This past month we've been posting interviews with the team from our Italian Visual Basic MVP Alessandro Del Sole. This time we have Adrian Bowles (who's nickname is Spotty), a Tester on the VB Compiler. Someday Spotty will have to tell us how he got his nickname.

Please check out the Visual Basic Team page for pictures and bios and visit the home page of the Visual Basic Developer Center for a link to all these interviews as well.

Here's the interview with Spotty:

1. Nice to meet you Spotty!  Let’s begin by asking a simple question: Where are you from?

England via Philadelphia (9 years prior to moving to Redmond)

2. We all know that you’re a Visual Basic team member, but can you tell us something more about your role inside the team?

I’m a tester on the Visual Basic Language and Compiler team.  I’m Involved in testing extension Methods, UAC Manifest functionality, Collection Initializers during the Orcas and current product cycles.

3. What’s your favorite Visual Basic feature, in the language and/or the IDE?

Extension methods – it’s the greatest feature ever !!!! :-) Both me and developer of the feature agree on this.   It’s used extensively to provide the LINQ functionality but provides so much more.   XML literals is pretty cool as well.

4. What makes VB a great programming language?

VB is a great language, it’s easy to use and allows for a huge range of users (from complete novices to experts) to easily develop a wide range of applications.  This has been evident over the years from VB 1.0 and has been a constantly evolving product.   The language has English like syntax making code easy to understand and providing the vast majority of functionality as other languages. VB users are passionate about the product – it allows them to get the job done quickly and easily.  

5. What brought you to Microsoft, and how long have you been working there? What was your occupation before joining the VB team?

I was a developer using VB and did some work with Microsoft trying to identify performance problems with an application I started work on.  I loved the experience of working with smart guys and the environment.  Applied for a position and got an offer.  I’ve been working here for 3 years but used VB since V1.0 / VB for DOS

6. What’s it like working for Microsoft?

Best company I’ve ever worked for, super smart people and constant new development taking place.  It’s a place where the teams work hard, but enjoy the work – this is not a 9-5 job as such but one where people get carried away with their work and the next thing you know its 9pm – time flies by when you’re having fun and having fun at work makes you to look forward to each day at work.

7. Tell us something about your life outside of the office (how do you like to spend your free time, when you go out, when you’re at home, etc.)?

I’m pretty active, I’m a skydiving instructor, with over 4500 jumps and used to compete when I live in UK – with 13 national titles, I ski with the mountains in Washington only 70 minutes away and whistler,BC a not much further.    Since living in WA, I’ve developed a love of wine and often visit the wineries/vineyard.

8. Who is your favorite musician?

I like lots of music and don’t really have a favorite as such but U2 would be up on the list of always in my music collection.

9. What’s your favorite food?

All sorts of food – I’ve traveled quite a bit and will eat most things.   I like eating real “foreign” food.  That is authentic non-generic American food.   It’s unfortunate that a lot of food becomes Americanized over in the US.   So I enjoy seeking out authentic local food and treat oversees trips as truly an opportunity to try local foods – you won’t see me running to the nearest generic fast food chains.  It doesn’t  need to be anything fancy - I’d be happy with a simple fresh baguette, some cheese and a glass of wine.

10. Have you ever been to Italy?

Yes, but not recently. When I lived in UK I traveled around Europe a lot and have been to Italy a couple of times.  My grandmother was in fact Italian.

Thank you very much for taking time to answer these questions and telling us more about you!