Friday, March 05, 2004

stress ball heaven

well we survived the microsoft seminar with what was left of our sanity intact.

it wasn't as bad as we expected either. usually the mornings are "death by powerpoint" while the most interesting/relevant topics are saved for last, in an attempt to stop people leaving early (like us poor fools who had a 2.5 hour trip home).

the introduction was the usual powerpoint crap, with 2 speakers attempting to break up the monotony by taking turns at reading the presentation from the screen, and introducing the 2 other speakers. i wish they'd spent 30 mins on this bit, instead of 90. one of the speakers, George Stathakopoulos, is the head microsoft product security dude. and it turns out that he's diving in jervis bay this weekend. i wonder if he's on our boat. i've warned the other deckies to give him an extra hard time if he is :-)

then they split us up into it pros (geeks) and developers (programmer geeks) and never the 2 shall meet. i pitied the developers, well for about 10 seconds, ours can be a painful lot, so it also gave me great pleasure to think that they, and not us, would be inflicted with this annoying, over enthusiastic, painful type speaker.

our speaker. Steve Riley (doesn't it just annoy the crap out of you with me adding randomn links?) was pretty damn good i thought. not too enthusiastic, didn't drone on, kept our attention even though we were hungover and needed sleep and a big caffeine hit. he also pretty much flicked thru the power point crap as quick as he could and pretty much gave us an interesting talk on each of the 3 topics. he said if we wanted, we could download the presentation etc... and he wasn't going to waste his time, and ours, by reading from the screen when we were perfectly capable of doing it ourselves. not bad for a yank.

plus he regaled us with mad tales of travel, working for microsoft, customer tales and stuff like that. like, for example, he's trying to get one customer base to use 10 letter passwords, with numbers in it. this one lady is resisting, she knows why it's a good idea and stuff, so he asks her, "why?". she says because she doesn't know any 10 letter words, especially with numbers in them. ok, dumb example, these always sound a lot better when someone else tells them.

or the fun he has with qantas and customs in general. i won't butcher any more of his stories.

he also told us that microsoft wasn't really after world domination, just the land bits. any software companies with their offices in the ocean would be safe.

in between presentations we got as much free food and free stuff as we could get our hands on. the usual cd collection of stuff that will sit on our desks for 12 months and never get looked at, no pamplets this time because i couldn't be stuffed, some free biros from hp cause microsoft didn't give us any this time, and stress balls!". one of our techs came back after the sydney session on wednesday and had one. she was very chuffed with herself and of course, wouldn't let us near it, or we'd nick it. i managed to score 8, and my coworker, who is a better scammer than me, got 10 and a stupid musical yoyo. (it's stupid because i didn't get one!)

i think the idea is that when you are stressed, you squeeze the ball or something. the way i use it is a little different. i bounce it against a wall or the roof until everyone has the shits. or if everyone is stressed, we throw them at each other and have a huge stress ball fight. at the end everyone is giggling and happy. (except the boss who has the shits, sucks to be him). our supply has depleted over the years, from the applications manager who stole one, saying we stole it from him (probably true) and generally getting lost. so we're armed and dangerous now.

on a more down to earth note. it appears that salam was in karbala during the explosions the other day. while i am of course sad that anyone perished during this stupid tragedy, i would be especially sad if the bagdad blogger was among them. i hope he's ok. he's responsible (or to be blamed) for inspiring me to write all my bullshit in here. and while i write a lot of crap, both here and in other people's comment boxes, it's a whole new world he opened up for me, and i like it and am happy to have had a little peek into other people's little worlds.

or course he's been known to just disappear for a little while and resurface when he's ready. and if he was there during it. he might feel like a bit of time out. who knows. especially what do i know. but i find his blog and riverbend's the most balanced and least, um, vitriolic? of the accounts i have read. especially the news. sure they've got issues and personal views, but i think they are a lot better accounts than many others we have seen.

enough babble. anymore beer and blogging, and i'll be here 'till midnight and it will be even worse crap that this, and i'll delete it all in the morning. lara croft - the cradle of life, beckons. :-)

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