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SplashShopper: Shopping List Manager for Palm (and the Desktop)
Merlin Mann | Jan 3 2005
I have squirrely phases that repeat like clockwork. An abortive pass at creative drawing, an oddly devoted infatuation with the early ELO, and the sudden yen to play with my old Palm V—each reappears every 7 or 8 months, and each, in its fashion, passes in less than a week. Turn, turn, turn.
Last time that the Palm bug bit me, I learned about SplashShopper, the heir apparent to my previously favorite PDA app, JShopper. Both Palm apps excel at tracking Have/Need items for a bunch of different stores, which you can customize to your heart’s content. This means, for example, “2% Milk??? can be associated with Safeway, Trader Joe’s, and Costco, as well as the bodega around the corner. So you have a persistent, reusable, totally contextual shopping list for wherever you happen to be. Best use of the Palm ever, this shopping list tracking stuff. But, SplashShopper attracted me with two big additions.
First, SplashShopper lets you create different sets of stores, or—how do I put this?—I’ll call it “needs destinations.??? This means that, in addition to the obvious stuff like tracking all your different grocery, drug, or electronics stores, you can also create a list of movies you want to rent, clothes you need to buy, or, my favorite, a running list of gift ideas for your friends (capturing gift ideas when they occur makes December much less stressful, FWIW). Since the app’s essentially just an easy to use, configurable database, its uses are limited mostly by your imagination.
The second hook was the big one, though: SplashShopper comes with a pretty serviceable Mac desktop app that syncs perfectly with your Palm. The irony, of course, is that, since I’m currently in the trough between antic Palm phases, I use the desktop app exclusively. But, man, do I ever use it.
Cue the chorus for my usual set of bitches and beefs. First—sigh—it’s Carbon, so it’s a little funky looking, has “creative??? menus and suffers from having zero in the way of OS X Services hooks (how handy would Services like “Add an item to <my default list>??? be? Especially when combined with Quicksilver). Most annoying, though, it lacks key commands for common tasks, such as checking an item as “Needed??? and editing which stores carry a given item (which, the support folks flatly inform me, they have no intention of improving). Still, for a company that appears to focus on Palm apps for the Windows crowd, the Mac program turned out fairly polished and is, for the most part, well-behaved. It also supports a few import and export formats and prints like a champ.
Recommended especially for GTD nerds, who can now stop sweating the more gruesome tasks of tracking retail errands. Just add “Go to Trader Joe’s??? to your next actions list, and let SplashShopper do the heavy lifting of remembering what you actually need to buy there.
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