Oisin Hurley

Give Me (Cheap) Convenience, Or Give Me Death

Several years ago I catalogued all my paper books using the barcode scanning capabilities of the Goodreads app and it was a task. I wanted a handheld zapparoony thing so I could just bip my way through the piles and then upload, recognize and store titles, ISBNs, etc. No reviews or sharing, just fast maintenance of my own library of 500 or so books.

“To the internet!”, I cried, only to have my hopes dashed by the pricetags on the zapparoony things that were nudging up over the $200 mark. Far too much, so the project was abandoned.

Until now.

Thanks to the fabulous trove that is Ali Express, I picked this little yella fella up for the princely sum of $24. It’s 433Mhz wireless USB, is rechargeable, has an inventory mode wherein you can bip all day and then upload all the bippage at your leisure. And, the thing identifies as a keyboard! It basically writes to STDIN. In the photo there you will see an emacs window on the right with just numbers in it, these are the data from the scanner.

Next steps – automation. After a interlude of heavy bipping, I’ll need to upload all the numbers to somewhere, and have an automated process do the lookups to flesh out the details of the books. On the local machine I’ll write a wee app to do the grabbing of the STDIN and the upload to wherever the storage will occur.

All of this will happen in my copious spare time.