Hardware

Productivity rules in best PDA applications contest

There are a host of helpful tools for consultants that use personal digital assistants. We recently asked TechRepublic members what PDA application they would choose if they could only have one. Check out the five that members liked best.


Personal digital assistant (PDA) program preferences are as individualistic as the people who put those programs on their PDAs. Recently, we asked members "What would be your PDA app of choice?"

In that article, we asked you to name the single program that you would add to your PDA if you could only choose one. We then went through the entries and selected five programs that seem to address the core concerns of consultants and awarded the authors of those five entries a TechRepublic coffee mug.

The majority of entries had something to do with tracking time, projects, and/or billing. The winning applications are:

The envelope please…
Our first winner is Steven Thompson, who cast his vote for IT-trac from Cypress Systems.

Thompson called IT-trac a “sleek little database to store all of the infrastructure details” of a client organization’s network, including local-area network (LAN) and wide-area network (WAN) details, server and workstation details, and other Net-device details. The Palm OS version sells for $49 and can be coupled with a Windows desktop program for $129.

Ian Ware recommended TimeReporter 2000 from Iambic. Ware wrote that the program allows you to post time, expenses, and vehicle logging for multiple projects and clients. You can also export your expenses into Quicken or QuickBooks. The program costs $149 and comes with a desktop application that boasts even more functionality, Ware said.

For those who wish to synchronize their Palm with Microsoft Project, Jason Bowles endorsed Project@Hand from Natara Software. Its easy user interface, coupled with a $14.95 Gantt Chart plug-in, puts this program at the top of Bowles’ list. Project@Hand, which works with both Microsoft Project 98 and 2000, also allows you to easily take project updates with you into meetings.

A simpler, freeware project manager for the Palm OS is PunchClock by Psync, Inc. TechRepublic member Ari Berman likes PunchClock because it allows for multiple projects and variable time ranges. Each project has an “In” toggle switch that allows you to switch from one project or another but keep track of the time spent with each task. “It’s quick and easy enough to use all the time and…ensures that our clients only get charged for time spent on their work and not something estimated later,” Berman said.

Another freeware project management program for the Palm OS that garnered member praise is Titrax. Kevin Konynenbelt told us he likes the program because it’s simple and free. “For most project work, it’s all that you need,” Konynenbelt wrote. But, he said, if Titrax has one drawback, it is that it does not have a way of handling expenses. Like PunchClock, Titrax uses a toggled switch to keep track of time for separate projects.

Are you tracking your work with a PDA?
How are you using your PDA on the job? Are the built-in programs of most PDAs sufficient for your needs? If you could ask a programmer to write a program just for you, what would it do? Post your comments below or drop us a note.

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