As I sit here, resting my hands on my Diet Pepsi-stained keyboard, faced with the daunting task of writing my final ednote, I immediately relish the fact that I don't have to use the phrase "We here at MSJ." First person at last! Yes, you read it rightmy life as a Microsoft employee, a.k.a. firstname.lastname@example.org, will be over by the time you read this. Off I go into semi-retirement, to take on the world as a street operator of pinball and video games in the Seattle metro area. (If you look in the October 1996 Editor's Note, you can find a little foreshadowing of my departure.)
The past nine years at Microsoft sure have been a hoot. As did an enormous percentage of 'Softies, I started out in Product Support Services (PSS) answering phone calls on the Windows 2.1 SDK, when all of PSS was 60 people strong (now they number over 2,000). I got a lot of interesting phone calls while working theresome of those phone calls turned into articles for this magazine, others turned into great afternoon conversations while chowing on shrimp and weenies. Perhaps the most interesting call of all was from a customer who wanted to put a million items in a listbox. Really. Now that's something you won't find endorsement of in the IBM CUA book. (Oops. I forgot about the MSN address list. Never mind!)
It's been especially fun watching the technology change from those old Windows 2.1 days. Out with Invalid BP chains and in with UAEs. Out with UAEs and in with General Protection Faults. Hello Dr. Watson, goodbye Dr. Watson. Hello just-in-time debugging.
Of course, there's been more than just bugs to swoon over these past nine years. The PC is now a great platform for writing marketing fluff on ultra-high powered word processors, not to mention playing games, surfing the Net, and counting your money. It's made a whole bunch of people richand a few of them don't even work at Microsoft!
I've certainly worked with and met a lot of interesting people in the Velvet Sweatshop. It's strange to think that the guy sitting across the table, smelling like Pig-Pen, bobbing his head back and forth like a metronome, and speaking only in sentences like "That won't work," or "You can't do that," is the chief architect of some key component in Windows NT or Microsoft Word. Try and find some business other than the entertainment world that allows, even embraces, people like that. I'll miss them, though, even after they dumped 50 pounds of crushed walnut shells on my desk. Oh, those wacky office pranksters. I always wondered what was in those squishy handheld stress-reliever balls anyway. (A note to "Chrome": when you least expect it, expect it.)
So ends a chapter of my life. I started in the computer 'biz at age 12, writing games for the Ohio Scientific C1P, and I finished by tech editing the finest programming magazine in the world. My very best wishes to the crack staff at MSJand MIND for putting out world-class magazines with the tiniest editorial, production, and art departments I've ever seen. If I had to summarize the past 19 years in two words, they would be "Bitchin' Camaro!"
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