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New Product Review: SOHO Organizer for Mac

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  • New Product Review: SOHO Organizer for Mac

    A new product from Chronos, SOHO Organizer, has been released by Chronos. It replaces their products Personal Organizer and Group Organizer. I have spent 15 minutes with the calendar/task list component, and I recommend staying away from it, for two reasons:

    1) It has very little value. It uses (or interfaces with- not made clear) ical. What you get is a list of your calendars, both appointments and tasks. You can look at all calendars or one calendar. The list of calendars (categories) is neither alphabetical nor in the order you arrange them in ical. While this is not much, the list is a view you don't get from ical.

    2) It is slow as molasses. I am using a one-year-old Powerbook, not a speed demon, but.. when I click on an existing entry, I consistently reach one-thousand-and-twenty before a window opens. This occurs even if I immediately re-open the same entry. Adding an entry is faster, only about 10 seconds.

    Chronos wants $50 for the calendar component, and $100 for the suite, which includes a contacts module, a notes module and some printing thing. The contacts modules seems acceptable in speed, unless you want to create a task or event from it.

    I have been using Sticky Brain. another Chronos Product, for some time and think well of it. The SOHO Note component is intended as a step up from that product. I have not tried it, and may not, because the calendar component is so poor. The company went 6 months between announcing imminent release to actually releasing SOHO Organizer. Frankly, I would be ashamed to be asking people to pay me for such a poor product.

  • #2
    Do I ever agree

    I have been using Chronos Personal Organizer (originally Consultant) since it was version 2.x -- many years ago. I have been waiting and waiting, and have just spent a few hours looking at SOHO organizer. I fully agree with the prior post.

    A key advantage of Personal Organizer that it was simultaneously lean, but very integrated and flexible. The reliance on ical and address book builds in inflexibility. I am really perplexed at vendors building on ical and address book-- since if we found those programs to be useful in the first place, why would we want an added layer. I have started to look again at NOW (up to version 5.1) -- and am less than thrilled (I used NUD and Now Contact before PO years ago).

    Anyone have good recommendations for address book/calendars (other than ical/address book, or Entourage)?


    • #3
      SOHO not for either

      I agree with the other posts. Chronos SOHO is a big disappointment after waiting for months. There isn't even an upgrade path to move your data from their precious organizer to the new one. There can't be because the previous version actually did much more.

      phillychuck, here is a new Google group which just started...
      ...I suspect in reaction to Chronos poor release. Many of us are looking for an improved PIM/CRM for Mac, and there are many choices listed there.

      BTW: I think integration with the Apple apps is needed as so much info connects to them now, and there needs to be a central depository for things such as addresses. Chronos just did a lousy job implementing their product. Imagine PO with contacts that also stored email addresses and linked critical email to notes, events etc... And then being able to go to your work computer and have all the same synchronized data there.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Kenneth
        I agree with the other posts. Chronos SOHO is a big disappointment after waiting for months. There isn't even an upgrade path to move your data from their precious organizer to the new one.
        Hi Kenneth

        Put me down for years not months There is supposed to be an upgrade utility coming out according to the posts on the Chronos forums. I am holding off trying SOHO organiser until that comes out and is debugged.



        • #5
          Your Might Try Daylite

          I personally use Entourage. It has problems but it is working for me. However, if this isn't to your liking, you might try Daylite:

          A friend of mine who is a GTD enthusiast is using it and loving it. Unfortunately, I can't use it, because I work in a corporate environment and have to interface with an Exchange server.


          • #6
            New SOHO

            I was told by Chronos in the Summer of 2004 that they were going to update Organizer and they asked for users to contribute suggestions on improving the product. I spent a lot of time and several e-mails offering ideas and facilities to further improve what was already a good product.

            I chased about the release date and was told they intended to have it out by the end of 2004. Well that makes it a year late ! I thought well they must really be building in some pretty good stuff to take this long.

            What a real let down this release is. I never received the promised e-mail release notification and only found out about it by checking their site this week so they didn't even bother contacting exisitng users.

