EppsNet Archive: Microsoft

A Matter of Low Importance

6 Oct 2017 /
Low importance

It’s funny that Microsoft Outlook gives you the option to send email and flag it as “Low Importance.”

If it’s low importance, why send it at all?


24 Oct 2014 /

I work at an educational non-profit. Whenever I type the abbreviation HSI (High School Intervention), Microsoft Word automatically “corrects” it to HIS. When I worked at a healthcare organization and typed EHR (Electronic Healthcare Record), Word helpfully “corrected” it to HER.

There’s a nice symmetry to that: HIS and HER.

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

7 Apr 2014 /
Emblem of the Papacy

If you don’t know me and I don’t know you, don’t call me up and shout, “Hey Paul! It’s Zach Flack with Equity Staffing!” as though I might have been sitting by the phone thinking “Wouldn’t it be a little slice of heaven if I got a call from Zach Flack over at Equity Staffing?”

If I don’t know you, but I might recognize your name, then possibly some heightened level of emotion is warranted, e.g., “Hey Paul! It’s Bill Gates with Microsoft!” or “Hey Paul! It’s Pope Francis at the Vatican!”

Otherwise, tone it down and stop annoying people.

The Cure for Missing Attachments

10 Jan 2014 /

I wrote an email in Outlook 2013, concluded by saying “Details are in the attached doc,” then clicked Send without attaching the aforesaid document.

I must not be the only person who does this, because when I clicked Send, this dialog box appeared:

Attachment reminder

Obviously, Outlook is looking for words like “attached” or “attachment” in emails that don’t contain an actual attachment. It turns out that this behavior can be turned on or off in the Outlook Mail options:

 Mail options

I have to admit that I don’t remember if “warn me” is the default option, or if I turned it on at some point in the past and forgot about it.

Agile, ALM, and Agile 2.0 — Putting the Cart Before the Horse?

1 Aug 2013 /
Cart before horse

Speaking of selling chickens still in shells, an august panel of industry giants laid out their recent improvements and plans for ALM products (Application Lifecycle Management, for those not in the know). These guys dazzled the audience with how they’ve moved far beyond simple source code repositories and testing tools to a complete integration of all modern software practices. Quite a coup, indeed, since most real live software developers I’m seeing out there today still aren’t using the practices automated by the ALM tools. . . .

In other words, many software developers aren’t using practices such as test driven development or source version control. Yet here are HP, Microsoft, and IBM announcing new ALM tools that automate more advanced practice in areas not even in use in the first place. Unbelievable.

The Stupidest Thing

17 Oct 2009 /

[Bill] Gates quickly became legendary for telling people that their idea was the stupidest he’d ever heard — so much so that [VP Paul] Maritz would assure them not to worry, “because they weren’t going to hold the record for long.”

In an interview last week, Gates feigned disagreement when it was pointed out that he would often spice up the phrase with an expletive. “No, no, no,” he said, laughing. “Literally, I do say, ‘That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.’ Some people think I add some other word in there, but I don’t — usually.”

Twitter: 2009-05-07

7 May 2009 /

Best and Worst Software Features of the Week

24 Feb 2008 /

I was typing in Microsoft Word and I started a bulleted list with an item like this:

  • Topic1. A sentence about Topic1. And another one.

Then I hit the Enter key.

What do you think happened?

Not only did I get another bulleted list item, Word set the font to bold!

So I typed this:

  • Topic2.

And as soon as I typed the period, Word turned bold off!! Not only did it figure out that I’m creating a bulleted list, it figured out that I’m starting each bullet with bold font, followed by a period, followed by more text in regular font, and it takes care of everything for me automatically! That’s pretty sophisticated.

Compare that to Lotus Notes, which can’t even figure out when I hit Enter twice that I want to turn the bullets off!

We use Notes at work and I swear to God, if I type a bulleted list and hit Enter twice, Notes gives me this:

  • Item 1
  • Item 2
  • Item 3

I actually have to turn bulleting off manually! Does anyone really want to create a bulleted list with multiple empty items?

I’ve never seen another text editor do something this stupid . . .

Like Father, Like Son?

9 Mar 2004 /

The number of students majoring in computer science is falling, even at the elite universities. So [Bill] Gates went stumping at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, M.I.T. and Harvard, telling students that they could still make a good living in America, even as the nation’s industry is sending some jobs, like software programming, abroad.

Father and son in a field of wildflowers

My brother is a doctor.

He doesn’t encourage his kids to go into medicine though, because he’s incredibly frustrated by the fact that you go to school for 20 years to learn something, only to have clerks from insurance companies decide if a procedure you’ve recommended is or is not “medically necessary.”

I’ve worked in computing for 20 years.

I don’t push my kid to get into it because during that time, it’s become less and less like a professional business and more like a big class project, full of people who have no aptitude, no education and no role models.

A friend of mine teaches a computer science class at a local community college. He loves it.

I don’t think I could bring myself to stand up in front of a group of young people and encourage them to be programmers. I’d probably wind up yelling at them to go be flight attendants or meeting planners and stop wasting their time.

Where are you going to go as a programmer to do interesting, influential work with bright, educated people? The list of possibilities is very short.

Microsoft is on the list — but the fact that Bill Gates is out recruiting at Illinois, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, M.I.T. and Harvard while you’re sitting here in a community college class suggests that a Microsoft career may not be in the cards for you.

Thus spoke The Programmer.

Profiles in Management: The Tank Commander

13 Feb 2004 /

In the military, when I was in tank warfare and I was actually fighting in tanks, there was nothing more soothing than people constantly hearing their commander’s voice come across the airwaves. Somebody’s in charge, even though all shit is breaking loose. . . . When you don’t hear [the commander’s voice] for more than fifteen minutes to half an hour, what’s happened? Has he been shot? Has he gone out of control? Does he know what’s going on? You worry. And this is what Microsoft is. These little offices, hidden away with the doors closed. And unless you have the constant voice of authority going across the e-mail the whole time, it doesn’t work. . . . You can’t do anything that’s complex unless you have structure. . . . And what you have to do is make that structure as unseen as possible and build up the image for all these prima donnas to think that they can do what they like. Who cares if a guy walks around without shoes all day? Who cares if the guy has got his teddy bear in his office? I don’t care. I just want to know . . . [if] somebody hasn’t checked in his code by five o’clock. Then that guy knows that I am going to get into his office.

— Dave Maritz, former Israeli tank commander and former Microsoft Test Manager, MS-DOS and Windows, quoted in Microsoft Secrets