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Add Assets to Appointment Book

Add Assets to Appointment Book

Better manage your appointment schedule with software that lets you see more than one day's appointments at a time, view appointments/to-dos together, and more!

By Bob Perry

The HP 95LX sets new standards for ease of use and seamless integration. However, several of the built-in applications do benefit from enhancement software that is currently available. This article reviews five of the more popular add-ins to the Appointment Book function.

APPT is one of the more widely used 95LX applications. How much you like it depends largely on how you organize your day. For some, APPT fits the bill. For others, it needs a little improvement.

Many former users of pocket day-planners, are accustomed to the week-at-a-glance format. Four of the programs reviewed attempted to provide a graphical view of the week or month and the ability to review more than one day's appointments at a time (lacking in APPT). In addition, some improve the display of notes, and to-do lists.

ABKTool (ON DISK)

Perhaps the most complete of all programs reviewed, this is the only program that can completely replace APPT. ABKTool can be started with a hotkey. It provides you with a daily view and a 10- day calendar view of your appointments. Finally, it lets you insert and edit appointments without going back to APPT.

If you're looking for a APPT replacement check this out.

ABKTool Screen:  Graphic

 ABKTool is a feature-rich replacement for the built-in Appointment Book application. It displays a daily view of appointments and To- do's in a single list, or a 10-day view list of appointments only, with the current day at the top.

ABKTool allows the insertion, editing, deletion and cloning of appointments, to-dos, and notes. It also lets you check-off to-dos as you complete them. Basic text editing features are provided within the program, including cut, copy, and paste. In addition, you can press (F1) to access a pop-up help function in case you get stuck (optional 21K file).

The other APPT add-ins reviewed (WEEKABK, MULTIDAY, and ZApp)allow viewing the Appointment Book .ABK file. However, you must go into APPT to make changes to that file. ABKTool displays and edits the .ABK file. You don't have to use APPT with ABKTool.

ABKTool has a full suite of convenience functions missing from APPT, including a very flexible date entry feature. The user can key in a date in MM/DD/YY format or in MM/DD format (year implied). You can even key in MO for Monday, TU for Tuesday, for the next occurrence of that day. In addition, you can key in Y for Yesterday, TM for Tomorrow, or the specific number of days from the current date (i.e. ++10 for ten days in the future, --21 for twenty-one days previous). This really helps when someone says, "Let's get together in 12 days for a follow-up meeting."

ABKTool's PopUp Calendar:  Graphic

 ABKTool also provides the user with a pop-up calendar that shows the current month (or any past or future month as well). Position the cursor on the date in the calendar, hit (ENTER) and ABKTool takes you to the daily listing for that date. This is a big help when you want to go to the second Tuesday in November to see what you're doing, but don't remember what that date is. You can also use the Calendar pop up to find and insert a date in an appointment, note or to-do item.

ABKTool includes an Only function that lets you search for only those appointments with a key word or phrase in them and display them (i.e. all appointments with the word "Goldstein" in them). This function even allows for sophisticated "and", "or" and "not" searches of the appointment file. Search parameters can be saved and re-used so that frequently used searches can be pre-stored and executed with just a couple of keystrokes. You can pre-store up to 20 of these search phrases.

ABKTool requires more disk space and more RAM than any of the other packages reviewed here. It must be executed from the DOS prompt or run as a TSR. (A "Terminate and Stay Resident" program runs in the background while other programs are running). If it is executed as a TSR, ABKTool can be assigned a hotkey using a program called a "Loader" (included in the package). It can be called up on top of all the built-in applications (including 1-2-3).

In the current version (2.1), you do have to quit APKTool before you go to a built-in application or other .EXM program. However, because ABKTool is a TSR, it remains loaded in System RAM memory even after quitting the program. When you call it up again, you go back to where you were.

You cannot cut and paste between ABKTool and other system- compliant programs. However, version 2.1 allows Appointment Book alarms to ring while ABKTool is in control.

Since ABKTool uses the same .ABK file as the APPT application, it's best to keep APPT closed when working in ABKTool. If you have both applications open at the same time, each accessing the same .ABK file, changes you make in one will not appear in the other.

If you keep several applications open at the same time, or are limited on the amount of RAM memory available, you might have difficulties with ABKTool. One point to ABKTool's favor is that it can be run on you desktop system, insuring cross-platform compatibility.

Program author Paul Kramer seems to have thought of just about everything with ABKTool. If you have the memory available, ABKTool significantly improves upon APPT.

Multiday (ON DISK)

This daily or weekly list-style viewer has excellent find capabilities including a Free-Time finder to locate open spots of a specific duration in your schedule. Multiday also lets you view past and future to-do lists. You must access APPT to insert or edit appointments.

While not quite as feature rich as ABKTool, Multiday is fully system compliant, using about 70-80K of System RAM.

Multiday 3.01 provides a continuously scrolling view of the Appointment file. This view indicates where notes are attached to appointments and permits viewing those notes by placing the cursor on the line and pressing (F5). Editing is accomplished by pressing (F3), which takes the user into the edit function of APPT.

Multiday Scrolling Screen:  Graphic

 The user can also select a weekly (two-column) view as well. In the Week view, the user is presented with two columns listing the days of the week, the time, and a brief 16-character appointment description.

Multiday Weekly View:  Graphic

 The current date flashes to help keep the viewer oriented. Pressing (F3) or (F5) in this view takes you to the same date in the previous or next month respectively. Pressing (F8) always takes the user back to the current date.

