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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
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under license from owner.
CEWindows.NET is not
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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 third 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 Microsoft

Earlier in November 1997, I was asked by Dave Kramer, who was working on Microsoft's Windows CE Website, to write an article about customizing the H/PC for the holidays. I wrote the article and it was published during December 1997 on Microsoft's site. During that month, we discussed the need for additional articles for the Microsoft site would be helpful for H/PC users. Dave came up with the idea that I should write a monthly column called Comm Link. The first article in January 1998, covered how to synchronize your H/PC using Ethernet with your desktop. That article is still in print on the MSDN CDs today and is also available here on CEWindows.NET along with the complete set of Comm Link articles. The Comm Link column lasted until April 1999. All the Comm Link column articles I wrote for free because I wanted to help users understand the capabilities of their devices since Microsoft did not provide documentation explaining how to configure Windows CE devices to communicate with other devices.

Launching the Palm-size PC

During the spring of 1998, Microsoft introduced the Palm-size PC to the world. I was there at the Palm-size PC launch at Winter CES on January 7, 1998 when the first Palm-size PC was announced. The units started to ship in the spring of 1998. Casio was the first to ship it's E-10 and E-11 units. This was the first time Microsoft created a device without a keyboard that was based on Windows CE. I received my first Palm-size PC, the E-10 at Microsoft's second developer's conference in San Jose. At that conference I met with LG Electronics about my ideas for future devices. I explained to them that simplicity means things like standard ports on the unit and that the parallel port would be important for business users to be able to print their documents out. They went back and worked on a new device called the Phenom Ultra, which incorporated standard ports for VGA and was the first device with a parallel port for printing.

Getting Started with Newsgroups

Also during the summer of 1997 and spring of 1998, I started posting messages in Microsoft's newsgroups for Windows CE. I started to answer questions there knowing that the audience was much larger than the one on AOL. Originally I was asked to be a Most Valuable Professional for Windows CE in the fall of 1998, however the paperwork never got completed. So I followed up with Microsoft and was finalized as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional in the spring of 1998 based on the number and accuracy of my answers to users questions on the newsgroups. Of course during this time, I continued to write about Handheld PCs and Windows CE for my website, PDC ChrisD 's Pen Based Computers. During 1998, I really started to add FAQs on how to use your Handheld PC to communicate to other computers via Ethernet, Serial, Infrared, or RAS. I also expanded my ISP Settings FAQ as well as added other important information.

Meet Derek Brown

Over the summer of 1998, Dave Kramer left the Windows CE group and I was introduced to the now infamous Derek Brown who was responsible for Microsoft's Windows CE Website. This was the beginning of our relationship that continues to today. I continued to write articles for Comm Link on Microsoft's Windows CE Website. I also started a conversation with Derek about my thoughts on the issues that I faced to support Windows CE including the cost of acquiring units. We discussed the role that the Microsoft MVP program plays and we came to the conclusion that Microsoft should do more to support websites and MVPs. So out of that conversation came something we now call the Microsoft Mobile Community Council (M2C2). I recommended to Derek that the first members to be Jason Dunn, Todd Ogasawara, Frank McPherson, Craig Peacock and myself. During the next year, we had a phone conversation with Derek every month to work together to resolve issues. The M2C2 group met in person at Microsoft for the first time in the fall of 1999 to see the beta of the Pocket PC. The M2C2 has continued to meet every fall at Microsoft for the past 3 years. Also with Derek's help, I have been involved in beta testing the Handheld PC, Professional Edition, Pocket PC, and Pocket PC 2002.

On to part four: AOL Changes and so did I

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