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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

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                Last Updated on March 31, 2020

                Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

                Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

                Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

                Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

                There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

                Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

                Why We Procrastinate After All?

                We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

                Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

                Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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                To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

                If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

                Is Procrastination Bad?

                Yes it is.

                Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

                Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

                Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

                It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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                The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

                Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

                For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

                A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

                Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

                Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

                How Bad Procrastination Can Be

                Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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                After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

                One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

                That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

                Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

                In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

                You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

                More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article: 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

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                Procrastination, a Technical Failure

                Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

                It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

                It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

                Learn more about how to fix your procrastination problem here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

                Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

                Reference

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