A month seems to have vanished since the last post so I thought it was about time I checked in. I’ve mostly been being a parent, and it’s pretty likely it will take several days just to jot down a few sentences between trying to entertain, feed, clean, and generally run around after a baby.

(First break due to waking up with an attack of hiccups!)

I actually squeezed in a tiny amount of DIY last weekend. Top of the list have been a few outdoor jobs to make the most of the weather, and minimise any disruption on what counts as a routine. Don’t think the hammer drill was popular there, especially after it turned out one of the holes wasn’t quite where it should have been. In my defense, I did measure everything; I just didn’t take in to account how wonky the house was! Still need to finish off putting the new house number up… in the right place… sometime!

(Burping duty!)

Wifey very kindly got me a new gadget this month too. I hate reading documents on computer monitors, so I’m definitely looking forward to the e ink experience instead. I’m rather mystified by the idea of a screen saver given the screen, but since it has one I now have a personalised baby calendar, which is nice. Much quieter than the real thing! Mind you, getting time to read anything might be tricky- I still haven’t finished Stasiland in traditional book form, which I started before I was a dad! In case of miracles, I already have a couple of free books, some epub Redbooks, and a guide to creating epub books on there.

(Trying to convince sleeping baby to sleep.)

(It’s asleep! Collapsing in a heap!)

I’ll be avoiding DRM content on principle, except maybe books from the library, which could be very handy for children’s stories! So far I’ve found a couple of tools which look promising for grabbing web sites for offline reading later:

I’m also tempted to try and convert my old internal blog to epub since Blog Central got archived, although I seriously doubt I’ll actually get around to that!

(Cleanup to aisle two!)

Well that was a longer gap than expected (a couple of days) partly due to preparing for a customer briefing as well as baby duties. That did give me the chance to do a bit more with calibre: as an experiment I created a simple eBook for presentation notes just by converting a .odt file to epub. The conversion worked really well without any effort, and it was quite useful to highlight things I needed to remember, and make notes before and after the presentation. Could be something I’ll do again in the future.

(It’s asleep again! Food break!)

The other reason for the lack of any posts recently is that they would have mainly been rants! I expect there’ll be plenty more rants in the future though, so don’t panic :)


e-Ink e-Tickets

While struggling to get back from Chester on the train recently, I started thinking about how e-Paper and RFID might help. Sky has some interviews covering this year’s Hursley 50th celebration which explain both nicely (between about 0:45 to 03:45).

Instead of having a printed timetable of my journey that the train company should have already known was unrealistic, and a ticket not valid for the alternative route via London, a combination of an Oyster-like ticket and e-Ink could have got me home only 15 minutes late with no extra cost. Instead I had to pay extra to arrived an hour and a half late.

An e-Ink display would enhance the current Oyster to visually show what ticket I’m travelling on, along with a mini timetable of my route. When I get to the departure station, the ticket could be automatically updated if there are problems on the rail network, with a new timetable, and with a route upgrade if required. Things might also go wrong during the journey, but the same thing could happen when the guard checks tickets; machine scans ticket and checks it’s valid, while also checking for any known incidents on the route the ticket is displaying.

Unfortunately rail ticketing seems to be getting worse not better at the moment–searching National Rail for timetables has resulted in a few warnings that multiple tickets are required for some journeys recently–so I won’t be holding my breath.

Update: It looks like my e-ink e-ticket might finally be on the way! (16 September 2011)