Personal Posts

It's a cliche to talk about the importance of relationships in business. Now businesses need to think about their relationship with Open Source projects and the maintainers that care for them.

Photo by charlesdeluvio

Originally a thread on Twitter about the xz/liblzma vulnerability, when I finished typing it, I realized I had a real world slice of Open Source interaction that deserved more attention.

Photo by Jason Rosewell

Year Forty Seven

Today I turn the page on another year. There were a couple of consequential events that as I look back, feel more like stepping stones than pedastals. Necessary but not sufficient. Let us reflect.

Lego Starwars Baloon Dog

Albert Rusnak The Movie. This is really cool from the Sounders. The whole production. I hope they do more like it.


Casey calls it "the future interface for all computing" but I can't get over how isolating it looks. Pieces of glass in the palm of our hand are already pretty bad. Great video though.

Casey Neistat with the Vision Pro

Listening to Trent Reznor talk with Rick Rubin, it strikes me how much Trent reminds me of my best friend (and first student of the dojo), David Eidson.

Rick Rubin's Tetragrammaton

New Year. New Blog.

On the first day of 2024, I re-launched my new personal website. I've redesigned it to be a better home for my stuff on the internet. You'll now be able to go to this single site to keep up to date on all things Rob Mensching.

Happy New Year in Scrabble pieces

My son plays in a year round soccer club. The pandemic shut down games for all of 2020 after March. When games resumed in 2021, only one parent was allowed to attend. I was already recording practices for my son to review using my phone when I decided to level-up my technology to record his games. I figured with a bit better technology, I could capture the boys' games and share the video with all the parents via YouTube. Everyone was very appreciative and a couple parents asked about the technology I use. So let's break it down.

Me recording the game my son is ready to enter.

Forty Six in Phoenix

I'm celebrating my birthday at a soccer tournament in Phoenix, Arizona. My son's team just won their division, and now they are playing football in the pool (because three days of soccer apparently wasn't enough). So while they play, let me recap last year and look forward into 2023.

The boys after they won their tournament.

Forty Five More Normal

Last year I wrote about turning 44 and our life during this pandemic. I signed off with 'Here's hoping life gets more back to normal by this fall.' And life did get more back to normal. Today I turn 45. Let's recap the last year.

My son plays in a year round soccer club. The pandemic shut down games for all of 2020 after March. When games resumed in 2021, only one parent was allowed to attend. I was already recording practices for my son to review using my phone when I decided to level-up my technology to record his games. I figured with a bit better technology, I could capture the boys' games and share the video with all the parents via YouTube. Everyone was very appreciative and a couple parents asked about the technology I use. So let's break it down.

Me recording the game my son is ready to enter.

Forty Four and a Year of Pandemic

Today I turn 44. Like each year before this, I want to take a moment and reflect on the last year and look into the next. In particular, I haven't written about life here during the COVID-19 pandemic and I want to capture some memories. I'll also look ahead a bit.

I want to talk about reciprocal Open Source licenses for a minute. Most major projects are permissively licensed so you might be thinking, 'Why should I care about reciprocal licenses?' Well, there is one very important difference between reciprocal and permissive licenses: how they support their community.

Nicola Barnett,

I am Forty Three

Today I turn 43! That means it is time to take a moment and reflect on last year and what is to come. Now last year I signed off with the hope that today's birthday review would be "a lot more interesting".


Forty Two

Last year I mentioned that I've felt like I am 28. That still holds true today. But, for the last year, I was somehow convinced that I was 42. It wasn't until something like September--discussing plans for my wife's birthday if I recall correctly--that I realized I was mistaken. But, today I actually turn 42. So here's to a second year as 42!

The Crystal Method has been my favorite band since I discovered them as an intern at Microsoft. That's 30 years ago now! Well the next album drops September 28th.


MSIX Conjectures

Last month at the Windows Developer Day event Microsoft announced MSIX as the future for Windows application installation. The technical details were pretty light during the presentation. But that lack of detail means some pretty crazy conjectures are thrown about. So, I thought I'd posit some of my own theories before real details came about.


