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Q and A: Up close and personal with Bill Ray from The Register

October 19, 2010

Bill Ray, Mr Mobile and Wireless at the Register is based with his clan north of the Border (And we don’t mean Watford Gap) so we managed to catch him on one of his trips to the capital and caught up with him over a pub snack and a pint of Doom.

Q. Tell us a bit about you:

BR: Bill Ray, not really a journalist but an engineer who found writing about stuff less effort than doing it. Started in hardware; fixing computers, then software; developing encryption packages, then hardware again; designing set-top boxes, then specifying software for mobile phones and finally writing about stuff.

Q – Tell us a little bit about the title you write for and their interest in mobile technology:

BR: The Register is rather irreverent, and often accused of hating a particular technology or company. But the reality is that we hate everyone, so if you only read our Microsoft coverage then you’ll think we hate Microsoft, but the same applies to Apple.

Q – What’s hot in mobiles this year?

BR: Identity aggregation – hosting a customer’s multiple, on-line identities.

Q – How many mobile events do you attend each year?

BR: Three or four

Q. Which one are you most looking forward to?

BR: My favourite is Over The Air (http://overtheair.org/blog/). Twenty four hours to develop a mobile application. Brilliant

Q. What’s your top tips for people planning their PR campaigns for MWC? And when will you start planning your diary?

BR: Free packed lunches. (Register and pick up from the stand) Breakfast slot could be filled.  The press office only has chocolate and coffee so a proper meal is very welcome! For any events e as near to the site (ideally the press office) as poss for any events.

Q. When will you start planning your diary for MWC?

BR: As soon as people start inviting me, which is kind of about now.

Q. What types of stories or companies are likely to attract your attention this year?

Innovative uses of known technology, really clever ways of using what we already have.

Q. How many interviews do you do per week?

BR: Half a dozen.

Q. What’s the best way to pitch a story to you? Email? Phone? Twitter?

By mail?

BR: E-mail

Q. Who is worth listening to?

BR: Gym Class Heroes – if you want to know how people use text messaging then “Drnk Txt Rmeo” is the place to look, but if you want to know about social networking then Chumbawumba is the tool of choice.

Q. What’s your favourite blog?

BR: Dailywireless.com

Q. What is your favourite piece of technology?

BR: My keyboard – it’s a Fingerworks Touchstream that has no keys and uses gestures for mouse control. The technology got bought by Apple and runs the iPhone touch screen, but the keyboard is a thing of wonder.

Q. What do you think is the most important development in mobiles to date?

BR: GSM

Q. What is the best piece of advice for companies pitching stories?

BR: Follow up an e-mail with a phone call, but make sure you know what the publication is like and don’t get upset when we take the piss.

Q. What was the best press trip you’ve ever been on? Worst? Why?

Qualcomm took me to San Diego to see the Snapdragon processor, which was fun both for the technology and the chance to enjoy a baseball game.

Q. What’s your favourite restaurant?

BR: I’m not big on food, and generally prefer a good pub

Q. Are you a social media lover? Which ones are you on? FB? LinkedIn?

Twitter?

BR: I have accounts on all of them, for research, but I use Facebook and I’m trying to get the hang of Twitter (still not getting it yet though). You can find in Twitterland on @bill4000!

Q. Tell us something no-one knows about you? Do you have any unusual or unexpected hobbies/interests? Do you have a claim to fame?

BR: I made a wedding dress a few years back, not for my wife (she wouldn’t let me), but a proper silk wedding dress that fills out my tailoring portfolio. I used to make quite a few clothes, and will again if the words dry up.

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