Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 112 / SEPTEMBER 1989 / PAGE 72

SideKick's Pal

SideKick Plus has been getting all the press lately, but the original SideKick still has a lot going for it. It's flexible and easy to use, works on a floppy-based system, and coexists with almost any version of DOS. And now there's powerful help for its only weak link.

If you use SideKick, you've probably found its dialer, notepad, calculator, and ASCII chart all but indispensable. You may have given up on its calendar, however. It isn't that SideKick's calendar is bad—it offers all the features of a standard desktop, page-a-day appointment calendar—it's that an electronic calendar should be better.

PAL (Personal Appointment Locator. PAL Software, 51 Cedar Lane. Ossining. New York 10562; 914-762-5322; $49.95 with printed manual; $35,00 for disk only) turns SideKick's lackluster date cruncher into a star. With PAL you can set repeating appointments (for the first Tuesday of every month, for example), you can set reminders (appointments that appear on each daily report until you delete them), and, with PAL's PALARM, you can set alarms that include features like snooze and warning (so an alarm sounds five minutes before your meeting). And, finally, you can use PAL to search your SideKick appointment files for any text and purge your files of old appointments.

Here's how PAL works: You use SideKick's appointment module as a scratchpad. PAL reads your appointment file and analyzes it (PAL can read multiple appointment files, too).

It's important to realize that PAL doesn't alter your SideKick file: it just reads the information, interprets it, and presents you with a report.

You give PAL instructions by placing special codes in SideKick's appointment calendar. For example, if you want an appointment to warn you with an alarm, you simply put an (a) anywhere on the message line. When PAL reads the file, it sees that special character and passes the alarm information to PALARM. If you want advance warning (in minutes, hours, or days), you follow the (a) with an appropriate number. To set repeating appointments, you place a special code sequence on the line with the appointment. PAL, can handle an amazing array of repeating appointments, but, as mentioned above, repeating appointments won't appear in your SideKick file. This means that, after you start using PAL, you won't be able to see all your appointments without it.

If you use SideKick and scheduling is important. PAL is indispensable. It transforms SideKick's puny appointment calendar into a power tool.

Clifton Karnes