Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 146 / NOVEMBER 1992 / PAGE 126

Way You Work: Personal Office. (operating system enhancement) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Alfred C. Giovetti

When I first picked up Way You Work and its inch-thick manual, I thought the program looked like just another DOS shell. I thought, What do I want with another gimmick program?

Way You Work bills itself as an object-oriented DOS shell, a personal desktop organizer, a Windows 3.0 bridge, a personal information manager, an electronic mail system, and a software robot automator. Hidden away in this Madison Avenue jargon is a bit of truth about the program, which is not just a DOS shell but, true to its name, has the capability to change the way you work.

You can use Way You Work simultaneously in both the DOS and Windows environments. Way You Work works with virtually any DOS or Windows application or data file. Those working within both the DOS and Windows environments will find the program works equally well with or without a mouse. Way You Work is a TSR (Terminate and Stay Resident) program that stays in the background while you're running other programs. The TSR uses up to 40K of conventional memory and 20K when using expanded or extended memory. Way You Work can also run under the 386 enhanced mode of Windows.

It utilizes a desktop organizer to create subject-oriented user folders and file drawers that can be worked with and booted up using software robots from any point on the desktop. You can file information by client or customer, regardless of the format. While working within a client or customer file, you can load a Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet or a Word for Windows file from the desktop with just a few keystrokes. When you select the data file from the file list within the folder, the computer can be instructed to load the application program and then the data file all in the same operation. In this way, you can keep all related files in the same location.

The program is a DOS shell and a database combined. More than 1000K of information can be stored on a file, identifying the customer or client, the date last updated, date originated, last backup, action date, encryption, four keywords, the author, priority, the general type of file, and a 40-character file name. The extra stored information on the files can be used to sort and search for specific information. The additional file information allows you to locate lost files and retrieve them from large disk drives.

The built-in clock and calendar are used to schedule activities and files. The program can actually be set to load an application program and a specific file at a particular time each day. A list of things to do can be set to appear automatically when you boot up your computer in the morning or just at a particular time and date. Reminders and messages can be set to pop up in the middle of applications to keep you on time for appointments. Activity logs can keep track of the work you perform on a day-to-day basis. You can even set up the computer and modem to dial the phone at a particular time or on a particular date that you need to call someone. Way You Work can be used to transfer files, messages, and letters to other users in the same network. Also, Way You Work is compatible with Novell and DOS-compatible LANs, and it has a work group expansion module for small LANs.

You can use Way You Work to set and automate appointments. The calendar can be used to schedule appointments. The program can be set to load the pertinent application program at the specified time of the appointment. Repeated appointments can be set for the same day of the week, a specific day of the week, a specific day of the month, and a particular time. Way You Work has its own password security system that prevents unauthorized access to your files from within the network. The program can be used to set up batch files to execute certain set files from within the desktop environment.

Way You Work makes great inroads into integrating the component parts of an office environment and making an integrated program less threatening and easier to use for both power users and novices. The program has the best conceptual integration system that I've ever seen. I look forward to seeing more of the Way You Work modules, such as the work group module and the toolkit module. On the negative side, several calls to Proteo, the producers of Way You Work, have gone unanswered.

Many will find Way You Work no more useful than DOS or Windows, while others will find this a most useful and important program. I came to the latter conclusion, finding Way You Work to be a good and useful program with interesting accessories available.