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MSFT Reaches Out To Hackers: 'Do Epic $#!+'

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the and-then-shut-the-garage-door dept.

Microsoft 249

hessian writes "Microsoft isn't exactly known for its underground hacker culture, but a recent effort to give its employees more slack is generating some wild experiments. Last summer, Microsoft completed a redesign of one of its original buildings on campus — Building 4, where Bill Gates' office used to be — into a laid-back workshop where staff can tinker with things. It's open to anyone, anytime, and it's got everything from a hardware workshop to an actual working garage door. If it doesn't sound to you like something Microsoft would normally do , the Garage's motto will really shock you: 'Do epic s--t.'"

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249 comments

Linus did that! (-1, Offtopic)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965179)

Thanks.

f--k that motto (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965205)

Hey Microsoft, this watering down is why you're sucking as a tech company.

Re:f--k that motto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965477)

how are you doing, vlm?

Re:f--k that motto (5, Informative)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965501)

If you look at the picture in the f-----g article, you can see that that `shit' is very obviously present under the poor blur, and can conclude with reasonable confidence that it was CNN changed it.

uh oh (5, Funny)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965225)

If Microsoft doesn't bleep out the 'shit', but Slashdot does (in two different ways?), does this mean MSFT is "hipper" than /. now?

MSFT is hip now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965395)

Cool, daddyo.

I'll tell Dobie and Maynard at the hootenanny tonight!

Re:uh oh (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965403)

I was wondering about that. If the motto is actually "Do epic shit," that's a sign that someone at Microsoft gets it. If it's "Do epic $#!+" or "Do epic s--t," they don't.

Re:uh oh (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965467)

If it's "Do epic $#!+" ... ,they don't.

You don't get it [wikipedia.org] .

Re:uh oh (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year and a half ago | (#40966093)

Indeed. From the link:

One theory is that it was developed to defeat text filters created by BBS or Internet Relay Chat system operators for message boards to discourage the discussion of forbidden topics, like cracking and hacking. ... Variants of leet have been used for censorship purposes for many years; for instance "@$$" and "$#!+" are frequently seen to make a word appear censored to the untrained eye but obvious to a person familiar with leet.

We've been able to write all kinds of Forbidden Words online for a long time now. The only reason for "leet" euphemisms nowadays is to call attention to how Daring and Naughty you are--which, frankly, is a pretty shitty reason.

Re:uh oh (5, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | about a year and a half ago | (#40966341)

The printed motto might be 'Do epic shit', but what they really mean is "Please do epic shit with Windows"

Re:uh oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965441)

Yes, but mainly to "youngsters" with a sub-600 UID.

Re:uh oh (4, Insightful)

craigminah (1885846) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965473)

Never understood why anyone censors "bad" words yet leaves enough letters there so people easily figure out what the word is. Is it the spelling that's offensive or do they think they're tricking kids?

Re:uh oh (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965673)

Yeah, I'm not quite sure what the deal is. I wonder if it originated with the Orthodox Jewish approach of writing "God" as "G-d", which was based on a sort of superstition against writing out the full word, even if it was obvious what the word was.

In older English texts that want to censor such things, they seem to do a better job actually censoring the words so that they're removed entirely, replaced with just a mention that there was a swear, like "the man responded with an interjection not printable in a magazine of this type". That seems like the way to go if you're truly offended by them.

Re: bad words (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965893)

A lot of semi-automated online venues have filters that force out the real spellings of the bad words, either like the dashes, or maybe even denying the post in the first place.

You're right about one sense, you go "Here's call of Duty 4, shoot to kill as many people as you can. Over here, is the word shit that we can't bear to actually see spelled."

Re:uh oh (5, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#40966019)

If Microsoft doesn't bleep out the 'shit', but Slashdot does (in two different ways?), does this mean MSFT is "hipper" than /. now?

Indeed, they are; I've even heard that they are actually seriously considering a change of name from "Microsoft" to "Micros#%t" as part of becoming even hipper.

Re:uh oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40966169)

And there we have it! You just made my day. Thank you sir.

They forgot the second part (5, Insightful)

bersl2 (689221) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965233)

"...as long as it doesn't threaten our bottom line."

