Some people have questioned me over the last week or so asking, â€œare you leaving Microsoftâ€ and all this. Letâ€™s get something straight firstâ€¦ I was never Microsoftâ€™s b***h and never will be. Iâ€™ve worked with the Windows Live guys now for little less than a year starting off on Messenger and Spaces and moving on to web safety. Web safety (or rather as itâ€™s now known as family safety as itâ€™s more appropriate) means an awful lot to me. Iâ€™ve got a young goddaughter and a much older sister who uses the Internet and to be fair, there are all kinds of weirdoâ€™s out there who would love to bury their faces into a youngâ€™un and it makes me sick to the core. Being a younger gentleman, I have added advantages of being young and having that special perspective which a lot of other people have. I started really young â€“ most people could never say theyâ€™ve worked with some of the amazing people I have by the age of 15, and now Iâ€™m 18 and have met even more influential people, it makes me glad I started testing in the first place.
The Windows Live division, more specifically the family safety section is undergoing a major restructuring backend with people being shifted around from place to place, even if theyâ€™ve been doing that job for a good length of time. Family safety is really important to Microsoft but from my perspective, itâ€™s being put off more and more because people are being shifted around. Someone Iâ€™ve done work for, Jo who worked on the family safety products for some time, isnâ€™t working on it anymore; that really saddens me as I know she loved doing it. From what I understand, a big head of citizenship (of which the family safety comes under the hood of) has been replaced which will mean itâ€™ll take months to find someone else let alone the time to bring them up to speed with whatâ€™s going on.
There arenâ€™t the resources available, nor is there enough money to really push forward with some of these great ideas which have been bounced around internally.
Because of this, people have already reported that the Windows Live OneCare Family Safety product wonâ€™t be around until the summertime. The product is pretty much nearly done and I suspect one of the reasons why itâ€™s not moving forward is because of the lack of resources and people. There are some interdependencies here and there however, like needing to interact with other products and ensuring that other teams are on track so that the Family Safety product can move forward. Weâ€™re talking about Microsoft, one of the biggest and most wealthy organisations in the world, and there isnâ€™t the money to do these things, to protect the kids online from the things they should never have to experience. Iâ€™ve had a whole wave of ideas which could seriously improve the family safety side of things within products and existing solutions, but because of the lack of money and people being busy with hiring new leads of citizenship, these ideas are all pending for a good 6 months.
Now maybe itâ€™s because Iâ€™m young and stupid and naÃ¯ve, but can the kids of this world wait another 6 months? These threats are getting more intense every day and its Microsoftâ€™s products which are central to these because theyâ€™re so popular with the users. Itâ€™s not Microsoftâ€™s fault that these services are being exploited; itâ€™s their fault for being so popular, which is hardly a bad thing. This is why I focused on Microsoft for the web safety â€“ because they have the products and the services which are being used and that could be improved and secured for the younger generation.
One thing I can be super proud of â€“ is that Iâ€™ve greatly contributed to improving the Windows Live OneCare Family Safety filter with the help of Jo, and thatâ€™s something which Iâ€™m proud of. Some of the people Iâ€™ve worked with â€“ my God, just brilliant.
Iâ€™ve had a â€œmentorâ€ being Philippa, and without doubt the best â€œbossâ€ Iâ€™ve ever had. Cristiano, Dev, Andy, Jo, to name a few â€“ itâ€™s been a good stretch. But for the time being, Iâ€™ve only really got to say this as I wrap it up. Iâ€™m not leaving Microsoft as I was never really part of it in terms of a paid full time position. For the time being, Iâ€™m stepping back for some time, letting things mull over, Iâ€™ll still do the odd bit here and there no doubt but itâ€™s time to focus on me and me only. I need to get past these next few months and finish my further education, and head on to higher education at university starting this September/October. Who knows whatâ€™ll happen nextâ€¦ I guess Iâ€™ll just have to take things in my stride and let things happen as and when they do.