Where have we been, where we are headed and my stupid-ass mistakes with fonefrenzy

Yep, it’s been a while since we had a post (or an actual site for that matter) hasn’t it? Well fonefrenzy wasn’t completely dead, we just took some twists and turns along the long bloggers road. And I can say that it has been a humbling learning experience. Basically, I fucked up, more than once.

Before starting fonefrenzy (the website) in 2009, I was on twitter as fonefrenzy pretty much just retweeting cell phone news and especially webOS. This guy named Phil got a hold of me and asked to me to write for his site. I started writing for PreThinking and broke the news with the first screen shots of webOS. It was pretty exciting to say the least, having every major blog in the world link back to PreThinking for our exclusive story. The site was started by Philip ‘Phil’ Lam, the same brilliant kid that got busted for selling authentic white iPhone 4 conversion kits to the masses. I guess since he spoke fluent Chinese, he was able to find a connection for the parts. I wasn’t privy to the entire story of what happened because by this time, I had already moved on my own with fonefrenzy. Though I did have a ball writing for PreThinking during that period of my life, and I thank Phil for giving me a change to get started.

I hooked up with Daniel Rodriguez from SoCal on twitter and asked him if he wanted to write for FF. We were both pretty jazzed by webOS and both of us started becoming mobile tech addicts. Later, I met with James Patterson, over Google buzz when I posted I was looking for mobile tech writers and we became friends since he was local. James told me about his friend Dillon Hanson, who at the time was stationed in Germany as a medic in the Army, but he has some pretty decent mobile chops too.

Twitter was an avenue to meet a lot of interesting people and I was very fortunate to meet tnkgrl (Myriam Joire) and Matt Bennett. We shot a several mobile video podcasts together called “talking with tnkgrl” (I showed up in the later episodes), Matt and tnkgrl had already been doing this for a while. I was always impressed with tnkgrl’s ability to get hardware. Not only did she have dual degrees but she was a mobile addict too. Myriam and I become pretty cool friends. I just wished I lived in the city, that way we could have shot many more podcasts together. We had hard times with our schedules, particularly mine at the time, to get together for more podcasts. It was fun because I would roll up from the central valley and meet her and Matt at Farley’s coffee, and she would litterally pull out a bag full of phones. Matt and I were awestruck with the shear amount of hardware she’d be packing every time. We would have audio or video problems occasionally but all in all, we had fun and got information out to the masses.

Later on, I went out to cover webOS events like the first dev meetup at Pivotal Labs (the company that coded the Tweed twitter app for webOS). Then I covered the webOS first big dev meetup a Palm’s HQ accompanied by tnkgrl. I met Luke Kilpatrick who, to this day I still have not had the opportunity to have a board session with on the coast. But we will soon Luke! Both tnkgrl and I got to meet and speak with Mitch Allen, Palm’s CTO at the time and he was one of the most down to earth people in the world. I remember earlier when my soon-to-be wife at the time saw Mitch at the Pivotal Labs dev event and she proceeded to tell me as we were leaving that she thought Mitch was hot for an older guy. I was like whatever, because had I said the same about same about Tomomi Imura, I would have received the stare-of-death from my girl.

From there, I attended the Mobilize in 2009 event in S.F., again with tnkgrl and got to meet two of the nicest guys in the blogosphere, Chris Ziegler and Ross Miller, both editors at Engadget at the time. Both of them were really cool and remembered me from emails I had sent them. I also caught up with Chris and tnkgrl earlier this year at the S.F. Engadget meet up when I brought my other buddy James Patterson editor/coder/hacker along with me to the event. And then went to CES the following January as a blogger. I got to peek inside the Engadget trailer and see their setup which was sponsored by Sprint. In retrospect, I truly had no clue as to how to put all that I saw in writing, all by myself, as it was so much information to cover in a short amount of time. I had no direction or plan for the show and that hindered me. Also, I had really lame laptop and a cheap camera I got a target. The whole experience was pretty overwhelming, but I learned what it took to become a blogger, in addition to the tools that were required to get the job done. I felt pretty lost.

Time passed and we kept sporadically writing when each of us had time. Looking back, we were trying to hard to be like the bigger tech sites: Engadget, BGR, Gizmodo, Android Central, etc., doing reviews, reporting news and such. Instead of focusing on ‘our voice’ we tried to emulate these larger sites, competing with paid writers and the ability to write full time – which we didn’t have the time, nor money to do so. None of us had that ability and we were all struggling to bring fresh daily content to the site. So in haste, I made a very bad decision to get more readers on our site; I turned fonefrenzy into a scraper site. I did this to test and see how it would affect our stats. While they improved slightly, our bounce rate was off the charts. We didn’t keep eyes on our site because content was coming from other sites. I did shut down the incoming feeds on my own because ‘our’ posts was getting lost in the massive amount of news that was coming through the site each day. And then I got a phone call earlier this year (2011) from Myriam. She never called, so I knew something was up.

