CoApp Design and Development Summit (Day –2)

Tuesday started out a little later, having soaked up sleep to restore some internal balances. I spent the morning typing up my adventure yesterday (Day –3). Around lunch time, I met up with Paul Donnelly, who works in the Windows Ecosystem Engagement (WEE[eeeeeee!]) group, at a very large building in the Commons area called The Mixer. Inside was a spacious, contemporary-styled waiting area, marred with a wall of doors that can only be traversed through if I had a keycard of some sort. (Or a hammer.)

The Commons area, billboard

The Mixer waiting area

Past the doors, I entered what felt like a mall. The walls were lined with shops and eateries, selling items ranging from bikes and cell phones to burgers and Mongolian-style dishes, with every other corner housing some sort of live entertainment. After settling on a place to eat, Paul and I had some interesting discussions, mostly geeky but also down-to-earth. One notable topic was regarding Microsoft’s use of biodegradable materials in… well almost everything including the cutlery I was using. It was shocking to think my fork and knife was compostable! Like their software, they’re continuing to improve on their design; the current revision of the fork I used was “rev. 2”. I hear “rev. 3” is a huge leap forward in terms of reliability and usability.

After lunch, Paul and I made a quick visit to the Microsoft Store. The store front was your usual trinkety experience, a la PDC, WinHEC, etc. Tucked in a corner, however, was a security guard and glass doors. Behind these doors was a warehouse-like room, lined with rows and rows of discounted Microsoft software and hardware. Bins in the center of the room contained copies of software “for sale”, mostly Windows Vista Home Premium Upgrade and other upgrade operating system SKUs. You know, the sucker stuff.

I parted ways with Paul and zoomed over (via a Connect shuttle) to Building 37 where Brandon LeBlanc – the Windows Team Blog dork – lived. Building 37’s interior, like all the Microsoft buildings apparently, has a different interior. It featured wood grain-trimmed staircases, lit up by natural skylight flowing through the glass ceiling. Bits of flora and seating peppered the area, adding a sense of home.

Microsoft Building 37 welcome area


Brandon LeBlanc's boycaveAfter signing in at the front desk, Brandon and I walked a short distance, on ground level, to his little boy cave.

Inside was various PCs – desktops and laptops alike – powered on and crunching some Windows 7. On his main machine, pending a quad display upgrade, Brandon was working on the next version of The Windows Blog as well as dog-fooding some Windows Live Wave 4 bits. I got to see first hand how large that new Messenger experience is; I’ll definitely be turning that off.

Having a seat in his somewhat uncomfortable chair (bastard), we lost track of time talking for a few hours about my current projects, his current projects, ideas, and life. He was excited to hear that after our meet, I’ll be heading to the Windows Logo guys to seek Logo accreditation – first ever – of Long Zheng and I’s Geosense for Windows gizmo. Chris Flores also popped in for a greet, was nice to see him again.

Loaded up with trinkets and goodies, I departed, already late, to Building 88 where Windows Logo/Ecosystem’s Kurt Hunter lived. We met in what appeared to be a smaller building, with its innards somewhat generic. It’s obvious this building was meant to be more of an office farm. You know, where the real work gets done.

Windows 7 Logo Marketing Kit Ducking into a conference room, we talked for an hour about the Windows Logo process, its (many) benefits, and how Geosense would probably be the first logical sensor to be certified! Woo! As I navigate through the Logo process, I’ll document my experience in a similar manner; I don’t foresee any major roadblocks… we’ll see. I walked out of that meeting, fully aware of what Windows Logo, stoked to get started, and with a box of Windows Logo marketing materials that are… in excess (long story).

Finished around 5pm, I jumped into a shuttle and went to the hotel room. Shamelessly, I again walked next door to rustic Italian Artisanal Table, trying some new meaty pizza and a freshly made Mozzarella dish. Again, absolutely delicious.

Tomorrow (Wednesday, Day -1) I’ll meet up with more friends – Wendy Stidmon, a Program Manager on the Windows Ecosystem Engagement team, and Jared Shockley, who used to run some innards of Microsoft in IT.