Isn't really disappointing and ironic that you have been running Terraserver for almost 10 years without any customer product coming out of it and if it was not for Google and its maps, perhaps it might have stayed that way? Where was MSN all these years?
About accessibility, I know that many people use the Save AS Text option in Adobe Reader to save the PDF as text in order to read it. Some PDFs save to text without losing any of their connents. However, some do not save at all because they are represented as a picture in the PDF or save only parts of the contents.
Will an Office 12 Word Document converted to a PDF and then from Adobe Reader 7 saved as text retain its textual contents in full? If not then we have a serious accessibility issue.
Also, nobody ever asked MS employees which development tools they use. You said that you use C and now C++ but which development environments do you use on a daily basis? Visual Stuiod? How is your build system? How do you check in and out code? How do team members collaborate? Do you have a special platform for that? Which editor do you use for writing code? Do you use some tools on a daily basis which we can use as well? What tools and code testing utilities do you recommend?
I think we can learn a lot by seeing how MS employees write and manage a large software project, like Word, in practice and not only in theory.
I want to aks to what extend is Visual Studio used inside Microsoft. Is the Windows team using it to write Windows? The Office team, Channel9 is written in ASP.NET in Visual Studio?
Generally, how do developers work atMicrosoft. Do they write their code in the VS editor? Do they design their Win32 guis in Visual Studio using MFC? Where do they design their WinForms apps in Visual Studio? Do they edit and format their code in the VS editor or do they use another text editor like Notepad? And if so why not VS?
How are the various programs built? I do not think that they are built using Visual Studio. Are make files used to built Windows or what? How do developers check in code using VS or not?
How do you debug your code and how do you prophile it. Do you use the VS debugger? Whic prophiler do you use to test Windows or Office? If Windows or Office are built using make file how can developers use the full debugging cababilities of VS? Why are projects or solutions not used and how do you expect you customers to use them for large projects?
And so on and so on. If as he said, Windows is the largest software project in the history of mankind, then please share your experiences and the processes developing it. Write a book perhaps: The largest software project in the history of mankind.
As you said ASP.NET works only on Microsoft products. Why is that? I mean I know that porting the framework to other oses might not be desirable or monetarily fisible, however what about the webserver part. Why can't Microsoft provide a free module, like it does for IIS, that will allow Apatche running on Windows to access ASP.NET? Don't you think that this will make ASP.NET even more appealing and accessible?
Thanks for the interview anyway.
Sep 21, 2005 at 1:04 PM
What I want to know is what information is collected with the Customer Experience Improvement Program as well. Programs like Office 2003, Windows Media Player and MSN Messenger include an option for the Customer Experience Improvement Program. This option when selected sends anonymous information to Microsoft about the usage of that particular application. What we do not know is what kind of information is sent to Microsoft. We want more info on that. So please interview the Customer Experience Improvement people.
What about pop access? Are there some thoughts on how to enable pop access through many kinds of mail clients not only Outlook? Are there some thoughts on how to enable pop access and be profitable ie. the ads are on the site but not in a desktop client? Are there some thoughts on enabling pop access and not help spammers along at the same time? In any case, pop access would be very useful, however rich the web experience might be or become. With a desktop client you could certainly do much more like the ability to easily backup or transfer all your mail.
Talking about backing-up or transfering your mail from one service to another are there some thoughts on that? Are there some thoughts on creating a standard way of exchanging mail, contacts and calendar info amongst web-based mail services? Like an rss extention or something?
Talking about calendar are you thinking of implementing a rich calendaring experience as well? This is at least a place where there is no competitor yet who has implemented an ajax-based calendaring experience. And in any case, calendaring needs a lot of improvements. It needs to become a mainstream activity. How many users now use the current Hotmail Calendar? How many don't and why not? Do you find calendaring solutions, especially web-based ones, to be optimal? Clearly not and with your experience with the Office Outlook product you could certainly inovate in this space.
