Oh, I miss my old CD/DVD catalogs so much… but I surely won’t tell you a single word about losing those together with most of my personal photos and a lot of my work, since I already did that a few times and, worst of all, each time I feel like something’s breaking inside me. Well, life goes on, so I should get over that unfortunate event, act as I should according to the lessons learned back then and… take some media management applications for spin once in a while, of course!
The piece of code under my scope today is called Smart CD Catalog Professional and, as usual, I’ll try to look through the bombastic name and see what’s really inside it…
According to the official mumbo-jumbo (full of spelling issues, if you ask me), Smart CD Catalog Professional works with Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/Windows 7, which is great. Its last version, 3.0, was released about a week ago, so this product gets constantly updated. Another white ball in the hat!
A Personal License of the program is priced at $29.95, with three additional types available: Home, Business, Small Office ($49.95/$39.95/$149.95). The trial version that I have here can be used for 30 days, but has some minor functional limitations (only one, in fact – some file names will be turned to “demo”) and each time you start it, a nag screen shows up. Well, I guess one can live with that for a few days, at least, since I don’t think you need 30 days to figure out if Smart CD Catalog Professional is what you need or not, right?
The setup package of this program has 6.1 MB in size and comes free from any evil thoughts: no toolbars and no spyware here! Installing Smart CD Catalog Professional 3 is as easy as can be, with about 29 MB of free disk space needed and no special requirements – if it runs Windows well, it will surely run this program well, too. Now, we know all there is to know about this part, so we can move to the next part – the interface – with a single click on that Finish button (the program will be automatically launched by default).
A few themes, a layout that’s pretty good, but doesn’t bring anything original, no multilanguage support, decent documentation and a few pretty bad toolbar icons. All in all, using Smart CD Catalog Professional should be pretty easy even for those who never used such a program. I guess that’s all here, so let’s move on…
In case you were wondering about this part, you should know that Smart CD Catalog Professional 3 can handle most of the devices you can connect to the computer, so you can add more than just CDs and DVDs to your catalog – why not add memory cards and Flash drives, as well? Sure, most people won’t ever need to store information about that kind of devices, but adding local folders to your catalog can prove to be quite useful.
Unfortunately, this program can’t import databases created using other similar tools, so if you’re planning to leave your old media management software, you should also keep in mind that you’ll have to rescan your entire collection and, for some of the people I know, this would take at least an entire weekend… from sunrise to sunset, and then some more!
Apart from just being able to add various types of media to your catalog, Smart CD Catalog Professional can also retrieve audio CD information, although sometimes it happens that you find anything you can think of, only not the track info for the CD you’re trying to add. Fortunately, this can’t be the blame of the program, but the online information server it uses , although some Search function inside the CDDB window would be a great addition to the current features set…
No matter how much time I will spend with this program, I don’t think there’s anything really special about it – it surely has categories, locations, contacts, password-protected access and a flexible report generator, it allows you to flag the items you loan, but it simply can’t match programs like Where Is It?, so I’ll just end this part here – just keep in mind that Smart CD Catalog Professional’s features may be enough for some people, they’re simply not enough for me.
Tips & Tricks
1. To keep the size of the database within decent values, sometimes it’s better to scan only the folders, without adding the files inside them to the catalog, too.
2. If you decide to get this program for your entire family, the Home License is the best choice.
3. Creating a HTML/CSV report is pretty easy – just select the category/location/contact you need, open the Tools menu, go to Export Data / Create Report and follow the steps of the wizard – it’s just as easy as that!
Smart CD Catalog Professional 3 is very easy to install and use, works with all Windows Vista/7 versions, its trial version doesn’t have any horrible/annoying limitations and, if you ever get in trouble, the documentation coming with the program should be able to help you out without any headache.
Unfortunately, the competition offers much more for about the same price, some of the graphics look pretty bad, most of the themes aren’t something to be crazy about, either and I’m afraid that a lot of work is needed to make this program an interesting choice.
It was nice to try Smart CD Catalog Professional 3, yet there’s nothing here to make me go “Wow, this is going to become my new media management tool!” and, worst of all, I think most people will agree with me. On the other hand, taking this program for a spin can’t hurt, especially if you’ve got nothing better to do…