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A Visit to Redmond - Part 2

, 17 Oct 2000 CPOL 86.1K 12
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For those who are curious as to what a hastily scheduled trip to Redmond is like.

Introduction

Last week I popped on over to Redmond to have a chat with the guys at Microsoft on the future of Visual C++, MFC, and the new .NET world. Instead of presenting a point list of what we can expect in the future, I wanted to give you guys a taste of what a visit to Redmond is like, and I'm dead keen on having feedback from you on your own personal experiences.

A quick Thanks goes to Dundas Software and Microsoft for making this trip possible.

Part 2 - Seattle and the Microsoft Campus

Not a bad view...
Microsoft campus in Redmond is designed to seem like a campus like any other. When it was designed the thought was to make the transition from College to work as painless as possible, but with most of Microsoft's employees now between the tender ages of 30 and 40 this is no longer such a necessity. The buildings blend in with the native forests and are surrounded by gardens of ferns and shrubberies.
That's me tilting, not the hallway

Inside the offices look like any other office. A receptionist, smart cards to get in the doors, long corridors with doors spaced evenly along. There is no sign of the open plan cube-hell - each employee works in their own private office, though in some situations (the guys who design the About Box? QA? The Visual J++ team?) developers are squeezed two or three (or more?) to a room.

There is not a suit in sight.

All in all it's a really casual kinda place. One office has a bead curtain as a doorway, another holds an assortment of electric guitars and amps, and still another the most comfortable looking sofa I've ever seen. The lack of windows for the inner offices would drive me nuts, but at least everyone has a door they can shut when they need to concentrate.

Seattle was something else. It never rained, but it never really cleared up either. I gained first hand experience of the exciting road-splitting phenomenom you guys in the States have. It's bizarre. A harmless looking freeway suddenly splits for no apparant reason, and if you are running on auto-pilot then you're faced with a panic decision: east or west. What - you want to continue heading north? Mwaahahaha! Too bad little man. It's comforting, but also slightly worrying in a way, to see the packs of water filled barrels placed at the dividing line of these splits. How many people have suffered brain lock while trying to decide left or right and plowed directly into a watery oblivion.

Too bizarre

Then there is the post turn-off signage. I think it's a national custom - and an adorable one at that - to arrange street signs on turn-offs at a location where they can be read only after you've made the turn. Sort of a "yes - this is in fact the road you thought it was" little reminder.

Downtown Seattle is one big coffee house. If you are looking for a caffeine fix then this is the place to go. If you are looking for, say, food, then you need to look a little harder. Maybe we were just tired, maybe our brain was still hurting from a run-in with a street performer called Obnoxious Bastard - but finding somewhere to eat took more energy than we had.

Another amazing thing about the US and Canada: Their coins are called the same names, are of the same denominations, and seem to have identical dimensions, but how amazing is it that a phone box that has only a 30% chance of actually working can tell, with 100% accuracy, whether that quarter you just placed in the slot is US or Canadian. We gave the offending quarter to a passer by who asked if we had a spare quarter ("Why, yes we do!") and had ourselves further entertainment as he discovered it was Canadian. The offensive item came sailing back in our direction, hit a taxi instead, and started a colourful exchange that seemed to sum up the situation pretty well.

Next Instalment...

The Microsoft Team.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Chris Maunder
Founder CodeProject
Canada Canada
Chris is the Co-founder, Administrator, Architect, Chief Editor and Shameless Hack who wrote and runs The Code Project. He's been programming since 1988 while pretending to be, in various guises, an astrophysicist, mathematician, physicist, hydrologist, geomorphologist, defence intelligence researcher and then, when all that got a bit rough on the nerves, a web developer. He is a Microsoft Visual C++ MVP both globally and for Canada locally.

His programming experience includes C/C++, C#, SQL, MFC, ASP, ASP.NET, and far, far too much FORTRAN. He has worked on PocketPCs, AIX mainframes, Sun workstations, and a CRAY YMP C90 behemoth but finds notebooks take up less desk space.

He dodges, he weaves, and he never gets enough sleep. He is kind to small animals.

Chris was born and bred in Australia but splits his time between Toronto and Melbourne, depending on the weather. For relaxation he is into road cycling, snowboarding, rock climbing, and storm chasing.
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Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionInteresting Place, eh? Pin
Jamie Nordmeyer18-Oct-00 13:16
sussJamie Nordmeyer18-Oct-00 13:16 
Hey Chris. Though I now live and work in Portland, OR, I'm originally from Everett, WA, just a half hour north of Seattle. Did you get to meet any of the really 'interesting' people during your trip to Seattle? By interesting, I mean those whose hair is blue, green, red... probably all at the same time, or the depressed individual wearing nothing but black (black pants, black shirt, black hair, black lipstick, etc.). I don't know what kind of 'interesting' people you folks in Australia have, but I've always felt that Seattle was somewhere at the top of the 'Weirdest places in the world' list.

Also, do you have to deal with the hills in Australia that Seattlites do? Impressive, eh? Some of those downtown hills can make a 6 cylendar car choke!

Anyway, I'm glad to hear that your trip was for the most part a good one. Frankly, I'm happy to be in Portland (a lot like Seattle, but much more humble), but it's still cool to go back to Seattle from time to time.

By the way, that picture you have of the '3 ugly ones' is from a place called Deja Vu, correct? They have one in Everett, as well. Believe me or not, I've honestly never been in there, but I've heard that it's a pretty strange place
AnswerRe: Interesting Place, eh? Pin
Chris Maunder18-Oct-00 13:33
sussChris Maunder18-Oct-00 13:33 
GeneralRe: Interesting Place, eh? Pin
Jamie Nordmeyer18-Oct-00 13:43
sussJamie Nordmeyer18-Oct-00 13:43 
GeneralRe: Interesting Place, eh? Pin
Chris Maunder18-Oct-00 16:23
sussChris Maunder18-Oct-00 16:23 
AnswerChris maunder hacks my email Pin
Anonymous26-Nov-02 9:16
sussAnonymous26-Nov-02 9:16 
GeneralRe: Chris maunder hacks my email Pin
Chris Maunder26-Nov-02 9:37
adminChris Maunder26-Nov-02 9:37 
GeneralFood In Seattle Pin
Erik Thompson18-Oct-00 11:17
sussErik Thompson18-Oct-00 11:17 
GeneralRe: Food In Seattle Pin
Chris Maunder18-Oct-00 11:30
sussChris Maunder18-Oct-00 11:30 
GeneralAhh the infamous Microsoft Pin
James Spibey18-Oct-00 6:03
sussJames Spibey18-Oct-00 6:03 
GeneralRe: Ahh the infamous Microsoft Pin
Matt Philmon18-Oct-00 9:06
sussMatt Philmon18-Oct-00 9:06 
GeneralRe: Ahh the infamous Microsoft Pin
Robert Edward Caldecott19-Oct-00 1:06
sussRobert Edward Caldecott19-Oct-00 1:06 
GeneralRe: Ahh the infamous Microsoft Pin
J Cardinal23-Oct-00 13:55
sussJ Cardinal23-Oct-00 13:55 

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