BugMe! for Pocket PC

Reviewed by: Howard Carson, December 2003, send e-mail
Published by: Electric Pocket, go to the web site
Requires: Windows Mobile 2003, Pocket PC 2002 and previous versions
MSRP: $19.95 (full versions), $9.95 (license transfer)

Write a colorful note and use it as an alarm - include a picture file, include and voice note, include a drawing. Use different backgrounds. Set an alarm using any of the preset intervals or set up a custom date and time, with repeats, different alarm sounds and even different stationery. BugMe! is an ingeniously simple note taker and memory jolter. We've reviewed BugMe! for PalmOS but this is the first time we've had a look at the Pocket PC version.

I really detest Outlook on the Pocket PC and avoid it at all costs. Some people absolutely live inside Outlook (on the PC and on Pocket PC) and for many it's a robust and versatile tool. But I can't stand it. Give me the PalmOS DateBook, or better yet, the excellent DateBk5 for PalmOS from Pimlico Software. Either program has better data input, more room in the user interface for data input and display, and generally better ergonomics all around than most of what I've seen on the Microsoft dominated Pocket PC. Needless to say, when Electric Pocket asked if we'd like to review BugMe! for Pocket PC, we jumped at the opportunity.

First things first, lest the previous paragraph remain somewhat deceiving: BugMe! is not a replacement for whatever calendar or date book you're using on your Pocket PC. There's no full day view contextual screen in BugMe! such as that which exists in almost every calendar and date book. But that's not the point. BugMe! is designed for customized notes containing lots of data. You can print a note (on stationery, colored backgrounds or photos), add drawings and add voice notes. Outlook and its rivals can't touch that combination. So the two programs (BugMe! and Outlook) are not necessarily rivals. If you use BugMe! as your alarm (instead of the boring and uninformative Outlook), while keeping Outlook as your general daytimer, life can be quite a bit more interesting.

Why bother with BugMe! you may ask? The plain truth is that standard Pocket PC and PalmOS alarms become easy to ignore after a while. Sometimes, the alarm goes off, we tap the screen to acknowledge the alarm, then go about our current business and forget about the alarm. A BugMe! note can be made so overtly and naggingly multimedia that it becomes almost impossible to ignore. If you've ever cursed the world after acknowleging (then immediately forgetting about) a PDA alarm, BugMe! is for you.

The programmers at Electric Pocket have done a proper job of integrating BugMe! with the Today screen so that the software is available from the context menu. Pop up the menu, tap BugMe! and start making notes in your own handwriting or with text. The visual alarms you set up are infinitely better than any typical date book-type of alarm. The notes themselves - complete with drawing, photos and anything else you can think of - become the alarms. Individual alarms can be set up to be as annoying as you like, including nagging alarm sounds, silly drawings and so on. The drawing functions are robust enough, with lots of paper, colors and pen styles to choose from to suit many different sorts of messages. Among the most helpful bits of integration in BugMe! is the ability to add voice notes. We were actually able to create a single note using a photo background on which we wrote a text note, attached to which was a voice recording containing an additional reminder. Once again, BugMe! makes it very hard to ignore alarms.

Cons: We'd like to see BugMe! be able to integrate with Outlook and other calendar and ToDo programs for Pocket PC. Although BugMe! is genuinely useful, it would be a killer app if it could be called within the most popular calendars and date books.

Pros: Rapid, smooth onscreen printing and drawing response. Absolutely beats the pants off mundane audible alarms. New BugMe! notes can be started in the Today screen. Individual notes are lockable. Thumbnail view of all available notes. Integrated voice note recording. Zippy performance. Uses almost any photo as a note background. Never again endure boring and uninformative alarms. Adaptive, useful for everyone from salespeople and students to busy Moms and anyone else who needs informative alarms rather than simple pointers to their day timer or date book. Highly recommended.

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




© Copyright 2000-2006 kickstartnews.com. All rights reserved. legal notice
home | previous reviews | forums | about us | search | store | subscribe


Forums Search Home Previous Reviews About Us Store Subscribe