Reading Crikey on the Kindle @hmoffatt

A commenter, Hamish Moffatt, on my post about my first impressions with the Kindle has asked if I've solved the reading Crikey problem. The problem is how to read the daily Crikey newsletter on the Kindle. It's a long block of text so it's convenient to be able to read it on the bus, in bed, on the couch at home.

The solution I'm using now isn't perfect, but it's not bad and saves a lot of trees.

Set up an Instapaper account. Instapaper is designed to allow you to read long web pages offline, and I use it all the time. It's mostly used by iPhone and iPad people, but there's some (rather hidden) Kindle features. You'll want to set up the "Read Later" bookmarklet anyway. This gives you a button you press on a long pieces you want to read later, and they'll get pushed to your Kindle the next time you send out a bundle.

Now go to the "Manage your Kindle" page in the settings section of Instapaper's site and enter your Kindle's email address. You'll then need to login to your Amazon account and set up your Kindle to accept emails from the special address shown on the Instapaper Kindle page. Note that the Instapaper Kindle page gives the impression it'll automatically send you a new bundle of articles whenever there's new stuff.  It doesn't, so bookmark the page so you can send it through on demand.

Finally, on the Instapaper Extras page, "Email in links and long messages". Copy that out, then go into your email account and set up a rule that will forward your crikey emails, identified as coming from "postman@crikey.com.au", to this unique address.

Now each afternoon, after the Crikey email arrives, go to the "Manage your Kindle" page and send yourself the latest bundle. You'll want to go into Instapaper and archive stuff from time to time, but otherwise it's pretty painless. The first page with links to the articles will look really messed up, but after that the formatting is mostly okay.

Now if Crikey really wanted to help us out, they'd create a Kindle-specific version of Crikey, with images automatically resized and the formatting less broken, I'd be thrilled. It wouldn't be that hard for them and I'd be happy to help out!

We're having another baby!

I'm very pleased to announce that Holly is about 12 weeks pregnant and we're due to have another baby in late November.  Everything's going well so far and I'll have some ultrasounds to post shortly.

We're both very excited, though now we know what we're in for so there's some trepidation too.

Web analytics blog name change

Wow, that idea for a name of a web analytics blog was truly awful. Agonising analytics. What was I thinking?

So now I have a much better name, which better reflects what it's all about. Here's the blurb.

I decided to create a separate blog specifically dealing with web analytics. I often come up with cool little hacks, or interesting approaches, during the course of my work and they're likely to be of interest to other practitioners.

Most examples of web analytics implementations presented by vendors portray a perfect world where you have everything under your control, changes happen without problems, developers can actually read whole sentences. Here in the real world, things are more complicated...

Disappointing experience with retrofit soft closers

I was quite excited when I found this inexpensive approach to creating soft close drawers and cupboard doors. They're a pretty simple concept: a little damper piston that you stick wherever possible to brake the closing of your drawers and cupboards. It'll never be quite as Star Trek as the really expensive mechanisms you get in proper kitchen stores, but it was still a neat solution and much cheaper at around $2 per piston, making it about $4 per drawer and cupboard.

Initially they worked great and I took huge pleasure opening and closing the drawers to see the nice, soft close. Pretty soon after installing them, I found some problems. They're not a complete killer on the idea, just quality and execution problems from the manufacturer really.

First a few of the pistons became stuck closed. I could jiggle them to get them out again, but that's hardly good enough. Then they gradually all started falling off. The adhesive they've used just doesn't seem to work. I would probably have persevered and re-applied the devices with a stronger glue if it weren't for the stuck pistons.

I've now sent the lot back for a refund, and the seller seems willing to refund so far.

I'm pretty disappointed. I really wanted this to work, and I'd still be interested in the product if they ever come up with a Version 2 that fixes these problems.

Chicken dance with Grandma and DadDad

My parents are travelling around the country in their caravan so I got them set up with wireless broadband (Telstra, since then it'll actually work, even outside the cities) so they can stay in touch with their grandson. Last night we got to test it out using Skype. Grandma has been teaching him the Chicken Dance.

It really does feel like we're finally living in the future when you can do stuff like this. It took so long to get here! Probably more due to greedy telcos than anything else.