Fellow Time Travelers

BrentBlog reminds me of the constant effect that we redmondites are always dealing with. Windows XP was a sureal experience, all the new features and experiences were well grooved familliar friends when it finally came out.

Since then, the feature work seems to have gotten “completed” further and further from when it finally ships. All the feature work we did for Windows XP sp2 was done for almost a 3/4 of a year before it was released, and the Windows Server 2003 sp1 work was done even earlier then that. Even now as Longhorn Beta 1 marches to completion, my team has finished all of our big features months ago, and Longhorn still has a way to go before shipping. Some of this is a measure of Window’s not quite speedy code velocity, and some of it is that my team works on infrasturcture peieces which gets done much earlier then a lot higher level/user facing OS components, but most of the time is integration and stabalization. 

I also agree about how fustrating it can be to have fixed so many customer pains that we hear about, but only in a product that you haven’t shipped yet. Working on IIS6 was the most extreme version of that feeling I’ve experienced. It’s a feeling I’ve seen mirrored by MVPs when they tells us about a product problem and we tell them that we have fixed it in the next version.

However, even with the pain it can be to dogfood pre beta software, working here is an experience of living a couple years in the future.

Party platforms

After feuding with my wife about what vacation we are going to do this year before the baby is born, I found myself reading a Left2Right blog entry about the Oklahoma Republican Party’s Platform. Since it seems way out wack, I got curious to see what the local Washington State Republican Party Platform looks like.

Things that I like:

·         The defense of Israel statement has a coexisting Palestinian state piece.

Things that I like but don’t trust the Republican Party to actually do (or do right):

·         Property owners implementing environmental practices that are supported by sound, peer-reviewed scientific method are a model of responsible natural resource stewardship

·         Increasing competition among health care providers to promote accountability to patients

·         All people are entitled to be treated equally by government.

Things that I don’t like:

·         The protection of innocent human life born or pre-born through natural death.

·         An amendment to the United States Constitution defining marriage as the union between a man and a woman.

·         A policy that public schools not promote or identify homosexuality as a healthy, morally acceptable, or alternative lifestyle.

·         Research of adult and placenta stem cells and oppose human cloning.

·         Compensating property owners when government actions reduce the value of their land secures our right to own property.

Stuff I found cute:

·         Support President Bush‘s Energy Bill to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign crude oil. This is immediately followed by the ANWR drilling platform element, I guess foreign is the keyword there.

While there is a couple things that I find off for me, it sounds like the more tolerable form of the republican party. Let us see how the democrats do: (-1 to start with by making me open a pdf)

Things that I like:

·         Oppose the “Corporations are people too“ Supreme court ruling

·         reinstatement of I-728 that calls for reduction of class sizes;

·         enforcement of sunshine laws and transparency in sessions that discuss and make policy

·         the separation of church and state, and we oppose organized prayer in publicly funded schools

·         the right for medically assisted death with dignity with suitable safeguards for terminally ill patients;

·         a woman’s right to choose as protected by Roe vs. Wade and the Washington State Reproductive Freedom Act;

·         the right to confidentiality of medical records and genetic information.

·         that the state should not interfere with couples who choose to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities, and commitment of civil marriage, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

·         property forfeiture should be permitted only after criminal conviction, not on arrest or by seizure

Things that I like but don’t trust the Democratic Party to actually do (or do right):

·         Supporting diversity of ownership in broadcast media

·         dedicating tobacco settlement monies only to tobacco-related health care programs and tobacco use prevention;

Things that I don’t like:

·         Proclaim the executive and legislative branches of government shall abandon the doctrine of pre-emptive warfare and shall make nonviolence the primary organizing principle of foreign policy.

Stuff I found cute:

·         Supporting Kyoto, but against marketplace pollution credits

Overall, the Republican Platform avoids specific actions and tries to go with general principals. The problem is that while it is easier to agree with the Republican principals, I know a number of the actions they actually have in mind behind some of the principals and I generally don’t agree with the actions. The more specific the Republican Platform is the more I have a tendency to disagree with it.

The Democratic Platform has a huge laundry list of ideas and like a rainstorm; you can’t avoid getting hit by a few drops. There is going to be some that I like, while also have a large number that I just don’t care about or in some case dislike. As a whole it looks impossibly expensive to do all of them.

A quick scan pretty much sizes me up as socially liberal on all the big conservative causes, and since that has always been such a defining aspect to that party I believe I’m pretty much lost to them. But aside from a couple pet causes the democrat one isn’t all that much better. I wonder if the Democrat Platform in a heavily republican state would be more appealing to me, but that’s for another blog entry.

20 Week Ultrasound

I just got back from the 20 week ultrasound, where I’ve seen the first human looking pictures of my first child. I walked in not ready for the event. I knew what was going to happen but turned numb to it happening. Pam’s uterus has been getting bigger and bigger, but still can be somewhat hidden, I couldn’t think that there could possibly be something so developed in there. The doctor that did the exam tried to make it a very supportive and emotional event, and might have been dismayed at the apparent lack of emotion from either of us. This is probably because Pam and I where like deer in headlights. In the second half of the exam I finally started asking questions and reacting. The first image based rendered 3D view of our baby’s face I couldn’t recognize. It was only after the second that I could actually understand and recognize what I was seeing. We made a default decision in finding out the gender, namely we didn’t make a decision so we didn’t find out. The doctor took photos and video of the genitals and then wrote the down the sex while we didn’t look. Right now that knowledge is in the bag next to me. The only “problem” that the doctor saw was one umbilical artery instead of two (2-3% of babies), but he looked quite a bit at the heart and found everything normal.

Right now I’m still shaken from what I saw, I’ve never been the most emotional person, but this one is a pretty fundamental and awing change. The reality of a face looking back at you is something you can’t forget or deny.

There are so many small changes to the way I look at things; did I buy a house in the right place? are there the right influences near by and the wrong ones far away? Do I get home from work early enough to be a good father? I remember my father always getting home at 6pm, and yet I hardly ever saw him. Will I be around enough? Will I stay fi so that I can play and keep up with my child? Will my work be stable enough to support him/her?

Which brings up the sex part again. My mother tells me that the Pernick’s only know how to make boys. The last heart rate we measured was on the lower range of normal heart rates that might mean a boy. This time the heart rate was 150 which is more of a pointer to a girl. My mother jokes and tells me to go ahead and start buying blue. How far will we get without finding out? Having made it past this milestone, I’m ready to wait till the very end to find out.

The next step is to scan in the pictures and transfer the video to a digital format. I feel almost silly that we can’t just use a USB keychain thing to walk out with it, but I guess that will take a couple more years. The need to buy a video camera has just gone way up, so I guess I need to finish choosing one and buy it.

Note to the baby if you ever get a chance to read this: Hi, welcome, we love you.