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HOW TO USE: Phone Book Databases

HOW TO USE: More Uses for PHONE

The Phone Book database can keep track of more than phone numbers. Here are some examples, along with instructions on creating User-Defined Keys to assist a phone call tracker.

By David Shier

Although the titles of PHONE's data fields are written in ROM and unchangeable, there's no law that forces you to enter names, phone numbers, or addresses in these fields. With this little shift in perspective, PHONE becomes a remarkably flexible database. Many HP 95LX users have discovered this, entering the data they find useful, and ignoring the field titles. This article explores a few more examples of useful databases that can be created using PHONE.

International Dialing Codes Database

The Phone Book which comes with the 95LX (C:\_SYS\_1.PBK), lists 20 commonly used international dialing codes. The name field contains the country name and the number field is the country code. The address field contains the international access prefix used in that country to make direct-dial international calls. This .PBK file is written in ROM and cannot be modified. However, if you have a use for such a database, it's possible to edit it and add additional countries or city codes to it. Simply copy _1.PBK to another directory, call the copy up, and modify it. I have created such a file (DIALCODE.PBK (ON DISK ICON)), and modified it for English speaking users (I think it is easier to find Germany in my list than Bundesrepublik Deutschland in the original _1.PBK). The original is still in ROM, so you don't have to worry about losing it.

A CompuServe User Profiles Database Graphic

I have another Phone Book in which I list the people I communicate with on CompuServe. The name field lists their name, the number field contains their CompuServe ID number, and the address field lists biographical information such as forum memberships, requests for information, occupation and hobbies. This helps me write more personal messages to people as I learn more about them. For example: Hal Goldstein's entry looks like this:

 A Database of Functions Available in HP Solve

An example of a .PBK file that has nothing to do with names and phone numbers is the HPSOLVE.PBK (ON DISK ICON), written by HP Palmtop Paper contributor, Ed Keefe. This file contains a listing of all the functions available in the Solve feature of the HP CALC application. The name field in this database contains the abbreviated name (mnemonic) of the function and a list of parameters. The category to which the function relates and the F-key you press to access the function is also found in the name field, spaced over to the right.

Solver Help File:  Graphic

 The information on category in the name field lets you search for and create a list of the functions in a specific category. For example, you can press (F6) (ONLY), type 123 and press (ENTER) to get a list of the functions related to Lotus 123.

The number field lists the complete name of the function. Notice that the more important mnemonic abbreviation is placed in the name field so that it is always visible.

The address lines are used to provide a description of the function.

Phone Call Tracker Graphic

The following is based on using Phone Book along with some User Defined Keys (also known as "user keys" or "macros") to create a phone call list and follow-up log. This idea was first brought to my attention by a detailed tip posted on Prodigy by Russ Fitzgerald. Russ uses this method to track his call schedule.

The name and number fields are used normally. The lines of the address field contain a list of phone call dates. If the date is proceeded by a # character, then the call has not yet been made. Once a call has been made, the date entry is followed by a brief record of the conversation.

 What makes this Phone Book so useful are the user keys (macros) that are used to maintain it. Below is a summary of those keys, followed by an explanation of how to create them (see pages 21-14 to 21-19, HP 95LX User's Guide, for more information on Creating and Using User Defined Keys): (CHAR)-(F9) -- is used to schedule a call to be made on a given date (usually today or tomorrow). This user key (macro) inserts the # and date on the first address line. All other information in the address field is bumped down one line.

(CHAR)-(F5) -- is used when making a call. The user key (macro) opens the card, so that you can see all the relevant information. It then erases the "#" in front of the date and moves the cursor to the end of the line so that you can insert a brief note about the call. If the call is not completed (such as when you are connected to an obnoxious voice-mail system), pressing the (ESC) key will cancel the changes made by the user key (macro) so that you can try the call again later.

(CHAR)-(F8) -- is used to reschedule the call for another day. This user key (macro) replaces the current date with a new follow-up date.

Creating the User Defined Keys for Phone Call Tracker

The best way to understand the functioning of a specific user key (macro) is to use the 95LX's "Learn Mode." This records into a user key each keystroke as you enter it. You can also enter a new user key (or modify an existing one) with the "User Mode." Instructions for creating the user keys in this article are given using the Learn mode. For more information on both the Learn and User Mode, see page 21-16 of HP 95LX User's Guide.

