Monday, November 19, 2007

Dear Mac Application Software Developers....

I know you are out there, and I know that on occasion you track blogs like this one - and I'm hoping you will happen by and read this post. I have a problem, and I'm sure one of you can solve it.

For a very long time (more years than I can recall), I've had a Palm Pilot. The exact model has changed over the years, and the current instance is a LifeDrive. This device serves several critical functions, and I do not leave the house without it. The function that I am interested in today is a set of three databases: DVDs, Fiction and NonFiction. Those databases hold what you might expect: the shelf lists of the thousands of books and hundreds of DVDs in my house. With publisher details. And ISBN numbers. Since bookshops hold a magnetic attraction for me, and I tend to buy faster than I read, I need to keep a list of what is already on my overloaded shelves.

I use a database called HanDBase3, from DDH Software. The integration between Mac OS X and the HanDBase desktop is pathetic, and to be frank, and the software is flaky. If you want to see a really ugly bit of software that claims to be for a Mac, go look at this. I have also started using the Delicious Library software, which is nice, but only exports to an iPod as Notes. Less than ideal if you are dealing with thousands of items.

What I really want is a database structure that I can define, and which I can access in some way either from my Palm Pilot, or from an iPhone or iPod Touch. I don't need to edit anything on the handheld, I just need to be able to search and view fairly simple records. I don't particularly want to use my Blackberry for this because it is not really mine - it is my employer's. I may not have it in my next job, and my current employer has security concerns about content on company owned devices (I don't blame them).

Recently, the FileMaker people released the beta of their Bento product. It looks OK, though it needs work, but you can't expect miracles from beta software. I could easily construct the sort of databases I need in Bento, but there is no way to export the data as anything but CSV. I'm guessing that the iPhone and iPod Touch will require XML.

So there's my challenge: a user defined database that can be searched on a Palm Pilot, an iPhone or an iPod Touch (just one will do, I don't need all three). Something stable, and with decent Mac integration.

Is that so hard? More detailed spec available on request.....

EagleFiler Update

In case you missed it, update 1.2.7 for EagleFiler is now available, and it includes a few bug fixes, and several improvements, including:

"Combined the three system services into one, which detects whether it was invoke with a file, text, or URL(s). The keyboard shortcut can now be configured using System Preferences rather than a separate utility."

Which I love, thank you, thank you.


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