In which I can never speak badly of Vista again.

Your eyes are not deceiving you.  Me, the blogger who once wrote, “Vista causes cancer,” is vowing to never, ever speak badly of Vista again.  I don’t care if Vista shoots my eye out with a BB gun.  I will get a sexy eye patch.  I don’t care if Vista deletes every picture I’ve ever taken in my life.  I will make new memories.  I don’t care if Vista begins breeding pigeons.  I will simply up my pigeon-murder rate accordingly.

Why you ask?  Why this virtual hugging of that which I previously wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole slathered in anti-bacterial fungicide?

Because a day after I announced that we would be targeting the transplant floor at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh for Make Room for Kids, I got an email from an employee at Pittsburgh’s Microsoft office, basically saying, “We’d like to help.”

And I said, “Accepted! Also, I’m sorry about all the crap I spew about Vista.”

So, we’ve spent the last few weeks, my butler Mike and I, going back and forth with Luke Sossi of Microsoft (his wife is a reader. HI, LUKE’S WIFE!), Nancy Angus at the Mario Lemieux Foundation, and each other in which we would send texts and emails that basically would say, “HOLY CRAP!  ISN’T THIS AWESOME?!  PINCH ME!!  NO DON’T!  I DON’T WANT TO WAKE UP!!”

What has resulted is this official offer from the local Microsoft EMPLOYEES with an assist from corporate.  That’s right.  People.  Burghers.  Wanting to help Make Room for Kids.

XBOX Consoles

o   Donated by Employees – Microsoft employees based in Pittsburgh donated (7) XBOX Consoles.  This equated to roughly $1,700 in personal donations which they are going to submit to Microsoft through their Employee Matching Program.  In other words, these personal contributions provided (7) consoles directly plus the funds for (7) more consoles.  This means that this effort alone provided (14) consoles against the goal of (24).

o   XBOX Consoles Donated by Gaming Group – They were also able to secure (2) additional consoles from the Gaming Group taking the total to (9).

XBOX Controllers – In order for each room to have an additional controller (one controller comes with the console), Microsoft is going to donate (24) controllers.  They are also working on securing another 6-12 controllers which can be checked out along with the games.  This will allow for family members to play games when they are visiting.  The value of the controllers is around $1,000.

XBOX Hospital Kiosks – Microsoft will donate (2) Hospital Kiosks that can be used in a public portion of the transplant ward.  They will be on a wheeled platform so the foundation can determine where in the ward it makes sense.  The consoles are more than $2k/device.

XBOX 360 Games – Microsoft will donate at least (40) games which will include the following titles; Lips, Sonic & Sega All-stars Racing, Fuzion Frenzy 2, Blue Dragon, Project Gotham Racing 4, You’re in the Movies, Viva Piñata and Scene It! The number and variety of games will increase as we get closer to delivery date.

Employee Purchase Program for Additional Consoles – With the (9) donated consoles, the foundation would only need to acquire (15) so that each room would have their own console.  In order to get the most mileage out of the money raised, Microsoft is going to work with the foundation so that it can use the Microsoft Employee discount which will result in a $50 discount/console, which will save $750.

Employee Donations – Several employees asked to participate through a cash contribution.

ARE YOU FREAKING OUT LIKE ME?!

I pretty much burst into tears when I received that final offer email from Luke last night, in which he was sure to bring attention to employee David Severino who was instrumental in making it all happen as well.

Do you realize how much of your money this saved us?  How much easier it will be to do everything we want to for that floor with additional hand-held game consoles and ToughBook laptops and whatnot?

And do you see why I am Vista’s new BFF forever and we’re going to get matching heart necklaces and I’ll wear one half and Vista will wear the other and never the twain shall meet?

Microsoft and its local employees are a PERFECT example of why I adore Pittsburgh and the people that do or have called it home.  It’s this generosity; this attitude of “we’ll take care of our own.”

I’ll keep you updated as we near delivery date, but for now, GROUP HUG!

And I should point out that I no longer even need to USE Vista because Windows 7 is available and it rocks!





47 Comments

  1. Michelle
    March 10, 2010 3:04 pm

    That’s splendid news :)



  2. Kathy
    March 10, 2010 3:11 pm

    That is TOTALLY AWESOME!!!! Yea! for Microsoft employees!!!



  3. Jessica @ How Sweet
    March 10, 2010 3:12 pm

    That is amazing! They are wonderful people.



  4. Jess
    March 10, 2010 3:14 pm

    High-fives all around!



  5. Pittsburgh Perambulations
    March 10, 2010 3:14 pm

    I’m very excited. This put a smile on my face!



  6. Woy
    March 10, 2010 3:15 pm

    Despite what your personal feelings may be about Microsoft, their corporate practices, technology, etc…. please recognize they do some very amazing things in terms of philanthropy and social causes.

