Coffeehouse Thread

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Roll call - tell us who you are!

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  • User profile image
    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

  • User profile image

    I'm Karthik Narayanaswami, a graduate student doing my masters in HCI (CS) at Georgia Tech. I graduated last year with an engineering degree in ECE from the University of Madras.

    I worked during all four years of my UG as a Research Intern on a lot of cool stuff - especially AI, HCI, Graphics and Software Engineering. Right now, I'm working mostly on the use of my EE/AI/Graphics skills in HCI in creating anthropomorphic intelligent agents and robots.

    I'm a CS, EE, Physics and Music geek. Other non-geeky things I do are rock-climbing, live concerts (the rock variety), travelling and reading.

    And at the moment, I'm hunting for internships and even have an interview scheduled at Redmond sometime this month end! Smiley 

  • User profile image

    Hey all ... I'm Lenn Pryor aka one of the 5 guys from Redmond who drank too much cold medicine one day and had visions of a thing called Channel 9. Before you know it me and the team were dreaming dreams of a site where people came together and geeked out ... another day I woke up and you were all here.

    I came to Microsoft in 1997 after a few years with a start-up that I co-founded in San Francisco back in the gold rush days. I have worked in developer relations and developer evangelism ever since I started here. Funny because I am not much of a developer.

    I have worked on loads of Microsoft products from IE and the Site Builder Network Team, to Pocket PC, to .NET, and even ran Longhorn's evangelism efforts for the past few years. After my team pulled together the last PDC, I moved on and started the Channel 9 group and have just been having the time of my life.

    I am originally from Washington D.C. and I now live in Laguna Hills, California. Yup, my team and I live our lives through IM and email, but I get to see them often when I go up to Seattle. I have two Miniature Pinschers named Jack and Jill, a cat named Mr. Nut, and a lovely wife, Melissa, at home. I started my career as a designer and artist and have never lost my passion for creation. I blow glass, take tons of pictures, and spend time at the beach for fun.

    Nice to have you all here.

  • User profile image

    Oh dear, I'm far less interesting. My name is Mort and a scriptoholic. No, wait, that's not right, my name is... Tim the enchanter... no, ugh...

    Ah, right, I'm Kent (old English for bright white) Tegels (German for tile) which makes me old white square. Doomed from birth. Sigh.

    I've been writing code since Punch Cards. And Paper Tape. I had a Pet PET named Vic (after Vic Tayback, naturally). My first language was probably either FORTRAN or Assembler... its all such a haze now. I remember this OS called Xenix, too. Rather interesting, came from a company called Microsoft. Then we got these bits labelled OS/2. I suppose if you wanted half of an Operating System, that was a fine choice.

    My salad days were spending writing C (not C++ mind you, you persnicky kids with your new fangled Classes and Virtual Methods) using Turbo C then MS C 6.

    On DOS. On a 25mhz 386 with one megabyte of RAM.

    Ah, those were so not the good old days.

    Then we upgraded to 486es, at least. 486SXes.
    And we did a ton of floating point work. I remember crying when I got a Pentium-90 and reduced my 8-hour ratebook program to 3 minutes of run time.

    I took a career detour through Marketing. Could you blame me? The land of milky honies. Turns out thought that, for me anyway, it was like visiting Oz.. after dropping Acid... and drinking 12 cups of coffee.

    Came to my senses, I did the Webmaster thing. Viper. Oh so cool. Well, oh so less jank than CGI, anyway.

    I now work for a darned good Architecture and Engineering company where I get to go to meetings and say things like "Web Services will help us extend the reach of our Extranet to create value for our clients" and "Brown rices is Ok" and "Ah! I'm covered in Bees!"

    Along the way, I've been to school. Studied just about anything that would help me not get a good job. Let me tell you, Economics sure sounds good what with all of the talk about money. But on the other hand, you've never seen an Economist have his own TV series or line of BBQ Sauces have you now?

