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Once the novelty of surfing wears off, what do you do with the Web? Make it work for you. You can find sites that will pay your bills, track your portfolio and even keep track of your schedule. There are several Web-based personal information managers (PIMs) that will let you maintain your schedule from anywhere there’s Internet access. Once purely the domain of programs such as Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Organizer and Symantec’s ACT, Web-based information managers are emerging as a welcome addition to the PIM software family.
Web-based PIMs, like their PC captive counterparts, can keep track of your appointments, contacts and meetings. But the best feature of AnyDay.com (www.anyday.com) is the price. It’s free. Just fill out a standard registration form and you’re ready to start. The user interface is simple and navigation of the site is fairly straightforward. AnyDay has three main areas: calendar, events and contacts. Of the three, the calendar function is the most robust.
The site lets you view your calendar by day, week, month and year. Repeat appointments can be scheduled with the click of a link, and there’s even a weekly weather forecast to help you plan ahead. When scheduling a meeting, AnyDay gives you the option of sending out e-mail notifications to other potential attendees. If your recipients are AnyDay users, they can convert your notification to appointments on their personal calendar. It even allows you to plan tentative appointments and reminds you to confirm them.
The events section is less intriguing. Essentially it is a Web-based TV Guide, allowing you to put your favorite TV shows and events into the calendar. The contact manager portion of the site is integrated with the computer, so you can know important dates and scheduled meetings with just one touch.
Perhaps the best part of AnyDay is its ability to synchronize with your existing PIM to keep all of your data up-to-date. Those of you without a PIM will have to start typing. To sync AnyDay with your desktop PIM or handheld device, such as a Palm Pilot or Windows CE handheld device, you need to download (for free) and install Enterprise Harmony software provided at the site. There are several caveats to remember when synchronizing data, many of which are detailed in the AnyDay synchronization release notes. These are a must-read.
While the product is good, don’t expect blazingly fast speed. Even on a high-speed line you may be subject to network delays caused by traffic on the site’s server. Overall, though, AnyDay is a good product that will get better and more useful with time.