Read about featured Gadgeteer – Anne Willis


Name: Anne Willis
Location: Charlotte, NC

Let me first say that writing about myself was never a strong point for me and I
would normally not send anything like this in but all the people I work with,
and that I have known for a while know that I am truly a Gadgeteer.

It started at an early age since I was the oldest of four kids and I hung around
a lot with my dad. I was the typical Tomboy of the family and was constantly
trying to help dad in whatever he was doing. Since he was in computers
(mainframes mostly) I hung out with him when he built his own Stereo in the 70’s
the good old Heathkit. I was in charge of resistors, of course I didn’t realize
what they were or anything, I was just told to separate them into colors. From
there I had to have anything I could possibly find and get gadget wise. Walkie
Talkies, Digital Watches (original ones with the Red LED display) etc. First
thing I did was pull it apart, find out what made it work, put it back together
hoped it still worked. I even went as much as to fix a few old wind up watches
that had the main spring wound too tight.

Then as things progressed and I got older I had the TRS-80 PC, a TI99A PC. Went
to College received two degrees, one an Associate Degree in Computer Engineering
and the other a Bachelor of Science in Electronic Engineering. During that time
I had a PC I inherited which was the 8088 XT clone and I needed a really good
engineering calculator for school. During the 3 years I was in college, I was in
search of the ultimate Engineering Calculator. I had two or three different
Casio ones that had a graphing display, two HP engineering ones that had spots to
program formulas (Since I didn’t want to remember all formulas for Calculus). I
finally settled on a Texas instrument device that got me through school.

During my last year of College I upgraded the PC twice and built my own 386- 33
MHz PC which at the time was like the super PC. While doing this, my best friend
in college was messing around with Sharp Wizards, it became a competition
between us. Owning and taking apart many early Sharp Wizards. Then I had to get
a real job……….. I started after college doing board level repair work on Fax
Machines, Copiers and PC’s. I purchased in 1995 a Sharp Zaurus when they first
appeared to use for contacts etc. I graduated College in 1992 and have had 12
different jobs with 9 different companies in three Different cities in Two

I have been at my current employment for the longest 3 years in April 2003 I
have continuously improved my salary and job each move. I am now very settled
and quite happy. My last move put in a position to design images for Pocket PC
devices and Rim Blackberry devices. This allows me to (as my husband says) get
paid to play with Gadgets. (He is just jealous!)

I evaluate all hardware devices Palm OS, Pocket PC, Linux and RIM. As a team we
choose the ones that best fit out clients needs and build images for the devices
based on what my company wants to see and not. So I am learning a lot about
Windows CE, Linux, RIM OS and Palm OS. We also provide second tier support for
all client problems, make sure the PIM information from Lotus Notes comes to the
handheld and evaluate hardware and software for the future of these devices for
the company. We have to take into account the Return on Investment and the Total
Cost of ownership on these devices.

Through work I currently have on my desk a ThinkPad Notebook (main workstation),
Wireless Cisco card for network connection,the Dell Axim X5 400 MHz with
folding Keyboard, Socket Bluetooth card and True Mobile wireless card. I have in
handheld devices available to me, the iPAQ 3850, 3870, 3970, 5450 with Keyboards,
sleeves, Cisco card from Notebook fits one sleeve, symbol wireless card, Socket
Bluetooth card, Dell Axim X5 300 MHZ model various compatibles with the Axim, HP
1910, RIM Blackberry 950, 957, 5810, 6710, 6750. We also have a few compatibles
in the iPAQ Fly Jacket 3800, Color Graphics Voyager VGA card. We test everything
we can get our hands on as Evaluation units from Vendors we have relationships

My Husband and I personally own four Working PC’s, networked at the house. Three
of which are Desktops with one notebook. Two that are not networked, one a 486
that runs my EPROM Burner and one that is just parts. I keep the five PC’s two
Printers and one network running. The husband does AutoCAD work, Graphic Design,
and web pages. We also have my original Sharp Zaurus, HP 360LX, Handspring Visor
Deluxe, Handspring Prism, Palm M505, iPAQ 3970. We do not have children, but we are
working on it. In the meantime we are owned by a Pug and two cats. You can see
them all at
You can catch me online on the forums as Dizzy Devil (one of my favorite cartoon
characters, the other is of course Taz) or on AOL IM as Dizdevil26. You can also
email me at

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