Pocketables Editor Spotlight is a weekly series that shines the spotlight on each of our editors. Last week, we got up close and personal with our Editor-in-Chief, John Freml, and today let’s get to know the founder of Pocketables, Jenn K. Lee.
Many of you already know how I got here, but here’s a quick timeline for those who don’t. I started Pocketables in 2006 and ran the site alone until 2009, when guest contributors started helping me while I was suffering through 24-hour morning sickness. After my daughter was born, I hired a few writers to keep Pocketables updated then started StreakSmart and Good and EVO in 2010. I sold all three sites to CrowdGather in 2011 and am currently their Director of Content Management. That’s six years of my life condensed into three sentences!
I’m currently juggling the HTC EVO 4G LTE, Samsung Galaxy Note, Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, Sony Tablet P, Tablet S, and three notebooks (Vaio Z520N, MacBook Air, and second-gen Vaio P). It’s more than I need or use on a daily basis, but I’m not ready to throw any of them onto the stack of neglected gadgets I have in my closet. The Vaio Z is my primary computer (Windows 7 Ultimate) and the EVO (Android 4.0.3) is my primary phone. I’m sure I could live with just these two devices, but what fun would that be?
These are the home screens on my EVO: full of my favorite little girl and my most used apps. It’s possible to have more than just three home screens, but that’s all I really need. I could probably cut it down to just one if I made use of folders and chose different widgets, but I’m happy with this setup. I use a lot of stock apps (I like HTC Sense) and keep things pretty basic.
I don’t know what else to say here, so let’s get to the questions from the other editors.
John Freml: When will your daughter get her first smartphone and/or tablet?
Jenn: You mean when did she get her first tablet? She’s had her own iPad for about a year now and has been “using” iOS since she was around five months old. She couldn’t do much back then, of course, but she’s extremely proficient now: changing wallpapers, creating folders, rearranging apps, finding what she wants, navigating menus as though she can read, taking pictures, teaching herself how to use new apps, and so on. Try as I might, there’s just no converting this fanchild to Android! She views my gadgets as little more than cameras, photo albums of herself, and smaller (and probably lesser) versions of her beloved iPad.
Calob Horton: Why did you decide to create a website dedicated to small devices instead of big ones?
Jenn: When I decided to start a blog, it wasn’t going to be about technology. It was going to be a journal where I wrote about whatever was on my mind. At the time, one of these things happened to be the Sony Vaio UX180P. I had a lifelong interest in miniatures and was always in search of a small device that I could use to write fiction, and the UX was the most amazing handheld computer I’d ever seen. It ran circles around my old NEC MobilePro 750C and Palm PDAs, that’s for sure. The UX also introduced me to the UMPC/Origami devices that Microsoft and Intel had just launched. I was instantly hooked.
So I changed the name of my blog to Pocketables (it was previously “in my head” or something—like I said, it was supposed to be a journal) and added the tag line “Portable gadgets according to Jenn K. Lee” to make it clear that it was just my take on gadgets I liked. It wasn’t all-encompassing or really focused on anything other than pocketable devices I happened to be interested in.
William Devereux: Why are you so shy of podcasts?
Jenn: I’ve been avoiding being a guest host on our CrowdGadgets podcast because I’m a terrible on-the-spot speaker. There’s something about knowing that I’m being recorded that makes me choke. Ask anyone who’s ever had to listen to my rambling and awkward pauses on answering machines and voicemail. It’s the main reason I’ve done very few video demos or video reviews, and those I have done were always scripted in some way.
Bryan Faulkner: What’s one thing you miss about writing every day?
Jenn: I’m not blogging regularly anymore, but I’m still writing almost every day. As much as I love tech, what I love even more is writing fiction, particularly short stories, novellas, and novels. I do miss the discipline that comes with daily blogging, though. I also miss the feeling that comes from clicking that “Publish” button; that’s not something you get very often when writing fiction.
Paul King: What was the last device that was actually exciting to you?
Jenn: Out of what I currently own, it would be the Samsung Galaxy Note and Sony Tablet P. The Note because it’s what the non-existent Dell Streak 2 could have been and it’s just about perfect; the Tablet P because it’s unique, fun to use, and looks great all dressed in black. I’m also a fool for most things with Sony’s name on it.
Out of what I don’t own (yet), it would be the Microsoft Surface. Everything else, while often nice or interesting, ends up blending in with whatever else is out there. If I were on a game show where I had to identify a current or upcoming phone/tablet by its photo, I’d probably be out in the first round.
Andreas Ødegård: How has being a mom affected your gadget/app choices?
Jenn: Shortly after my daughter was born, I became very interested in smartphones. For the first time ever, I had actual needs to consider when making a new purchase—one-handed operation, convergence, and pocketability—and smartphones met those needs more than UMPCs, MIDs, and other devices did. I had previously been ruled by unadulterated gadget lust. Even when I knew I didn’t need something and probably wouldn’t use it for more than a week, if I wanted it, I wanted it. Period.
My interest in technology took a serious nosedive post-motherhood. I began to care more about actual toys for my daughter than gadgets for myself, so I eventually sold off most of my collection of tiny computers, smartphones, internet devices, and media players, and downsized to what I would really use.
I expected “gadget minimalism” to be my new lifestyle—and it was for about two years—but now I find myself with more devices in my regular rotation that I can reasonably manage again. I guess old habits die hard.
Aaron Orquia: What is the most expensive technology mistake you have ever made?
Jenn: I can’t think of any mistakes per se, but spending $15,000+ on around 20 UMPCs/MIDs over the years probably wasn’t the wisest thing I’ve ever done. I don’t regret buying any of them, but I didn’t need them either. They were all just “because I want it” purchases. I still have a few of them and remember the ones I sold fondly, but I admit that I went overboard.
I probably wouldn’t be saying this if UMPCs were still around, of course, and in some ways my obsession with them just ended up being replaced by other devices. And I may just be making excuses here, but I’ve always likened my love of gadgets to many women’s love of shoes and purses. Somehow that makes it okay.
All of Jenn’s posts can be found on her author page, so be sure to check it out! Next week, Calob Horton takes the spotlight.