We started the series on Personal Information Managers (PIM) by looking at Ecco Pro. That’s my choice for data that needs to be looked at in various ways. I don’t use for a calendar or address book. It’s been released to the public for free and all the details were in that article. If you missed that article you can find it here:
People asked me why I don’t use Outlook. Aside from the obvious security implications I just have never taken a liking to it. It’s not that I haven’t tried. I even wrote some of the earliest articles on Outlook’s predecessor Exchange. As it is I don’t even have it installed on any of my machines.
So what do we use to keep information in? A little shareware application called Time & Chaos. I first downloaded and used this program when it was version 3.0. That would have been somewhere around 1992 or so. I called to register the software and spoke to the owner of the company. He quickly gave me a guided tour of the product then took my money.
My wife and I have used the software ever since. We use it to keep our calendar and master phone book up to date. The best part? We rarely need to look at the manual. The software just works.
The interface is what makes the software so useable. When you open Time & Chaos all of your information is on one screen. Calendar, Phone book, To-do, and Appointments. Want to look someone up in your Phone Book? Just start typing their name. Want to set an appointment with them? Just drag the name to the Appointments window. Remind yourself to call them tomorrow? Just drag their name to the To-Do list. It is that easy.
All the things you want to do with your information have been made simple. Printing envelopes, labels, mail merging are all there and simple. If you have more complex needs, several plug-ins are available. The plug-ins handle things like legal billing, sales tracking, and migrating from Outlook. If you use a handheld device you’ll find plug-ins for synching up your data with the popular models.
I like to print the “Day Plan”. It gives me two small monthly calendars at the top, my to-do list on the right, and appointments on the left. All nicely spaced out on the page. Printing this out landscape takes half the paper. I use the other half to write notes on through the day. Small, efficient, and practical. I don’t like to carry a lot of “stuff” with me so the one sheet day plan works just perfectly.
The software is network enabled and works well over a small or large network. If you have a need to share data it’s well worth a look. With many homes using networks this is an efficient way to share calendars among multiple users.
I told you earlier I registered in the early nineties. Isbister
supplied me with free upgrades until version 5.0 came out and
offered me a discounted upgrade. The current version costs $45 to register and it’s a bargain at that.
Some of the data I entered over a decade ago is still in my Time & Chaos. And I can still backup all the data to a floppy disk.
If you are looking to simplify your life and want some software that just works give Time & Chaos a try. You won’t be disappointed. Find more information at Isbister’s web site:
If this article sounds like an ad for the product it isn’t. I paid full price for my copy and am a very happy user. If you want to simplify what you do Time & Chaos may be just the answer.
Next time I’ll tell you how I manage all the little loose pieces of information that don’t fit into the programs we’ve already discussed.