A Look Back at Windows Mobile 6.0 and ActiveSync

While I was walking home from work today, checking my email on my iPhone, something very strange occurred to me. Once upon a time, I was a Windows Mobile junkie. Not just a standard user but an all out fan boy. I would talk to whoever was willing to listen about how awesome my Treo 750 was and how awesome of a job ActiveSync did at keeping everything, well, synced. So I started to wonder what happened?

A little background might help here. I made the conversion to Apple (iPhone, iPod, MacBook Pro) about 7 months ago. Before that I was all Windows, all the way. The conversion was sparked by two things. My interest in Ruby on Rails, a very rapid web development framework, which works best on Mac OSX and, the topic of conversation here, my desire to separate work from play. I was blown away.

ActiveSync, which requires an Exchange Server, is awesome. Loose your phone? No problem, your calendar, contacts, email, it’s all synced. Out of sight, out of mind. It also syncs really fast, with almost no lag from the minute something happens in Outlook to when it hits your phone.

But I wanted to separate work from play and I couldn’t seem to do it. Microsoft sells products, and as a result, no matter how awesome the product is, it’s limitations are in MSFT’s hands. So I switched to a more “open source” solution.

Now I’ve got both work and personal email happily IMAP’ing to my phone, contacts syncing to my Mac, along with the gigs of video and audio I have as well. No, my calendar doesn’t sync over the air. No, I can’t accept meeting invitations but I think I’m OK with that. The things it does do well, it does amazingly let alone the interface of the iPhone. It’s stable, which is a lot more than any Windows Mobile device can say. Every time a call came through it was like my Treo was having an aneurism. It really tried to keep up, but always seemed a few steps behind. Meanwhile the iPhone “just works.” Incoming call during a song? Music fades out, call fades in. It’s beautiful.

So all in all, I’m happy I made the switch. More than anything, I’m glad that my personal stuff is out of my corporate account. But hey, the phone’s cool too.

Thanks for reading! I'm Avand.

I am a full-stack software engineer, product designer, and teacher. I’ve been working on the web for over a decade and am passionate about building great products.

I currently work at Airbnb, where I work on internal products that help the company build quality software that customers love. Before that, I was at Mystery Science, transforming how elementary school teachers teach science. For a while, I also taught with General Assembly, teaching aspiring developers the basics of front-end web development.

I was born in Boston, grew up in Salt Lake City, and spent many years living in Chicago. Now, I call San Francisco my home.

I enjoy the great outdoors and absolutely love music and dance. Cars have been an lifelong obsession of mine, especially vintage BMWs and Volkswagens. I’m the very proud owner of a van, duh, and he and I plan to one day visit all the national parks and baseball stadiums. Then, off to Central America. A man can dream :)

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