Windows CE at play

Everyone knows that Windows CE is a great business tool—but it isn't just for business anymore! Brien Posey describes one weekend of fun and how Windows CE helped to make it all complete.

It’s no big secret that Windows CE is great for the business world. You can manage contacts, send e-mail messages, and spend every spare second working on those precious Microsoft Office documents on the go. However, if you think all that sounds just a little too stressful, you’re not alone. Sure, I use Windows CE to help me stay organized while I’m at work. But, on the weekends, I don’t want anything to do with work. Even if you’re like me, Windows CE still has its place on weekends. In this Daily Feature, I’ll tell you about one such weekend and how Windows CE helped to make it all complete.

Recently, a close friend and I decided to see just how decadent a weekend we could have. Being an information systems professional, I decided to put Windows CE to the test, to see how much fun it could help us have.

We began by using the built-in Web browser to book our hotel room and our airline tickets to Miami, Florida. Next, we used the Web browser to check the Miami weather. Since it was supposed to be warm and sunny, we used the Web browser to reserve a convertible from a rental agency.

Once we had our reservations, we used Microsoft Streets to download street maps of Miami and Fort Lauderdale into the copy of Pocket Streets on my palmtop. This meant that we now had—at our fingertips—driving directions to our hotel as well as most popular restaurants and tourist destinations. What really makes this feature nice is the fact that palmtops boot instantly. So, if you’re cruising down the highway and need directions quickly, you don’t miss your exit because you’re waiting for the computer to boot up.

Another nice thing about Windows CE is that the batteries last so long. That meant my friend and I were free to kick back on the plane and play Solitaire and Tetris throughout the duration of the two-hour flight.

When we finally reached Miami, we used the maps that we had downloaded earlier to painlessly find our hotel. Upon arriving at the hotel, we connected to the Internet and downloaded some Excel spreadsheets. Now, I know that downloading Excel files may sound like work—which we were planning on avoiding—but these spreadsheets listed the name, address, and phone number of every bar in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Having this information, we could easily enter the address of any bar that we chose into Pocket Streets and receive instant directions.

Armed with a weekend’s worth of information, we set out to have some fun. Another friend had decided not to come along on the trip. Of course, we wanted to show him what he was missing out on, so we brought along the digital camera. We snapped a few pictures and were able to instantly e-mail them to our friend, who was suffering through a snowstorm at home while we were on the beach. Because there was no phone line readily available at the time, we just plugged our palmtop into a cellular phone. We were then free to send the pictures while cruising down the highway.

As you can imagine, my friend and I had one seriously hedonistic weekend. Over the course of the weekend, we discovered two things. First, you can fit a lot more playtime into a weekend if you have all the information about anything that you want to do instantly available at your fingertips. Second, we pretty much concluded that portable computing isn’t just for nerds or businesspeople anymore. All in all, between the video games, and the directions to the bars and beaches, Windows CE helped us to have an awesome time in Florida. Because of this, I have to say that Windows CE is no longer a tool for strictly business.

Brien M. Posey is an MCSE who works as a freelance technical writer and as a network engineer for the Department of Defense. If you’d like to contact Brien, send him an e-mail. (Because of the large volume of e-mail he receives, it's impossible for him to respond to every message. However, he does read them all.)

The authors and editors have taken care in preparation of the content contained herein, but make no expressed or implied warranty of any kind and assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. No liability is assumed for any damages. Always have a verified backup before making any changes.

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