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Jim Plamondon

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James Plamondon is a technology evangelist, technical writer and inventor notable for his role at Microsoft, in the 1990s, in systematizing the theory and practice of platform evangelism.

Technical writer[edit]

Graduating from University of New Mexico with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science in 1988, he relocated to Silicon Valley and wrote technical articles for programming magazines such as the MacTech Journal, Frameworks Magazine, Apple's d e v e l o p Magazine, and the WinTech Journal, while working full-time as a computer programmer.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

He founded the local non-profit Bay Area MacApp Developer's Association (BAMADA),[7] which met monthly at Apple's Cupertino headquarters, and was elected twice to the Board of Directors of the international non-profit MacApp Developer's Association (MADA), both of which were focused on MacApp, the first widely used object-oriented application framework. After defecting[8] from the Mac developer community to Microsoft's Windows in 1991, he wrote a regular column for Mac developers in Frameworks Magazine called 'Postcards from WindowsLand.' [9][10][11][12][13]

Technology evangelist[edit]

Mr. Plamondon's writings and community activities brought him to the attention of Microsoft, which hired him in 1992 as technical evangelist in its new "Bay Area Embassy," which was intended to make the Washington State company more accessible to developers in California's Bay Area (which includes Silicon Valley). At that time, he resigned as head of BAMADA, although he retained his seat on MADA's Board of Directors, as MADA sought to widen its scope to include application frameworks other than MacApp.[14]

Mr. Plamondon later described[15] his reasons for joining Microsoft as follows: "When Windows 3.0 caught fire, I realized that no matter how good my code, it would fail commercially if it targeted the wrong platform – so I became very interested in how platforms gained market dominance. Because Microsoft clearly understood how to make its platforms 'win,' in 1992 I joined its Developer Relations Group (DRG). There, I designed and executed strategies that established Microsoft’s new platform technologies as de facto industry standards, and gave internal [i.e., Microsoft-only] courses on the theory and practice of doing so." In July 2010, Mr. Plamondon took the position of technology evangelist with The Midnight Coders, makers of WebORB Integration Server. According to LinkedIn, he was later Director of Developer Relations for the Rackspace Cloud and then a Senior Consultant at Cutter Consortium.

The Plamondon Files[edit]

Hand-outs[16] and transcripts[17] of one of Mr. Plamondon's internal courses, stamped by Microsoft as "highly confidential" and collectively known as "The Plamondon Files," were released into the public record of the Comes v. Microsoft anti-trust case. The Plamondon Files establish that by 1996 Mr. Plamondon had become a leading theorist, strategist, trainer, and practitioner of technology evangelism at Microsoft, during the time in which Microsoft established Microsoft Windows as the de facto standard PC operating system. The Plamondon Files describe his systematic approach to technology evangelism. The widespread acceptance of his systematic approach within Microsoft is suggested by the statements of his contemporaries in Microsoft's Developer Relations Group, such as:

  • "James [Plamondon] has become...the group's theoretician" (by Marshall Goldberg,[17] p. 45)
  • Mr. Plamondon is an "uber-evangelist" (by Darryl Dieken,[16] p. 2).
  • "everything James said is true" (by Marshall Goldberg,[17] p. 66)
  • "James was a student of ancient warfare, military strategy and propaganda. He was an older 'fatherly' figure who recruited young… impressionable engineers like myself and 'raised' us to be Microsoft’s chief technology warriors. James was famously and CORRECTLY identified as one of the principal figures in Microsoft’s 'anti-competitive' efforts." (Alex St. John)[18]

Project 7[edit]

His last known technology evangelism project at Microsoft was Project 7, begun in early 1998, which sought to get the top academic and commercial programming languages implemented on Microsoft's new .NET Framework and Visual Studio.NET platforms, which were still in alpha testing. Mr. Plamondon is consistently cited as initiator and executor of Project 7.[19][20][21]

He left Microsoft in early 2000 (,[16] p. 1).

The Busselton Challenge[edit]

In 2002, Mr. Plamondon won the RSM Bird Cameron WA Regional Achievers Award for his work with The Busselton Challenge, an Australian-registered not-for-profit community development Non-Government Organization (NGO). The Busselton Challenge, founded by Mr. Plamondon, was devoted to raising funds for other NGOs. The Award cited the Challenge's raising of $220,000 to preserve the Busselton Jetty; its establishment of a computer-maintenance training course at Busselton's public high school; and its establishment of the Busselton Public Library as a hub of self-paced, senior-mentored training in computer applications.[22]


In 2003, Plamondon invented a novel musical instrument, the jammer keyboard, which he intended to market as the "Thummer" through his start-up company Thumtronics. The jammer combined several musical innovations in a novel way[23] and is notable for its being designed in accordance with diatonic set theory, ergonomics and psycho-acoustics. Although his evangelism of the Thummer attracted considerable media attention,[24][25] it failed to attract sufficient investment capital to cover Thumtronics' excessive R&D,[26] requiring Thumtronics to cease operations in mid-2009. Some aspects of this work are documented in the iGetItMusic website.