One very useful feature allows you to find a time slot for an appointment of a specific length. Press (MENU) Free and enter the duration of the appointment in minutes (i.e. 100 for 100 minutes anytime during the day, 90,p for 1 hour and 30 minutes anytime during the afternoon). Multiday then searches forward from the current date and displays the first date and time with the requested amount of time available. (The number of days to be searched and the times of the day to be searched are configurable options.) Press (ENTER) to go to that day and press (ENTER) again to actually key in the appointment. Multiday then automatically transfers you to the built-in APPT application and leaves you positioned on the day in question, ready to insert your appointment.

In fact, whenever you have the cursor placed on an appointment in MultiDay, you can press (APPT) and immediately go to that appointment in APPT for rapid review and editing of your schedule.

Multiday's "Only" feature lets you select a specific subset of your appointments. For example, you can do an Only search on staff if you want to see appointments relating to "Staff Meetings."

As mentioned, Multiday lets you view APPT's to-do list. You can do this in two ways. List future to-do's with their priorities and start dates by pressing (MENU) ToDo. List all to-dos that have already been checked off by pressing (MENU), selecting #ToDo and pressing (ENTER). View to-do's for the current day by pressing (F3) to access APPT and pressing (F10) to display the to-do's

Multiday ToDo's View: Graphic

 Multiday can be configured to handle small or larger .ABK files, and provides the user with numerous other configuration options. For instance, you can make Multiday "Buddy aware" (so it takes advantage of 95Buddy's features), you can set the number of days to load from the appointment book file, and you can specify the European date format (DD/MM/ YEAR). I reviewed Multiday v. 3.01.

[As the article is being edited, C.E. Steuart Dewar announced that v. 3.04 is in beta testing. This latest version lets you specify up to three separate search arguments. For example, you could display appointments containing the words "Goldstein,", "Urgent," and "Article."

3.04 should be available by the time you read this article. There is no upgrade charge for registered Multiday users -- Editor.]

WEEKABK (ON DISK)

This program provides a concise graphical display of appointments one week at a time and a seamless entry into APPT to insert and edit appointments.

For those who want a small program (14K of system RAM) and don't need sophisticated search features of Multiday.

This System-Manager compliant program displays the week graphically across the screen with the days of the week across the top in columns and the times of the day in one hour increments down the left side. Each appointment in the day is blocked off in the hour segment or segments that it occupies.

Weekabk Display :  Graphic

 As the cursor is moved down the column for a specific day, the Appointment subject and actual start and end times are displayed at the bottom of the screen. Arrows at the top of the screen indicate whether there are appointments in the day that are earlier or later than the hours currently being displayed. One can scroll through the weeks by using the right and left arrow keys. You can also press (F9) (WEEK) and enter a number 1-52 to go to a specific week in the year.

You can also easily insert appointments. With the cursor positioned on any date, press (F7) and you go to HP's built-in APPT application, daily view, positioned on that date. Press (F8) (IN- SERT) to insert an appointment for that date.

WEEKABK does not have an appointment editor, but links to APPT for daily views and for inserting or editing appointments. When you are done editing, simply press (CTRL)-(APPT) again to return to WEEKABK. Any changes you made will be displayed.

WEEKABK lets you notify yourself of pending yearly appointments. You enter a yearly appointment in the APPT as you normally would, except that you put a (heart) at the beginning of the appointment text (press (ALT)-3). Then you have to use MEMO to modify WEEKABK.ENV and select the number of days prior to and after the appointment date that you want it displayed in the pending list. When you place the cursor on a day 14 days before or after the yearly appointment and press (F3) (PEND), the appointment will show up. For birthdays you can add the birth year and the program will calculate the age and display it in the pending list.

ZApp (ON DISK)

This easy to use appointment book viewer lists multiple days' appointments together with ToDo's. It also provides a quick way to view notes.

For those who want a simple, system-compliant appointment viewing program using only about 5K of system RAM.

ZApp is a small, fully system compliant add-in that provides a graphical, scrollable list of your appointments and to-dos with an indicator for attached notes. It displays a month at a time and you can move to the previous or next month with the left and right arrow keys. Each days entries are separated by a heavy bar making it easy to view the different days' commitments. You can view appointments only by pressing (MENU) ToDo-suppress.

zAPP Display:  Graphic

 In the Scroll-mode pressing (ENTER) with the cursor positioned on an appointment or a to-do will display the details, start time and end time, along with the contents of any attached note. Pressing (ESC) takes you back to your previous view.

You cannot change the contents of your Appointment Book file from within ZApp. You must toggle to the built-in APPT to make changes.

ZApp is the smallest of the applications here, requiring only about 5K.

95Buddy (ON DISK)

Not strictly an APPT utility, 95Buddy significantly improves the performance of Appointment Book and integrates well with MULTIDAY and WEEKABK.

95Buddy's contributions include:

  • Lets user select Daily, Calendar, or ToDo list view to come up when starting APPT.
  • A GOTO timer to limit the amount of time spent on any Find (F7) command. Prevents long APPT (PHONE, FILER) searches.
  • Auto-updating of .ABK file prior to entering WEEKABK. Keeps files in sync.
  • Automatically positions cursor on first appointment of the day, not first hour of the day.

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Summary

The degree to which any one of these programs is a good fit for you will depend on your specific needs. ABKTool improves on APPT by adding many features and can augment or replace APPT. Multiday with its list style display gives you a number of different views of appointments and to-dos along with search and find capabilities. Week-at-a-Glance has a unique graphic display of a weeks appointments and adds a yearly pending list.

ZApp is an easy to learn and use APPT file viewer. It shows a month's worth of combined appointments, to-dos and notes. 95Buddy adds features to APPT and enhances the integration of both MULTIDAY and WEEKABK with APPT. Since all are Shareware feel free to try them. But remember that if you find them useful and decide to keep them on your system, you'll need to register the copies.

The registration fees are listed in Shareware/Freeware box. Graphic
 
 

Other Shareware/Freeware Programs for Appointment Book

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