Thursday, March 29, 2007

Handheld PDAs in the Kitchen


I took a brief holiday with my wife this week and somehow ended up in a kitchen products store. As I was rummaging through the various over priced multi-colored utensils from around the world, I noticed a Symbol Handheld PDA on a nearby kiosk. This was something interesting in a kitchen store, who would have thought it?

I walked over to the kiosk and noticed a synchronization cradle sitting next to a connected desktop computer with a flat panel monitor. I noted that the Symbol PDA had a built-in barcode scanner, monochrome screen and was running the Palm OS. I walked slowly around the kiosk, pretending to be captivated by the flexible cutting boards, but I was really trying to determine the purpose of the handheld computer. I noted that the Symbol PDA was their low-end ruggedized device, and that it seemed to be positioned for the use of their customers, not for their own internal inventory purposes. I imagined I was Sherlock Holmes out to solve a case and reached for my pipe.

I nonchalantly picked up a wooden spoon with a price tag of $49 and pretended to be fascinated by its craftsmanship. I looked closer at the kiosk and noted a sign mentioning the registration of gifts. That's IT! The Symbol PDA was used by people wishing to create lists of over-priced gifts, they would never think to buy for themselves. They would scan the barcodes on all the exotic wooden spoons and then synchronize the list to the kiosk computer. Once the products were in the database application, anyone could access this list over the internet. Wow! So much technical ingenuity from a kitchen supply store!

I best finish blogging and return to carving wooden spoons.