Solutions At Hand

Handhelds, smartphones, mobile technology and the digital lifestyle.

First Blog: Why write a WebLog (blog)?

Posted by Michael Brown on January 20, 2005

As a trainer and a consultant, why should I write a weblog, or blog as they’re more commonly known? Aren’t consultants normally paid to give opinions and recommendations – why put it out in a weblog on the internet? Well, I can think of quite a few good reasons why I should write weblogs on a regular basis.

Firstly, it’s one way for you to get to know me. I’m kind of old fashioned, and I like doing business with people I know and who’ve earned my trust. By publishing “blogs” on the Solutions At Hand website, it gives you the opportunity to get to know me, and I hope you’ll feel more comfortable in dealing with me. Some of what I do is help people make the transition from whatever systems (paper or electronic) that they’ve used to organize themselves, to integrating a handheld or smartphone into those systems. That involves getting to know you and how you work, so I think it’s only fair that you have the opportunity to get to know me a bit first!

Secondly, there’s a lot of information flying around on the internet on the subject of handhelds and smartphones, much of it contradictory. Some of it is news, some of it is opinions; like any other form of medium, there’s great stuff out there and there’s a lot of not-so-great stuff out there. I work in the field of handheld computing; it’s my business to know about the technology and how to best use it. Being a qualified electronics technician, I’m pretty familiar with what technology can and can’t do. I’ve worked with RF (radio frequency) gear, computer equipment, networking gear, and many other forms of common technology (I’ve even fixed VCR’s!). I’ve built every computer I’ve ever owned from Parts, and I’ve worked on every form of Windows since 3.11 through to XP. I’ve also worked with DOS, CP/M, Linux, Solaris and HP-UX Unix, Mac’s and embedded devices, on top of having owned and used 5 PDA’s in my daily life. I don’t know if that makes me an “expert”, but I’d say I’m pretty skilled in a variety of areas!

Thirdly, I like to educate my clients, not only to actual products, but to trends… where things are going. I’ve been a small business person before working at some large Hi-Tech companies (and now back to being a small business person!), so I like to inform people about stuff that could be of interest to them. I could put this stuff into a “newsletter” and send it to people directly, but the way I see it, there’s already too much stuff being shoved into peoples faces on a daily basis. A blog can be useful to those who want to know about these things; they can read it whenever they choose. I’ll be archiving them on the website, so you’ll always be able to return to read it again.

At some point in the near future we may end up reporting “news” that relates to handhelds and smartphones on this website. I’m clearly defining lines between my “blog” (basically, my opinions) and “news” (facts, or information reported by other sources). I do have a background in media as a former “techie” in Radio and Television broadcasting, and I feel strongly about how I report any news that will appear on this site. I will always try to present news without bias; I will reserve my blogs for my actual opinions regarding said news.

These blogs will be a permanent fixture on this website. Since moving to our new webhost, I’ve been migrating content to leverage the new backend server’s capabilities (Apache & Zope/DTML). In the future, I may be taking advantage of other features of a Zope server, like CMF (Content Management Framework) and products that sit on top of CMF, in order to make managing the site easier. I expect that I’ll be able to have the “permanent links” on the blog entries actually be permanent, but they might change (read: break) if I can’t make the blogs work with CMF. I will always ensure that a search feature or sitemap is available, so if things do get moved, you will be able to find them again.

Thanks for reading my blog! I’m thinking that I’ll be publishing a new one each Monday. Stay tuned for my next blog; it got started due to an e-mail I received from a client regarding Windows Mobile (aka Pocket PC) handhelds, because he “heard from someone” that Palm OS was “on the way out”. See ya next week!

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