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Sunday, July 28, 2002

Technology

Media storage system a quick and easy way to organize CDs
Gizmos

By James Cummings
Cox News Service

DAYTON, Ohio _ First there were compact discs for music, then CD ROMs for computers, then game consoles with game software on discs, and now there are movies on DVD and all sorts of recordable digital discs.

As the population of discs scattered around the house increases, the hassle of storing discs increases as well.

KDS USA, a California-based computer peripheral company, offers a solution that is not exactly sophisticated, but it's affordable and easy to use.

The PC Controlled CD Organizer holds up to 75 discs of various kinds and lets your computer memory keep track of them.

Each disc is stored in its own slender tray that slides in and out of the body of the organizer. To retrieve a disc you simply call up the CD Organizer program and double click on the name of the disc in a list that the program displays.

Some high-tech media storage systems use elaborate transport systems to organize music or movie collections. They are linked to online databases that store CD cover images and other information so it's easy to keep track not only of your CDs, but of each individual selection on them.

The CD Organizer is more middle tech than that. It interfaces with your computer, but there are no fancy graphics or database connections involved.

The CD Organizer connects to the computer using a USB link. Once the storage unit is plugged into a power supply, the user installs the software that comes with it. The installation of a sample unit took about five minutes, including loading the software.

To store a disc, the user calls up the CD Organizer program and inserts a disc into the computer's CD ROM drive. If the CD ROM drive can read the disc, it automatically adds the name of the disc to the list in the CD Organizer program and opens a corresponding drawer in the storage unit for the disc to be placed.

If the CD ROM drive can't read the disc, the user can manually type in the name of the disc and other identifiers. In the trial, the titles for computer software discs always loaded automatically, but the names of music CDs and Play Station 2 games had to be typed in.

Retrieving discs from the storage unit is quick and easy. If you don't want to look through the list to find a disc by name, you can also search by disc type or search by any of the words you have entered as a disc description.

You can retrieve a disc by entering its tray number on a number pad on top of the storage unit.

The CD Organizer also has a disc lending feature. If you remove a disc from the storage unit to loan to someone, you can enter a date when the disc is to return and the CD Organizer program will remind you if the disc is late coming back.

KDS says that up to 126 more storage units can be linked together using USB hubs to create a system that holds 9,500 discs, all catalogued through the same software interface.

The storage unit is 20.5 inches high, 7.7 inches wide and 11 inches deep, and it weighs about 12 pounds.

It can be purchased online direct from KDS USA for $139 at www.kdsusa.com. It's also available through CompUSA and Micro Center, which has outlets in Cincinnati and Columbus.

For more information on the product, visit www.kdsusa.com.

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