Mobile Metro-North

27 October 2006 » Travel, Web development

Update: You can download NYC North Trains for free, over-the-air. I’ve tested it on OS 5 and 6 devices such as the Curve, Style, Storm 2, Bold, Tour and Torch. Like the simple Web interface I’ve provided for nearly five years, the native app offers an interface to the MTA schedule data optimized for mobile devices. However, it also offers some features that make the experience quite a bit more convenient for BlackBerry users.

I travel to New York City from the Connecticut and New York suburbs on a regular basis. Most of the time I use the MTA Metro-North Railroad. It’s easy to look up the train schedule from a regular computer before I head in, but often times I don’t have a set return time and am not near a PC when I make plans to come home.

I’ve tried accessing mta.info from the browser on my BlackBerry, but the UI is pretty painful on a wireless device. For some reason the MTA doesn’t supply an interface for gadgets like this, nor does it provide a Web service to provide results to third parties. So instead I created my own tool to provide a text-only interface to the Metro-North schedules.

At some point I intend to mash it up with a map, but for now, enjoy.

Broadband I can live with

At last, I am free of DSL hell. I’ve moved to a new house, and now have a cable broadband connection for the first time.

The package I got is faster than the standard cable offering and, most importantly, doesn’t block ports so I can continue to host my own mail and Web servers (which is the reason I’ve had to put up with DSL for so long). If you live in the Cablevision service area, do yourself a favor and check out Optimum Online Boost.

I’ve moved the remainder of my sites over to the server at home now, including this blog and the Civet Networks site. Good times for all (as long as the paint fumes, sawdust, cat hair and frost don’t get to the machine before you do).