            None of my suggestions have gone in and I am totally amazed at the very poor result that has been released after all this time. So many great features have just gone, the nice clear contact cards with the good sized area for the notes history, that A-Z list across the top of the contact list, the ability to build custom lists for mailings from your contacts, the ability to have a month view calendar and the day view open side by side, the message pad etc, etc.

            I'm still learning SOHO so forgive me if I'm just not finding this stuff. I also couldn't believe it when I clicked on SOHO calendars and it just launched iCal ! So now we are paying money for an application we already had for free. I was hoping for a professional paid for calendar that goes way beyond what iCal does not just linking to iCal because no-one could be bothered to write a new one.

            Every other upgrade application I've ever bought builds and improves on the original, not downgrades it. I've got over 1100 old contact in Organizer waiting to port across and I sure hope they offer a good de-duping facility for the inevitable doubling up that will occur with the 600 current entries I have in the new SOHO.


            • #7
              another 2 thumbs way down from me. i'm still waiting for these guys to drop the "just kidding!" punchline. it amazes me that this is what has taken them nearly 4 years to come up with?!?! for those who haven't tried it yet...

              it's essentially a collection of 4 separate apps, none of which comply with Apple's latest user interface guidelines, that pretty much need to all be running at once! they are all slow, and all buggy. and one of them isn't really even an application, it's actually just a big, clunky, fullscreen launchbar for iCal. DISGUSTING. check out the latest DayLite version to see something with some actual progress and thought behind it.


              • #8
                Old Daylite link

                Originally posted by Michael Hyatt
                I personally use Entourage. It has problems but it is working for me. However, if this isn't to your liking, you might try Daylite:


                A friend of mine who is a GTD enthusiast is using it and loving it. Unfortunately, I can't use it, because I work in a corporate environment and have to interface with an Exchange server.
                That link is old (I'm going to redirect it in a few minutes). You should go to:

                We've introduced Daylite 3 (in beta right now). In it, we've added more ways to employ some GTD concepts. We should have some more info on this when we ship.


                • #9
                  Nice! But do DayLite 3 have Palm syncronization?


                  • #10
                    Is there any way to Search this Bulletin with similar words ?

                    I Don't Know that Is there any way to Search this Bulletin with similar words instead of exact words.
                    I searched for similar words in and
           and I found this Bulletin.
                    However inside the site I could not find any smart search. you have to know exact words to find similar topics
                    any Idea?


                    • #11
                      Daylite & Palm sync

                      Originally posted by dyofanto
                      Nice! But do DayLite 3 have Palm syncronization?
                      Palm sync, Address Book sync are both supported. They are temporarily disabled for the current beta. They will be available again shortly.
                      We also have offline synching for mobile folks. You can create an offline copy of your main database onto your laptop, work on that on the road and sync back later (this assumes that you are in a multi-user environment. Single users wouldn't need to create offline databases).


                      • #12
                        Just got this update from Chronos

                        Not sure if they've addressed the complaints in this thread about the SOHO software, but they're shilling a new version. Caveat emptor...


                        Chronos has released SOHO Organizer 5.5, a MAJOR update to its personal and business productivity suite. SOHO Organizer is designed for both individual and workgroup use and the latest update represents an important step forward in the complete rewrite of the former Personal and Group Organizer products that it replaces. SOHO Organizer 5.5 is a free update for registered SOHO Organizer 5.x users.

                        MAJOR NEW FEATURES

                        • Contact and calendar management in a single application. The previous version of SOHO Organizer featured two separate applications for contact and calendar management: SOHO Contacts and SOHO Calendars. These two applications have now been combined into a single sleek application called SOHO Organizer. This new integrated application means no more switching between two applications as well as even tighter contact and calendar integration.
                        • Day view. The new Day view shows events and tasks for a single day at a time in a new streamlined interface.
                        • Journal view. Keeping a daily journal or diary is easier than ever with the new Journal view which is always just a click away. Plus, journal entries automatically show up SOHO Notes so your entries are always available from either application.
                        • Daily notes. The Day view contains a Daily Notes region where users can quickly enter notes they want to associate with the current day. This popular feature is a carry-over from the former Personal and Group Organizer products.
                        • Personal/Group Organizer converter application. This new converter application makes it easy to move contact, calendar, daily note, journal, and memo data from the former Personal and Group Organizer products to the new SOHO Organizer.

