Transit Text Messaging

Today our BUStxt text messaging system went live. I was responsible for this endeavour from the IT end and I am very pleased with how it turned out.

Because of the existing real-time scheduling web services that we built for systems like Telebus and the electronic signs that are going up all over the city, developing the application that drives BUStxt was relatively straightforward. A developer and I independently came up with virtually the same command set which we implemented. The parser was the most complex part of the system, which was constructed entirely using Ruby on Rails.

We put out an RFQ for SMS aggregation services as soon as the project was conceived, and once awarded, we chose 278898 (bustxt) as our short code. After a lengthy approval process due to a CWTA brownout period at the end of the year, our number was provisioned in late January. A period of beta testing ensued which saw us finalize the command set and work out bugs.

A formal press release will be issued tomorrow morning.

Ergo Ergo

The insane hours of late have been taking their toll on me mentally and physically. The mental stress has been pretty bad but the end is near as the Subway project wraps up. Physically, I am left suffering.

For some time, I have been fighting an acute case of Achilles tendonitis. A couple months of physio helped somewhat, but after stopping formal treatment, the healing continues. I have continued regular cardio work on the elliptical and have returned to strength training on the bowflex. Have lost 10 pounds since Christmas and packed on some muscle, feeling better in the process.

The forearms have been in pain though, especially the right one which I use for mousing. Diagnosed as tennis elbow (tendonitis) it was treated at physio but showed no improvement. I tried different sleeping positions which has helped with the internal elbow pain, but this past burst of intense work has brought back the tendonitis.

Had lunch with my old pal Mike last week, and saw his unusual keyboard http://www.kinesis-ergo.com/contoured.htm. It’s very expensive but he raves about it. Now, Mike is somewhat thrifty, so his endorsement of a $400 keyboard speaks volumes, so I got to thinking it might help me with my symptoms just like how it helped Mike. Yada yada I am typing with it right now and after 24h with it, I am getting much more comfortable. Still making lots of mistakes, it’s becoming much more natural. In fact, I had difficulty using the keyboard on a laptop earlier tonight!

I also picked up a fancy trackball during my shopping spree http://us.kensington.com/html/2200.html. I have had my eye on this mouse replacement for some time.

I am hopeful that these two devices will help me.