Friday, January 1, 1999

Datebk3 pushes Date Book into the future


By Jeff Carlson

When was the last time you saw a silent movie in a theater? It's likely you haven't seen one in years, or maybe never. Although the old "moving pictures" are entertaining and often fascinating to watch, today's movies offer much more than their black-and-white predecessors. With vibrant color, wider screens, and THX-enhanced sound, how can we possibly go back to the film style of a century ago?

A similar progression is happening on the Palm platform with the Date Book application. Although useful and solid from the moment you turn on your Palm device, the built-in Date Book can feel like one of those old movies after you've installed Pimlico Software's Datebk3, a $20 shareware add-on program with more features than you can shake a stylus at. Datebk3 adds functionality that should have been included in Date Book, such as categories and enhanced calendar views, while also packing in items that will complement your existing time management system, like scheduled To Do items and floating events.

As powerful as Datebk3 appears to be, keep in mind that it's not a direct replacement for the Date Book application. Instead, Datebk3 relies on Date Book's database to store your appointments, adding its own features by sitting on top of Date Book. Any special features introduced by Datebk3 are held in a separate database tied to the original. This way, your information is synchronized with your Windows PC or Macintosh without requiring additional conduits or desktop software.

It's also important to know up front that Datebk3 is one of the larger applications available for the Palm organizer, taking up 247K; for Pilot or PalmPilot Personal owners, previous versions of Datebk3 are available that require less memory to run.

That said, if you can spare the memory, download and install the latest version (currently 3.0f, though it may be updated by the time you read this, as the author is good about releasing bug fixes and responding to user feedback). Then follow along as we tour some of Datebk3's impressive features.

I recommend setting Datebk3 as the application that's activated by pressing the plastic Date Book button on the front of your Palm computer: go to the Prefs application on your Palm device, and choose Buttons from the popup menu in the upper right corner of the screen. Tap the pop-up menu next to the Date Book icon (the first one on the left), and select Datebk3. From now on, pressing the Date Book hard button will launch Datebk3.