Windows Mobile: Heroes

A little over ten years ago, back in Ireland, I was working as a freelance writer and reading with great excitement about this new thing called “Windows CE” and new hardware “Handheld PCs” coming from Microsoft. I’d always loved the idea of portable, personal hardware, and the Handheld PC from Philips – the Velo1 – was a great looking device. My mother happened to be going on vacation to the US, and so I sent her off with a sack full of dollars and a request to bring back a Handheld PC.


She duly came back with one, and then I got addicted to trying to program the thing. The tools were expensive and hard to find, the documentation was even more hard to find, but I nagged and pestered various people, and eventually a kind lady from Philips helped me, and a guy call Kurt at Microsoft helped too, and I was able to get started. Most of all, I had a book called “Programming Microsoft Windows CE” by Douglas Boling.


That was perhaps the most read book I’ve ever owned, and although these days it’s in a third edition and called “Programming Microsoft Windows CE .NET”, it is still the definitive guide for all Pocket PC and Smartphone developers.


It was a highlight of my first ever Windows CE Developers Conference, in Denver in 1998 to hear Doug speak, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that because of Doug I learnt how to program for Windows CE, and eventually set up a small software company selling applications.


I was therefore very chuffed then when Doug stopped by my office this morning, and presented me with a signed copy of the book. It’s not often your heroes stop by to say hello.