Trying to build some kind of a narrative #6: Several of the more intriguing of the other 32 (of 37) contracts at Microsoft

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2015/08/27 14:07 +00:00, original URI:

Continuing from the prior blog post in this series from yesterday (link here)....

Showing a gratuitous Microsoft logo again for the sake of art:

Anyway, I could revisit the MSLU (aka Microsoft Layer for Unicode aka Godot) story again, but that one is too easy to find here. Or the tale of the Dr. International, discussed here. The fourth Microsoft Access contract was a conspiracy to make VBA wizards more localizable at runtime;  my co-conspirators were the subsidiary program managers in each country.

The more intriguing tale is the unpaid work I did for MSLU including m very own DaveC story, which is basically the day that a 4am đź•“ email announced a build break in UnicoWS.lib. My first thought was that I'd send email to the waste of space NO HIRE asking him to revert his change ASAP, but luckily I didn't send the message since it turned out to be DaveC. :/ I spent the next several hours

• reverse engineering the intent of his huge change that caused the build break in my single .LIB;

• making the correct fix;

• verifying the fix allowing the build to complete successfully;

• crafting a humble email to DaveC that asked if he would be willing to code review my suggested change to make sure it didn't break him unintentionally.

I swear I aged 10 years in the time it took me to get a "Sorry about that. Your change looks good. Could you go ahead and check it in? Thanks." email. And since the MSLU project was out of money, I didn't even get paid for my efforts. A much more interesting story IMHO....

Then there is my DavidV story, told here,an investigation that upon the official advice of both my Admin and his I billed his cost center for quite generously -- covering travel time to his home, time spent there, digging through SLM logs and OBTriage emails to assess the reasoning behind the decision to not make the fix for the two bugs he ran into (neither was my fault, BTW!), which come to think of it might be why I didn't mind fixing the DaveC bug gratis since I was so fully and properly reimbursed for my full forensic RCA (Root Cause Analysis) of the DavidV reported problems. ;-)

Or my contract program manager job for Windows CE Services, writing the spec for Desktop Pass-through so that cradled devices don't have  to rely on their  own wireless connections when something faster is available.... a patent that others  are still licensing!

Or I could tell the heartwarming story of The Most Robust Software Project I Ever Worked On.

Or the one project that made it to private beta among VBA license holders -- the hosting VBA within your Visual Basic 6 application Wizard -- which I was fired off of before the product ever shipped (although they did pay me in full, to this day I don't know if it ever shipped and I am only mentioning it now since it has been over ten years and the extra NDA has expired.

(if anyone else has art to volunteer I won't object!)

Then there is all of the time I spent in the SQL Server unit. It started with replication and the Replication Conflict Resolver, which had to be written for SQL Server and essentially rewritten for Jet [Red] since the latter had to work properly for both Jet and SQL Server replication, including Jet as a SQL Server subscriber (which the old one could never properly do).

While there, I not only learned how my own Partial Replica Wizard inspired its more impressive cousin but they loved the story of why I told them that I limited to just one initial query (because the Access team is cheap!). They also needed an Alpha version of the SQL Server Conflict Resolver (no Jet [Red] version required for that!). My contacts with Matt Curland and Bruce McKinney as well as my contacts on the VB team got them to approve the only known Alpha build of a VB project in another business unit all due to a cluster of tangential expertises and a contractor who knew just enough to get it all done....

And then they needed help with sample customer provided resolvers including ones built as stored procedures. Yet another contract.

And then they needed help with setup (my experience with the ACME Setup Engine based on he ODE 97 Setup Wizard turned out to be invaluable to them!).

I even taught others about a fascinating and now defunct loophole I accidentally discovered in the Purchase Order requirement at Microsoft, where almost every FTE could at that time approve up to USD$1000 without a written contract. With my MS internal rates then at at  ~USD$100-150/hr, almost anyone could write a "mini-contract" for a lone bug in setup or a stored procedure or whatnot even if they had neither budget nor headcount!

Talk about innovation at Microsoft! There are even people I knew from LCA that were impressed!

But as fun as it all was, eventually I had to find a place to be beyond the next contract Finally, I could go with my last official Microsoft contract, the part of The Story of MSKLC up until "We knew that we needed a better way to do this."

My fulltime acceptance was specifically delayed until this last contract was finished.

The 37th one.... ;-;

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referenced by

2015/09/15 A few sorta random things I recall about some of my past memorable, unorthodox relationships, part #2

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