whihathac's Den

code is poetry

11 things I have learnt in first 3 years of work at Microsoft

I am very lucky to have started my career in one of the best companies in the world – Microsoft. And as expected I have learnt a lot from it in past three years of working here. Microsoft has a very unique and distinct work culture, with a lot of great folks to learn from and look upon.

I am going to list down and share few things that I have learnt at Microsoft. I am hopeful this would help those who have just joined the IT industry or are going to join it in near future.

1. I love Microsoft

Loyalty - I believe this is the first and foremost belief on which you must build the foundation of your career. And this is what the company expects the least out of you. After all, they are the one who are paying you. Surely, you can avoid evangelizing the products your company makes – but think for a second, if you being an employee don’t like/buy/use the product, do you think anyone else will?

Bonus Tip: You *should* not use company resources for your personal use. Also, being a appropriator won’t serve you in the long run.

2. Stand and Deliver

If you deliver what you committed, you are achieved and deserved your Salary. The terms “committed”, “achieved” are probably specific to Microsoft, but I think there is similar terms and rationale used everywhere else. And if you fail to keep your promise, its clear you are “underachieved”.

I feel this is the most important learning I have got at Microsoft. We are not used to think like this. Isn’t it?

3.  Find your “Sachin Tendulkar” at work

You need to find someone at work whom you idolize. Build relationships, make him/her as mentor and try to learn maximum from them. Role models will help you focus and channelize your energies in one direction – your goal. Read the next one which completes this point.

4. Trust the right people

Its really difficult to do this right the first time. You are an new entrant to a unknown group of people. You faced this situation earlier when you were a fresher in your first year of college. But you had lot of time to make mistake and improve on it. Trusting wrong people, and looking up to them as role model will influence you in a wrong way. My advice, be cautious and take the advices with a pinch of salt.

5. “I hate politicians”

Stay away from Office gossips and politics. They are breeding ground for killing your creativity and loyalty. We all are/will be subjected to politics at some point of time. And its better to ignore than react to them. Believe me, you’ll get into these sort of situations now and then. Its very crucial to be cognizant and not take sides and try to leave the discussions apologizing and without hurting anyone’s sentiments.

6. Differentiating crows from crows

It’s important to listen to the feedback – good or bad. But its as important to disregard the "Ad Hominem" feedback. This kind of feedback is just blatant negative without soul and thought. These is the kind of feedback that will make you think, "Am I like this?”, “Did I do that?”. Instead of ignoring it, it’s always great to have a candid talk with the person sharing you this feedback about if this is something that he/she noticed couple of times and seek for help and guidance.

Bonus Tip: Always share constructive feedback – one that they can use it to improve. The tone of the feedback determines if you want to help him/her or point out their faults.

7. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall!

I think its more important to fall than to succeed. You learn a lot while falling (oops), fallen (sigh), trying to stand (urge) and standing to the challenge again (I can do it!). Also don’t spend time and energy explaining or reasoning out why you failed. Instead use this as an experience to avoid such mistakes in future.

8. Bad Appraisal

It’s no use crying over spilt milk. Get over it, act on your next steps. Based on my discussion with number of colleagues – peers, manager and organization leaders, they never recollect about their ratings/rankings. Not saying that you shouldn’t care about it. But what’s gone for the past year, cannot be changed. This ranking made them more determined to prove a point. Hence don’t let the rankings/ratings which I refer as “Moh Maya” bring you down. Focus on the next point instead!

9. Goal!

Identify your life goals. Stay focused and channelize all the efforts towards this one or two things you want to achieve in your lifetime. Also I find that it’s good idea to experiment when you have nothing to lose at the start of your career. Always weigh and see what you are sacrificing to achieve it and then decide its real worth.

10. Date with my GF v/s Work

Don’t try to mix personal and professional life. Keep your Work-Life-Balance healthy and do give the time your loved ones deserve. You’ll get lot of opportunities at work to become successful, but one miss at personal life, you’ll never get it back.

