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Driver Development and Much More With Mike Calligaro

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Mike Calligaro came to Microsoft thirteen years ago to help build a supercomputer. But, two days before his arrival, the project evaporated, leaving Mike on the payroll but without a position.
 
This isn't an unheard of situation for new hires, but Mike's story, detailing all the different projects he worked on throughout the years, is just fantastic.
 
We get to hear about his work on the Sega Dreamcast, an early attempt at providing video-on-demand in the home (in 1994!), and the best explanation ever given as to what a device driver is and how they work.
 
I'm hoping to visit Mike again. I found him through some posts he wrote for the Windows Mobile blog. I found him to be thoughtful and interesting - he was the same in person. One of those hidden gems at the company.
 
He has more stories to tell, and I hope to get him to divulge more of his past for the camera. People like Mike impress me because of their ability to approach many different disciplines with great success.
 
This video, I feel, only scratches the surface...

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  • Cool interview.

    I agree with you, Rory, I never thought much about a driver's role in having to interpret complex or messy or inconsistent hardware signals and convert them into a consistent API for talking with the rest of the system.

    Sounds pretty tough.
  • That was a great interview! I really enjoyed the casual style. Maybe it's just because I've been studying calc III for 12 hours Expressionless, but it was extremely satisfying to watch.

    I've watched nearly every channel 9 video and have been here since the site started but have never felt the need to leave a comment before now. I just wanted to encourage you to do more videos like this. It had a great mix of interesting personal stories, geek culture, and education, especially since we don't get to hear much from the CE side of the company.

    The first point on the channel 9 doctrine talks about how it is all about the conversation and it is not a marketing tool. Many of the videos on here I feel lean too heavily towards marketing, pure product demonstrations for example, which I can understand and obviously they have their audience on here that want that material which is fine. But this video I felt really exemplified what channel 9 is all about at its core. It put a human face on a part of Microsoft I never knew much about and frankly would never really have any reason to trust if I ever needed to at some point. And it started a conversation which has me thinking about practicing my state diagrams for my comp. arch. exam tomorrow, make that today!


    If you do get a chance to talk to Mike again, or if he reads this comment, it would interesting to hear about the different positions people fill in the CE group. I imagine it would be very different from the roles people play in the software side of things, but I don’t know. And as a CS major leaning more and more to the hardware side of things I think it would interesting to find out what kinds of jobs people do there.

    Sorry for the long reply,
    Adam

  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change

    Well said, Adam. Rory has brought the human-ness back to Channel 9.

    Sometimes it's easy to forget the human component of technology and engineering, which is really the most important part. After all, humans make software, people create technology and think up innovation. Even here on the Death Star.

    Thank you, Rory. Great to have you here.

    C

  • um Rory did you shake his hand at the end there? He should put up a plaque saying he did so Cool.

    Real good interview btw, much props.
  • webmonkeywebmonkey How am i supposed to code with theeeeeese ?
    Really cool interview, probably one of the most interesting I've seen for ages.

    It's amazing to think something MS was going to do 13 years ago (VOD) has only just in the last ~5 years started and only now with the advent of IPTV is it really starting to happen on a mass scale.

    More of these please Rory, and another with mike would be great some time Big Smile

  • MassifMassif aim stupidly high, expect to fail often.
    Interesting video.

    Perhaps could have done with a slightly wider zoom though, it looked a little cramped! Just having space around you two would have made it looked a little less confined.

    I've touched on driver development in the past, and it's a really painful field to work in. So it was interesting to hear all this stuff being talked about.
  • Christian Liensbergerlittleguru <3 Seattle
    I think that most people here liked the Bill Hill videos so much, because he is also very natural in his videos and speaks about different things and not only products (+ marketing).
  • MinhMinh WOOH!  WOOH!
    Charles wrote:
    

    Well said, Adam. Rory has brought the human-ness back to Channel 9.

    Wait...what? When did C9 lose its human-ness?
  • I agree with the above posters, the quality of this interview is a step above what has been on channel9 in the past. Channel9 has a very bright furture if Rory can keep this up.
  • Brilliant one !

     

    More videos on hardware stuff wanted by devs !

     

    Cheers

     

     

  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change
    Minh wrote:
    
    Charles wrote: 

    Well said, Adam. Rory has brought the human-ness back to Channel 9.

    Wait...what? When did C9 lose its human-ness?


    It should be implicit that I am referring to videos given this a video thread and Rory does video interviews.

