Pocketables Editor Spotlight: Jenn K. Lee

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.

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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?

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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 lifestyleand 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.

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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16 thoughts on “Pocketables Editor Spotlight: Jenn K. Lee

  • Avatar of Andreas Ødegård

    What photo album widget is that? Looks very straight forward and clean

    • Avatar of Jenn K. Lee

      It’s the 2×2 photo frame widget built into Sense 4. It’s been updated from previous versions with those black corner tab things (not sure what those are called). Sense also has nice and simple 4×4 photo album and grid widgets. I used to use all three on my EVO 3D but am sticking with just the frames on my current EVO.

      I actually miss these widgets when I use non-Sense devices.

  • Avatar of jethro_static

    Baby is all grown up :-)

    • Avatar of Jenn K. Lee

      Yes! She’s 2.5 years old already, and it’s all going by so fast. I’d love to press pause sometimes because this is such an adorable and innocent stage.

  • Jenn, let me ask what is the first article contributed by a reader on pocketables.net and who contributed that.. its me…

  • surely you regret some purchases (i regret my nokia n900). just curious, what purchase(s) were most disappointing/satisfying?

    • Avatar of Jenn K. Lee

      I don’t regret any of my UMPC/MID purchases, though I definitely liked some much more than others. What I do regret and have long since gotten rid of are my Asus Eee PC 2G Surf, HP 2133 Mini-Note, a few Android phones (though only because their non-use made them total wastes of money, especially since I had service for them), Archos 5 Android, and probably a bunch of MP3 players that I don’t remember anymore.

      I had high hopes for my Nokia N900 but after I wrote this post – http://pocketables.com/2010/03/nokia-n900-is-a-feast-first-enjoyed-in-small-bites.html – I barely used it. I kept it for a long time because I really wanted to like it but it ended up being a part of the gadget exodus that happened after I had my daughter.

  • Hi Jenn you were right thats me and my u810. 2008. Wow. Hehhhhhe. Until now im still an active member.

  • I personally miss your posts, your guests contributors are very good but I feel nothing has come close to replacing the original voice of pocketables.

    • Avatar of Jenn K. Lee

      Hey MikeN! Thanks for your input.

      I kind of look at it as a talk show that used to have one host but now has several new hosts. The new isn’t going to be identical to the old; some people will see that as a change for the better and some won’t. I hope one day readers have a hard time accepting Pocketables without John, Calob, Aaron, Andreas, Bryan, Paul, and William. :-)

  • This article makes me feel old…
    I know I started reading Pocketables at the end of 2006 along with UMPCPortal.
    I notice you have a Pocketables Icon on your home screen – is this an app that is coming out?
    Yes, I miss your personal take contributions too. When is the fiction going to be put out on eBook?

    • Avatar of Jenn K. Lee

      It’s great to see all these names from the past! I remember you so that makes me old too. :)

      The home screen icon just leads to the full site. We don’t have an app ready yet. Same goes with the fiction. Not ready yet. ;-)

  • Whaooh I love the Spotlight on Jenn. I remember I discovered this site during the hey days of the HTC Shift. Previously I had the HTC Universal and during this period (early to mid 20s). there was no much info about these things other than the ever present xda developers.

    Is the HTC Shift one of the devices you tossed out? I hope not….. Mine is still intact and I occasionally do some mild work with it especially in the car to do diagnostics and light travel duties. Its still complimented by the HD2 now dual booting Android and WP Tango. Unfortunately the HTCs have now been relegated to merely support roles due to the noisy presence of the Galaxy Note and the Galax Tabs. But for me the HTC Shift and HTC HD2 are for keeps…… ;)

    • Avatar of Jenn K. Lee

      Yes, it was. :( I thought I would hold onto it forever (and it was one of the last to go) but I didn’t want to keep anything purely for sentimental reasons. The Shift and the UX180P were definitely the hardest to let go.

      I still have a handful of UMPCs left now, but only one of them (Fujitsu UH900) was by choice. The rest just didn’t have any interested buyers.

  • I miss Jenn’s posts and I miss that great UMPC blogging community.

    What would you say has changed most about blogging since then Jenn?


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