The Wow Starts Now

January 30, 2007 at 6:07 pm | Posted in Microsoft | 1 Comment

The Wow Starts Now. Need I say anything else?

 But seriously, Microsoft just released Vista and Office 2007. It is a great accomplishment. I went to the release party at one of the MS Cafe’s with Hany. It was packed and we decided to just leave. I watched the launch on a live webcast instead.

I wasn’t a big fan of the slogan – but its growing on me (especially as when some people challenged me to come up with something better my mind drew a blank). One of the things that I now like about the slogan that its pretty much true. If you try Vista, I guarantee you will “wow” at some of the features. Go out, buy it, and seriously give it a try. Its worth it. Every time I use XP at home I get really frustrated now. One of my absolute favorite features is the ‘Search’ feature built-in to the start menu. It is fantastic and saves a lot of time. Also, for the first time ever you can buy and download Vista online (http://windowsmarketplace.com/)

 The new Office on the other hand is great. I’ve been using the Beta at home (and the released at work) for quite a while now and I must say the new Ribbon interface simplifies a lot of things. I actually wish that Outlook would switch to the new Ribbon UI. It takes a bit of getting used to at first, but it is quite easy after that.

It’s quite an exciting time at Microsoft and for me “The Work Starts Now” 🙂 I plan on installing Vista Ultimate on my laptop sometime soon (just need to back things up first). I can’t wait to show my wife DreamScene (you can set movies as your background for the desktop). The trick is not to put a movie with a lot of movement in it. I’ve been beta testing it internally and have seen some of the potential movies for background and it is very beautiful. This will come out as an Ultimate-only extra though so you may want to get that version instead.

Have anyone of you tried Vista or Office 2007 yet? Do you plan to soon? What are your favorite features?

 UPDATE: Hany has a much better article about it (with pictures!) here. It is a must read!

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Microsoft Interview with a December Candidate

January 26, 2007 at 3:14 am | Posted in Egypt, Microsoft | 6 Comments

I am sure some of you may be wondering about what the interview process is like. On the JobsBlog Priya has an interview with one of the candidates she met and interviewed in Egypt. Her name is Mona and she was offered a position as SDET in the .NET Developer team.

I noticed one thing though…they now do the interviews it seems at the Smart Village (I am guessing at Microsoft HQ there)…Mine was done at the Four Seasons…Much better setting in my opinion 😉

Anyway, I thought some of you might be interested as Microsoft will be interviewing in Egypt in March and I know some of you are interested! If you know me and would like a referral don’t hesitate to ask…Good luck, and if she can do it then so can you!

Also, I wanted to point out Moe Shall’s blog. He got accepted too this past December and has just started a blog, so you may want to keep track of it to see his story.

Slight layout change

January 24, 2007 at 6:10 am | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Slight layout change

I just did a very small re-organization to the sidebar on the blog. I put a gadget for ‘Top Posts’, that way instead of having to dig for some of my posts, you automatically get to see the most popular ones (its calculated dynamically, so I dont have to manually update it). I also moved the Most Recent Posts a bit further down as you can just browse the page and see the most recent ones.

 Hope you guys like the change.

Microsoft US Recruiting from Egypt again

January 19, 2007 at 8:25 am | Posted in Egypt, Microsoft | 10 Comments

I have good news for people in Egypt who are interested in joining Microsoft here in Redmond, Washington. Microsoft will be coming back to Egypt for one last time, before they take a break until the end of the year. They will be interviewing in Egypt sometime in March.

I do not know which team is coming to Egypt. Sorry. But the team that came to Egypt in December was part of the Developer Division (the team that works on Visual Studio and compilers, etc.) I know some people may wish to know which team they are applying for, but keep in mind, its very flexible here to change teams. In fact its encouraged usually for you to move around and find the best place for you. Plus, when they are interviewing you, they not only look for a fit in the team that is interviewing you, but they could also find you a position in a different team.

Anyway, enough of my talking…so you want to apply…what do you need to do? It is very simple. Send your resume to egyptres@microsoft.com and if you know me you can also send me your CV personally, and I can send it directly to the recruiter responsible for Egypt (with a recommendation).

Good luck and remember – 7 people got accepted last December (in my round it was only 3) so its improving. Unfortunately, nobody I knew got accepted. Hany knows all 7 of them!!! I’d really like to have someone I know get accepted this time around! So get those CVs in.

Oh yeah, and they are due by Feb 9th please as they need to take time to schedule and conduct phone interviews before they come in February.

My First Accident (I love my Mazda!)

January 11, 2007 at 5:42 am | Posted in Personal, Seattle | 4 Comments

So, in case you don’t know – it just started snowing a few hours ago in Seattle/Redmond. It was about the time to go home and Hany and I decided to stay at work until the traffic clears up.

 First of all – the snow is amazing. It’s several inches already and looks cool. Had some snow fights, and some people went down and did snowmen.

