January 5, 2008

Saturday Night Post

Posted in work at 9:32 pm by Michael

Anh is staying at her sister’s tonight, helping w/the new baby, so it’s just me and the Samwich (sleeping),

There was a question that came from CAREFUL examination of some of the stuff on my board from the picture in my office.

The question was “What’s the story behind that “No Promotion” sign? 

No Promotion

Here’s the answer: I travel a bunch to China. If you go there much, you’ll notice that there’s a bunch of “Chinglish” that’s used. Misspellings, grammar issue, misuse of terms, you name it.

Me and one of my coworkers were in Shanghai at one of the many outdoor markets, and they were selling all sorts of signs to be used by local vendors to post. We looked at the store, and laughed at a whole bunch of just funny signs.

Later that night, my coworker presented me with a gift of that sign (he worked for me then, and it was close to review time, when most promotions are done). I thought it was hilarious. What I think it actually means (when translated properly) is “No Soliciting”. However, its been translated “accurately” but not “correctly”.

So, even though I’ve moved offices twice, I move this sign and put it up.

However, sometimes this has unintended effects. Clearly, if you hear the whole story, its funny, and is about a memory of a great trip to China. It has nothing to do with me not wanting to promote anyone. More than one person has come to my office, and basically said “I’m afraid to ask, but what’s that sign mean?” Usually they have a scared look when they see this for the first time. When I explain, they smile, and it’s a good chat!

Ok, so since its Saturday night and I’ve got nothing else to do (although I am watching TV while I do this), I figured I’d explain the other stuff (most of it) visible in the picture.

Old Badge Picture

Old Badge Picture

August 12, 1996 was the day I started at Microsoft. This was the original picture from my badge that day. I still remember how happy and proud I was to be starting at MICROSOFT! Honestly, for the first three months I came home thinking: “Wow, they didn’t fire me yet!” It was overwhelming.

Which leads to…

Microsoft 10 Year Service Award

10 Year Award

It used to be that when you worked at MSFT for 5 years, you got a clock, then 10 years (and every five years thereafter) you got a metal and glass plaque with an imprint of a MS stock certificate, with the associated number of shares of stock granted (10, 15, 20, etc). About three years ago they changed to giving these glass obelisks at each of the milestones, each larger than the last. I was lucky enough to have an employee that was here for 20 years, and WOW – it was HUGE! We joke that for 25 years, it comes with a mover to help you move it between offices (we move a lot).  So, this is my 10 year award.

Ship Stuff

Ship Stuff

It’s the tradition to get a “Box” of the stuff that you ship, when you ship it (the retail box). On the left, you see the “IE 4” envelope. This was an issue with IE, since we didn’t really have a box – was a download only for a while… So, everybody got this special edition IE 4 folder that had a disk on it.

On the right, you also see a special edition version of Vista, the Ultimate “Handcrafted” box – just for folks who worked on Vista.

Diet Coke Can

Diet Coke

I’m addicted.

Curt Schilling Upset

Schilling Upset

Back in September, after a disastrous series when the Yankees (who?) closed the gap on the Sox to 4.5 games, one of my co-workers (Scot) dropped this nice note on my chair. It had a quote from one of the NY papers describing the events.

I kept this, and took a little pleasure in showing this to Scot AGAIN when the Sox won the Series. I keep this up as a reminder of persistence.


No Notebooks

I have a penchant for taking notes on sticky notes, not notebooks. When I changed teams last year (18 months ago), one of my new co-workers gave me this nice moleskin covered notebook. I was aware of said notebook technology at this point, I had just declined to participate in that technological revolution. So, this picture is of that notebook, with a stick note on the cover, with the universal NO sign. As in, “NO NOTEBOOKS”.



Quaker oatmeal, Clif Bars and my coffee cup. Nuff said. I get hungry after getting to work after running in the morning.


E Caper

Ah, perhaps my fondest work-related memory.

At the IE 4 launch event, which was held on the waterfront in San Francisco, there were these two big plywood and fabric “E”s that were like spotlights. The folks on the IE team who were present at the event were obviously relieved, elated, and well, maybe overly dorky (me included). At the end of the night, we inquired about shipping these really cool Es back to Redmond. No-can-do. They were built in place, and are wider/taller than a truck can be. It would have to be an oversized load. Too expensive, not expense-able.

I don’t remember who, but someone had the brilliant idea of “delivering” it to Netscape. Purely as a memento. Purely. We are nice guys you know.

So, after bribing a tow driver (it was a little WIDE), we had it loaded up (with the participation of two notables from Wired Magazine, who will go unnamed).

We stopped at a local Safeway on the way, and one of the participants got our Netscape buddies a card (crying baby on the cover, saying “Its so sad when..” Inside: “Bad things happen to good people.” We signed it – “Love, the IE team.”) and a sympathy balloon.

On to Netscape.

We arrive, drop off the IE, take some pictures, and quickly leave. (In the picture, I’m second from the left. The dude on the far left is the tow driver).

We all roll back to the hotel, have some laughs, and then go to bed.

Now, I have lousy vision. I wear contacts (-3.75), and I can’t see much without them. I wear them all the time, except when I’m sleeping.

I wake up, turn on the TV, and see what appears to be the E, but now toppled, with the Mozilla mascot on top – with a TV reporter doing a standup in front of it. “…and late last night a band of hooligans, purportedly from Microsoft…..”  OH CRAP! Its news!

It turns out that Netscape tried to make a big deal of this. Their PR people accused us of “Sophomoric Tactics”. I know, I have the article still. HA! We were having fun!

Ah, the heady days of the Browser Wars….


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