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NoteWhen - An electronic pad of "sticky notes"

by Alan German

Do you forget to return your library books on time, can never pay bills by their interest-free deadlines, or have trouble remembering when OPCUG monthly meetings are held? If so, you need some funky on-screen reminders - and the "sticky notes" provided by PC Magazine's NoteWhen utility might just do the trick.

This utility program gives you the ability to place little yellow notes on your display screen. Yes, I know that you can do that with a pad of almost-sticky notepaper purchased from the office-supply store. But, with NoteWhen you won't have to buy any more pads, and you will be helping the environment by not cutting down any trees. In addition, the notes are fully electronic, so they can be in any colour, use any font that your monitor will display, and can be scheduled as timely reminders.

In normal use, the program can be run from an icon on the taskbar. The user interface is quite straightforward. The "Add Note" button pops up a new note with a "Your text goes here" message that can be overwritten by typing any text. By default, the note is set to be "Vis" (i.e. visible) such that, when NoteWhen is closed, the note is left on the screen. So, the basic process is just like writing on a sticky note and placing it on the screen.

You can make the notes as big or as small as you wish, and place them anywhere on the screen. The latter process isn't too intuitive but is very simple once you now how (i.e. once you have read the program's help menus). Placing the cursor on a side or a corner of the box let's you resize the note. Placing the cursor between the border of the text box and the actual text changes the cursor to a hand that lets you drag the note anywhere across the screen.



Of course, the best part about electronic notes is that they can be linked to the computer's clock and scheduled for display at some point prior to the event. The scheduling process is quite flexible, providing settings for display of the note at a specific date and time, daily, weekly, or monthly. You can set dates when the message is to be displayed and when this display is to be terminated. You can even assign a sound file to be played to act as an audible alarm.

I like to have multiple reminders of an event, such as the fact that an OPCUG monthly meeting is about to take place. So, I set a daily schedule for the message reminder, starting on the Monday prior to the meeting, and ending on the Wednesday of the meeting. I then uncheck the "Vis" box for the message so that it doesn't display until the first date comes around. Once the message comes on screen, I can either leave it on display, or go into NoteWhen's main menu and uncheck the "Vis" box which turns it off until the next day. In this way I get notices of the up-coming meeting each day, commencing two days prior to the actual day of the meeting.

Modifying any aspect of a note can be done very easily through the program's main window. Alternatively, left-clicking on a note allows direct editing of the text, and right-clicking provides a menu that includes options to change the colours and/or the font, and to modify the display schedule. Other features of the program include the ability to set a given note to always be "on top" of the display, delete an unwanted note, display a calendar with a list of all the notes for a given date, and provide a brief yet comprehensive set of help menus.

In the good old days, PC Magazine's utilities were free for anyone to download. In today's world of E-commerce, they are only available by subscription. However, for the princely sum of just US$ 7.97 you can download one utility of your choice (such as NoteWhen!). Alternatively, US$ 19.97 gives you unlimited downloads from the utility software library for a period of one year.

Bottom Line:

NoteWhen (Proprietary, US$ 7.97)
Version 1.2
Steven E. Sipe, PC Magazine,1895,81461,00.asp

Originally published: November, 2006

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