Talking about other Microsoft generally, or MSN specifically, products are there some thoughts of better integration between your services? Currently sites are scattered all around the place: start.com, msn.com, MSN developer center on msdn, etc, etc. Inconsistent user interface whilst msn.com has not really improved: still toooo overloaded. You have some really good services but who knows about them: MSN Games, MSN Video, etc? More integration and more awareness through a cleaner and consistent user experience would greatly help.
After all, there is a reason why Google's new services are all conveniently placed under lab.google.com. Were is the MSN equivalent? There is a reason why underneath every beta or new Google service there is a convenient Discuss link for feedback but not only one-way feedback but two-way feedback. Where is the MSN or Microsoft equivalent? How can I report a bug in Microsoft products? A whole mess.
Talking about integration that would be nice but also you should be careful to allow third parties to plug into your services. Where is the inovative api platform: eg. the MSN Activity API is a good step but too complicated to make your activity available to the public (you have to go through the Bestapp contest and still your activity is only available on a little known by users website).
Integration is bad if done to the extreme: allow a link to publish to my blog but only if that blog is on MSN Spaces. Why don't you allow an api by which you could publish to any blog service. Standards like these need to be driven by someone and MSN is in a good position to do that. Instead of thinking only about your own services and their integration, or simply thinking about exposing the MSN properties through an api set (eg. MSN Search), you should think more on how to drive more standards which will unify more the current and future web-based and xml web services. After all, the platform that succeeds is a platform that gets wide adoption not only by developers and end users but also by competitors through standards or through rich interoperability.
Also, I want to ask the program manager the following programming questions:
If ajax is so powerful why write desktop apps any more? I mean with the new Hotmail it seems that you can do everything: reproduce Office Outlook on the web, even drag and drop. After all, html programming is more appealing to everyone. Ask university students what they know better: how to write a web site or how to write a Windows application. "Windows application?" they will say, "What is that and how do I write one, how do I get started". Writing html is much easier and there is a lot of matterial on the web on how to get started. Most of the university assignments or program developed for students' thesis that are not scientific but are more in the sphere of user productivity are built on the web: scheduling systems, portals, education systems for distance learning, etc, etc.
In the video you show your evil activex control and what it does is issue the "format c:" command. Actually, this command will fail since the C drive is in use by the operating system and cannot be formated and since the format command needs confirmation before it formats a harddisk, although the latter might be bypassed I guess. However, you are the IE Security Team and I hope that you know this. After all, hacker do much worse things and I hope that you know much more than you are telling us on their methods and on all the harmful senarios that are out there. Because a simple format c: is nothing and you should know that. I hope that your internal testing examples are much more sofisticated than what you say publicly.
A feature that I would have liked is the ability to sort folder listings by most resently used item. What I mean is the more I access a file the further to the top of the folder listing it should appear. This will be very useful since I will be able to find the files eg. documents that I have recently accessed without the need of a recent documents menu. All document folders should support this. I should be able to switch between sorting the files by any of the columns eg. name, date, etc and also sorting the files by most or least recently used (accessed, opened). Can such a feature be implemented?
Daylight Saving feature and Windows Disk Protection:
I remember in the past we were using a disk protection system. It work fine but it had one serious issue. It wouldn't apply the setting for Daylight Saving or it would apply it indefinitely. Somewhere, in the registry I guess, Windows stores if it has apply the Daylight Saving change or not. With Disk Protection and since everything is reverted to what it was before, Windows used to lose account of what it had done and so this feature was affect.
I don't know if you Windows Disk Protection feature suffers from the same issue as our old protection system since I did not test it because I do not want to change my computer clock. But please have that in mind. What about other things that Windows needs to keep count of like, auto-update the time (fixing the time) every x number of days. Is it affect by Windows Disk Protection?
I agree that all programs in Windows should be in a single folder like Program Files. However, what I am saying is also that Program Files should not be hard-coded in the code. You should use a way of retrieving the special folder name for the Programs folder because in other Windows version Program Files might be called something else or in especially in other languages this is the case. So, the installer should iether change at install all the references to c:\program files to whatever folder is at the time the default for programs or it should be determined at runtime by the code. After, c: is not always the program partition as well. I have seen many computers which have all programs installed to D:Progrm files, etc.
I will read the manual. Thanks.