Bruji’s Bookpedia; AKA Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is
Just when I thought nobody was reading this blog, I get a comment from Conor, the “Top Dog” over at Bruji’s site telling me to post my impressions of the Pedias (CD, DVD, etc.) when I got a chance. Now, I’m not sure how he found that post– what pond he’s dipping his net into, but it inspired me to get in gear and take the Pedias through their ‘paces. And the end result? Me spending more money. Imagine that.
If there’s anything Delicious Monster (of Delicious Library) does well, its advertising. I bought this MBP back in October and initially discovered Delicious Library through some of the folks on the MacHeist site. I liked the idea, a way of cataloging one’s media on the computer. It was novel. It was another great use for a great machine and infinitely useful for someone like me who’s been moving around (between houses, states, and countries, even) every year for the last 6 years of my life. My things are scattered in boxes, strewn throughout multiple houses and ultimately divided by some 5000 or so miles, as far as my current situation in Japan is concerned.
While my last entry covered Delicious Library 2, I feel compelled now to talk about far better product(s) that just don’t get the hype they deserve, Bruji’s Pedias.
Now, I don’t know why Bruji’s Pedias don’t get any coverage on The Unofficial Apple Weblog or Daring Fireball, but my gut feeling is that Bruji can’t hype its own releases the way developers like Wil Shipley can. From what I understand, the delay between DL 1.6 and 2.0 was massive, which gave him (Shipley) a lot of time to build his product up and hype the beta releases and whatnot. Bruji, on the other hand, seems to release updated builds fairly frequently– and for free, giving them no time to hype up the latest paid point release that took a year to add in minor functionality. It makes sense, really. Bloggers like to focus on vaporware and betas because, ultimately, we like to complain. See my post about Apple’s font panel, for instance.
In any case, I’m getting off topic. Impressions.
As you can see, Bookpedia (in this example), is awesome. There are a ton of places that Bookpedia is willing to search for information on your books including all the Amazon sites, the Library of Congress, AngusRobertson, (an Australian bookseller) and even the Royal Library of Sweden. You can add books one at a time, or many at a time. You can even scan in barcodes with any iSight camera. When I intially played around with this feature and compared it to DL2, I came to the mistaken conclusion that the scanning in Bruji’s Pedias was subpar, but today, when I went back to it and went through every book that I could find in my apartment with a barcode on it, I found that it was uncannily accurate. It handled all my obtuse Japanese reference books without breaking a sweat and there wasn’t a single dictionary or novel that I couldn’t easily import.
The only book I couldn’t find the right cover for was my older edition of Remembering the Kanji I by James W. Heisig. (I think I’m going crazy. The correct edition popped up instantly when I searched for it just now.)
Bruji’s Pedias (Should I be referring to these some other way? Hmmm… From here on out, I’ll be talking simply about Bookpedia, but from my own tests, it seems that the rest of the Pedias have very similar functionality.) have a really clean user interface that I prefer over DL2’s UI. Whereas DL2’s Shelf view is sort of ugly and fake looking, Bookpedia displays book covers on a completely adjustable monochrome background. I prefer white, which is the default option. There’s also a list view and a coverflow view. After that, there are multiple Details templates you can apply to the “Info” panel that allow you to customize the display of detailed information and summaries. In the default cover view, covers can be resized at will with a slider (as opposed to DL2’s total lack of control in this respect). The whole interface, despite having way more options than I have time to play in time for this post, feels clean and simple, as opposed to, what– I want to borrow a term of contention from the games industry and say, DL2’s “console-ified” (dumbed-down and/or smoothed over for a younger audience) interface. DL2 looks great, but it also looks juvenile. As mac-like as it is to have stylized, fluffy, colorful icons (gadgets, etc.) I think I prefer the simple utilitarian approach of Bookpedia rather than the juicy, delicious approach.
One thing that’s really nice about Bookpedia is that, unlike DL2, I don’t get the feeling that Bruji is trying to sell me items, rather than helping me catalog what I already have. Whereas DL2 gives you recommendations and reviews whether you like it or not, Bookpedia has a very elegant Advanced menu where you can find that information if you need it without a single “Buy (from Amazon)” button in sight. I’ll add here too that since downloading both Bookpedia and Gamepedia, I’ve not seen a single nag window or money pit yet. According to the “Register Bookpedia” link in the main menu, Bookpedia has a “10 book limit,” but unless my eyes deceive me, I have 11 books in my library currently. Bookpedia is up there with Scrivener as having an incredibly smooth trial period without sacrificing any core functionality.
Really, my choice is clear. Bookpedia (and its brethren, DVDpedia, CDpedia, and Gamepedia) are just plain better than Delicious Library 2. Why DM bothered to add a “Tools” section to DL2 (and not, for example, a CCG module or Comics, or anything really) baffles me. I’m getting off-topic again, aren’t I? All this, and I’ve only scratched the surface. Bookpedia has some really amazing ways to export your library, along with lending library functionality, wishlist support, detailed statistics, and custom fields for all those other details.
Really, the one and only problem I could find with Bookpedia is that there were only two default templates for the Info pane that I liked (Collection and Grey), both of which are somewhat difficult to read when it comes to star ratings (grey stars on dull blue and grey stars on dull grey respectively) and other assorted info.
As if you needed any other reason to go for Bookpedia or its siblings over DL2, I’d like to mention the incredibly positive reviews forum (hint: the latest post is: “I must be dreaming…”) as well as its 4.6 of 5 stars ratings over at VersionTracker compared to DL2’s 2.5 of 5 stars rating. I’m not entirely sure how Conor found my backwater blog in the first place, (Technorati, maybe?) but I’m glad he did. Otherwise I probably wouldn’t have given Bookpedia and its siblings the time of day I should have. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have put my money where my mouth is.