Since joining Microsoft almost two years ago, the same internal debate seems to arise every few months about what bloggers should and should not say about competitor products, technologies,etc. Some have gone as far as to suggest we shouldn't even use competitor products in front of our family or friends. To me this is just silly. Yes, I work for Microsoft, but no I am not a robot.

The last time this debate occurred a bunch of people "came out" and discussed the competitor products that they use. At that time I was inclined to the same, but didn't. Well now the discussion has arisen again, so I decided this time I would open my own mouth.

Here goes.....twelve non-robotic ramblings you should know about me. (not in any particular order)

1. I own a Mac Mini and love it.

2. I own a Toshiba tablet PC running Vista and I hate am disillusioned with it. (The laptop and often Vista)

3. I have regretted installing Vista consistently.

4. I bought my wife an IPOD Nano. I have a Zune, though I sure miss my Audible books.

5. Yahoo is my home page, preferred web portal and mail client.

6. Google is my search engine.

7. NUnit any day over VSTS Test suite.

8. Firefox over IE.

9. Open source is a good thing. Mono is a good thing.

10. Resharper over VS2005 Refactoring

11. Ruby on Rails is impressive.

12. I like Linux and started working with it back when there were Slackware distros (though admittedly I am rusty now). Last version was Redhat 7.0

So why am I telling you all this? Does this mean I hate Microsoft? No. This is by far the best company I've worked at in my 10+ years in the industry. However, just because I am working in Redmond doesn't mean that I am going to put my head in the sand and pretend that some of our competitors don't have better products, even if their name happens to be say Google. As long as I see more value in a competitor offering, I'll use it. That doesn't mean I won't strive to make our products better as our customers deserve nothing less.

If anything, having a balanced view helps me do my job more effectively and thus deliver more value.

My $.02