Note. Eric Lippert has posted a followup to the entry I did a couple days ago regarding WSF files. If you’d like a little more insight into why WSF files work the way they do, check it out.
And now, back to our regularly-scheduled program:
I think that one of the worst things we ever did at Microsoft was install a wireless network. Now, you might look at that and say, “What the heck is wrong with having a wireless network?” Well, in theory, nothing. In practice, however, what this does is encourage people to bring their laptops to meetings. This allows them to “multi-task,” to do their email and attend the meeting at the same time.
Or at least that’s what the argument is. In reality, most people are focusing on their email, and only occasionally bobbing to the surface to see if the meeting is still going on. I’m the first to admit that meetings can be tedious; that’s why I’d prefer to see us suffer through a single meeting and then go on with our lives. But because people aren’t paying attention, it’s often difficult to reach a decision in a single meeting; as a result, we then have to schedule another meeting, all because people are too busy reading their email. I was in a meeting not too long ago when the person conducting the meeting actually stopped twice along the way and said, “Hold on a second; I need to answer this email.” Even our moderator was reading her email during the meeting!
My favorite meeting story occurred a year or so ago. I’m sitting in a meeting, as usual, for no apparent reason. Starting Geting restless, I push my chair away from the table and rock back in it. By doing so, I get a bird’s-eye view of the laptop belonging to the guy sitting next to me. I’m not really trying to spy on him, but I happen to catch a glimpse of my name on the screen (the same way that, in a crowded and noisy room, you can somehow hear it when your name gets mentioned). I look a bit more closely, and I see that the guy has written me an email: “Greg, we should talk right after this meeting.” He sends the email, and then starts doing something else.
I found two things amusing about this. First, I was sitting right next to him; couldn’t he just ask me if I had a few minutes to talk after the meeting? Second, I was sitting right next to him, and I obviously didn’t have a laptop with me. I guess it’s so engrained in the culture here that he couldn’t conceive of anyone not bringing a laptop to a meeting. I once had someone call me at home on a Sunday evening and say, “I just sent you an email. Did you read it yet?“ Needless to say, the answer was no.
One more: During a meeting we might agree on something, and then someone will say, “Let’s just run this by Linda and we’re done.” Invariably someone will pull out their laptop, fire up Word, and type: Run by Linda. They’ll then save that as Meeting-notes-from-February-26-2004.doc. I always get a kick out of that, too.
So what does any of this have to do with scripting? Nothing; I just like to complain.
Complaints aside, however, I did want to take a minute to address a question that does have something to do with scripting, a question we get asked over and over again: When is the Windows 2003 Scripting Guide coming out?
Believe it or not, that’s a tricky question for me to answer. (I actually have a great answer to this question, but it pokes a little fun at Microsoft, and I would be drawn-and-quartered if I ever uttered it. Microsoft people are pretty nice, but they don’t always have a sense of humor when it comes to Microsoft itself. I once got in a minor spot of trouble for making an offhand remark about Microsoft Bob!) Therefore, let me answer that question in two ways:
Discretion being the better part of valor, I won’t relate the entire story of the Windows 2003 Scripting Guide. Originally, we Scripting Guys were hired to write a Windows 2003 Scripting Guide. That’s why so many people ask about it: when we first put scripts in the Script Center and first posted an article on TechNet, those items were accompanied by a note saying something like, “These things are extracted from the forthcoming Windows 2003 Scripting Guide.” Needless to say, that planted the seed that there was going to be a Windows 2003 Scripting Guide.
And there was going to be one; in fact, we were working away at it when, in April or May of 2002, MS Press asked us if we’d be interested in writing a Windows 2000 Scripting Guide. I said no; with our limited resources and with our upcoming deadlines, I didn’t see how we could stop what we were doing, write a Windows 2000 Scripting Guide, and then pick up the Windows 2003 Scripting Guide and get it done on time. In other words, I was opposed to doing a Windows 2000 book at that point in time. For some reason, though, our group responded to MS Press by saying, “Well, we’re not sure whether we ought to do a Windows 2000 Scripting Guide or not, but seeing as how Greg is so enthusiastic about doing it, we’ll do it.”
And so we wrote a Windows 2000 Scripting Guide, wrapping it up in November of 2002.
Now, what does that have to do with the Windows 2003 Scripting Guide? Well, to be honest, I’m not sure; the assumption was always that we’d take time out, write the Windows 2000 Scripting Guide, and then return to the Windows 2003 book. However, after we finished the Windows 2000 book we were told, “Thanks guys, nice job. Now we need you to do this and this and this instead.” That was over a year ago, and the Windows 2003 Scripting Guide (which, again, has never been officially postponed) is in the exact same state it was in April of 2002. (We had it cryogenically frozen so that it could be revived someday .)
But, then again, I’m a cynic. Some of the other Scripting Guys believe we will write a Windows 2003 Scripting Guide, based on the fact that the project has never actually been cancelled. Could that be true? Well, I suppose stranger things have happened. In the meantime, we’ll use this blog and our Webcasts and other venues to try to get Windows XP and Windows 2003 scripting information out to the world. And who knows; maybe we will write a Windows 2003 Scripting Guide. Yeah: about the same time that – oops, I forgot; I’d better not finish that line.
Anyway, if there are things you'd like to know about Windows XP/2003 scripting, let us know. We'll see if there's something we can do about that. (If nothing else, we can have you cryogenically frozen, and promise to thaw you out the same time we thaw out the Windows 2003 Scripting Guide.)