Ralph Sierra: “If I’d known that yesterday was ‘Cute Animal Story Wednesday,’ I’d have nominated this one, in which a gibbon takes on two tigers (OK, they’re teenage tigers).”

☞ Later, I’m guessing, the tigers came back and ate the gibbon. And the camera man.


You aim your iPhone camera at any barcode, and this free app will “give you information about the product, as well as where you can find it online or at nearby stores and for how much.” Oh, my.

It took me a little while to get the hang of it, because I didn’t really know what to expect. Here’s what to expect:

After you load the app onto your phone and open it, touch the “scan” icon at lower left. You’ll see a flickering red line across the screen. Point that to the middle of a bar code from a few inches away and just hold it there for what might be 10 or 20 seconds – no need to move it up and down, but no worries if you’re not perfectly steady – until you hear a beep. (If you never hear a beep, it may be too smudged, or maybe your iPhone is too old.) At that point, a screen will appear that, in my case, told me I had been pointing to the bar code on the back of Al Gore’s new book, Our Choice: How We Can Solve the Climate Crisis (Young Readers Edition), priced at $24.99. It offered me 11 web alternatives for buying it, starting at $13.54 and 8 local bookstores (based on my GPS, it knew where I was), starting at $17.99. It offers reviews, price alerts, and retains a history of your searches.


As you’ve doubtless seen, we are making progress. The Senate will shortly begin debate on a bill that does much of what the President wants (among other things, reducing the deficit), and that includes the “opt out” provision for states whose leaders decide it’s important to deny their citizens a public option.


Comments are closed.