This time of year is usually pretty quiet here at work and this particular year is no exception. In fact, because of our recent snow, the number of people here each day is especially low. I always see this as a good time to get caught up on all the lower priority tasks that have built up with a special emphasis on those tasks that don't require many others to be here. Today I want to give a simple snapshot of some of the tasks on my plate this week.

One such task (which is not low priority) is fixing automation scripts. As it stands right now, our spell check automation is failing. I booted our most recent version of OneNote and checked to see if spell check was, in fact, broken, but it worked fine. Something changed elsewhere and the automation script needs to be updated. I have started my investigation of this failure and it looks like we are checking a hard coded path for some needed DLLs. I may be wrong, but need to get this script up and running.

Another task I have on my schedule this week is getting caught up on our newsgroup. I always try to stay current with the comments over there and actually have a written goal for myself to stay up to date on it. I help out when I can (mostly by pointing to powertoys we've given away to help with some of the more common questions) and bring the requests made there into discussions we have about future versions of OneNote. This question stood out (Is OneNote still a viable product?): I sure hope so. I'm getting paid to work on new versions of it! Anyway, we take all the feedback there into account and I want to use this time to get up to date on it.

Really low (and quick) tasks are computer "cleanup": getting rid of old files eating up hard drive space, cleaning out my folders on Exchange in Outlook, etc… I don't have any particular schedule for this - I go more by "feel" for when I've let it get out of hand.

I got a new one terabyte hard drive last week for use with virtual machine images. Simply copying around and building VHDs takes time and I have some set aside this week to get all the virtual machines (VMs) built. This is easy to incorporate into a workday, though. Suppose a copy of an image takes 20 minutes. I just start the copy, then move on to other tasks while the copy happens. I don't stay blocked.

I guess I should point out that I have 5 test machines in my office, plus my "dogfood" tablet. Once I get my VMs up and running, I should be able to get rid of at least one of the machines, or hopefully two. Currently, I have a machine left over from years ago that is my primary test machine, a second machine with the most recent version of OneNote 2007 with the latest service pack installed (for integration testing and verification), a machine with OneNote 2007 and the shared source object model installed which I am keeping "pure" of any non-shipped software and two automation machines. Once my virtual machine system is running, I can hopefully get rid of the first two machines I mentioned (saving money on electricity if nothing else) and possibly get rid of one of the others. Anyway, planning work like this is great for a week like this one.

I may even have some time to work on a new powertoy.

Questions, comments, concerns and criticisms always welcome,

John