Friday, July 01, 2005

The Last Day

Today was without a doubt the best day. From 9:00 to about 11:00, I managed to practically finish the CodeSnippets website, with the SQL database linking in very nicely. It was good to finally get it done.

David took us out with him today. He has a really nice Alpha Romeo (apart from the dent his neighbour made in it), which was great fun to ride around in. First up, we went to a demonstration of BizTalk, which David was hosting. It basically focused on the ease of implementing it, which he did in around an hour. The presentation when fairly smoothly, until BizTalk decided it didn't want to work anymore, but David managed to recover to a previous project he had made and saved the demo (well done Ddave!).

We then had lunch at the restaurant\cafe outside of the presentation area with two others from Microsoft (sorry can't remember their names now). I had a really nice steak (medium rare of course), with some chips. We then went for a tour around WDG. It was in a bit of a mess because they were still building. But it was really cool, they had biometric scanners to enter the office, and their machine room was really interesting. It was good to see all the developers and artists of a successful IT company. Anyway, David introduced us to Arthur Spanos, the CEO. He was a really crazy guy! The first thing he did was improve our handshaking method. He then went on to explain some "gold, jerry, gold" business ventures. These included "The Door", the most exclusive night club, where the source of income would be selling hotdogs to the line who were never going to get into the supposed night club. Another was a War and Peace in 10 minutes play, which he was convinced would be super successful. About eight mispronounciations of my name later, we had to leave his company.

As all good things must come to an end, so must this blog. My time at Microsoft was most enjoyable, and has practically secured my intended choice of career path. My experience there has really broadened my view of the IT industry. It was really interesting to hear stories about David's career, and as a result, has only made me more impatient to actually get into real work.

Actually working with Microsoft really changed my perceptions about the company. All the negative propganda floating around the web is quite unfair to what is a really great company. If given the opportunity in the future, I would gladly work for them without any hesitation.

Thanks alot guys!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Fourth Day

We started off today with Mark Cleary. We worked on a Media Centre pc, just setting up Windows Media Center Edition. The machine itself was pretty cool, it was a small form factor case, so they had to innovate a bit to stop it over heating every five minutes. On of the features I liked was the CPU cooler, where they had a cooling block directly on the CPU, then heat pipes travelling up to another block with a fan at the back of the case. Anyway, at about 11, Nick Ward came and picked me up.

Nick is the SQL Server specialist here. SQL Server is database software for medium to large businesses. At the moment, I'm modifying the CodeSnippets website to read the snippets from an SQL database, which David was happy about. And I'm glad to say, I'm having much more luck with it than integrating authentication.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Third Day

Today, I'm continuing work on the CodeSnippet site. Nigel gave Dennis and I fully boxed copies of Visual Studio .Net 2003 Professional, which should come very useful at home when I want to code stuff. Now I'll be able to put some of the things I learnt during the user-group meeting into practice.

I've basically finished the CodeSnippet site, I only have to work out how to get the authentication working so people can log in with their usernames. Anyway, Dennis has gone to a meeting with Nigel now, and David just left so I'll update when I get home.

The Second Day

And what a day it was! I pretty much got the basics of the code snippets project
complete, and now it just needs the modification for it to meet the specifications.
We're using Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2 to develop the solution, and it is interesting
to see how Microsoft products look pre-release. It's also a great introduction
in to .Net programming for me, as I haven't done any previous work with .Net.

Dennis and I went for a hot chocolate at a really nice chocolate store with Kevin
Rodrigo at about 3:00. We about the ICT Fellowship program, and our time at Microsoft. We gave some feedback about the program (there wasn't really much because it's been so great), so we basically just told him what they were doing right. It really has been a memorable experience so far, as Microsoft has been really good about the work experience. I originally thought I was to be a coffee boy for a week, but I was setup in a office with a laptop with actual work to do. Microsoft have really been supportive of us, everyone in the company has been very accepting and willing to teach us more about how the company works, and the industry in general. Anyway, Kevin was a top guy!

Nigel invited me to a .Net Developer user-group meeting after work. It was really
interesting for me to mix with professional programmers, and to learn of their
experiences. So after the wonders of free pizza, we listened to a 2 hour presentation on programming for the visually-impaired and the favourite programming tools they liked to use.

In conclusion, it was a great day :D

Monday, June 27, 2005

The First Day Pt. 2

Ok, so after we had the tour and everything and setup our
laptops, we watched a live feed of an address by Steve Ballmer
(CEO of Microsoft worldwide) in the Sydney office. He talked
about Microsoft's direction and approach to business, as well
as challenges they have faced etc. I've been asked to write
a solution for distributing snippets of code during my time there.
I'll update more about that tomorrow.

The First Day Pt. 1

It's 11:40 and I am in my new office at Microsoft Pty!
I'm sharing with the other work experience guy, Dennis.
My mentor's name is David. Dennis's mentor, Nigel, took
us for a tour of the site - two levels of Como Tower.
And we got decked out in Microsoft gear :D

We met all the other employees in the office. The company
is split up into Commercial, Enterprise, Services, and DPE.
Commercial and Enterprise are the sales sections, commercial
dealing with smaller customers, and enterprise dealing with
larger ones. Services deals with post-sales stuff like support.
DPE deals with "Mindshare", and is what our mentors work in.
It handles the organisation of MSDN and TechNet newsletters,
events like confernces and usergroups etc.

Before we could do anything, we had to sign a NDA - as
expected, so I have to be careful about what I tell you
about the cool stuff I learn. Right now we are setting up
the laptops we are going to be using during our time here.
We are using Windows Server 2003, and some beta versions
of development tools we are going to have a muck around
with. I'll post more when I get home.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

"The Day Before"

Well I've worked out the train route, and am currently contemplating the fact that I'll need to get up before 8 to get to Microsoft Australia before 9:00.