Open for business (again)

I’m back. I took a little vacation from my “experiment” to attend to wrapping up some features for the next release of SP2. Yeah, I know it’s facetious to call blogging an experiment when it’s clearly done by tens of thousands of people, but it’s an experiment for me, so that’s all that counts 🙂

Anyway, I got some great feedback and comments from my previous posts, which make me very excited for the possibilities. I did want to spend some time clarifying what exactly I do, and what I can and cannot influence/change.

I’ll start with something easy – I don’t have any influence over apps stealing focus from the current window 🙂 I’m 100% in agreement with the comment that apps should not steal focus, and many people much smarter than I have worked on (and are working on) that problem.

What do I have influence over is any UI in Windows that has to do with Networking. Ah ha, I hear you say. So you’re the guy to talk to about Internet Explorer – that’s Networking, right? Well, not really. If you want to hear all about IE, I’m not your guy (but maybe Jeff is). IE is an application that uses the network. What I do is help you (the user – assuming, of course, that you use Windows) actually get connected to and disconnected from various networks over various media (wired, wireless, etc). I like to refer to what I do as the “Network Configuration and Connection Experience” (it doesn’t make a snappy acronym though, so I don’t use it very often).

So, a laundry list might help: Network Connections Folder and all it contains (property dialogs, connection dialogs, etc), notification area icons for networking (fondly known as “the blinky lights”), Wireless (Wi-Fi) connection dialogs, some parts of the Bluetooth experience, the New Connection Wizard. I also work very closely with the folks who have responsibility for the Windows Firewall, the Network Setup Wizard, Internet Connection Sharing, and the Network Bridge. Oh, and I’m responsible for the netsh.exe command line utility.

There are a few more things, but they’re geekier and I’ll only talk about them at gunpoint.

What do I mean when I say “I have responsibility?” Well, I’m not a developer – I don’t write code (anymore). I’m a program manager, and here is the HR explanation of what that means. I work with a team of kick-ass developers and testers who are truly the folks who deliver the product you see (Hi, guys!). My core deliverable is the “functional specification”, which describes how a feature should work. Once that’s done (or at least, the first cut of it – because it constantly evolves as the product is developed), my role is a bit of project management, a bit of day-to-day troubleshooting, a bit of cheerleading and a bit of evangelism. The amount of each varies from one day to next.

Okay, enough of this content-free post. I’ve got more interesting (at least to me) stuff coming.

Comments (5)
  1. I would like to see .NET managed classes for the Peer-To-Peer functionality being included in SP2.

  2. Douglas Husemann says:

    Well along the same lines as the peer to peer stuff relies on IPv6.

    UI for setting up the IPv6 Network would be great. the note that IPv6 enabled is ok. But for the normal folks getting network setup with UI is already hard enough. Not having ui and trying to walk through the Command line is effectively stateing that it isn’t in the system.

    So in the network and config. UI for setting up and configureing the Site Local addressing would be great. in the same area that pops up for the IPv4 addressing the Site local link local addresses would be nice also.

  3. I wouldn’t say that post was content free, it spurred me to thinking about our user experience with networking. Kudos to you guys for providing alternate network functionality in XP. For someone with a laptop who regularly connects to different networks, that is a big plus.

    Have we given any thought to providing a user with a view of what their box is connected to, and why? Personally, I often fire up a command window and run netstat if I’m seeing something strange happening on my box. Most users wouldn’t know how. Even with that, I’m often puzzled by what I see. Now, I know that if I really cared, I could run netmon and track the "conversation", but it’s usually too much effort for too little gain. If there was a way for us to display a history of what the box has been talking about, and to whom, in a user-friendly GUI…I think that’s a killler app from the network guys.

    Undoubtedly, this should be somehow tied in with the firewall. ZoneAlarm has some of this stuff already. To me, this seems to be an area that could be helpful. If we can figure out how to expose this low-level grunge to the user in a way that is "actionable", this would go a long way towards fighting spyware and also give people a sense of being more in control of what’s their machine is doing.

  4. Bit-cycling says:

    A long time ago when I worked on Windows XP, I worked on a project to add Bluetooth PAN support to Windows.

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