Wow! Xemico have really done a great job with their Active desktop calendar for windows. It was refreshing to install an application that worked first time.
For the review I loaded Active desktop calendar onto my desktop computer; a six month old 2.8G Pentium 4 running Windows XP SP2.
The Active desktop calendar was supplied as an EXE file which when loaded caused my spy sweeper to ask for permission to load. Once this was allowed the installation went to automatic mode and within 20 seconds I had the application up and operating!
Once loaded, I was prompted to start outlook, and one click of the large on screen 'sync to outlook' button had all my calendar appointments and tasks loaded into Active desktop calendar.
Presented as a semi transparent calendar on my desktop covering a three month period as previous, current and following month, this easy to see format showed at a glace everything I needed to know regarding my diary and tasks without having to switch to and navigate through Outlook. The uncomplicated configuration system allows for a wide range of calendar options.
The position and format of the viewable modules of Active desktop calendar can be customized with straightforward slide controls and tick boxes accessible from the system tray or navigation icons within the calendar when opened. This was for me a great help as I needed to clean up my desktop and the installation of Active desktop calendar made me do just that and then allowed me to customize my desktop to a format that suited my style easily and very intuitively. In fact I did not need to use the help files at all. (Almost a first for me!).
The very easy to read web page: http://www.xemico.com/adc/infocenter/tow.html which also shows a tip of the week, enables anyone with a minimum of experience to use, configure and customize the Active desktop calendar confidently within 20 minutes.
Using Active desktop calendar is all about simplicity. To add a new note to the calendar for example requires you to click (customizable for one or two clicks) on the date. This opens up the calendar screen. Right click on the date you require and select the action you require. Now fill out the form and you're done.
Setting tasks is just as easy. A single click on the task heading on the desktop brings up the task form. Complete that form and click save. You're done. The task now appears in the task pane on the desktop.
That's it, you now have a neat pin icon on the desktop calendar to show there is a note or task on that date and the details show in the notes / tasks view panes.
With multi user options, LAN, WAN and single user and even dual monitor support there is not much that the team at Xemico has not thought of.
Synchronizing to my pocket PC was as simple as connecting to outlook. And there were no lockups, glitches or other often encountered problems I have experienced when trying to connect my pocket PC to new applications.
Importing / exporting data from a different application is a breeze with a standard CSV format supported. Cut and paste support from Word and other text files are a default operation.
There is even a real neat screen saver that comes with the application showing six time zone clocks from the major cities around the world. Really useful if you have to convert time zones to listen to tele-seminars etc.
I also tried out the technical support by inventing a problem with the install and emailing my problem to them. I received a reply by email within 12 hours and the advice was spot on for the problem I had invented. This is also a first for me. I normally just receive an automated response suggesting I look at the frequently asked questions! I love the personal service and attention to detail this company has embarked on.
All in all, I found the time saving and convenience of having a calendar, tasks and notes readable from one location on my desktop to be a practicable and very welcome help in my day to day work. The added bonus of encouraging me to clean up (and keep clean) my very messy desktop is also a positive reason why I would have no hesitation in paying the $19.90US for this application.
Editor's Note: I have been looking for a Calendar / ToDo List for the desktop for a long time now. I just want to say "hear hear" to Geoff's comments ... This product does it all and does it very well without breaking the bank.