When I was asked if I'd like to look at an innovative gadget that organises CDs and DVDs and tidies up the desktop, I was intrigued and had to say yes! The product in question is the Imation Disk Stakka - a device that holds 100 CDs in a carousel and allows access via a archived database. My initial thought was wow!!! All my CDs of pictures archived and easily accessible, nice idea. And then I wondered how big this was going to be! When the package arrived the size was instantly visible. It's big, but the space taken with the 100 CD's in their jewel cases is even bigger.
|With a foot print of around 34cm square it does take up a huge amount of desk space. At least your CDs can be stashed away neatly on a shelf or CD rack, and if you discard the jewel cases you'll reduce the space down into a very compact bundle. But this is one reason why the Disk Stakka has been introduced. If, like me, you have hundreds of CDs full of images and programs or utilities you soon lose track of what's on what and where, unless you are organised! The Disk Stakka aims to help resolve this problem. It also reduces the risk of the discs becoming damaged as you're slipping them in and out of the wallets.
I had the impression that there would be a reader built in that would help access files and save you having to remove a CD, but on unpacking, the weight of the product quickly removed any illusion that this was going to be a sophisticated item.
It's basically just a storage box with a powered rotating carousel and an ID tagging system. You insert a CD and it tags it to the carousel tray and database, so you can access this quickly in future using the provided OpdiTracker software.
Installation is very quick using XP. Insert and load the driver CD onto your computer, then plug the unit in and it starts the OpdiTracker software. When you insert a disk it asks you if you want to add it to the database, what you want the title to be and what sort of media it is. If you want to add the contents of the CD you have to insert it into your computer's CD tray and OpdiTracker adds this to the database. Once added you can search through the files using keywords in the disc title, content or comment. The more you include to help when adding CDs the better chance you'll have of finding content in the future. As the Disk Stakka cannot read the CDs you cannot look at thumbnails, so you have to go by the details you store in the database.
The Disk Stakka is designed so you can fit one on top of the other and connect them using one USB cable. A series of five metal coupling pins that provide the USB connection from one unit to the next are exposed and in danger of getting damaged. I'm surprised that a plastic cover isn't supplied to cover the pins when only one unit is being used. You can stack up to five units on top of each other to create a 500 disc tower. If you want more than five units you need to use two USB sockets connected to the PC via a powered USB hub.
Business users or professional photographers could invest in this system for a huge storage system as the total connection possibility is 100 towers of five giving a total capacity of 50,000 discs. You'd need whole office to store them though!
The software has a fe other tricks to mention. To help you locate files you could scan an index print of the contents of each CD and store that in the database. You can also print off a report of the disc title, type, status and which slot it's in as a disc inventory. And for those who share computers there's a password option to prevent unauthorised access to the disc database.
The DiskStakka is very easy to use and does keep your CDs safe inside. It's a bulky item to keep on your desktop and the contoured shape doesn't make it easy to store away. £100 is a lot to pay for a storage box, especially when we have access to some great cataloguing software for free, that lets you scan through thumbnails and highlight which disc the image is on. The disadvantage with this method is you have to be organised and careful with your discs and that's where the Disk Stakka will gain friends.
ePHOTOzine Test Jan 2005
In summary the main positive points of the Imation Disk Stakka are:
Safe storage of CDs.
CDs easy to retrieve
Powered by computer via USB cable
Negative points are:
Expensive for a more or less glorified case
Exposed coupling pins prone to damage
Windows XP, 2000 (SP4), ME, 98SE or Macintosh OS X (version 10.1 or higher)
Pentium II PV 500Mhz or Apple Mac G3 processor
32Mb RAM minimum
200Mb free disk space
USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 compliant port
CD or DVD drive for capturing data disc content
To buy on of these please go here