Forty Uno

For the last twenty years or so I've felt like I am 28. It's strange since my life now--married with two kids running my own company--is quite a bit different than it was at 28. If I'm honest, 21 was way more like 28--dating and working at Microsoft. But I'm 41 today and it's time to review.


The Big Four Oh

A lot of people make a big deal out of turning 40. There are plenty of popular sayings, jokes and even movies about turning 40. But most of them are negative. But I don't know why. I don't feel that way. Maybe it's because I don't feel like I'm 40 today. But I am 40 today and it's time to review.

I just finished watching the Windows 10 Creators Update announcement. My first thought was "Win10 CU" which I immediately read as "Windows 10 Cumulative Update". But we already knew that every Win10 release is a cumulative update. So what did we learn today. Here's some of my initial thoughts.

I'm one of those people that prefers music published as part of an album. But I'm told the world is moving towards music as a subscription and albums are rapidly becoming a relic of the past. So at the beginning of this year I signed up for a Spotify subscription. I canceled that subscription last week. Here's why.


Thirty Nine

Today I turn 39. This is the birthday where everyone asks you if you are ready for 40. After being asked that question several times, I realized I don't really think about my birthday that way. My birthday is a point where I reflect on the past year and look to what the days of the next year might bring. I'll deal with 40--whatever that means--when I turn 40. Today I look review.


I live here

FireGiant headquarters are in San Diego, CA so it is understandable when people think I live there. I don't. I tell them FireGiant is a distributed company where employees live anywhere in the connected world. I ive here.


How Bing Funds My Music Habit

During the WiX Online Meeting this week, someone commented on the fact that I use Bing as my search engine of choice. I then went off on a tangent where I mentioned using Bing funded my music habit. For anyone that was interested, I thought I'd expound how you too could get $5 gift cards to and fund your favorite habit.


Thirty six plus equals two

After I reread last year's birthday update, I was struck how similar my life is exactly one year later. Thus incrementing last year's title seemed most appropriate. Today I am thirty six plus equals two.


Attention Scarcity

Attention economics suggests that people's attention today is a valuable and tradable commodity. Anyone that has two cats, a toddler and a newborn knows that attention is valuable and scarce. What I haven't found is a service that actually trades some other resource (money?) for attention.

Attention Scarcity

Announcing Heidi Kim Mensching

Last week, my wife and I brought our second child into the world. Heidi Kim Mensching was born at 2:49 AM on December 17th, 2014. Like her brother, Heidi arrived late at 7 lbs. 3 oz. She gave us a bit of a scare late last week but now Mom and baby are doing great.


Imperative Statement Blog Posts

A number of blog posts with imperative statement titles are queued up in my head. Most of these are a long time in coming. A few are inspired by some questions asked by customers we support at FireGiant. Like most blog posts titled with imperative statements these are general recommendations based on my experience. You can probably come up with exceptional cases so I encourage you to remember the advice here is free. Do with it as you wish. ;)


Double Look Up One Long Take

Today I twice called upon Cortana to "music search" the same song playing on C89.5. The first time was this morning when Bradley and I sat in the car outside daycare grooving to the beat. The second time we were again in the car but this time parked in our drive way after returning from swimming late in the evening. Obviously, something about the song caught my attention. I thought it was just the 90s break beat that felt so familiar. It turned out to be something way more surprising.


Linkedin Etiquette

I'm on Linkedin. I've been on there for a long time. I joined because I didn't know what it was for and, as is typical of me, figured the best way to learn was to join. Honestly, I still have not really figured out how to use Linkedin and I'm left with a pressing question, "How do you respond to a 'Linkedin friend request' from someone you don't know?"

Back when I started "The Startup Diaries" I mentioned how it seemed very few startups wrote about the actual startup process as it was happening. I naively thought I could do better. For a few months I did. Then for the last year and a half I didn't.


A New Approach To Comments

Back when I first started thinking about statically generating my blog, one of the big questions I had was, "What to do with comments?"


The Goal Almost As I Saw It

I rarely post anything about the Seattle Sounders FC on my blog. However, since this was just too good not to share and I'm off Twitter for the next couple months, here we are. This clip is from the Sounders game yesterday. My seats are a few rows higher and a few rows closer to center pitch but this is pretty much exactly what I saw.


