Posted by: Frank | February 6, 2010

I Have A New Writing Gig

This week I started writing for the MobileContentToday blog. My long time mentor in the mobile industry, Todd Ogasawara is the lead editor of the site, and asked me if I would be interested in joining him in writing for the site. My relationship with Todd goes back 13 years to when I first started using a HP Handheld PC running Windows CE and hanging out on the MSN Windows CE forum that he managed. Todd asked me to be an assistant forum manager, and that along with my own Windows CE web site lead to an important relationship with Derek Brown, who at the time was the marketing director for the mobile division of Microsoft.

Derek had the foresight to engage a small group of mobile enthusiasts in providing feedback to Microsoft on their mobile devices. One of the moments that stands out to me from the whole experience of being part of that group, and later a Microsoft MVP, is seeing the Pocket PC for the first time, well before it was officially announced. I think it would be safe to say that our group collectively had a strong negative reaction to the Pocket PC UI, which seemed to only move the Windows menu button from the bottom of the screen to the top. As I recall most of us at the time was encouraging Microsoft to ditch the Windows-like UI on the handheld for a UI tailored for handhelds that required as few taps on the screen as possible. Despite our negative reaction, Derek still brought in his boss, the head of mobile devices division at Microsoft, and we didn’t pull any punches. To Microsoft’s credit, they didn’t throw us out and they even continued to engage us, and even had us come back to be part of the official announcement to the press.

The experience with Microsoft led to the opportunity to be a writer, something that I dreamed of doing ever since I discovered Jerry Pournelle’s Chaos Manor columns in the old Byte Magazine. As you may know, I wrote four books about Microsoft’s software for mobile devices, and the last one was published in 2006. The computer book industry has changed a lot since I started in 1999,  and there simply isn’t a market for Windows Mobile books now. I could pursue writing books on other topics, but truth be told, writing books is exhausting when you are also working a full time job.

I am excited for the opportunity to write for MobileContentToday because it provides me an opportunity to continue doing something I enjoy, writing, on a topic that I know something about. The site also aligns with my own personal view of mobile devices, which is that they are more important for what you do with them, than what they are. We do cover the entire mobile industry, but our focus is on the software and content that one uses on the devices. I am looking forward this this new adventure.

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