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June 07, 2007

The WPA Remodel, Week 4

We're now in the fourth week of the remodel of Building 21, so I've been an officeless nomad for that long.

The remodel itself seems to be going fine; they have razed the affected part of the second floor down to the concrete, and last time I poked my nose in they were busy framing the new layout (although many of the walls will be "demountable", evidently some of them will be permanent).

On a personal level, I've been teaching some, so on those days I just go to the classroom and there's no difference. Even on non-teaching days I've generally had at least one meeting on campus, so I've gone in most of the day to get permanent high-bandwidth corpnet connection, rather than rely on RAS (which is slower and has been flaky for me recently). I've mostly been squatting in a lab we have in building 24 which currently isn't being used, but I've also had times where I set up shop in the inside atrium in building 17. My favorite roosting spot is currently the offices we have in WestPark, where part of the team moved. WestPark is a clump of low-rise office buildings in downtown Redmond (if you drive from City Hall to Sunrise Donuts, it's what's in between). Microsoft has space in one of the buildings and part of it is temporarily given over to Engineerig Excellence, in a mix of offices and cubicles. There are unused cubicles (and even the people assigned to cubicles aren't around much), so I can settle down for a solid day. Because it's a Microsoft site is has printers, free soda, office supplies, and all that. Best of all, it has a vending machine that has Coffee Crisp in it. What is Coffee Crisp you ask? Hoho! Is there a Wikipedia page on it? Is a frog's ass watertight? So already this is the Best. Microsoft office. Ever.

Our team dynamic has been affected a bit by not seeing each other. We used to have a daily standup meeting, plus a weekly meeting. The first week we missed the weekly meeting and were trying to do the standup by phone, but people got lax on that. Well, just after one week apart I could sense that emails were getting a bit more snippy, and I was concerned we would verge into open career warfare by the end of 4 months. So, we were careful to really focus on trying to attend the daily and weekly meetings, and things seem to be better. The larger EE team is also working on some events to get everybody together (this Friday we have "beer and munchies in the classroom"), but since we didn't tend to talk to them as much anyway, it's not as big a difference. We also happened to have an event yesterday for our entire VP's organization, which was a barbecue (catered by Dixie's BBQ!) on the sports fields, but it turned out to be a cold, rainy day, so we all huddled under a tent hoping to win one of the Trustworthy Computing fleece tops they were raffling off so we could put it on to keep warm. Although that wasn't a bad thing, a common enemy (Mother Nature in this case) can lead to good discussion and bonding on the team.

Posted by AdamBa at June 7, 2007 04:45 PM

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I saw you guys when I rode past on my bike yesterday afternoon and wondered what team had gotten stuck with that weather. I felt sorry for you, but it *was* funny to see everyone packed in so tightly under the food tents.

Posted by: Tommy Williams at June 7, 2007 07:13 PM

That's funny, we were wondering who was that poor guy stuck on his bike in such lousy weather.

Actually not, but I couldn't resist saying it!

- adam

Posted by: Adam Barr at June 8, 2007 08:09 AM

Coffee crisps ... one of the two confectionary giants sold a bar with large coffee bean fragments in the chocolate, at one of the local supermarkets. Unfortunately I don't remember which firm it was, and the supermarket stopped selling it not long after I developed a taste for it.

Life's hard, isn't it!!! ;)

Posted by: Wesley Parish at June 13, 2007 05:41 AM