scott sievert

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SuperCat version3.01 allows you to catalogue, index and search your removable and ‘fixed’ disks; meaning your hard drive(s), floppies, ZIP, Jaz, LS-120 disks etc. In any cataloguing process, there are two key factors - time taken to index the media, and search time. In SuperCat, both of these excel.

We first came across this software in May 1998, and were extremely impressed by its speed and no-nonsense approach. The new version has a variety of useful features and improvements, yet still manages to retain its ease of use.

The software allows you to quickly and simply build up an index of all your media, and then search for a particular file. The index process is remarkably fast. We first tried it on a hard drive with 2.8 GB of data - a total of almost 32,000 files. The whole process took 46 seconds, and took up just over 2 MB of disk space. For more conventional use, such as removable media cataloguing, the amount of space taken up by the index files is truly negligible - an 80 MB ZIP disk took a mere 4 KB of space.

We also compared the file search capabilities with Mijenix’s PowerDesk Utilities and the standard Windows Explorer. We searched for all the TXT files on our hard drive - PowerDesk took 35 seconds, Explorer 28 seconds and SuperCat a mere 25 seconds.

Other useful features include the ability to find duplicate files, an internal unzipper, and a basic scheduler.

The software had a few restrictions and limitations. One of the main ones was with re-indexing media. To do this you have to right-click on the correct index within the catalog library; if you want to recatalogue all your zip disks (for example) it is actually quicker to delete all the old indexes and redo the whole lot. The software won’t recognise media and update it accordingly. Not being able to use wildcards in searching is also somewhat inconvenient, as is the inability to automatically eject ZIP disks after cataloguing, although it can do this with CDs.

In addition to this, the interface uses a two-window approach to displaying the contents of each media. Personally I would have preferred a simple explorer-type look. I found the new approach difficult to get used to, although this is merely a personal opinion. Two other small points in the interface - there is almost no ability to customise, and although the total disk size and free space is displayed, you have to work out the actual amount of space used. No big deal at all, but I would have preferred this information to the size of the index file being displayed.

The help file is a vast improvement on the original version; both thorough and well explained.

SuperCat is a powerful and fast way to catalogue your media, that excels in speed, ease of use, and the remarkably small amount of space that is needed. Our experience with catalogue programs is that there usually seems to be a compromise between speed and size - this program manages to combine both.