Chris De Herrera's Windows CE Website

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By Chris De Herrera 
Copyright 1998-2007
 All Rights Reserved
A member of the Talksites Family of Websites

Windows and Windows CE are trademarks of Microsoft
Corporation
and are used
under license from owner.
CEWindows.NET is not
associated with Microsoft 
Corporation.

All Trademarks are owned
by their respective companies.

My First Five Years Supporting Windows CE
(Bending the Ear of the Giant)

By Chris De Herrera , Copyright 2001
Revised 11/19/2001

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The first of a six part article: Getting Started, Writing for the Web, Writing for Microsoft, AOL Changes and so did I, Even More Travel, Ideas and Sharing

Getting Started

Some of you are probably wondering how I got into supporting Windows CE and the Pocket PC. Well this is my story about how I got started and some of the major milestones to my interest in Windows CE and the creation of CEWindows.NET.

Prior to Windows CE

Well, my first computer was probably the first truly portable computer, called the Radio Shack PC-1. I purchased it in 1980 while I was taking physics in high school to handle the formulas by programming in Basic. After that, I went on to using other computers like the Commodore 64, Apple II and the original PC. During the late 80's I decided to work on the Radio Shack model 100/102/200, the first portable computer with a full size keyboard. I wrote a program called PDD2DOS and WP2DOS in Quick Basic that allowed users to use their PC as a huge external floppy drive for the 100/102/200/WP2. During the summer of 1994, I picked up an AST Gridpad 1910 (an OEM of the Casio Zoomer, the first pen based PDA), which I wrote FAQs, and howtos. I then worked on the AST Gridpads with Geos and the Dauphin DTR-1 with Windows 3.1 and also Windows for Pen. During the fall of 1994, I was asked by Craig de Faselle to join AOL's PDA Forum to support the Zoomer. So my first article about PDAs was published on AOL. During my six years at AOL we had monthly chats with users about PDAs and Windows CE and how to resolve their problems. You can still find faqs and howtos for the Zoomer, DTR-1 and the Gridpad 1910 on CEWindows.NET.

Getting Started with Windows CE

It's been five years since I first started covering Windows CE on my website. I was interested in Windows CE since the first time I heard about it because of the support for TCP/IP communications, which other PDAs did not have at the time. The first story I wrote was back on the night of the Handheld PC 1.0 launch in Las Vegas in November 19, 1996. I had to give Microsoft my credit card to get an evaluation unit to work with. I published it on AOL's PDA Forum (keyword PDA). During that week I met over ten employees of Microsoft that were working on the Handheld PC and talked to them in detail about what the capabilities of the Handheld PC. I also met each of the OEMs, Casio, Compaq, Hewlett Packard and NEC. I have had a long-standing relationship with Casio since their first pen based system called the Zoomer. I also met with bSquare, who was the first 3rd party to release an application for the Handheld PC. Their application allowed users to sending faxes from the H/PC 1.0. Bsquare's company was only composed of 4 people at that time! I really enjoyed my conversations with Bill Baxter (now President, CEO & Chairman of the Board) about the architecture of the Windows CE OS at multiple events. It wasn't until 2000 that I found out that that bSquare had been created the compilers for Windows CE application and OS development.

At the H/PC launch, I met Keith Amondt from Microsoft. He and I had multiple conversations about the H/PCs and he was interested in supporting my efforts to support users in the AOL PDA Forum. He sent me my first H/PC - A Casio A-10 that was one of the show loaners from Comdex.

During the first month, I noticed that no one was creating a comparison of the features, screen shots and pictures of the H/PCs in one place. So I created the first comparisons of the Handheld PCs, and since I did not have a screen capture utility, I scanned in the screen shots from one of the OEMs. I also attended Winter CES in 1997 and was able to capture pictures of all the Handheld PCs and continue my relationship with the OEMs.

Philips - What Could Have Been

I found out that some OEMs were attending a computer show in March of 1997 where they were showing the features and capabilities of the new Handheld PC. I was talking to David Bialer from Philips about the Velo 1 and how it was coming along at that time. I had met David at Comdex and seen him again at CES. At this show I talked to him about the future of the H/PCs and what Philips was doing. We discussed the need for strong technical support for products and I offered to help them. David sent me a prototype Velo 1, #20, which I beta tested for Philips until it's launch. During that time, Philips was looking for someone internally to head tech support for the Velo 1. I was interviewed multiple times, however Philips decided to focus on a liaison between customers and engineers rather than knowledgeable technical support staff. So I kept working on my website on AOL called PDC ChrisD's Pen Based Computers.

On to part two:  Writing for the Web


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