Taken on a foggy day in Folkestone
I love my Amazon Kindle. It cost £109 and for that has changed the way I read. It’s lightweight, slim, and tactile. The battery life is amazing, mainly because the Kindle doesn’t need much power. Its display is not backlit, making it appear far more like paper, and therefore easier on the eye.
It has one main use: for reading books. To my mind it does that one thing brilliantly.
An advantage of the Kindle over real books is that you can carry hundreds of books with you more or less wherever you go. Notice I said ‘more or less’. Let’s face it, for those of us who enjoy a good soak in a lovely hot, deep bath, reading in the bath is part of the ritual. Books don’t mind if they get a bit soggy. Even if you drop the whole book in the bath (as I’ve done a few times) they still seem to dry out. And if they really are ruined, well it’s only a few quid lost.
Sadly water and electrical things don’t mix so well. But to me the Kindle seemed somehow robust enough that it didn’t seem implausible to be able to read it in the bath if it were protected in some way. I’d never, never even consider allowing an iPad anywhere near water. There are in fact waterproof cases and bags available commercially for Kindles, but when you think about it these are little more than (semi)waterproof bags. They don’t need to be completely waterproof, just splashproof.
So that’s when I thought about using a standard zip-lock freezer bag. Ok I wouldn’t want to read my Kindle underwater with one, but it’d at least be splashproof. Below is a photo of my Kindle, with a freezer bag I’ve used a few times for reading in the bath.
Nothing special, just a zip-lock freezer bag. Oh, and I made sure it had at least one side completely see-through: freezer bag manufacturers have a habit of printing logos etc on their bags. Fine for freezing food, not fine for reading through.
One of my concerns was actually condensation on the inside, not water on the outside. However this didn’t seem to be a problem at all. I just tried to get most of the air out of the bag before I sealed it. I also put a small wad of paper tissue in the bag with the Kindle to help absorb any condensed water that might collect. However I’ve never noticed any dampness at all inside, so the paper is just a precaution.
So there you go. That’s how I got to reading my Kindle in the bath.
Of course, normal disclaimers apply. I’ve outlined how I read my Kindle in my bath with my freezer bags. If you want to try it with your own Kindle and freezer bags (and in your own bath!), well it’s a free world… But you do so completely at your own risk in the knowledge that if it all goes horribly wrong you’ll have to fork out £109/£149 for a new Kindle. And much wailing and gnashing of teeth.
It was a risk I thought worth taking. I found that by exercising some caution and trying to keep the Kindle+freezer bag as dry as was reasonable, I was finally able to read my Kindle in the bath.
The Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW 2009) will be held at the University of Essex from Tuesday 28th to Thursday 30th July 2009.
This is generally a great chance to catch up with what’s going on in the Higher Education web world. Oh and there’s great food and lots of booze too, not that I’m swayed by such things of course…
If you want to get at all serious about taking Drupal beyond a simple installation, Pro Drupal Development is going to be a massive help to you. If you’re anything like me you’ll come back to it again and again for reference and to try out some new ideas.
It covers all kinds of development areas such as building your own modules, the form API, themes, and even best practices. All this kind of stuff can be found online, but it’s a big help to have it all clearly explained in one place. Sometimes you just need someone to guide you through the maze of options that Drupal offers.
Much of the book isn’t for the faint-hearted. You need a good working knowledge of PHP and some MySQL. Most books start you off nice and easy, but here the early chapters are very much a leap into the deep-end. There’s a certain amount of reliance on just accepting fairly esoteric Drupal stuff until it’s explained more clearly later in the book.
The book also comes with plenty of examples, which you can download for free from Apress. These really help you get your head around some of the trickier ideas (I found one or two of the examples didn’t work as described – but to be fair there are some errata by the author on the Apress site).
In summary – this book is an excellent buy if you want to take Drupal to the next level but don’t know where to start.
Using Drupal is a great little book if you’re just starting out with Drupal, and want to know which modules could be useful for you. If you’re getting into true development stuff and want to play around with Drupal a bit more, the excellent Pro Drupal Development by John VanDyk would be a much better choice.
This book was written by members of the Lullabot team, who do Drupal consulting and development work. They really know their stuff, so you feel things they suggest in this book (like choosing module x over module y) are worth listening to.
The book itself guides you through typical scenarios you might want out of a Drupal website, like wikis, a shopping cart, workflow, multilingual sites, etc, etc. Each section has some useful tips and ideas, but doesn’t go into a massive amount of depth. So again, great if you’re just starting out and want a flavour of what’s possible.
- Been for a lovely walk near Wye. Now sitting by a river drinking much-needed beer. #
- Zend Framework SOAP aaaargh. Does generate a wsdl though which is helpful. Need food and booze. #