Tuesday, April 21, 2009

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Microsoft Business Divisions

The fact that Microsoft is a software behemoth is undeniable. Even someone who is not aware of the word 'behemoth' will make a right guess of the word's meaning the moment he reads it along with Microsoft.

For the past 1 1/2 years, re-orgs have been the order of the day at Microsoft. Every time, I come across some news of a Microsoft re-org, the more I get befuddled about their executive hierarchy. So I decided to spend some time and get a pictorial representation of the organization, most importantly, the Platform and Services Division (PSD). The PSD is responsible for Windows, the Live platform, etc., and that's where the action is centered upon, most of the time. Comments, especially those which can fill in the missing pieces of MSFT's corporate jig-saw art, are welcome! Go ahead, pan your eyes down and gorge yourself in my 'exquisite' work! ;-)

The Big Boys

The PSD, hot and happening all the time..

Where the Zune came from.., and I almost forgot- J Allard works here!

Office 2007, Office 14 and counting...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Thanks, Bill Hill!

For the uninitiated, Bill Hill is a typography expert at Microsoft. He is credited with most typography innovations at MSFT.

I had known for a very long time that 'Cleartype' makes reading
on the computer monitor, especially LCD screens, a pleasant experience. But my experiences of enabling Cleartype on my CRT monitors, concurrent with the usage of Segoe as my system font, were nothing much to write about.

I then just stumbled upon this - Microsoft Cleartype Tuner. I then became aware that Cleartype settings are specific to different types of monitors and so it is a must to tweak monitor settings for better results. The good news is that, you can use this on CRT monitors as well and with any by-default available system font. I've been able to see really good results on all the CRT monitors I use. Thank you - Bill and Microsoft.

Microsoft and 'Live'

At last, I am out of my blogging hiatus! If at all somebody holds a patent for the usage of the word 'Live', chances are that the person would have become a billionaire by now! Why so? With the way Microsoft has been including the word 'Live' while branding most of its future services, apps, etc., don't you think I'm right??

Mary Jo Foley has more details here. But I think
'Windows Live Hotmail' is the craziest name ever to come out of Redmond! Looks like branding has been dying a slow death at Microsoft ever since they managed to come up with the ever-sexy, ever-glamourous, ever-poplular name - 'Windows'. Ok.., ok.., leave out XBox and Zune.

Wazzup, Ray Ozzie..?

Friday, December 23, 2005

Adios amigo, Venkat

I never thought while making my previous blog post that my next one would be a looong ten months away and an equally emotional one. But it has turned out to be that way. As my buddy Venkat packs his bags to leave Bangalore and eventually India, here’s a simple snaphot of our short Bangalore timescape, from someone not so simple... (that’s me.., ;-). Read ahead..

Chillin’ out was I during a typical Pondicherry summer last year, when..
‘Whoooosh…’ - that was the sound of the time-winds that blew, sweeping me off my feet!
And then I found myself in the bustling Bangalore city, being trained to morph into a cunning and canny corporate citizen from what I was, a casual college guy.

Away from home, away from family, difficult times..
Put I was amidst a nice group of twelve people from varied origins and places, but.., they all managed to speak a common tongue, which I never understood (and still don’t:-()!

And there were you, my buddy Venkat, always doing your best to translate them for me :-)!

Then came the training days-damn funny ones-always reminding us of our college lives..
Last bench mischiefs, copied quizzes, thunderous guffaws- can never be forgotten-such beautiful days were they!
Making them more rosy were these unforgettable characters- the ‘mysterious’ Shubhadha, ‘dedicated’ GPRS, ‘guy-with-a- funny but great-laugh’ Patra, 'diligent' Deepak, 'funky' HemSAS and the rest.. (sorry, I cudn’t think of adjectives for all )!
Cubicle jokes, ‘on-the- bench’ days..-time whizzed past…!

And ‘Whoooosh…’ once again, gone were people into Lucent and Granite and Actix and what not?
Putting in your papers, a few of you moved on, some cribbed but stayed on!
Projects started and closed, caterers changed, QBMs held-we’ve seen them all…!!

People moved away, things changed, but you stayed on with me, buddy!
Forward to Dec’2005, ‘Whoooosh…’ once again, and this time it’s your turn :-(
But this time, I feel happy (but not without a heavy heart tingling me somewhere :-(), for you embark upon a voyage to success.
All the best, dude! Bon Voyage! Adios amigo..!

Penned by,
-Nirmal Raghavan

Saturday, January 08, 2005

A tribute to Steve Waugh, one of the all-time cricketing greats

A year has passed off since the great man left the world’s cricketing fields as a player. His exit created a void that no one would ever be able to fill.

The cricketing fraternity will remember him forever as a fighter who who never gave up, a tough act who thrived in adverse situations, a role-model who proved that sheer tenacity of will, hard work and
determination is enough to achieve in life, a leader who had no idea that the word ‘surrender’ existed, a player whose career proved to be the ideal synonym for the word ‘consistent’, a captain whose attacking attitude redefined cricketing ethics, a soldier who has left his indelible mark on many of the cricketing battlegrounds across the globe and for many more reasons..!

