The long-awaited Palm-compatible version of Claris Organizer, which 3Com acquired from Apple last year, is here at last. Like Organizer, 3Com/Palm Computing’s MacPac 2 combines an easy-to-use scheduler and contact manager in one convenient package – but it can also share data with Palm organizers.
You can access MacPac’s datebook views from the tool bar or by clicking on tabs in the calendar window. Schedule items include timed appointments, banner events, and to-do’s (although there’s no place to describe events). The contact manager sports all the customary data-entry aids and supports popular formats for printing envelopes and labels. An optional Instant Desktop menu lists your favourite contacts’ names and phone numbers, along with the current day’s events and tasks.
MacPac is an excellent stand-alone PIM, but its real strength is its ability to share data with Palm organizers. On the plus side, 3Com has done an admirable job of writing fast, reliable conduits to handle the flow of data to and from the Palm hardware. But if you’re expecting the desktop software to mirror the data on your organizer faithfully, you may be disappointed. For example, untimed events that repeat daily, weekly, or monthly don’t transfer from the Palm to the desktop. Even more annoying, notes linked to calendar items on the Mac lose their attachments when you transfer them to the Palm.
MacPac 2 will probably satisfy most Palm users. But if you find the inconsistencies between the desktop and the palmtop frustrating, try Chronos’s Consultant (see review page 59) – it syncs with Palm organizers and lets users share contact and schedule data.