    Oh, and I've help write a few books about MS Data Access Technologies like the Indexing Service, ADO, ADO.NET and ASP.NET. I've never met a certification test I didn't like and at various times have had more letters in my designations than in my name. Fat lot of good that did me (unless you want to get into a discussion about the income tax ramifications of taking premature but substantially equal distributions from a qualified retirement plan priority to age of 59.5 based on a joint-and-life-certain distribution basis)

    These days, I mostly have just try to be a good tenzo for the masses, serving up little bits of IT vitures with six flavors.

    Outside of this, I have an equally-geeky-but-less verbose wife in Omaha. Yes, you've heard of Omaha. Its that spot on the map most distant from everything.

  • User profile image

    My name's Andy Gaskell. I'm a consultant for Inetium, a MS shop in the Twin Cities. I've been a developer for 5 years. The first 2.5 years I was a VB developer and for the past 2.5 years I've been a C# developer.

    Outside of work I spend time with family, work on my personal software projects, and tweak my VW. I'm also big fan of the Homestar Runner.

  • User profile image

    Hello !

    I'm Dave Oliver, Software Architect for a large UK company.

    I design and build 24/365 enterprise system, been pushing the G with Microsoft kit for over 10 years.

    .Net for me is a coming of age for Microsoft and I love it!

    Outside of work, Lou and I are planning our wedding in July this year. My days of beer fueled nights are coming to an end! Smiley



  • User profile image

    I am E. Bruce Shankle III.
    Living in Raleigh, NC, USA right here!

    Started CodeMarine, did COM training, drove Don Box's Porsche at PDC (he's a nice guy). Lost interest in that.

    Did a stint at Epic Games after creating UnDox. I go to E3 when I can. Gave up on the dream of developing a game when budgets ballooned into the millions and I saw the size of game industry egos.

    I'm a senior codemonkey and project manager for Data Design Associates...doing .Net frameworks for the home healthcare segment.

    Used to author articles (some linked here) for what was then called MIND (now MSDN). Even got the cover a time or two!

    Have developed several apps (yes, shipping apps) based on MS tech, but I'm still looking for my pot of gold. Can't seem to get that whole stock-options thing figured out.

    I Like to fly.
    Play Piano.
    Love to Create and Solve.

    Wanna know more? Go here: (I have an OLD essay there about Open Source that has been somewhat prophetic...well sortof).

    I've recently taken an interest cars, wish I could afford the RX-8.

    I'm watching tech jobs go overseas...sorta nervous about that.

    Am I gonna have to move to India?

    Glad to see Microsoft making this effort to actually talk to developers....when do I get to see Balmer screaming "Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!" lol...

  • User profile image

    My name's Iain, currently just finishing up my BSc in Information Management and Computing in the UK. I'm investigating the uses of weblogs to professional organisations, so Channel9 is right up my street. After graduation I hope to go places both in the world of IT and music.

    OS timeline:
    (1986)Acorn BBC -> (1991)System 7 -> (1998)Windows 98 -> (2000)Mac OS 9 + many Windows, SunOS/random Unix -> (2001)Mac OS X + many Windows, Unix

    No preference to technology, if it works, it's good. If it doesn't, just apply some Impact Engineering (hitting it).

  • User profile image

    I am Amir Ahmed Ansari from Pakistan. I had to post my bio previously to correct allegations of being a slashdot cronnie!!! But to put this in 'context' here it is again: I started out on computers using LOGO in 5th grade. Graduated to BASIC in sixth and bought my first C book in grade 9 then a C++ book and then got bored and started doing maths and physics. Got my own computer in 1997 (after twelfth grade) and again started out on C++, during my freshman year in college I started on Windows Programming using plain Windows Api and then started on MFC. But I really got the hang of MFC when I got my job as Software Engineer in 2001 and got to do some real world stuff. I kept on until mid of 2003 when I left to complete my MS research thesis and am expecting to complete it this semester. And well thats just about it. Oh yeah, and I had a fling with Linux during 1998-99 but have left it since.

