TWIG: RailEasy app, Bookbox eReader, Totes Smartouch

Have a smartphone? Take the train? Get the RailEasy app. I’m very tempted to leave it there making this the shortest review in these pages, but I suppose I should go into a little more detail. RailEasy is a train times and (crucially) booking app from independent online train ticket retailer RailEasy. The in-app purchasing is what makes RailEasy stand out from other train apps as it’s a first. Everything else is pretty straightforward, you can set your “home station” or search for a station near you and see a train timetable or when the next train is departing. The “next train home” button is a nice touch. Booking tickets switches you across to their web platform, but via some in app magic you are able flit back and forth between the two – if you need to change some of your journey details. And fittingly for a train booking app, it is available across a range of platforms – they say over 90%. Go for it.


Yet-another-e-reader-fatigue not quite set in? Give it a few more months. Until then you might be interested to know that View Quest and HMV have teamed up like Enigma Force Five to produced BookBox, an eReader with Adobe DRM, a feature I’m sure you’ve all been crying out for. Designed for young readers, the 154mm x 88mm, 218 gram device has a rubberised finished, which should make it feel a little safer in the hands of a child. Utilising TFT technology instead of e-ink the BookBox is reasonably versatile and can play back at range of photo, music and video formats, as well as support for epub, pdf, txt and fb2 formatting. At £99 it’s a little pricey for just an eReader when King of the Hill the Kindle has a similar price point for a much more refined e-reading experience. However, throw in the multimedia playback flexibility and the BookBox makes a nice cheap gateway to tablet browsing for kids. The BookBox should be in HMVs near you now.

Cold isn’t it? Well I don’t know where or when you’re reading this, but as I type in mid-November in winter it is freezing and I dread reaching into my bag for my iPhone or iPad. As I’m sure you are aware, in Korea some people use a snack sausage that works well with capacitive touch-screen phones. As a vegetarian this didn’t really appeal. However Totes Smartouch have released a slightly less ridiculous alternative – some touchscreen gloves, specially designed with tips to work with iOS and Android style touch input devices. Quick and responsive, the one-size-fits all gloves are best for quickly navigating menus and answering calls – I wouldn’t write a lengthy novel using them. However as the cold winters sets in – these look set to become essential purchases.