Organizing your organizer
PDAs are only useful if they handle data storage and retrieval without a hassle. The less you have to think about the device you're using, the more you can concentrate on what's important -- the information the device holds. SPB Diary is one of those rare software tools that reduces the complexity of a device by making it easier to access its data. Instead of having to open several programs to get to your information, you're only one tap away from the most important data your Pocket PC holds.
SPB has a number of screen shots of Diary in action.
Interface and usability
SPB Diary's interface is as simple and intuitive as possible; the entire program is displayed on your start page, where your quick start icons usually reside. When you power the system on or close all open programs, you'll see the Diary layout just below the date and owner information (assuming you haven't changed the default configuration). Tap the five tabs to the left to get a quick view of all of your PDA's most important data.
Diary is basically middleware -- it makes it easier to access the Pocket PC's most useful programs. Rather than have Messaging, Tasks, Calendar, and Notes all open at once, you can see all of the data stored in all of these programs without opening any of them. So Diary does not have a separate program for each of these functions -- it relies on programs that are already installed in Windows Mobile by default. If you change any data through SPB Diary, it is changed in the parent program as well.
The only significant shortcoming that I found in SPB Diary was that I couldn't retrieve new email messages directly from the Diary interface. I had to either open up the Messaging program and download new email manually, or set Messaging to retrieve email on a schedule. All other functions worked as expected, and greatly increased my Pocket PC's usability.
Anything that eliminates the need for menus while reducing the overall number of taps is a great PDA software package. If the Windows Mobile developers had thought a little harder about their interface design, Diary wouldn't be necessary.
|Manufacturer||SPB Software House|
|OS support||Microsoft Windows Mobile 2002, 2003, 2005 (5.0)|
|License||Proprietary, restrictive in all the usual ways|
|Market||Pocket PC users|
|Price (retail)||U.S. $15|
|Product Web site||Click here|