The Zen of Zero Email Bounce

On the train home today I hit for the first time in as long as I can remember Zero Email Bounce. For those of you who deal with a deluge of mail, you know that it’s a zen moment. So zen, that I acutally had nothing to do with my laptop, so I closed it and stared out the window as the train rolled past South City.

To boot, in today’s case I hit the pinacle of ZEB with no mail whatsoever in my inbox. I have proof:

It’s incredibly bizzare to have no email in your inbox. I found myself constantly hitting Ctrl-Shift-I to see what else I had to deal with, but nothing showed up. In fact, the first few times I thought I’d forgotten what the inbox keyboard short cut was and that Outlook was broken. Of course this moment only lasted for ten minutes until I synced back up at the free wifi spot at the station allowing having some 11 new mails to pour in from the 1.5 hours I was offline. But as of 11:15PM, I’m back down to one.

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RedYawning Back Online

After a DNS snafu (read: forgot to renew the domain), RedYawning is back up and serving blogs.

I’ll take this moment to complain about They are awful. Their customer service, website, prices and offerings are plane awful. I suggest you never use them.

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This is awesome: I didn’t see it until today, but provides documentation on how to build web gadgets that run on top of the Atlas Runtime and Bindings. Kahuna is built using the Runtime and Bindings for the presentation layer that hooks up to our front end server farm using our FireAnt architecture. I just downloaded the samples to see what I can cook up.

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MSN Search versus Google Search

A highly obtuse, but funny set of results searching for “google headquarters” first on Google then on MSN. The Google search returns some random result from Google Ansers while the MSN Search answer points to the Google corporate page. Like I said, obtuse but amusing.

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Random Thoughts on Microsoft

Some random thoughts to share that I jotted down while half alseep on the train at 7:15 this morning.

There’s been a lot of churn in people who work in the company the last few weeks, both in terms of hiring and people moving on. In the last few weeks we’ve had new developers, testers and PMs start in Hotmail and have people move on to our competitors and to start ups. A year ago, the rate at which people were moving through the origination was much slower. The faster rate definitely gives me the feeling that the tech economy is picking up moving forward again.

There’s also that huge reorg that happened earlier this week, on the eve of today’s company meeting. My division, MSN, has been moved in to the uber-organization that includes Windows. I’m not certain what to think about it, so I’ll withhold (public) judgment until it has some impact on my job or our work in Hotmail. It’ll likely be a good thing, helping us deliver software as a service and this whole “Web 2.0” thing that everybody seems to be blogging about these days.

The company meeting is today in Safeco Stadium in Seattle. In fact, when I was an intern four years ago I was able to go. We were shipped from campus in 100s of busses over the sound to the stadium where all the big guys, like Gates, Ballmer, and the VPs give product demos, go over some financials, and do a very intense amount of cheerleading. The coolest part of the meeting is the product fair where all the groups have tables setup to give demos of what they’re working on. Since I’m based in Mountain View, CA we’re getting the presentations via webcast but we’re having our own fair on our campus. The Kahuna team will be manning the Kahuna booth in a grass skirts.

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Kahuna Video on Channel 9

Our Kahuna video is now up on Channel 9! A couple members of our team (yours truly included) talk about how the Mail Beta was built, the technology behind it, as well as some of the features that we’re cooking up. Check it out.

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A Few Invites Avaiable for the Kahuna Mail Beta

We’re taking a few more people in to the Mail Beta today! I’ve got 5 invites to hand out on a first come, first serve basis. Just email me at hyperionab [at] hotmail [dot] com with your or address and if you’re in the first five to mail me, we’ll get you hooked up. Other mail beta bloggers may have some invites to hand out and you can check out their blogs: Ellie, Steve, Reeves, Imran, and Omar. Remember, no guarantees that you’ll get it since it is on a first come, first serve basis. Good luck!

Update [1:07 PST]: that’s it folks, I’m all out of invites to give! Check out other team members blogs for some others.

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Hotmail at PDC 2005

This year at Microsoft’s Professional Developer Conference, PDC, Hotmail presented a case study on our Kahuna beta and how the underlying technology was built. One of our dev leads, Walter, gave a hour long talk that went over the latest builds that we had, the frameworks that we are using (including Atlas Bindings and FireAnt) and then invited people to join the beta. After talking to Walter and reading some blog posts, it seemed like there was a large amount of interest in the beta and in Hotmail being built using Atlas.

You can see some camera phone-esque screen shots from the presentation here. Apparently the slide deck has made it online and is available here. There are some great slides in the deck about FireAnt (our XMLHTTP framework) which I was a contributor to (the technology, not so much the deck). I’ll blog more about FireAnt soon, but if you want a good overview, check out Omar’s post on it.

I’ll also mention that we presented a bunch of interesting details about the Hotmail service, which gives you a good indication of the scale Hotmail operates at. Here are some fun ones:

  • ~200 million active users
  • 3.3 billion inbound emails a day
    • 1.5 billion blocked at the router
    • 1.0 billion deleted as spam (never hits the user’s mailbox)
    • 0.5 billion sent to the junk folder
  • Over 100 million messages sent a day
  • 80 – 100 milllion logins per day
  • 5000 peak logins per second
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eBay Buys Skype, Oracle Buys Siebel

Lots of tech mergers in the news today. Siebel, founded by an ex-Oracler comes back to the fold with today’s purchace by Ellison. This one makes some sense, allowing Oracle to fill out their product line. Seeing that Oracle just bought PeopleSoft, there’s some good amount of overlap. Also, the structure of the purchace points to just how cheap cash is. Nobody would have offered this much cash in the stock happy days:

Siebel shareholders will receive $10.66 per share in cash for each Siebel share held, unless they elect to receive Oracle common stock, but no more than 30% of Siebel’s common shares may be exchanged for Oracle common stock.

On the other side of the making sense equation is eBay’s purchace of Skype. I’d heard rumors of this one late last week, but now that the deal has been announced it still doesn’t make any more sense to me. Their purchace of PayPal made sense after their failed attempt to usupr them with the failed BidPoint, but I can’t see the reason they want to get in to the telephony business.

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iPod Nano

I made my way to the Apple Store in Union Square today to check out the new iPod Nano. It is, infact, every bit as cool as I had imagined it to be. It’s impossibily tiny, solid state (so you can hit next as much as you want and not have to wait for the disk to spin up), fully color with album art and the sound quality sounded as good as my full sized iPod. At the store, there were a swarm of people around the table with the Nano’s, almost all drolling over the gadgetry. In fact, CNet documented the “buzz” at the SF store from today. Judging from the pulse of the store and the lines at the register, Apple must have a few hundred today at that store alone. As much as I wanted one I did, however, manage to resist.

iPod Nano iPod Nano

Update: added some pictures from the store.

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