Info Select. (personal information management system) (Reviews) (evaluation)
by Tony Roberts
Just when chaos had built up a sizable lead, Info Select came along and helped me find my desk again.
Info Select is a personal information manager that specializes in random information-the kind I put on the backs of envelopes, in the margins of magazine articles, on the kids' school papers, and worst of all, in my head.
When memory resident, Info Select is just a hot key away should the phone ring or the boss drop by with a new assignment.
An enhancement of the acclaimed Tornado from Micro Logic, Info Select is a master at controlling all of the bits and pieces of information that keep you afloat. Among other things, the program serves as a data manager, a tickler file, and a project-tracking and time-management system.
Info Select organize data in groups of windows called stacks. Each window sizes itself to fit the information in it. Display as many windows as will fit on the screen at one time, with the current window highlighted. This system of showing multiple windows gives you access to as much pertinent information as possible. When Mr. Big calls to discuss the contract you're nogotiating, you could have notes from a half-dozen of your previous conversations onscreen at once.
Searching Info Select information is as close to instantaneous as imaginable. To find all windows containing a reference to Mr. Smith, press G (for Get). This activates the search screen, which includes several rows of boxes representing your windows. Letter by letter, as you type the word Smith, boxes disappear as Info Select eliminates them from the search.
When Info Select has norrowed the possibilities to a handful, the pertinent windows are flashed onscreen. The whole process ends as quickly as you can type G-S-M-I-T-H.
This program is loaded with features and options, permitting and encouraging customization. You can change the window sizes, borders, and colors. You can automatically tim-and date-stamp any new window. You can import information from databases and ASCII files, and you can pull a screen from an underlying application into a window.
The manual bulges with specific ideas on how the program might be useful. An online tutorial introduces you to Info Select commands and shows how you might set up a hypertext system using Info Select.
In the manual you'll also find four pages of compatibility information with tips to make Info Select work with your other application. These tips help resolve hot-key conflicts, or, as with Microsoft Windows, suggest running Info Select in a non-memory-resident mode.
Info Select is a keyboard controlled DOS program without mouse support. Although it displays information in what it calls windows, these shouldn't be confused with the windows of Microsoft. There are no buttons to click on or scroll bars to move.
Running Info Select memory resident is fast5, but doing so consumes upward of 120ZK of memory. Fortunately, the program includes a utility that swaps Info Select off and on disk as you enter and exit. In this mode, Info Select takes only 7K when it's inactive. If you can install a ramdisk as the swap device, you'll never notice the swap occurring.
Innumerable other features make Info Select a terrific tool. It includes a phone dialer, allows to be assigned to function keys, and includes a handful of tools for extracting specific information from your stacks. It lets you set up fill-in-the-bank templates for order taking, shipping labels, or purchase requisitions. Printing options give you hard copies of these forms or any of your windows. The program also supports some of the editing commands of WordStar, WordPerfect, and Microsoft Word. Info Select is and outstanding organizational tool, a work-horse that remembers everything. I've never had so much fun cleaning up my desk.