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Delicious indeed

So Delicious Library launched today, an app I’d discussed privately amongst my dork buddies as “a really, really, really cool idea… but useful only to obsessive–compulsives and, well, librarians”, and it turns out I’m basically right.

Here’s the premise: catalogue everything you own, shop for similar or related items from the comfort of your desktop, keep track of whom has borrowed what and when —for all those times you loan your friends a CD and never see it again— and, well, dick around the place looking at pictures of all the stuff you own. Like I said, obsessive compulsives and librarians, but a market nonetheless.

Library’s tri–panel interface splits between media categorization and playlist–like “shelves”, the contents of said shelves, and details pertaining to the selected item

There’s a lot to be impressed by; from the iSight barcode scanning (perhaps the best use my iSight has seen to date), to the brown–paper placeholders for items whose photos can’t be grabbed from Amazon (god bless that Amazon API), to automatically adding family members to my ‘borrowers’ list (the one false positive being everyone’s favorite Canadian queen Joe Clark, but a nice touch nonetheless). It all seems to work just the way it should… which is good. And despite the fact that I have absolutely no need for an application of this nature, I’m almost compelled to drop the forty bucks required for registration; it’s that cool.

It’s also very funny, trying to evaluate a piece of software like this is like trying to evaluate a box of tampons — I don’t have a particular need or desire to use tampons, and even if I did, I don’t have the plumbing with which to really give them a run for their money. But I do suppose, in a pinch, I could give a star–rating to feminine hygiene products by performing a series of scientific experiments involving blue liquids, which is all I can suppose to do here today with Delicious Library.

Simply put: it’s the nicest application I’d never use.

The preferences are curiously spare, and you won’t find a single contextual menu in the place (simultaneously a good thing and a bad thing, for different reasons), while the interface is the pure, unadulterated eye candy we’ve come to expect from Mike Matas: ex–Omni employee, master of aqua iconography, and graphic artist extraordinaire. Despite the wood grain (again, I ask, why wood?) it’s a pleasure to use.

Address Book, Mail, and iCal integration is a godsend. Something that deserves a paragraph all of its own.

To date, the only problems I’ve experienced with the program is the fact that I live in Australia; meaning those bastard record and movie executives can add another notch to their “I’m a fucking asswad” belt because our CDs and DVDs are produced regionally — the barcodes on most of my CDs and all my DVDs don’t match up to anything in Amazon’s database. While that’s not strictly Delicious Monster’s problem, it makes Library almost useless to all the Australian OCDs in the crowd, though books thankfully don’t suffer such indignities; even one of my books by Australian poet Les Murray came up peachy.

Objectively, I give Library two thumbs up for coolness, innovation, and using all the available technology at hand. The perfect Christmas gift for your anal roommate (that is, your roommate with the ‘anal retentive’ personality type… he doesn’t room with you in an anus). Delicious Monster gets a gold star.