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.
I'll break the entire trip up into a series of articles, and each morning for the next several days
I'll post a new installment. I'm erring on the side of getting this info out to you, instead of spending
days double checking with 17 different sources, so if there is anything I miss, anything you want
clarified, or anything which doesn't seem right then just post your comments below. I may ramble, I
may get off topic - it's merely an open ended diary of what went on intended for those with a bit of
spare time to kill, and an interest in what Microsoft has to offer.
A quick Thanks goes to Dundas Software and Microsoft for making this trip possible.
Monday started like any other public holiday in Canada would - slowly. I'm currently commandeering
a chair and desk at the offices of Dundas Software in Toronto, so when David Cunningham wandered in
to mention that he'd be heading off to Redmond the next day to visit with Microsoft I took it upon
myself to tag along and see what all the fuss was about.
Twenty fours hours notice - and most of those hours during a public holiday - adds an extra degree
of excitement to the planning, so it was with unironed clothes, insufficient airplane reading material
and a hasty "I'm-going-to-Redmond-got-any-questions??" post on the homepage we were off.
Everything seemed to be going OK on the Canada/US border crossing until Dave mentioned he had an
Aussie in the car. Why do all customs and immigration officials get that look that suggests latex
gloves may be a necessity whenever I come under their gaze? I'm sure that the customs officers look
for the guy with the most highly optimised bag, and check with the timetables to ensure that you are
the one whose flight leaves in 5 minutes and then gather their friends around as they systematically
turn 2 cubic feet of stuffed bag into 2 cubic yards of lightly tossed catastrophe.
I'm yet to fully understand North America's airline system. A ticket from Toronto to Seattle was
going to cost a small fortune, so instead we drove to Buffalo (an hours drive) and took a flight from
there saving ourselves nearly 70%. Buffalo is, I'm told, a city that prides itself on large woolly
animals and snow that comes in sizes large and extra large only. I'm also warned that to stand still
too long in a Buffalo snowstorm is to risk not seeing daylight again until the thaw in spring.
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After a short trip courtesy of US Airways finest we settled in for a long layover in Pittsburgh.
Again - I'm still unsure why flights cannot simply fly from point A (being where I currently am) to
point B (where I wish to be, as quickly as possible if you would be so kind). The 'hubs' that dot the
airline'd landscape of the States is surely a ploy by fast food chains and video game arcades that
force you to remain in an enclosed space bored and hungry. Many plates of something with
cheezTM on them, beer, and the obligatary games of PacMan and Galaga
later we were on our way, to the accompaniament of Troy Marchand's Whacky World of Airline Disaster
I did my best to share the local Toronto 'flu with as many of my fellow passengers as possible, and
after a quick 14 hrs on the road (as it were) we were safely in Redmond looking for a hotel that would
Is this how it is for you guys travelling all the time? The modern life seems to dictate that living in
airline lounges and sleeping in hotels that all look the same (give or take a phone or a TV that works)
is the norm.
Seattle and the Microsoft campus at Redmond.