Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Where I've been

I used to blog quite regularly. (Where regularly is defined as "often.") If you're one of my three acquaintances, you'll notice that my well has run dry lately. I've been sort of busy...

First off, after half my lifetime I have left the publishing business. I had my first ties to MSJ in 1989, and continued as a contributing editor in the 90s, eventually being hired as technical editor of Microsoft Interactive Developer in 1996. Things went well until a couple of years ago, and I'll protect people by not using their names here, but it was really time for me to get out of there. For the past two years, I've been set up for failure, and I prefer the opportunity to succeed. I was miserable, but I was fortunate enough to be able to keep my wits about me.

Many people, when faced with a situation like this, convince themselves that they are worthless just because they're being told they are. I know what I've done in the past, I know what I can do now, and I know how many people have gone through a similar situation (genius to garbage) quite quickly in my old division.

I was still working against time, because after a decade of superlative reviews I was given my first negative review at Microsoft this past year. I knew it was coming way back in October 2006. I knew it was coming in February 2007, when despite getting an OK review the previous year, and doing all that was asked of me, I was told that I was "having a terrible year." In the past, I've been able to wait out situations like this, but I'm older now, it was affecting my health more, and I was tired of enforced misery.

Just before Thanksgiving, I started a new position within Microsoft, as a technical accounts manager. It's like night and day. The job is great - companies buy a services contract from Microsoft, and I make sure they're happy with it. I work them through problem resolution, case escalation, site visits, architectural reviews, and anything else an ISV needs to be successful working with Microsoft products.

I really enjoy doing it, and it's a lot like what I did as an executive editor. I would meet with advertisers alongside our sales team, talk about their products, gauge their needs and requirements, and suggest solutions and future paths for them. I want people to be happy with what I do, and I want to be able to fix it when they're not. So here I am, from executive editor to TAM.

Review: SoftAmbulance Partition Doctor

My 250gb drive crashed last night. Specifically, it started to say "you must format this drive before you use it" every time I plugged it into my laptop. OK, this kind of sucks. My backup plan has been to backup all my data onto this drive, and then delete it from the laptop for space.

Frantically, not to mention cheaply, I looked for SHAREWARE DRIVE REPAIR.


I downloaded SoftAmbulance Partition Doctor, and ran it on the drive. The program scans your drive and does a pretty good job of recovering data from unrecoverable HDs. The shareware version tells you what it finds; you have to pay for the full version.

SoftAmbulance Partition Doctor took a few hours, but it seems to have found thousands of my files. I've recovered lots of what I need from it, and it was a LOT cheaper than sending the drive away for recovery.

Verdict: This program actually did what it said it would, and the $140 was worth it. And the best part about it is the ultra-sexy About dialog!