Re:They forgot the second part (2)

nine-times (778537) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965385)

And the related, implied, "... and it will probably never make it into any products."

Re:They forgot the second part (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965801)

more like "but we own the rights"

Re:They forgot the second part (1)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965575)

"...as long as it doesn't threaten our bottom line."

That's kind of a given, though. Fat lot of good "epic shit" will do if it bankrupts the company...

Re:They forgot the second part (5, Funny)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965675)

Then again, the reviews suggest Windows 8 ACTUALLY IS epic $#!+, and probably will bankrupt the company as a direct result of this situation.

Re:They forgot the second part (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40966035)

If the releases of Windows ME and Vista couldn't bankrupt them, why would another poorly received OS do the trick?

Re:They forgot the second part (4, Insightful)

waveclaw (43274) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965903)

Like Microsoft Research, this will be a patent farm where ideas that threaten Microsoft's platform go to die.

Maybe, just maybe, someone in marketing will decide they can make a product out of something from this new Microsoft lab. It may even be awesome. But you never know until after the research.

It seems that whenever someone in management lets marketing smoke enough weed to even think about visiting the engineers we get something like Bob or ME or Vista or Metro.

I wish them good luck. Changing corporate culture is very hard when 'those other guys in that other building' are easy to let go when the stock price tumbles for reasons known only to the Random Number God(s).

metal shop is all the rage in tech right now (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965235)

And MS is still following Google in a way. Google didn't build on-campus but they signed up with Tech Shop a while back.

Re:metal shop is all the rage in tech right now (1)

Animats (122034) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965383)

Google didn't build on-campus but they signed up with Tech Shop a while back.

Google does have an on-campus shop for employees. [pressherald.com] They're not doing much at TechShop. They've done team-building events at the Menlo Park TechShop, and downloaded and cut out a model of a bridge on the plasma cutter. One or two Google employees go there now and then. But it's not a big thing.

Epic? (3, Insightful)

lagi (303346) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965237)

Epic $#!+ can't come out of sitting in "Building 4, where Bill Gates' office used to be ..." and pretending it's hacker's garage.
you need a real garage, with real hackers in it, don't think Microsoft's engineers will do the trick.

They've got real hackers (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965279)

Angelina "Acid Burn" Jolie and Matthew "Cereal Killer" Lillard will be stopping by.

acid burn was a man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965427)

besides the movie the real acid was a guy. NICE of course that hollystupid needs a chick with big tits....female hackers tend to be all about piracy and images and websites flashy crap

Re:acid burn was a man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965551)

Wow, spoken like a true scriptkiddie who has never seen a pair of tits outside his mother's basement... every time she comes down to tuck him in at night.

Female hackers tend to be a lot like male hackers, except with tits, and because of those they are usually terminally shy and withdrawn. No wait, my mistake... that's because of guys like you.

Re:acid burn was a man (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965701)

Not a fan of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series I bet.

Re:Epic? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965635)

Many of their engineers still have a heart and haven't had it burnt out yet by the corporate grind.

But it will take a lot more than this to bring them out. They need an entire corporate culture change, not just a 'play room' down the hall with a cute sign and a big door.

Re:Epic? (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965713)

One option to foster that kind of environment within a large company is to actually set up a physically separate reporting structure, a sort of startup within a large company. That can fail too, but it's sometimes worked. Microsoft themselves had some success doing that with the original Windows NT team.

"$#!+" ? "s--t" ? (5, Insightful)

Solozerk (1003785) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965251)

Really ? the word is censored both times in TFS and even the image itself is blurred in TFA.
Are we really so prude and puritan as a culture that we can't even bring ourselves to write "SHIT" ?

This goes beyond political correctness - it's frankly ridiculous.

Filter error: Please use fewer 'junk' characters. (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965321)

I think its totally appropriate. It shows the PR campaign is completely watered down and most likely so is the actual project, assuming there is any project other than the PR campaign.

Now if it were real, instead of a PR stunt, then it would be inappropriate.

CNN Censored it. (5, Informative)

blowdart (31458) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965741)

It's not censored in the pictures of the slogan that neowin has [neowin.net] or SCM Magazine [scmagazine.com.au] .

