I'm not really anybody that famous or important, so I find it surprisng that I'm asked the same questions by so many people. Let me try to answer those questions that I'm most commonly asked.
A: Easy: just skip 'em all. Put your thumb over "szc" in the middle, and read it. "Blay-zak". It's not nearly as hard as it looks. Still need help? Click here for a sample.
A: You're right. Most people, I'm afraid, are quite stupid. They're not able to learn — or not interested in learning, anyway — how to pronounce words in a foreign language. An authentic Polish pronunciation is here, courtesy of Kuba Szmigielski.
A: Keep repeating it to yourself. That will help it sound more familiar.
A: It's funny. I thought I wouldn't work there for long—that I'd get the name on my resume and go from there. That was a long time ago. Now, I can't really imagine working anywhere else. I can't imagine that another company would beat the ress code, the flexible hours, the salary and benefits, and the working environment. Then again, sometimes I find myself frustrated beyond all belief. Most of that frustration comes from the company becoming very large. In large companies, policies and rhetoric often substitute for thinking and initiative. It's sad to see Microsoft going down that path, but I'm afraid it is happening.
A: Microsoft is a giant company. When I started, it was pretty big: there were more than 12,000 people at the company. Now, there are more than 53,000 employees and who knows how many contractors, vendors, and temporary employees. I've intereviewd more than 100 people, and hired more than two dozen. But that's still a drop in the bucket compared to the size of the whole company. Odds are that I don't know your friend.
A: Fast ones. It's amazing to me that knowledge workers in general so often have such slow computers. Software engineers, including testers and developers, always seem to have the slowest machines going. I use several different machines. Recent descriptions are on my hardware page.
A: WebMoose is an experimental web "spider" that I worked on for a few years. Sometimes, I dust it off and run it for a while. Usually I do this after making some modification which is intended to change its visit pattern or efficiency. Or, sometimes, I just go and collect more data because I'm happy when the lights on my switch blink and my hard drive makes noise. You can learn more about WebMoose by reading the WebMoose FAQ.
A: I'm a computer professional. I sweat details at work, seventy hours a week. I'm making my webpage as a lark. I'm not going to sweat the details here, too. Since I need to focus my skills on things that are actually going to pay my mortgage, I'm not going to be spening a lot of time getting the site just right. I used to edit all the pages by hand in NotePad. The site grew enough to make me wish I had even a few rudimentary tools for handling styles and dealing with links, so I started using FrontPage. I've learned enough about Front Page to not like it; so I moved to Macromedia Dreamweaver. It's a great product and I enjoy using it. Even though I'm getting better with the tool, I'm not an artist. The layout and formatting is simple because I don't want to invest in anything complicated only to decide I don't like the way it looks.