The next feature of note is a much more powerful implementation of todo’s. With Datebk4 handling todo’s, alarms for todo’s are now an option. (For me personally this fills a large void in the built-in todo’s usefulness.) Also, todo’s can be set to regenerate any number of days after the todo was completed. (They cannot be set to repeat at a specified time interval that ignores when the todo is completed. Floating events—as datebook+ users are familiar—can already accomplish this.)
Another feature that is not apart of Datebook+ is a new split screen view that is available for todo’s, addresses, and memos. A simple push of the hardware button, while in Datebk4, pulls up the corresponding app in the split screen. The todo’s seem to be the most natural fit for the split screen, and, as with the appointments, you can fully configure which categories you want displayed. Icons and fonts can also be associated with either individual todo’s or todo categories.
While the feature of the split screen is very convenient in and of itself, especially for todo’s, perhaps its most valuable purpose is to support another great new feature—linking. Datebk4 makes it possible to link addresses, memos and todo’s to appointments and todo’s. (Yes, multiple links to the same appointment or todo are possible.) This allows all four built-in applications to function as an integrated whole, with all of your main data accessible within one program.
With all the category options for both the todo’s and appointments, and considering the added views that bring the total up to ten (over the six of Datebook+), the necessity of what I consider the best feature of Datebk4 becomes obvious. That is, custom views. Custom views allow the user to set various preferences, save those configurations, and then build another view to focus on a different set of information. For example, a very useful custom view is a year-at-a-glance look at travel. To do this I use an airplane icon for any out-of-town events. I repeat the event daily from the day I leave until I return as an untimed event. To create the travel view I have the year view show only those events that have the airplane icon. Viola! An at-a-glance review of when I will be both in and out of town. (This, as well as other useful ways to use the saved views, is in the manual, which must be downloaded separately at
Because of the power and flexibility of custom views one of the main new features in Datebk4 is the ability to simplify the data presentation in your datebook. One of the main problems with the datebook for me was the need to scroll and sift through largely irrelevant information to get what was pertinent for the moment. (Yeah, yeah, I’m the one who put the irrelevant data there, but by golly, I do need to know when and where the PGA tournament is this weekend! :p ) You can even set the Visor to start in different views for different days of the week! (Have a weekday and a weekend startup view.) This allows you to see only what you currently need to see, obviously adding efficiency to the use if the datebook..
The Palm philosophy might best be summed up, do things simply, efficiently, and well. While a program of the complexity of Datebk4 may seem to be counter to such a philosophy, it is actually Datebk4’s ability to simplify the datebook data in the Visor that is its strongest feature.
The last feature I will discuss in this review is that of advance notices for appointments. This feature shines brightest for birthdays and anniversaries (though the feature works for any appointment). This feature generates a floating event in a user-specified number of days in advance. In other words, an advance of say, seven days, is set for your anniversary of July 8. On July 1, a floating event will be creating warning you of the pending anniversary and notifying you that the event is seven days out. If you do not check the floating event, the next day the event moves forward and is incremented down to indicate that the event is six days away. Once you have purchased the necessary tokens of love, simply check off the floating event, and sleep easy knowing you are ready for the big day!
Other features that add to the already rich list include custom alarms for each event, appointments that span midnight, appointments to the minute, custom templates, and on and on… All this – and this is KEY – using the built-in databases for the Datebook, Todo’s, Addresses, and Memos. This means that all of your current data will show up properly in Datebk4, and everything will synchronize to the PIM you currently use for synchronization. No new conduits for synching are necessary.