Off-topic Personal Note: I’m on a 10-day holiday, so posting will be fairly light — meaning whenever I’m able to get wireless connectivity. On the other hand, you may have noticed for the past couple of weeks that most of the posting I’ve been doing has been once-every-three-to-four-day detailed reviews of good, useful applications (with subheadings!). For the next few weeks, at least after I get back I’m going to try the opposite which is to up the frequency and post daily, less-detailed writeups and cover a broader range of topics in this area. Of course, you’ll have your occasional top-to-bottom review when I find something good. I’m going through a conflict of focus right now and would love some thoughts and comments on the kind of stuff you like to read, so post your comments or e-mail away.
Squirl is a new Los Angeles/Portland-based startup which aims to bring together passionate hobbyists: anyone who collects books, records, movies, comic books, stamps, coins, and other things. Using Squirl, you can not only keep a track of your collections and manage a digital web-based database, but also meet similar to you, see what they collect and even track their collections through RSS feeds.
For starters, I just love the user interface. Yes, there are a few Web 2.0-cliches like big fonts, but they’re all there for a reason and add to its genuine feel. What I like is that after you’ve inputted your data, you get what’s been worth your time — a good eye-pleasing view of your collection with different styles (they currently give a birds-eye and a matrix of images) and the ability to sort them in different ways.
Adding data into Squirl is fairly easy. You can add five entries at once, one at a time, and so your database doesn’t turn out to be borning with just text everywhere attach images to them. If you feel a bit lazy to add all this data yourself, you can use its integration with Amazon to your advantage and add items with a single click (obviously, this won’t work for stamps and coins as such). Once you’ve made your collection what I like is that other users can comment on it and additionally you can change the template and styles so your stamp collection actually looks like one.
Although, the main reason someone would use Squirl as opposed to, say, tens of other collection-tracking apps is their ability to track and share. Something they’ve taken great care in incorporating is the feature to track collections using RSS and other tools. You can also share your (or others’ collections) and meet other people who collect the same things as you do and perhaps (using your own conventional method) do a trade between items.
In the end, Squirl serves a great niche audience and from the Web 2.0 point of view equips them with the most advanced things — perhaps some of which they might not even know about (which serves us, the geek crowd). Its ability to integrate with Amazon was one of the smoothest I’ve seen yet. It’s very likely a good crowd of collectors are going to adopt Squirl and use it on a regular basis, although don’t expect it to go anywhere near mainstream anytime soon.
[tags]Collectors, Hobbyists, Sid Yadav, Squirl[/tags]
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