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Thread: Pen Database

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    Member Heliotrope's Avatar
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    Default Pen Database

    Hello, everyone!
    My pen collection is ever growing, and I'm trying to find a database to keep me organized. I started using a free application that I found at FPN. But I haven't been able to make it print to paper without being truncated. I see from the posts that others have had the same problem, but I didn't see a solution. I' like to be able to print out a handbook of my collection, preferably with pictures, as well as keep notes about purchase, repairs, inks to avoid in certain pens, etc.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Thanks!


  2. #2
    Senior Member caribbean_skye's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pen Database

    I'm in the same boat as you, so I hope you get some information that can benefit us all.

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    Senior Member carlos.q's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pen Database

    If you are a Macintosh user you can try Bento.

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    Senior Member peterpen53's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pen Database

    It would depend a bit on how computer-savvy you are. When I was using a Windows-PC, I built something in MS Access myself that worked quite well (for me). This was over when I changed to the Mac and I made do with first an Excel and later a Numbers spreadsheet (Numbers is Mac-only). Depending on your requirements, this can work very well, without some of the nice benefits of a real database.
    The application you have is probably the FileMaker application available from FPN. This is a nice application but does not seem to be updated anymore and it does not play nice with the most recent operating systems, as you have discovered. You could of course get a new FileMaker version, which (correct me if I'm wrong) is available for both the Mac and Windows, but it is a professional application and therefore very expensive for home use, in my view.
    Another solution for Windows could be the database application in the OpenOffice suite, which is open-source and free, but I very quickly gave up in my first try so I don't know how this works at all.
    If you're on a Mac or an iPad, you could try Bento, which I'm planning to install very shortly. The Mac application is by no means free but much cheaper than FileMaker (it's made by the same developers) and is typically a database for home or home-office use. It looks great, is fairly simple to get your head around and it would allow to include pictures and so on if you want that. Should you have your data in an Excel spreadsheet, it will import from it. Bento's iPad app is again cheaper than the Mac app, but fairly compatible in functionality. For printing you would need an AirPrint compatible printer, though.
    I probably confused you more than anything else, but still, HTH.


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    Senior Member caribbean_skye's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pen Database

    Quote Originally Posted by peterpen53 View Post
    It would depend a bit on how computer-savvy you are. <snip>
    Another solution for Windows could be the database application in the OpenOffice suite, which is open-source and free, but I very quickly gave up in my first try so I don't know how this works at all.
    I'm fairly computer savvy and lets just say that the OpenOffice suite (I use their word processor and spreadsheet a lot) database is quite unfriendly and I have yet to figure out why it keeps returning an error when it shouldn't. AFAIK an access database *should* be able to be opened with OO so I'm quite tempted to make use of the public library's computers and create my database there. Thanks for the suggestion of Bento, I may download a trial copy and go from there.

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    Default Re: Pen Database

    http://www.penventory.com/

    I just found this today.
    Last edited by sloegin; May 31st, 2013 at 06:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Pen Database

    Spread sheets are way easier. Excel or Google Docs. With Google Docs, you have access to your data from any smart device or computer.
    --------------------------------
    I am but a simple caveman.

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    Default Re: Pen Database

    I use Excel and keep the data file on Skydrive I can access it from anywhere. This has been quite convenient as I can check details on my collection from a show to make sure I remember what I have and what I paid. I have pictures stored in a folder on Skydrive as well that are hyperlinked from the Excel doc so I can quickly see the pens I have as well.
    Amos

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    Senior Member Frank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pen Database

    I am quite happy with jonro's Fountain Pen Inventory Program!
    I have been using it for years!
    I would suggest contacting him directly if you need any specific help/advice.

    Regards,
    Frank
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    Member Heliotrope's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pen Database

    Wow, thanks, everyone! You have all given me a lot to think about. I made a list of your ideas as I was reading. Here it is in no particular order:

    1) MS Access
    2) Excel (can be paired with Skydrive)
    3) FileMaker (upgrade or perhaps contact Jonro)
    4) Open Office Database
    5) Google Docs
    6) Bento (for Mac & iPad)
    7) Number (for Mac)
    8) www.penventory.com

    I wouldn't call myself computer-savvy, but I can generally figure things out. I have an iPad, and I run Windows 7 at home.

    Peterpan, the application that I have is indeed FileMaker. I looked at upgrading, but I agree that the cost is too high, as least until I have eliminated other leads. Thanks for all of your ideas! I appreciate the variety of options.

    Frank, I had not thought to contact Jonro, as I don't want to bother him. It looked like he was perhaps snowed under with requests and suggestions at one time, and I didn't want to inconvenience him any further for his generosity. It just seemed as if the free application wasn't designed for what I want to do.

