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March 4, 2004 09:01 AM

Broken: Microsoft campus sign

Neil Brewitt sends in this apparently contradictory sign from the Microsoft campus (which way do you turn for Building 40?), and writes:

I took this photo about four years ago. Has Microsoft harnessed wormhole space travel?
Neil also confirms, if you were wondering, that "there really is no Building 7."

John writes:

There is apparently a reason for the missing building 7 - from Dylan Greene's blog:

"Even Microsoft employees sometimes forget which building is where. They weren't built in order, and some numbers are missing. The way the numbering works is that each time Microsoft plans a building, it gets a number. When projects are canceled or delayed, the buildings end up being built out of order or numbers go missing. A favorite prank is to send an intern to a meeting at building that doesn't exist.

In the distance you can see the recruiting building. ~Dylan Greene"

Grant writes:

I work on the MS campus. While the sign looks amusing from that angle, but it's actually not broken at all. The sign is on a corner, so its two sides are being presented to people coming from roads 90 degrees apart. If you're coming from the road on the left, buildings 40-44 are behind you -- but the sign can't exactly tell you to go off in reverse. Thus, the arrow points off to the right, taking you around the block to the buildings. On the other hand, if you're coming from the road on the right, you can just go left and drive straight to those buildings.


An arrow pointing upwards means continue forwards. An arrow pointing downwards means go in reverse.

Posted by: Aaron Swartz at March 6, 2004 11:54 PM

An arrow pointing downwards can also mean continue forward. Why not use a "u-turn" arrow? (Unless of course you're coming down a one-way street.)

Posted by: Heng-Cheong Leong at March 8, 2004 01:58 AM

What about buildings 40-43? These still don't make any sense.

Posted by: foo at March 9, 2004 02:02 PM

All the manuals for Microsoft software I've ever seen are useless. (No wonder they had to come up with that annoying "product activation" scheme: if the only useful part of a product is trivially copyable by anybody, you give a lot of people a lot less incentive to buy their own copy.)

I wouldn't expect signs on their campus to be any clearer -- nor would I expect Microsoft employees to understand what's wrong.

Posted by: anon at March 31, 2004 02:37 PM

For that matter, where are buildings 8-11? The two signs point in exactly opposite directions?

Also, where are buildings 12-17? The right hand sign tells you they're both forward _and_ to the right.

There are also a number of buildings covered by one sign and not the other.

Yes, this explains A LOT about the behavior of Microsoft products.

Posted by: Simon at March 31, 2004 05:51 PM

I am wondering where is building 29???

Posted by: gerfc at April 13, 2004 04:08 PM

In other words, from the angle which it was photographed, the buildings are in the direction of the photographer. Nice one, but you guys must be running out of material.

Posted by: etM at July 14, 2004 12:24 PM

anon i agree with you. The manuals tell you how to install it and how to click on the IE icon

Posted by: unknown at March 31, 2005 04:05 PM

i think instead of arguing we should all go to MS campus and look at the sign and where it is placed, i'm sure it does make sense in it's surroundings

Posted by: sam at April 13, 2005 10:22 AM

Where would you like to go today.

Not to worry. I hear MS is coming out with a patch, Signs 1.2

(1.1 is around the corner).

Posted by: Neil at November 3, 2005 06:01 PM

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