Stuff I Say

Delicious Library 2 First Impressions

Posted in Apple, software by 51future on May 29, 2008

Delicious Library 2 Released

I woke up after a series of naps today to discover that Delicious Library 2 was released. There aren’t any good reviews up yet, and the only thing I’ve heard about it was a thread about disappointment with the beta here.

As soon as you open it up, you get a little warning encouraging you to upgrade to Mac OS 10.5.3, which is, as yet, still in beta and not available on Software Update. On one hand, I like the transparency, but on the other hand, it makes this release feel a little rushed.

I scanned a few things I had laying around in using the built-in iSight barcode scanner. On books, DL2 was generally spot on. It didn’t have any trouble with any of my obscure Japanese language references and even imported 希望の国のエクソダス from without pause. (The cover size was wrong, which resulted in the image being cut off at the top on the Shelf display, but Japanese books come in strange sizes and I don’t really fault DL2 for that.)

After that, I added my two iPods, my laptop (which I got lucky with and found my exact BTO model the first time I tried searching for it), and a few of my Xbox 360 games. I couldn’t import them via the barcode scanner, but searching for them was relatively painless. However, when I tried to do the same for my Canon 20D, I came up empty-handed. I did however find both the 30D and the 40D in a search for the 20D… This looks like a limitation of the close integration with Amazon, but its hard to tell because searches for relatively simple items, like say, “Xbox 360” often come up with a bunch of related, but ultimately useless accessories, rather than the device in question.

This is the first sticking point I really ran into. While I like the integration, I’d also like a few more options as to where DL2 pulls its data from. The close integration with Amazon is nice, but sometimes I feel like the program is trying to sell me stuff, rather than help me catalog what I already own. (The “Buy Now” links in the previous shot are the first thing my eyes are drawn to after a search and I always have to avert my gaze and go looking for the “Add” button, for instance.)

My second qualm is with the Info pane. In the beta thread, one of the main complaints was the addition of a horizontal Info pane with no option to switch it back to the vertical pane in DL 1.6. I didn’t think this was going to bother me, but it really does. You really have to grow the info pane into your shelf space to get any useful information out of it. I find this pane sort of confusing too, because I’m not sure why I need reviews for a product I already own. Furthermore, the Details panel is pretty sparse. Bruji’s Bookpedia, for instance, pulls info from multiple sources, including Amazon and the Library of Congress and includes what looks like a more robust Details panel without dedicating a ton of screen real estate to “Recommendations.” Recommendations are good, but they feel pretty forward in DL2. On that same note, Bruji’s Pedias are competing in this same space and aren’t too far from the price of DL2 for the whole suite, so I’m going to be checking those out soon enough as well.

One thing I do really like about DL2’s Details panel is the “Current Price” vs. the “Retail Price.” I’m not sure how this works exactly, but it looks like it queries Amazon for used items and calculates a “Current Price” (adjusted in up to 20 currencies?) based on what it finds. If I could easily put in my Canon 20D, I’d be interested to see just how much its worth these days, but at the very least its interesting seeing that GTA IV is only worth $44.95 now.

My biggest qualms with the 2.0 release as it stands now are:

Lack of Customization (Why can’t I set shelf scale values or specify where to download info from?)
Somewhat In-Your-Face Amazon Integration (Recommendations, Buy Now, etc.)
Hit-or-Miss Searching (Especially with regard to Gadgets)
Relatively Useless Item Details

I didn’t notice any debilitating slow down issues, although browsing my iTunes library feels slower than it should, because DL2 doesn’t seem to grab album art in the background (or cache it well while navigating other shelves). However, it didn’t really wow me like I thought it would. I’ve been waiting for something like this for a long while, since I’ve been moving around every year for a while now and would like to keep a close tally of my stuff along with its current location.

Still though, I like the idea and I’m going to play around with this for a while longer and see if it doesn’t grow on me.


One Response

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  1. Conor said, on May 29, 2008 at 3:16 am

    Thank you for mentioning Bruji. Do let us know what you think of our apps when you take them for a spin.

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