11. Extras

If you have reached this point, you are not bored and find some value in my post. So I think you deserve to know more from my experience. Which is why I am sharing the following tips I think are noteworthy, specific to –>

Company:

  • Know Your Company – Don’t they do a background verification on you when they hire you? On a serious note, try to know what your company does to earn the moolah, promoters or shareholders, its CSR initiatives, stock price, impact to the world – the more you know your company, more you’ll be attached to it.
  • Help your company products to improve by sharing the feedback, finding bugs and doing usability tests.

Team:

  • Its as critical to blend into the team as to stand out. Remember, you are a team member first!
  • Try to make your team successful, you’ll eventually become successful.
  • Respect the various cultural background of the team members and give enough space for your team partner to feel comfortable.

Personal:

  • Be independent and have an identity of yourself. You’ll be in a lurch, if the person (could be your manager) you are dependent on to speak for you, leaves the company.
  • Help all the people you can. When you fall down, you’ll have lot of hands to pull you back.
  • Talk less, Do more. Take initiatives to change the things you don’t like or that can be improved.
  • Read lot of books – non-fictional, management. It will help shape your outlook and attitude. Also don’t shy from reading self-help books.
  • Don’t judge or build perception. Instead try to know and reason out the situation to which he/she was subjected to.
  • Lastly you should follow your dreams. Don’t lose them. I mean literally too –> don’t lose your sleep over work! Work comes as soon as you finish it!!!

 

Hope it helps! It was an immense pleasure to share it with you all. :)

Do share your own experiences and feedback!

Regards,
Bhavik

Watch MIX 10 Sessions online

clip_image001

You Couldn’t Make It to MIX10 - but You Can Watch Online

While it isn’t the same as attending MIX10, we’ve made it possible for you to watch the keynotes and sessions (posted within 24 hours after they happen) and interact with the MIX Online community. Visit the MIX10 site now to see what you’re missing. Learn about the next generation of Windows Phone 7 Series, Internet Explorer 9 and the future of Web Design and User Experience.

Regards,
Bhavik.

Microsoft PDC 2008

/* Updated Content */ 

Hi all,

Firstly wishing you all Happy Diwali and a prosperous new year (a hindu festival and tradition).

So wots up within Microsoft, Well PDC is the answer. Today is the forth and last day of PDC 2008 which is happening at Los Angeles. PDC has be a ground for Microsoft where it showcases the upcoming technologies and releases to the developers/industry/press. The Professional Developers Conference (PDC) consists of several hands-on/labs and sessions for these releases.

Major attractions at PDC 2008:

1. Windows Azure:

With all the buzz around Software + Service (S+S or better known as SaaS) increasing, more no. of companies are trying to get on the Service wagon to gain the most of it. Cloud computing, cloud OS and Cloud applications are now a reality with many new companies showing the power of SaaS. Microsoft is here with an OS in the cloud. Windows Azure is the base of the Windows Azure Services platform which is basically a set of developer services that extends the windows programming model to the cloud. Windows Azure offers a platform to support scalable applications – support for languages and frameworks like ASP.NET, AJAX, LINQ, WCF and WF. Also Windows Azure provides scalable storage with support for simple blobs, tables, queues etc.

Live Meeting and Live Mesh are already using Windows Azure. While Sharepoint and Dynamics are already been offered as a service. Windows Azure assures 0% down time for the applications hosted on its platform, unless developers host a broken piece of code. It was nearly impossible since OSes need to be patched and may require a downtime for the app. But Windows Azure achieves 0% downtime by moving the app to a different server while patching a particular server and moving it back. Azure also has plans for support for Java and PHP (as in its bound by Azure services).