Six Weeks of Sickness

It started with our toddler, moved to my wife and finally wiped me out. It wasn't one bug but a mix of different bugs that made life miserable for whomever was under full attack. The end result was a lost April and a rough start to May.

One of the cardinal rules for startups is: focus, focus, focus. There is so much to do and not enough time to do it that everyone must focus on delivering. This month I did a horrible job focusing. So for the next few months I'm putting myself on an 'information diet'. Here's what that means.


The Day After the Attack

Last Saturday, April 5th 2014, I received an email from Google that they believed my site was hacked.


Microsoft 2014 MVP Award

While the rest of the internet goes crazy with silly hoaxes today, I got some great news that turned out to be true. Microsoft awarded me "Most Valuable Professional" status for 2014 in "Software Packaging, Deployment & Servicing".


Plus plus thirty six.

When incrementing a number, I use the prefix operator unless I require the side effects of the postfix operator. That means you generally see ++i in my code, not i++. After I reread last year's birthday update, I was struck how similar my life is exactly one year later. Thus incrementing last year's title seemed most appropriate. Today I am plus plus thirty six.


FireGiant Almost 6 Months In

It's amazing to think that it was just 6 months ago that we launched FireGiant. Things are going well. Customers from around the globe are signing up for our services. In fact, I just returned from a customer trip to China. However, today I want to leave you with something a little different.

Today is the day we've been working toward since the new adventure began. Today it is my privilege to introduce the new company to you. Today FireGiant steps into the light.

When I think "stealth mode", I think of ninjas. Ninjas are cool. I also think of black jets with angular panels that make the planes look like pigeons to radar. That's cool too. But "stealth mode" for a startup isn't cool. It's annoying, painful and lonely. But sometimes it is the right thing to do... at least for a little while. Here's why we are doing it.


Testing tinypost.

This blog post was written by a new tool I've been working on called tinypost. You can read more about it at the tinypost github repository.

As developers we all know how hard it can be to name things. Variables in functions are usually pretty easy but naming a public function or class deserves some thought. Creating a new executable usually requires at least quick quick pause to consider options. Naming your children can also very challenging since the old "Rob2" or "RobEx" patterns of Win32/COM days are now so passe'. But trust me when I say that that none of those compare to the challenge of naming your company.

Providing clear and responsive support for our customers will be an important part of the company. To support (hah!) that goal, I spent a few days last week evaluating several different help desk/support software solutions. There are a lot of different options and none of them were perfect. So, I thought I'd write up what I found thus far and see if any of you had additional insight.


The Startup Diaries.

When I worked at Microsoft I used to read about startups on tech blogs and such. The funny thing is I cannot remember reading about any startups' experiences as they were just getting started. Now that it is my turn, I thought I'd try to capture some of the more mundane details about starting a startup. Maybe some of you will find it interesting.


Thirty six.

I've felt like I was 36 for the last few years. I don't know how many people I incorrectly told I was 36 before today. More than a few I'm sure. Well, today it is finally true. I am 36. Today was a mostly muted birthday for me because I'm really deep in this new thing. That and the birthday celebration with more family is this weekend. However, today is the actual day and I like to spend a little time to reflect on where I'm at and how I feel. Overall, I think I feel most one thing: I feel alive.


Oslo next week.

It's been quiet here because I've been really busy. My primary focus is getting the new adventure incorporated and configured. I also took on a few contracts. One of those contracts starts next week in Oslo, Norway. Are you in or near Oslo between February 4th to the 8th? If so, drop me a comment or email me and maybe we can meet up some evening.

Halo was an integral part of the early days of the WiX Toolset. We started working at about 6:30 PM on Thursdays, took a break at 11:30 PM to play Halo for an hour or so then maybe there was more coding or maybe it was time to call it a night. It's not like that any more. In fact, I was cleaning out my Inbox this morning and came across this comic that Reid sent a couple years ago.


The New Adventure.

On New Year's Eve I left Microsoft. This year I begin a new adventure. A couple people asked, "Where are you headed?" I am off to create a new company. A company that focuses on setup, deployment and the WiX toolset. I have a few ideas that I want to share with you since I'm curious what you think.

