There’s an App for That

Sadly, none of the Apps for That are exactly what I want. I’ve had the iTouch now for… oh… three or four months? Something along those lines. Ever since I got it, I’ve been looking for my very own personal Killer Shopping List Application because, if such existed, my life would become many times easier. I’ve downloaded and tried lots of them, but they’re all clunkier than they need to be, and don’t work if you shop the way I do.

First and foremost, I do. not. want. to type in my whole shopping list on the iTouch, no matter how nifty it is. I don’t like scrolling through 14 menus to say yes, I do in fact want to buy a canteloupe! And, since I shop sales, I have to go in separately and update the price every time canteloupe shows up on the list. Can you say pain in the rear? I thought you could. Up until now I’ve been happily making my shopping lists as spreadsheets: Store, category, item description, qty, price, coupon qty, coupon value, line item total. If I could take that spreadsheet and import it onto the iPod into a nifty application — all it would need to do would be to parse a CSV and place the data into its own tables! — see, then I would be really happy.

So far the best application I’ve found is Shopper, by MidCentury Software. It has a nice UI, but suffers from menuitis. It would perhaps be best to admit that I’m not a fan of using GUIs to do stuff. I am a Unix girl at heart and if I can type something using the keyboard, I’d rather do it that way. I’ve submitted some of my ideas, and they have improved the application lots since I first bought it (not as a result of my suggestions; I’m not that much of an egomaniac), but it’s still NOT WHAT I WANT! Insert sound of frustrated crying.

So why not just code my own? Well, I thought of that, see, but it turns out that to use the development kit for iPhone apps, you have to have a Mac. Which I do. But you also have to have a Mac capable of running one of the more recent versions of OS X. Sadly, my years-old PowerBook does not fit this description. What I want would be simple, and I feel like it would be useful to many people. An OpenOffice/Excel spreadsheet into which you type your shopping list while at your computer, viewing the weekly ads online. It keeps a price history, of sorts — saving only the lowest price you’ve paid so far for any single item, not including coupons. That way you can figure out fairly easily where you could save more money by waiting for the next sale cycle. It would allow you to enter lists per store, whether the store doubles coupons, and all manner of Other Useful Information, and then present you with one neat, tagged up, very web 2.0 or whatever list while you’re at the store.

But until I get a Mac that’s not old and decrepit (and with a cracked screen — did I mention that part?), I’ll just stick with Shopper. I’m still trying to bend it to my will, and once I figure it out a little better, I’ll try to offer a post explaining how I use it. Right now, how I use it is best described as “in a fashion that annoys me.”

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