Ian Moulster's blog

A Microsoft employee translating Microsoft technology into plain English

Answering some of the comments

Answering some of the comments

  • Comments 64

There have been quite a few comments to various of my blog entries, all covering the competition, so rather than try to answer them all individually I'll try to cover them here:

 1) People have mentioned that while they saw London Underground on stage, they didn't see any other customers in the videos. Well, they absolutely are there. In fact we had 5 customers in various videos throughout the day, however the questions don't name all of them. So you need to make a note of the customer names, then see which ones appear in the list of possible answers, and select them.

2) Some people were hoping for technical questions rather than "which customers". We felt a technical question would be unfair to newcomers and to developers from competitive platforms. This approach requires you to watch the video (you won't really be able to guess unless you've watched them) and doesn't differentiate on the basis of technical knowledge or experience.

3) Some people felt that none of the customers actually appear in the videos. At least one person said that there were "no customers on stage during any of the Vista sessions". Well, that's not true. All of these customers absolutely do appear, and customers are in both the Office and Vista tracks. I have just watched the appropriate videos myself and yes they are there.

4) Some people have said "surely you don't need us to watch all of the videos before we'll get the answers?". If you want to take part in the Office competition, you'll need to watch the Office videos; And if you want to take part in the Vista competition, you'll need to watch the Vista videos. And if you want both, you'll need to watch them all. Of course, you can use the "thumbnails" to skip to the part of each video that might help you.

5) People have asked if the competition is already closed. No, it runs until 19th February. See http://www.microsoft.com/uk/launch2007/dev/vistatoc.mspx for terms and conditions.

I hope that helps to clarify things. I know it means you have to watch quite a few videos but to be honest that's the point.

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  • wow, 19th February?

    I wouldn't have thought it would take a month to get 1000 right answers for each question - I'd have thought that would be over by now!

    Hang on...

    Now I'm worried that I didn't get it right. The way you say "which ones appear in the list of possible answers, and select them" makes me concerned cos I only ticked one customer :-S

  • I went and checked the question, and it is definitely singular "which customer". Phew, i was worried for a second there :-)

  • I agree that people need to watch the videos to be able to enter the competition - that is only fair!

    However; Since most of us only know of london underground (and easyjet who got a mention - but didn't appear on stage); it was extremely unfair to ask us to have remembered these companies.

    Of course I rememebered that more than one company was there but as an excited developer was focusing on your products and technologies and what they could do rather than who was there - bill gates could have put in an appearance and I doubt that most people would have remembered if he did!

    You ran this competition with good heart and trying to protect the people who were there for the day (ie me) but you made it so easy for anyone who was fortunate enough to have a FAT PIPE at home or have succesfully downloaded the webcasts throughout the day to view the videos at 5.30ish and jump through the chapters and get the answers to the questions!

    For me, although I knew roughly where the companies had appeared; I had no chance of fairly entering the competition, since at 5.30, the site became overwhelemed there was no way for me (and others too) to view the videos; and at around 6.30, I managed to (slowly) and with a struggle skip through the videos to remind myself.

    Unlike the Office questions; the Vista question was extremely easy (and in the first webcast so anyone could have found that in seconds) and I suspect that you got over 1000 entries within 5 minutes by people who had actually watched.

    In conclusion, I think that you tried to run this competition in a fair manner... However you have probably eneded up alienating those people that you most wanted to encapsulate most through not have thought this through properly.


  • On the lighter side..

    The reason that we all remembered London Underground was because we all cheered as they pulled up to the stage (on time and without any delay)!

  • Ian, will entrants have to wait till after the competition closes to know if they have won or will you be sending out winning emails earlier ?

    I'd quite like to buy vista asap if I haven't.

  • Hi there Ian,

    Can i just check - so if we just put in one of the customers for each question, and not all that appeared, that won't be counted as correct?

  • Christopher: thanks for your feedback. It's a tough one, and believe me many people put thought into this and we went through a number of options of how to run it. Obviously want we don't want it to cause frustrations for people and sorry if we've done so. I'll make sure we take on-board your comments.

    Weeble: we'll notify you asap, I can't give you a precise date but we aren't waiting until the competition finishes to do this ie as soon as we know we have 1000 correct entries we'll contact the people who have won.

    Xact: If there were (for example) two valid customer names listed in the set of possible answers, then you need to tick these two - no more, no less - for the answer to be considered correct. When I saw "valid customer names" I mean names of customers who were on-stage during any of the launch sessions.

  • Is there any update on how many entries you have recieved so far and if it has gone over 1000 yet for either option?

  • My only complaint is that I was concerned with the difference between the naming, for Vista, I saw a partner (or partners), but the question asks, what CUSTOMER.. surely theres a big difference between customer and partner.

    Btw, the Videos are extremely interesting if you stop worrying about trying to find the answers and actually watch :)

  • Thanks Stephen, we did think about that for a while, the issue is that "partner" is only a term that means something if you're in the Microsoft "world" (well, to a certain extent). Essentially these people are all "customers" of ours, we were concerned that the differentiation between customers and partners would actually cause confusion for some people. But thanks for the feedback, we'll take it on board.

    And thanks for the comments re the videos :-)

  • I thought the questions were pretty good actually. I remembered the company names from the Office presentations and luckily happened to be watching the Vista presentation that included the correct company. From what I've read in various posts I think some people seem to have misunderstood what’s required for the competition. I get the impression some are just watching the keynote rather than the sessions which is why they aren't getting the answers. (As far as I know) none of the answers were in the keynote.

    I just have a quick question though; I originally entered just the Office question as they were the presentations that I watched of Friday. Once I'd seen the Vista question I went back to enter into the Vista comp as well. The competition system seemed to read as though I should select the “both” option, I did this and it had remembered the boxes I had ticked for the Office questions. Is it the case that it's just one form and you can go back and edit it or have I disqualified myself by submitting it twice?

  • Is it possible to change an answer or to answer the Office question if i originally answered the Vista question only?

  • Hi Ian I see that you are the person who organizes this competition so i ask for your help.

    I didn't know that I automatically receive a copy of Vista if I attend the presentations in the Reading campus. I was left with the impression that even those who physically attend the presentations should answer the online question, which seems not to be the case! Unfortunately when I returned home yesterday I answered the online question.

    So now how could my name be removed from the online register? I want someone else to have a chance to get a copy of Vista, as I will get it automatically.


  • I'll find out about multiple entries, not sure whether that's an issue. As soon as I know I'll post the answer.

    AlexL - many thanks, please send me a separate email and I'll arrange it.

  • While people are asking this, I'm not sure if I accidentally signed up twice, I went to do the questions and then watched some of the casts again, when I was happy with my answers I submitted, it took awhile for the form to come back so I carried on browsing, when I clicked back on the tab it was on a live id sign in page. I signed in with my live id and answered the questions again.

    I cannot be sure that I used the same live id, since I have around three live ids, but the name and address would be the same.

    I assumed this would get filtered (if both entries were actually processed) but just to ensure I don't accidentally get two copies (or elimate myself from getting any copies) is there any way I could remove one of my entries?

    Sorry if this is a fuss!

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