    Huge thanks to Luke, David, and everyone at Microsoft for making this happen. They came through in a big way.



  7. Carsen
    March 10, 2010 3:15 pm

    This is way, way, way awesome. I wonder if any of the cash donations raised can go in a “fund” for the future, so when new crazy game consoles come out, they can be purchased and implemented in the room?



  8. Virginia
    March 10, 2010 3:17 pm

    I agree, Woy. Anyone ever tries to talk bad to me about Microsoft, I will go Mama Bear on their butts.



  9. AJ
    March 10, 2010 3:17 pm

    Windows Vista may have been *THANK YOU SO MUCH MICROSOFT*, but Windows 7 is a fantastic OS. Seriously. No lies. It’s worth the upgrade.



  10. katsbynp
    March 10, 2010 3:19 pm

    That is fantastic news!!!What an amazing group of people. After having a few tears in my eyes a smile is on my face!



  11. Allison
    March 10, 2010 3:26 pm

    That’s incredible. Tears are definitely in my eyes right now.



  12. ashley
    March 10, 2010 3:26 pm

    So happy. That’s all. Just really really happy for these kids. They deserve every happiness in the world, and then some.



  13. rossga
    March 10, 2010 3:29 pm

    Your efforts have unleashed the good in many Burghers and near-Burghers. We are better for it…and the kids benefit. Win!



  14. rickh
    March 10, 2010 3:31 pm

    Nice work Ginny and Woy! That’s great news.



  15. Natural Red
    March 10, 2010 3:34 pm

    Ginny- in addition to be such a gifted writer who provides me with so many smiles and laughs out loud, you also provide so much to those who are in need. What a wonderful gift to have! God bless you!



  16. Amy
    March 10, 2010 3:52 pm

    Holy crap. This is just… amazing. Three cheers for awesome Microsoft Pittsburgers!



  17. richrovs
    March 10, 2010 3:58 pm

    Awesome indeed!!



  18. bluzdude
    March 10, 2010 4:04 pm

    Now I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy, even from 4 hours away. Pittsburghers are the BEST!



  19. JMWander
    March 10, 2010 4:11 pm

    I second what Woy says in comment #7. I personally don’t use Windows, but XBOX and some of their other products are awesome (he said, scrolling with his Microsoft mouse). But what’s most important here is the heart not the tech. Microsoft’s philanthropy begins at the top with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which does extraordinary work with health, education and other charitable causes around the world. Cheers to our local Microsoft employees…and thank you!!



  20. Caroline
    March 10, 2010 4:22 pm

    Oh god. I cried.

    YAY!



  21. Steelerslover
    March 10, 2010 4:26 pm

    amazing.amazing.amazing.amazing. That is all I can say….thanks for sharing the amazing news!!!! Congrats!!!!!!!



  22. unsatisfied
    March 10, 2010 4:30 pm

    definitely great to see that MS is helping out — great story.

    in a related note — if I have XP today, how painful is it to upgrade to 7? is it worth it?



  23. Jen
    March 10, 2010 4:51 pm

    Truly awesome!

    unsatisfied, my dad upgraded from vista to 7 online. I’m not sure how much more difficult it is to upgrade from XP (I still haven’t upgraded my XP machines), but it was very easy for him.



  24. Boones Farm
    March 10, 2010 5:11 pm

    This is the type of news that I like to see. Not updates on Ben R in Georgia. Pittsburgh does Rock, the generosity of Pittsburghers should never be in doubt. Best wishes for more Good News!



  25. Anthony
    March 10, 2010 5:26 pm

    I had a heart transplant on 3/26/09…while I am an old fart who does not play video games that much I am a 44 year Alumni of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Cardiology Department!!(sending out love to Dr B. and Dr. A. Spring is here so I will be coming to take a tour of the new place…I will be e-mailing you soon) I think this is great!!! Now how about BEST BUY and Wal mart stepping up to make the goal happen for these kids!!!!



  26. Pensgirl
    March 10, 2010 5:27 pm

    That is wonderful, and I hope it will light a competitive fire under people affiliated with other game-console-producing companies. Hey Nintendo, whaddaya got?

    And I agree that the BMG foundation does great things too.



  27. Sooska
    March 10, 2010 5:43 pm

    Bill Gates sets a fine example of philanthropic work and his employees continue it. (I think perhaps they instead inspired him.)

    How wonderful of them.

    Something GOOD to talk about.



  28. Dorkimus Maximus
    March 10, 2010 6:08 pm

    Hmm, perhaps you should contact Apple’s Pittsburgh office and see whether you can get a few iPads out of them…



  29. Elmer Fudd
    March 10, 2010 9:42 pm

    Wow..Talk about going above and beyond..It really makes a person proud to live in an area were the people come together like this without even being asked and pick up the ball and run with it, then turn something really good into something even more special..Great Job!



