Chicago ACT! USER GROUP

 

Meeting Notes

Meeting Date: October 1997

NEWS YOU CAN USE: As reported last month, the latest release of ACT! for Windows 95 is version 3.0.7 while the latest version of ACT! for the Macintosh is ACT! 2.8. The chief benefit of ACT! 3.0.7 is its ability to run on older Windows 3.1 systems. This is in part possible due to a Microsoft-developed emulation application which "fools" ACT! into believing it is running on a 32 bit system even though it is actually running on an older 16 bit system. The best performance, though, will be achieved by running ACT! 3 under the Windows 95 operating system. Moreover, unless you are experiencing difficulties with system "lockups" or getting synchronization errors, it is advisable to stick with version 3.0.6.

MEETING FEATURE:   3COM PALMPILOT™ PERSONAL DIGITAL ASSISTANT

Jamie Cutburth of 3Com demonstrated the latest PalmPilot PDAs. 3Com calls the PalmPilot a "one touch organizer". This portable electronic device measures 4.7" x 3.2" x 0.7". It’s small enough to fit in a shirt pocket and runs on AAA batteries. The PalmPilot comes in two different flavors: the Personal and Professional editions. Both can synchronize with ACT! databases.

Both models perform four basic functions, serving as a calendar, to-do list, address book, and memo pad. In the calendar mode, the large, touch-sensitive LCD screen can display a day, week, or month view—complete with scheduled activities. Using a stylus included with the PalmPilot, Jamie demonstrated how a user can reschedule activities by "dragging and dropping" them across the face of the display.

Data can be entered in one of three ways": via "graffiti" (a built-in handwriting recognition system), a mini typewriter-like touch screen "keyboard", and through data transfer from a PC. Security is ensured through the use of passwords to gain access to certain data.

Special "connectivity" software is needed in order to exchange information with a PC. Using packages such as Intellisync (Symantec has a program too), the PalmPilot can exchange information ("HotSync") with PCs running ACT! (as well as other similar applications). The Symantec version of the linking software is available free of charge at http://www.symantec.com/act/fs_actpalm.html. Though the PalmPilot is not capable of accommodating the information in every ACT! field, it handles the basic name and address fields plus notes. Users not only benefit by being able to take the names and addresses of contacts on the road, but they can also schedule activities without a PC, synchronizing them with the master database upon returning to the office..

The Personal edition can handle about 5000 ACT! contacts while the Professional edition can handle 10,000. (An on-board memory monitoring function tells you how much storage you’ve got in reserve.)

Both models can help you track expenses. Once expenses are recorded on the PalmPilot, they can be "HotSynced" to your PC and automatically fed into an Excel or Quicken template. There’s even a built-in calculator.

Finally the Professional edition boasts e-mail capability. Microsoft Mail, Lotus cc:Mail, and Microsoft Exchange are a few of the mail systems which are supported. In addition, the Professional edition is "Internet ready". 3Com is working on enabling the PalmPilot to be able to access the Internet. (Only text will be displayed.)

The PalmPilot Personal edition sells for $249 while the Professional edition goes for $349. An upgrade package (Personal to Professional) sells for $129. For more information, check out the web site for the PalmPilot at http://www.3comm.com/palm/.

OPEN FORUM:

Q: How much memory should I have to run ACT! 3.0?

A: While 16MB might seem adequate, consider the fact that Windows 95 requires about 14MB. This leaves very little left for ACT! and means that your computer will be making use of the hard drive for temporary storage while running ACT!. Translation: your PC will run slower. You’ll be better off with 32MB (or more) especially if you are running MS Word at the same time.

Q: I’m using ACT! 2.0.9 and getting an "insufficient memory" error when I print a phone directory of my 900 contact database. Why is this?

A: This error is due to an internal limitation related to how DOS allocates memory. It has nothing to do with how much RAM you have in your system. You can get the same kind of errors if you attempt to print 1000 letters at once. One way around this is to break down a large print job into smaller chunks. For example, print all the phone listings for the As, then the Bs, and so on..

Q: Why are there so many blank records at the beginning of my database?

A: This is most likely due to accidentally hitting the insert key on the keyboard while entering information into a contact. (Each time the insert key is hit (either intentionally or unintentionally), a new contact record is created. These blank records can be safely deleted or used for other contacts. Just enter any information in the appropriate fields in the blank record.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

We will take our usual December break and resume meeting in January. Our next meeting will be January 14, 1998. Note that our meeting location has changed (as of this past September) to the Schaumburg Prairie Center for the Arts Lecture Hall located at 201 Schaumburg Court (just off Schaumburg Road, between Plum Grove and Roselle Roads. The ACT! User Group (a SIG of the C.C.S.) holds meetings on the second Tuesday of the month eight months out of the year. User Group meetings are free and open to all C.C.S. members. Call E Tech Systems at 847-352-4770 to get meeting notices or e-mail us via www.etechsys.com.

E Tech Systems is an ACT! Certified Consulting firm and Symantec Authorized Training Center. E Tech has installed, configured, and customized ACT! for dozens of companies and trained hundreds of ACT! users. Alan Lee can be reached at E Tech at 847-352-4770 or via e-mail to alee@etechsys.com.

© Copyright 1997 by Symantec Corporation. All rights reserved. Portions copyrighted by Alan M. Lee. Other nonprofit computer user's groups may reprint this material providing credit is given the author and C.C.S. Future rights for publication reserved by Alan M. Lee. ACT! is a registered trademark of Symantec Corporation.

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