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Graphic SOHO Organizer 6SOHO Organizer

SOHO Organizer 6
Manufacturer: Chronos
Retail Price: $99.00

I love using my Mac to keep organized. For whatever reason, I've always been better at remaining organized on the computer than I have with traditional, hard copy, approaches. But, when I decided to start my own computer consulting business I knew I needed something more powerful than I had been using. Enter SOHO Organizer.

SOHO Organizer is a suite of three separate programs designed for the small office/home office: SOHO Organizer, SOHO Print Essentials and SOHO Notes and I'll discuss them in that order.

Organizer is a calendaring and contact database that syncs with iCal and Address Book via sync services. So changes made in Organizer, Address Book or iCal can be synced amongst each other. That means that information entered into Organizer can be synced with your iPhone.

Although iCal and Address Book are great, SOHO Organizer takes things to the next level. It relies on the iCal visual metaphor, so users of iCal will feel right at home with Organizer but it adds simple elegant touches such as showing what time it is while in calendar view.

While iCal and Organizer look similar, the contact interface is completely redone. Apple's Address Book is, shall we say, a pretty spare design. Although I like simple, it's a bit too plain for my taste. Organizer's contact component not only adds more visual flourish but allows you to drag the field around into the order that you prefer them displayed.

One of my favorite features is tabbing. Just as you can use tabs in Safari to have several websites open at once, you can use tabs within Organizer to keep different calendars or contacts open. In my case, I prefer one tab showing this week's calendar, one showing next week's and another showing my addresses. And, best of all, organizer remembers my tabs so every time I launch I get these three tabs again.

SOHO Print Essentials prints things like address labels, envelopes, contact lists and invoices. I've used Print Essentials extensively to invoice my clients and am pleased at how easy it works. Making an attractive custom invoice took about 5 minutes to arrange and organize.

The final component of the SOHO Organizer Suite is SOHO Notes. Some readers may remember Notes under its previous (and more creative) title Sticky Brain. Notes is a digital shoe box for string anything from passwords, sounds, videos to webpages. This is a big shoe box!

Notes has two features for quick accessibility: FlashNote and DockNote. FlashNote adds an icon onto you menu bar that you can click on to quickly access your information. Interestingly, it doesn't need to launch Notes for you to see your notes. Instead it acts similar to Leopard's Quick Look feature and is very fast.

DocNote adds a tab to the side of your screen that lets you access all the Note features. Double clicking an icon in DocNote does launch Notes so it's more time consuming. Still, DocNote makes it easy to enter and access your information.

It's impossible to offer a full review of this software within the space restraints of this article. So, if you are looking for a powerful tool to keep you organized go to chronosnet.com and download the 30-day demo of Chronos' SOHO Organizer. If, like me, you find SOHO Organizer valuable, you can also purchase it from the Chronos website for $99.99.

Review by NCMUG member James Bleifus