Badass. Next New Year's Eve this is how I'm opening a bottle of champagne.


RobMen has left the building.

Today was my last day at Microsoft. After 13.5 years I decided it was time to strike out on my own. I'm starting a new company that builds on my setup expertise to take the WiX Toolset to the next level. I'll talk more about the future tomorrow. On this New Year's Eve, I want to look back and reflect on my tenure at the largest software company in the world.


You Don't NEED to be Cruel.

Phil Haack wrote a post about responding to feedback on your Open Source project yesterday. If you run a project you will either benefit by taking his words to heart or you already have (or you are probably very sad <smile/>). Even if you don't run a project, I encourage you to read his blog post then come back here for one follow up item.


Promotion: The end of Title Games.

A couple weeks after I started Microsoft, 13+ years ago now, my dev manager at the time invited me to lunch with him. Over lunch he asked me a question that would define my career: "Did I see myself becoming a manager or a technical individual contributor at Microsoft?" I said I was interested in pursuing the individual contributor track and he explained how career advancement was more challenging via that route. I accepted the challenge that day and today I reached my goal.


Pussy Riot Speaks.

This is straight up tl;dr but the closing statements from members of punk band Pussy Riot are a fascinating. I don't know that I could write such poignant text ever, much less under similar circumstances. It was mostly intellectual for me until one defendant's psych eval identified her values as: justice, mutual respect, humaneness, equality, and freedom.

When I first moved to Seattle, I lived downtown and commuted to work via bus. That worked out well until the fall when the snowcapped mountains in the east started whispering, 'Snowboarding.' I shopped around until I discovered the then brand new 2000 Nissan Xterra. It was perfect for hauling me and up to 4 friends into the mountains no matter the conditions. I don't do that much any more but I still drive the same vehicle. It's getting up there in years and I anticipate I will have to replace it in the next few years. I dreaded that thought until I read an article on Geekwire comparing electric cars. Now I'm excited, sorta'.


Thirteen years at Microsoft.

I'm on paternity leave currently. I hadn't visited Microsoft campus for three weeks now (one week left on leave) until tonight. Tonight, I snuck in under the veil of darkness to drop off 13 lbs. of M&Ms. One pound for each year I've been at Microsoft. I realized now would be a good time to reflect over the last couple years since last year everything I was working on was top secret.

My interview with Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell at .NET Rocks went up yesterday. Like all interviews or public speaking gigs, I had some butterflies before the show. But when Carl Skype'd me the world just floated away and I on! The whole interview was tons of fun but there were a couple things that I thought went particularly well.


Happy 35th New Year.

This morning I came down the stairs to be greeted by my wife blowing a party horn and waving streamers in front of a banner strung from the cabinets that read, "Happy New Year!" She then wished me a, "Happy birthday!" In case there is any doubt, I have a wonderful wife who truly listens, loves and supports me.


Being traded.

This morning, Jenny and I were mourning the loss of Mike Fucito and Lamar Neagle in a trade to the Montreal Impact for Eddie Johnson. Jenny loved Fucito (she'd yell, "That's my boy!" any time he touched the pitch) and Neagle was one of the few Sounders to score a hat trick at home. They were also great members of the Seattle community. The trade unexpectedly touched a nerve in me personally and I wondered, "Do software engineers get traded?"


Pondering a Manifesto.

Bob just sent me a link to the Redis Manifesto via Twitter. He's was supportive as I vented off some of this week's frustrations. After reading the link, I believe Bob is right. I need to write the WiX Toolset Manifesto.


The all new

If you only follow my blog via the ATOM feed, then you probably missed the fact that / and /blog/ have a brand new look. The whole site was rewritten and redesigned. "Why?" you might ask. Read on for why, what went well and what didn't go so well.

Happy Thanksgiving Day! I hope you have much to be thankful for.


Announcing Bradley Reece Mensching.

A week ago today, my wife and I brought our first child into the world. Bradley Reece Mensching was born at 2:44 PM on November 5th, 2011. Bradley was 15 days late but arrived a healthy 7 lbs. 3 oz. nonetheless. Mom and baby are doing great as we adjust to our new life as a family of three.

