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Personal Information Managers for OS/2- by Chris Wenham

They're usually known as PIMs, or Personal Information Managers. Sometimes they're called Time Management software, and others just refer to them as electronic Rolodexes or computer diaries. They help keep our acts together by reminding us of important items, tracking our address books and contacts, and sorting out our list of things ToDo.
OS/2 users are fortunate to have several high-quality options to choose from in this category. One is a long-standing, time tested veteran of the Warp arena, going back to the good old days when OS/2 still looked a bit like Windows 3.0. Another is a freebie, written mostly as a demo of OS/2's Workplace Shell capabilities. And a third is a big "granddaddy" PIM ported over from Windows95. In addition to the above, we've also reviewed a PIM you may already have installed - it's the one that came with IBM Works in the Warp BonusPak.

Plus, unavailable for full review this month, is a newcomer called Think Tool Pro. The makers of Think Tool, Phoenix Software, tell us that it's not just a PIM but a fully object-oriented database too. See our sidebar, "The Best Yet To Come?" for more information and screenshots.

What's Best for You?

During our evaluation of these products we found that no single PIM is an ideal "one size fits all" solution.

Organizer, when it ships (or if you can live with prerelease code) is the best PIM for day-to-day needs. However, it places a high load on your computer with its big RAM requirements and slow-to-repaint screen decorations. Relish, our Editor's Choice, is much smaller and underfeatured in comparison. But it's fast, shipping now, and has much better desktop integration. Relish can also be enhanced with a new product called Relish Web (not reviewed here) which can publish your phone book and calendar to the web. But if all you're interested in is a cheap, simple ToDo list, address book or Calendar without too many bells n' whistles, try either ExCal or the IBM Works PIM. Both are free (with the latter included in the Warp 3 and Warp 4 BonusPaks) and do their jobs elegantly.

The Best Yet To Come?

One new Personal Information Manager we were unable to review this month is Think Tool Pro from Phoenix Software. A preview version was unavailable for evaluation at the time of writing (OS/2 e-Zine! hopes to have a full review available in a future issue), but Phoenix has supplied us with some information and screenshots of their new product.

Designed to be used by end-users, Think Tool Pro is both an object oriented database and PIM with graphical file management tools built in. The developers stress that this is not just a PIM, but a fully featured object database too. In fact, the PIM is an optional part of the integrated product.

Think Tool Pro doesn't require programming for either the PIM or the Database, and for this reason the makers claim it will be easy to use and configure. But despite this, Phoenix claim it will have powerful search (query), report creation and other typical database capabilities built-in.

Being an Object Oriented database, Phoenix say you will be able to store any multimedia data type you wish -- such as text, images, sound and video -- without any of the programming or mapping layers other "Object Relational" databases such as Oracle 8 require.

Highlights of Think Tool Pro's PIM capabilities include:

  • Calendar
  • Planner
  • "to-do" list
  • Alarms
  • Contact list
  • Phone dialer
  • Phone call log
  • Keller FaxWorks interoperability
  • IBM Works interoperability
  • Address label creation
  • Extensive and flexible data linking and organizing capabilities
  • Customizable graphical user interface without programming
  • Customizable WYSIWYG report creation
  • Point-and-click and fill-in-the-blank search and filter tools
  • Password and encryption security

In short, Think Tool Pro looks like a promising addition to both the PIM and database categories. Look for our full review in an upcoming issue of OS/2 e-Zine!

Editor's Choice: Relish

This was a tough match between Lotus Organizer and Relish from Sundial Systems. But since Organizer was still in Beta testing at the time of review, we could not seriously consider it for an Editor's Choice award. However, that doesn't mean Relish is all that bad either. <g> While its visual appeal is low, Relish is an excellent all-round calendar, phone book and scheduler. For complete details, click the 'next' button below product reviews.

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Chris Wenham is a freelance web designer, writer and Englishman who now lives in Endicott, NY. In the past he has written comedy, sci-fi, Pascal, Rexx, HTML and Gibberish. He has been using OS/2 exclusively for the past 2 years.


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