Browse by Tags

Browse by Tags
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: Tell Mode / Ask Mode

    As a product nears release, the rate of change slows down, and along the way, the ship room goes through stages known as Tell Mode and Ask Mode. In Tell Mode, any changes to the product do not require prior approval, but you are required to present your changes to the next ship room meeting and be...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: Brownbag

    Remember, Microspeak is not merely for jargon exclusive to Microsoft, but it's jargon that you need to know. The term brownbag (always one word, accent on the first syllable) refers to a presentation given during lunch. The attendees are expected to bring their lunch to the meeting room and eat while...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: bar check

    A bar check sounds like the sort of thing you receive at the end of a long evening of drinking, but that's not what a bar check is. Among the things that happen at ship room meetings is reviewing each bug that has a proposed fix and deciding whether to accept or reject the fix. Another thing...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: Party, in various forms

    Remember, Microspeak includes words and phrases in general use, as long as they are employed at Microsoft at a higher rate than in the general population, or in specific situations that may not be obvious to the uninitiated. They are the words and phrases you need to use in order to fit in. Today...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: Spinning up or kicking off a build

    Remember, Microspeak is not merely for jargon exclusive to Microsoft. It's jargon you can employ to sound more like an insider. Most of the time, a fresh build of Windows is produced every day . When the product is nearing a release, train service gradually declines , with faraway branches losing...
  • Blog Post: The case of the redirected standard handles that won't close even though the child process has exited (and a smidge of Microspeak: reduction)

    A customer had a supervisor process whose job is to launch two threads. Each thread in turn launches a child process, let's call them A and B, each with redirected standard handles. They spins up separate threads to read from the child processes' stdout in order to avoid deadlocks . What they've found...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: The train

    Work on Windows occurs in several different branches of the source code, and changes in one branch propagate to other branches. The goal is to push changes toward the trunk on a regular cadence . I will illustrate with an extremely simplified example because the complexities aren't really important...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: Landing, especially the heated kind

    Work on Windows occurs in several different branches of the source code, and changes in one branch propagate to other branches. When talking about a feature or other task becoming visible in a branch, the preferred jargon word at Microsoft is landing . In its purest form: We expect the feature...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: to family well

    If you hang out with designers, you may hear the word family used as a verb, usually with the adverb well . The old icons now look dated and do not family well with the Web site. We renamed the feature from Auto Shape to Instant Shape so that it families well with other features like Instant...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: booked

    Remember, the term Microspeak is not tightly scoped to mean jargon used only at Microsoft. It's jargon used at Microsoft more often than in general usage . Today, it's a term that you really need to master if you want to talk with others about project planning. To book a feature is to commit to...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: Tenet

    In standard English, a tenet is a fundamental belief held by a group of people. At Microsoft, the term tenet is used as a generalization of what we previously called taxes : Things that everybody has to do in order to be a good software citizen. While taxes are typically very low-level and specific...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: bubble up

    Bubble up is the name of a soft drink , but at Microsoft, it means something else. (Remember, Microspeak is not just terms used exclusively within Microsoft, but also terms used at Microsoft more often than in the general population.) To bubble up information is to expose the information at a...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: pivot

    A great word to use at Microsoft to make it sound like you're one of the cool insiders is pivot . Mostly because the meaning of the word varies from place to place, so you can use it to mean whatever you like while still sounding hip and jargony. In Windows Phone, the term pivot is a technical term...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: v-team

    People who don't work at Microsoft but who are aware of its jargon might encounter the term v-team and guess that it's a team consisting of vendors, because the Microspeak term v-dash is used to refer to vendors (whose email addresses begin with v- ). It's a good guess, but in this case, it's...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: touch base

    The verb phrase touch base is in general business jargon use , but it's quite popular at Microsoft. To touch base with someone is to contact someone in a lightweight and mostly-informal sort of way. In other words, it takes the form of a piece of email or a brief office visit rather than a formal...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: Granular

    Today's Microspeak word is granular . Here are some citations. Please bring your cost estimates at the granularity of 3, 5 or 10 days . The archive function archives all data older than the date specified. Is there a way to get the archive to be more granular than just a date? Our database...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: planful

    Every year, Microsoft invites its employees to fill out a poll which asks questions regarding all sorts of things. One of the things Microsoft employees are asked to evaluate is whether they think that their vice president is acting planfully . The tricky part about that question is that nobody...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: radar

    The metaphoric use of the term radar is in general use . It refers to the set of things that some entity is paying attention to. (That entity being the owner of the radar.) To fall off the radar is to stop attracting attention or garnering media coverage. Something that flies below...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: Turds

    In Microspeak, a turd is a graphics glitch which results in old pixels appearing on the screen when they shouldn't. Perhaps they are not being erased properly, or instead of being erased, they move to an unwanted location. The source of the problem could be failing to mark a region for redrawing after...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: The parking lot

    Mike Dunn wonders what the Microspeak term parking lot means . I'm not familiar with this term either, and the first document I turned up during my search was a PowerPoint presentation that said "Avoid using Microsoft jargon terms, such as parking lot and dogfood ." Yeah, that wasn't much...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: scoped to

    The Merriam-Webster dictionary gives as the meaning of scope as a verb to look at for evaluation , as in "to scope out the competition." But that's not how we use it at Microsoft. Here are some fake citations: The Widgets pop-up shows the available widgets scoped to the current selection...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: Friction

    In physics, friction is a force that resists motion. In Microspeak, friction is an obstacle which prevents somebody from doing something you want them to do. (The preferred verb phrase for getting over an obstacle is overcoming friction .) There is friction in the system for X that is reduced when...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: fit

    In Microspeak, fit is a predicate noun which is never used on its own but always comes with a modifying adjective. For something to be a good fit is for something to be appropriate or suitable for a particular situation. The opposite of a good fit is not a bad fit , because that's pejorative. Rather...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: Walls and ladders

    Reader laonianren wanted to know more about this game Walls and Ladders . "Walls and Ladders" is not a game. It's just a metaphor for a conflict in which one side wants to perform some action and the other side wants to prevent it. The defending side builds a wall, and the attacking side builds...
  • Blog Post: Microspeak: Offline (noun)

    Sure, any noun can be verbed, and any verb can be nouned. But today, we're going to noun an adjective. I have no written citations of this usage; the only report was via a colleague who overheard it in a hallway conversion. I had some offlines with Fred about that. In Microspeak, offline...
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