Bob and Joy
     By Bob and Joy Schwabach

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April 2003, Week 2 -- Let's Take a Meeting



 Now Up to Date & Contact



   The best-selling contact and schedule manager for the Macintosh just became available for Windows and it costs less too.

   The "Now Up-to-Date & Contact" program sells for $90 for Windows and $120 for the Mac. Both do things that the people at "Act!," the best-selling contact manager for Windows, wanted to charge us thousands of dollars to do.

   Right off the bat, the "Now" program lets you post contact lists and schedule calendars to a web site maintained by the manufacturer, Power On Software. Other users of the program can post their own lists and schedules. Anyone who has been issued a password can read the schedules and other lists that are posted for open viewing.


   The advantages for companies, schools and other organizations are obvious. People can now see when you're available and where you might be. If you're not available and they need to get in touch with one of your contacts -- a valued customer, for example -- they can find the contact from your list. A school district uses it to see every teacher's class schedule. Parents use it to  access those schedules and see lesson assignments.


   The program tracks scheduling for groups as well as individuals, has automatic alarms for appointments and meetings, and allows sending and receiving "quick-contact" notes. It synchronizes data with Palm Pilot handheld computers or Palm compatibles. A major league program; find more information at <>.


(subhed) Looking at Outlook


   The "Xenos Outlook Security Extension" lets you look at your incoming email as plain text, if you wish. You can allow file attachments from selected senders. The extension utility becomes a new tab on the Windows Outlook menu. The program is $20 from





--  Audio dramas, humor, science fiction, old-time radio, etc. They have "Ruby Gum-shoe: the adventures of a sexy detective at the crossroads of the galaxy." This was the only place we could find "The Android Sisters Greatest Hits."

--  Where to go for tractor pulls, hog calling contests, maple syrup festivals, pumpkin picking, apple-pie contests, the annual return of the turkey buzzards, and much more. Who can resist?

--  A resource created primarily for teachers but would be useful for many people. Click on "Best tech support sites," and you get a page showing places to go for technical help.


Changing computers

Move Me


   SpearIt Software has "Move Me," a pay-as-you-go migration utility for moving your files and programs from one Windows computer to another.

   Two features attracted us: One is that when it moves everything to the new computer, it does not disturb whatever is already on the new computer. The second thing we liked is that the move is non destructive. Some migration programs move everything and leave nothing behind; Move Me just copies everything. The importance of this difference is that some programs don't transfer well. In short, it looks like the program from the old machine came over just fine, but when you try to run it nothing happens. In that case, you at least still have the program on the first machine and can either use it there or try another approach. An "undo" feature lets you cancel the whole move.


   Move Me charges $20 per move. Web:


Simply A-maze-ing


   Mazes became something of a rage in the 17th and 18th centuries and have remained popular ever since. Here are a handful of low-priced programs for generating your own. All are free to try, and some are completely free. You can find them at


-- Chess mazes 1.1. Find the fastest way through the castle.


-- Pac-Guy 2. Move quickly through eight levels of maze while dodging dangerous creatures.


-- Maze Escape. Try to find your way out of a maze that is animated and changes as you go.


-- Pharaoh's Curse. You're deep inside an Egyptian pyramid; now try to get out.


-- Maze Maker. Generates mazes you can print out or run on-screen. Easy enough for children and lots of fun; only $7 to buy.



  Google Hacks

   "Google Hacks," by Calishain and Dornfest; $25, O'Reilly Press

    "Hacks" in a programmer's jargon means making changes to a program to make it work just the way you want. So what we have here is a book full of "hacks" to narrow your search with the Google search engine For instance, just changing the search terms can produce some surprising results. If you type in "DVD problems," for example, Google comes up with a list of message boards and user groups that discuss problems writing DVDs. You can get more specific than that: If you type in "USB Instant DVD problems," you get back a list of message boards that discuss problems regarding that particular program, made by ADS Technologies.


   Whenever you look for "problems" relating to specific programs, treat the comments with skepticism. It has become common for employees of rival companies to go on message boards to bad-mouth the competition. Conversely, comments of high praise sometimes come from a company's own employees or their relatives and spouses. Most people are straight, but not everyone.


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