Grocery lists made easy — seriously.

Yes, look at that headline. Grocery lists. In a tech blog. What’s this world coming to.

But yet, if you bear with me for a moment, you’ll understand why this is cool.

You see, if you throw an iPhone or iPod Touch into the mix, you’ll realize that ‘ah, maybe that Brad fellow’s on to something’.

So here’s the deal, for me the iPhone and iPod touch has not excelled at managing and sharing simple lists, like a grocery list. Which store carries what, and oh, is that what it’s really called or did you mean this. Confusion, at least for me, until we picked up (and shared via Apple’s iTunes Home Sharing system) GroceryIQ.

Quite simply, GroceryIQ is a list manager with a few cool bells and whistles:

  • Auto-suggest: Start typing and Grocery iQ will suggest grocery items you can quickly select.
  • Barcode scanning: Take a picture of a barcode with your iPhone camera to add an item to your list.
  • Favorites and History: Add frequently- or previously-purchased items to your list with just a few taps.

Behind the scenes, GroceryIQ relies on a local (to the device) product database as well as updates which are hosted on the mothership – coupons.com.

When you’re building a list, the app often calls home and tries to match the text you’re entering with items it knows about. This is good, because I didn’t know there where quite that many variants on Condensed Milk.

1+1=5
Another cool feature, and this is where it’s neat to have the app running on two devices in the same household. In this case it really does improve the usability of the app when you share it. List sharing – from the FAQ:

You can share your list with multiple people by sending an invitation to sync with them. If anyone with access to the list makes a change to it, everyone’s list will reflect that change. List sharing can be turned off at any time and will not delete or affect existing lists. You can also invite more people to share a list at any time.

So by keeping your lists sync’d up, anyone at the grocery store can easily see what’s missing in the fridge.

And, since the GroceryIQ also allows you to tag items as Favourites, it’s easy to build the list every week with commonly purchased goods.

I know in our household, since we’ve started sharing the list, I’ve had a better success rate at the grocer by having a list that is actually current 🙂

Oh, and this lively little app is only .99 at the iTunes App store.

How to view PDF files on your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch with DropBox

Dropbox really is an amazing computing and file sharing application. I was initially introduced to it when I needed to easily share files with various computers across the internet — and email was not an option.

Recently my wife asked me for another solution to viewing PDF files on her iPod Touch. She’d been using this process where you load the image into Stanza on a Desktop, then share it with the Touch. It works, but takes too many steps. Is klunky, she said.

Dropbox basics

On your desktop computer, when you install Dropbox, it creates a watched and shared Dropbox directory.  Anything put into this directory is shared with your online Dropbox account.

Any other computer you install Dropbox on will immediately have access to your online Dropbox account, and have access to those files  you saved on the other computer.

Dropbox has an app for that

For the iPhone and iPod Touch to access those files, you’ll need to install the free Dropbox app. Once you’ve set it up with your login credentials, viola! You have access to those same files you dropped into the shared directory on your desktop computer. Including media and document files.

Finally. The must-have app for your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

I’ve been in love with Dropbox for a while now, so much so I’m promoting it in my adspace in my sidebar.

Dropbox has made it much much easier to transfer files between computers. Sure, I could email them, but that’s not at all elegant. All I do with Dropbox is copy a file to a folder, and it’s automagically copied to a Dropbox folder on all my other computers, as well as a private folder in my secure Dropbox online storage space.

Now, there’s an app for that
So aside from the usual reason for running dropbox, the ability to sync your files online and across computers, we can now add iPhone and iPod Touch to that hardware mix, where previously we had to make do with a web-application interface.

Apple has finally approved the actual native app, so here’s what you get:

  • Access your Dropbox on the go
  • Download files for offline viewing
  • Sync photos and videos to your Dropbox
  • Share links to files in your Dropbox

What this means — you can now easily access all sorts of files among all your various computer on you iPhone or iPod Touch.

And, if you ‘favourite’ the document in the iPhone application, it’s downloaded to your device for offline viewing — great for iPod Touch use outside of a Wi-Fi zone.

So go ahead already, and download the app! And don’t forget to set up a Dropbox account if you don’t already have one.