Thursday, April 1, 1999

Text Magic with MagicText

PRODUCT REVIEW

By Vicki Brown

When I first bought my Palm III, I was delighted. Its small size, wealth of applications, and easy-to-use interface make it a useful and convenient companion. Unfortunately, it was missing a few things I've grown used to having on my Macintosh desktop. In particular, I'd grown used to dragging and dropping text on my Macintosh and wasn't really able to do that well on my Palm device.

When I went looking for a solution, I found TextEditHack, a HackMaster hack from Synergy Solutions (at http://www.synsolutions.com). TextEditHack provided much of what I was looking for -- a drag-and-drop text hack for the Palm computer. Features included double-tap to select a word, triple-tap to select a sentence, and drag to move text to somewhere else. What could be better?

MagicText is better. MagicText is the new, improved, (and renamed) update and successor to TextEditHack.

The final word in text editing?

Synergy Solutions calls MagicText 1.5 "the final word in text editing on the Palm Organizer". Of course, they may be biased, but I'm inclined to agree. Not only does MagicText allow you to manipulate text by adding tap selection and drag-and-drop capability to your Palm device, it also provides an easily accessible contextual menu, shown in Figure A, for such operations as cut/copy/paste, phone lookup, date and time, and much more.

FIGURE A

MagicText provides an easily accessible contextual menu.

The secret to the MagicText Contextual Menu is an expandable plug-in architecture that allows functionality to be added (or removed) as you desire. The MagicText application allows configuration of individual plug-in settings, activation or deletion of plug-ins, even beaming if your Palm device is IR-capable. You decide which plug-ins you want to install; the system is fully configurable.

MagicText 1.5 ships with over a dozen plug-ins. New ones will be added to the MagicText Plug-in Repository (on Synergy Solutions Web site) as they become available. Some of the plug-ins are ones you might expect: Copy, Cut, and Paste; UpperCase, LowerCase, and TitleCase. Others are a little more unusual. There's a plug-in to access (and paste in) the current Date and Time, and one to do a Phone Lookup. There is an encryption plug-in. Three plug-ins are available to assist with email.

Several plug-ins have little to do with editing text. There's a plug-in for HotSync, and one to reach most of the Palm Controls (e.g., Sound volume, alarm sounds, and auto-off time). Plug-ins provide links to Bozidar Benc's PopUpCalculator and PopUpTime if you have these installed, eliminating the need for additional launching hacks. There's even a plug-in to flip an animated coin (in case you're still having trouble deciding whether or not to buy MagicText!)