Office team shares the love: 2010 beta available

Yesterday we released the public beta of Office 2010, you should go download it right now.

Office 2010

There’s a bunch of new stuff, so it’s really hard to predict what’s going to be exciting to you, but here’s the top feature for me: ignore. Yep, ignore. Outlook has built in a big, beautiful chunk of anti-social awesome. You know when you get added to that really long e-mail thread that won’t go away? The one people keep replying to, dragging it on until it sucks the air out of your office through your monitor. Now you can just right-click, select ignore and the thread goes away… even future mails to the thread.

Another of my fav Outlook features: the Quick Steps. They are, at their heart, macros. Select a message and click a quick action to create a task, mark the message read and dump into into a folder all in one button press. I’m currently working on giving my quick steps the GTD treatment.

It’s the nature of my job, I live my life in Outlook. There is, however, a ton of goodness in all the apps. Go checkout the beta site for a run down of what’s new in each of the Office applications. There are features to make your life easier (e.g. multi-user editing of docs) and features to make you look good (e.g. spark lines in Excel).

But can you really use it? Absolutely. I’ve uninstalled Office 2007 on all my machines and only run Office 2010. Sure, it’s a beta, it’s not perfect. But it never stops me from getting my job done. So, If I can live using only the beta, you should feel comfortable at least trying it out for a bit.


Microspotting – A peek behind the Microsoft curtain

Have you ever wondered what kind of people work at MS and what makes them tick? Hop on over to Microspotting to get the dirt. While you’re there you can also really get to know Dan, a great dev who started as an intern on the Entourage team when I was a test lead there, Omar, a PM from the Entourage team (and also, coincidentally an intern there too), MC, who was on Mac office (Entourage was part of Mac Office)…. hey, this is just becoming a trip down memory lane. Clearly my friends haven’t been pimping their fame (or I simply couldn’t be bothered to read their blogs… of course, I blame them).

At any rate, it seems Ariel has a great knack for finding the personalities at Microsoft, and isn’t shy about stalking them to get the story. Geeks and stalking? How can you pass that up?


So, you want to live and work in Europe?

imageWhy not join us?

Earlier this week we launched a microsite for our team here in Dublin.  The new site is chock full of informational goodness.

The new site was built under the watchful eye of Dan and the end result is quite slick.  It even makes me want to re-apply for a job.

So, if you like the sound of great benefits like 31 days of paid vacation (yep, 6 weeks) and being within spitting distance of anywhere in Europe… review the job list then click one of the “e-mail your CV” links on the site to submit a resume.

Now, that you’ve applied, it’s time for a little hide-and-seek… can you find the picture of me on the site?


Where does Reeves work?

I gave you a rough idea of what I do… but here’s a little information about where I do it.

A week back I went searching for a picture of my MS building on the web (I was trying to provide a visitor with a picture of the front of the building). What I found proved quite educational.

The first image which came up on my search was one from the web site of the Institution of Structural Engineers for the Republic of Ireland (our as everyone’s favorite newsman, John Stewart, would say: “NAMBLA”).  The short article goes into some interesting technical details of the project, including that 22,000 cubic meters of granite were excavated to build the structure. 

I know… interesting to whom?  I’m a geek.

Read all about it:


Ten years!

Well… my ten year anniversary with Microsoft was actually back in November of 2006, but due to my move to Ireland the award was slightly delayed.  After a long journey it’s resting comfortably with my other stuff.

Yep… my camera phone sucks.  I’ll have to bring in my real camera on Monday.

Hotmail Microsoft

The beta tag comes off Windows Live Hotmail

It was a long road, lots of research, lots of development, a private beta and two years of public beta… and now Windows Live Hotmail is officially out of beta.  I want to give a huge congrats to the team and I must say I kind of wish I could have been there.  I must admit, after having been there for the first two years of the process (and for six years total), I felt kind of sad seeing all the great pictures of the team posted on today’s blog entry

Though I’m sad I missed the end run, I don’t regret my move to Ireland one bit. Congratulations guys on a fantastic release!

Microsoft Software

My new favorite Vista feature

I suppose I should start by telling you what my old favorite feature was… I’m not sure what it’s called but it allows you to navigate up and down folders much more quickly.  It’s great for going from one folder to another at the same level (e.g. from one folder of pictures to another).

Quick navigation in Vista

My NEW favorite feature comes courtesy of Omar’s blog: the shadow copy. Here’s the MS description of the feature:

Windows Vista now includes shadow copy functionality built in, which enables users to access previous versions of their documents, even when they are stored locally on their computer instead of on the network. Accessing the previous versions of a file you’re working with is easy.