2. Windows 7

Its the product that most awaited by customers (who disowned Vista for their stable Xp OS). Well before I make a statement here, I’ll like to try Windows 7 all by myself. Basically Windows 7 is Vista code with lot of improvements in the areas where people have complaints about Vista. A lot of improvement to some of the age old screens (dated Win 95 times) have changed here including the Calculator, Paint and Wordpad. UAC can be now controlled. Its about – compatibility, performance and UAC. A lot of screenshots are available on ZDNet. A Windows 7 Developers Guide is available on Codeplex which explains all the new features with screenshot.

3. Visual Studio 10 and .NET Framework 4.0 with C# 4.0

The next in line is Visual Studio. Its CTP is available for download here. The Download is quite bloated since it has all the bits. Here’s a post on how to download it with ease. Havent been able to use it till now. This Version adds GUI driven programming for Silverlight. Its also gearling up for the new release of .NET - 4.0.

4. Live Application Suite and Live Mesh

Live Mesh - This has been the most written about application. Its the envision of Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's Chief Software Architect to provide cloud computing to all. Live Mesh is a framework in which you can sync content between various devices - PC, Mac and Windows Mobile Phones. It comes with 5GB storage space that can store your media - photos, movies, albums and even your personal files. There can be shared applications too. A demo of - To Do List and a TV Program Channel guide was done in PDC this year.

5. Office Web Application

The online version for Office is out ! Its a free product by Microsoft that enters the league of other Online Office products. Not much info known by me as yet.

 

Disclaimer: All the information here is based on the info found on different blogs/sources and not necessarily the internal sources. This does not represent any confidential information for my company. Also the views shown here are solely mine and in now way represent my employers views. Also I cannot vouch for the features mentioned here, since I haven’t tested them and also that it may change in the release versions.

Interview tips for Microsoft Internship

Hi,

I got many queries asking for help in the preparation for Microsoft Internship Interviews. So i thought to put out the reply i sent over here.

I'll firstly inform you that i was selected for the interview for internship through Imagine Cup 2007. We were top-11 National finalists and we got a chance to get ourselves interviewed.

The interview was telephonic and was around 45-mins long. You can expect a variety of questions ranging from creative to technical to HR. Also the technical qns were C/C++, AOA, Data Structures, OS and CN based. But all of them were purely practical. Also if you have programming skills as .NET, you may expect a cuppa of qn's on the same.

The most important part is your resume. You wont be asked a single thing outside your resume. So do not claim anything you dont know in your resume. Also the projects/technical papers form the basis of the interview.

I hope this helps.

Regards,
Bhavik.

Microsoft's Bid on Yahoo - a Genius !

Hi,

This article is adapted from an article on TALK BACK from CNN.

Marat Glazer, a software developer in Los Angeles, writes:

Look at it this way for a minute.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) bids for Yahoo Inc. (YHOO); Google Inc. (GOOG) shows fear. Google is now under pressure, and should remain under pressure as long as the Microsoft deal is on the table. Google doesn't like pressure (e.g., they don't give earnings guidance). Why would Microsoft rush to "sweeten" its bid? Microsoft has Google right where it wants it, and all Microsoft had to do was send out a few memos and press releases.

Now Yahoo is scrambling for higher bidders, trying to outsource search to Google, thinking about a merger with AOL, all while deploying new initiatives to hold up what it knows is its soon-to-be declining stock value.

No matter how many articles Yahoo writes about reinventing mobile social networking, it won't hold its stock at $30 a share. I don't think such lackluster news is even worth $20 a share. At this point, Yahoo shareholders only have one thing on the brain: "Show me the money!" It's my opinion that Microsoft won't show them that money.

In its statement, Microsoft said its offer was "full and fair" (indicating it would NOT raise its bid over $31). I'll take Microsoft at its word.

Microsoft also made hints at a potential proxy fight. Based on Tuesday's Yahoo stock activity, I don't think Yahoo shareholders are ready for a fight. If Yahoo was getting ready for war, then the price of Yahoo stock should go higher as core Yahoo shareholders move to ratchet up outstanding shares in the market. That's NOT what happened Tuesday. Yahoo went sideways-south.

