Chris Pirillo mentioned a library software for the Mac. It sounds boring but it’s pretty neat. It tracks your items which you enter and it does a look up on Amazon. It downloads all the details and picture of the item and onto your “shelf” you can create your own custom shelf categories but the default are item types like “Books”, “Video Games”, “Albums”, etc. The creators of the software are called Delicious Monster.
Items are entered and searched against Amazon databases. Items can be entered in manually if it’s not on Amazon but it is not very user friendly. The details of the item is in the lower 3rd of the screen and you have to constantly scroll back and forth when your looking for a field.
The best feature about this software is that it can scan bar codes. O.K nothing special. Did I mention with your camera? Using the built-in iSight or external sources can capture barcodes and then automatically downloads and categorises the item. The MacBook Pro iSight wasn’t ideal for doing it because of the reflection from the monitor on DVD cases as well as glossy books so I plugged in a Sony DCR-TRV950 camcorder which worked perfectly. This camera was using the firewire connection. Not only does it pick up my books, music CDs, software and video games but also my TomTom Go 700 barcode, Logitech mouses, etc into a gadget category. I went back to trying the iSight and managed to get better results by tilting the item so it wasn’t face on to the camera. It would be o.k to use the built-in iSight camera for one or two items at a time but a better external one would greatly improve your scanning speed when there is a batch of items to do.
They do offer a bluetooth barcode scanner when you buy the software for $40 but the scanner costs well over $200.
When a barcode is found and scanned it plays an audiable beep. This means the computer scanned the barcode successfully. When an item is found and added to the library it uses the built in voice to read out the title and author of the item. This means the monitor doesn’t have to be facing me when I go through my room ransacking the shelves for barcodes. If you enter or add a duplicate item into the library it warns you and does not add it initially. You can press the
The library allows you to mark items out on loan to people and it picks up my contacts from Address book built into OSX. Nice time saving feature. Of course it allows manual editing to the friends list.
Delicious Library 2 Has some fancy animations when a title is added or deleted to a library shelf. A skeleton square appears when it’s added and then when a picture is found and downloaded from Amazon, millions of parts pour from the top into the skeleton to form the picture. When an item is deleted, it explodes into million pieces.
I tried using the Apple remote to navigate the library but it lacked a back button so once you chose a category like gadgets, you couldn’t go back to select a different category.
Delicious Library 2 uses the built in speech recognition to locate your items. It’s a nioce feature and works as long as the speech recogition picks up what your saying.
It can export your library to different formats including XML, Delicious 1.5, CSV, Text, etc. The program uses SQLite version 3 database which is open source.
You can publish the library to your iPod, iPhone, FTP and to a folder. It generates nice looking web pages when you choose FTP and folder which has 2 styles, shelf and pecil sketch. The published version can be quite big. The pencil sketch takes up more space. It lacks a search feature which yould have made it practical rather than just a pretty show off page to your friends and family.
I’ve got my iPod sync’d up to my Windows computer and didn’t want to mess with it.
I haven’t managed to set up the printer on the Mac (or Linux for that matter) because it doesn’t seem to be as easy as Windows to add a network printer running on a CUPS server. I looked at the print preview instead and it looks great. All black and white with the image to the left and description next to it on the right.
The demo allows 25 items to be added but it has all functions enabled. When you hit this limit you have to buy the software before you can add more. I kept scanning before Terina noticed the demo limit had been hit and all the items I tried to add beeped to say it recognised the barcode but nothing to say it had hit the limit.
I went on to purchase the software and it’s all done from within the software. It gathered the details and filled in the form automatically but as I found out you should check it because I got my email address wrong! Once the payment has been sent and authorised, the program automatically downloads the license key into the software. Magic!
There is a windows version which is free for non commercial use but the barcode reader is not as good as the
Delicious Library. I haven’t had any luck getting it to read a barcode but I have only tried one Logitech Orb camera. The camera view finder in the program doesn’t have any guidelines like Delicious Library 2 does so you line up the barcode straight and true.
Libra has the ability to import Delicious Library 2 XML files but it didn’t work with version 2. I can see this is only a matter of time before the update it so that it can. I didn’t have time to try exporting and importing other formats like CSV.
There is a nice community button which loads the main window with the forums. Editing items are full screen in the software compared to a 3rd of the window in Delicious Library 2.
It also doesn’t seem as up-to-date as Delicious. It doesn’t have the extra categories and extra functionalities like activity monitor, fancy add and remove item effects, iPod like scrolling overlay which tells you the alphabet range currently in view, etc.
The interface isn’t like the traditional Windows applications (can be a good or bad thing) like a menu strip at the top.
Both systems are limited to Amazon’s stores. Whilst it does search through the different locales of Amazon like US, UK, Japan, etc it does not let you add additional sites.
I did have some obscure items which were not on Amazon but the majority were found. The other problem was some items didn’t have any barcodes or the barcodes were too small. This required a manual search through Amazon and if it wasn’t there then you can enter it manually.
The export and publish feature is nice but takes a while for the process to complete. Maybe an incremental update to the files it creates would speed up the process.
The $40 price tag is quite steep but I think it’s worth it if it’s going to save me from buying duplicate copies again.