685 words on Software
Last year, I took a first look at Delicious Library, the pretty media filing application for your Mac. Back then I wasn’t too impressed. Their web site sucked (and still sucks). And the application did as well – by being glacially slow and US-centric. But that remained an unfortunate conclusion to draw. Particularly as the idea of being able to carry around a neatly filed index of all the stuff in my shelves that makes moving a pain is one I quite like.
So, more than half a year, half a version number and a number of Apple design awards later, I decided to give the app another try. And there are improvements. Other countries than the U.S. seem to exist after all – a few other countries that is – the speed might be better (I’m not entirely sure of that as I’m also running a different OS version now and didn’t do a side-by-side comparison, my ‘test’ also included only a few objects) but is still by far too slow. And everything else remains quite similar to the original version.
Localisations do exist now but at least the German one looks decidedly half-assed with English text appearing in places, text being cut off and the authors apparently not knowing that time formats need localisation as well (a.m./p.m. – WTF?!) – presumably because just the text and not the whole UI was localised and no testing was done. You can also choose which amazon store will be used to collect data from – where I had expected the app to just go and figure that out by itself. That said, the tight and overly enthusiastic dependance on amazon remains, giving you more amazon data and ® signs than you could possibly care for in the place where you’d expect the main details for an item. And it still bugs me that they offer me a single-click way to buy a CD I already own (it’s in my Library, huh!) but no way to play its songs in iTunes.
I can go on with many more little points. How restricting yourself to amazon means you’re out of luck when trying to get data or images for many items. How it’s nice that they recognise the existence of Vinyl in their graphics but how they fail to just grab the corresponding CD’s cover art when that for the vinyl doesn’t exist (i.e. the common situation for German amazon who don’t sell vinyl themselves). How the freaking app starts reading out the names of things you added to the Library in its default settings. Using the standard voices that can’t speak anything but English. How their Dashboard widget isn’t localised and didn’t work in one of the two times I tried it. How the app doesn’t work well with my selection colour. How they get the sizes of books wrong and display paperback books with hardcover graphics. How it’ll happily add duplicates to the Library for you (people might consider that a feature, but I’d like to be warned). How you’re one your own when wanting to add things from the pre-internet age. How you can add a CD to the library from the Books shelf and it will be added – but you can’t tell because it’ll only be displayed on the CD shelf and the app doesn’t switch after adding it. How there is no ‘Library’ to display everything you have.
It took me eight items and five minutes to run into all of those points. Some of them may seem minor but they aren’t. Good localisations are hard to do. But there’s no point in doing bad ones. Smirking at their wrong item sizes and cover displays may look like a cheap point. But what’s the point of having these if not to make items like they look for real so you can identify them more easily? If the CD or DVD is in ‘Digipack’ without shiny plastic around it, it shouldn’t look plasticy in the computer.
Is that really the best application design that Mac users can expect? Apple seem to think so.
While there is substantial improvement in 1.5 I also arrived at the conclusion that it’s not useful outside the US, yet.
Another little thing may be that, while there is a “series” field, it can not be used to display all items in a series.
At least for part of my shelve space I had alot of fun with http://dvdmanager.free.fr/
Received data seems to be invalid. The wanted file does probably not exist or the guys at last.fm changed something.