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Mailbag: Want To Work for Microsoft?, When 'Cheap' Isn't Cheap, More

Last week, Doug asked readers if they want to work at Microsoft, despite the Microsoft Security Reponse Center's appearance in Popular Science's list of the worst science jobs. Looks like these readers haven't been put off:

Would I like to work for Microsoft? In a word: Yes! If it is anything like I have imagined, just doing a few years there (if that is all I might be able to hack) would probably lay the groundwork for the rest of my career.

I see being a part of Redmond as a big challenge, but also a rewarding one. It will have its ups and downs just like all jobs, but for the most part, the Microsoft family is pretty close and the reward for being a member is pretty nice, indeed.

So that is where I am striving to be, to meet the challenges and obtain enough personal satisfaction that I can say it was worth it to have made being a technologist my career choice. I'll have to let you know how it all works out.

Quick answer: Absolutely!

Long answer: Absolutely! Why? Microsoft is among the largest organizations in the world. Microsoft didn't get where it is today by having a bunch of slackers staffing its positions. Microsoft got where it is by carefully recruiting high-performing and creative employees who stretch their minds more than a runner stretches his/her legs. High-performance individuals with a thirst for knowledge and a knack for problem solving should definitely consider Microsoft as a potential employer.

I hear the politics at Microsoft are awful, that it is nearly impossible to put new features in. The flip side is that you have the potential to work with some of the brightest minds ever over there. Every time I go to conferences, I am just amazed at some of the people that I meet from Microsoft. I think that Hugh MacLeod is helping Microsoft understand what its mission needs to be: Microsoft, change the world or go home. I would work for Microsoft in a heartbeat if I could.

Why is Microsoft bragging about a $500 PC for India, when some Vista laptops can be had for cheaper here in the States? Here's what some of you had to say:

I forwarded your article about the $500 PC to Cathy, a missionary I know in the northeastern part of India. This is her response:

"You have to realize there is a luxury tax on everything here, including toilet paper! So it is reasonable if you get a legal Windows in it. Such is life here!"

There is so much counterfeiting done there.

The only thing that keeps us from having a good cheap computer is the quest for speed and power. Twenty-eight years ago, I owned my first disk operating system computer. It had 64K of RAM. (Yep, that's a K). It had NO hard drive and I ran a word processor, a spreadsheet and a whole lot of truly neat games. Where is it written that a computer today needs a gig of RAM and 80 gigs on a hard drive? I think the answer to that is at Microsoft. There are days when I wish for my H-DOS machine, or even the CP/M machine I bought after that. Yes, I built those machines myself, but I bet you could make one with the same capabilities for less than $100. OK, so today's calculator has more power, but it doesn't have the flexibility.

The world will not have a cheap computer as long as Microsoft is building the operating system.


So, is it "U.K." or "Great Britain"? Doug asked, and readers from across the pond answered:

Yes, you can say "Great Britain." The offical name is "the United Kingdom of Great Britian and Northern Ireland." That's a bit of a mouthful for most people so either "U.K.," "United Kingdom" or "Great Britian" is still correct.

You can say "Great Britain" if you wish for everyone to know what you mean, but it's not accurate. Great Britain is the name of the island; the nation is called "the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" and is made up of the big island of Great Britain, a bit of the island of Ireland and a handful of smaller islands dotted around the area.

Got something to add? Let us have it! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected].

Posted by Doug Barney on July 09, 2007