Now Up-to-Date & Contact for OS X, by Power On
Posted: 23-Mar-2002

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Power On Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Al Douglas Class: UTILITIES

Introduction
Now Up-to-Date and Now Contact (NUTD&C) have been around since the early days of the Mac. First produced by 'Now Software' and now maintained/upgraded by Power On Software, it is probably the best calendar and address book program (or PIM, Personal Information Manager) on the market, Mac as well as PC. Version 4.1.1 is for Mac OS X, a free upgrade from 4.0.x (including 4.0 through 4.0.3 & 4.1).

If you are not using Mac OS X, DO NOT upgrade. There are no new features or enhancements for non-Mac OS X users. Version 4.0.3 is the current version for users of Mac OS 8.6 - 9.2.x.

If you ARE using Mac OS X: Version 4.1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.1 or higher. The difference is that 4.1.1 sports the OS X 'Aqua' interface, runs native in OS X, and provides some minor bug fixes. Although version 4.0.3 runs fine in Classic mode under OS X, with the free upgrade to 4.1.1, there's no reason not to upgrade.

Installation
I downloaded the demo version of 4.1.1 from the Power On web site (with a G4/400 w/OS 9.1), and pulled it onto my PowerBook running OS X 10.1.3 over our home network. It installed easily with the serial number given me, changing from 'demo' to a fully functional copy. Then I pulled over our NUTD&C version 3.9.2 files from the G4 Mac to the PowerBook and simply double-clicked on them. The NUTD&C 4.1.1 asked if I wanted to convert them to 4.1 files, which I did, and the correct files came right up. All the records, formatting, and preferences were transferred, including print formatting! There was nothing else to do. Everything worked 'right out of the box' in the new Aqua interface.

However, note that when NUTD&C comes up, it will ping over a LAN to see if other copies of NUTD&C are operating, and will refuse to work if an identical S/N is on another machine unless the S/N is for multiple copies. I have an older S/N with a '0002' which allows my copy to work on our home Mac and my PowerBook simultaneously. I think the best way to upgrade or buy a new copy is to actually call Power On and negotiate with them.

Using the Software
Now Up-to-Date & Contact automates your calendar and addresses, keeping them all "Up-to-Date". Through the years we've input about 300 contacts and Now Contact keeps them safe and sound. We also use Now Up-to-Date for our family calendar. All the family events for birthdays, anniversaries, teaching schedules, evening classes, 'Teacher-in-Training' days, doctor and dentist appointments, etc., all get input as they arise and the calendar gets printed (color coded) and posted on the refrigerator. What I like most is that it issues reminders so you don't forget your wife's birthday. In addition, NUTD&C also makes it easy to change and add information, and synchronize it with your Palm (including Handspring, Sony, and other PDA's running the Palm OS). Power On Software says it best:

"Users of Now Up-to-Date & Contact can manage their own schedules and contacts, or easily share them with small groups or large organizations. Now Up-to-Date & Contact's built in server solution lets you schedule meetings inside a small office or run a worldwide enterprise, right over the internet! You can check your schedule, find a phone number, create a new appointment, and check off a to-do, all without even launching the program! And with the new Grab-n-Go feature, you can collect information from virtually any document and with one click, create an appointment, to-do, or reminder."


I would recommend anyone contemplating using NUTD&C go to their web site to run through the Product Tour. It shows screens and dialog boxes much better than can be presented here. There you can see for yourself the new Aqua look and the sophisticated interface:
NUTD&C Product Tour.

System Requirements:

  • Now Up-to-Date & Contact Version 4.0 runs on Mac OS 8.6 through 9.1 and Mac OS X's Classic Environment.
  • TCP/IP required for sharing public information (calendar and contact information).
  • Version 4.1.1 provides native Mac OS X support. Requires Mac OS 10.1 or higher.

New Features:

  • New user interface, with Aqua look and feel
  • Shared keywords in multi-user environment
  • Additional user-definable custom fields to allow greater flexibility in the storage of additional contact information
  • Grab-'n-Go provides seamless integration with other major applications that permits users to transform most data or messages into an appointment, task, or other event, and to link documents and alert messages to those items. Supported applications include Microsoft Office 2001, Microsoft email products for the Macintosh, as well as Eudora, and other major email products and applications
  • Additional Internet/email/phone fields to handle multiple email addresses, URL addresses, and communications data
  • Ability to view more detailed information in QuickContact, Power On's instant-access contact locator
  • Migration tool that permits users to extract their data from Microsoft Entourage and automatically enter it into Now Up-to-Date & Contact
  • Full TCP/IP implementation for support of firewalls and NAT routing
  • One-click sorting and the ability to sort on multiple levels
  • Drag and drop layout capabilities for customized list view
  • Pop-up labeling of headers in list view
  • Ability to attach graphics to contact records (maps, pictures, logos, business cards, etc.)
  • Advanced on-line support system that includes HTML Help System and integrated web support that provides automated technical support with an online solutions database that is updated regularly, as well as direct email interface to technical support services and one-click access to FAQ's; also contains tutorial calendar and contact demonstration for quick set-up and ease of use
  • Completely redesigned and updated interface, including user-definable background patterns, new toolbars, custom color selection
  • Ability to customize up to ten levels of prioritization
  • New AlphaBar for immediate access to contacts in list view
  • New calendar views including mini-calendar navigation tool for instantaneous modification of date view
  • New Scripts Menu in both Now Up-to-Date & Now Contact modules, allowing the addition of compiled scripts
  • Completely updated AppleScript support that adds support for the AppleScript Object Model, including AppleEvents from the Standard Suite and the Table Suite; also includes design template and scripts for automatically updating area codes, company information, and automating scheduling. Also ships with templates for moving data from a custom field to one of the new data-specific fields such as email, URL, or any custom field. Also checks automatically for any data in a field to which user may wish to move information
  • Support for Microsoft Office 2001, including drag and drop support and mail merge integration
  • QuickFilter for instantaneous selection of contact records in list view, without invoking a search command


Summary
Now Up-to-Date & Contact has been refined over many years and Power On has done a good job of incorporating fixes and complaints. My wife and I have tried to use other PIMs, but always end up coming back to NUTD&C. It has the most intuitive interface and fewest quirks of any PIM. You can see that from the number of imitators most notably Microsoft. I highly recommend this product. If you have 4.0 and are considering an upgrade, the upgrade is free, you'll get OS X native compatibility and a nice aqua interface. The only downside to the upgrade is that there is a problem introduced in 4.1.1 where conduits give the error 'Now Up-to-Date/Contact 4.0 cannot be found' when installed on a machine that has Mac OS X and Mac OS 9 on the same partition. Power On Software has released a beta patch that reports to fix this problem. Assuming the problem is fixed, there is no reason not to upgrade.

Pros

  • New Aqua interface
  • Runs native in OS X
  • It's still as easy to use
  • Contact now keeps email addresses in extra fields
  • QuickDay and QuickContact menus are still there (provides immediate access to frequently accessed contacts or what's on today's schedule)

Cons

  • Now Up-to-Date & Contact still needs work in customizing tool bars (you can't)
  • The mini-calendars don't highlight dates with activities as Outlook's calendar
  • The print interface still seems confusing to me, it could be made more intuitive
  • Synchronization with Palm devices has been troublesome for some 4.1.1 users (although Power On has recently released 'Now Up-to-Date & Contact Palm Conduits' to address this)


Rating

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice