George V. Reilly

The TerraServer

I bought a 2TB external hard disk today. It's about the size of a deck of cards, but thinner, and it cost me $95. Disk Utility says it has 2,000,397,884,928 bytes.

In 1998, I got to see more than three terabytes of disks in one system. At the time, a server with a 25GB disk was considered high capacity. The 3TB system occupied con­sid­er­ably more volume than a pack of cards. I don't know what it cost but clearly it was tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

At that time, I was a developer on the IIS team at Microsoft. I was the lead per­for­mance engineer for Mi­crosoft­'s continue.

Odds and Ends #11

Time for another Odds & Ends.

Well-known evo­lu­tion­ary biologist PZ Myers (Pharyngula) was expelled from a viewing of a new cre­ation­ist doc­u­men­tary, Expelled, last night. Wait until you read the punchline. There is a God!

Lost, one MacBook Air: Steven Levy explains just how he (thinks he) lost his MacBook Air.

It was St. Patrick's Day on Monday. Peter sent me the Muppets' Danny Boy video. Andrew told me that the Irish bishops had moved St. Patrick's Day. Monday was a holiday in Ireland, as is today (Good Friday) and next Monday (Easter Monday), so many people took Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday off this week. Bastards!

Emma and I walked with the Wild Geese Players in continue.

Microsoft buys aQuantive

Microsoft announced today that it was buying aQuantive for $6.1 billion. I work for Atlas Solutions, a division of aQuantive, so I will once again be an employee of Microsoft when the deal closes.

I, for one, welcome our new corporate overlords.

More truthfully, I can't honestly say that I'm overjoyed to be part of the Borg again. Anyone who's ever read MiniMsft realizes that many MS employees find Microsoft to be deeply dys­func­tion­al.

Atlas has a pretty good corporate culture and a sane work-life balance. I've heard plenty today about our people are our greatest asset and that Microsoft will be mostly leaving things alone.

At this point, it's impossible continue.

New SysInternals Site and Tools

Sys­In­ter­nals has always been a source of great tools for trou­bleshoot­ing your system. FileMon, RegMon, Process Explorer, Handle, ListDlls, PsTools, DebugView: all of these have earned a permanent place on my Windows in­stal­la­tions. Mark Russi­novich, the co-founder, is a world-class hacker. He co-wrote Microsoft Windows Internals without access to the Windows source. It was he who discovered the Sony Rootkit and publicized it on his widely read blog.

Many people were somewhat disturbed to learn that Microsoft bought Sys­In­ter­nals a few months ago, that it would compromise the tools.

It seems not to be a problem. The tools have just been re-released on the TechNet Sys­In­ter­nals site. There's one new tool, continue.

Vista Speech Recognition Snafu, in context

I've seen a number of references to a Microsoft demo of speech recog­ni­tion that went famously wrong, but it wasn't until this evening that I finally watched the CNBC Video that started the meme.

A TV reporter makes a snarky in­tro­duc­tion then cuts to video of a Microsoft PM demoing the new speech recog­ni­tion technology in Windows Vista. Dear Mom comma, he says. Dear aunt, appears in Word. It gets worse from there. Funny stuff. Go watch the original video.

But it's not the whole story. There's another video which sets the demo in context. Overall, the demo was reasonably successful and the speech commands worked fairly well.

If you continue.

FlexGo and me

Bill Gates and Will Poole showing FlexGo at WinHEC.

Nearly two years ago, I said that I was back at Microsoft, as a contractor. A year later, I said that I was moving on, because my 12 months were up. In both cases, I said that I was doing some really in­ter­est­ing work and that I hoped to be able to talk about it some day.

Now the truth can be told: I was working on FlexGo, Mi­crosoft­'s new prepaid/sub­scrip­tion versions of Windows. FlexGo was announced last Monday and unveiled the next day at WinHEC (transcript of BillG's speech; FlexGo is at the continue.

Frustrations with Microsoft's compensation system

WashTech has a piece on frus­tra­tions with Mi­crosoft­'s com­pen­sa­tion system. Sounds about right to me. I don't miss the horseshit of Mi­crosoft­'s stack ranking one little bit.