Wake Up Call

Billr: Because Splitting the Bill Really Required an iPhone App

Splitting the bill at the end of a large meal can be a challenge -- and a friendship test. (Any person who cannot honestly and quickly settle a bill in a shared meal is no kind of friend, and someone who is willing to short a group of friends after a delicious meal and then argue about it or try to hide that fact is probably going to sell your spleen into slavery anyway.)

However, it appears that not everyone maintains those policies and that the matter of the post-meal bill is often hotly contested and subject to significant scrutiny. To that end,Billr, an iOS app designed to split a bill for a party of 16 with the precision of a personal accountant.

Provided you're willing to sit down at the end of the meal and painstakingly enter in everyone's bill line by line. Then you to set tax and tip. Then Billr will finally show you a screen listing what everyone owes. Then you can complete your transaction by sending everyone a receipt via text or e-mail (because nothing says friendship and good company like a complete tabulation of expenditures).

I understand this is probably a real world scenario. Perhaps an exact re-enactment of the events that led up to the designers of this app creating it in the first place. But amusingly, their app still doesn't solve the eternal "Mr. Pink Doesn't Believe In Tipping Problem."

Or you can save the 99 cents it'll cost you to get the app and just do the math.

Here are three steps that you can easily do on the free calculator on your fancy smart phone:

1. Take 10 percent of the total bill (move the decimal over one place). 2. Double that for a 20 percent tip (adjust accordingly). 3. Add that number to the price of what you ordered (plus a dollar or so for tax).

Not powerful enough? Try the Wolframalpha app, which can compute your tip and calculate a trajectory to the moon.

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Ando Muneno
Contact: Ando Muneno