New “teamX” development methodology

Oh, now I get why Jeff Sandquist got his new Xbox and invited us over for pizza. He’s trying out a new team development methodology. See, along with me and my son he also invited Adam Kinney and Erik Porter over. They are two developers on the http://microsoftgadgets.com and Channel 9. I didn’t realize they were working tonight at first, but here’s how I caught on.

They would switch off playing games. Erik would jump on the Xbox, play a couple of games, then hand the controller to Adam, who would play a couple of more. I was distracted with my new phone, so didn’t see that while these two weren’t on the Xbox they were jumping on a laptop on Jeff’s kitchen table (here’s a picture of Erik coding away). Eventually I noticed this pattern and asked them what was up. Oh, and I noticed that Visual Studio was on the screen with source code.

Turns out they were fixing bugs in the site. The Xbox game was reward for knocking out a bug in the code.

Somewhere, someone should be studying whether the Xbox actually helps productivity of coders. Hey, it’s an interesting theory. Either way, the bugs got fixed and the development team seems happier than usual.

Jeff calls it the “frag-ile” development methodology. Heheh. I call it innovative program management.

Oh, and don’t miss the Gadgets site — there’s a lot of interesting stuff happening over there. The Microsoft Gadgets site is the first Microsoft site to feature user tagging. Also, the growth in that community is quite rapid. Lots of new gadgets have been added by non-Microsoft developers in the past couple of weeks.

Xbox 360 night coming up

Hey, I don’t have an Xbox 360, but that won’t stop me. I keep getting invited over to friend’s houses to play their systems. Which is funny cause I certainly won’t get them any new “achievements” (those are rewards for completing certain tasks).

That said, if you are one of the lucky Xbox 360 owners, you’re welcome to join us. I’ll be at Jeff Sandquist’s house tonight. I hear his daughter Josie has been practicing at Geometry Wars to beat me. Oh, Josie, beating me is no challenge at all! Can you beat Brandon, though? That’s the question!

His gamer tag is jeffsand. We’ll accept as many invites to play as we can tonight. I should be there by 7 p.m.

The borg’s coffee sucks, new employee says

Doug Mahugh wrote up a report on his impressions of his first six weeks working at Microsoft. Says the coffee sucks. Oh, I agree! I’m drinking it right now. It’s drinkable, but that’s about the best you can say. Luckily there’s a Starbucks only a few yards from my office. But, like Doug says in his report, the other stuff makes up for the crappy coffee.

Oh, speaking of which, anyone notice that Microsoft is rarely called “the borg” anymore?

At dinner last night we were talking about just that. That Liz’s friends are telling her that Google is now scarier to them than Microsoft. She told us that AOL forced Google to start putting graphical ads on the search engine. I told her “oh, so they sold their philosophy down the river?”

Hey, Bill and Steve, now is the time to take the philosophy game over. I wrote a post in October of 2004 where I asked “what’s your product’s philosophy?”

Oh, just found this interview with Google’s Marissa Mayer over on Good Experience. She says: “We feel no pressure at all to switch to graphic ads, either internally or from advertisers.” Oh, really? Welcome to AOL!

Hmm, Preston Gralla over at CMP’s Networking Pipeline asks a more direct question: Has Google Become More “Evil” than Microsoft?

That’s not a question for a Microsoft employee to answer. But, if you find our evil, can you please send it back home where it belongs? Thanks! ;-)

The philosophy question is the deeper and more important one, though, or maybe it’s the crappy coffee talking.

Keeping up with Pirillo, new Smartphone in my hand

Damn you Chris Pirillo!

He was over last night with the ever lovely Ponzi and the ever cool and hip Liz Lawley and her family.

Anyway, as soon as he walked in he said “look at what I got today.” What?

He handed me a new Audiovox 2125 SmartPhone. Came out from Cingular yesterday.

It’s the new version of my old Audiovox phone.

First thing we did was pull a Web page up on both phones and compare them. Wow, the screen is a QVGA. Is it nice! Way sharper. Way way way way sharper. And more text too!

Oh, and now I can use the new DopplerRadio mobile podcasting software. Gonna go load that right now.

Joshua Allen, Microsoft’s first blogger is in my office (seriously, he was the first one to post a blog here at Microsoft, when I was hired at Microsoft there were already about 100 bloggers here). I just did the “keep up with Pirillo” shtick with him. “The screen is really nice,” he said, after being forced to hold it. Heheh. Another one sold!

Chris, look at what you’ve started! Oh, and if you want one in the Redmond store you better hurry. They got 150 yesterday and they are going fast (I saw five people buy them when I was there).

Update: MSMobiles has a good review on this phone.

First call was to Maryam. It’s a lot clearer. I’ll report more on it as I use it more.