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DVD collection catalogued into compact sleeves

Our DVD collection had long since overtaken the available shelf space, with cases piled up on the top shelf. Hardly an attractive look for the living room. Some while ago I bought compact sleeves from Samba Tech Limited into which I planned to transfer the DVDs. But first I needed to catalogue them, as with no visible spines finding individual films would be a challenge. Fortunately, I had been maintaining a database of the films using the superb Collectorz software, so it was simply a matter of deciding on categories and indexing the individual discs accordingly. I say simply, but in fact it turned out to be quite time consuming.

With a total of 511 recorded entries you will not be surprised to learn that there were a few errors in the data. A couple of DVDs had seemingly gone missing, probably lent out and never returned, while there were a number that I had omitted to add to the database when they were purchased. I decided that I should create a fair number of categories and limit the number of discs in each. Without visible spines, I needed to file them alphabetically, but not as one single collection. I therefore created categories with no more than about 60 DVDs in each. It has worked out very well, and because of the respective numbers in each section, it has been possible to retain the original cases for some DVDs, especially those containing two discs or with special cases.

You can buy folders that each house about 25 sleeves, but this adds to the cost and in our case would have used up the valuable space that we were trying to recover. As it is, the sleeves on their own, when viewed as a group, appear almost like a blank black space on the shelves between those DVDs that I've retained in their cases. The effect is quite aesthetically acceptable.

DVD collection

I can now use the iOS app version of the Collectorz software to look-up individual DVDs, but I've also created a paper listing by exporting the database into Excel, which has allowed me to customise the document to my own requirements, rather than just printing from the Collectorz database. There were a couple of hitches in doing this, the first being that accented characters (in French film titles) didn't appear correctly when the exported text document was opened in Excel 2016 for Mac. I resolved this problem by first opening the raw exported text document in TextEdit and then opting to 'Save As', while changing the Plain text Encoding to Western (Mac OS Roman) in the 'Save As' options. The second was to be careful not to re-sort by title while in Excel. The Collectorz database ignores the words 'A' or 'The' at the beginning of a title when sorting, whereas Excel doesn't. It's fine to sort on other fields, but not on the titles, which has allowed me to create a second listing based on category.

All in all a very satisfactory outcome.

Mercedes Me - It's finally working

Mercedes Me allows you to communicate with your car, offering a range of services, some free and some requiring a subscription. I registered for Me when I got the car but all attempts to get the iPhone app to connect failed, with a message saying that the vehicle hadn't been activated and that I should visit the web portal to do this; but the web portal showed the car activated, thus getting me nowhere. The dealership wasn't much help and for a while I had decided just not to bother, but recently I thought I would have another try.

I thought that if I bought one of the subscription packages this might kick-start the service. I chose the 'Remote Retrieval of Vehicle Status', as this seemed the most useful, but this little ploy didn't make any difference. Having paid out money a call to customer services was now unavoidable, where I spoke to a very helpful women in the Netherlands who agreed that something wasn't quite right and said she would refer the matter to the technical people and get back to me. This she duly did, advising me that there had been a back-server problem, which I guess means that my car for some reason wasn't communicating with base, or perhaps base wasn't communicating with me. Whatever, my Me is now operative.

I can now view vehicle status information on the web portal:

Mercedes Me web portal

Or the iPhone app, which provides similar data and also has the ability to open and close the car doors.

Mercedes Me - iPhone app

Is all this necessary you may ask. Well, obviously not, but if you're of a technical bent and like this sort of thing, it is of course indispensable!

CropSize - image editing app

These days I tend not to travel with my Apple MacBook and instead try to do everything on my iPad. This has limitations but I've worked around most of them. However, one thing I hadn't been able to do was resize images, as even the popular Snapseed app doesn't offer this option. I've now found CropSize, which offers resizing, cropping and effects. There were no reviews at the App Store so I took a gamble and paid my £3.99.

This app is really well presented and offers great flexibility with intuitive and novel controls. There are both preset and custom resizing and cropping options, while the effects can be selected from thumbnails with each having slide of switch controls.

It's worth a try if you need to edit images on an iPad.

CropSize - Photo Resize & Crop to Exact Image Size by Khutarshchykau A



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