Mmmm.... Delicious!

by Jason Deraleau

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At the recent O'Reilly Mac OS X Conference, it was announced that Delicious Library had taken top honors in the O'Reilly Mac OS X Innovators Contest. I had the opportunity to spend some time with Delicious Library during its beta phase and I have to say that the application definitely lives up to being "delicious" (oh come on, someone had to say it!). The application has a pretty useful purpose: to help you organize your media collection. Now I know for some people that might not seem like a big deal. You only have a couple dozen DVDs, maybe fifty CDs, some books, oh and there's that pile of Playstation games... and my old collection of spy paperbacks... see how much stuff you really have? Now imagine if you had a slick-looking app that helped you keep track of all of these items.

Well, that's tough to turn down, isn't it? But the real pain comes when you realize you have to somehow enter all of these items into your Mac. But, fear not, for Delicious Monster has added the deal-clincher. Over some sake, I tried to convince Wil Shipley to tell me his secret, but he claims that only a small group of developers have figured out how to hack the webcam driver to make it read barcodes. Yep! That easy. Just hold the back of your DVD/Book/etc up to your webcam and use Delicious Library's barcode scanner to read in the item's Universal Product Code.

The app then searches Amazon for the item, picking up cover art, cast and crew information, Amazon user reviews, and ratings. It even picks up suggestions for other titles and gives you a quick link to purchase them through Amazon. Speaking of cover art, Delicious Library has a great interface for keeping track of all of your stuff. It uses a look where your various titles are on a wooden-shelf, cover facing you. You can easily organize the titles by genre, director, and many other bits of metadata. Delicious Library maps the title's cover art onto a three-dimensional DVD box shape, a hardcover book shape, or a CD jewel case shape. It's a really great way to show off your collection without the bulk of one of those 300 disc shelving units.

One of the problems that I run into happens when I start lending movies out. I can never remember who borrowed which movie. Sometimes I forget to call and ask for my movies back. The end result usually takes the form of frustration felt over the fact that you can't show your drunken buddy the Bullitt car chase because you lent the flick to your aunt three weeks ago. Once again, Delicious Monster comes to the rescue. Delicious Library has a Borrowers pane in the interface. You can populate the pane using your Address Book data. Drag an item from your library and drop it on the desired borrower. You are then shown a special shelf, containing the items that individual has borrowed. Select an item and you can choose a date for when it's due back.

Over in your main library, a little "Out" banner has been placed on the lent title. When the due date has passed for the item, it gets a "Late!" banner. Best of all, Delicious Library sticks a calendar of due dates into iCal, allowing you to set reminders to call Joe about your Gladiator DVD. With great use of Mac OS X core technologies and an absolutely stunning interface, it's no surprise that Delicious Library won first place in the Innovators Contest. The hard work of the folks over at Delicious Monster is pretty evident.

Today, Delicious Library has been released with a price of about $40. Definitely worth it to me, if it'll help keep me from having to replace missing DVDs because I keep losing track of them. Delicious Monster definitely has a hot app on their hands and I'm sure a lot of people will be keeping an eye out for their next one!

Had a chance to try this Delicious Monster app yet?


2004-11-08 08:00:37
How does it differ from Library?
I bought Library for $10 and it does everything mentioned here (catalog movies, games, music, and books), although you either have to manually type the UPC or ISBN number to hook into Amazon or buy a barscan reader. I don't think it's worth an extra $30 to have my Web cam scan the bar codes, and I don't see any other differences. Also, does it support Web and other exporting like Library does?
2004-11-08 08:15:56
RE: How does it differ from Library?

I'm guesing you're referring to Chronopath Library. I confess I haven't gotten to use that particular app, but looking through the developer's site for it, it seems like it has many similar features to Delicious Library. The interface doesn't look as refined as Delicious Library's, in my opinion. Though it would seem that Delicious Library's export functions aren't as well refined.

I couldn't tell if Chronopath Library has the slick integration with Address Book and iCal. And, like you said, it doesn't have the webcam scanning. I suppose if you don't have a large media collection to enter, you might not appreciate that feature as much. Overall, the apps look like they each offer a solution to the same problem, but both have their advantages and disadvantages. And, to be honest and unbiased as I can be, it does seem that Delicious Library is the better of the two. Your mileage may vary :)

2004-11-08 08:24:30
How does it differ from Library?
The pre-release write-up at ThinkSecret claims that Delicious Library is built upon Library, but with a more 'delicious' user interface.

Maybe as a Library user, you'll get an upgrade price that you will feel warrants the slick UI and iSight scanning functionality.

2004-11-08 09:34:02
what about booxter?
I used Chronopath Library for a while but ended up switching to Booxter ( for my library needs. Booxter can use iSight for barcode scanning as well.

Delicious Monster looks pretty cool, though, for people who have big collections of things besides books.

2004-11-08 09:42:18
port it to pda/mobile phone
If the DC on pda/mobile phone can be used
for this barcode reading application,
it would be great.
2004-11-09 07:59:59
Book Apps on Phone / PDA
If the DC on pda/mobile phone can be used for this barcode reading application, it would be great.

The fundamental problem is that these phones don't offer an API to snatch images from the cameras. I've been experimenting with writing a J2ME client that will run on Java-based phones and PDAs for Books, but it's still in its early phases. (Though you can use it to comparison shop at bricks and mortar shops with Amazon.) If you would like help me conceptualize and improve on the current client, I'd welcome your feedback and ideas.