First, generate a phone book file with a few names and numbers (remember that we are reserving the address lines for our schedule). Next create the call scheduling user key (macro) as follows:

Call Scheduling User Key ((F9))

  1. 1. Highlight with cursor the name of a person you wish to call.
  2. 2. Press (<Shift>)-(CHAR)-(F9) to record your user key. Note that both (<Shift>) and (CHAR) are "sticky" keys, which means you can press the keys individually without having to hold, therefore you don't need to hold down all three keys simultaneously. You should hear a two-tone beep tone informing you the user key is being recorded. (If you hear a single-tone beep, the F9 key has already been programmed.) If you make any typos, you should press the (<Shift>)-(CHAR)-(F9) sequence again to end the user key recording. Then press (SetUp) (CHAR), delete the F9 user key and start again.
  3. 3. Press (F10) to open the card, then ((<Down>)(<Down>)) to move the cursor to the first line of the address field. Next type the date you wish to schedule the call, say #01/01/93 (space after 93), and press (ENTER). The 01/01/93 above is just a sample. You can enter any date you wish, but you must maintain a consistent format for the date. The total number of characters used to enter the date must be the same so that subsequent user keys will work. Note that you precede the date with the pound sign (#) so the date is identified as a call to be made. Press (F10) to exit editing process.
  4. 4. The user key is now complete, so press (<Shift>)-(CHAR)-(F9) again to end the learn mode.

  5.  

     

To schedule another call, move the cursor over the name of the person to be called and press (CHAR)-(F9).

The down side of this method is that you are creating a user key that schedules a call for one specific date only. If most of the calls you will schedule are for that date, this solution is fine. However, if you need the flexibility of entering a different date each time, follow the steps above, modifying step three:

  1. 5. Press (F10) to open the card, then press (<Down>)(<Down>), type in the pound sign (#), a (<Spacebar>), and a (<LeftArrow>). Go to step four.

  2.  

     

This creates a user key that types in the # and lets you enter the date (remember the importance of a consistent date format). After you have typed in the date, press (ENTER) to move the rest of the line down, and press (F10) to go back to the main Phone Book screen.

Call Placing User Key ((F5))

Schedule two or three more calls in your sample database so that you have a reasonably-sized list to work with. Now before creating the user key to place calls, sort the database so that only a list of the people to be called today is displayed. To do this, press (F6), type # followed by the date, and press (ENTER).

Now move the cursor to the first call to be made and generate the call placing user key as follows:

  1. 1. Press (<Shift>)(CHAR)(F5) to start the recording process.
  2. 2. Press (ENTER) to open the card.
  3. 3. Press (<Down>)(<Down>) to move the cursor to the date field.
  4. 4. Press (DEL) to erase the #.
  5. 5. Finally, press END ((<Shift>)-(<RightArrow>) to move the cursor to the end of the line.
  6. 6. Press (<Shift>)-(CHAR)(F5) to stop recording the user key.

  7.  

     

This user key opens the data card, erases the #, and moves the cursor to the end of the date so that you can enter notes about the call. If you were unable to complete the call, simply press (ESC) (twice with 95Buddy installed) to erase all the changes.

After you are done with the call (and writing your notes), press (F10) to return to the list. Notice that the person you just called is no longer listed since the # was erased from the beginning of the date.

Rescheduling User Key ((F8))

This user key lets you reschedule calls left over at the end of the day to the next business day. With the cursor on the first record in the list, follow these steps:

  1. 1. Press (<Shift>)-(CHAR)(F8) to start the recording process.
  2. 2. Press (F10) to enter the first record.
  3. 3. Press (<Down>)(<Down>) to move the cursor to the date field.
  4. 4. Press (<Right>) to move to the right of the #, then press (DEL)(DEL)(DEL) (DEL)(DEL) to erase the old month and date.
  5. 5. Enter the new month and day for the call (in mm/dd format).
  6. 6. Press (F10) to complete the edit.
  7. 7. Finally press (<Shift>)(CHAR)(F8) to end the user key recording.

  8.  

     

Use this user key as follows: Place the cursor on the index entry you wish to change and press (CHAR)-(F8) to change the date. Do this for each entry remaining on the list.

After you are done, you can return to the full list by pressing (F6)(ENTER).

Modifying User Keys for Future Dates

The next morning you can modify the Call and Rescheduling user keys for the correct dates. Press (Setup) Char, highlight (F8) and press (ENTER) (or (F10)) to edit the user key. Press (ENTER) and move the cursor to the date. Delete it and type in the next day for calls. Then press (F10) to return to the index.

Do the same with the (F9) User key.

Schedule any new calls for today using the CALL (F5) user key. Then press (F6) (ONLY) to display the day's calls. The examples above show that with a little ingenuity, the built-in applications may provide far more versatility than HP and Lotus ever imagined.

How to take these Phone examples one step further

iPhone Life magazine


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