One of the most important figures in Microsoft’s history, David Weise, is to leave Redmond after an illustrious career with the software giant. Weise was one of the developers responsible for a technical breakthrough upon which much of Microsoft’s success today is founded.
In 1987 IBM and Microsoft were pouring vast resources into OS/2, the successor to MS-DOS. Back then, Microsoft’s Windows was a functionally-crippled GUI running on top of an operating system that offered no pre-emptive multi-tasking or long file names and that was limited by DOS’s 640kb memory limit.
After Weise’s breakthrough, Windows was still a functionally-crippled GUI running on top of an operating system that offered no pre-emptive multi-tasking or long file names, but it was no longer limited by DOS’s 640kb memory limit. Windows could take advantage of the 80286 Protected Mode.
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As anyone who’s ever done it professionally knows, programming computers isn’t as glamorous as they make out in the movies. Take for example, Independence Day, where the hero lashes together a program in 30 minutes and conjures up a piece of code that saves the world. Have you ever seen anyone do in that real life? And did you bill them for the full hour?
Or take another glamorous example of the mercurial codesmith-as-shamen. In Po Bronson’s Nudist On The Late Shift – one of many books of the dot.com era that tried to persuade us work was simply another form of leisure, the eponymous hero is a programmer so dedicated to his task that he forgets to put his clothes on. And he’s so vital to the organization, no one minds.
But if this was really happening – what would you think? You’d ask yourself, what would drive a man to toil over a computer, in a deserted building, stark naked? Just what would possess a man to lose his dignity like that? The lonely soul must have been tearing his heart out. About, what exactly?
Continue reading “Verity Stob – programming's funniest memoir”