Monday, December 07, 2009

Is Windows Mobile Relevant?

There is an interesting read on BetaNews about the Windows Mobile platform. Before I get flamed for being a Apple junkie, I'll say right now I do not have nor want an iPhone. The closed platform and interface do nothing for what I need.

My current cellphone has been trending downhill for the past few months. It's an HTC Touch Pro device with WM 6.1, and I hacked it to run WM6.5 that I downloaded at xda-developers. Those great hobbyists do a wonderful job at packaging roms which unlock the full value of phones. I've tried a few different roms but the "Energy rom" line was the most stable and best one I've seen.

Now I'm sure you're thinking "the phone worked fine until you hacked it". This is the opposite, the phone out of the box from Sprint was buggy, laggy, and was a fail at basic telephony. Not to mention the habit of draining the battery before lunchtime. By researching and installing a custom rom I was able to get another 6 months of use from the device, else I'm certain it would have ended smashed into a million pieces on a sidewalk somewhere.

This leads us to today - WM is coming out with WM 7 next year. This is supposed to be an awesome system. WM 6.5 excels where Apple fails. It's open development, lots of good resources but on the flip side a lot of the usage is wonky and seems 2003-ish. I cannot wait for a better system in a year from now when I need a smartphone today.

I purchased a HTC Hero last week running Android. Android is made by Google and is quickly gaining market share among smart devices. It didn't have a dedicated keyboard so I thought I would be bothered by the virtual keyboard, but so far it's not too bad. The phone works well and it seems that the flow and use of the software makes sense. It's much more user intuitive than the Microsoft platform as it exists today, but I'll wait for the newness to wear off before I comment on the overall package. If Microsoft is destined to have a presence in the mobile market, WM 7 must be a compelling "wow".

Sunday, December 06, 2009

14 Years and 1.2 Million Miles Later

Last night I had the great pleasure of flying on Southwest airlines into Kansas City. I haven't flown on Southwest much this year but when I had this opportunity I jumped on it. Boarding the flight was painless and I picked an aisle seat right over the wing to try and have a similar experience as before. We arrived at KC Airport at gate 31, and when I departed into the terminal, I had a strong feeling of deja-vu.

It was June 1995. I want to say it was the 8th day of the month, but I'm not sure. A family member had purchased me a ticket to fly from KC-Chicago on Southwest. I had never flown on a commercial aircraft before and was a little nervous. I won't state my age or give away too much information, but I'll say I was "young". I left my car at my uncle's home and they took me to the airport, I checked in my bag, and waited for the flight. At that time Southwest used those old plastic number cards, and I believe I had a 'B' card. The plane was this huge light brown thing, later I learned it was a 737-200. We boarded the flight through gate 31 and I found a seat right behind the wing on the left side of the aircraft. I recall that flight had some seats that faced to the back, and there was a very attractive blonde girl in one of those seats who ordered a beer on the flight. I'm sure I had a Coke. My first feeling was the massive acceleration on take off, and the rest of the flight was an awesome experience for a young boy.

One of the neat things about consulting and building a business is the opportunity to travel to distant locales. Some people enjoy traveling, some see it as part of the job, and some hate it. I understand all these perspectives. Last night as I recollected on my experience, I thought of the many airports I've visited since that day in June 1995. I thought of the planes I've flown on that would make a 737 look like a tiny toy. I thought about the many people I've met along the journey, both attractive ladies and nice guys. I then thought about what I know now vs. what I knew in 1995. It helped me to remember that the world is full of opportunities, that we all have a chance to make what we want, to live our dreams. I am living mine, talking, practicing, and helping companies become more efficient through the use of information technology and business intelligence. In June 1995 I was working at Walmart, thinking of how we (myself and the four other guys I worked with) could get bleach loaded onto shelves faster, work the stock faster, or sell more items through use of displays. Now I am thinking of how I can use IT to help a client complete financial audits. Wow, what a 14 years it's been. I'm certain that I will look back in another 14 years and saw that in 2009 I had no idea how great it would all become.