Brian Johnson's Startup Developer Blog

February, 2005


    Troubleshooting Visual C++ Issues

    Yesterday, I attended a meeting where MSDN Product Manager Justin Grant went over some of the pain points that customers are having when they visit MSDN. One of these points had to do with searching for the right answer when troubleshooting a problem. I think the issue is that the documentation and papers we post on MSDN aren't really oriented toward troubleshooting issues for the most part.

    What we do have though, is a great product support site that's dedicated to troubleshooting issues.
    Microsoft Visual C++ .NET 2003 Support
    With that in mind I'm going to add a troubleshooting link to the home page Visual C++ Developer Center and I'll also take a look at adding something like a top knowledge base articles control to the home page. Does a KB control sound like something useful on the site? Post a response to this thread and let me know.

    Wired: Hide Your IPod, Here Comes Bill

    Well, here's an article that doesn't trim at all with what I've seen at Microsoft. My first thought is, the only people who might give somebody a hard time about a music player are people like me, and it's all in fun. Second, I've seen a couple of music players on people as they walk around campus and most of the time that player isn't an iPod as far as I can tell.
    "About 80 percent of Microsoft employees who have a portable music player have an iPod," said one source, a high-level manager who asked to remain anonymous. "It's pretty staggering."
    If this sentence is true, I don't see it. I don't know of any gadget polls given company wide, so I have no idea where such a number would come from.

    iPods are fine machines. I had one. I sold it. :) There are just too many choices now to limit yourself to one brand or player. I think it's interesting that last spring, Yusuf Mehdi gave a speech where he touched on the idea that media players would proliferate and go down in price. (I blogged about it here.) Very prophetic in light of the new shuffle devices.

    Visual C++ Developer Center

    We made some tweaks to the Visual C++ Developer Center today. We added the top five threads from three different newsgroups to the home page. This will make it easy to see what people are talking about around Visual C++ in the newsgroups. For now, I've added the following groups:
    This is sort of an experiment. Add a reply to this thread to let me know if you find it useful or if it causes any difficuties in reading the page.

    It's the little things...

    It's amazing to find a feature that you didn't know existed in a product you use all the time. I have (casually) looked for a way to write in white on black in Microsoft Word for years. Today, I was reformatting a document in Word 2003 and I noticed that the Themes menu item was there on the Format menu. Funny, I've used that item extensively in FrontPage, but I never noticed it in Word before. I thought, wow, I can probably use this to type in white on black. So I tried it by applying the Zero theme to a document and it works.

    I don't know what it is about white on black that makes it easier for me to write, but I find the difference amazing. (Probably because I grew up on Wordstar, and character based code editors.) I've tried using the white on blue option in Word, but that was never really what I wanted. This is very exciting in a retro-geek sort of way. I wonder how long its been in the product? Years? I wonder what other features I don't know about.

    Security Updates for February

    The Windows Security Updates for February have been posted. Here's a link to the page:
    Windows Security Updates Summary for February 2005
    The security updates for February 2005 include several high-priority updates for Microsoft Windows that also affect Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Media Player technologies. If you have any of the software listed on this page installed on your computer, you should install the updates from Windows Update.
    Here's a link to the Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary on TechNet. Also note that there are two Webcasts planned for information around the February bulletins:
    Information about Microsoft's February Security Bulletins (Level 100)
    Wednesday, February 09, 2005 11:00 AM-1:00 PM (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada).
    We are extending this webcast by one hour this month to allow additional time to answer customer questions about the details and deployment of the updates.

    Supplemental Technical Information about Detection and Deployment of Microsoft's February Security Updates (Level 200)
    Thursday, February 17, 2005 11:00 AM 12:00PM (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

    Protect Against Exploit Code Related to Security Bulletin MS05-009

    Microsoft posted information tonight to help customers with a Windows and MSN Messenger issue related to MS05-009. Key to protecting yourself is making sure that you've installed the MS05-009 update. Get the details here:
    Protect Against Exploit Code Related to Security Bulletin MS05-009

    Microsoft is aware of exploit code available on the Internet that seeks to exploit an issue addressed this week by the update released with Microsoft Security Bulletin MS05-009. Microsoft is not currently aware of any active attack utilizing this code or any customer impact. We will continue to actively monitor the situation and provide updated customer information and guidance as necessary.

    Our investigation of this exploit code has verified that it does not affect users who have installed the MS05-009 update for both Microsoft Windows and MSN Messenger. Microsoft continues to recommend customers apply the MS05-009 updates to the affected products by enabling Automatic Updates in Windows as well as installing the updated version of MSN Messenger.

    Superman - The Animated Series

    I picked up a copy of Superman - The Animated Series, Volume One this weekend. It's a great series and there are a ton of cool features to go along with this DVD set. It includes the first 18 episodes (of 54 total). We've watched 1 though 4 so far. There are 4 episodes with commentary and one episode has a pop-up video thing going with interesting little trivia tidbits. I bought it up on a whim for 20 bucks and I think it's one of my favorite DVD purchases ever.

    Reminder: Digital Blackbelt Series

    The first webast in this series is about to begin.
    MSDN Webcast: Digital Blackbelt Series: The Software Security Crisis: Selling Management on the Need to Invest in Secure Software Development (Level 100)

    Friday, February 4, 200511:00 A.M.12:00 P.M. Pacific Time, United States and Canada (UTC-8)
    Tune in for an introduction to the Digital Blackbelt Series. Learn about the evolving "Secure Culture" at Microsoft Corporation and how your company can save money by spending defensively.
    Here's the page with all the information about the series.

    April Reagan is Blogging

    April Reagan is a box PM for the Visual C++ team and she's one of my favorite people over in building 41. She's got a blog now and in her first post she explains, among other things, what a box PM is. Check out her blog here (rss). Here's a link to her first post, be sure to stop by and say hi!
    Introduction: A Day in the Life of a Box PM
    A box program manager is basically a project manager without any direct reports (unless, of course you are a box PM lead). In other words, I drive the team from a peer stance. Minding the product cycle and keeping feature teams in check and on schedule is only one small part of the job. Box PMs are ultimately on the hook for everything that ships in the "box." This PM must pick up (or at least prioritize and delegate) all of the loose ends that don't neatly fit into a feature/component area - setup, help, samples, end-to-end product scenarios, customer programs, legal, servicing and external issues, just to name a few.

    New MSN Search

    It looks like this released. I'm pretty excited about this because I use MSN Explorer and it wasn't as convenient to hit the beta page from that browser as it is to use the MSN Search Toolbar. You can find an article about it here:
    Microsoft antes up with new search engine
    Microsoft Corp.'s competition with Google moved from the practice field to the big leagues yesterday as the Redmond company released a finished version of its internally developed MSN Search engine.
    Here's a link to the press release.
    Here's a link to MSN Search.
    The URL is
    And this is a link to the search feature tour.
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