  30. Christine
    March 10, 2010 10:02 pm

    Awesome Ginny!!!!! So happy for you and The Woy. Good job!



  31. Mama Moose
    March 11, 2010 8:12 am

    Uh, Apple? Come on, represent here! If we can’t make fun of Vista, then is life worth living?!?!



  32. red pen mama
    March 11, 2010 8:17 am

    YAY!

    I would like Ginny to hear from Apple, too. I don’t bitch about Windows because I use a Mac.



  33. butcher's dog
    March 11, 2010 8:37 am

    Looks like THIS IS THE YEAR!! in more ways than one.



  34. Lizzy
    March 11, 2010 8:39 am

    Way to go Microsoft and Ginny!



  35. Pittsburgh Guy
    March 11, 2010 10:15 am

    I am a Clint Eastwood fan and the Microsoft employees make me think of one of his great movie quotes “ these guys took some personal initiative and kicked a%$”. At the end of the day, the Microsoft Pittsburghers saw a need in the local community and answered to help these kids and families. If other companies step forward that is great, Microsoft you set the bar on how employees not corporations can make a difference. I think this giant is waking up again so watch out – Windows 7, Project Natal, and Bing – just awesome stuff. Ginny thanks for promoting the cause – Microsoft thanks for answering the call.



  36. Chris
    March 11, 2010 10:51 am

    Ginny–This is really great news. Now I’d like to see our TV and print media step up to the plate and cover this story and stop covering the Big Ben mess. Perhaps when they are installed in the hospital makes the most sense? It’s a great story.



  37. Anonymous
    March 11, 2010 11:17 am

    Ginny, I’m touched by what you’ve done, not just for the kids, but allowing us to share in your accomplishment. Even the little bit of money that I was able to contribute, more of a gesture really, made me feel like I belong.

    You are generous, in more ways that one, and I admire you very much.



  38. Kim L
    March 11, 2010 12:26 pm

    I can’t wait to see Ginny in the next “Windows 7 was my idea’ commercial.

    Congrats on the big score!



  39. Ian @ MSFT
    March 11, 2010 12:39 pm

    #23 Unsatisfied and #24 Jen. Unfortunately, there is no direct upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7. You will need to wipe and install Windows 7 and reinstall your applications. However, there is a program that is included in Windows 7 to make it easier to move all your data and settings. It is called Easy Transfer. Here is what you need to do. 1st. Insert the 7 disk into your XP machine. Explore the contents of the disk and go to the {D}:\support\migwiz directory. From here, run the migwiz.exe application. This will step you through saving all your data and settings (to external disk, another computer, etc.). 2nd, install Windows 7. 3rd, reinstall all your apps. 4th, you now can either type “Easy Transfer” to fins the program or double click the data file to kick off the restore of all your data. I do recommend you run the compatibility tool first to make sure you don’t need to upgrade anything: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/get/upgrade-advisor.aspx



  40. butcher's dog
    March 11, 2010 1:33 pm

    “Compatibility tool” sounds like someone Lukey and Ben should take along with them on social outings. Just for, you know, screening purposes.



  41. unsatisfied
    March 11, 2010 1:59 pm

    @40 Ian — thanks, I appreciate your response! I figured that there wasn’t a direct upgrade, skipping around vista….

    how compatible will it be with such things as itunes/my ipod? will they and 7 play nice together? I think I read that people had issues with going from XP to vista and I would love to avoid that here if I decide to go up to 7.

    and, thanks for your input, too, jen.



  42. Ian @ MSFT
    March 11, 2010 2:15 pm

    @42. unsatisfied – iTunes works just fine on Windows 7. My sister-in-law uses her’s all the time. Just backup your iTunes DB first, before installing 7.



  43. unsatisfied
    March 11, 2010 6:12 pm

    thanks, Ian!



  44. Amazed in the South Hills
    March 12, 2010 6:28 am

    Chris (#37) has a awesome idea!! I would love Sally, Andrew, Peggy, David, Kristine, or Ken (I know you are out there) to pick up on this. How about reporting on something positive as opposed to chairs that hold parking spots? This will remind everyone why we live in Pittsburgh and want our kids to grow up here.

    Ginny you are amazing in bringing the best out of people. For all of the donators of the original funds, see what you started? To any Microsoft person that is reading this, I am going to go out and buy a Windows 7 laptop this weekend!!! I might go find your offices next week and give you all a big hug!!!!



  45. Steve In Denver
    March 12, 2010 10:12 am

    Dave Severino is a great dude for helping this along. Way to go, people!



  46. Megan
    March 12, 2010 3:17 pm

    Awesome update!!! Yay MS and’Burghers!!!