What do you get when you take a high speed camera, a canister full of liquid nitrogen and a bunch of geeks? You get Smashfest 2011 and a lot of awesome pictures.

Today is my birthday. I use these blog posts like open time capsules. They capture a moment in time at a specific time. Up to this point, birthday's always felt like they were building up to some greater event. This year I feel like my birthday finds me in the middle of execution. That is glorious and frustrating.

Most of you aren't my friend on Facebook. That's okay, you're not missing anything. In fact, my Facebook profile was completely dead until Twitter created the Facebook app that republished my tweets. Until yesterday, I basically added no additional content to Facebook than what I posted to Twitter. What changed yesterday?



I'm am so frustrated right now.


Unplugging for two weeks.

Today, Jenny and I start the first leg of our flight to New Zealand. On March 1st we will arrive there without February 28th existing. The international date line is so cool.

Today I turned 0x21. For the non-geeks out there, that's thirty three. The way 21 feels like a coming of age for many people (hey, I can drink now!), 33 feels like a huge step for me.

Okay, last week I posted a video of Jonathan Coulton and Kid Beyond. I had never heard of Kid Beyond before but his beatbox skills impressed me so much that I immediately ordered the album.


Quantity to improve quality.

I'm not big on New Year Resolutions. Not even when the year begins a new decade. However, the typical days off around the holidays do provide some time to stop and reflect. And the one thing that keeps coming to mind is that there are a lot of thoughts in my head that I would like to blog.

Almost exactly a year ago, on the anniversary where I declared November 4th a personal holiday, I said I felt like I was at the end of the beginning. Today I decided that I have definitely completed the beginning. On Monday, I start the middle.

Music makes the coding go better and I've come to like the way the Zune software organizes and plays music. So when I was setting up the machine for LLC (where I would undoubtedly be spending some hardcore coding time), I was disappointed to see that the Zune software refused to install on Windows 2008 R2.

If you follow me on Twitter (@robmen), you know I've become a huge Seattle Sounders FC fan. I haven't played soccer since I was a kid but after K invited Jenny and I to a match early this season we became hooked. Now we're season ticket holders (jumped in when they opened more seats mid-season) and follow away games regularly.

Today, this very day, 10 years ago, before the new millennium, I joined Microsoft as a full time employee. I can remember sitting in NEO (New Employee Orientation) on my first day listening to instructions on what forms to sign where and later experienced employees spoke about tips on how to be successful at Microsoft. I don't remember the specifics of what was said. I just remember being so excited to get started writing code. For real.


Well, there goes my five nines.

I should have posted something earlier this week before the whole world here just disappeared. Anyway, at 5PM on February 23rd underwent a major move. Everything here migrated from one ISP to another. It would have been smooth transition if there wasn't a small bit of miscommunication between my old provider and me.

I just fixed the first bug in my new RobMensching.Blog engine. When I finally got around to running the engine's new feed through the Feed Validator. I had tested subscribing to the feed with IE's built in feed rendering as well RSS Bandit and Live Writer. But, of course, the Feed Validator found two more issues.


Now running RobMensching.Blog.

After a couple bumps this morning, I finally upgraded my blog to the brand new RobMensching.Blog engine. All of the old links should redirect to their new location, especially the feed subscription link, so no need to worry about updating your links. However, if you are subscribed to my feed you probably saw a few duplicate entries show up since the RobMensching.Blog engine generates entry/@ids differently than Subtext.


Last post on Subtext.

A year ago, I had a problem posting to my blog here due to an overflowing log file. At that time, I investigated other blogging engines and came up generally dissatisfied with the available options. Ultimately, I came away thinking it'd be fun to write my own blog engine.

It is the last day of 2008. Jenny mentioned this morning that she thought we had been through a lot of change. I immediately agreed. I said I felt we were at the end of the beginning. Let's recap.


Geek humor: I am a duplicated bot.

Every once in a while something amusing happens on the wix-users mailing list that makes me chuckle. Sometimes, when they are short, I post them to my Twitter account. This morning I came across a new email to the mailing that started with "Hi Rob" which seemed a bit odd since there are hundreds of people on the list.