What happened is I was bit by a bug which removed all the date taken information from the pictures I took over Christmas time.  Big deal?  Not to people who simply print their pictures… but for me it meant all the pictures were in random order on our web site.  I searched high and low for a tool to copy the date information from another part of the file and then remembered Omar’s post.  The process of restoring files was pretty straight-forward… and really made me happy work provides us with Windows Ultimate (unfortunately for home users, it’s not available on the consumer version).

For the curious, I made some screenshots of the process:

Shadow copy restore Shadow copy restore Shadow copy restore Shadow copy restore Shadow copy restore

Oh, also cool: if you get a Windows Home Server your backups on the server will show up there too.  Sweet!  Dang I want that cool round one! See the Digital Amnesia site for more info (presented in an entertaining fashion) or for a great demo, watch CJ’s video interview on 10.

Thanks Vista for the save (and thanks Omar for the pointer :)).


So… what does Reeves do?

I’ve moved to Ireland… Hotmail is in Mountain View, California.  The observant reader may put 2 & 2 together and think: “Hotmail has moved to Ireland!” Fortunately most people who read this blog are observant and  intelligent (you do read this blog, after all 😉 ). 

While my original plan was to bring some development resources with me to Ireland, I ended up instead joining up with a growing team here which is building components for a new web analytics project code named “Gatineau”.

Gatineau will be Microsoft’s entry in the the web analytics market.  While the nuts and bolts of the operation are in Redmond, here in Ireland we’re building some cool, extra bits to pile into the mix.  I wish I could provide some more detail as I’m really excited about what we’re doing (both here and in Redmond) but for now, things are under wraps.

One of our new planners, Ian, has provided a quick run down of what’s going on, it’s not a tell-all by any stretch, but it does give a bit more information.

Life Microsoft

How to change jobs… and how not to

While flying home to Dublin from Redmond I was doing a little blog reading (hooray for SAS and airborne broadband) when I came across an interesting post on Dare’s blog regarding the Microsoft policy of needing permission from your manager before you can interview or a different position within MS.  It’s a policy that leads to a certain amount of discomfort for any employ who wants to change jobs.  Going to your manager for permission is tough, but here’s a promise I’ve made to myself which helps me (and works if I’m at Microsoft or not):

I’ve promised myself I won’t ever leave my current role – I will always go to a new role.

Here’s the big issue for me: when I’m fed up with work, my boss, my hours or whatever, any job will look good to me.  As soon as I’m in flight mode, trying to run away from my current position I am super-likely to be simply abandoning the frying pan.  There are always times at work where I’ll be pissed at my boss, annoyed at my coworkers and/or think the product has no chance of succeeding.  When I get to that point I always take a deep breath and try to figure out if a) it’s something I can correct and b) if it’s something I think will last.  It sounds pretty silly advice,  but don’t ever leave a job you hate.

So, what should someone do if they hate their job?  In the ideal world one will have picked a cool group at a cool company working on a cool product.  Chances are there’s something you like about your job, find it and focus on it.  You also have to decide you’re not going to adopt a victim mentality (it’s your bosses fault… your coworkers stole the credit… it will ship if test would find the bugs).  Don’t ever think that you can’t make your situation better because that will sink the ship fast.  Figure out what is broken and what part of it you can fix.  Once everything is sunshine and roses you can move on (sure, I’m an idiot… but I’m an optimist).

I am totally comfortable at any point in time going to my boss and saying “Hey, I came across this internal job listing and it totally sounds like something I’d really like to do.  Things are going great here but I’d really like the opportunity to go do this cool thing.  May I please?”  I may actually be happy in my current role or I may not… but if I actually honor my promise to myself I’m actually highly likely to be in a role I enjoy before I leave for one I’m going to enjoy even more.

So, what does this have to do with the Internal hiring policies?  Here’s the thing: I feel if my manager thinks I am a good employee and honestly excited about going to a new role they will be disappointed to see me go but genuinely interested in helping me succeed.  If I get the job I wanted my manager will be happy because they know I’m going to an exciting opportunity.  If I don’t get the job my manager will be happy because they don’t loose me.

I’ve been at Microsoft for almost ten years and been a manager on and off for roughly half that time.  I’ve applied for internal positions and moved groups.  I’ve also applied for jobs and not been hired.  I’ve had employees request permission and I’ve granted it every time.  Microsoft has policies about when a transfer can be blocked or delayed and are very reasonable.  Always if your manager blocks your move and you think it’s unreasonable you should talk to your HR rep as they can help you to work through it.


Presence buttons are cool… why can’t messenger have these?

Way back in the day ICQ allowed people to put a little snippet of HTML anywhere they liked and it would show their presence.  That was very cool.  Yahoo can do it too. AOL offers itNow Skype is doing it too.  Why, for the sake of all that is geeky, can’t we (Microsoft) do this for messenger? 

Wait, I know, I’ll use a buzz-word: it’s viral! (it’ll happen for sure now).

My status