                        100+ ENHANCEMENTS, OPTIMIZATIONS, FIXES

                        SOHO Organizer 5.5 also includes 100+ enhancements, optimizations and bug fixes:

                        • Support for hierarchical groups has been added to the Contact Card and Contact List views
                        • Pop-up calendars in the Event and Task windows make it easier to enter dates
                        • Holding down the Option key reveals the groups a selected contact belongs to
                        • SOHO Notes gains DockNote, journaling, full-screen editing, labels & flags, blogging, and audio recording
                        • Synchronization fixes and improvements
                        • Much, much, more...

                        For a detailed list of all the changes in this update visit the Chronos web site.

                        AVAILABILITY & REQUIREMENTS

                        Chronos believes users should have the opportunity to try the software for free before they purchase. A fully functional 30 day trial version can be downloaded from Chronos' web site. SOHO Organizer has been attractively priced at $99.99.

                        Registered SOHO Organizer 5.x users can upgrade to SOHO Organizer 5.5 for FREE. Registered Personal & Group Organizer users can upgrade to SOHO Organizer for only $49.99. Users who purchased Personal or Group Organizer after May 1st, 2005 will be eligible to upgrade to SOHO Organizer for FREE. Pricing for volume purchases and upgrades is also available on the Chronos web site.

                        SOHO Notes requires Mac OS X v10.4.7 or later and is a Universal application (runs natively on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macintosh computers); 130MB of available disk space.

                        THE OFFICIAL SUCCESSOR

                        SOHO Organizer is the official successor to Personal Organizer and Group Organizer and represents a 100% Cocoa rewrite of the former products. This means SOHO Organizer presents a first-class Mac OS X experience complete with all the features Mac OS X users expect: Aqua interface, Unicode compliance, built-in spell checking, Service support, etc. Finally, the true benefit of a complete Cocoa rewrite is that SOHO Organizer is built for the future and can easily accommodate future technologies.

                        SOHO Organizer makes managing customer relationships from phone calls and notes to appointments and to-dos easy. It embraces and leverages popular Mac OS X technologies and applications instead of trying to replace them. For example, it synchronizes seamlessly with Address Book and iCal so that users can continue to use them and other applications that rely on their data. Users can thus use Apple's iSync to synchronize contacts and calendars in SOHO Organizer to cell phones, iPods, Palm handhelds, and even .Mac.

                        ABOUT CHRONOS LLC

                        Chronos has been developing award-winning small office and home office (SOHO) software for Macintosh since 1993. Their new SOHO Series of products is an integrated software solution that “just works” so users can focus on their businesses.


                        • #13
                          I would recommend at least having a look at 5.5 SOHO Organiser. They have merged the contacts and calendar parts and have started on building their own views. So there is now a day view and week, month, year etc views are coming. Speedwise it is OK but I have a MacBook with 2 gig RAM so I would rather hope it was fast.

                          The reason for linking in with iCal and Address Book is they decided to give up on their own syncing and use Apple's built in sync services.

                          At its present stage of development I don't find it as good as Personal Organiser. Part of the blame for this of course rests with Apple for deciding to give away free a pretty good calendar and a pretty good address book app. This means third party developers lose a lot of potential market. I think SOHO Organiser will be worth buying when they get all the other calendar views in place.

                          I also switched to MarkSpace's Missing Sync for PalmOS at the same time. This has many advantages in particular network syncing and background syncing. The Palm HotSync stalls if you put it in the background and Palm don't support network sync on the mac.

                          For those worried about converting I converted about 4,500 events from Personal Organiser and about 150 contacts without any apparent problems.

                          I use the Tasks on my Palm for GTD. The Tasks view on SOHO Organiser isn't very exciting but neither was it on Personal Organiser.