  • User profile image

    I am Andrew Vaverka from Czech Republic. I am student, 14 years old. I know very good Visual Basic 6. Now trying to learn VB.NET and C#.
    I had my 1st computer sinced year 1995. Smiley

    > have fun


  • User profile image

    You can find all the non-work stuff at my personal web site (see icon link on left).

    Did computing at school to avoid having to do sport, in the days when we had to use punched cards and an acoustic coupler to the local college. Had some naive idea that it would be doing magic stuff like on Star Trek, but found I really enjoyed it anyway. I did a degree in Computer Science at Loughborough University (UK), got hooked on PC programming through a Commodore Pet and then a BBC Model 'B', and ended up initially at IBM at Hursley before moving on to Southern Gas, Middle East (4 years in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait), and then back to the UK for Oracle and then Amdahl. Effectively I spent the 20 years after graduating primarily as a mainframe CICS systems programmer. I dropped out of it all to work in the dance music industry (DJing at weekends at a big London nightclub and a column in an American dance magazine got me visibility) but after a couple of years found myself doing the record label's web site and writing their club promotions system in Access 2. Somehow I got back into being a corporate droid and left the music stuff behind.

    Am self-employed (ie freelance developer) and spent the last four years working at a large motor vehicle manufacturer on e-commerce sites, initially VB6 and COM and then became lead developer on several .Net C# projects (talk about the blind leading the blind Wink) before it all went pear-shaped as .Net work dried up, J2EE became the company gospel and freelancers were "let go". Currently working for a small IT company that specialises in work for the National Health Service. Am much happier working now as a plain old "developer" rather than a "lead developer" or "architect" (no meetings, dealing with personalities and never getting time to actually write code - hoorah!)  Nearly all my work had been web (ie ASP focussed) rather than traditional Windows Forms and I'm FINALLY starting to "get" object-oriented programming (it's taken years to shake off a lot of my procedural language baggage).

  • User profile image

    Hi, I'm Simon and I'm an alcoh... oops wrong topic. Hi I'm Simon, I'm from Melbourne, Australia and I'm doing Year 12 in high school

    I started to learn about computers about 7 years ago with MS-DOS as my roots (even though Windows 95 was out at the time), and I'm always learning new things about technology, I found Channel 9 from

    I don't have certificates (yet) because I havn't finished high school but I will at the end of the year, anyway I do know a lot about the workings of Windows 9x/XP and have recently installed Windows 2003 on my home server as a Domain Controller so I'm learning quite a lot about that too.

    I enjoy helping friends with their computer troubles, hardware, web designing, forums/weblogs, the occasional game, THE SIMPSONS and want to study Networking/Security in University.

    I really like Channel 9 because I like the ideas behind it, and I like to keep up with the news of what's going on in the IT world, it's a pleasure to be here.

  • User profile image

    Hi, I am Jerry, working for, yeah sorry, they dont want me to tell Sad - but I've Been Moved often from one office to another Wink

    Loved the C64, worked with a Sharp 1401, 1403, 1465 Programable Calculators. First Pc was a Commodore PC 20 III. Helped a friend who owned a Hardware Shop building PCs.
    Since 1994 enjoying the AS/400, but also a true Windows fan.
    Questions? - just ask me Wink