I was left with a frantic message to call her back right away. I was at work and had a client with me, so I called her as soon as I could. When I returned her call, she proceeded to tell me that she was now the Senior Mobile Editor for Engadget. At this time, several of the Engadget editors split to form their own site This Is My Next, soon to be renamed The Verge. She called to offer me job as a mobile writer for Engadget. I was stunned. She told me to submit an app and she would talk with Darren Murph, the managing editor for Engadget, about hooking me up with a job. I had an ‘in’ for a dream job of my life. And believe me at the time, I had gone through two different employers and was not happy in my career at all. I am an extremely hard and dedicated worker but my compensation plan changed several times, and not for the better. In addition, my hours got worse each month.

So I submitted my application and three stories to Myriam and she passed them along to Darren. Well, my decision to ‘scrape’ other sites content totally backfired and bit me in the fucking ass. You see, all of the articles we wrote, over 1,000+, were obscured by all the feeds I had pulled into the site as a test run like Techmeme. Myriam gave Darren my URL and he started reviewing the site. He then saw posts from scraped posts from Engadget. Myriam hadn’t checked my site in a while and wasn’t aware of what transpired at all and was a little taken back. So I wrote an email explaining that I had written over 660 articles by myself on FF, not including the 160+ over at PreThinking. But the damage was already done, and I was not given the opportunity to write for Engadget after that fubar of a decision. To put salt on the wounds, I got a C&D letter from AOL’s attorneys, which weren’t happy about me scraping content from their newly acquired flagship tech blog. I fucked up and I had nightmares about it for weeks. I got so depressed, I wasn’t even associating with my coworkers, friends and family at all. It was pretty disheartening to have such a wonderful opportunity to do what I LOVE, only to be stripped away from me because I wanted more content on our FF. So I decided to shut down the site and start over with another blog with James.

Well, although the concept was pretty good, an all tech site with ‘buddies’ didn’t seem to work out to well. Dillon got back from the Army and started going to back to school and wanted to spend time with his family. Daniel didn’t like the direction of the site and had other stuff going on in his life, so he took a vacation. James and I had been working crazy hours and we both had families, which made it hard to contribute to content of various formats of technology. I want to say that James put a shitload of time into coding the new tech site to make it all pretty and running smooth, but to no avail, besides James and I throwing up posts, no one else contributed much. So I decided to shut it down.

So what now? Well, my first love is mobile tech and always will be. Each day we get glimpse of how much better the future will be every six months with better processors, better hardware, better cameras, refined OS’ and the like. Fonefrenzy will continue as a site dedicated to mobile news, just not ‘breaking’ mobile news. We are going to become a more tutorial/opinionated site, whereby we try and strive to give you unbiased and sometimes hard core fucking biased thoughts of products, services, business related news, hardware reviews, video and audio podcasts and other mobile tech tidbits. Basically, back to our roots but better. If you love us, great. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, etc. If you don’t, leave your hate filled, profane rants in the comments section and if they are good enough, we will respond accordingly. If they suck, we’ll just ban your IP 😉

And last, thank you the many readers over the years for checking out our blog.


Exclusive: Ford to unveil not ONE but TWO electric cars

Not only is Ford Motor Company going to release a new electric Ford Focus at CES, but Ford will be coming out with an electric ‘work van’ hopefully to be announced at CES as well. Ford, the only American automotive company that didn’t take TARP funds due to excellent management, but they are making great strides, in a shorter amount of time (GM) in producing consumer wanted cars that are gas-free. The pony rides once again. And why do we mention this here? Cuz Ford will use Microsoft’s Hohm tool to minimize energy costs for drivers of Ford’s electric vehicles — and help limit strain on the power grid for utilities. Take that GM.


Microsoft’s Zune set to debut internationally

Microsoft is laying the Windows Phone 7 groundwork by officially releasing Zune internationally. The company has also announced all of the pricing plans for the different services included in Zune. As you will see some countries will get more stuff that others but this was expected givin how hard it is to secure music and video rights on a worldwide scale. The Zune Desktop Software with Windows Phone 7 support  (version 4.7) will serve as the basis of this international expansion and will be available for download in 20 countries.

Zune to Expand Multiscreen Entertainment Services Into International Markets

Major entertainment companies provide music and movie catalog to the U.K., France, Italy, Germany and Spain.

REDMOND, Wash. – Sep. 20, 2010 – Microsoft Corp. today announced the further international expansion of Zune, its digital entertainment service. This fall, Zune will expand its music and video footprint and bring the free Zune software, Zune Marketplace online store, Zune Pass1 music subscription service and enhanced features on Zune.net to new markets, providing a comprehensive entertainment experience on Windows-based PCs, on the go with Windows Phone 7 and in your living room through Xbox LIVE.

