|Randy No Arms' ongoing commentary on life, gaming, and the rest of the world.|
About me, eh? Well, let's see... seeing as I don't update this page very often - looks like I can go for a long as two years between updates - so I've decided to reformat it a bit and put the more recent information up at the top.
I'm an SDET in the Living Room Experiences team in the Interactive Entertainment Business group. Yes, I work for Microsoft but what exactly is my job? An SDET writes software that is designed to test other software. What does Living Room Experiences do? I'm not telling. Yet. I'll always talk about what I'm working on currently when I can - Geek pride and passion make me gush - as part of the regular blog, but simply put: I'll always <3 Xbox.
Previously I worked on Xbox LIVE itself, where the Community and Games team focused on delivering features that brings people together with other people and together with their games. During the whole of 2010, I spent my time leading a team that worked on the Avatar Platform. That included the Editor, Marketplace, the Closet, and the Tailor, which recently hit the retail console, as well as a bunch of the tools that people use to make Avatar clothing, Props, and Awards. My team touched it all at one point or another - if it involved an Avatar and was on the console, we were there helping the process along. Not the commercials though; that was all marketing and mobile.
I joined Microsoft in 2004 and spent my first couple of years working with MSDN and Visual Studio; having been a gamer my whole life, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to work for Xbox LIVE when it was offered to me. During my work days, I get to interact with a number of different teams within Xbox, work on technology that becomes 360 features for Xbox and Windows, and test different features throughout their lifecycle. It's not all fun and games - I do more than just "play" all day - but it certainly is all about the Games. Oh, and if you see me online, playing something that isn't released yet, I can already tell you that I'm forbidden to talk about it - you can ask, but the answer will always be "I can't talk about it, sorry!" so you can save yourself the time... sorry about that, but the gaming industry protects its secrets as strongly as governments do (or should).
Before moving to Washington, I spend a little over three decades in Connecticut where I also worked in technology on PCs and mobile devices. I had a pretty good run of over six years with one particular company in CT. We went through three different death spirals during that time. We rode the pre-bubble, the peak of the bubble and the burst of the bubble. We even survived the post-bubble-burst pain of the early 2000's, but alas: the last money crunch knocked most of the employees out of the company, driving the stock price down to 6 cents - when you consider splits, it IPO'd at $216 and had an all-time high of $1,116. Such is life! I am rather proud that the thing wouldn't die for so long and that I was able to stick with it - working for one company during the dot-com era is not something most people in the northeast can say. As that job ended, I took a lot around the tech field in CT and New York City and even Boston; now that I live in Washington, you can see how the job search turned out.
Why Washington, you ask? It was simple, really: there's tech jobs here. A lot of them, in fact. And even so, I've met a lot of great people out here. I love the area, I'm used to people being friendly, and I've spent more time outside in my three years here than I did during my first 30. There's hardly any snow - aside from the 08-09 winter -
I'm also a musician emeritus - been playing some type of instrument since 1982 and have always tried to find an outlet for it. During my few couple of years in I was tooling around with a garage band that tried to play out one a year or more. I'm started on drums, but was eventually promoted to a utility position that included electric basses, keyboards, woodwinds, brass thingies, and other sorts of noise makers. I've fallen way out of practice since coming to WA, much less finding a new group to hang out with, so I'm sort of "retired" I guess. And while I like Guitar Hero, it simply doesn't count.
Speaking of things like "thingies" I should warn you that I have a very unique way of typing when "casual" and this is a casual site, so you can expect to see things like that. I think it adds charm, but I also had to add a disclaimer against any brain aneurysms I might cause a spell checker or grammar checker, much less a literary major. Also, I plan to write most of these blog entries when I have free time, and that's fleeting these days, so my mind might wander from time to time... like a prison, one never knows what will come out of the gate when it's left unattended.
In addition to the project that has become known as SharpMT I've also spent a number of the months in the start of 2003 writing an anthology of short stories. Well, "short stories" is probably too strong a term. I consider them to be self-contained episodes of my childhood that I've gathered into one book, if only for my own sanity - I was hoping to get them out of my long term memory, by getting them down on paper. I would call them RetroRants, but they aren't really rantings; they're mostly just stories and some of them are fictional at that. The working title was "YesterGeek" but the book hit the streets as Memoirs of an Italian Geek - I'm a Geek and very much Italian. I probably didn't realize just how Italian I was until I proofread my own stories, but it seems to fit. You can find out more about it at http://www.rlsanti.com/
So anyway, given the above persona, can you now see why I felt I was an authority to speak out on a number of different issues? As a programmer/tester, I'm very, very pro-Microsoft. Duh! Not because I'm in lust with the lil Windows icon, but because they've enabled me to put bread on my table. They've made me marketable; I'll support their cause. I also spent a few months in Apple camp, doing what I could to change my life and use a PowerBook. I respect Apple's dedication to the cause, but they excepted me to change too much just to use their heated hardware, so I abandoned the effort to Switch to them full time. They still make some neat stuff though - I've got a 13" MacBook for fun and have been an iPhone user for a long while now... As an artisan of music, I've been all over the place with lots of different experiences; almost as many I've had to endure with business trips. As an Italian, I'm an opinionated loudmouth; as a tester I can find fault in anything and learn from it. As a programmer, can use logic to prove myself to be correct, even if I end up losing the argument. Oh yes: it is very possible to be right and still lose; ask some of my ex-girlfriends about that.
Hope you enjoy the rants and the ever fleeting rave,
The views expressed on this web site are mine, and mine alone. They do not reflect the views of anyone else, including my employer, and they are not endorsed or approved by anyone other than myself: my opinions are of my own design.