 Anyway, we decided to go home at one point figuring its just going to get worse. So we leave. I was able to get out of the garage under our building just fine, but Hany’s car (A VW Golf) had great difficulties at maximum RPM. I had to wait like 10 minutes for him to make it up the ramp 😛

Sooooo…for some reason, we decide Hany drives behind me and I’ll lead the way home. So as we are leaving the MS campus, I slow down and come to a standstill on a speedbump on the road. Then I see Hany’s car coming closer and closer…I try to move, but my wheels just spin on ice. Hany did a nice swerve into the other lane, but managed to hit me nonetheless 🙂 It was a very minor scratch on both of our cars, thank god 🙂

We decide to continue, but Hany’s car is having extreme difficulty getting any sort of traction. So we turn around and return his car to the garage (with great difficulty) and then we took my car home.

 I love my Mazda 🙂 Even in Snow, it works perfectly and got me home safe and sound. Great engineering.

Microsoft @ CES

January 9, 2007 at 7:04 am | Posted in Microsoft, Software | 1 Comment

In case you did not know already, the Consumer Electronics Show is going on right now at Las Vegas, and Bill Gates gave the keynote there announcing a bunch of new things in the pipeline for Microsoft.

2007 is definitely going to be the biggest year for Microsoft in a long time. Not only are we releasing Windows Vista, Office 2007, and Exchange 2007. In addition to this, Longhorn Server 2007 is supposed to ship and the Zune is shaping up to be a great Microsoft product.

Anyway, none of the above has anything to do with CES. It’s all old news…So just what is exciting and new that was announced at CES?

  • Windows Home Server. I heard about this about a couple of months ago at Microsoft and was something that I found very interesting. Basically it’s a small server box for your home that is designed to run without any input devices or monitors. Kinda like a Router. It is designed to be your home server, so you can store all your files on it centrally and stream things all over your home. It would be great for any home that has multiple PC’s. It’s designed to take 5 HD’s and no need to open it to add extra hard disks. Target Price: 500$! Here is a sample picture of a prototype device (not final). Look at the guy’s hand to get an idea of the size of the device.

 

  • Ultimate Extras for Windows Ultimate. There are some great new things coming for people who decide to go for the Windows Ultimate SKU. Some of the extras include Texas Hold ‘Em Poker (a very famous poker game that is the latest craze in the US). Some Bitlocker and Encrypted File System enhancements. And finally, Windows DreamScene which basically allows you to use a video as your background. Remember the static view of some grassy hills in Windows XP (called Bliss in your Desktop Background)…anyway, imagine the grass is actually moving as if there is a breeze blowing across it! Yes, I know this has been around in Linux for quite a while…but I use Windows, and I’m happy to have this feature 🙂
  • Xbox Live on Windows Vista. Finally, Windows users will be able to play with Xbox 360 users. DirectX 10 on Vista is just amazing with lots of features and brings Windows gaming in line with console gaming. You can even use an Xbox 360 controller on your PC (in fact, they had an amazing demo of using your Xbox 360 controller to navigate through Virtual Earth in amazing 3D). It just makes sense for Microsoft to provide this seamless integration between Windows gamers and Xbox 360 games!
  • IPTV on Xbox. At some point in the future of 2007, Microsoft plans to introduce IPTV through the Xbox system. If you have ever seen the state of DVR’s and Cable Television you would understand why this is a big deal. My Comcast DVR hi-def box crashes routinely at least once a day…plus the interface is incredibly ugly and slow. If I could get all my shows on my Xbox with in hi-def with DVR capabilities – I would switch in an instant.
  • In-car computing with Ford. Microsoft has partnered with Ford to provide a Windows for Automotive solution built into the cars in the Ford lineup. It has bluetooth, allowing you to make/receive calls. It has TTS to read any messages you may have got. It works with portable music players so you can create playlists using speech recognition and lots lots more.

Anyway – there is probably a lot more I am missing…but here you got an idea of what an exciting future Microsoft has planned. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Microsoft has a lot of exciting projects going on right now, and I’m excited to be a part of it all 🙂 (Since I’m a part of it and everything…anyone here want to give me a Microsoft Home Server? :P)

Happy New Year

January 2, 2007 at 6:45 am | Posted in Personal, Seattle | 2 Comments

I wanted to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. So, what did you guys all do?

My wife and I met up with some friends here that work at Microsoft and we went to the Seattle Space Needle, to watch the fireworks. To see some pictures visit my friend Hany’s blog, who wrote about it http://hanysbarakat.blogspot.com/2007/01/seattle-2007.html

Lets just say there were A LOT of crazy drunk people 🙂 2006 has been such an eventful year for me with my move to the USA and working at Microsoft. I hope 2007 has many more good things to come.

I hope 2007 brings all my readers good fortune.

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