SBB's iPhone plans

This blog is slowly mutating into an iPhone blog, what with the slow frequency that my few readers must have noticed. The reason for that btw is that I've become more active on facebook for very short links and notes and stuff. If you want to keep up with what's going on, move over to my fb profile and find out whether I want to be friends with you ;)

But back to the topic at hand: Yesterday, the Swiss Railways SBB have gone public with a mobile phone based ticket shop. Me being the avid rail traveller that I am, I tried to upgrade my account to it straight away, only to find out that the shop is not compatible with iPhone! Seeing how iPhone has a wide distribution in the Swiss market, and iPhone users tend to be heavy web users on the road, that surprising, to say the least.

But chances are that this is a transient issue, as I heard today from SBB: A version 2.5 of their app is already in the works and scheduled to see the light of day at the beginning of March. This version should take care of the stability issues that continue to crash the app on my phone. And by mid year, the app is planned to include the mobile ticketing feature! Now if that doesn't sound like good news!


Hidden gem for iPhone

If you think, like I do, that iPhone's only real hardware shortcoming (software ones such as missing video recording will hopefully be dealt with soon) is that there is actually too little of it, i.e. that its battery doesn't survive a day of heavy usage, then I have found a must-have little gadget for you: the portable charger LT025 from tiny Swiss firm Lifetrons. The charger takes a charge of 4800 mAh (probably about 3 iPhone charges), which it delivers actively to iPhone, i.e. it is not an external battery pack that needs to remain connected to be effective, it actually charges iPhone, and it does it very quickly. The gadget's power input is USB and it charges lots of other mobile devices via a plethora of adapters for its USB cable. The device's footprint is smaller than iPhone's, but it is about 2 2.5 times thicker. The device is well designed and nicely executed.

But as the title of this post holds, it is a hidden gem. So much so, in fact, that I only stumbled across it in a duty free catalogue. Strangely, Lifetrons only distributes via airlines and duty free shops, and they don't market their wares actively - it is not even available in their own online store. At least not for the moment, I'm told by their CEO. Another instance of under-marketed Swiss engineering ingenuity? You bet! I hope they get their marketing act together really soon, because they deserve it!

Here's the anecdote of the purchase: I saw the description on my way to Brussels and decided to hold off on buying until I could do a little online research, which I did in Brussels. But it yielded very little, there's virtually no online reviews available nor, as mentioned, alternative distribution. So, I decided to buy on the way back, even though Swiss has all three colours as long as it's white/silver. But I created a bit of a stumbling block for the friendly flight attendants - the catalogue advertises that you can pay with M&M Miles rather than cash, which I wanted to. But their payment appliance didn't work, so we had to use a regular credit card slip. Now, I'm a little nervous that I am going to be charged CHF 22'000 for the device rather than 22'000 miles ... keep your fingers crossed! 


Sore eyes

Last week, I went to see the Venice exhibition at Fondation Beyeler before its close this Sunday. I wanted to see it not so much because of its subject matter (which I hate to admit that I haven't visited, yet), but because of the Turners. I'm a big fan of J. M. W. Turner, you see. And it was very worth while, there are plenty of my objects of admiration. 

But the funniest thing happened when I "progressed" from the Turners to Monet's renditions. My eyes started to hurt! When you're used to trying to understand what Turner puts on display through his atmospheric fog, it really comes as a shock to the system to see Monet's bright colours and heavy shapes. Quite the experience!


Lili Z. Nix! Nix! Nix!

It's not often that I'm posting music videos, but my niece's (first ?) foray into that specific genre is definitely worth it! Hint: She's every bit as mad as she seems to be - have fun!