Posting about my Microsoft contract brought back some interesting memories.
When I started the Microsoft contract to write some GUI-based management tools for their new SQL Server, Microsoft and IBM were still putting the finishing touches on OS/2 Presentation Manager. So, I started writing the software using an internal Microsoft character windowing system called COW .. short for Character-Oriented Windows. This was the only user interface system that MS had for OS/2. (Remember, SQL Server started life as an OS/2 product.) COW was used most notably in OS/2's LAN Manager. I forgot what the API was like, but I still have all my COW libraries and docs on 5 1/4" floppies in a filing cabinet... I just can't bear to part with those disks!
I used to get these 100 lb boxes shipped to me every week from Microsoft. Tons of manuals for SQL Server, OS/2 PM, LAN Manager, OS/2, etc. Thankfully, these went into the trash can a few years ago.
My manager on that consulting contract, Bob Muglia, is now a bigwig at Microsoft. He just got another bump in rank in the most recent corporate restructing at MS.
My experience with giving MS a fixed-price contract taught me that time-and-materials is the only way to go! It didn't help that Microsoft was in a big pissing match at the time with Sybase.
©2005 Marc Adler - All Rights Reserved