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PocketBreeze for Pocket PC review

Posted on 6-Jun-2004 18:53 by Jim McGowan | Filed under: Reviews

PocketBreeze for Pocket PC review
Most serious PDA users value their PIM (Personal Information Manager) more than anything else on their device. Appointments, Tasks, Contacts - vital information for business, and just as vital for day to day personal organization. DayTimers and DayRunner books used to be all you saw in business meetings. Now Pocket PC devices have taken information that used to take up volumes and literally put it right in your hands. Event reminders alert you to upcoming meetings as well as picking up that special gift for your spouse. The only difficulty with PIMs is having to get out the stylus and tap your way past your Today screen and into the guts of the PIM software. PocketBreeze has taken away that part, at least for most interactions with your existing PIM information. Known as Calendar Plus Professional in its former incarnation, PocketBreeze is the next generation in personal organization management. Acting as an extension of your PIM, PocketBreeze puts all the power of your PIM right on the Today screen. PocketBreeze is not a PIM, but it makes your PIM more accessible quickly. Plus, it makes your Today screen more than just pretty!

I tried my first version of PocketBreeze early in April; at the time it was known as Calendar Plus Professional. It was a very pleasant Today plug-in which allowed access to your PIM appointments and tasks on the Today screen - a really nice feature for those of us who use their PIMs extensively. I donít mean just showing your next appointment - the native Pocket Outlook and Today screen does that - but up to 30 days of your appointments and tasks, on separate, scrollable tabs. Very handy, I thought. Itís barely been two months since then, and now a newer, more powerful version has been released - PocketBreeze 4.0. The program has become more than a simple Today screen plug-in. A tabbed interface letís you see and interact with 30 days of appointments and tasks, as well as up to a year of Special Events - contact birthdays and anniversaries plus a couple of user-defined events. PocketBreeze is enhanced for use with Agenda Fusion (Developer One) and Pocket Informant (WebIS), and also supports Pocket Outlook very well. You can also specify any custom PIM that you use. Appointments and tasks can be opened and deleted. If you choose to edit, one tap opens the appointment or task in your PIM. When you finish, the PIM is closed and youíre returned to the Today screen.

The Calendar tab shows up to 30 days of appointments and tasks. The calendar icon at the left of the display, when tapped, shows a pop-up calendar window which lets you scroll ahead and look at another day, or full week, in the future. Each day has a small button next to it which operates in three states: one line display, fully expanded, or closed. You can choose which state itís normally in, and then tap it to change at any time. The window on your Today screen, whose size you can set, has a scroll bar - not the regular Windows scroll bar, but a clean, thin, unobtrusive bar that has a draggable icon in the center which allows you to tap up and down arrows or drag the center icon and drag it up and down. Your appointments and tasks show the entire subject line, along with the status and category icons you use in your PIM. You can also use the icons supplied with PocketBreeze if youíre using the default Pocket Outlook PIM. Icons can be shown on the right or left of the text. My favorite feature, among many, is the note pop-ups. If you have a note with any appointment or task PocketBreeze shows a note icon along with the status and category icons. Tapping on the note icon pops up a window with the note in a small, scrollable window! You can also use your D-Pad or jog scroller to move through the list.

The Tasks tab shows all tasks, again up to 30 days ahead. You can sort by:

  • Category
  • Due Date
  • Start Date
  • Importance
  • Completion Status
  • Sensitivity
  • Subject

    The tasks can also be filtered by category within those sorts. Text colors are user-defined, and - best of all - you can mark tasks complete from the Today screen, Thereís even a confirmation dialog asking if youíre sure you want to mark it complete, with the Task title listed to ensure youíve tapped the correct task!

    The Special Events tab lets you show up to a year of contact birthdays and anniversaries, automatically loaded from your contact database. You can also define an additional two categories to include in this tab, and choose the text color for those categories. The Special Events tab icon flashes as a reminder when a special event is near - you can define how many days in advance, up to five.

    Inside PocketBreeze:

  • View up to 30 days of appointments and tasks on your Today screen
  • Choose your own layout, fonts & colors - even your category and status icons
  • Integrates seamlessly with Agenda Fusion, Pocket Informant, and the default PIM
  • Manage your tasks with virtually unlimited grouping and sorting capabilities
  • Edit tasks and appointments with one tap
  • View your task and appointment notes with scrolling pop-up windows
  • Jump ahead to any day or week with the calendar pop-up window
  • A yearís worth of your contactsí birthdays and anniversaries with flashing reminders...and more

    Final Word

    PocketBreeze is a dream come true for heavy PIM users. While it is certainly not a replacement for a third party PIM, it makes using your PIM data much easier and quicker right on the Today screen. PocketBreeze has a very active user forum, in which the developer is very active, responding to feature requests from users in a matter of days - sometimes in hours !

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