“The integration between Zune, Windows Phone 7 and Xbox LIVE is an exciting expansion in our entertainment offerings,” said Craig Eisler, corporate vice president, Interactive Entertainment Business Group at Microsoft. “Zune enables users to access the entertainment they want, wherever they want it – and now, more people than ever will be able to enjoy the freedom and flexibility that the Zune service offers.” Read more of this post

HTC Sense for Windows Phone 7 leaked?

An interesting video was making the rounds for a couple minutes publicley then became a private video and then the user deleted it. Lucklily MobilityDigest downloaded it before that happened. The video is supposedly HTC’s own Sense UI for Windows Phone 7. The only thing that puzzles me is that if you watch the video it is not a skin on top of WIndows Phone 7, it looks it is adding more tiles to the main screen itself. I am not saying the widgets are bad though, because look at the weather app. I love the radar going on in the back as well as the rain animation. The note app looks real good as well. The video has not been confirmed by HTC or Microsoft so it is up in the air if it is real or fake. I am sure HTC will want to add its own spice to their Windows Phones so I can not see this being fake. I am hoping it is real because I would love to add these tiles to when I get my Windows Phone.

[via MobilityDigest]

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Nokia announces ex-Microsoft head of Business Division as CEO

Score one for Canada. The ex-Microsoft head of Business Division, Stephon Elop, is now the head-honcho over Finnish company Nokia. The move came as somewhat of a surprise in a very short amount of time. Although we have watched Nokia struggle against Apple and Android with serious competing devices, Nokia is still the sales leader, albeit not so much in the smartphone market. This is where Stephon Elop’s job comes into play; to give direction to the company and it’s fantastic hardware. You can watch the full replay of the Nokia announcement webcast here. Hit the break for the full press release. Read more of this post

Windows Phone 7 teaser arrives

We are getting so close! Windows Phone 7 is almost here and Microsoft wants to remind everyone it is coming. Microsoft’s new teaser for Windows Phone 7 does make it look somewhat exciting. Ads are going to be huge for Microsoft because unlike other companies trying to make it in this space, cough Palm cough, Microsoft has a ton of money to dish out on advertising. This is Microsoft dipping their toes in the ad market water. Advertisements are one of the many perks to being just a software manufacturer over hardware and software. Microsoft will be putting out ads for Windows Phone 7 as an operating system, while the hardware manufacturers will be competing to advertise their own individual phones for Microsoft. It is win/win for them. Just sit tight people it will be here soon. Check out the ad after the break. Read more of this post

HTC Windows Phone 7 device with slide out…speaker?

It seems like everyday we get a new Windows Phone 7 device to look at. Today we see a preview of HTC’s Windows Phone 7 device, no codename, only know as T8788. It will be coming to AT&T and I was really excited when I saw this device because HTC makes great looking devices and when I saw the picture of slide out, I thought their would be more, but the slide out is only a speaker, yes a speaker. I hope we see more of this T8788 and the reason for having a slider out speaker. Hopefully HTC is making a twin with a QWERTY! As you can see Microsoft is taking a different design approach to Windows Phone 7 with designs ranging from normal to irregular, but hey, I am still excited to get my hands on any device and Windows Phone 7.

[via Engadget]

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Windows Phone 7 is coming, two phones leak out to see

I hope you have not forgotten about Windows Phone 7 because by the looks of these phones, everyone will be wanting a piece of them in a couple of months. Engadget was sent these pictures, on the right, one by LG, codenamed C900 and on the left, by Samsung, codenamed Cetus, yes I am hoping better names come too. As you can see the Samsung Cetus has a round shape too it and the size looks a little small as well. The LG C900 is a landscape-QWERTY keyboard with a simple screen on top, and three buttons. These phones both look great and are supposed to be launch phones for Windows Phone 7, hopefully we will have more soon and a release date for everything. They are both suppose to release on AT&T so I am definitely going to be getting C900 when available. Anyone else looking forward to what Windows Phone 7 brings, or they are fine with Android? More shots of each phone after the break. Read more of this post

Windows Phone 7 gaming previewed in ad, looks promising

If you haven’t already heard, Microsoft announced its XBox live gaming and did a walk-through with some of the commercial tech blogs. Along with this walk-through, they put up a cute little YouTube ad showing off some of the gaming that can and will be done on Windows Phone 7 devices. In short, it looks pretty damn good. The graphics and game quality seem as good if not better than the iPhone, and the social integration surpasses that of any phone OS right now. This is due to the gaming profile page that lets you talk and communicate with your already existing Xbox live friends. I am super excited to get a Phone 7 device and possibly get my mobile gaming into serious mode. Xbox live integration will be awesome. Now check out the Xbox live on Phone 7 ad after the break…

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[Video] Windows 7 tablet holds own and then some against iPad

In this amazing almost five minute long video, we see a Hanvon Slate PC go up against the iPad. What do we get? A pretty decent side by side comparison of these two going at it through a multitude of apps and programs. In some areas like the size of the keyboard, Google Earth loading and pinch-to-zoom look a bit slower, the overall consensus is the Hanvon is much faster in most other areas of the comparison video.

[via SlashGear]

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