It wasn't that hard to search for either. However it was probably harder than the knee jerk reaction shown above.

reply (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965347)

How about you suq my dix you fuqqer. Not everyone here is allowed to see naughty words. I, for one, will be grounded by my bytch mom if she sees I've read your post, you insensitive clod!

"$#!+" ? "s--t" ? (1)

jovius (974690) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965447)

I'd rather avoid epic shits anyway. Epic blurs sound interesting though.

Ah, the freedom of wireless! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965557)

I'd rather avoid epic shits anyway.

Then I'd better flush now (and blame the Chinese food I had for dinner last night).

"$#!+" ? "s--t" ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965757)

You should have seen the /. article on Microsoft's beach party. All of the guys' tits were blurred out.

And now I'm getting a filter error for this for junk characters unless I delete the "Re:" from the title. More censorship. Lame.

You can tell immediately (1, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965333)

when a company tries to exploit a culture that isn't truly core to them. That 1337 5P34K motto sounds so incredibly phony it's pathetic.

Microsoft, here's a hint for you: 133T 5P34K stopped being cool 10 years ago.

Re:You can tell immediately (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965539)

Leetspeak wasn't cool 10 years ago. It wasn't cool 15 years ago. Neither were M$ and Winblows. Widespread, but definitely not cool.

Re:You can tell immediately (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965603)

Not that I disagree, but doesn't your argument about age making things uncool sort of make your username a bit of a slap in your own face? How old is that show now... 30 years?

That would be fine and dandy... (3, Informative)

LocalH (28506) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965715)

...if they were actually using leetspeak. Hint: the motto is "Do epic shit.", not "Do epic $#!+"

Mouse Without Borders (1)

Naedst (1313869) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965361)

Haven't heard of much else from Microsoft Garage than Mouse Without Borders. [microsoft.com] Does anyone have any other examples?

Re:Mouse Without Borders (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965461)

A windows only clone of Synergy is all they can come up with? Hardly epic shit.

Re:Mouse Without Borders (1)

Achra (846023) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965827)

A buggy as hell windows only clone of Synergy is all they can come up with? Hardly epic shit.

There, I fixed that for you. "Mouse Without Borders" is a cute idea but unless you like the occasional full system lockup, stick with synergy.

Re:Mouse Without Borders (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40966239)

"Fiddler was built in the garage", or so the internal propaganda declared.

A tiny fraction of what's needed (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965373)

First, there needs to be a company culture in which people dare to take time to play in a facility like that.

Second, there needs to be an outside chance that the epic "s--t" will actually see the light of day and not be stomped on by Steve Ballmer because it doesn't run Windows.

Third, there needs to be infrastructure. One MS manager I know tried to order a bookshelf to store technical references for the group's use. The request was denied because the bookshelf wasn't a standard item. What happens when a hacker orders something random?

Fourth, for people who aren't pure hackers but have some self-interest, there needs to be some believable financial benefit to developing something cool

Without all that, this idea is sheer cargo cult.

I know what can improve Microsoft! (0, Troll)

Alex Belits (437) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965455)

I know, what can turn Microsoft into a decent company, but it involves mass murder.

Re:I know what can improve Microsoft! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965589)

Why the "but", 437?

Re:I know what can improve Microsoft! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965717)

If I only had a mod point :(
+Funny

Re:I know what can improve Microsoft! (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#40966153)

Not worth it. You could get the chair for that.

1st obama now msft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965489)

gee wonder why the need to get hackers on board all a sudden eh? MAYBE all that screwing with humankind is starting to show the truth about the system your creating that it just plain sucks at creation. GOOD LUCK and THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH.....

again f--k --f

..isn't known for.. (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965507)

"Microsoft isn't exactly known for its underground hacker culture,..."

..but it is well-known for being hacked. And considering their lateral (Lin/Mac) competition, they already have epic viruses and malware. But here's a suggestion anyway: Hack 8 into something between XP and $even. And stay away from the COFEE [slashdot.org]

Hey hackers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965581)

GO KILL THE METRO INTERFACE!

NUKE IT FROM ORBIT!

