I have a problem with developing attachments to the books, movies, games, and other media that I enjoy. For example, after I finished playing the new Prince of Persia title via rental, I enjoyed it so much that I went out and bought my own copy, even though I knew I would be unlikely to play the game again for at least a year.
This is wasteful in a lot of ways. The media takes up unnecessary space, and makes moving from one place to another more difficult; the last time I moved, easily 3/4 the boxes contained media, primarily books which have especially low information-to-weight and information-to-volume ratios.
More importantly, my magpie habit uses up money, even though there are numerous free or inexpensive long-term rental services like NetFlix, GameFly, and my old favorite the US public library system.
I've decided to get around this by trying to transfer my sense of ownership from the item itself to the memory of the experience of enjoying it. So, I've been writing up reviews of all the games, movies, and books that I own, and also all those that I can remember enjoying in the past even if I don't currently own them. I want this "collection" to feel complete, so that I'm not tempted to go and spend $40 on some old SNES cartridge for the sake of posterity, or to buy any more books that I'm not actually expecting to read often enough or on short notice enough to offset the tiny cost of going down to the library and checking it out when needed.
I've been trying to look around for some computer application or net service that can help me do this, but to my surprise, pickings have been pretty slim! The only one that seems vaguely close is blippr, which exhibits a number of good ideas:
- Keeps reviews limited to a very short length (140 characters), allowing me to write reviews more quickly by preventing me from descending into essay-length epic poems describing the many admirable qualities of The Blues Brothers or whatever.
- Allows you to add new media to the system, and update descriptions for existing media. It's particularly smart about finding box art for new items.
- I can easily see a list of the items I've reviewed, with thumbnail images of boxart, greatly contributing to the "this is my stuff" feeling that I'm aiming for. The fact that it's online, and so I could therefore give somebody a link to my list and "show off", also helps that feeling (though I'm unlikely to have any need to actually do that).
- Tracks items that I'm interested in looking at later, which is handy because I seem to get recommendations from friends at about 2 or 3 times the rate I can follow up.
These things are all great, but unfortunately blippr is badly marred by poor responsiveness and a terrible user interface design. It also seems as though development on it has effectively halted for the last year or so, and the source is unfortunately not available for me to contribute improvements myself. I've managed to review a couple hundred items anyways, but it took much longer than it should have, and I'm losing patience with its quirks fairly quickly.
My questions for y'all are:
- Has anyone else encountered this particular problem, and if so, have you found a good way to work around it?
- Are there any other services or apps that accomplish the same things as blippr, but without the problems?