Microsoft is now playing the waiting game. I believe that after Yahoo Chief Executive Jerry Yang and his company board's arrogant and greedy response to Microsoft's generous offer, Yahoo shareholders will be waiting a long, long, long time for anything over $31 from Microsoft. In fact, Microsoft may lower its bid, or withdraw it entirely.

If I were Microsoft, I would wait about a month or two, as Yahoo, Google and Time Warner Inc. (TWX) stocks flail about. Then I would either lower or withdraw my bid, citing "a lack of perceived value." The aftermath of this move would be CATASTROPHIC for Yang and the Yahoo board. It would also cause internal turmoil for Yahoo shareholders and staff, as Yahoo employees who WANT the Microsoft deal are disgruntled. Basically, Microsoft lowering or withdrawing its bid spells big trouble in little Yahoo. And that's good for Microsoft.

In the end, however many ways you toss this salad, Microsoft comes out the clear winner here. Whether it gets Yahoo or not. Yahoo and Google are the clear losers, and I'm inclined to believe that's exactly what Microsoft had planned all along.

It's genius!

Hmm.. another side of story !

Regards,

Bhavik Vora

Microsoft + Yahoo! = ?

Hi,

Well I have been writing this post after such a long time. Heres a great experts comments from some of the journalists like BusinessWeek's Arik Hesseldahl who are willing to tell them what to do for free, ofcourse ! Here's a readable version which I take it from VALLEYWAG.

An Open Letter to Steve Ballmer by Arik Hesseldahl

Dear Steve,

Let's talk over this Yahoo thing. It's a profoundly bad idea. Big mergers practically never work. IBM and Rolm in 1984, AT&T and NCR in 1991. Lucent and Ascend. Compaq and Digital Equipment, followed by Compaq and Hewlett-Packard. Time Warner and AOL. The standard pitfalls: brain drain from departing employees, political turf wars amid clashing cultures, morale-depleting anxiety, customers going to less-distracted rivals like Google.

The Microhoo online operation could make $1 billion a year in profit down the road. But is it really worth blowing $41.5 billion in cash and stock? That investors have wiped $3 billion off the value of that offer in a week should tell you something.

If someone took Microsoft Office away from me, I could get by using a Web-based office suite. You should have had Office on the Web five years ago. You've been wasting time, effort, and attention trying to be a consumer electronics company, a digital media company, and now an online advertising company. Microsoft is a software company. Everything else is superfluous.

Desktop software is one of many things Microsoft is awfully good at, and you make a pile selling it. Then there's server software and Microsoft Office. Between those three units, you've got a $43 billion business that's generating 62% operating profit margins.

Here's what you should do: Package Yahoo with your online services division, the entertainment and devices division (yes, the Xbox, too), and spin the whole thing off. Keep an equity stake, even a majority. If you force these businesses to fester within Microsoft, they will always play second fiddle to Windows.

Well all I want to say is we dont really know what MSFTs' has planned to do with Yahoo!, but the foresaid comments need to be thought. The deal may result in technological imbalance in whole, who knows - its a way to stop the internet giant, Google - which Y! hasn't been able to contain itself !

Regards,

Bhavik Vora

Microsoft Research Labs preview 'Volta'

Microsft Research Labs has made a new technology that enables Developers to create multi-tier Web Appz with ease in its quest towards Software + Services. Btw Volta was in Alpha phase when I was in Microsoft for an Internship. ;)

An excerpt from the website - http://labs.live.com/volta/

"The Volta technology preview is a developer toolset that enables you to build multi-tier web applications by applying familiar techniques and patterns. First, design and build your application as a .NET client application, then assign the portions of the application to run on the server and the client tiers late in the development process. The compiler creates cross-browser JavaScript for the client tier, web services for the server tier, and communication, serialization, synchronization, security, and other boilerplate code to tie the tiers together.

