III Inventory a great database download

First impressions

We were already somewhat familiar with this app, due to our use of its earlier PC incarnation a number of years ago. Unfortunately we had been burgled a couple of times in our former apartment, and after trying to describe (and draw) what had been stolen to the police, we realised we needed to set up a database of our belongings.

We had been pretty impressed with this software back in the day, as before Apple stock went through the roof and most apps were cheap or free, programmes could be pretty expensive.

This was a free download back then and it still is today. Although it clearly needs to be tweaked, tightened up and debugged a wee bit, it is still a very valuable tool, particularly as we enter Hurricane Season.

How it works

The Insurance Information Institute initially offered a program that would store information about your assets to have on file when necessary. Back then you had to take photographs with your digital camera and upload them, shot by shot, to your computer. Then you’d have to type in all the associated data. It was a time-consuming exercise, but well worth it.

The app they have now produced takes a lot of the work out of it, thanks to the wonder of new technology and cameras in phones.

First you create an account and then you start choosing rooms in your house to which you can add items and their pertinent details. For example, you can start with the living room and then take photos of your chair, couch, that favourite Lladro figurine, your flat screen TV… You type in what the item is, what it cost you, its category (e.g. Furniture) and where it’s located. You can also add a serial number if you’ve got it and the place where you purchased it.

As you add more and more to your database, you can then use the search options to find what you’ve entered by room or by category. You probably won’t realise how much stuff you’ve got until you start using this app.

It will probably take a while to get to it all, but once it’s all entered you’ve got it done and it’s a simple process to add more belongings as you accumulate them.

When we used it

There were some definite hiccups at the beginning. For starters we found that it did not like the Cayman Islands as a location, so we just chose a random place in the US. It doesn’t really matter about that piece of information, so we let it slide.

We also found that entering a username or password on an iPad sometimes brought up a vertical input screen with a horizontal keyboard layout. Awkward. On the plus side, it was much better on the iPhone, and as this was an easier device to use for taking photos, we simply decided to use that instead.

We put in our couch, table and entertainment centre at the start, and then went on to other big items. As much as we love our DVD collection of Seinfeld, we couldn’t be bothered to include it. We began to realise that this was an excellent exercise in getting to the bottom of what we treasured and what we didn’t. Maybe we needed a hoarder app…

Once we’d added a good number of our belongings, we logged out for a while. When we logged back in later there they all were! Categorized, easy-to-find and with all their information clearly displayed. Despite the small issues we’d had in the setup phase, the rest seemed to be going fairly smoothly.

We didn’t wish for a hurricane to test its worth, but we were glad we had everything ready just in case.

Final thoughts

As mentioned at the beginning of this review, it does have some bugs that need to be worked out, but if you can get past them, it is a terrific and important tool to have at your disposal. Whether you’re unfortunate enough to lose some of your possessions to a hurricane or burglar, having a database such as this at your fingertips could make recovering them a whole lot easier.

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