
on channel 9
From there, I went and checked into the hotel, and handled email
and whatnot for most of the evening.
My first meeting that day was to talk to someone on the WPF team
I know, and cover some upcoming stuff, pass along some feedback
From there, I visited with Ian Ellison-Taylor. Ian is one of my
all-time favorite folks at Microsoft. We talked WPF, Silverlight,
phone, and bits and pieces of other things.
Out of Ian's office, I dashed over to record a Silverlight TV
episode in building 20. I had a horrible time finding parking, so I
was late, but so was John :) We recorded a pretty good episode,
despite not letting John get in a word edge-wise. heh.
A couple meetings after Silverlight TV moved, so I grabbed lunch
in the building 19 cafeteria and did some work on site
organization.We're working on some significant changes to
Silverlight.net to help making the learning process both easier and
more intuitive as well as to add a bunch of great new content.
I also tried calling my book editor on skype, but wireless in
the cafeteria was horrible, so we rescheduled for the
Later took a skype call from my editor in the WCF and WCF RIA
Services Building (18). Topic was chapter 19: printing. Had to make
a few edits, but otherwise it's good to go. Yay!
RIA Services Video
After that, I met with Deepesh, Dinesh and Jeff, and recorded a
great WCF RIA Services video on the comfy couch. I'll have that up
After the RIA Services video, I found a quiet corner, put on the
webcam and headphones, and skyped my family. Skype video calls are
essential when you have young kids and are away for a week. It
makes all the difference in the world for them to see you. Of
course, 90% of the call is them making faces at the camera, but hey
From there, went down to best buy to try and find a charger
(yes, I forgot my camera charger again) and failed. Best Buy has
nothing I want. I don't know why I go in there. Anyway, from there,
I sat in traffic until I got to Mr Papa's house and we all (Jesse,
Adam and his family, John and his family) enjoyed burgers and
That evening I split time between working on my book, and
fielding Silverlight.net tasks (blog requests, showcase requests,
new content, upcoming news items etc.)
The first thing I did on Wednesday was head over to building 18
and record a video with Glenn Block. Topic was not MEF. Glenn is
involved in other awesomeness that I'm sure he'll be writing about
From there, I went over to building 24 and met with Gary
Linscott. Gary is a developer on Expression Blend. I recorded a
short video where he explained some of the mechanics behind how the
design surface was built, what is shared with Cider and more. Great
stuff and nice guy.
Back to building 40 to meet with one of the members of the WPF
triad (leadership team). We talked for a bit, and I offered a
number of suggestions for v.next, passing along both my own ideas
and what you all have been telling me you want. I should note that
all the WPF triad folks and the GPM had copies of the uservoice site
results handy, so they are absolutely listening to you guys.
From there, I met back up with Jesse in 40, and had a couple
meetings with Silverlight triad members. Great stuff, talking about
Jesse and I headed down to lunch, and I had the world's biggest
burrito. Seriously, this thing was huge. With a name like "Muy
Grande Verde" I should have known. I wasn't sure if the tray would
hold up. The thing is the size of a meatloaf.
No, I didn't eat the whole thing :)
I had some open time, so I flew (actually crawled because
traffic was so bad in the rain) down to Fry's in Renton to find a
battery charger for my camera. Found something that worked well
enough to half-charge my battery, giving me back the ability to
record more videos :)
I drove down there myself, and after a burrito like that, that
was probably a good thing.
Windows Phone Dev
In the afternoon, Jesse and I met with one of the Windows Phone
7 devs we both know well, and talked about readiness for the WP7
launch. I'm really excited :)
Video on Binding
After that, Jesse and I split up again, and I headed over to do
a video interview with the father of binding. This is the guy that
created and owns much of the binding system in WPF, and by
extension, what made it into Silverlight. It was a great discussion
and a fun video.
Called my family again, of course.
Korean Hot Pot with Jesse
I've never had Korean food before. Jesse and I went so I could
try some. The restaurant is excellent, but I definitely do not have
a taste for Kimchee, little smoked anchovies or some of the other
things they had. The hotpot was pretty good, though (it's the
thing under all that steam in the video).
Back to the room. I read for a bit, and wrote up a bunch of
items to be changed on Silverlight.net. We're refining the "to do"
list for the upcoming months.
I started the morning with a meeting in building 5 with the MSDN
v-team. We're working on a bunch of video and page content there.
Nice to be face-to-face instead of on a phone once in a while.
