Emptying some items out of the suggestion box

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/03/15 02:18 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2005/03/15/395685.aspx

Just some minor cleanup from the Suggestion Box.:-)

On February 19th, AC asked:

What is a technical lead?

A very good question. I have no one reporting to me and thus am technically not a lead. But then at Microsoft most program managers do not manage anyone and they do not program. So there is some precedent....

Of the many descriptions, here is the one that seems to capture the intent best (as it was explained to me):

Tech Leads focus on solving key problems and issues facing their team across the board and should be experienced, knowledgeable people who have already shown leadership capabilities and sustained excellent performance.

The Tech Lead role is an individual contributor leadership role.  It complements the existing “Lead” role which is used for people management positions that also have functional or technology area leadership responsibilities.  The Tech Lead role and the Lead role have essentially the same baseline set of requirements for leadership, scope of influence, and technical expertise.  The principal difference is that Tech Leads allocate more time to focus on technical work, while Leads allocate more time to people management.

I doubt I could add much more to that, other than the wry fact that it probably would explain why most devs think of it as program management while most PMs think of it as development. But I get to write code and write specs, so maybe they are both right. :-)

Then back on Febuary 6th, Ivan Petrov asked several questions, two of which I answered (here and here) and the third of which I did not, at least not really:

2) The second one (you know about it from other blogs) is about the Bulgarian Phonetic Keyboard Layout. This is a Keyboard Layout which many people (not only programmers) uses in Bulgaria and it is basically a QWERTY (phonetic) keyboard layout. In Windows we can find 2 Keyboard Layouts for Bulgaria: Bulgarian and Bulgarian (Latin). The first one –Bulgarian, is the official (there are official documents/standard) keyboard layout which is used by the rest (the rest of those which are using the Phonetic keyboard layout) of the Bulgarians (by the way may be this is the biggest half). But for the second one – Bulgarian (Latin), I really don’t know from where it came and who is using it. I really don’t know nor 1 man using it. In addition when you switch the keyboard to it you can’t even type in Cyrillic, it seems like the US keyboard layout! So my second question is:

“Is it possible with the effort of the Bulgarian language authorities, the Bulgarian office of Microsoft and the Bulgarian IT Community to be integrated the Bulgarian Phonetic Keyboard Layout in future versions of Windows?”

I am reminded, interesting enough, of an old Bugs Bunny cartoon, from 1949, entitled High Diving Hare. Bugs Bunny was standing on the end of a long diving board. Yosemite Sam approached, snickering, with a saw and proceeded to saw off the board. After a moment's pause, the board was still standing, inexplicably, in the air, but its platform, and Yosemite Sam with it, have crashed abruptly to the ground. Bugs has merely exercised the relative nature of toon gravity. His words were priceless: "I know this defies the law of gravity, but you see I never studied law!"

What I am about to explain is not completely directed at Ivan Petrov; it is directed mainly at others who have sent similar feedback on the same subject....

The one thing I have learned from almost fifteen years of doing this stuff both inside and outside of Microsoft is that even if something is less than ideal, even if it is poorly labeled. even if it is borderline misleading, and even if is flat out wrong, you cannot change it. If you change it, you will break the expectations of users who just used the product. And it is quite a bad thing to do that to the user who did nothing other than use the product. So even if the code or the design (or even the keyboard layout!) does something that violates the laws of physics and sets Pi to be equal to three, we have to find a way to make circles equal to hexagons when that feature is used, for the sake of backwards compatibility. So the old keyboard layout cannot be changed, and it cannot be removed.

But with that said, we can safely assume that the feedback has been received now and the right people can give the matter due and proper consideration for future versions of Windows. :-)

In the meantime, you can use MSKLC to create a "Bulgarian Uber-Special Phonetic" keyboard layout that works excatly as you would like it to. Not a fix of course, but a very effective workaround for now. You can take that keyboard and put it on the web and give it out to a million people and the only real rule in the end per the EULA is that you cannot charge money for the keyboard. Like it says in the upper left hand corner, it's about opening it all up getting out of the way. And since that's what it's all about, on June 4, 2003, Kanya, Cathy, Simon, and I earned our paychecks for that day....

And on February 8th, Andrew van der Stock asked:

I'd like for an article on canonical representations with ASP.NET.

Many developers don't do this because they're scared of Unicode and how to handle Unicode (and UTF-8 in general). I've seen many web sites which assert ISO 8859-1, and yet work with Unicode internally, which are vulnerable to expansion and canonical attacks.

A quick article on how to make Unicode strings "safe" for storage, and protect against expansion attacks (ie malformed UTF-8 sequences) would be great!

Also, I was in Sorrento, Italy not long ago, and they have excellent Limonata there. I had this cake-like biscotti soaked in limonata - awesome. You have to go there. It's cheap there as well. I bought a 250 ml decorative bottle for 2.50 euro. I'm not sure my friend who received it has had it yet, but it was delicious when I tasted it on site (they made it in their own shop).


A complicated set of topics, to be sure. But one that is well handled between the UTF8Encoding class (which has a constructor with a throwOnInvalidBytes parameter), supported in the current version of the .NET Framework, and in the Unicode normalization methods added to the Whidbey version of the .NET Framework. Between the two many of the possible attacks can be handled well.

And I have been to Italy but I never had Limonata there -- I was introduced to Limonata by colleague Cathy, an introduction I'm sure she regrets every time she sees me travel somewhere with a case of the stuff. :-)


Ok, that's enough for one day, I think. It's time to go drink some Limonata -- not available in the cafeteria, but well stocked the mini fridge in my office1!


1 - You know at the Unicode meeting at Apple last year in Cupertino they had Limonata for sale in the cafeteria. I swear I have never been so tempted to buy a Mac and ask for a job (lucky for Microsoft my resume is not up to date? :-)


This post brought to you by "๏" (U+0e4f, a.k.a. THAI CHARACTER FONGMAN)

# Larry Osterman on 15 Mar 2005 3:33 AM:

Btw, you are a corrupting influence.

We were in Portland last weekend and noticed that Hot Lips Pizza had Limonata. I mentioned that you were nuts about it. So Daniel (my son) had some.

And now he's asking for it whenever he has the opportunity......

# Michael Kaplan on 15 Mar 2005 4:39 AM:

A boy of taste and distinction.

If he is ever on-campus feel free to stop by and get one from me. :-)

# Ivan Petrov on 15 Mar 2005 10:31 AM:

10x Michael ;-)

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referenced by

2010/02/25 The inappropriate nature of getting the Feh out of Uighur, Windows 7 edition

2008/04/04 Fight the Future? (#1 of ??), aka The inappropriate nature of getting the Feh out of Uighur

2007/07/16 Losing a title I'm fond of?

2007/07/08 Being more like Doron

2007/02/13 What's wrong with the Ukrainian keyboard layout, anyway?

2007/01/04 Whither intl.inf in Vista?

2006/09/06 IsSortable() == false? Well, sometimes it may be lying....

2006/08/29 No, Virginia, Technical Aides do not report to Technical Leads

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