As far as the timeline of technology goes, the humble barcode is so ancient that it's got whiskers on it. Barcodes are a simple technology using printed stripes that are scanned by a basic LED scanner, which converts the contrasting bars into a series of numbers. The number scanned then becomes a look-up for a database engine.

You'll notice that barcodes can appear on everything from baked beans to CDs and DVD... and that's where they come in useful for those of us who have a Mac.

In order to use the software to its maximum efficiency, you need a barcode reader that enters your stock into the application really quickly, so that the program can then go off and ferret around in the internet in order to retrieve useful information such as track listings, price, release date and many more obscure facts.

Enter the Lindy barcode scanner: a realistically priced scanning gun that can turn almost any type of barcode into a string of numbers for entry into a database. Unlike the cheaper pen-style barcode wands that need to be stroked across a barcode, the Lindy gun simply requires a press on its trigger button and it then translates the scan into a number and passes the data down its USB cable straight into the application that's open on your Mac; this can be a word processor, a spreadsheet or a database.

The barcode scanner doesn't care what it passes the information to any more than a keyboard cares what characters you type. It really is very simple technology. And because the technology is simple, that makes it very reliable. We tried the reader on a range of barcodes and couldn't fox it at all.

A very fast way of cataloguing your CD/DVD/book collection. Mark Sparrow