03 August 2011

Joining the iCult

I am only a recent iPhone owner. I bought a second-hand 3Gs about six months ago because the idea of getting an iPhone4 and having a micro sim & not being able to immediately switch the sim to another phone if the current phone died horrified me. I'd bought myself an iPod Touch prior so I could try out this 'app' business and see if it was going to be something I would use. A few months later the second hand phone was offered, and the rest is history.


I check my emails on my phone, I check all my social media accounts on my phone, I watch videos on my phone, I look things up on my phone, I do my banking on my phone, I play games on my phone...

And I suppose I make phonecalls too. Sometimes.

Even though I am painfully addicted to Tiny Tower, and I check Echofon every five seconds, my favourite apps are easily the inventory ones. I have a lot of crap, in various forms. I often come home with doubles of CDs and DVDs cause I can't remember what I do and don't have, so being able to have every single stupid thing I own at my fingertips is a godsend. Pop below the cut to check out my favourite inventory apps.

The ones I'm using most at the moment are all by a group called Hooked In Motion. Their apps can be found in the App Store under the 'iCollect' prefix. I think they're about $3 each, but there was recently a price adjustment for Aussie users, so don't quote me on that. They have 6 different iCollect apps, but at the moment I'm only using 4: Books, Comic Books, Movies, and Music. The things I really like about HIM apps in general is that it's easy to add items (99% of the time I just use the in-built barcode scanner), changing the image on an entry is just a matter of a quick in-app Google search rather than having to take/upload your own photo, they are super easy to back up to the web, and then you can SHARE your web-based collection with whoever you want. For example, this is my (very small) comic collection. The day when everyone has these and you don't have to guess what people do and don't own when you're trying to buy presents will be a HAPPY DAY.

Let's have a look at the individual apps.

DiscTracker was actually an app I REALLY liked, but I was swayed by the uniformity of those nice red HIM apps. Also, DiscTracker didn't have the Google integration for the CD covers like iCollect Music did. The app itself looked great, but because I couldn't be bothered uploading a whole lot of album covers myself, there's a lot of blank spaces. And that bothers me.

iCollect Comics
The interface is clean and simple, which is good. The only thing I'd like to maybe see added in the future for all the HIM apps is a choice of colour schemes. This one is nice, but looks a little sterile. The bottom menu lists the number of items you have, your Wishlist (I don't have anything in there currently), a search option for your collection, the sync button for backup, and settings for layout customisation. I have Type/Year/Condition as my options underneath the title, but you can choose whatever you want to display. And if you select one of the individual comics you get...

A million billion things to fill in! Seriously, there are so many. Thankfully I think the minimum is just the title and the issue, so if you want to be lazy you can. Being that I pretty much only own trade paperbacks and volumes it makes things a bit tricky when it comes to entering an 'issue', cause it looks to be set up for floppies or whatever the kids are calling them these days. Ideally, I'd like there to be an option for '#1-7' or similar in the case of TPBs, at the moment hypens aren't an option.

iCollect Movies
Same again as far as layout goes, the main difference is really just the options for under the title. Lots to choose from, yet again. With all the apps there's an option to display the items in list form (like I do), or in a 'bookshelf' type mode, with just the covers.

The movie app and the book app are the only ones thus far to be updated with the new tweet/share buttons. It'd be kinda cool to tweet if you've bought a new comic, but if someone tweeted while adding in their entire music collection...unfollow.

iCollect Books
I initially came across a few problems when using the book & comic apps. Because I do have quite a few TPBs, some of them were scanning up as 'books' as opposed to 'comics' and the app wasn't allowing me to add them on at all. A quick email to the devs sorted it out, and I haven't had a problem since, so I'm guessing that their database of information is getting bigger and ironing out classification kinks.

So when I put my books in 90% of them were put into either the 'Popular Culture', 'Photography' or 'Fantasy' catagories. My tastes aren't overly varied, tbh. And don't worry, I'm not a heathen who only owns 41 books, I haven't got around to putting them all in yet. I've put my bigger reference-type books in, but hardly any of my novels.

iCollect Music
The music app was always going to be the most important one for me. I wanted to make sure the app was totally what I was after before I committed to scanning my entire collection in. Cause I have a lot of cds. Those 105? That's A and B. Actually, I don't think I quite finished B. So A and MOST of B. The one issue I have with this one (which was nearly a dealbreaker) is the way the albums are displayed. They're alphabetised by the artist/band name, sure, but I feel like I'd really rather have the band name as a heading, and then the album name under that. The DiscTracker app I'd been using before looked like this:

Having the actual band name instead of 'A', 'B', 'C' etc looks a million times better. BUT I had a really hard time getting over the lack of album covers for quite a few of the entries. And the backup was pretty easy, but not one-click easy like the HIM apps.

The developers are pretty open to suggestion, so I emailed them regarding introducing an option to have the band name as the main title instead of the album name, and they said they'd look into it for the next update. It's not quite there yet, but with a few little changes in the future it could turn out to be pretty much the perfect CD inventory app.

Now all I need is for them to develop one for all my action figures and collectibles!

1 comment:

  1. I think I've just got the Movies one so far, but I should look into getting some of the others. The barcode scanner is one of my favourite things, and I like that you can also add things manually online as well (I've been having to do that because I've just got Movies Lite and it only allows something like 30 barcode scans). I'm glad you think so highly of the whole line HIM apps, though -- that's very good to know!