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

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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 second 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

Writing for the Web

During June, 1997, I was contacted by Dave Kramer at Microsoft about writing for their website. I wrote my first article and it was rejected. So I continued to focus on my website. So as the year went on, I added each of the OEMs devices to my H/PC 1.0 comparison and added picture of their devices as well. So during the fall of 1997, I had the most complete comparison of the H/PC 1.0 devices on the net. During 1997, I was surprised to find that Handheld PC Magazine (the precursor to Pocket PC Magazine) had named my website one of the top 10 websites on Windows CE at Fall Comdex. I had never heard from Handheld PC Magazine staff before the show! At Fall Comdex, I arranged for AOL's PDA Forum to host an online chat with Jim Floyd of Microsoft, and Tom Carr of HP, Andre' Kabel of Philips and John Brandewie of Sharp. The chat occurred right on the floor of Comdex in the Microsoft Booth! At that chat we gave away 2 Handheld PCs and a copy of the Introducing Microsoft Windows CE for the Handheld PC by Robert O'Hara.

The Handheld PC 2.0

On October 27, 1997, Microsoft announced the shipment of the rom image for the Handheld PC 2.0 to the OEMs. I followed this announcement closely and reported what units were upgradeable as well as new units that used the 2.0 rom. I created another comparison of the H/PC 2.0 devices as well as pictures of the new units based on the press releases and my discussions with the OEMs at Fall Comdex. I also had a beta rom for the NEC MobilePro 400 that Jim Floyd from Microsoft sent me and was one of the first to release screen shots of the H/PC 2.0 OS. I also was very excited to hear that Microsoft was supporting Ethernet in the H/PC 2.0! This introduced the first high speed connection to these devices!

Getting Connected with Ethernet

So I contacted Jim at the beginning of December 1997 about the Ethernet support so I could better understand the features and capabilities. What I found out from Microsoft did not make sense to me! I was told that the H/PCs could only sync within a network with a Windows NT Server. Well at home where I was working with the H/PCs, I did not have an NT server! I was using Windows 95 at the time. So I set out to figure out how to synchronize using Ethernet with my desktop. I went to my local Frys Electronics and bought an EC2T card, which was NE-2000 compatible. I installed and configured TCP/IP and was able to ping the H/PC from the desktop. I figured out that Microsoft was using Netbios over TCP/IP and that there was no reason that you needed a Windows NT machine. I tested the concept of using the desktop's IP address as the WINS server, which worked because the desktop will always respond to requests for itself by name. So I was successful in synchronizing using Ethernet with WINS. I then moved on to test with a DNS. So I installed a version of BIND (a DNS program for Unix) for Windows and set about testing how the H/PC used the DNS to resolve names. I was successful in synchronizing using the DNS too if the DNS name was the same as the device name. So I wrote the first Ethernet FAQ for Windows CE based on my experience over a 1 week period where I figured this all out without a packet sniffer.

On to part three: Writing for Microsoft

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