all that jazz

james' blog about scala and all that jazz

Copy and paste between Firefox and the iPhone

Today I decided to have a go at diagnosing why the reversing lights on my car weren't working. I quickly worked out that the bulbs were fine, so I jumped on Google to see if I could find some information about where else problems may occur with reversing lights in a car. I found some very detailed instructions, but I had a problem. These instructions were on my computer, in my room, but I wanted to take them to my car, in my garage, and I don't have a printer. However, I do have an iPhone, so I thought I'd copy the URL into my iPhone and read the instructions from Safari. The URL however was rather long and copying by hand would have been painful, what I really wanted to do was the equivalent of copy and paste from my computer to my iPhone.

Enter Mobile Barcoder. Mobile Barcoder is a Firefox extension that allows you to generate QR Codes from Firefox. A QR Code is a 2D barcode designed to be read particularly by mobile devices. Using Mobile Barcoder, generating a barcode for the current page is as simple as hovering your mouse over the icon it puts in the bottom right corner of the window:

Generating a barcode from the current page

You can also right click on a link to generate a barcode for that link:

Generating a barcode from a link

You can even create a barcode from arbitrary text on the page, by selecting it and then right clicking:

Generating a barcode from selected text

So I have my barcode, but what use is that to me? Enter BeeTag. BeeTag is a free iPhone App that reads QR Codes and other 2D barcodes, and, depending on the type of code, lets you act on it accordingly. For example, if it's a phone number, you can dial the number, if it's a URL, you can open it in Safari, or if it's plain text, you can save it as a memo. Scanning is as easy as taking a picture:

Taking a picture of a barcode with BeeTag

Having taken the picture, it will read it, and then prompt you for what you want to do next. I chose to open the URL in Safari:

BeeTag prompt after successfully reading a barcode The webpage on my iPhone in Safari

Now all I need to do is wait for the iPhone 3.0 firmware with copy and paste, and I have full end to end copy/paste from my computer to my iPhone.

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Hi! My name is James Roper, and I am a software developer with a particular interest in open source development and trying new things. I program in Scala, Java, Go, PHP, Python and Javascript, and I work for Lightbend as the architect of Kalix. I also have a full life outside the world of IT, enjoy playing a variety of musical instruments and sports, and currently I live in Canberra.