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When I opened the box with two samples of the new $16 discHub disc storage product (4 mice), my first reaction was "I can't imagine really needing one of these." It just seemed so, well, rudimentary -- a plastic holder for discs. After all, I had cases in which I could store all my discs. So I set the two discHubs aside and got back to work.

But over the next couple days, I noticed something: My desk had a bunch of loose discs sitting around -- software install CDs, music CDs, blank discs. There were discs I was using and didn't want to "put away" just yet; CDs I had taken out to rip; and data CDs and DVDs for which I hadn't yet created cases. I realized that I was always saying to myself, "I should keep these in the cases so they don't get scratched," but never bothered, either because I wanted to keep them handy or because I was busy (or maybe just a little lazy).

So I decided to give the discHub a try. I stuck the 8 or 9 loose discs into the discHub (it holds 11), and that was when I realized that not only was the discHub a good idea, but that the company got the implementation right: The neoprene membranes lining each slot did a good job of holding the discs securely without scratching them, while the staggered slots themselves made it easy to see and grab any disc.

The next day I walked past our entertainment center in the family room and realized that loose discs aren't just a problem in my office. If there's already a disc in the stereo when a family member wants to listen to a CD or watch a movie, we often put the current disc on top of the entertainment center, make a mental note to put it away "later," and promptly forget to do so. The end result is a stack of discs searching for a home. So I took the other discHub and placed it on top of the entertainment center. It was an immediate hit -- those CDs and DVDs are still out of their cases, but now they're safe from scratches and easy to find.

The discHub is one of those things I never knew I needed until I used it. It's an extremely simple device, but I've found it to be extremely useful. I'm hooked.

The discHub is currently available in translucent blue, translucent green, and clear, as well as a solid white. (If you decide to join the NetFlix DVD rental service from the discHub website, you can get a discHub for free with your paid NetFlix subscription.)

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