Thursday, June 1, 2000

PhatWare’s HPC Notes 3.0 Professional and HPC Spell


By Dan Huber

In a series of articles concluding this month, I had discussed some of Developer One's productivity-oriented software titles that come in handy for me as a student. Now, however, I'd like to turn your attention to another popular software manufacturer called PhatWare.

There are two PhatWare programs in particular that I'd like to look at. They are HPC Notes 3.0 Professional and HPC Spell, two great labor saving devices for students and non-students alike.

HPC Notes 3.0 Professional

Though a plug-in is available for Outlook in order to interface with either Outlook Notes or HPC Notes 3.0 Professional, our focus will be on the latter system because, personally, I feel HPC Notes 3.0 Professional is more useful than Outlook Notes.

New and improved

HPC Notes 3.0 Professional has really gone through a lot of development, and PhatWare has paid close attention to the needs and requests of its customers. The latest incarnation of this program adds more features and capabilities, but it still retains the previous version's abilities, such as a familiar interface and functionality. This eases the process of upgrading and essentially eliminates any learning curve.

You can now store notes in multiple databases, and with the already-available categories you have a very flexible way of storing and sorting notes. This is great for sorting and separating notes that relate to specific classes.

Desktop version

A new feature on the HPC Notes desktop version is a utility called HPC Notes Notifier. This is a great addition that far surpasses Outlook in its ability to alert you to events and tasks. This small program runs in the tray and is represented by a small bell icon. By opening the options on this utility, you're able to configure exactly when you wish this program to run. I choose to let it run at boot up. You can also configure the way in which it notifies you. It offers you a choice of audible alarms to accompany the optional dialog box. The bell also begins to toggle between green and blue when activated. This is a great feature that has really taken HPC Notes to new heights.

Hierarchical browsing

Another major enhancement to the usability of HPC Notes for both platforms is the introduction of hierarchical browsing of your notes. You can sort by date, type, priority, and color. A preview pane is available on both platforms for viewing your notes while still leaving your list of notes quickly accessible. The H/PC version is seen in operation in Figure A.


Though I was skeptical about the clarity of this design, seeing really is believing. (click for larger image)


Synchronization options have been enhanced as well. You can now opt to synchronize only notes of certain color categories or priorities. This is a great way to limit what you carry around on your mobile device if you have large notes databases. This is especially true now that databases are no longer limited to a mere 1000 notes. In fact, you are now limited only by your computer's memory.