The PalmPilot has gained its popularity through its PIM functions. There are several
applications that address different aspects of these issues, datebooks being one of them.
This review focuses on a few datebook applications which can act as replacements for the
built in Palm Datebook.
Datebk3 by Pimlico Software, Inc.
provides a single interface to most of your scheduling needs. It offers much more than the
built in Agenda program, however, you pay for it in size. While 265K in size is no small
program for the Palm, it definitely is feature rich. Some of these features include
Todo’s, floating events, journals, and day-week-month-year-list views. Each item that you
schedule can have one of many built-in icons associated with it. This allows for easy
detection in views such as monthly and yearly. Now that you have some basic information on
whats included, lets take a look at some of the screens.
As you can see, there is an assortment of views available. There is even a Journaling
feature available which is essentially an untimed event. In terms of configuration, almost
everything can be configured to display or operate in the manner you like.
So what does Datebk3 offer over the standard Pilot Datebook? Well, too much to mention.
The major items to mention are the additional views, integrated todo and schedule,
floating todo’s, repeating events, and Journals.
Price: $20 (all profits go to the DeWar Wildlife Trust, Inc.)
Central location for todo’s and meetings
Journals cannot be automatically placed under a “Journal” category
No contact association
Cluttered user interface. Looking at the menus hurts my eyes with all the choices
Actioneer is not really a datebook replacement.
Rather, it is a productivity tool that adds value to your datebook of choice. It allows
you to action items and have them placed in one or more of the following sections,
Datebook, MemoPad, or Todo. As you enter an item, Actioneer identifies the keywords and
files the item into the sections associated with those kewords. When you install the
program, the categories in Memopad and Todo are automatically setup as keywords. Adding
additional keywords is done by choosing options and selecting keywords for either Todo or
MemoPad. You then need to select a category and associate a word with it. Further, the
installlation also sets your memo button as Actioneer and pressing it twice launches
The Actioneer screen is setup with space to enter your text on the left hand side and
buttons for Datebook, Address, Todo, and MemoPad on the right hand side. You can either
enter text such as “Call John Tomorrow” which will highlight the Datebook and
Todo buttons, or, you can select the buttons and choose the keywords without having to
enter any text. To do this, you select the Todo button which provides a list of keywords
with associated categories. I have the keyword “Call” associated with the
“Calls” category. Selecting the Call keyword enters it on the screen and will
file your entry into the Calls category under Todo. Next, we go to the Address book button
and select a contact which enters the contact name along with the number into the
Actioneer screen. Lastly, you can select the date under datebook and select a memo
category if you want to create a memo for the item also. In summary, depending on where
you want to file the item, you choose the appropriate application buttons.
Now that you have a procedure in place for using Actioneer, let’s look at some screen
shots for entering “call John”
1. Launch Screen
2. Enter Call John
3. Select Datebook and Choose Date
4. Select Memo and choose a category
5. OK everything and see if it was filed in MemoPad, Datebook, and Todo.
Look in memo Pad Look
Look in Todo
As you can see, we entered “Call John” and it was filed in 3 different
places. We could have even selected the contact form the address book button and had the
phone number entered.
Under the options menu you can configure the keywords and also configure what text is
entered into you apps. For example, if you write “Call John Tomorrow”, you want
your entry to read “Call John” in your agenda. This is referred to as keyword
Great filing capabilities
Reduces time required for entering action items
Cannot have the same keyword for Todo and MemoPad
Cannot associate a different memo application with the double pressing of
the memo button.
ActionNames from iambic Software should not really
be defined as a datebook application. Rather, it should be defined as a Contact Scheduler.
The main difference between ActionNames and any other PIM is the ability to link entries
to contacts. This adds tremendous functionality to its scheduling abilities. Further,
ActionNames also adds some additional views not available in the built in applications.
ActionNames integrates your Calls, todos, and meetings in one central application. From
here, you can schedule a new call, new todo, or new meeting. These are the basic
scheduling choices. To schedule any of these items, you select the New icon at the bottom
and choose the appropriate entry. Lets take a look at creating each new item.
The contact field allows quick-fill, reducing the amount of time sorting
Selecting “Phone” on the slip shows a list of available phone
numbers to choose from and places it in the 3 lines of description below. These lines can
also be used to enter additional text. If more space is required, you can choose the note
icon below which attaches a note to the item.
Log Item Contact Note
Now you can also log the item from the record menu. This is a great feature becuase it
takes the three lines of description text at the bottom of the slip, places a header date
field and files it under the notes for the contact. A great feature to log contact
activites. The only probelm with this feature is that you are limited to three lines of
text, it would have been nice if the text in the attached note were also copied into the
contact notes. Lastly, ActionNames will let you assign icons to these entries, however,
you can also select your own from a list of built in icons or even create your own.
Creating a new Todo has an almost identical slip to that for a new call, hence the
functionality is the same. A new Call is basically a todo which is automatically filed in
a “Calls” category under the todo section. With a standard Todo entry type, you
are given the option of what category to file the item under.
The new meeting slip is also very similar to the others. And like the others, it gives
you the option of attaching an alarm. As you can see in the screen shots below, the
logging of a call files the entry with “Call” in the contact notes and for a
meeting, the entry is filed with “Meeting” in the contact notes.
Meeting Slip Logged
meeting shown in Contact Notes
In terms of views, ActionNames offers a wide range of views. My personal favourite is
the Agenda because it splits your screen with a sizeable bar between Meetings and
Show Entries Week Week
As you can see, there are numerous views available. There is even multiple views for
each type (3 week views) making it pretty easy for any user to find one that they like. In
terms of configuration options, there is the standard choices available for what type of
entries are displayed, what time the day starts etc.
Ability to link contacts
Logging activities into the contact notes
Simple and easy to use interface
Cannot log activity note attachments
No contact event tracking abilities
Each of the applications above are really dedicated to different users. Datebk3 is
designed mainly for users who do not required the contact linking option while ActionNames
is for those who do. Thirdly, as a replacement agenda program, Actioneer does not quite
make it. I does not offer any views or any datebook options, it is merely an activity
entering tool. Personally, I like the ability to be able to log conversations and meeting
in the contact notes area with ActionNames rather than the journal feature of Datebk3. The
reason is that when you purge/archive entries like I do with Outlook, the Journal entries
you created will also be archived, unless you create a seperate category for them and do
not archive that category. Even if Datebk3 allowed to file all Journal entries into a
seperate category which is not purged, I still feel that the ActionNames solution is
better. Why? When you log multiple activites for the same contact, a history of dealings
with that contact can easily be seen in the contact notes section. Sure there will only be
three lines of text logged, however, I find it easier to view one list of events rather
than have to do a search for all entries with a contacts name.
|Price||Size||Journals||Meetings||Todo’s||Contact Linking||Categorize Records?|
|Actioneer||$14.95||186k||Yes with MemoPad||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|