Seize the day. (personal information manager) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Scott A. May
In the high-tech, fast-paced world of computers, business, and everyday life, it's sometimes easy to lose track of things that really matter. When we finally do slow down, it's often only to fret about the precarious balance between responsibility and aspiration.
Seize the Day is a company that recognizes that we all need a little inspirational push sometimes--and what could provide a better opportunity than a personal information manager? The company's Windows PIM (also called Seize the Day) combines top-drawer productivity aids with uplifting motivational images and words. Although far from the most full-featured PIM on the market, it's withouth doubt the most unusual.
The program is divided into two sections: a personalized Daybook and an optional Gallery of 256-color graphics, the computer equivalent of calendar art. The Daybook opens to the Daily Journal, offering 1 of 365 motivational quotes on personal success from such diverse sources as Andy Warhol, Voltaire, Mae West, and Henry Kissinger. Also included are background profiles for each day's quotable personality, as well as a list of famous births and significant events that happened on this date in history. A built-in text editor lets you create a private, free-form message base, where you can quickly record ideas or maintain personal diaries. Additional journal libraries, featuring a variety of special themes, can be purchased from the company.
For a more structured, professional PIM, turn to your Personal Journal. Here you'll find a perpectual calendar (viewable in daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly mode) with a notepad and to-do list. An alarm feature, with snooze and autorepeat functions, can be linked to any of 21 high-quality WAV sounds included in the package. Also included are separate personal and business address lists, phone books, and contact managers. Some of the standard PIM features missing here are a telephone autodialer, an envelope printer, and a form letter generator.
A strong point is the online manual with hypertext index and topic searches. Linked to the built-in text editor, information can be easily cut, pasted, copied, or moved using pull-down menu commands or drag-and-drop mouse controls. Context-sensible printing capabilities let you create hardcopy output from almost any portion of the program. The product consumes little of Windows' precious system resources, making it an ideal multitasking PIM.
The graphics gallery, although completely optional, is easily the program's most fascinating feature. The twist here is the 256-color paintings--one from each month of the year--are "alive." Initially, the only indication is color cycling, a stunning visual effect that makes key elements of the picture appears to move. You'll see flowing waterfalls, waves lapping a shoreline, and smoke billowing from a chimney. Each day--in fact, every hour--the picture changes. Linked to your computer's internal clock, the image slowly reflects the rising and setting sun, as well as such random elements of nature as rain, snow, and wind. Each picture also changes throughout the month. In the October scene, for example, leaves gradually turn to autumn colors, then drop to the ground. In March, the painting slowly melts its snowy cover to reveal the first buds of spring. A special time travel feature allows you to view all pictures at any given date and time. Additional gallery collections are available from the program's publisher.
Carpe diem! In Latin, this means "seize the day"; that is, enjoy the present and don't place all hopes in an unforeseen future. Seize the Day may not be the most poweful Windows organizer, but it's definitely the most personal, which, for many, might ultimately be more meaningful.