Covering the Windows Phone Summit with a Windows Phone

WordPress app on Windows Phone - for some reason we don't have an alt tag hereAs our readers no doubt noticed, Pocketables was on hand at last week’s Windows Phone Summit to cover the Windows Phone 8 announcement live. But rather than lug a laptop or tablet to the event, we decided to try an experiment: Is it possible to cover an event live using just a single Windows Phone 7.5 handset?

I set off for San Francisco equipped with my Nokia Lumia 900 and a 12,000 mAh external battery pack. I wasn’t too worried about running out of juice, but it’s always good to be prepared. Microsoft had nice rows of tables on which to place your laptops or tablets – complete with bowls of jelly beans and other candies, I should add – but I didn’t need to take advantage of them. The plan was to live blog the event, so I took plenty of photos with the Lumia 900’s 8MP camera. If a photo was related to a particularly important announcement, I used Windows Phone’s quick upload feature to instantly open up the WordPress app’s post composition page with the image already in place. Then it was simply a matter of summarizing the new item, editing it, and hitting publish. The trick here, of course, was doing all of this while paying attention to what was being said and mentally making notes for future articles.

Unfortunately, this is where I ran into a few problems. The WordPress app is slightly buggy, and when you combine that with San Francisco’s spotty data connection and the overloaded WiFi network being used by hundreds of other live bloggers, it made uploading the finished product somewhat difficult. Some posts published surprisingly quickly, while others would sit there for minutes on end, forcing me to memorize everything that was being said while the loading animation was displayed. Worse, WordPress has no local save feature, so everything had to be uploaded to the cloud, published or not. I’m not sure if it was a bug with the app or just a terrible internet connection, but I actually completely lost two of the five posts I’d written while attempting to upload it. Thankfully, I was able to re-write them and get back up to speed with little difficulty.

I should note that while I love WordPress in a browser, I’ve never been a big fan of the WordPress app, regardless of which platform it’s on (Windows Phone, Android, etc.). I don’t care for the UI, and the features always seem to be lacking. WordPress actually released an update for its Windows Phone app today, fixing a few bugs, so hopefully it’ll be slightly better now.

I was initially concerned that typing up articles on a small screen would be difficult, but it wasn’t actually all that bad. Our editor-in-chief, John Freml, was working behind-the-scenes to correct any typos that may have gotten through, add appropriate tags and categories (so I could focus on the actual writing), and link back to other parts of the live coverage. I couldn’t have done it without him.

When it was all said and done, the live blogging experience from my Windows Phone worked quite well. I just wish that the WordPress app was better (again, this is true for every WordPress app I’ve ever tried) and that the internet connection was faster, neither of which are Windows Phone’s fault.

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William Devereux

William Devereux is the former Microsoft editor at Pocketables, as well as a Microsoft MVP and SkyDrive/ Insider. As his title implies, he wrote about all things from Redmond, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone. He is currently carrying a Windows Phone 8X by HTC and a Microsoft Surface with Windows RT tablet.

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