This would be good for the entire planet. Or at least less annoying for alot of people than what microshit has planned.

lol @ microsoft trying to be cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965621)

using shitty meme vocab ain't hip, bro.

what !@#$% is the point??? (5, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965749)

The problem is not that MSFT employees don't have good ideas; the problem is that management kills them (the ideas that is).

Re:what !@#$% is the point??? (1)

Archis (1278074) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965811)

That's what I was thinking too. Employees do do epic shit - this is just belittling (feel free to correct my spelling) their own employees.

Re:what !@#$% is the point??? (3, Informative)

Achra (846023) | about a year and a half ago | (#40965853)

The problem is not that MSFT employees don't have good ideas; the problem is that management kills them...

Microsoft doesn't only kill the ideas. They also kill the employees too. (Spiritually). I notice that Microsoft isn't giving any employees any time allocation to do their epic shit. It's something that you can do in your "off time". Since the standard work week for a salaried employee at Microsoft is "Any 80 hours a week you want", I don't see too many people spending too much time in this "garage". Maybe a few recent grads that don't have any reason to go home after work.. but I wouldn't be there, that's for sure.

Re:what !@#$% is the point??? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40966001)

I disagree. From what I've seen, Metro truly is epic shit.

Re:what !@#$% is the point??? (1)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about a year and a half ago | (#40966307)

Great point. That is hardly unique to Microsoft (although MS does have enormous resources that make such killing of employee initiative more gratuitous).

MSFT's epic quest to emulate Google... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965755)

MSFT's epic quest to emulate Google continues!

Re:MSFT's epic quest to emulate Google... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#40966063)

Ya, "me too" with the skunkworks.

We shall see if it produces anything, or if in 5 years we read about all kinds of ideas that Microsoft declared ownership over, then shelved, from bitching employees who left in disgust.

And they came up with... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965813)

... Windows 8.

I took an epic shit at the Microsoft campus (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965845)

A few years ago, Microsoft was interested in buying up my startup company, sort of an acqui-hire type thing since the company was basically me, some patents, and some tech demos. I visited their campus during the talks to see how if I could get along with their culture. Anyhow, they took me to an "authentic" (if tex-mex is authentic) mexican restaurant. Wouldn't you know, I ended up with a massive case of the shits an hour later. I must have been on their toilet for hour, pissing shit out my asshole and releasing a vast quantity of ass-gas. At one point they, sent someone in to check on me.

By the time I was done, the entire bathroom reeked of death and there were numerous shit streaks all along the wall and floor of my stall.

Hot tech! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965911)

Holy crap a real garage door and it works!!1!...amazing tech...Microsoft is zooming into the future with that one!

Re:Hot tech! (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#40966113)

"I wanna hook it up to my wireless Metro phone and open and close it and turn on the lights!"

"We must let the lawyers give it the once over."

(eight months later)
"Our lawyers have decided the risk is too great for you to even try it. Also, we no longer produce Metro OS for phones. If you mention your idea, you will be in violation of our NDA."

Hometown Hacker Space (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965959)

There is a hacker space in liverpool called DoES/Do Epic Shit

Hope and Change (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965967)

Works every time... ask Barack Osama

It's really kinky (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40965991)

I work for M$ and I can tell you that the company has really gotten edgy and "cool" under Ballmer.

I checked out the Garage the other day. I smoked a guy who had an Android phone, and then I took an epic shit right on the floor. Ballmer just watched, hardly sweating at all, and said calmly, "I'M OKAY WITH THAAAAAT."

Hate hate hate (1)

bratmobile (550334) | about a year and a half ago | (#40966011)

Jesus christ, people. MS does something halfway cool, and all you can do is moan about it.

Re:Hate hate hate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40966051)

Jesus christ, people. MS does something halfway cool, and all you can do is moan about it.

Yea cool like a webpage emailing phone tester.. and a nfc transmitter..
Thats way more EPIC than a Car that drives itself, a company funded space shuttle for space travel, or a grid array of computers to cure cancer or clone fluffy.
No your correct we should not poke fun at microsoft anymore... because honestly the joke is a little old by now.

