If your calendar could just nudge you a few minutes before an important meeting, you might get to more of your appointments on time. Coming to the rescue, CE Software has grafted a couple of elbows onto a new electronic calendar called Alarming Events.
Alarming Events stores the critical data from your appointments and uses that information to remind you of your appointments before you have a chance to be late.
To help keep you on time, the program's designers organized Alarming Events around three calendar views—monthly, weekly, and daily. The monthly and weekly calendars simply display information. The monthly calendar shows as many months at a time as you want. The program highlights dates on which you have appointments. Of course, this highlighting becomes almost meaningless when you have appointments every day. The weekly calendar shows five days at a time and lists your appointments for each day. Clicking on a date in the monthly calendar or an event in the weekly calendar brings up the daily calendar.
The daily calendar is the central feature of Alarming Events. On this screen, you enter your appointments, set up the kind of alarm you want, and choose a time to be reminded of your meetings. You can also set up recurring events so a regular appointment will transfer from week to week, month to month, or even every other week on your calendar.
Although the daily calendar holds a lot of information, the screen is laid out clearly. When you first open a daily calendar, you start by typing a new event into the Event Subject field. Tab to the Event Notes field and add as many lines of detailed information as you'd like for each event.
At the top of the screen, you can click on the clock to set the time for your appointment. It refers to your system clock to tell when it should notify you of an appointment. To the right of the text fields, you'll find boxes in which you can enter the event's duration, when you want to be reminded of the event, and how often the event recurs. Each of these fields is easy to set: You type a number and then choose the unit of time from drop-down menus beside the field.
Alarming Events works well for simple scheduling, but you shouldn't limit this program to storing information about appointments and meetings. You can use Alarming Events to plan projects, too. For example, it will notify you on the day that you need to call your writers to remind them of their deadlines. It will remind you that tomorrow is the last day you can submit a bid to your newest client. If you list phone calls you need to make, you can include the phone number in the description of the event. Then, when the notification screen pops up, the phone number pops up, too.
In addition to its fine calendars, Alarming Events offers little touches that make the final package shine. Menu items let you customize the program, save event information in text files, and switch to other Alarming Events files. You can even import and export calendar files.
In spite of all its good features, Alarming Events still leaves room for improvement. For example, viewing the notes for an event is too troublesome. Once you've clicked on an event—even if it's just to review your notes—you can't click on OK or Cancel until you've made some change on the screen. This means you must do something trivial, like insert a space and then delete it, in order to move on to the next event you want to review.
None of the program's weaknesses should lead you away from Alarming Events, though. It's very useful for all kinds of scheduling tasks. CE Software's latest entry works just like a trusted assistant, nudging you in plenty of time to make that important appointment.
HEIDI E. H. AYCOCK