Frequently asked questions


By Eric Brechner 


Because these columns were originally written for an internal Microsoft audience, readers may have questions about context or other Microsoft-isms. I'll try to answer them here as best I can. Simply add a comment with your question and I'll respond.


I've started things off with a few common questions.

Comments (15)

  1. ericbrec says:

    Q: Who is this blog’s audience?

    A: All software engineers and engineering managers.

    The opinion columns that make up this blog were originally written for Microsoft software developers and their managers, though they were drawn from my 28 years of experience in the software industry with six different companies. The editors and I have clarified language and defined terms that are particular to Microsoft to make the writing accessible to all software engineers and engineering managers.

  2. ericbrec says:

    Q: Do you speak on behalf of Microsoft?

    A: The opinions I express in these columns are my own and do not represent those of any of my current or previous employers, including Microsoft. The same is true of my asides and commentary on the columns and this FAQ.

  3. ericbrec says:

    Q: What is the format of this blog?

    A: Each column starts with a rant, followed by a root-cause analysis of the problem, and ending with suggested improvements. I love word play, alliteration, and pop culture references, so the columns are full of them. In particular, most of the column titles and subheadings are either direct references or takeoffs on lyrics, movie quotes, and famous sayings. Yes, I humor myself, but it’s part of the fun and outright catharsis of writing these columns. Enjoy!

  4. ericbrec says:

    Q: What are the "Eric Asides"?

    A: Throughout the columns, I’ve inserted “Eric Asides” to explain Microsoft terms, provide updates, or convey additional context. They are meant to be from me, and not from I. M. Wright.

  5. ericbrec says:

    Q: How many columns did you write just for Microsoft before starting this public blog?

    A: 49. The first was published internally in June of 2001.

    For more history about the column, read the “About” page (http://blogs.msdn.com/eric_brechner/about.aspx).

  6. ericbrec says:

    Q: Are your old collumns going to be published or made public?

    A: Yes, all 49 columns will be published September 12, 2007 as part of the Microsoft Press book, “I. M. Wright’s ‘Hard Code.'” Three of those original columns are published on this blog as book excerpts.

    I’ve added introductions and Eric Aside’s to the columns, as well as a glossary. You can order the book from Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Wrights-Hard-Code-Pro-Practices/dp/0735624356/

  7. ericbrec says:

    Q: Were the internal Microsoft columns edited for the book?

    A: Yes, but only for grammar and references to internal resources. All the original topics and language were kept.

    I had to rely on Eric Asides to explain myself. I did change the title of one column to “The toughest job” because people misinterpreted the previous title, “You’re fired.”

  8. ericbrec says:

    Q: Are you still writing columns internally for Microsoft?

    A: Yes, but I now publish both internally and externally on this blog.

  9. ericbrec says:

    Q: How often to you publish new blog entries?

    A: I publish once a month on the first of the month. Occasionally, I take a month off.

  10. ericbrec says:

    Q: Is that your real hair?

    A: I am bald. Only the sideburns are mine.

    When I published the first column internally in 2001, I used an image editor to create an obviously doctored photo of myself with a smirk on my face. That photo became the face of I. M. Wright which appears on the home page. Later, Todd Timmcke, a Microsoft artist for the internal webzine, started creating new doctored photos for each month.

  11. ericbrec says:

    Q: How is Microsoft organized and what is your job there?

    A: I wrote a page about this for the blog you can find here: http://blogs.msdn.com/eric_brechner/pages/how-microsoft-is-organized-by-eric-brechner.aspx

  12. ericbrec says:

    Q: Do you have a glossary of Microsoft terms you reference in the columns?

    A: Yes, you can find it here: http://blogs.msdn.com/eric_brechner/pages/glossary.aspx

  13. ericbrec says:

    Q: What is your background? What do you do before coming to Microsoft.

    A: You can find my bio here: http://blogs.msdn.com/eric_brechner/pages/about-the-author.aspx

  14. Hardcoding says:

    Is there a way to make an image into a hardcoded image to be used as a background for a web page?

  15. LeeDavis says:

    I thought you used to have podcasts available of all your recent columns.  did you do away with those?

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