November 2019

Volume 34 Number 11

[Don't Get Me Started]

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

By David S. Platt | November 2019

David S. PlattMy dear friends,

Here we are, sharing our last meeting in this space. I always figured that we’d part sooner, that I’d get fired for shooting off my mouth once too often. But, no, apparently Microsoft had to kill the whole magazine to get rid of me. It feels right, somehow. So, herewith, Plattski’s MSDN Magazine swan song.

Thanks to my editors, starting with Keith Ward who recruited me for this gig at the end of 2009. He then wisely fled to Visual Studio Magazine, inflicting me on poor, unsuspecting Michael Desmond. He put up with me for eight-plus years, from his first day on the job to this final demise. Poor guy, stuck between Microsoft, who didn’t want to take too much of a public beating (especially in a book it owns), and yours truly, always looking to pour oil on troubled fires for the pleasure of watching the flames. Mike must have really needed the money.

But he’s also done a great job on my writing, without taking credit, despite my repeated offers. I’m not letting him weasel out of this one. Good job, Mike, and thanks. And I’m sure your next gig will be far less interesting.

I salute Microsoft for taking its ribbing with good humor, mostly, usually, except when it didn’t. These last 10 years have been quite challenging  for the company, starting from a world of desktop word processors and spreadsheets, trying and failing to create a phone ecosystem, yet somehow transforming and moving on to leadership in the cloud and AI. It’s done well, as its stock price shows, and is poised to continue doing well. (Not quite as well without this magazine, but let that pass.)

Above all, I’d like to thank you, the wonderful people I’ve met through this column. I knew I’d connected with you back in 2012, when I was teaching in Israel. I showed a picture of my late cat, and said I sometimes let her write my column. A student raised his hand and, “Is that Simba?” To everyone who loved the column and never missed it, like the reader named Clair who sent me a photo of her enjoying it (you can see her in the photo). And to everyone who hated it, but read it anyway, to have something to get angry about: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (I mean, hey, it would have sucked doing this all by myself.)

Clair enjoying the column

I asked my daughter Annabelle if I should keep this column going. Maybe it’s time to put it down? She said, “Daddy, you’ve got way too much in your head that you need to rant about. If you don’t have some place to publish it, you’ll probably explode, and I’ll have to clean up the pieces.” (“Out of the mouths of babes, to fools,” as the Good Book says. Or something like that.)

So I’ve decided to keep my monthly column going on my personal blog, I’ll start with the columns that Microsoft would never have allowed, such as the leak I received from Edward Snowden, about Putin’s arch-hacker Raskolnikov meddling in the 2016 election.

It’s been a fabulous time to be alive and working in this industry. Remember what I told you, and try to at least nudge it in the right direction. And come see me in my new place. You can count on me to keep calling ’em as I see ’em.

Until we meet again: Take care of yourselves. Take care of each other. And take it easy, but take it. L’hitraot.

David S. Platt teaches programming .NET at Harvard University Extension School and at companies all over the world. He’s the author of 11 programming books, including “Why Software Sucks” (Addison-Wesley Professional, 2006) and “Introducing Microsoft .NET” (Microsoft Press, 2002). Microsoft named him a Software Legend in 2002. He wonders whether he should have taped down two of his daughter’s fingers so she would learn how to count in octal. You can contact him at