Since this review was posted, CompanionLink has commented promising a number of updates to improve performance of the app. They’ve been good about it so far, so I suspect the product will continue to improve in the months ahead.
Spoiler alert! If you’re organized, you may find the iPad Contacts and Calendar sufficient for your needs. If you’re hyper organized, or want to be, you might want to pull all your data together into DejaOffice. It’s free, at least for now, and it sure beats that black book filled with sticky notes people carried around before PDAs.
When I lived in Detroit I was madly in love with a girl who pulled out her organizer every time I tried to make a date. She didn’t actually work for a living, her family had money and she also lived off a couple of nice settlements that gave her more free time than I could imagine.
But she would pull it out, shuffle through her sticky notes, flip through the pages, and finally she would negotiate the time that worked best for her.
When I started dating Carol she worked for the Texas Legislature, volunteered for the altar guild, and had family who were always scheduling her for things. She never pulled out her organizer when I asked for a date unless she needed to make time in her schedule for me.
There’s a lesson in here, but I’m hard pressed to define it because I hate organizers of any kind. If I can’t keep a date in my head, I don’t want to make it. If I have shit that isn’t done by the end of the day, it probably didn’t need to be done.
Fortunately, I realized that dating a flake like me would lead to too much chaos, and I married Carol. She keeps track of everything I remember to tell her about, which isn’t much because I have it in my head and it usually doesn’t dawn on me that she might need to know too.
But that’s another discussion that Carol probably doesn’t want me to drag out in this blog because you will only hear my side of the story and, for some strange reason, she thinks it’s a total exaggeration that fails to reflect her side of the story.
I guess this means I should be the last person in the world to review a digital organizer. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize I am. But I can honestly say that if I did actually want to organize all my data into one central location (assuming I actually had any information to organize) this would do a pretty good job.
The interface design actually pales in comparison to iPad Contacts and Calendar. In fact, it’s downright clunky. But I can’t imagine that hyper-organized people really care about design. They want a kludge that works, and DejaOffice definitely fills that bill.
The design is an ugly duckling next to Apple Calendars and Contacts, and it will never be a swan. But I suspect users will be far more concerned with functionality.
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DejaOffice’s most important feature is it’s integration with iPad Calendar and Contacts. Synching for the first time is incredibly easy, and the process is pretty much automatic after that. You can also synch with developer ContactLink’s online service, but that’s way more synching than I need. DejaOffice will have you up and running with all your current data intact in a matter of minutes.
DejaOffice’s strength lies in the suite of complimentary apps, including a separate to do list, notepad and expense report. With the notepad included, you even have your sticky notes, only they don’t fall out of the organizer when you’re trying to write down someone’s contact information. Your current calendar categories import directly, and you can change them as needed to work with DejaOffice.
DejaOffice offers a full complement of mini-apps to fit in with your calendar and contacts.
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In addition to collecting all of your information into a central location, DejaOffice allows you to maintain a to-do list outside the calendar and still keep an eye on items inside the calendar view (much like Macintosh’s calendar program and most real calendar apps). This is one feature I definitely missed in iPad Calendar.
I’ve actually looked at a lot of t0-do apps and applications for PC, Mac and iPad over the years, and few of them ever held my interest. DejaOffice’s to-do app actually seems to work as well as any I’ve seen. It doesn’t have cute little checkboxes, and you can’t view the t0-do items in the calendar view, but it’s fairly well implemented and you don’t have to switch between apps to compare your tasks and appointments.
That being said, ContactLink still needs to iron out a few bugs. The app sometimes crashes while switching to another app in iOS 4 and frequently reports memory problems. Some of the interface elements don’t display correctly. I downloaded a bug fix that was posted while typing this review, but I didn’t have time to test it before sending this to Carol for proofreading.
DejaOffice occasionally scrambles text data, but this will probably be fixed with an update.
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The good news is that ContactLink will probably continue to work out bugs, and, for the most part, the app is functional and sound. I also suspect it won’t be free much longer, so you might want to download it for a test run now. It isn’t pretty, but if you’re looking for something more thorough to organize your appointments and tasks, I would at least give it a whirl.
Jenny Manytoes rates DejaOffice
Jenny Manytoes would take a nap next to DejaOffice. It won’t win any design awards, and it can’t compete with the applications on your desktop, but it will get the job done.
The Jenny Manytoes Rating System
Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat
- When Jenny makes biscuits on a product she thinks she’s in heaven.
- When Jenny purrs over a product she’s very happy.
- When Jenny naps next to a product it’s okay with her.
- When Jenny bunches her tail she can live with a product, but she has higher expectations.
- When Jenny leaves it in the litter box….I don’t think I need to explain this one.
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Email The Hidden Grimoire.