  • User profile image
    Kevin Daly

    Hi, My name's Kevin (note how that's cleverly disguised in my username...), and I'm from New Zealand. Because somebody has to be.
    I started learning various varieties of Basic in the early '80s while I was at university studying French (yep, I graduated). One of my brothers, being gainfully employed, bought a succession of small computers, starting with the Sinclair ZX80, through ZX81, BBC model B and BBC Master. The Sinclair machines were interesting because it took great ingenuity to actually fit a working program into the memory available (originally 1-4K). The BBC had a nice version of BASIC, good graphics and some very cool OS hooks. Space was still constrained...I remember learning 6502 assembler and thinking "OK, now where am I going to put this?". To which the answer was usually "well, we don't seem to be using the function key buffer right now...".
    Eventually in late '86 I ended up as a trainee programmer, and spent the next 11 years doing mainframe programming, mostly COBOL. Ickiness reigned.
    In late '97 I managed to land a job in Ireland, COBOL again to begin with, but because our actual development was done on PCs that soon led to Visual Basic, which led to ASP, VB Script, Javascript, XML, XSLT and other wonderful things. Even Oracle Smiley. Our flagship financial services website was begun around early 2000 and included an early use of what we would now call web services - A company called Inse-Com started by the local insurance companies would provide auto insurance quotes in XML format, the queries themselves also being in XML format. So it was a web service without SOAP. Since ServerXMLHTTP had not yet been released I remember spending two full days (i.e. no actual sleep) researching how to write a component that could do Winsock calls in the background. That was fun. That particular sub-project started an abiding affection for XSLT (that's how I presented the results).
    At the end of July 2001 I came back to New Zealand because the market was on a downturn, and I had only intended to stay in Ireland for 2 years originally.
       Since then I have been working as Senior Developer with the Department of Conservation. I was one of the people who persuaded the department to adopt .NET around November 2001 (during the final Beta phase), and have been a C# developer ever since. 
    Most of my time is spent on ASP.NET and (to a lesser extent) desktop WinForms, but I'm fascinated by device development - one of my favourite achievements last year was having a user perform a successful test of a web service client on a Pocket PC on an active volcano (long story), and a couple of weeks ago I ported my favourite "Let's see how well this works" web service client from Pocket PC to Smartphone 2003. That was fun. I also got to attend the PDC last now I'm seriously interested in and impatient for all the new stuff (I was also very pleased to see what was coming up for the Pocket PC, of course).
    For the future, I'd love to work in Europe again soon (if anyone feels like hiring .NET-enabled aliens...)   

  • User profile image

    Hey all, I'm Marcus. I graduated in July 2003 with a BS in Computer Science. I've been working with C# since late 2001(if my memory is correct). I was really impressed with the language and have coding mainly with it ever since.

    For me see my website

  • User profile image

    HEllo!  I'm Howard, working for Microsoft Asia Pacific office.  I'm ABC (American Born Chinese)... spent my youth in California and Florida.  Went to university in Washington DC and after graduation moved to Seattle to work for Microsoft.

    I was in the product group for about 5 years... test lead in the Office group (specific things I worked on were Excel Data Access, Office Web Components, SharePoint surveys / issue tracker / Great Plains integration / and many things that never saw the light of day, Data Analyzer, and mostly PivotTable stuff).

    I had always wanted to see what it would be like to live outside the US, so about a year ago this opportunity to work with the academic community came up, so I made the transition.  Now I'm based in Singapore and it's travel, travel, travel to all the countries in Asia.  Quite exciting (and quite tiring).

    Ah, some days I miss the pleasant experience of working on the Redmond campus...

    But mostly it is awesome to be in Asia and see just how fast things are growing out here!

  • User profile image

    Hi my name is Wayne Conrad and I currently reside in Mansfield, Ohio.
    I don't really have an idea how to program anything, nor do I work for MS, nor do I... in fact what am I doing here?  j/k
    I have always been interested in computers and have been using them regularly since the days of the TRS-80 and Timex/Sinclair (if you can call it a computer).
    I enjoy keeping up on the ins and outs of technology just wish I had a way to contribute, and in a way possible can through this wonderful idea of Channel 9.

    Btw, I'm currently unemployed so if anyone is looking for someone with no programming skills but willing to learn and great with customers..... 

    Soon I'll have DSL so I can actually enjoy more of this site instead of the wait for the videos reminding me of watching colorbars.

  • User profile image

    I'm James Guthrie, 19 from Glasgow, Scotland.
    I'm about to start an HND in Software Development and I'm head of the QA department of Media-Spark Ltd. - a mobile content distributor.

    I'll be going to Uni in '06 to do a degree - probably BSc Games Software Development unless I can get permanent employment.

    I'm currently working on porting the Dosbox emulator to Symbian Series 60 phones.

    Anyway, that's enough for now. I'm just back home from a hard weekend's partying so it's bedtime!

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