Re:Hate hate hate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40966123)

Microsoft is also bragging about it, and since it isn't what they make it out to be, there is reason to ridicule.

Having a place in which to do self-directed RnD isn't very useful if you don't have any time to do it. Did Microsoft also start padding all deadlines with time blocks for employees to do this sort of thing? Or are they just suppose to do this with what precious little free time they have left over after they have worked the long hours that Microsoft always demands?

Spare time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40966033)

Yet MSFT reap the rewards and the MSFT employee gets a lump of plastic cube award to sit on their desk like their patent cubes worth a whole 20 cents.

Big deal, I worked there for a decade, now I got a real job that pays and anything I do in my spare time, goes to ME because I do it in MY spare time.

A cool space with a working garage door (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40966041)

That's SO Microsoft. They invested corporate funds to create a space looks, feels, and sounds the way a real tinkerer's garage is supposed to.... what could be missing?

Here's some epic shit: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40966053)

Break UEFI on ARM.

What's with the plagiarism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40966175)

TFS begins with "hessian writes" and then there's a block quote with nothing but sentences from TFA.

haven't they done that all along? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40966193)

Haven't they done epic s--t since inception? Just change the name to Micros--t. Done and done ...

What we really mean is (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40966195)

Patient Epic $#!+

Cute office space != Culture transplant (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40966265)

Have to post anonymously for this one, as it's about my current workplace...

I work for an IT service provider that services a very staid, boring, stick-in-the-mud industry. The company has been around since the 50s, is multinational, and has a very management-heavy, bureaucracy-laden culture. Our engineering teams (including the one I'm on) are pretty much allowed to operate around this whole mess because we build their products and services. And the industry we serve is concerned with reliable, always-on service ONLY, nothing else. As Engineering, we give that to them with a minimum of fuss, often completely end-running the layers of bureaucracy to make sure things stay alive.

All of a sudden last year, the company brought in the usual suspects from the management consultant universe, who suggested a radical culture shift. One of the other division offices (not ours)got gutted and turned into a clone of the Google office pictures that have leaked to the web. All the fun happy stuff from the Hipster Twentysomething Web 2.0 Culture Checklist is there -- no offices, hot desking, open floor plan, beanbag chairs, large common areas, and a cutesy color scheme and design pattern reflecting our company's core customers' business.

The problem is that nothing else has changed. People are still stuck in the same mindset, but now they're sitting in beanbag chairs doing it or trying to be heard over the noise of their colleagues in one of these open-area offices. I'm actually one of those people who prefers a private office or cube with enough quiet to be able to work, so I'm glad our office didn't get transformed (yet.)

So, Microsoft can change anything they want, but it won't bring back the hacker culture and 90s startup feel unless they start actively cultivating that mindset. As far as I can tell, it's too late for that -- there's way too much at stake to make radical changes. I'm betting that SP1 of Windows 8 will let businesses remove the Metro (or whatever it is now) interface, just to keep the status quo going.

I think that once a company gets established, there's no easy way to bring it back to startup mode. I'm not even sure that's the right thing to do. For example. I'm older now (late 30s) and lack the desire to work 90-hour weeks for a company, just because I have a life -- married with children and all that. Almost everyone else my age who is still in the startup, 90-hour, gotta-do-this-for-the-team crowd is divorced, headed that way or permanently single, and has nothing going on outside of work. I work hard, but something really has to be on fire that no one else can fix if any employer expects tons of extra work. I work hard already keeping my skills sharp outside of work so I don't end up unemployed... The problem is companies don't understand that people who aren't just out of school have a lot of good experience, so I don't know if the relentless focus on startup culture is a good solution.

The problem lies in MS execution. (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | about a year and a half ago | (#40966291)

Microsofts problem is not that they cant come up with new stuff. Their biggest problem seems to be surfacing the second the upper management gets their hands on something and it gets killed in corporate politics and infighting. Microsoft has probably had ten, nay twenty people who has come up with something very close to both Android and iPhone, and Windows Phone was probably not that bad to start with. But, as soon as management got their hands on it it turned to crap.

Just as Microsoft Research, this unit is all about PR and will not get the chance to make anything. Any product they manage to come up with will die the death of a thousand PHB.

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