Writing today

I’m going to get at least a couple of hours of writing done on the book today. Progress has been slow so far, of course, and has amounted mostly to getting chapter files ready and plugging in some basic background info here and there. But my lack of a phone is holding me up, and while Microsoft has reiterated its desire to¬†accommodate¬†me, I need to follow up with them: I have no phone, and have not/will not visit the campus this month. I will have to do so in both May and June and less a device arrives soon.

This type of thing, of course, is predictable given the rushed schedule and my publisher’s desire to get this book done in time for the launch. I have been burned by this need before, most notably with Windows Vista Secrets, where we did meet the launch (or “day and date” as it’s called in the publishing industry) only to see Microsoft change all the main system icons right before the product was finalized, thus making many screenshots in the book instantly obsolete. (Thanks, Microsoft.)

But I’ve been burned by schedules in worse ways, and again my best example is Windows Vista Secrets. Recalling the time frame for that book, I jumped on board in the pre-PDC excitement that followed the Longhorn announcements in 2003. And of course, wanting to get writing as quickly as possible, I started on the file system chapter (What became “Where Is My Stuff?”) because it was so different and interesting. In the beginning, Microsoft was going to replace the Windows file system with a new file system engine called WinFS. But this tested poorly, the implementation changed several times, and I had to rewrite that chapter each time to match. In the end, WinFS was cancelled, and the file system changes promised for Vista largely never materialized, though the virtual folder stuff was still there, if well hidden. I had managed to pick the one part of Vista that changed the most, and I rewrote and rewrote that chapter so many times I was almost homicidal. (Thanks, Microsoft.)

I don’t see changes like that happening to Windows Phone. But it’s something to think about.

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