As you know, I’m getting ready to change teams at Microsoft. My current manager gave me the ok to spend a bit of time during my transition ramping up on my new team. It looks like I’m not going to get much of a chance to ramp up, but I think I will be able to get my new office set up in advance, and I spent a bit of time today moving furniture and setting up equipment (almost).
One quick aside about changing jobs at Microsoft. It used to be that when you changed jobs your computers stayed with your current team. Eventually, the finance guys realized that buying new machines after nearly every employee transfer was getting a bit expensive, and they changed the rules so that you could bring at least one computer with you when you move (or more if agreed upon by both managers).
Anyway – I’m in love with my laptop and chose to bring that with me (besides – my current work desktop machine is more suited for writing books and developing powerpoint slides than compiling large software products). I asked my new team if they could leave my new computer in my new office, and that I’d come by to set it up when I had a chance. I had an hour this morning to swing by and check on my new digs. It’s going to be a bit weird working in an office all day – I’m so used to the team room (and meetings), that sitting in an office is going to take a bit of getting used to. The first thing I did was move the desk around – I don’t like having my back to the door when I work. There was a big Dell tower computer in the office, so I started plugging in peripherals, power, etc. There were also two new 19” monitors, so I unpacked those and set them up … and ran into my first problem. They came with VGA cables only, but the computer only had DVI ports. I walked down the hall to find our groups business administrator (who is awesome, btw). She pointed me to the admin who gave me a funny look when I used words like VGA and DVI, but she pointed me to a box of cables. I found a DVI cable, then eventually found a 3-foot DVI cable (seriously, what is that good for). As a stop-gap, I found a VGA-DVI converter dongle and went on my way. I also noted that I need to order monitor arms since, for some reason, I like to flip my widescreens 90 degrees, and the stock stands wouldn’t work that way.
Once I got everything hooked up, I powered on and positioned my finger over the F12 key for a PXE boot (PXE is a network boot that is very convenient for installing a clean OS). Unfortunately, PXE hit an error and didn’t boot. I rebooted a few times, played with the bios, swapped out cables, pixie-booted another machine, and did the full range of trouble-shooting; which in the end pointed to a problem with the machine. Since the machine had an integrated NIC, I thought I’d check if there were any bios updates. I searched Dell’s site, found the update and downloaded it to my laptop. But then I noticed that the date on the latest updated was March, 2006. I looked inside the machine and saw a note saying it was manufactured in 2005. Admittedly, it’s a pretty sweet machine for something five years old, but how could this team give me a clunker instead of a new machine. C’mon – I’m Alan Page – I need to do …stuff…
I attempted to ask about the machine in a way that didn’t sound ungrateful, but at the same time say, sheesh, this machine is five years old. It turns out that they did order me a brand new dev box, and they left this one around for me to use as a test machine (and an awesome test machine it will be (dual proc Xeon)– once I get it to boot). I’m thinking I’ll have a pretty sweet setup fairly soon. If I remember to bring a camera to work, I’ll even take pictures. In the meantime, I have loads more work to complete on my current team, so most of my effort will be on that through the end of the week.