Is there an 'app' for it?

It's interesting how we look for assistance in strange places. We look for health advice from someone who is often inherently unhealthy; we seek sharemarket tips from some person we got chatting to at a bar; but the strangest phenomenon has to be the search for a phone app for everything.

The weather, traffic, the next bus, the news, a phone number from the other side of the world, the time on the other side of the world — all valid and interesting bits of information.

Games, music, videos... again amusing ways to pass some idle time.

But it's the hundreds of thousands that fit in the middle that would have to be the most worrisome. Those for which there seems to be no logical reason for existence save the fact that there's not already 12 of them with different pictures and a selection of languages.

Groceries can be purchased in a range of stores, but for many people that's achieved at the supermarket. For many others it''s more convenient to order online and have the delivered. Pro's and Con's. It's easy to be diligent with a list, but you never get the specials available at the store. There is less risk of filling the trolley with unwanted items but you're a sitting duck for the free sample of the toothpaste that you'd never buy.

The most ridiculous, however, is the phone app that allows you to shop form a picture of goods on the shelf, on the wall of [enter suitably busy terminus here] and then place the order online. So instead of filling a few moments till the next train arrives with a book or a game or music—you can spend the time shopping from the range of items pictured on the wall that are clearly last minute but consistent purchases.

The novelty factor wins out over basic common sense.

Producing a shopping list of all the items purchased from the supermarket over the last year, set up already in the online system, with frequencies and alternate suggestions would be great, istead of spending the hours going through the initial setup for the first online shop. Putting your entire shopping list into the phone so that it leads you around the store reminding you exactly where to find the items [for those who want to spend hours traipsing around a store]. The ability to do a product search and have your phone app tell where in the stor it's located , instead of wandering back and forth along the aisles in he wrong place until you can finally find someone whom you can ask. those things would appear to have a benefit... and there's many more besides.

But scanning bar codes of pictures of the twenty items, paying a $12 delivery charge, having to wait at home for the four hour delivery window, to find four of the twenty items were out of stock and substituted for the ones you don't like anyway—could be the definition for insanity.

But there's a phone app for it so it validates the app developers Field of Dreams attitude. to paraphrase the movie badly—develop it, they will come. The complex simplicity conundrum. How to make something very simple, inordinately more complex, all the while have people believe it's in fact being simplified even further.

I am reminded about the famous Isaac Newton quote:

Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things. As the world, which to the naked eye exhibits the greatest variety of objects, appears very simple in its internal constitution when surveyed by a philosophical understanding, and so much the simpler by how much the better it is understood.