Andrew Breese

Infrequent thoughts of a professional geek

Tag Archives: melbourne

A web based eReader, Bookish

I’ve just wandered across the tool – a web based eReader that can handle ePub formats in almost any modern browser; created by Inventive Labs in Fitzroy. Damn smart.

The creators have answered all the obvious questions (many platforms, moderate compatibility, DRM and free, and offline/online) in reasonable and commercial ways. It has a robust FAQ and help area, provides a sample interface for what the app is like, and is well designed.

I’m pondering an eReader of some sort at the moment, and I’d have to say that the idea of having one repository which can be used on any of my devices is just the perfect way to go. One device to rule them all, one device to bind them….yup. I wants it.

It also helps that these folks are not only Australians, but also from Fitzroy in Victoria, a place I’ve lived and still love to this day. So yes, call me a screaming fan for anything this high quality done in Melbourne, especially when it looks this strong.

From a CMS perspective you can see why this hangs off a good content management system; you develop a smart back end to process the content, then delivery is all about the platform specifics. Mark-up an interface for selection and bingo (bingo being months if not years of development). The fine folks at Fusion (where I worked a few year back) did something similar for a Uni’s online course catalogue – and it was a darn successful product too.

My only peev would be the bloody name – where I can say and type Bookish easily, is off to me personally. Its like dotNet development rather than .Net development – brain hurts.

So go visit Bookish and see what these clever people have done. I’m kind of jealous.


Poor transit service

Recently we moved house, so now have to use a train to get to work rather than walking. From day one I missed the walk as it was relaxing and a good time to prepare for work. I was only dependant on myself, and could wander through the backstreets away from other people and traffic.

Now that I’ve had to suffer through the Sandringham train line’s lack of service for months, I miss walking even more. It is typical for at least one of the three trains around 7.30 am to either be delayed or cancelled every morning. Think about that – the trains which are not at the highest load are totally unreliable.

A possible solution would be to catch a later train, except the trains are so full that you can’t get on those either. From around 7:50 am you’re pretty much kidding yourself if you think you’ll always get on the train.

This morning (a) the ticket machine could not process eft-payments, (b) the 7.26 train was cancelled, and (c) the 7.36 was delayed. It is a cruel joke that people have no choice but to use public transport to get to work, the ticket costs increase every year, but the service is unreliable and continues to degrade.

The platform attendant (I don’t know what the person’s realy role is, but they stood near the entry and apologised to everyone) suggested that the “modem connection failed” message from the ticket machine might go away if I tried my Eft card instead of my partners. What? This presents two problems: the modem connection has nothing to to with the card type, and what in heaven’s name would a passenger do if they were not traveling with somebody else? I can’t just ask the next stranger to use their credit card! Perhaps I should carry a spare modem too?

The fall back was to walk around the corner and up the street to a shop and buy a metcard. FFS. When the train station can not sell tickets we have more than a small problem. Travel should be free for these days.

If you think its not that bad I challenge you to log your travel for a month and count how many delays you have. The Melbourne Train Man is doing just that, and his data is damning.

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