    It's going to be fun looking at these options more closely over the next several days! You are all the greatest!
    Last edited by Heliotrope; June 1st, 2013 at 06:39 AM. Reason: edited typo in url

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    Senior Member peterpen53's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pen Database

    Just for the sake of completeness, there is also a Bento app for iPhone. It may not be working very well with large databases due to memory limitations on the device itself, and to be honest, I don't see myself toting around my pen database on a phone. But if it's your thing...
    If you have Bento on a Mac and your iPhone/iPad, it will sync across all devices over your Wi-Fi (not through iCloud or Dropbox).

    In addition to the templates included with the software, on the Bento website there is a catalogue of user-developed templates that can be downloaded. You should be able to find something there, suitable for a collector, and that you could modify.
    Last edited by peterpen53; June 1st, 2013 at 05:20 AM.


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    Default Re: Pen Database

    Thanks, peterpan!

    Here's the complete list as of 6/1/13:

    1) MS Access
    2) Excel (can be paired with Skydrive)
    3) FileMaker (upgrade or perhaps contact Jonro)
    4) Open Office Database
    5) Google Docs
    6) Bento (for Mac, iPad, iPhone)
    7) Numbers (for Mac)
    8) www.penventory.com
    Last edited by Heliotrope; June 1st, 2013 at 06:40 AM. Reason: edited typo in url

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    Default Re: Pen Database

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank View Post
    I am quite happy with jonro's Fountain Pen Inventory Program!
    I have been using it for years!
    I would suggest contacting him directly if you need any specific help/advice.

    Regards,
    Frank
    Same here. It works well for using Windows 7.
    ... Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working [Pablo Picasso] ...

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    Member Heliotrope's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pen Database

    Quote Originally Posted by cedargirl View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank View Post
    I am quite happy with jonro's Fountain Pen Inventory Program!
    I have been using it for years!
    I would suggest contacting him directly if you need any specific help/advice.

    Regards,
    Frank
    Same here. It works well for using Windows 7.
    I also think that it works great, but I can't print to paper without most of the information getting cut off or truncated. I see on the forum that others have the same problem. It seems to be intended for electronic use primarily. Of course, it is entirely possible that I'm missing something.

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    Default Re: Pen Database

    Jonro did a great job with his database, and I thank him for that.

    But, for me, I really want to tweak it -- e.g. it's a FileMaker database and FileMaker has an iPad (and iPhone) app that will work, but Jonro's database won't work completely without tweaking it... and Jonro won't unlock his database to let people tweak it (because he doesn't want people to get access to his source code).

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    Senior Member cedargirl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pen Database

    Quote Originally Posted by Heliotrope View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by cedargirl View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank View Post
    I am quite happy with jonro's Fountain Pen Inventory Program!
    I have been using it for years!
    I would suggest contacting him directly if you need any specific help/advice.

    Regards,
    Frank
    Same here. It works well for using Windows 7.
    I also think that it works great, but I can't print to paper without most of the information getting cut off or truncated. I see on the forum that others have the same problem. It seems to be intended for electronic use primarily. Of course, it is entirely possible that I'm missing something.
    I have never printed it direct from the display screen, but it is possible to export the data to various spreadsheets and database formats. That's the only way I have printed it. Doing this, you can select the fields to print and you can format it however you want.
    ... Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working [Pablo Picasso] ...

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    Default Re: Pen Database

    Quote Originally Posted by cedargirl View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Heliotrope View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by cedargirl View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank View Post
    I am quite happy with jonro's Fountain Pen Inventory Program!
    I have been using it for years!
    I would suggest contacting him directly if you need any specific help/advice.

    Regards,
    Frank
    Same here. It works well for using Windows 7.
    I also think that it works great, but I can't print to paper without most of the information getting cut off or truncated. I see on the forum that others have the same problem. It seems to be intended for electronic use primarily. Of course, it is entirely possible that I'm missing something.
    I have never printed it direct from the display screen, but it is possible to export the data to various spreadsheets and database formats. That's the only way I have printed it. Doing this, you can select the fields to print and you can format it however you want.
    Thanks, cedargirl!
    I'll have to try that next time I have some time at my home computer.

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    FPG Donor ♕ KrazyIvan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pen Database

    Check with your homeowners insurance company. Some have home inventory apps that are designed to keep track of stuff like this plus make it easy to enter info like reciepts and pictures.
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    Default Re: Pen Database

    I do something a little different. I use Evernote.

    I have an evernote folder for my collection and my want list. When I get a pen it moves from want to collection. Each pen has its own evernote document (clipped from websites, or wherever I find the pen) with pictures/information/price/name/etc. Great way to keep lots of information about a pen, amend as needed.
    ---
    Current pen rotation: way too many!

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pen Database

    Quote Originally Posted by tandaina View Post
    I do something a little different. I use Evernote.
    That's a clever use of the site/app. The Achille's heel, of course, is if Evernote ever evaporates. It's been know to happen in the Internet age...
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