My CD Collection My Movie Collection My Game Collection Bernadette Peters Pics My MP3 Collection CD Collection: How It Works

My online CD database has a few parts..

  • Database Server
      In this case I'm just using a Mysql database on dbserv01, a machine on my private network that is only a database server.
  • Web Server
      You're on it. is an Apache web server configured for mod_perl and mod_gzip. Currently I'm not running the CD scripts under mod_perl because I don't really need the performance.
  • Barcode Scanner
      The most time-saving piece of the whole deal. I picked it up on eBay for $5. Yeah, $5. It's a Symbol LT-1820, made in 1997. It had a DB25 output which I attached a DB25-DB9 connector to. I also found out that it was set to transmit on the wrong pin, so I spliced pin 2 to pin 3. When I use it I just pull the power connector out of my Zip drive which provides a similiar enough voltage. I emailed the Symbol tech support team in order to get the "book of codes", the barcodes to program the scanner for baud rate, parity, etc. They actually emailed me back within an hour or so.
  • Serial Port Watcher
      A Perl script which I run when I want to scan barcodes. The program will watch the serial port the scanner is attached for new UPCs, and then call CDCollection::ProcessUPC which is from a package of functions for this project. That subroutine uses the LWP module to ask websites for information about the UPC. Generally it can find the title, artist, release date and track listing.
      For lack of a more interesting name, this is the main library that drives all my websites. It provides me with an easy to use API to the database server, web templates and other generic functions.
    The basic gist is I plug in the scanner to the serial port and power it up using the zip drive's power supply. I then run the serial port watcher program, which takes UPCs and looks them up. If the CD doesn't have a UPC I enter the data manually via the website. If the CD has a UPC but isn't readable to the scanner, I can manually input the UPC on the site and the system will make the same call as if it had been scanned.

    Project details:
      Cost: ~$12 (scanner plus shipping. I already had the cabling)
      Time: ~1 hour to splice the wires (I'm not too good at that), ~1 hour to write a basic website and scanner program. Many hours to pull all the CDs off the rack and actually scan them.
      I'd like to be able to cheaply take the list with me. I found a device at Kohl's (it's a department store) which is a very boiled down palm pilot. It was $12 (75% off), has 32K of RAM and a serial port adapter. I'm thinking maybe I can input the CD list into the telephone book. Cut off the first digit and the checksum digit of the UPC and it should be a close fit.

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