Sorry for the interruption, but it doesn’t happen often

Many years ago, my feature manager and I were called into the project leader’s office for some reason or other, I forget exactly what. We were about five minutes into the meeting when the project leader’s mobile phone rang. This was back in the days when mobile phones were not commonplace, and having one was…


Bitter or acerbic? or does it make a difference?

One of my colleagues told me that my name came up in conversation, and somebody said that they thought I had a reputation for being bitter. My colleague defended me. “Nah, Raymond isn’t bitter. He’s, I dunno, acerbic.” “Acerbic? What does that mean?” My colleague looked it up. “It means, um… bitter.”


You can read as well as I can, or maybe not

Occasionally, somebody will ask for help on a distribution list, and it turns into a really annoying case of hand-holding. From: X I’m using the XYZ toolset to do some document management, and I want the server to run a script whenever somebody tries to modify the master template, so it can run validations before…


If you’re asking somebody to help you, you want to make it easy for them, not harder

A customer liaison asked a question that went roughly like this: From: Liaison My customer is having a problem with the header file winfoo.h. The environment is Windows Vista German SP1 with Visual Studio 2008 Professional German SP1 and Windows SDK 6000.0.6000 German. When they try to include the file in their project, they get…


The day I stole Joe Belfiore’s mouse

He’s now the head demo-monkey/cheerleader for Windows Phone, but back in the old days, Joe Belfiore was the head demo-monkey/cheerleader for the Windows 95 user interface design. A team-wide meeting was held to show off the new interface that they had developed. Wow look, we have a Start menu (though it wasn’t known by that name…


Management fallacy: If I send people email, then they will work harder

A project many years ago neared the conclusion of one of its project milestones. Things were getting down to the wire, and upper management was concerned that the project may not reach the milestone on schedule. To ensure success, they decided to send email. From: Senior Manager Subject: READ NOW!!!! More than one bug Please…