Agilix GoBinder, by Charles Olsen
When I started using a Tablet PC, I searched for information on the web about Tablets and discovered the Tablet PC Talk web site ( www.tabletpctalk.com ). This site publishes links to news articles related to mobile computing in general and Tablet PC computing in particular. I've seen several stories about schools that were starting to encourage students to use Tablet PCs. And not just colleges -- some of these stories were about high schools or even younger students.
Microsoft also has encouraged this with their Student Mobility Tour, which was designed to inform students about mobility devices they need to connect, communicate and collaborate -- on and off campus.
I've found the Tablet PC to be a great productivity tool, and students certainly face many of the challenges that adults face in the office -- schedules to meet, assignments with deadlines, notes, and contact information. So it makes sense that a Tablet PC could be a useful tool for students.
Agilix GoBinder is a program designed to help students become more organized and get better grades. It's very similar to TabletPlanner (and the new version of TabletPlanner, now called PlanPlus for Windows XP), and with good reason -- it was developed by Agilix, the company that developed TabletPlanner for FranklinCovey. GoBinder obviously shares a lot of code with TabletPlanner, as many of the screens look very similar and function in exactly the same fashion.
Like TabletPlanner, GoBinder uses a tabbed interface that resembles a planner book. Several tabs are already there when you install the program, and you can add more tabs as needed.
GoBinder initially opens to the Calendar tab, which shows your schedule for the day -- your tasks and your appointments. Tasks can have a Start Date and Due Date, and those which are past the Due Date are displayed in red. You can enter new items using pen or keyboard. If you write items using ink, you can convert them to text or leave them as handwriting. (See Figure 1.)
Tasks have a default priority of Normal, but you can also set the priority to High or Low. There's a column with a checkbox where you can check off completed tasks. Appointments can be one-time or can be set to recur daily, weekly, monthly or yearly.
The next tab is called Syllabus. Here, you can enter all of your classes, and all of the assignments (and deadlines) for each class. This serves as a simple but effective project manager, letting you see all the items related to each class.
When you enter items in the Syllabus, initially they will appear only on the Syllabus screen. As you're planning how to spend your time, you can link these items to your task list or calendar by clicking the icon to the left of the item. (See Figure 2.). Once linked, the items will appear on your daily schedule.
The People tab provides a place for you to store contact information such as names, addresses, phone numbers and web pages. You can add multiple pages of notes to each contact, and even attach a picture to the entry.
Finally, you can add Notes. GoBinder allows you to create multiple tabs to organize your notes, and each tab can have multiple folders. Each folder can store multiple notes. You can enter notes by keyboard or pen. If you're using a pen, writing a note is just like writing on paper. You can write and draw, and can define multiple pens and highlighters.
Like TabletPlanner, PlanPlus for Windows and PlanPlus for Microsoft Outlook, GoBinder installs a printer driver that allows you to print directly from any application into the Notes tab. Once there, the document can be dragged to another tab or folder to be filed in a different location. You can then mark up these documents using the Tablet's pen.
As you can see, GoBinder is basically a FranklinCovey planner -- without FranklinCovey. There are no tabs for your Mission, Values, Goals, etc. (Though you can create your own Note tabs for these functions and write them anyway.) While GoBinder is designed for students, it would also work for anyone who's looking for a simple planner for their Tablet PC. And the Syllabus functions quite well as a simple project planner.
Though it's designed and marketed for students, you don't have to be a student to find GoBinder useful. If you're looking for an ink-enabled application to help you become more organized, and don't particularly need or follow the FranklinCovey philosophy, GoBinder may be just what you're looking for.
Best of all, you can try it free for 30 days before deciding.
Charles Olsen is a writer, trainer and MIS professional. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
© 2004 by Charles M. Olsen
Charles Olsen is a writer, trainer and MIS professional. He presents classes on Palm computing and time management on the Palm, and writes a monthly column about handheld computing for the HAL-PC magazine. He can be reached at email@example.com.