Pardon the delay in blogging. It wasn't lack of love, I assure you, but I just had to go dark for a few weeks to focus on gettin' stuff done. Let me catch you up...
Orcas is well underway. We're now in the middle of the costing phase, writing "costable" specs (essentially, specs detailed enough for rough scheduling but not detailed enough for implementation) for the features we plan/hope to get to in Orcas. Our specific plans aren't ready to share yet, as they're still in flux. We're in the typical software project dilemma of wanting to do more than the schedule allows, so we're going through the "what if" modeling process right now to maybe come up with some creative ways to get to more of the features we'd like to do in Orcas. No matter what we do feature-wise, though, I think you'll be happy with the quality. We spent a lot of time bug fixing over the last few months (you'll see some of these before Orcas in the upcoming VS2005 service pack), and we're using a feature crew-style development process for Orcas that involves quality requirements before code can be checked into main branches.
I took a little vacation last week and took the family down to the Bay Area to visit family. Now that I've lived in the Seattle area for more than a year, I was able to see my hometown from a fresh perspective. While we miss having extended family around, honestly, I'm glad I moved. If anyone is contemplating a move from the Bay Area to Seattle, drop me a line and I'd be happy to share my experiences.
A New Role in VC++
I've recently taken on some additional responsibilities on the VC++ team. In addition to my previous responsibilities managing our programs for key customers, I've also taken on the broader customer community as a whole as well as a more traditional (for MS, anyway) program management responsibility, leading the VC++ programming model (C++ language / compiler front-end and libraries) PM team. The PM discipline is an interesting Microsoft animal that isn't really native to any other software development organization I've worked at or with. If you're curious what PMs do, Steven Sinofsky has a pretty comprehensive blog entry on the topic.