Developers can target either web browsers or the CLR as clients and Volta handles the complexities of tier-splitting for you.  Volta comprises tools such as end-to-end profiling to make architectural refactoring and optimization simple and quick. In effect, Volta offers a best-effort experience in multiple environments without any changes to the application."

Hope to get hands on it a 'lil faster...

Also Microsoft previewed an very innovative way of representing Passwords - http://www.inkblotpassword.com/ It uses sequence of randomly generated images and stores 2 alphabets per pic depending on what you perceive in da pic. Nice one.. have a look and try..

Regards,

Bhavik Vora

Imagine Cup 2008 - SDI Deadlines for India

Hi, 

Dates for Imagine Cup Software Design Invitational(SDI) are announced. Here are dates for the SDI deadlines for India:

December 1, 2007: Registration Open
January 15, 2008: Round 1 Submission Deadline
January 31, 2008: Round 1 Results Announced
March 7, 2008: Round 2 Submission Deadline
March 21, 2008: Round 2 Results Announced
April 25, 2008: IC2008 SDI India National Finals at Bangalore.

Well the experience gained here is just unmatchable. This is the worlds largest Software Design contest.

So, Go Challenge yourself !

This information has been shared by Krunal Dedhia. Thanks Krunal

Regards,

Bhavik Vora

Microsoft, Yahoo to Link IM Networks

UPDATED Microsoft and Yahoo announced on Wednesday a blockbuster interoperability deal that will reshape the landscape of the fragmented instant messaging market. The companies will connect their IM networks so users on each can communicate with one another using text and voice chat free of charge.

Starting in the second quarter of 2006, customers of both services will be able to see their friends’ online presence, share emoticons, and add new contacts from either Yahoo! Messenger or MSN Messenger to their buddy list.

The agreement marks the first time major players in the highly-competitive IM industry have officially partnered up to enable cross-network communication. Interoperability has always been a hot topic among instant messaging providers, but had never yielded a compromise.

In 1999, Microsoft connected its MSN Messenger client to AOL’s AIM network - without authorization. The move let to a cat-and-mouse game of AOL cutting off its new competitor and MSN re-establishing communication with each update. Microsoft eventually gave up and focused on improving its client.

Such disparate messaging networks led to the creation of third party clients with the ability to connect to each simultaneously. AOL and others were initially critical of applications like Trillian, but eventually backed down and ceased efforts to block the newcomers.

“IM interoperability is the right thing for our customers, our businesses and the industry as a whole, and Microsoft is delighted to help lead these efforts with Yahoo,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in a statement.

“This is truly a turning point for the IM industry,” added Yahoo CEO Terry Semel, “and we believe our agreement with Microsoft will help usher in a new era of IP communications.”

Yahoo and Microsoft will now command upwards of 44 percent of the market, according to research firm Radicati Group, putting new pressure on market leader AOL, which holds around 56 percent market share with AIM and ICQ. And according to recent comScore Media Metrix numbers, MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger together reach 33.5 million unique users each month, more than the 23 million running AIM.

But competing with AOL is likely not the primary reason Microsoft and Yahoo have linked up. The new threat to the IM heavyweights comes from voice chat and upstarts such as Skype that have taken the communications industry by storm. Google, meanwhile, recently launched a communications client called Google Talk that focuses on simple PC-to-PC calling.

Still, a source at Yahoo expressed concern about the new partnership to BetaNews, hypothesizing that interoperability will only serve to strengthen Microsoft’s position in the market.

Recently, IM software clients have evolved to link consumers to other services beyond just chat - from blogs to search. And if users are able to message contacts on Yahoo through the MSN client bundled with Windows, it could hamper Yahoo’s efforts to reach more eyeballs.

Microsoft is also reported to be in talks with Time Warner, and a deal to open the door between MSN Messenger and AIM has been rumored. However, nothing concrete has come from the discussions thus far.

Source:::
www.betanews.com