So you’ve got a Palm and you’re pretty good with the built-in programs. Now what?
Well, when people ask me what my favorite after-market Palm program is, I always list DateBk3 in my top three. Sure, I know DateBk4 is out and it does even more and that’s great for some people. But DateBk3 does what most people really want with the added benefit that it is already included for free on Visors (though they call it DateBook+). DateBk3 is also more than 150k smaller than DateBk4 and that can make a big difference to users with less than 8megs of RAM.
Smart from the Start
DateBk3 was thoughtfully programmed from the ground up. The author, C.E. Steuart Dewar (he calls himself ‘CESD’) masterfully programmed this Date Book replacement so that it uses the built-in address book’s database. This little stroke of genius means that entries to either the built-in address book or DateBk3 both appear on the Palm’s calendar and when you HotSync with your Mac (or PC) the calendar data appears on the computer’s Palm desktop software too.
One more benefit to this approach is that if you take advantage of CESD’s 45 day shareware trial period and then decide you don’t want to keep DateBk3, you can simply delete it from your Palm without loosing any of your appointments. Just go back to the built-in Date Book and all of your appointments will already be there.
Okay … Let’s Talk Features
DateBk3 is said to add more than 40 additional features to the built-in Date Book. I won’t bore you with details but some of my favorites are:
numerous snooze options for each alarm
tiny icons for the daily, weekly or monthly views
templates for appointments
several new calendar views
the ability to show To Dos on the calendar page
time zone awareness
appointments (and snoozes) can be set to the minute rather than 5 minute increments
it’s only 20 bucks (after the 45 day free trial period)
The multiple snooze options are great because you can snooze an appointment alarm for a period of time appropriate for the moment. Frequently you have no idea what you’ll be doing when a reminder alarm goes off and this way you can select a 5 minute or 30 minute snooze (or any other time period for that matter) based on what you’re doing when the alarm actually sounds.
Tiny icons help me keep things organized and are assigned based on categories. This is truly great because I have my wife’s schedule on my calendar without accidentally confusing her appointments with my own. Besides icons for visual differentiation of appointments you can even turn off an entire category of appointments so they won’t clutter your calendar view until you need to see them. This is AWESOME for working with an assistant who can keep MY calendar on her Palm without confusing it with her own.
Templates for appointments are a tremendous time saver for recurring events with lots of similarities. I use a template for my haircut appointments. I always go to the same place to the same person so I simply select the future time and date of my haircut appointment and tap the template button then tap ‘haircut.’ Automatically all the details are entered in the proper place.
Floating events allow you to anchor a task on your calendar at a particular time and it will reappear on your calendar every day until it is checked off. Then it ‘sticks’ to the day when it was completed.
To Dos appearing on the calendar page is a wonderful feature. You can configure exactly which To Dos will be visible and you can even check them off from the calendar view (and they’re checked off in the To Do program itself).
Features, Menus and Settings Galore
Such a rich feature set means that there are literally dozens of settings you can change to affect the way DateBk3 looks and works. For example, there are four menu commands which trigger various preference settings. There is even a whole screen dedicated to alarm preferences alone. By the way, most people don’t know that this is where you can turn off an alarm you ‘snoozed’ earlier so it doesn’t ring back.
Not for the Technologically Challenged
If you are not yet fully comfortable with the built-in Date Book or if the Palm still seems somewhat complicated, you may not want to tackle DateBk3. It is relatively intimidating to novice Palm users because of the many features, commands and options. However, if you’ve ever found yourself saying, “This Palm is pretty cool, I just wish the calendar could … (fill in your favorite feature request),” you are most definitely ready for DateBk3.
Spend A Few Hours Learning
It will take some effort to learn about most of the features of DateBk3. It is a thorough, clever, complete replacement for the calendar program so it will take time to learn. The good news is that the documentation is excellent.
You should print out the html manual and read over the sections that cover the features that interest you. Next take some time to thoroughly understand each of the four preference setting screens. CESD has also provided thorough explanations in most all of the ‘help/info’ screens throughout the program. (These are triggered by tapping the little “i” at the top, right of dialog screens.)
Try It for Goodness Sake!
DateBk3 is shareware and is fully operational and free for 45 days. Try it out (or its big brother DateBk4) and I’d be willing to bet you’ll never want a Palm without it!
Larry Becker is the owner of PalmPlanning.com, author of the Palm training video, Time Management in the Palm of Your Hand, and a nationally recognized Palm trainer. Larry writes for Magazine and has contributed feature articles to Photoshop User and Pen Computing Magazines. Larry is also the author of the upcoming Palm book, Success in the Palm of Your Hand.