Print a t-shirt

I went to http://www.stamps.com to order US Postage stamps with a photo that I choose to upload: no Elvis stamps for me.   There are also sites (like www.pictureframes.com) that will print/frame and deliver a customer photograph to any address: a great way to send framed pictures to relatives.   Printing a photo on a…

6

Anachronisms

My 7 year old daughter was playing with a toy Fisher Price dial telephone.   She asked “How does this work?”   I had to explain how we had to “dial” a phone.   Remember slide rules? (I still use a slide rule: they’re great when you want to have a custom lookup table:  especially…

20

Harvesting blood

I gave blood yesterday to the Puget Sound Blood Center   It’s great: they have an online reservation system and send a bloodmobile to Microsoft campus pretty frequently (about every 8 weeks: (that’s how often you are allowed to give blood) how about that!)   Pretty convenient… except when you don’t know your ice hockey…

3

Why was the original IBM PC 4.77 Megahertz?

In 1979, I had a summer job on Long Island, NY designing a circuit board for the front panel of a satellite control system. That was the time Apple II and Radio Shack were top selling computers.   We were designing a circuit board that had an embedded processor. Developing the software for it was…

34

Sharing Digital Pictures of your friend’s

My family recently went to the Microsoft Company Picnic, where we met with a friend’s family to enjoy the amenities.   I took some pictures of our kids, and I emailed a link to the pictures to my friend. The link shows a page with the picture thumbnails. Clicking on the thumbnail displays the original…

13

Thirty years ago, computers were quite different

In the old days, we had to use a typewriter. I asked if I could use the ASR-33 teletype machine which connected to our high school PDP-8 computer, but it only printed in UPPER CASE on rolls of yellow paper.   Did you ever wonder the origin of the term Carriage Return? On typewriters, the…

6

Designing User Interface for car keys

Here at Microsoft we have people called Program Managers (PMs) whose job is to design a product. They’re the ones that make a feature usable to the customer.   A remote keyless entry car fob is quite useful. It’s essentially a wireless short range transmitter that communicates a (hopefully) secure signal to a receiver in…

14

Styrofoam Peanuts

I like the convenience of shopping online. Not only are there lots of goodies available, but it’s easy to jump from store to store with a couple keystrokes.   However, it’s very hard to tell if the ordered product is shipped in packaging filled with billions of lighter than air Styrofoam peanuts. Open the package…

21

I want my own email! MSN Premium

  My 7 year old daughter Wendy has been clamoring for her own email account, among other things (like her own cell phone). She’s been using a computer for years, and has been using my old web server laptop as her main machine, mainly to surf kids gaming and Harry Potter sites. Of course, she’s…

177

Independence Day for blogging

Since July 4th is nearing, I thought it would be appropriate to start my independent blog.   In this first entry, I’ll add a few pointers to prior entries that I made to our VSData team blog.    Solving a customer problem is my blog narrative describing an experience I had as a detective trying…

68