A good review with BillG

Every so often, product teams at Microsoft have a review with Bill. We had ours last week. Unlike my last meeting with Bill, there were no near-disasters preceeding the meeting other than a last minute time change that got us there a half-hour early.

My boss showed off his Jedi Master skills in keeping the meeting flowing (not always easy with Bill and half-a-dozen VPs in the room). Bill seemed super pleased (even pleasantly surprised) with our plans for the next version of Internet Explorer. My part went fine with little drama.

Bill had his usual assortment of insightful comments and notes on who else we needed to talk to in the company. He seemed upset only three times; fortunately, only one was aimed at us (this is something of a record, I think). In my 14.5 years at Microsoft, it was easily the best Bill review I've been in.

Now, we just need to go ship it...

Tip: Fast URLs in Internet Explorer

I'm surprised not everyone knows this trick, but even at Microsoft I occasionally run into people who haven't seen it.

Type a domain name in the address bar like, "tonychor" and hit "Ctrl-Enter". IE will add the "http://www." on the front and ".com" on the end. Lovely.

It's so important to how I work that I can't use browsers that don't, even otherwise great ones like iRider.

Tip: Scrolling in Internet Explorer

I just learned a little trick in IE that I thought I'd share. When you're reading a web page, you can hit the space bar to get IE to scroll the page down. It's basically the same as hitting the Page Down key.

It's just a little thing, but I like it, especially when I'm using my laptop that doesn't have an especially well-placed Page Down key.

Mozilla guys are reading my posts

Well, looks like the Mozilla guys are reading my posts on Channel 9. Nice to know the competition is watching, I guess. Read

Heck, even a German game website picked up my posts. It's funny how quickly this stuff spreads.

Of course, my fifteen minutes is nothing compared to the incredible noise that Dave Massy has generated now that he's joined our team. I'm, of course, very excited that he's aboard. He, not surprisingly if you know Dave, is a little embarrassed by the attention. The web is a powerful and unpredictable thing. I think that's what I like about it.

My meeting with Bill Gates

In the last two weeks, I had reviews/meetings with my entire management chain from my immediate boss through three levels of VPs plus Bill Gates. I only missed Steve Ballmer. Damn. I've never gotten so close before. (Not sure this is a really good goal or not, actually.)

The meeting with Bill was almost a disaster. I was preparing to show Bill some of our competitors; I had arrived early and was all set to go. Then thirty minutes before the meeting, I lose network connectivity; my computer cannot see the Internet. This is a very bad way to demo web browsers. A little panicked computer magic and everything is OK again. Whew.

Then twenty minutes before the demo, my boss asks if he can borrow a pen to take notes. No problem, I hand him mine. He uncaps my nice new rollerball pen to discover it's leaking blue ink everywhere; it's all over his hands. Just as I'm about to start laughing I notice my hands are covered in blue ink too. Lovely.

We were a sight. The guy demoing before us is brilliant; he invented the laser printer and was showing off some cool very futuristic display technology he whipped up. By comparison, my boss and I are covered in ink and barely able to surf the web; not a great way to establish credibility with the richest man in the world.

Fortunately, we were able to clean up, pull our shit together, and give a good demo. Dodged another bullet...