    Point is, I've been solely focused on technology (not marketing...there is a big difference) and not the humans behind it. This is where Rory adds extreme value to the C9 mix.

    C
  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    MegaTrain wrote:
    Cool interview.

    I agree with you, Rory, I never thought much about a driver's role in having to interpret complex or messy or inconsistent hardware signals and convert them into a consistent API for talking with the rest of the system.

    Sounds pretty tough.


    That interview left me walking away with a lot of thoughts.

    I had always thought of device driver work as just being the job of writing software that made it possible to access hardware. It sounded straightforward, you know? In my mind, hardware, because of its physical nature, and because of all the logic involved, should be perfect (provided there are no issues with the materials themselves).

    That thought seems pretty naive now Smiley I don't know why I ever would have thought that (aside from the whole Boolean logic thing).

    I actually like the reality better, though. It sounds like much more fun. A bit tedious, yeah, but the difficulties sound like a fun challenge.

    The example of a button firing seven times after having only been pressed once really pleased me. It also started to shed light on why some device drivers are so frikkin' huge. I imagine code that's nothing but a thousand if...then sequences Smiley

    Ultimately, what I loved so much about the portion of this interview that covered driver development, was that Mike explained it so clearly. It reminded me of the clarity with which Charles Petzold explained circuits and logic in the book "Code".

    All so cool...
  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    XavierS wrote:
    

    That was a great interview! I really enjoyed the casual style. Maybe it's just because I've been studying calc III for 12 hours , but it was extremely satisfying to watch.

    I've watched nearly every channel 9 video and have been here since the site started but have never felt the need to leave a comment before now. I just wanted to encourage you to do more videos like this. It had a great mix of interesting personal stories, geek culture, and education, especially since we don't get to hear much from the CE side of the company.

    The first point on the channel 9 doctrine talks about how it is all about the conversation and it is not a marketing tool. Many of the videos on here I feel lean too heavily towards marketing, pure product demonstrations for example, which I can understand and obviously they have their audience on here that want that material which is fine. But this video I felt really exemplified what channel 9 is all about at its core. It put a human face on a part of Microsoft I never knew much about and frankly would never really have any reason to trust if I ever needed to at some point. And it started a conversation which has me thinking about practicing my state diagrams for my comp. arch. exam tomorrow, make that today!


    If you do get a chance to talk to Mike again, or if he reads this comment, it would interesting to hear about the different positions people fill in the CE group. I imagine it would be very different from the roles people play in the software side of things, but I don’t know. And as a CS major leaning more and more to the hardware side of things I think it would interesting to find out what kinds of jobs people do there.

    Sorry for the long reply,
    Adam



    Don't be sorry for the long reply - it was one of the nicest things anybody's said so far about any of the stuff I've done an C9 - makes it all seem very worthwhile Smiley

    Anyway, glad you liked it. Mike was a great guy to interview.

    And we will be chatting with him again. There's a lot more to the guy - a lot of stuff we didn't cover in this interview.

    He has some very interesting thoughts, hobbies, and so on. I don't think he spends much time with his brain in neutral. Seems like the sort who's always thinking about something...
  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    Charles wrote:
    

    Well said, Adam. Rory has brought the human-ness back to Channel 9.

    Sometimes it's easy to forget the human component of technology and engineering, which is really the most important part. After all, humans make software, people create technology and think up innovation. Even here on the Death Star.

    Thank you, Rory. Great to have you here.

    C



    Word, yo. It's great to be here. Seriously.

    This job rocks.

  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    papavb wrote:
    um Rory did you shake his hand at the end there? He should put up a plaque saying he did so .

    Real good interview btw, much props.


    Sometimes people catch me by surprise.

    The handshake in this video was one such example Smiley If you watch, you can see that I laugh the tiniest bit when shaking his hand (at least that's how I remember it).

    It wasn't until mid-shake that I realized I was shaking someone's hand.

    All ended well, though, as there's free Purell all over campus. My germaphobia was satisfied with a nice chemical coat of the stuff.
  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    Massif wrote:
    Interesting video.

    Perhaps could have done with a slightly wider zoom though, it looked a little cramped! Just having space around you two would have made it looked a little less confined.


    Agreed.

    Our cameras have the capability to do 16:9, but we don't use it.

    I'm hoping that we change that, though - and as soon as possible. I could really use some 16:9.
  • This is like my favourite video, I actually understood it and learnt a few things. Smiley
  • Mame, how does some one go about porting an emulator like that?

  • gs_cmansgs_cmans geek
    is these videos still alive....i am unable to get it streamed or download it

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