A year ago I wrote about the quiet day of reflection on my first wedding anniversary. Today was a weekday, a work day and my job rarely allows the time to sit back and think about where I've been and what I've done personally. So I bailed early and ran a few errands gathering components for the small gift I gave Jenny tonight when we celebrated.

Qik is working on my phone again so I thought I'd try getting back on the video horse. I conned Bob into holding the phone for me. But, I was still nervous about starting.

Recently Robert Scoble posted a blog entry about how Windows engineers feel Win7 is being managed differently than previous Windows releases. As I read through the list, I immediately thought, "Hey, that's just like Office." It also reminded me of an analogy I came up with when I first joined Microsoft.


When it changes it pours, again.

Almost two years ago, I took note that major life changes seemed to "get all bunched up together". I still don't understand the phenomenon but for the last couple months I've been living it again. Like last time I'm facing major updates to my life and my work.

Blog posting has been oft delayed the last month since I have been been busy both at work and at home.

Wow, how time flies. Here's a quick qik (Qik no longer available) where I quickly trace out the last 9 years.


Qik introduction.

This morning I finally posted my first set of personal videos online using I had the qik invite for a week before posting my first video (Qik no longer available). It took a surprising amount of mental preparation to finally sit down and record myself talking to the world live. I lifted the phone up and stared into the little mirror on the back that tells me I'm in picture several times before putting it down again. I was actually nervous.


More red UI!

After years of being blue, Soma announced that MSDN has finally gone red.

Every once in a while I make a mistake where I know I did something wrong but cannot pinpoint the exact problem. These are the worse kind of mistakes because I don't know what I need to learn to avoid repeating the mistake. As a result I often back away from the problem even though leaving the issue un-addressed may be yet another mistake.


Weekend down time.

I forgot to mention last week that my blog was going to be down over the weekend. I'm on a free ISP so I don't complain when they say, "We're going to go down over the weekend to upgrade the electrical system in our building. Your email will be cached and sent when we come back up Monday."

A couple weeks ago I posted a blog entry that I had mentally labeled "the lead balloon experiment" even before I finished. In that entry, I asked the question, "Should consistent inflammatory remarks be ignored or is it important to address the remarks to present the other side of the issue and attempt to debate the underlying issues?" I got some great feedback and wanted to roll it up here.

Like almost all Thursday nights, I was out with the guys writing code for the WiX toolset. Also, like almost all Thursday nights, Jenny called me before she headed off to bed. Sadly, tonight she informed me that her Zune had frozen on her walk to work this morning.

I just couldn't focus tonight so I went surfing for recent blog entries and web pages talking about the WiX toolset. Usually, I can search for wix` and find some interesting things that either need to be fixed or documented better or sometimes a success story. Unfortunately, tonight I tripped across a troll post.


But seriously.

Yesterday was April Fool's Day. Jenny's family has a long history of playing jokes on that day. My family does not. As a result, I'm not particularly good at pulling off an elaborate (or even simple) practical joke and Jenny has her guard up all day. This year was different.


I quit.

So after 9 years of challenges and triumphs I have finally decided it is time to step away from Microsoft. I had a blast at Microsoft's Open Source Day 2008 (also told by John Lam) and after it all I felt like I had accomplished a lifetime's worth of achievements. It is now time to seek out new challenges.


Running through Waterfalls.

The end of my first ever Scrum Sprint is impending. For the last three weeks (of a six week Sprint) I have been scrambling to get all the pieces of my part of the puzzle complete. Why is it a scramble instead of a nice run through the backlog? Because various pieces didn't come together well (i.e. the way I though they would) in the beginning.


Obsolete skills

After having Outlook completely "forget" to update a couple of my feed subscriptions I decided it was time to go back to RSS Bandit. Once installed I found that RSS Bandit had added a few feeds that I had long discarded.



On the day of the "great blog power outage", I entered my first year as a "thirtysomething". Jenny and I were off relaxing on the San Juan islands. It was a wonderful three day trip of doing basically nothing. It isn't very often that I have a time where the greatest goal for a day is reading a few more pages in a book of fiction. In this case, Pattern Recognition.

