So long and thanks for all the fish

My time is up.

It’s been eight years since a friend suggested I join him on a contract at Microsoft Support (thanks Pete). Eight years since I sat sweating in an interview with Steve Taylor, trying desperately to recall the KDC’s listening port (his hint: “German anti-tank gun”). Eight years since I joined 35 new colleagues in a training room and found that despite my opinion, I knew nothing about Active Directory (“Replication of Absent Linked Object References – what the hell have I gotten myself into?”).

Eight years later, I’m a Senior Support Escalation Engineer, a blogger of some repute, and a seasoned world traveler who instructs other ‘softies about Windows releases. I’ve created thousands of pages of content and been involved in countless support cases and customer conversations. I am the last of those 35 colleagues still here, but there is proof of my existence even so. It’s been the most satisfactory work of my career.

Just the thought of leaving was scary enough to give me pause – it’s been so long since I knew anything but supporting Windows. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity though and sometimes you need to reset your career. Now I’ll help create the next generations of Windows Server and the buck will finally stop with me: I’ve been hired as a Program Manager and am on my way to Seattle next week. I’m not leaving Microsoft, just starting a new phase. A phase with a lot more product development, design responsibility, and… meetings. Soooo many meetings.

There are two types of folks I am going to miss: the first are workmates. Many are support engineers, but also PFEs, Consultants, and TAMs. Even foreigners! Interesting and funny people fill Premier and Commercial Technical Support and make every day here enjoyable, even after the occasional customer assault. There’s nothing like a work environment where you really like your colleagues. I’ve sat next to Dave Fisher since 2004 and he’s made me laugh every single day. He is a brilliant weirdo, like so many other great people here. You all know who you are.

The other folks are… you. Your comments stayed thought provoking and fresh for five years and 700 posts. Your emails kept me knee deep in mail sacks and articles (I had to learn in order to answer many of them). Your readership has made AskDS into one of the most popular blogs in Microsoft. You unknowingly played an immense part in my career, forcing me to improve my communication; there’s nothing like a few hundred thousand readers to make you learn your craft.

My time as the so-called “editor in chief” of AskDS is over, but I imagine you will still find me on the Internet in my new role, yammering about things that I think you’ll find interesting. I also have a few posts in the chamber that Jonathan or Mike will unload after I’m gone, and they will keep the site going. AskDS will continue to be a place for unvarnished support information about Windows technologies, where your questions will get answers.

Thanks for everything, and see you again soon.

We are looking forward to Seattle’s famous mud puddles


Ned “42” Pyle