I still vividly remember that eventful day (Jan’06, 2004) at the Sydney Cricket Ground. A warrior dutifully carrying out the task he is acclaimed for, but for the last time in his career. That portrait of his extraordinary strength of courage and tenacity, painted with his battle-scarred willow, is still etched strongly in my memory.

Just for a moment, imagine yourself in his place- a pressure cauldron. Tens of thousands of your countrymen cheering you, you are on-duty for one last time in your career, your unbeaten captaincy record at home under threat, most of your established companions already back in the pavilion, playing your last innings in front of your home crowd, opposition breathing down your neck..! These reasons are more than enough to make your adrenaline work overtime and send your tear glands out of order. People to this date speculate that the great Sir Donald Bradman was full of tears that he was bowled off a Eric Hollies delivery for naught in his final innings and his average remained at 99.94.

But the great soldier that Tugga was, he never flinched. He took the opposition by the scruff of the neck, carried the attack to the enemy camp and yet again proved his mettle to the world. He entered the cricketing arena as a fighter and remained one all through his career. It is indeed true that great men rightly choose their way and destiny. I believe that he even wouldn’t have predicted such a swansong, when he announced his retirement in advance.

It is true that he lost the battle with time and ageing, in the one-day version of the game. Only very few people have won such battles, which mere mortals dare to fight. But he stepped down from the longer version of the game, which is the purist’s delight and the truer test for a cricketer, only as an Emperor and that too only when he decided it was time to. It has been really difficult for me writing this, trying to restrain my emotions. The Steve Waugh legacy lives on…!

See u soon..!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Microsoft and Developers

It's been quite some time I updated this blog of mine..! Here we go...!

Ever wondered what’s the reason or strategy behind the runaway success of Microsoft? I have…! Some plausible reasons that popped up in my mind…: being one of the first, rather, the first, to turn great ideas into usable, friendly products OR having a huge and successful R&D OR the hype that surrounds the company? Pehaps, a bit of each..!

But one reason really stands out: The company’s firm belief in people’s creativity. I’ll narrow down the class the word ‘people’ encompasses, to ‘developers’, atleast for the context of the present post!

I have constantly feasted my mind (even it’s been for the umpteenth time…) by reading the book ‘Inside Out’ published by Microsoft about its history, vision, path to success, some insight into their business practices, etc., Many a place in the book we can sense the founders’ pride and sense of accomplishment in making people realise their potential! As soon as the Gates-Allen duo realised they had licensed more than a million copies of BASIC, they gratifyingly wonder what all interesting things people would have accomplished using it! The Big Bill himself has noted that Visual Basic has been one of the key reasons for Microsoft’s success over the years.

Microsoft showcases most of its development technologies in the Professional Developer’s Conference. Even one of the key decisions that the software giant has taken in the recent times, to back-port the three new platforms of Windows Longhorn to Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, was based upon developer feedback. Microsoft recently held a Community Technology Preview of the latest build of Avalon, the presentation sub-system of Longhorn.

The most visible and weird of all this is the company CEO Steve Ballmer getting into a frenzy and screaming the word ‘Developers’ 37 times successively (not to mention the crowd, which joined him..!) Such is the belief the company has on people’s potential! Somasegar S, Corporate Vice-President, Developer Vision, believes that, in the long run, the company would be able to give out each and every spec that is written down and receive feedback on them. He intends to share each and every build of the product with the customer.

One of the blogs I read regularly, Microsoft Monitor, mentions that having a wide variety of software products to choose from as one of the reasons to prefer a Windows PC over a Mac! The website Windows Marketplace has over 90,000 softwares to choose from..! This does confirm Microsoft's belief that people tend to be very creative when presented with the right tools. The application 'Datelens' which showcases the innovative UI capabilities of the .NET framework has got widespread acclaim from the public!

No wonder, the theme publicised in the ads of Microsoft is, “Your Potential, Our Passion"!

See U soon..!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Integration- the keyword for the computer industry

It's time to INTEGRAAATE...., right? Yeah!

Microsoft & Google, two of the most successful companies in the industry's history, have firmly set their sights on integrating their services! Need evidence..here are they: Google's Desktop Search Application(Beta)and MSFT's official announcement of their own desktop search application. Not just in the search market, also on the entertainment front. BillG's keynote on the occasion of the Windows XP MCE 2005 launch, portrays the need for integration.

And what's the result of this integration drive? The 'melodies', 'rock', 'pop' playlists that you have in some centralised storage could be accessed by the CD player in your car, the one at your home, in your iPod and what not? Music subscriptions would be available across devices. And how about a single remote control for all the entertainment devices in your home? No need to fiddle around with device-specific controls.

On the same lines, Google recently introduced their desktop search application. Integrating web search with desktop search really does sound exciting (it's still in beta.., anyway that's been Google's style). Just imagine that you use the world's most famous search algorithm to search your PC. Imagine how more productive people can get. Microsoft long back introduced the .NET passport as a single unified login to all its services. Even on the development front, the transition has been from an isolated programming model to the COM and now to .NET. The simple application that you create with the future versions of Visual Studio would seamlessly integrate and take advantage of the tremendous capabilities of WinFS, the future file-system for Windows.

And with the roots of integration growing stronger and deeper, it should be a much joyful eXPerience with tomorrow's software.

See U soon..!