Microsoft influences and non-influences

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, September 7, 2011, 1:51 PM | comments: 0

I'm still organizing my thoughts about my experience at Microsoft, and will post those thoughts eventually. I can't just trivialize two years of work experience into a couple of random paragraphs. That said, I was thinking today about what kind of influence the company has had on me in terms of the products and stuff that I used, and how that may have changed. In no particular order...

Developer products

No change there. I was working in Microsoft's stack in the first place, so obviously I'm still a .NET guy. What has changed is that I spend a lot more time actively finding open source stuff, and of course offer my forum app as open source. I think it's an important part of a developer ecosystem, and it has come a long way in the last two years.

Operating systems

No change here either. I still tend to use OS X for general computing (given all of the Macs we have), and Windows 7 for development. At home it's in a VM, at work natively. I started just a bit before Windows 7 and think it's something of a miracle turnaround. It's a nice operating system. The truth is that I'm relatively indifferent about which OS I use, since so much of what I do outside of development happens in a Web browser.

Video games

I wasn't a huge gamer in the first place, but I don't remember the last time my Wii was on. Xbox was my fave before hand, and with the employee discount I upgraded to the newer slim model. Got Kinect for free.

Phone

Switched to Windows Phone 7. This was a non-committal switch at first, because the phone was free. That I could develop apps for it was certainly a consideration, but if I decided I didn't like it, I had no issue going back to my iPhone. As it turns out, I think the UI for WP7 is so much nicer, and all of the apps I used before have WP7 equivalents. The Facebook contact integration alone is a big win. Going back to iOS feels dated now. I'm not sure if this was Microsoft influence or not, because I approached the thing, even in its development, with healthy skepticism.

Browsers

I actually switched to Chrome after I started, because the other kids at work were using it. I never switched back. IE9 is actually pretty nice, but since I do most of that kind of thing in OS X, can't use it there. Unless it's just slow and crappy, browser is rarely a thing I spend a lot of time thinking about.

Office type apps, e-mail

I'm still using Gmail via Google Apps for your Domain. Obviously wouldn't invest in something like Exchange for a one-person business. I will say that Exchange and Outlook have come a long way in the last two versions, and most of the time they're problem free to use at work. I still use Word and Excel now and then, but the version (Windows or OS X) varies. I use Google docs rarely, and mostly just when I want to share a doc with someone.

Search services

For straight out Web searches, I mostly use Google. For maps I like Bing better.

Overall, not much has changed outside of the phone usage. I'm not sure that I would classify the usage as passionate, but I'm honestly surprised at how good WP7 is. If they get the thing in front of more people, especially on this hot HTC hardware coming out, I suspect they'd win a lot of market share.

Microsoft makes some sweet stuff. While working there, I've stuck to the same mentality I did before, to use what makes the most sense. I can't stand people who get religious in either direction.


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