Scooby Snax: Powertoys, iPods, and Groundhog Day
The History of Developer Powertoys: Raymond Chen wrote a decent post that outlined his involved in and the history of the classic "Windows Powertoys". One of my favorite parts was:
"This was all back in the day when it was easy to put up something for download. No digital signatures, no virus checking, no paperwork. Just throw it up there and watch what happens. Today, things are very different. Putting something up for download is a complicated process with forms to fill out in triplicate and dark rooms with card readers. I wouldn't be surprised if an abandoned salt mine in Montana were somehow involved."
This is something I'd like to change around here in order to make it easier for Microsoft developers to share with you their cool tools that are "cobbled together from stuff lying around". That was indeed the history of the original "Developer Powertoys". Some of them we had laying around and some of them had existed as partial macros we had been posting in the newsgroups to solve customer problems they were running into. I figured, since these MS tools were put together in the same spirit as the original windows powertoys that it made sense to borrow the name as well. Also, all of the other good names we could come up with were copyrighted by someone else and our lawyers were roughly 90% sure the Windows legal team was not going to sue us :-) ... thereby reducing the risk of trying to come up with another name.
Raymond does imply however "Even the blog name "PowerToys" has been co-opted by the Visual Studio team to promote their Powertoys for Visual Studio 2003.". In truth the blog is mostly about highlighting these hacks, tools, and utilities that non-Microsoft developers put together in their spare time. Most of the content does NOT point back to Microsoft. I created it because of the demand I was getting from developers (after they saw our VS Powertoys releases) to highlight their cool utility as well. It was then I realized I had been too inclusive by NOT highlighting these customer driven part time efforts. Why should you trust something built part time "from MS Developers" more than you trust something from part time non-MS developers.
I'm in the 80%: According to this article I'm in the 80%. I also bought Gretchen an iPod for her birthday. Though I've NEVER received an internal memo telling me to hide my iPod and I DO still use the white headphones. Anyone I know that doesn't use the white headphones replaced them for a pair that sounds better and not to "hide their shame". It did give me flashbacks to my first few weeks here when I was scared to use AIM... then I saw how prevalent it was and realized it didn't matter. I, like many other customers, will be perfectly willing to switch platforms once we are convinced that the alternatives were better. I, for example, used Netscape until roughly v4 of both browsers when I just started realizing that IE had surpassed Netscape.
Groundhog Day: Happy Groundhog Day! Not only a kooky Holiday, but also one of the best Bill Murry movies of all time. I'll probably watch it tonight.
A Social Study of Open Source: No, this article does not need my link love since it was slashdotted, but I still found several truths being told within.
A Positive look at our CTP Process: This article represents both sides of the issue, but essentially seems to be written favorably about our Whidbey CTP process. Though the catchphrases and headlines about "emulating open source" or "taking a page from open source" seem a bit on the attention grabbing side. I don't think we are anywhere close to saying those sorts of things. But, there are certainly things we could learn from more open development models.