August M. LaFleur

August M. LaFleur

August Manross LaFleur was born late Thursday evening weighing 7lbs and laying 19 inches long. His first words upon entering this world were unintelligible and awaiting audio analysis. Several witnesses reported that the words were something to the effect of “What did I do to deserve these guys for a family?”.

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What I Learned at PAX East

What I Learned at PAX East

I spent Saturday at PAX East 2013 in Boston. If you’re not familiar with PAX, it is a conference put on by the folks at Penny Arcade. If you enjoying “gaming” (in any form) then this is your nirvana. They cover quite a bit of ground from table-top to video games to cosplay… Just imaging if a scheduling SNAFU resulted in E3 and Comic-Con happening in the same building.

Along with accumulating more swag than I can mentally process at the moment, I learned:

  • The folks at Kickstarter are even cooler than Kickstarter itself. I have a fantastic conversation about mentoring new entrepreneurs.  These guys are dedicated to building more than just a platform for funding, they are passionate about engaging and educating people. Love these guys.
  • The press can talk all they want about Android market-share. Yes, they sell a ton of devices but this show really highlighted what those of us in the tech industry have known for a while; Apple still owns the cool kids.  An orchard would be envious of the amount of Apples in one place.
  • People like the Surface, a lot. There were very few boots with a Surface running their wares, but the few that were had people asking as many questions about the device as the software it was running. This shouldn’t be too surprising since Penny Arcade made some noise about loving the Surface Pro but it was refreshing to see.
  • Indi-games are no longer poorly built second-class citizens. I saw some jaw-dropping work being done by very small studios (many of whom used Kickstarter for what it is worth). More importantly, their booths were packed with teenagers and college students. Lesson: the company to capture that audience will be the leader in 10 years.
  • If you want to launch a Kickstarter, do so in a panel at a gamer’s conference. The demo at the Kickstarter panel was a new project being launched. It was a card-came called Werewolf and it was fully foundered before the panel was complete. He needed $200 and was crossing $2,500 before the day was over.
Quick Search with IE9

Quick Search with IE9

One of my complaints with IE9 was that it lost the dedicated search control. Instead you enter everything right into the Address Bar. This isn’t an issue when you enter “African Elephant” but if you enter a single word (say “Elephant”) it needs to figure out if there is a valid destination (http://elephant is a valid URI format) before it decides to search for Elephant. If you’re on a large network, that can take some time.

Today I learned a new trick; CTRL-E. This drops you directly into the address bar with a “?” at the front. Enter anything, it will immediately execute a search.

Now I can find Elephants right away; which if you had a 10 year old in your house obsessed with Elephants wouldn’t seem as nearly as strange.

First Few Weeks of Microsoft

There are thousands of stories out there talking about “drinking from the firehouse” that is Microsoft. This isn’t one of them. Why? Because I got lucky, that is why.

When you join any organization, the first thing you have to do is catch up. There are projects in progress and you need to get things in context quickly so you can jump in and help. That is unless you happen to get very lucky and jump in during the final month of the fiscal year. This is when everyone is heads-down with buttoning up projects, prepping annual reviews, polishing plans for the next fiscal year and other such. Turns out I’m a pretty lucky fellow.

It has been a few weeks now, and I’ve been spending that time learning as much as possible. Microsoft has an extensive intranet, chock full of information. Seriously full. Microsoft produces documentation like Kansas produces crenels of corn. In fact one of the first skills you need to hone here is efficient searching.

For now I’m learning as much as I can and gaining my sea legs. For one thing I can be sure of is that the second the new fiscal year kicks off, I’m going to learn what that old firehouse cliché really means.