I've been wanting to catalog my DVD collection for a while. I've been dreading it, because frankly, I have a lot of DVDs, and entering in all of that information is a daunting task, the kind of thing that you hire interns for-- well, that and making coffee, and backroom sexual favors.
Anyway, a few weeks ago, romeoa mentioned an application for the iPhone that would catalog DVDs just by pointing your iPhone at the barcode, and it sounded like a nifty thing.
Of course, I don't have an iPhone. And I don't have a (working up-to-date) Mac. Of course, there has to be something similar for Windows XP.
Turns out, there are a few apps that do this. And you don't need to phone it in, you need a barcode scanner, or your webcam. Or you can enter the UPC codes
Unfortunately, my webcam has a fixed focus, and can't read the barcodes. I could probably fiddle with some optics, but I don't have any on-hand, and I like my webcam where it is.
The obvious solution is to get a barcode scanner. They shouldn't be that expensive, right?
Then I think of the basement full of salvaged parts from laser printers and scanners and the like, and I start thinking of what it would take to build my own barcode scanner.
I have laser scanning modules, visible laser diode modules, and the like. I'd need to design some relatively simple circuitry to demodulate the beam, and some programming skillz to take the modulated data and decode it into barcode data, and another piece to pretend to be a USB keyboard.
Yes, it would be a shitload of work. And it would probably take me longer to design and build the scanner than it would to enter all of the data in manually. And I already have enough projects in my queue to keep me busy for quite some time.