Lotus Organizer 97, Now Up-to-Date 1.5, OnTime 4.0
Lotus Organizer 97Like all the applications in Lotus SmartSuite, Lotus Organizer 97 adds basic Internet awareness to the Help menu. By selecting the appropriate command from this menu, you can launch your browser and connect to Lotus’ Web site for technical support or to access file updates.
The product does more than simplify access to technical support over the Internet, though. In addition to giving you capabilities you’d expect, like entering Internet e-mail addresses and embedding URLs in an Organizer Notepad, Organizer 97 lets you access your calendar file over the Internet. All you need is a Web browser to share your calendar with key clients and associates, and to update it from anywhere in the world.
You can download Web Calendar, the server software required to implement this feature, free from Lotus’ Web site (http://www.lotus.com/dir_mktg/org97cal.htm), or you can test-drive it. The server software requires Netscape Commerce Server 1.0 or later, or Microsoft Internet Information Server, running on Windows NT Server 3.5x or later. On the client side, you’ll need Netscape Navigator 3.0 or Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 or later.
If you already use Lotus SmartSuite, choosing Organizer is a no-brainer. Yet even if you don’t use SmartSuite, Organizer’s ability to let key customers into your schedule via the Internet make Organizer 97 and Web Calendar worth a look.
Now Up-to-Date 1.5, Web Publisher EditionAlmost more a Web authoring tool than a PIM, Now Software’s Now Up-To-Date 1.5 Web Publisher Edition still provides the usual contact information tools you’d expect from a PIM. But if you have a lot of entries in your address book, its spreadsheet-like appearance can be daunting. More friendly is the tabbed calendar, which lets you switch between views by clicking on the appropriate tab.
Like most Web PIMs, Now Up-To-Date lets you embed Internet e-mail addresses and URLs in events and contacts. Clicking on the linked object opens Netscape to perform the appropriate Web-related action. But because the program is hard-coded to look for Netscape, you’re out of luck if you use IE or another browser.
One of Now Up-To-Date’s most interesting features is Web Publisher, which enables you to post your calendar on the Internet in HTML format. Anyone using Now Up-To-Date or any other PIM that supports the Versit data exchange standard can drag events from the shared calendar to a local calendar to schedule an event automatically. This, plus the ability to publish contact lists on the Web, makes Now Up-To-Date a handy tool for posting event and meeting schedules to the public.
Now Up-To-Date isn’t as feature-rich as some other Web-wise PIMs, but its ability to publish professional-looking calendars on the Web without any HTML programming or hassle makes it a great addition to any Web publishing toolbox.
OnTime Enterprise 4.0If we gave an award to the product that supported the most client and server platforms, Campbell Services’ OnTime Enterprise 4.0 would probably win hands down. On the client side, OnTime supports Macintosh, Windows 3.1x, Win95 and NT. On the server side, OnTime supports NT, Novell NetWare and Banyan Vines. The system we tested used Windows NT Server 4.0 for the server and Win95 for the client. OnTime is a client/server group scheduling product that provides real-time scheduling across a TCP/IP network (among others), such as the Internet. You may connect via a TCP/IP LAN to your OnTime server down the hall or access the server from a remote location using TCP/IP through a dial-up connection to the Internet.
OnTime’s scheduling features compete head to head with most other group schedulers, although the contact management capabilities provided through the standalone OnTime PhoneBook application aren’t as extensive as others. PhoneBook does a good job of tracking phone, address, e-mail and other general information, however.