People who use the Palm III, V and VII sometimes get left out in the cold when it comes to "syncing" data from personal information managers between their hand-held computer and a PC. Lots of products claim to do it easily, but it can be a messy operation in which data gets lost.
OneStep Connect Personal Organizer goes a long way toward solving that problem. In my tests, it synchronized desktop PC data perfectly with a Palm V and a Palm IIIx. But there's a trade-off--you get fewer features than in rivals such as Lotus Organizer and Microsoft Outlook.
OneStep is a breeze to learn and maintain. It works via templates, which walk you through data entry. Once a contact database is set up, the rest is easy. Don't expect too much from the templates, though--they're fairly barren. You customize them by filling them out.
Operation is simple. To send e-mail, you click on the "send" button, then on the name of the contact who is to receive it. OneStep Connect addresses the message while displaying at the right all the personal and business information you have collected about the recipient.
It does a good job of managing e-mail lists. Each contact in the database can be assigned a type of relationship--colleague, friend and so on. You can send e-mail to everyone in a category.
The scheduling component is fairly simple, too, but here you begin to miss the more sophisticated organizers. It's easy to set appointments and tell the computer or Palm to sound an alarm at the right time. But OneStep won't notify you about scheduling conflicts.
As a nod to travelers, the software has a time-zone chart. When you enter your time and another location, it shows the time there, so you won't accidentally call someone in Asia at 3 a.m.
Unlike more advanced organizers, OneStep cannot link contacts to appointments. And, although you can compose documents within the program, OneStep relies on Microsoft Word for editing. In the absence of Word, you must fall back on a generic text editor.
Users accustomed to advanced organizers will probably feel frustrated by, for example, not having a way to attach files to appointments for easy reference. But if you own a Palm and want a personal information manager, OneStep's simplicity and customizability make it a good choice.
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Product: Personal organizer
Web address: www.onestepinc.com
Price: $69.95 in box, $49.95
+ Syncs well with 3Com Palm computers
-- Lacks some advanced features
Real-life requirements: Palm hand-held computer, 486 or faster desktop computer running Windows 95, 98 or NT 4.0, Microsoft Internet Explorer, 32 megabytes of memory, 60 megabytes free space on hard disk.