Thursday, December 23, 2010

All My Movies - A Review

No, this is not a review of my entire movie collection. This is a review of a nifty piece of software called All My Movies by Bolide Software. From the publisher's web site:
All My Movies™ is a personal movie database and intended for those who are tired of managing their movie collection manually or using difficult-to-use software programs. It is an easy-to-use DVD catalog program. You can use it to catalogue your personal collection of video files (AVI, MKV and other) Blu-rays, DVDs, CDs, VHS tapes, etc... You do not need to type all movie details; All My Movies™ will download all the details from the internet movie database automatically!
In the past, I created my own movie collection database using Microsoft Access. I put a lot of work into it and created fields for directors and actors and made the database searchable by these fields as well as by title, genre, etc.

The database worked well for my purposes but had two major flaws. The first, and perhaps the most annoying, was that every time Access was updated I had to make corrections to my code. When the need for tweaks became so pervasive that it would be easier to rebuild the database from scratch I gave it up. The second problem was that all of the information had to be entered manually. I spent a lot of time with IMDB on one monitor and my database on the other.

The first problem I solved by ditching the project. The second problem is something that All My Movies handles very well. As it states in the description, "All My Movies™ will download all the details from the internet movie database automatically!" (upon request, it can also search Amazon, blu-ray.com and a few other databases)

The first time I encountered All My Movies was as a Giveaway of the Day. The site, giveawayoftheday.com, features one program every day that a publisher has allowed them to give away. Once the 24-hour period is up, the program won't install and/or won't activate. If you have a hard drive crash you had better hope the program comes around again. The format of the program and the data collected is very similar to what I had put together for myself. It even includes cover art. The best feature of All My Movies, however, is the automatic lookup. Not only can you search by title but also by UPC (there's even a batch mode!). Yep, just punch in the numbers from the UPC and it will find your movie(s).

This was still limiting. It took a fair amount of work to gather a few movies, type in a UPC number, and look up the movie (lather, rinse, repeat). Writing down several numbers was a little less cumbersome but still only put a small dent in cataloging my collection with a half a day's effort. I have found a way around this.

Using the Red Laser app on my iPhone (free) I scan several barcodes and capture the movies, boxed sets, or TV series. I then email the list to myself and when I click the link the resulting web page lists the UPC number that I can then copy and paste into All My Movies for searching. It would be quicker if it just mailed me a list of the codes or included them with the description but I'll take what I can get.

Other notable features of All My Movies include multiple database support, searches by title, director, actor, studio, year, and a whole host of other criteria. Add your own screen shots. Keep track of the movies you've actually watched or create a wishlist. You can even keep track of who you've loaned your movies to.

There are a whole host of reports and statistics you can review and you can even export your database to an HTML file and list your movie collection on the web or just share it with friends.

Summary: All My Movies is an easy-to-use and robust application for cataloging your movie collection. The only limitation I have found is with TV series and collections. It didn't handle the Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy Blu-ray set too well and you have to do a little bit of pruning for an individual season of a TV series. The price is a little steep at $44.95 for a single-user license but now that I've figured out how to use my iPhone to collect the UPC numbers I'm seriously considering shelling out the cash. If you want to try it out, there is a 30-day trial available for free.

Bolide software also publishes All My Books, and All My Software.

UPDATE: I discovered this morning that if you put Red Laser into multiple mode (there is a switch at the bottom of the scan screen) you end up with a list of UPC numbers... just what I was looking for.

1 comment:

tom-the-impaler said...

Nifty! I may try this one since I have a HUGE collection