Reviewed by: Lianne Reitter, send e-mail

Published by: Plymouth Rocket, Inc., go to the web site
Requires: Any recent browser version, any operating system, Internet access
MSRP: US$195 per year

EventKeeper is designed as a web-based service which allows organizations to easily maintain their calendar of events online. The main market for EventKeeper seems to be organizations such as libraries, towns, churches, museums, galleries, sports teams, schools, etc., which don't have the resources or expertise to update HTML pages on a web site but still need to keep the public informed of events. On the other hand, private companies and even large corporations interested in maintaining a private or public Intranet can also use EventKeeper both for private and public announcements, schedules of events, exhibitions, meetings and so on.

EventKeeper is a web application - you don't buy the software; you buy access to the software running on a remote server otherwise known as an application service provider (ASP).

EventKeeper resides on the Plymouth Rocket Inc servers. Getting started is simple - go to the web site, set up an account and away you go. Logon and begin entering events via data entry forms using any (reasonably up to date) web browser. You can use keywords for organizing the events and provide both an event listing and a graphic calendar view for users. The EventKeeper calendar or schedule you create can be easily linked to your web site either as a new page or within a frame.

Adding and updating events online is a task which usually falls to an overworked webmaster or web site manager. Considering that it's fairly simple to maintain an EventKeeper calendar once the initial data entry work is done, the workload can be comparatively small. But keep in mind that most webmasters and site managers are very busy these days and most small businesses don't usually have the staff to dedicate to something like EventKeeper. The point is that if you're going to do this and reveal it to the public and your staff, make sure you do regular (if not daily) updates and proofing. After all our fiddling around with EventKeeper, one thing is absolutely sure - it's easy to use. Once it's set up, any trusted person in your office can be designated to keep the EventKeeper calendar up to date.

Cons: We encountered the occasional bug such as the one we hit when adding a new event for the following day - the graphical calendar refused to appear in the browser window. Unchecking the option to use the graphical calendar had no effect - a pop-up message continued to appear, telling us to select a date from the graphical calendar. We found that checking the Save Multiple Events option forced the calendar to appear. We hate Java or whatever it is that is supposed to generate the calendar (and the horse it rode in on). The problem turned out to be related to the pop-up window blocker built into ZoneAlarm Pro (the firewall software running on the computer we used to access EventKeeper). It's debatable whether Plymouth Rocket should change that part of their programming to get around pop-up blockers or whether ZoneLabs should try to create a sub-routine which knows the difference between annoying pop-up ads and legitimate programming. Aaargh! It would be nice to have the Save Event menu bar shown at the bottom of the page as well as the top while in the Editor. It would save the time needed to scroll to the top to click the Save button after adding or updating an event.

Pros: Works as advertised. We think it has lots of useful applications in a variety of businesses, organizations and environments. The testing and use in a busy property management office was instructive and the overall effect was quite beneficial. Nobody ever wondered where anyone was because all they had to do was consult the EventKeeper schedule online. For people familiar with server-based Outlook, Lotus Notes and other workgroup software, this is all old news. But for individuals, small businesses and other organizations who have neither the time nor the resources to install and manage server-based event and time scheduling, for internal or external use, EventKeeper has some valuable applications. This is one of the first ASPs that we find genuinely useful and well thought out. Recommended.

Letters to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public. Send e-mail to: whine@kickstartnews.com





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