Data Entry Alternatives

by PocketGoddess on December 14, 2001

The first is a relatively new program for your Windows PC called Anagram. They should have called it Magic, because that’s exactly what it does. I get quite a few emails and documents each day that have information that I want to capture– contact information, driving directions, email addresses, even new recipes that I want to try out at home. It used to be a big hassle to copy and paste everything to the Palm Desktop, and that meant that usually there was a big pile of email in my Inbox waiting to be processed because I just didn’t want to do all that work. But with Anagram, now all I have to do is highlight the information I want to save with my mouse, then press F12 on my keboard and voila–up pops the Anagram window, with everything correctly formatted, no matter if it was an address or an appointment. All I have to do is hit the Enter key and the information goes straight to the Palm Desktop, ready to sync to my handheld.




If there are any mistakes (which I’ve found to be very rare indeed) you can easily make changes before you approve the item. And if you don’t like the F12 method of starting Anagram, you can change that to some other key that works for you. Even better, with an extensive set of preferences, it’s very easy to ensure that your information is captured in the format that you like best– some of us like parentheses around area codes, and some of us don’t– Anagram lets you choose. Believe me, you’ll wonder how you ever did without it, and there’s no reason why you’ll ever put off entering your contact information and meetings again. It’s just $16.95 and is available at the . Outlook users will be glad to hear that they’re testing a version for you which should be available very soon.


The second program that I’m highlighting today is called HandStory. It has a slightly different emphasis than Anagram in that it is designed to make getting images and web pages into your Palm OS device as quick and easy as possible, while Anagram is devoted to the big four applications– Datebook, Address, To Do, and Memo (though as long as you sync with the Palm Desktop, it works fine with ActionNames, DateBk4, and other replacement programs). HandStory works with Internet Explorer to convert web pages and graphics with a simple click of the mouse. Simply select the image or text that you would like to send to your Palm, right click, and select “Save to Palm.” The next time you perform a HotSync the information will appear in the HandStory application on your device. It works with all of the txt, bmp, gif, and jpg files from your hard drive as well, and on the Palm it provides an integrated environment for viewing images and reading ebooks and Memos. I was very impressed with both the speed and the quality of HandStory on my m505. Large images (I tried out a Garfield comic strip) can either be shrunk to fit the Palm’s screen before installation, or else you can preserve the image size and scroll it with the stylus. You have the option to save it as a color or greyscale image, and can send it straight to an expansion card if you have one on your device.


My favorite feature of HandStory has nothing at all to do with its image and DOC viewing capabilities though- it’s that little icon in the system tray of my computer. When I right click on it, a menu pops up that allows me to launch the Palm Install Tool (which is handy for checking what’s about to be installed before I HotSync) or the Palm Desktop. That’s nice, but what I really like is the HotSync control option, which gives me the power to choose exactly which conduits I want to sync much more quickly than changing the Custom settings in the HotSync Manager one at a time. I can choose just HandStory & Install, the Default (“Big Four”) apps and Install, Backup & Install, Install only, or custom settings that I choose. That alone is almost worth the $14.95 price of purchase, and when you include that functionality with the ability to easily send text and images to your Palm it’s easy to see that HandStory is a winner. You can get more information and a free trial at the HandStory website.


Both Anagram and HandStory are now permanent parts of my essential handheld arsenal, even though both of them are primarily desktop applications. I think that after you try them out you’ll agree that life without either one is hard to imagine. While it is possible to do without the ability to magically format appointments and contact information for your Palm OS handheld at the touch of a button, it’s much easier not to have to do all of that extra work. My Inbox is certainly much cleaner now than when I started. And the next time I run across a great cartoon on the Internet that I want to share with my friends, all I have to do is right click and say “Save to Palm” and HandStory will take care of the rest. That’s why both of these inexpensive powerhouse programs have received my coveted “Five PocketGoddess” Rating.

PocketGoddess ratings for both Anagram and HandStory: 5 out of 5

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