Sunday, 29 August 2021

Another use case for google docs on an iphone ...

 Way back in March, I wrote that I had finally found a use case for installing Google Docs on an iphone.

I've now found another use case for Google Docs on an iphone.

Here in regional Victoria we're currently in lockdown, as we have been, of and on, since March last year - while we've had quite long periods where we seem to be on top of the virus and can have something like the life we used to have, it's been punctuated by periods under lockdown when there has been an outbreak.

One of the lockdown rules we have in Victoria (and it may be different where you live) is that only one person in a household can go to the supermarket at a time, and then only once a day - a measure aimed at reducing community transmission.

Now, before the pandemic, we usually used to do our shopping together, and basically we didn't plan - we used to make it up as we went along, buying what looked fresh and good, plus the basics. 

This of course meant sometimes we bought too much, and sometimes we forgot things.

Come Covid, we couldn't be so slack about things, so we took to maintaining a Google Docs shared document to which we added items as we ran out of them, plus anything else needed - basically a living document.

When one of us did a supermarket trip or an online grocery order, we'd print the document out, scribble any last minute amendments on it, and then use it as either a shopping list or as document to work from to build an online grocery order.

Nothing that unusual in this, except that, as we had been historically crap at lists we would miss things leading to flurries of last minute text messages of the 'can you get?' kind.

Well, we can't do much about the online orders - shouting Rinseaid! from the kitchen works as well as anything else when it comes to last minute updates.

Supermarket trips are something else. Remember the one person once a day rule.

That means that you can't go back and get something if you forget it first time around.

The geeky answer we've come up with is to update the Google Docs shopping list online - no more illegible scribbled additions - and the simply view it on the phone rather than printing it out.

Now I'm sure we're not the first to do this - after all, despite not being very good with lists we've been emailing shopping lists to each other and using PDA's for shopping lists since the start of the century - I was once stopped in the Marks and Sparks food store in York some time around 2001 by one of the store security personnel for walking round a store with a palm pilot doing our shopping. For the record, when I showed them what I was doing they were absolutely fine about it.

What is different this time  from simply passing a document back and forth is the shared editing of a living document meaning that additions can be made in real time, rather than simply viewing a static instance of a document - which may of course be out of date.

Ok, it's incredibly geeky as a solution, but it works (for us at least).


Peter Sefton said...

We use Trello - that works if a certain person remembers to look at hers. But now I just do alternating deliveries / direct to boot from Coles and Woolies and keep a shopping cart open for a few days before I commit.

dgm said...

Trello's a fine product for managing complex lists, but I think it's overkill for this use case.

Google docs both has local clients for android and iphone/ipad, a near non existent learning curve given most people know how to do simple word processing and the ability to create simple dot pointers ...