I’m Currently an Extreme Commuter

February 28, 2007 at 8:38 pm | Posted in Commuting | Comments Off on I’m Currently an Extreme Commuter

A while ago I read a story about ‘extreme commuters’, commuters who spend around 4 hours commuting to and from work each day. I hoped I’d never end up being one of these people but at the moment I find myself spending 3 hours a day trapped in the car while I commute to and from work. It’s a temporary situation that will only last for another month at which time I’ll be able to trim my round-trip travel time down to less than 2 hours a day. Not ideal but bearable. We’ve just moved back from 18 months living in New Zealand and are currently staying with my mother-in-law until the tenants in our own home vacate. At that time we’ll move back into our house which is about 20 minutes closer to work. This translates into at least 30 minutes less travel time each way.
Traffic Congestion
Photo courtesy of kaptainkobold

When I first came up with the idea for Text2Go, a product that allows you to capture text from the web, convert it to speech and transfer it to your iPod I was travelling to and from work in NZ by ferry. The ferry ride was a pleasant 12 minute trip across the Auckland harbour.

Auckland Harbour, New Zealand
Photo courtesy of

However my office was about 20 minutes brisk walk uptown from the ferry terminal. I wanted to make productive use of this time. I’d used text to speech technology before and knew from my a recent project that computer generated voices had come a long way in the last few years. Finally they were starting to sound quite natural and were easy to listen to and comprehend. Initially I looked for an existing product to fill my needs but when I couldn’t find anything that was really convenient to use, I decided to design and develop Text2Go. Now I could listen to any of the vast quantities of information from the web while I walked. Having the information read to me, meant that I could use my eyes for important tasks such as dodging other pedestrians and avoiding those drivers that assume they always have right of way because they’re enclosed in a deadly hunk of metal. Now as I sit in my car crawling my way to work I can once again listen to information being read to me from my iPod. It certainly makes my journey a lot more enjoyable and keeps me from getting frustated at what would otherwise be a complete waste of time.

I would be interested to hear from others about their best and worst commuting experiences during their career.


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