It hasn't been a great couple months for my uptime here.

A few days ago I tried to post my second blog entry of the month. Windows Live Writer returned a very helpful error message from my server that told me I was out of disk space on the SQL Server. That was troubling because I don't have that many blog entries. It was late though and I didn't feel like debugging the server software so I called it a night.

Tonight Jenny was breaking out the holiday decorations and wanted to listen to Christmas carols on the "radio". The "radio" in this case is an Hauppauge WinTV-PVR with FM tuner in the computer in our living room. Unfortunately, the radio quit working when I upgraded the machine from one of the Vista Ultimate release candidates to the final bits.


The first day of the second year.

Yesterday was Jenny and my first wedding anniversary. It was Sunday so no work was needing done. We had few plans for the day. Only thing on the schedule was to exchange "paper" gifts (which we did in the morning) and go to dinner back at the Edgewater (which we did in the early evening). We finished the evening dancing in our living room to our first dance and other selected favorites.

Jenny is out of town tonight so I've been catching up on my "concept reading". After grilling dinner (teriyaki chicken) and eating while skimming through the Ruby on Rails site I decided it was time to put something "fun" on the Media Center before continuing my MVC vs. MVP conceptual dive.


3 Jobs

So, I apparently took the month of July off from blogging. It wasn't an intentional thing. Time just flew by. I'd say I was busy. And I have been. But a lot of it is just comes from a lack of focus. Today, on this last day of July, that lack of focus will have to end.


Year 8.

There were 8 lbs. of M&Ms outside my office yesterday morning. You know what that means. Milestones like this are also good times to sit back and reflect a bit.

The last couple days have been just draining. Actually, the last few weeks have been draining. Lots of communicating but not lots of action. Lack of action means lack of progress. Lack of progress despite lots of energy expenditure means draining.


It's like riding ghost.

I love William Gibson's novels. I was introduced to cyberpunk when I was in high school and being the geek I am I just sucked it all in.

Tonight is a momentous night for the volunteers who work on the WiX toolset. It was three years ago today that we released the WiX toolset to the world.


WiX online in Japan.

Last week was the MVP Summit. At least I think it was last week. Things have passed in quite a blur lately. Anyway, I was visited by three MVPs from Japan who wanted to swing by to say "Hi" and have their picture taken with me (yes, the walls in my office are blue).


A WiX Night at the Movies

I just got home from the movie theater. Tonight several of the guys that regularly work on the WiX toolset (Joe, Peter, Mike, myself and Reid even showed up) skipped out early (21:50) on coding to see 300. It is something of a tradition for teams at Microsoft to occasionally go out and do something as a "morale event". 300 seemed like a perfect movie to go see since it was pretty clear none of our significant others were interested in going.


It's like Frogger!

I've never been to Hyderabad or anywhere in India actually. However, a number of people on our team have visited various companies there where parts of Windows Marketplace are outsourced. Every time someone new goes over they come back with stories of the driving.

Last one for the night then I'm going to go drop dead in bed for a few hours. Today, I met with David Aiken about the possibility of doing a presentation on the WiX toolset at his Designed for Operations Workshop.

Tonight I was late to the Thursday night WiX Working Group (where a bunch of us get together and slam out some code for WiX) because Zac and I were rolling out the first half of our changes to the live Windows Marketplace site. We split them in two because we start in the early evening and don't want to be up too late. Of course, I'm up all night Thursday anyway... but I was supposed to be writing WiX features.


Tired with two bugs.

I'm tired.

We just did the curly-cue take off from San Jose on my way to Seattle by way of Portland (don't ask). The captain just informed us that the second pass over San Jose Airport is used to climb above the incoming traffic to SFO. That makes an amazing amount of sense and provides a nice view of the whole bay area. I just hope I don't miss my connection in Portland.

Since I started blogging years ago, I've always tried to write comprehensive blog entries. By comprehensive I mean blog entries that fully cover the topic of choice, are well organized and try to address all of the counterpoints that could be made. My intention was to create a block of information that could stand all by itself and answer any questions that might occur to the reader.


three zero.