His research on the Thummer was published in several patent applications [27][28][29][30][31] and peer-reviewed scientific papers.[32][33][34][35]

His evangelism of the Thummer's "Wicki-Hayden" isomorphic keyboard has led to its being adopted by DIY makers of jammer keyboards and multi-touch keyboard apps for the iPhone and iPad.[36]

In 2012, while Director of Developer Relations at Rackspace, he filed a patent titled "Distributed Testing Of A Software Platform," to incorporate the detection of ecosystem-level bugs into a software platform's continuous integration process.[37]

In July 2013, Plamondon joined the University of New South Wales' School of Education as a graduate student to undertake formal academic research into the potential application of his musical innovations to music education. His description of his research in UNSW's Three Minute Thesis won the People's Choice Award for Best Presentation.[38]


  1. Plamondon, James. "Pop-up Menus CDEF". MacTech Journal. 4 (9).
  2. Plamondon, James. "List of Controls LDEF". MacTech Journal. 5 (6). Archived from the original on 2011-07-14.
  3. Plamondon, James. "New CDEF Messages". MacTech Journal. 5 (8).
  4. Plamondon, James. "Posing Dialogs in MacApp". MacTech Journal. 7 (11).
  5. Plamondon, James (1991). "Validating Date and Time Entry in MacApp". d e v e l o p Magazine (Autumn).
  6. Plamondon, James (April 1991). "TAspectPicture: The Bed of Procrustes". Frameworks Magazine. Archived from the original on 2011-07-14.
  7. Sawtelle, Don (June 1991). "Editor's Notes". Frameworks Magazine. Archived from the original on 2011-07-14.
  8. Plamondon, James (November 1991). "Apologia Windowia". Frameworks Magazine.
  9. Plamondon, James (January 1992). "Postcard From WindowsLand―Is Windows Object-Oriented?". Frameworks Magazine. Archived from the original on 2011-07-14.
  10. Plamondon, James (March 1992). "Postcard From WindowsLand―Getting to WindowsLand". Frameworks Magazine. Archived from the original on 2011-07-14.
  11. Plamondon, James (July 1992). "Postcard from WindowsLand―A Mac Programmer's Journey into WindowsLand". Frameworks Magazine. Archived from the original on 2011-07-14.
  12. Plamondon, James (September 1992). "Postcard From WindowsLand―Windows NT:Beyond Faith". Frameworks Magazine.
  13. Plamondon, James (January 1993). "Postcard from WindowsLand―Microsoft Windows Programming Conference for Macintosh Developers". Frameworks Magazine. Archived from the original on 2011-07-14.
  14. Plamondon, James (1992). "BAMADA Notes". Frameworks Magazine. Archived from the original on 2011-07-14.
  15. Robertson, Niel (7 May 2006). "Increasing Tail Redux". Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Plaintiff's Exhibit 3096, Comes vs. Microsoft, 2007.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Plaintiff's Exhibit 2456, Comes vs. Microsoft, 2007.
  18. St. John, Alex (1 September 2013). "Slaying Apple". Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  19. Watkins, Damien (2002). "Programming in the .Net Environment". Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  20. Syme, Don (27 Mar 2009). "Don Syme Answering Questions on F#, C#, Haskell and Scala (at 2:30)". Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  21. Meijer, Erik (8 June 2001). "Technical Overview of the Common Language Runtime" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 August 2011. Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  22. "Challenge Wins Regional Award". 2002. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  23. Paine, G.; Stevenson, I.; Pearce, A. (2007). "The Thummer Mapping Project (ThuMP)" (PDF). Proceedings of the 7th international conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME07): 70–77.
  24. Jurgensen, John (2007). "The Soul of a New Instrument". Wall Street Journal, Leisure Main December 7, 2007.
  25. Jim Swift, KXAN TV On Thummer, YouTube, December 2007.
  26. Jim Plamondon, What Killed Thumtronics?, iGetIt! Music blog, 3 September 2009.
  27. Plamondon, James. "A Musical Instrument". Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  28. Plamondon, James. "Isomorphic Solfa Music Notation and Keyboard". Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  29. Plamondon, James; Dixon, Michael. "Dense Button-Field Arrangement for a Musical Instrument". Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  30. Plamondon, James; Darke, Matthew. "Motion Sensors in a Hand-Held Button-Field Musical Instrument". Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  31. Plamondon, James. "Musical Button-Field Layout for Alphanumeric Keyboards". Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  32. Milne, Andrew; Sethares, W.A.; Plamondon, J. (December 2007). "Invariant Fingerings Across a Tuning Continuum". Computer Music Journal. 31 (4): 15–32. doi:10.1162/comj.2007.31.4.15. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
  33. Milne, Andrew; Sethares, W.A.; Plamondon, J. (March 2008). "Tuning Continua and Keyboard Layouts". Journal of Mathematics and Music. 2 (1): 1–19. doi:10.1080/17459730701828677. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
  34. Plamondon, Jim; Milne, A.; Sethares, W.A. (2009). "Dynamic Tonality: Extending the Framework of Tonality into the 21st Century" (PDF). Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the South Central Chapter of the College Music Society.
  35. Plamondon, James; William A. Sethares; Andrew J. Milne; Stefan Tiedje; Anthony Prechtl (2009). "Spectral Tools for Dynamic Tonality and Audio Morphing". Project MUSE Journals Computer Music Journal. 33 (2, Summer 2009).
  36. Eskin, Michael. ""HexJam" Jammer for the iPhone and iPod Touch". Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  37. Plamondon, James. "Distributed Testing Of A Software Platform". Retrieved 22 Feb 2014.
  38. "2013 Three Minute Thesis People's Choice Award - Jim Plamondon". Retrieved 18 October 2013.

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