Products & Reviews
Socket OrganizeIT Suite
Mon Apr 11, 2005 - 6:54 PM EDT - By
Table of Contents
> Overview Conclusion
Overview The Socket OrganizeIT Suite is designed to keep your music and video libraries organized. The muscle of the suite is the SDIO In-Hand Scan Card: a mini barcode scanner that slips into the top of the Treo. The brains are the included database software on both the Palm Mobile Device and Windows PC.
Setup is a bit of a chore because you need to download the most current drivers and software from the Socket Communications' website. Alas, the box claims compatibility with the Treo 650, but if you install the included drivers from the CD-ROM youll end up in an infamous Treo reset loop as soon as you try to save a scanned record. The newer drivers and software on the website eliminate this bug.
The driver software installs a file on the handheld that needs to be run from the Palm. Then the driver is installed. There is a separate download for the updated database files. Once unzipped, you have to find them on your hard drive, click on them so they will also be loaded. Finally you are ready to go.
At the heart of the system is the SDIO In-Hand Scan Card. This slips right into the card slot at the top of the Treo and the scanner, about as thick as a pack of gum and the size of a quarter. Its a bit unnerving to have a device worth almost three hundred bucks in such a small package. It could easily get lost, stepped on, and crushed in many imaginative ways. I was surprised that I didnt receive some sort of hard carry case with it, and youll want to find something inventive to store the device.
The setup software on the Treo allows you to easily enable or disable the device. You can also configure it to use a particular button to trigger the scan. There is a Symbologies setup page on your device for more advanced users who want the scanner to recognize variations on UPC code standards such as UPC E, EAN 8 and 14 other code variants.
Im sure that there is an old adage: hardware is only as good as the software that runs on it. The OrganizeIT Suite adds thirty dollars to the price of purchasing the bar code scanner alone. It is is a database application that organizes your DVDs, CDs and VHS tapes. The scanning procedure is simple. Start up the video or CD application on the Treo and an inelegant screen pops up. Select a new record, and then click on the button you have assigned to the scanner and point it at the barcode. When successful, you are rewarded with a cool zapping sound. Like all scanners, you have to get the angle right, which for this scanner only takes a few practice tries. It also scans through shrink wrap with no problem.
The UPC code is scanned into the record with all of the other fields for the database left blank. When you sync the UPC is scanned into the corresponding application on the PC Video or Music. This is another basic database program on the PC. Change the !No Title to a barcode number and then click on the search button. In just a few seconds, some fields of the database are filled in. Most importantly the title of the film, Format, Director, release date, and price. The website listed is Amazon. One of the first titles I scanned was my documentary 2000 Miles to Maine: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail and all of the information came over without a hitch.
It appears that the information for the database is being pulled from Amazon when I would expect it to import in from the more comprehensive Internet Movie Database (IMDB). However, fields for Description, Genre, Leads and many more are available and can be manually filled. As in any standard database, results can be filtered, sorted and searched. Since the information is limited, this is not powerful unless you are willing to do the grunt work of filling in more fields.
If you want to manage comprehensive information about your movie collection, there will be a lot of manual input. However, if your main goal is to get a simple list of movies and CDs on your Treo, the scanner works. Using the batch scan feature, I scanned 61 DVD titles in just a few minutes. However, since I didnt read the manual, I left the application open on the Treo and the PC and nothing was imported correctly. I had to rescan, close the application while I used HotSync and then all was fine.
There are certain films it will not find. I have a boxed set of The Prisoner imported from England and since the UPC is not listed in Amazons US site, it was not recognized. Also, I have several Criterion Kurosawa DVDs that came in a slipcase which is now gone. The DVD cases do not have separate bar codes, so I seem to be out of luck.
The CD database program is similar to the video application. Once you scan the records, simply sync the device and search for the titles from within the application. Again, only a few fields are populated such as artist, name of CD, release date, and cost. The writers of the software have included other fields such as label, genre, and length but it is frustrating that the software does not retrieve this information.
Furthermore, the software theoretically has the ability to pull information directly from the internet into a Palm device however this functionality was not working. I got the error message no Internet connection found My guess is that this feature only works with Pocket PCs. Also, the scanner will not work with all Pocket PCs or Palm devices. There is a current list of compatible hardware on the Socket site and on the box.
The database software on the PC for the CDs seemed buggier than the DVD database for some reason. Some CD titles were not found and one or two caused the program to stop responding. Also, I could not use the search all function like I could in the video application.
Finally, there is included barcode labeling software so you can create unique barcodes for items without them. Choose a starting number, a bar code format, and correct Avery label and you can be printing quickly.
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