It's been a while since I last wrote in this space.

Many of you have been kind enough to send me e-mail sometime in the last few months, making sure that I was OK and wondering if I was planning to write here anymore. Was I abducted by aliens? Put into witness protection? Muzzled for something I said?

Nah. The truth is less interesting than any of the theories.

A couple of things, both work-related and personal, have conspired to monopolize my time over the last few months and leave me little time for blogging.

First of all, we shipped Office 2007. A great milestone for the team, but I spent a lot late 2006 and early 2007 talking to people about the UI and the story of how it was created: journalists, customers, marketing folks, etc. This is fun stuff, but time-consuming.

Second, we never rest at Microsoft, and when we finish a product, we're immediately on to the next thing. I stepped up to a new role within the Office User Experience team, and we've been hard at work for the last six months planning the next release of Office. The early stages of a release are both exhausting and exhilarating--going from "anything's possible" to "exactly what code should be written." This is an intensive period of brainstorming and designing, and it has taken time away from the blog. After all, if we don't design a compelling product now, there's not going to be much for me to write about in the future...

That said, I do plan to write (albeit less frequently) between now and the time down the road when we start talking publicly about the next release of Office. I'm going to make good on my promise to show early prototypes of the Office 2007 UI, and I'll continue to write about usability and interaction design as well.

Whether it will be interesting or not, that remains to be seen... but I'm officially Not Gone.