iOS4 bluetooth keyboard first impressions

I installed iOS4 yesterday; here are the first impressions of the bluetooth keyboard support. Being able to use a keyboard with the phone, without jailbreaking, is absolutely great. The phone starts to become a really viable writing platform; for blog posts, mail, and fiction. I’ve got one of the old foldable keyboards originally designed for a Palm, and it folds down to the size of a paperback book. This makes it really easy to write while on the move. Some of the Best Gaming Keyboard have blue tooth support, so they can be used for this too.

Of course, this makes it even more important to have a decent editor. I’m still going for Simplenote, which uses syncing with the cloud, but I’ve got a terrible urge to write some kind of subversion integration so that I have all my writing in the same source-controlled location.

As yet there are still some issues; for instance, the bluetooth keyboard means that the on-screen keyboard doesn’t need to be on-screen, but the wordpress app still reserves space for it.


IPhone app review: RedLaser

This is a capsule review of the iPhone app, [RedLaser]( It’s a barcode-scanning application which looks up scanned products on amazon and google. In short; start the app, point your phone at the barcode, get online price comparisons.

The app is extremely simple to use, and cheap, too. It can save you money in a purchase or two. I used it at Borders the other day, scanned a book, and found a copy six quid cheaper somewhere else online. Since the app costs less than two quid, it’s a great little moneysaver. It also acts as a nice ‘outboard memory,’ storing a list which can form a wishlist. Scan in books you want to remember, and it’ll keep the list and let you email it off.

Because it uses amazon amd google product search, it doesn’t work well with things that are very cheap, or own-brand products. I wondered if I could use it as a shopping list (scan stuff as it runs out) but, well, no-one sells paxo stuffing on the Internet, so no dice.

What it seems to excel at is products that make good presents; books, DVDs, xbox games, and board games all worked well. I think I will be using it for my own christmas wishlist, and for keeping track of presents for friends and family.

PS: a little tip. I had a couple of books fail to scan properly, until I noticed that the books had _two_ adjascent barcodes. Cover up the smaller one with your thumb and it’ll work perfectly.

Google voice search on iPhone

Good lord. I have just discovered that Google’s ‘Google Mobile’ application on the iPhone has voice search. Go to the search page and bring the phone to your ear. The accelerometer tells the app to start listening. Then just speak your search, and away it goes. I’ve done a half-dozen searches and it has been spot on every time.

The future really is with us, my friends. Just to prove it to myself, I held the device up to my mouth and asked it for information on ‘transparent aluminium.’ It worked. I am Scotty, and the idea of accessing the databanks with a mouse and keyboard are starting to seem a little quaint.