It has been two years since I made a blog post on this day exactly. In my mind and looking back that day held much more significance than today's three decade mark. But since numbers ending in a zero seem to hold special significance in base 10 it is a nice time to reflect.


Personal Update

Yesterday I took the day off. By that I mean I slept until about one in the afternoon, woke up to eat something, played some XBox360 and went to bed around ten at night. When I first started at Microsoft when I used to work a lot. I'd take every third Sunday off or something like that. Yesterday felt like one of those Sundays.

I've been doing a fair bit of UI programming (more on that later). Kinda' scary to think that they let me write code that draws pretty pictures on the screen. What's even scarier is that I'm actually having a good time with it. I think it has a lot to do with the kick ass designers I work with.


Alas, Babylon.

As I'm sure you've heard by now, the Greater Puget Sound area was hit with record winds (upwards of 69 miles per hour) Thursday night. The winds took down many trees and the falling trees took down many power lines. Many places in the area are still without power, including my house.


Life without a computer.

I got married last month (yeah, yeah, old news). One of the agreements I voluntarily struck with Jenny was that on November 1st, I'd put the computer(s) away. I would also change my password at work and not update my smartphone so that not even it would keep me connected to the electronic world.


Still getting settled in...

I'm still getting all of my stuff migrated from my old digs at to here.

I started blogging three years ago when the MSDN blog site when it was still hosted on gotdotnet. Back then there were fifty or so Microsoft bloggers and people giggled when you said the word "blog". Now there are so many Microsoft blogs that nobody bothers to keep count any more.


It all begins in November...

As noted previously, there are some major changes going on in my life right now. This is the third and final change.


Joining Marketplace.

As noted previously, there are some major changes going on in my life right now.

I just got back from a successful trip to San Francisco and I'm very glad to be home again. However, I really wish I could attend the Open Source Business Conference 2004 in downtown San Francisco. It'd be really interesting to listen to speakers address the issue I've highlighted from their introduction.

I was hoping to hold out just a bit longer on providing yet another "toolset update" but two different requests for update in my comments prompted me to post a quick note.

On Wednesday night over pizza and code, K mentioned that The Crystal Method had a new album out. At first I didn't believe him. How could I have missed that The Crystal Method had a new album? However, low and behold K was correct. Right on the front page of their website the new album "Legion of Boom" was out and on shelves now!


Gibson speaks... I relate.

This afternoon I'm running over to the research buildings to hear William Gibson speak about something. Anything. Really, I don't care, anything.


Breaking the vow of silence...

At the end of December I had promised myself that I would not write another blog entry until I posted the "toolset" I mentioned in my last blog entry to a Workspace on GotDotNet.


On moving into the future...

My parents live in Dubuque, Iowa. Over the holidays it is common for me to make a pilgrimage from my home in Redmond (not far from the main Microsoft campus) to the Midwest. Typically the pilgrimage takes me from SeaTac airport to Chicago O'Hare followed by a short hop to the tiny landing strip at DBQ. This year on the four hour flight to Chicago, I decided to get caught up on a couple things going down in my little corner of the blogosphere.


2nd cousins

You always lift him up.


jsirois, in the house!

Jeff Sirois (last name sounds like "sir roy") now has a blog here on A couple weeks ago Jeff overheard Peter and I talking about my latest changes to WordBlogX. He started getting pretty interested so I suggest he join us up here and start talking about all the crazy graphics stuff he pulls on Windows CE. I also sent him a link to the WordBlogX I've been working to ensure he has no excuse for not blogging.

A meta-blog post talking about what to post.


pattern recognition

Well, it's happened. Google has finally caught up with me.


Where in the world is Rob?

It's been over two weeks since I dropped an entry in here. I've actually had a blog entry sitting around waiting for me to finish that tries to define a bunch of terms that I use to describe things in the setup domain.


Swing, baby, swing…

Tonight was my first swing lesson at the Century Ballroom on Capitol Hill. That meant I had to bail out of a very fascinating conversation with a couple team mates and battle traffic into Seattle at 18:30 today. I must say it was completely worth it.