Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Comparison shopping via barcode

This is kind of old news, but the utility of it became apparent to me over the weekend while I was shopping for a new printer. In Japan, you can use the camera on your cellphone to capture the barcode of an item you are looking at in a store, and get an immediate price quote from Amazon Japan. If you prefer the Amazon price, you can order it with a click. An even more useful model would be an aggregation service that lets online merchants bid to sell you the item. I don't know when we'll see this in the US, but when it comes I predict dire consequences for stores like Best Buy or Circuit City.

BTW, I ended up buying an HP printer-scanner-copier (all in one). It is amazing what a couple hundred bucks gets you these days - the thing plugs right into my wireless router and is accessible from anywhere in the house. On the downside, the HP driver CD installed 7000(!) files on my laptop. Because it's a network printer the driver software communicates with the server on the printer (as well as HP servers on the Internet to share photos or other documents with friends and family), sending and receiving large chunks of data. Good luck distinguishing spyware from legitimate stuff in this environment...

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why do you not also install Linux on your laptop? Then, you can go to the Windows partition for viewing Word/ Powerpoint documents, though Openoffice is ok sometimes.

The latest version from Suse, Suse 9.2 Professional at least, seems to run quite well on notebooks, where they put in a lot of effort. And I know a few who run RedHat Linux and FreeBSD on their IBM thinkpads, but they know a lot more about Linux/BSD than I do.

I prefer BSD, but some of the software is not available on it (has a good linux compatibility layer).

MFA

steve said...

Actually, I'm linux at the office and OS X on the laptop (had to go with HP for the OS X compatibility). I don't have spyware issues myself, but am thinking about the broader market ;-)

Anonymous said...

7000 ? Interesting software design, but what do I know? Speaking of thousands, do you have any idea how much bird food you can go through on a snowy day? Happy birds.

Anne

Anonymous said...

Steve,

I should have guessed; obviously you are ahead of the masses :)

BTW, I understand that OS X is based on FreeBSD/NetBSD. Perhaps sometime you can tell us your view on Mac vs PC debate. Something more than (a) they look beautiful (no argument), (b) better than Windows etc.

Anne,

No birds around here: too cold! Brrr!

MFA

Anonymous said...

MFA

Too cold for birds? Wherever are you, and are you sure? I have watched patterns change in New England, so that many birds that used to migrate are here year round. Cold is not the problem, rather food and there is generally less snow cover and more food. Increasingly there are bird feeders. Too cold for birds? Hmmm...

Anne

Anonymous said...

Anne,

Ok, I admit I don't look out the window too often :)
But I am further north (hint: North of Vermont :) ).

MFA

Anonymous said...

Ah... Lots of birds north of Vermont. Especially magnificent crows and ravens, but sone birds as well. Now, the crow family are most adaptable; "smart" as dogs really. What you need is seed, and a suet cake.

Anne

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