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Review: aNobii for iPhone

Review: aNobii for iPhone

20091029-anobii

    aNobii.com

    is a cataloging and social networking website for booklovers. On aNobii you can catalog your book collection on a beautiful wooden shelf and meet people with similar reading tastes. aNobii has an international following with information on over 10 million books, including 200,000 book reviews spanning 15 languages.

    aNobii has just released an iphone app, and we’ve had a chance to try it out. The bottom line: this is the best iPhone app for booklovers we’ve seen so far.

    Let’s take a closer look at some of the features that set aNobii apart:

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    Barcode Scanning

    The barcode scanning feature is a major selling point. Rather than starting from scratch with their own system, aNobii has partnered with Barcode Monster, a startup that focuses on software that enables ordinary webcams to scan barcodes.

    The interface is intuitive. Click on the “Scan” button and you’ll go into camera mode, with a semi-transparent hint that helps you fit the barcode into the right spot. You don’t have to press any button; the app starts scanning automatically when your hand is steady (using iPhone’s accelerometer to detect movements), and stops when it recognizes a barcode. On our first try it took about 5 seconds. We quickly got the hang of it, though, and soon were averaging scans in about a second.

    barcode1
      barcode2
        One thing to note is that when it scans, it keeps making the standard shutter sound. aNobii’s explanation is that Apple does not allow real-time processing of video recording at the moment, so they have to resort to taking still pictures rapidly instead. If you are scanning a bunch of books, the shutter sound can get annoying. You can turn it off by muting your iPhone.

        Another caveat is that barcode scanning is only available to 3Gs users, probably because earlier models lack auto-focus. For those with a 3G or 2G phone, there’s a lite version that has the same features except barcode scanning.

        After a barcode is recognized, the cover and the title appears. Click on the cover to see the details of the book.

        Search

        search

          You can search for a book by entering the title, the ISBN, or by scanning its barcode. We’ve tried a dozen English titles from our office and aNobii has information for all of them.

          Book info

          details

            For each book, you can see reviews, basic details, and which online bookstores are selling it. Not every book we’ve tried had as many reviews as we would like, though. It would be more convenient if there are links to reviews from other websites as well.

            Wish List

            wishlist

              You can make a wish-list of books you want to read. This is a helpful reminder next time you visit a bookstore. This feature is simple and gets the job done.

              Shelf

              shelf

                Using your iPhone as a barcode scanner, you can build your collection quite quickly. While the wooden shelf looks very nice, there seems to be little need to have your collection in your pocket. On the other hand, your mobile shelf will sync with your shelf on the aNobii website, which is more useful as you can share your collection with friends and fellow booklovers.

                aNobii is $1.99 in the iTunes App Store.

                Pros

                • Barcode scanning is fast and easy
                • Intuitive interface to build your collection or wish list
                • Allows you to find reviews handily – great for shopping at bookstores
                • Work seamlessly with the website version (http://www.anobii.com)

                Cons

                • Barcode scanning is limited to 3Gs only (there’s a lite version for 3G and 2G)
                • Social network features available on website are not available on this iphone app

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                Leon Ho

                Founder of Lifehack

                Book summary: A Technique for Producing Ideas Finding Your Inside Time 10 Ways to Extend Laptop Battery Life Bob Parsons on His 16 Rules for Survival Free note taking templates and techniques

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                Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                1. Work on the small tasks.

                When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                2. Take a break from your work desk.

                Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                3. Upgrade yourself

                Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                4. Talk to a friend.

                Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                7. Read a book (or blog).

                The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                8. Have a quick nap.

                If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                9. Remember why you are doing this.

                Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                10. Find some competition.

                Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                11. Go exercise.

                Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                12. Take a good break.

                Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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