I flew out of the MSDN meeting and headed over to Studio A, the
XNA building. As a client dev guy, I like to do a little XNA when I
can. While there, I interviewed Shawn Hargreaves. Shawn is probably
one of the nicest and smartest folks I've met. The video should be
fun, but the discussion outside of it was even better.
My god, it's full of stars!
After the XNA meeting, I went to another building and had a
meeting about something amazing. I'll leave it at that.
After that, Jesse and I met with the WPF GPM - Rob Relyea. Rob
is super smart and really has his stuff together. It helps that
he's really nice too :) You may know him as the XAML guy, but he's
overseeing even more these days. We talked about WPF next (again
the uservoice site sheet was there) and tossed around ideas for
features and priorities.
While ultimately it comes down to what the team decides to do,
I'm really proud to be able to represent you all in there, and help
drive for features and capabilities you've asked for.
After that meeting, Jesse and I had lunch. I ordered the burrito
again just so I could take a picture of it this time. My wife
Melissa saw the tweet and pic and informed me that I would be
eating salad the next day if I knew what was good for me :) You
guys being who you are, all sent me suggestions of taco salad. lol.
After lunch, I met with the primary developer for Fishbowl
and we talked about plans for the future. Facebook is a moving
target (someone teach them how to version an API, please) so we had
to have a plan for the great WPF sample app. More on that
Show us the Bits
After that meeting, Jesse and I got back together and visited
the Pivot product team down in Lincoln Square in Bellevue. We
worked with them on launch plans, content strategy, deployment
strategy and approaches, learning materials etc. for the control
they plan to release this summer.
We got stuck in traffic on the way back from Bellevue, so I had
to reschedule to Friday my meeting with one of the Windows PMs.
Jesse and I went to a steak place in Kirkland for, well, steak.
Pretty decent, although the beer was terrible for a place that
styled itself a bar and steakhouse. Had a great time. Jesse is a
Oh, don't ask him about my driving ;)
Thursday night I did a ton of work on items for Silverlight.net
Windows Dev Center
Friday was a fairly light day. I started off with a meeting over
espresso with someone on the v-team I'm on for the Windows
Developer Center on MSDN. We exchanged news and info to make sure
we were both on the same page for the work we are doing to simplify
the overall onboarding experience for folks who want to develop for
After that, I did a ton of email work. Between my own team and
the various v-teams, plus all the launches and irons we have in the
fire, email is a deluge.
Apres le deluge (you see what I did there? <g>) I met with
a PM in Windows to discuss upcoming awesomeness. I can't wait to
spill the beans on this, but it'll have to wait :)
Some misc ad-hoc meetings after that.
Lunch today was with John Papa. He and I chatted for a while
about how to better present unified content to the community to
both make it easier to onboard with Silverlight, and to discover
the information you all need to be successful.
I did other random things in the afternoon. Lots of
Silverlight.net, random discussions about ... uhh... cool stuff,
At the end of the day, I had a 1:1 meeting with my "Skip Level"
(Scott Hanselman's boss, Simon Muzio) . While many organizations
discourage meeting over your manager's head, Microsoft actively
encourages this. Of course, you meet with your manager often, but
you're also encouraged to meet with their manager regularly, and
their manager's manager slightly less so, and up the chain. It's an
effective way to get different perspectives, draw attention to what
you're doing, and make sure you stay aligned with organizational
goals. Excellent meeting, and glad I had it. We made a number of
decisions about Silverlight.net and WindowsClient.net right in that
room - the sites will be much better for them.
After meeting with Simon, I did meet for 5 minutes with Simon's
manager Nathalie. That was also good :)
Missed the family call last night, but made sure to have one
tonight. My kids were in the bath, so I'm glad I took the call in
the hotel this time :) (children have no modesty. heh)
So, this evening I'm working on my RIA Services demo for
tomorrow, and because I can't ever do just one thing, I also
decided to write this :)
Other weeks might involve recording how-do-I videos, blogging (I
never really got a chance to blog anything technical this week),
meetings with other groups etc.
In many organizations, a week full of meetings is an
unproductive week. However, a week full of meetings with product
team folks, real stakeholders, and decision makers, is actually a
really good week. Lots of info, lots of decisions. Weeks like this
help me set my own direction for the next months and even year, and
to help make sure I continue to point you all in the right
direction as well.
I tweeted this week about a couple meetings I was having, and
Frank La Vigne said I was "living the dream". Yeah, that sounds
about right. I'm digging it :)