November, 2009

  • The Old New Thing

    How to pretend that you attended my talk at UIUC Reflections|Projections 2009


    Step 1: Buy a 1.55-ounce Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar from a convenience store, supermarket, or (if truly desperate) online.

    Step 2: Print out this candy bar wrapper.

    Step 3: Trim wrapper on registration marks and wrap around candy bar.

    Step 4: Stay up late the night before you plan on watching the video by partying with Ryan North and teaching him how to play beer pong.

    Step 5: Force yourself to wake up the next morning and watch the recorded video of my talk while trying desperately to stay awake. The candy bar might help.

    Note: Although most steps are optional, they are essential if you want an accurate simulation.

  • The Old New Thing

    How to tell when your patent has been approved


    There are a variety of ways of finding out when your patent is granted, but the quickest mechanism is to check your mailbox. But the thing to look for is not what you might think.

    Even before you receive word from your company's patent department, you will start receiving junk mail delivered to your home address from companies that sell patent-related novelties, pointless trinkets like pencils and mugs with your patent number on it. Nevermind that you can probably order personalized pencils for much less than what the patent-chasers were offering.

  • The Old New Thing

    How do I move the Windows.edb and other search index files?


    Nothing profound today, just a little tip.

    My customer is looking out for a way to change the location of the windows.edb file to another (larger) drive.

    From the Indexing Options Control Panel, click Advanced, and then under Index location, click Select new.

  • The Old New Thing

    Microspeak: Net out


    It started out in finance, but the term has crept into more mainstream usage (at least within Microsoft) and along the way picked up its own meaning:

    Where did we net out on this?
    Customers want you to net out the business value.
    Note any significant changes to the forecast and explain the reasons why. Net out changes to start conversation.

    Include the following points in your presentation:

    1. ...
    2. Net out action plan moving forward

    The next citation is a bullet point from a PowerPoint slide:

    Each district/vertical will answer/report back on:

    • ...
    • Net out top 3 business asks

    (I also have some finance citations, but they aren't relevant to Microspeak, so I've left them out.)

    In finance, to net out is to cancel out positive and negative amounts. For example, you might net out an account by cancelling amounts owed against amounts due in order to eliminate offsetting transactions. When calculating tax liability, you net out your gains against your losses to determine your net change for the tax period.

    In Microspeak, well, I'm not sure what it means. In that first citation, it appears to be a synonym for come to a conclusion. The question appears to be a rephrasing of "What was our conclusion on this?" or "What did we finally decide on this?"

    In the second citation, it appears to be a synonym for summarize in terms of net benefit/loss. "Customers want you to show the net benefit of the product."

    In the third citation, it appears to be used merely to mean summarize.

    And in the final two citations, it appears to be simply a verb meaning to produce.

    Note that net out is unrelated to that other Microspeak phrase net net, discussed earlier.

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