Plus One for Red Laser

I found myself at a Best Buy about three weeks ago, looking around for things to go back home and buy over the internet.  What I was doing was my annual adventure into real world Christmas shopping.  I hate the real world honestly, mostly because of shopping…at a mall.  Anyway, I found this hard drive I’d never seen before, so I pull out my iPhone, and start searching the intrawebz for some reviews.  I don’t see anything favorable, so I move on.

Next item, a flat panel TV.  Samsung.  Nice, so again I go about trying to find the model number and such, type it into Google, find some reviews.  Onto another site to check for prices. Rinse, repeat.  Boring, really, and somewhat embarrassing.  You look like a toolbag standing there hunting items on your iPhone only to walk out of the store an hour later with nothing in hand.  How is Best Buy supposed to keep their brick and mortar operation going?

I’ll tell you how, and they need to thank the folks at Occipital Inc for writing the application Red Laser. This handy application costs at present $1.99, and is worth ten times as much in my opinion. It scans UPC’s of products using your iPhone’s camera.  Then it searches the web for the item, returning web prices, local prices (by GPS if you choose to turn it on), nutritional info, and more.

So if you’re in Best Buy, you can show them that Wal-Mart has the same TV for less, price match it right there and buy it hassle free for the best price. Sweet. I have been using this at places like Borders and Barnes and Noble, where it is tremendously helpful with books and pricing. Try it out, trust me you’ll use it!

Occipital also makes some other apps, which I’m probably going to check out since Red Laser rocks so hard. Keep up the good work guys, truly genius.

Clearing Safari on iPhone

Safari on the iPhone is pretty straightforward.  Open it, and you can search Google.  You can open a new page while keeping your current page, or clear out the url and open another page right in the one you are viewing.  Sometimes, though, that nagging buddy or family member wants to jump on your iPhone because they are stuck with a dumbphone, or worse–they are on Verizon.

You want to show off your technology, so of course you oblige.  However, reliquishing your phone will let them see your browsing history and the last page you had open.  Maybe the last page you had open was the site you ordered their holiday gifts from.  Maybe it was worse, perhaps the site you thought about ordering them something from but then didn’t–you stingy son of a…

Well, fear not, clearing the history is simple enough.  Click the little book icon on the lower toolbar, and it brings up the Bookmarks page.  There you’ll see a link for your History.  Click on that, and your History page opens.  On the lower toolbar, on the left, is the Clear button.  Click that, click confirm, and done.  Simple enough.

If you don’t want them to see the last page you opened, that’s easy enough as well.  Just open Safari, click the new page icon on the lower right, but don’t type in an address or a search.  Click the new page button again, and close the page you don’t want them to see.  This way, when they open Safari, it simply opens a blank page.  This should be done regardless if you expect someone to use your phone or not.  When I am finished browsing the web on my iPhone, I make it a habit to clear my recent pages.  If they would only add this as an option to open blank windows by default, I’d be much happier.

You can also do the following from the Settings application on your home screen:

  • Purge Cookies
  • Choose How to Handle Cookies (Always accept, Accept from Visited, or Never Accept)
  • Turn JavaScript on/off
  • Enable/Disable Pop Up Blocking
  • Clear Your Cache
  • Clear Your History
  • Turn on Autofill

Unfortunately, I haven’t found a way to clear single items from your history like you can do in big boy Safari.  Hopefully that feature is coming down the line!  The cache is something you may want to clear out once in a while, although there is no definitive way to find out its size on a stock iPhone.  Or, at least they don’t make it obvious.