Vital Statistics

Publisher/Manufacturer: D&A Software, Inc.
Contact: (818) 341-1188, http://www.dasoft.com
Price: $39.95  

About the Product

Do you have a job where you can come in late, pretend to work while actually chatting with people on the Internet, and leave whenever you feel like it?  Is your boss an easygoing softie who would rather take a nap than make sure you're doing your job?  Do you have a secure position in the United States government where you can't be fired for anything less than committing three felonies in the same month?

If so, make sure you stay there for a long, long time, because you're a lot better off than the rest of us.  Most of us have things to do to make money, and most of us have supervisors that want to know what we do with our time.  Even the self-employed usually have to bill somebody for their time.

The 200LX is ideal for keeping track of your time, because of its small size and long battery life.  However, there hasn't really been any decent software for keeping a log of activities before.  Oh, sure, you could rig up a database with some macros, or even a simple collection of NoteTaker records.  But that's not very efficient, or easy to do.  Enter TimeTracker/LX.

TT/LX is specifically designed for the job of helping you track your time, therefore making your palmtop more useful.  I have to admit, this is one time I was not expecting a very exciting program.  I mean, come on, how much fun can it be to track your time?  Little did I know what a pleasant surprise awaited me.

I downloaded the demo version from the D&A web site, and installed it on my palmtop.  The demo version, it said, would only handle twenty records, but I had no idea what this meant.  So I ran the SETUP program, selected the appropriate options, and began running TT/LX.  The first thing I did was set up some activities, categories, and clients.  TT/LX makes it very easy to create a variety of different projects to work on, and you can enter an hourly rate so that TT/LX knows how much you will be billing for your time on various projects.  Since a good deal of my time is spent doing technical support and engineering, I set up two activities, "User Support" and "Fix Computer."  Then I went to the main screen and wondered what to do.  (There was plenty of documentation, but my theory is that software should be easy enough to figure out without studying the manual.)  The screen was divided into columns, similar to the Pocket Quicken look.  Date, Time, Duration, Activity/Client/Project, Memo.  Sounded pretty self explanatory.  After a moment, I pressed F2, Add.

Voila!  I was greeted by a detailed window full of boxes.  I configured it for "Fix Computers," entered "Just a test" in the MEMO field, and pressed the OK button.  And that was it.  TT/LX was now tracking me as though I was working on a computer at the office.  I could now keep track of what I was doing with the ease of using a stopwatch.  While that little activity was going on, I started another two activities, both under "User support."  Then I quit TT/LX and played a game on the palmtop for a few minutes.  Returning, I hit the F7 key and stopped the timer on my third activity.  Immediately, the duration column filled in with the time I had spent on that activity.  Very, very handy.

There are plenty of view options in TT/LX, including filters to view certain dates, marked activities, particular clients or projects, etc.  There were also functions to view totals, an incredibly useful tool for those of us who have previously had to sum up our hours with a calculator.  With a few keystrokes, you can now view the total time spent doing a particular activity, how much you've done for a client, etc.  And if you tell TT/LX your billing rate (customizable for each activity, of course) it will even calculate the total dollar amount for you.

Besides this, there are numerous options for printing reports from TT/LX.  Besides the normal output options (which you can customize to fit your own needs) there is a report included which will let you output to a comma-delimited file ready for importing into Lotus 1-2-3, the perfect thing for adding easy time management to a 1-2-3 financial spreadsheet.

TimeTracker/LX has a look and feel similar to Pocket Quicken.  If you've been keeping track of your finances on the palmtop, TT/LX won't be much of a stretch for you.  Even if you aren't familiar with Quicken, TT is a PAL application, and is extremely simple to figure out.  The basic concepts behind it are simple and straightforward, and the controls are clear and easy to use.

The Verdict

If you need to keep track of your time, for whatever reason, TT/LX is a great investment that will pay for itself.

Copyright 1999, David Sargeant.
Last Updated 1-2-1999

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