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November 30, 2000|MICHELLE MALTAIS |

It's time to get in sync.

You might already have a hand-held computer and Microsoft Outlook, the calendar on your mobile phone, not to mention the thousand or so slips of paper strewn across your desk. But with the help of the Web's many personal information manager, or PIM, sites, you have yet another way to at least look as if you have it all together.

Which PIM is right for you might depend on how connected--and to what--you want to be.

America Online's (http:// ) lets you set up a personal calendar with an event tracker. So if you just can't keep straight when "Ally" is on or when Kobe, Shaq, Rick and the guys take on those other teams, you can set the calendar to track show and game times. If watching the box or basketball isn't your speed, the event tracker also will keep you up on cultural happenings in your area. For groups that need to coordinate schedules, lets you create a group calendar.

Another site, http:// , lets you create online to-do lists and address books, as well as track appointments, birthdays, bookmarks and anniversaries. You can get e-mail notices on upcoming events you've input. And if your family members only see one another rushing to the next commitment, you can set up an account that can be shared by the whole family. EOrganizer runs on Netscape 3.0 or higher and Microsoft Explorer 3.0 or higher.

ScheduleOnline's service (http:// ) targets groups and businesses with its calendar, e-mail and filing functions. Let's say your book club is trying to get connected. You can post your commitments and find open times through instantaneous availability checking. And participants can upload reviews and notes on the books. You also can take part in live chats or get the chat transcripts later.

OK, so you're not all that eager to set up meetings with folks online or see what they're up to. One option is a PIM at http:// . Remind U-Mail is pretty bare bones. It lets you enter events and pick the days you want to be reminded of those events.

You also can check out MyPhoneBook at http:// . The site offers calendar functions, but the focus is on contacts. It integrates the two by letting you attach events to individual contacts. You also can pull up a map to see where each contact is located. For those who already have attempted to be super organized, you can import your database from such organizers as Outlook, Outlook Express, Goldmine and Act.

Many of us have wired and wireless devices up the wazoo. A few options include:

Yahoo (http:// ) does a decent job of keeping it together. It can sync calendar, address and to-do functions with devices that use the Palm and Pocket PC operating systems. If you're a wireless-phone user, it works with Motorola, Ericsson and Nokia Web-enabled models. It also lets you, among other things, set up a group calendar and add events such as a stock-split calendar. Just don't try this while driving.

MSN Calendar (http:// ) also offers a decent organizer, accessible from just about everything. The catch: You have to sign up for yet another e-mail address. If you already have a Hotmail account, you're set. You can import from Outlook 97/98/2000, Yahoo Calendar, Pocket PC or Palm OS devices.

EasyDiary (http:// ), set up to look like a notebook, gives you a calendar and contact list. If the folks you need to meet also use this site, you can set up appointments through EasyDiary, which will notify them through e-mail about appointments, send you a reminder and update your diary when others reply to requests for meetings. But don't sweat. Whenever another member adds your name to that person's address book, EasyDiary will alert you. And you can decide whether to grant or deny scheduling permission.

The site also lets you sync your personal digital assistant, or PDA, with your account if it uses Palm OS 3.0 or above. But be sure to read all the details on what's overwritten before syncing. EasyDiary is working on offering Wireless Access Protocol access.

AnyDay (http:// ) lets you keep up any way. It works with Pocket PC, Palm OS and the many popular desktop organizers.

A couple of PDA-specific managers offer some useful features.

WeSync (http:// ) lets you share designated items in your address book and date book on Palm OS devices. The key to using this is to designate on the PDA which items are shared and which are read-only or private. It requires a download and works with HotSync Manager. It gives you the option to update your WeSync account with each sync. You can have as many as eight different user calendars on your PDA--more on your PC. (If you haven't yet joined the PDA revolution, you can use the desktop-only version.)

IPIM is a way for users of Palm OS devices to keep up with their agendas without having to hold it in their hands. Say you lose your PDA and your PC crashes. You can still access your contacts and appointments at

http:// . It requires a Windows operating system, a Sun Microsystems Java 2-compatible run-time environment (

http:// ) and at least 2 megabytes of free disk space (plus enough space to store at least twice the amount of your organizer data). IPIM uses either Netscape 4.0 or greater or Internet Explorer 4.0 or greater. It works with any Palm OS 3.0 or greater-based organizer capable of serial synchronization.


Michelle Maltais is a broadcast producer and copy editor at The Times.

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