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New Title

Almost as soon as I started working for Microsoft, I was the "go-to" guy along with another guy that left for another team. I had been working with Windows Installer – an application installation technology developed at Microsoft and used by many – since its inception about 10 years ago now. Over the last year I was involved with Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 and provided a lot of technical support for what Windows Installer can and can’t do. While some may find the release disappointing because of some of its problems, it was a major triumph for Developer Division to fix many problems and add many new features. By all rights, it should’ve been a new release, which I had mention some time back would actually prevent many of the problems those reinstalling Service Pack 1 ran into. We uncovered many new problems, and not just in our product. I’ve been working across the company to remedy those problems. I even have written some presentations and am doing more work company-wide on how to build products that support smooth upgrades with Windows Installer patches, and how to write custom actions – executable code that can do almost anything in the right context during installation, which is a problem for those that don’t know how to correctly author them for every scenario. I’m currently leading the latter effort. There’s a few other important things I’m working on I can’t mention now, but will when I can on my technical blog at http://blogs.msdn.com/heaths.
 
Because of all that and to support the function I’ve been trying to create and fill – a technical leadership committee within Developer Division, sort of an advisory board – I was given the title of "Technical Lead". Why some say titles don’t really matter, some others and I think they can help give first impressions. It can take precious time to establish one’s self as an information authority, though I strive – and now because of this role have more time to produce – to educate those I work with across the division why they need to make certain changes. After all, we can write the greatest software in the world, but if we can’t set it up correctly and maintain it, what good is that software?
 
I also educate myself about new deployment technologies, especially in the application installation arena since most of what our divisions produces is applications, and we do ship one of the most complex – if not the most complex – installations. I’ve worked with large product installations before, consulting for companies and even submitting bugs against others, but nothing quite so complex to set up Visual Studio. I do certainly support that we use the right tools for the right job, and new deployment technologies might work better in some situations.
 
And that my dear family and friends, is something about what I do. The title better reflects that, and will hopefully provide more time to write more specifications resulting in more of a brain dump to help other understand what needs to be done in the future, based on years of experience, countless of hours of community support both internally and externally on this and other topics, and familiarity of the Windows Installer source code.
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