I get tons of ideas. Mostly for software, web services, and the like. It’s kind of like I’m always thinking about how things can be improved, or what I want my computers to do and how to make it happen. The vast majority of these things never get done, because I forget them or I just don’t have the time to see them through. But I’m working on one such nugget that will be really cool by the time I’m done (which will be soon). Here’s how it works.

For a long time now, I’d wish that I had an inventory of my DVDs. I had actually started to enter all this data onto my Newton, but somewhere in the G’s I got really tired of it. Plus the program I was using, CardMEDIA, wasn’t really what I wanted. I know that all of the information about these movies is already out there: IMDB has it all, and you can even download most of their data for your own personal (not online!) use. Every DVD has a barcode, of course, but IMDB doesn’t list them (also you can’t download their DVD technical data, which sucks). Enterprising guy that I am, I managed to obtain from a poorly-designed website the list of 30,000 North American DVD releases: with barcodes, titles, studio, length, and rating. By cross-referencing the title with the IMDB data, I added director and plot summaries to my list, and I could add anything else that I wanted from IMDB. At this moment, I’m pretty damn happy with this.

The next step is to get this data on my Newton, so I can carry it around with me and build the list of things that I have. Once I load the data into a Newton database program (I’m using FilePad), I can use my InPath barcode scanner to scan my DVD barcodes and check off that I have the titles. Later, when I’m at the store looking at a $13.99 DVD deal, I can just filter out the titles that I have to make sure I won’t be buying something I already have. Etc, etc.


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2 replies

  1. That’s a great idea… What database are you using on the Newton.
    I’m interested in doing batch replicates between a Newton database and a web-exposed database…
    There’s lots of this type of information I’d like to store on my Newt, but without the ability to synchronize, it’s not very compelling. The last thing I need is multiple data islands.
    Also, I’d be interested in how you query IMDB and this other source for DVD data… it’d be cool if I could make web service calls in my media libarary script to show more details of each item…

    In fact, this is all very interesting with DVDs but not very practical. What would be nice is a web service application that is also a consumer, connecting to Exchange and reading the contact database. Newton could then connect to this service and update it’s own contacts DB…

    I’ve never tried, but I’m pretty sure I could extract Exchange data, and expose it via XML. But I wouldn’t know how to parse it on the Newt OR how to update the Newt’s DB…

    So many project possibilities… so little time

  2. May we know the url of the ‘poorly designed’ database from which you obtained the bar code data?