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View Thread: Roll call - tell us who you are!
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    Robert Hess

    As my avatar reveals, I'm Robert Hess. I had been Jeff's manager until Lenn stole him (and Bryn, Charles, and Scoble) away from me so he could start up this whole Channel 9 thing. But onto my bio (as if anybody cared)

    A long time ago, on a keyboard far, far, away...

    Born in Seattle, and raised in Washington State all of my life, my computer life began while attending High School in Olympia... a bunch of us would go out to The Evergreen State College and find various ways to get computer time so we can teach ourselves programming (and play games). This was around 1975.

    I got a job at Boeing in 1980 and ran several computer centers, all of them PDP 11/70's, using FORTRAN, and various other languages to assist with various aspects of airplane research.

    During this time I bought a TI-99/4A, and after that system sank into the mire, never to rise again, I picked up an Apple //c, and later an Apple IIgs. I began not only writing semi-commercial software, but also had a regular column in "Call A.P.P.L.E." magazine... and in fact was one of the people who turned off the last lights in the building whey they closed down. (wow! researching these links I found out that Call A.P.P.L.E. has actually been re-formed! Amazing...)

    My last two years at Boeing was in a "two-man" group that was developing a graphical operating system coded entirely in Modula-2. But I knew that Boeing just wasn't for me, and so after 9 years, I interviewed at Microsoft.

    I had looked at Windows 2.0 whie at Boeing, and in fact had even recommended to my management that we port the applications we were developing onto this system since it appeared to provide far better device flexibility then the one we were writing did. But I came to Microsoft without having ever actually done any Windows development.

    My first position was doing Windows Developer Support... which meant I had a -lot- of cramming to do in order to get up-to-speed. But did so well that when they opened up the first OS/2 Developer Support team, I was asked to join it. And in a few months I was managing it.

    I then moved over to OS/2 development, where I stayed for about a year before joining the newly founded "Systems Marketing" team... which later became known as the "Evangelism" team (aka. Developer Relations Group) of Microsoft. Our role was to focus on the "next" versions of Windows, and help the "cutting edge" developers understand how to best put it through its paces.

    In 1995 I hosted an amazing day-long technology show that was telecast -live- to theaters around the world. It was called "World Wide Live". It focused on showing developers what the key features were of Windows 95, and provide them with details they could use in developing new applications. We did another World Wide Live in 1996, and in 1997, with those two broadcasts clearly taking on more of an "Internet" focus.

    As the internet took off, and Microsoft got more involved with it, I started writing regular articles for both "Sidebuilder Network" (a site for web developers which eventually merged with MSDN) and "Microsoft Interactive Developer" (a magazine for Internet developers, which eventually merged with "Microsoft Systems Journal" to become MSDN Magazine), and continued doing that for several years.

    In 1999, I was asked by my boss to think about how to take the media concept of "World Wide Live" and bring it to the web, and do it on a more regular basis... from this idea, I ended up creating "The MSDN Show" (now known as "The .NET Show"), which continues posting "almost" monthly web casts that features whatever technology that I think my audience might be interested in.

    Besides working on The .NET Show, my current role includes managing a small team of developers who are focused on developing demos, sample applications, and prototypes that assist folks both outside, as well as inside of the company to get a better idea of how our platform technologies can be utilized to develop exciting applications and services. We developed several of the keynote demos that were shown at the PDC, as well as working with several of the industry leading companies to assist them in rolling out versions of their applications that utilize our technologies. I wake up every morning and am surprised that I actually get paid for this :->

    Oh... and for anybody interested in what I do for fun outside of work, you can check it out here, here, and here.

    (so, half the fun of this was going back and finding all of the links to various things from my past...)

    -Robert Hess