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About cashto's blog

My name is Chris Ashton, although everyone at work calls me by my email address, "cashto".  I joined Microsoft in June 2003 as a contractor and went full-time in May 2004.  Previous to that I worked at BSQUARE Corp (May 2000-Jun 2001) in Bellevue and a small startup called Newmonics in Tucson, AZ (May 1999-May 2000).

I work on Outlook Mobile, specifically Messaging -- the email / SMS client for Pocket PCs and Smartphones.  Although it's one of the most visible and important apps on Windows Mobile, it's actually fairly prosaic work ... working on various features now and then, but mostly just a lot of bugfixing.  Still, the challenges are there, not unlike in most software engineering projects.

I'm not much a person to rant and rave about new features or technologies, so you're not likely to see that in this blog.  What fascinates me is general trends in software engineering and the state of the industry as a whole -- and I hope to explore about that a bit here. 

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    cashto does the ICFP contest

    This weekend I got 84th place in the online 10th annual International Conference on Functional Programming contest . Not bad, given that I hadn't any intention in, you know, actually competing. The task: in this year's competition, you are given 7MB...
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    Coding Against the Grain

    The other day, I was reviewing a coworker's design for an area she was writing. As she was describing the responsibilities of each class, my attention was drawn to one in particular: "Why is this method in this class Foo? I mean, it's true that the...
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    How to Easily Understand Unfamiliar Code

    I suspect my coworkers may consider me mildly insane. In our group, we typically require that code must be seen and reviewed by at least one other person before checking in. I try to do my part, and tend to respond to a lot of code reviews that come...
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    What I learned from Erlang

    When I began learning Erlang , the thing that intrigued me most is this wholesale rejection of the concept of "state", "side effects", or even "loops". As I got to thinking about it, the hardest programming problems I've encountered almost always had...
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