“53 years old, Master's Degree in Computer Science from Pacific Lutheran University. I'm currently working in FUSE Labs which is part of Microsoft Research. For the past 10 years I've been working on Kodu Game Lab. Kodu is a 3D game development environment designed to introduce kids to programming and computational thinking. Kodu is currently available in 22 languages and has millions of users world-wide."
Where did you find the ideas for your screensavers?
"Most of my career has been driven by my interest in computer graphics. While at Boeing I worked on flight simulator technology, image processing for a defense project, and graphics for a CAD system. At Microsoft I've also worked on 3D rendering and animation tools, the Direct3D graphics library, several games, and graphics for the Office applications. The screensavers I wrote were just another aspect of this love of graphics. They were originally written during some time off from Microsoft. During the Vista ship cycle the designers removed most of the old screensavers because they didn't feel that they reflected the design sensibility of Vista. By the time this decision was made, they didn't have the time of budget to create new screensavers. At the time I was working in the Office team. When I heard about this I dusted off the screensavers I had written and offered them to the Vista team for use. They selected the ones they liked and I moved over to the Windows organization to update them to match the Windows programming guidelines and integrate them into the build.
Which challenges did you encounter when making the screensaver? Was the initial idea very different from the final software?
The only screensaver that actually started out having a clear initial idea was Aurora. This one was done after I joined the Windows team. The designers were looking for something inspired by the Aurora Borealis using the green/blue color theme of Vista. I'm still not sure how well I captured that feeling.
Were you surprised by the public response?
I didn't get a lot of public feedback on the screensavers since my name wasn't attached to them. I think my favorite "response" has been seeing them in TV shows running on computers in the background of scenes.
What are some of your favorite screensavers? Do you currently use a screensaver on your computer?
I haven't used a screensaver in a long time. At work we have the monitors turn off in order to save electricity when not in use. At home I rarely have my computer turned on if I'm not using it. I kind of think that screensavers may be a dying art. As more computer usage switches to mobile devices, the extra battery drain created by screensavers makes them less and less viable."