My next e-book

If you know me, you’ll know I just got back from a year galavanting around the world. I was given a Sony e-book as a present which I took with me, and soon became an essential item.

It’s already showing its age compared to newer models but I’m not buying a new one until e-book manufacturers start adding features I actually want.

I don’t want:

  • A colour screen. Why would I? I just want a book
  • Video support. If I wanted an iPad, I’d buy an iPad. I just want a book.
  • A qwerty keyboard. I have a phone for web and email. Did I mention I just want a book?

I want:

  • A big screen. Y’know, about the size of a book. With the best resolution you can please.
  • Amazing battery life. My current e-book is fine but more is always welcome. If the battery won’t easily last a week, then a book wins.
  • Tough construction. I don’t want to feel I have to buy a leather case to protect my delicate gadget and then just worry about it in my backpack. Make it tough so I can just chuck it around. Like a book.
  • Water-proofing. This is the killer feature. I want to read on the beach and in the bath without worrying about it. Why isn’t there a bright yellow* ‘sport’ edition like the walkmans of the 90’s?

I already prefer my e-book to real books. It’s a no-brainer for me, I’m converted. But if you’re a manufacturer and you want me to upgrade, make a model with features I actually care about.

*Yellow would obviously be an awful colour for a book. Black or white would probably sell better but frankly, I don’t care**.

**I’m lying, of course I would care. How about carbon fibre? Transparent plastic? Metal covered in that rubber they make Aerobies with?

How to print small photos (say, 4cm x 4cm)

If you have a photo you want to put into a small frame, you may struggle finding a print company that print photos smaller than 15cm x 10cm (6″x4″).

The simple answer is to create add a white border to your jpeg and print that. Then you can just trim the edges off the print. I just tried this and it was harder than I would have liked. If you open your photo in some software and expand the canvas, you’ll find it will start eating lots of memory. On my little laptop it became impossible to use.

Update: Much easier way with new free website:


You can use that site for any size frame like 2″x2″ or whatever. Simple!


If you like pain, here’s the old command-line way:

  1. Install imagemagick. It’s free and very powerful.
  2. Open a command prompt (on windows: Start > Run > “cmd”)
  3. Type the following command (replace the path to convert.exe and input.jpg filename as necessary):

“C:\Program Files\ImageMagick-6.6.0-Q16\convert.exe” input.jpg -border 137.5%x75%  output.jpg

This example only work with square input photos. Here’s a table to help you work out how to print other sizes. If you have a size you want me to add, just drop a comment.

input ratio desired print size border to add print size to order
1:1 4cm x 4cm 137.5%x75% 15cm x 10cm
3:2 6cm x 4cm 75%x75% 15cm x 10cm