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Support for an independant version of SideKick Helpful Member!(14) 

mickygriff (Vendor)
10 Jul 05 19:07
I thought I would start a thread to show how much support there is for either an individual, group or company, to provide a reworked/updated version of Sidekick. Someone surely possesses the skills to do this? Please just reply to give this indication.
Helpful Member!  james33 (TechnicalUser)
11 Jul 05 17:13
I will add my voice to that, it was something I started doing in Access, but even though I could get the cardfile section up and running, I felt intimidated by the fact that there was just sooo much in Sidekick and I only have so much time to spare.
It wouldn't be a bad idea to actually set up a wish list of the features that people really needed/wanted because even now, after all these years, I don't use half of the program.
These are the Main features that I need in the program:

1. Cardfiles
   i.   User defined fields (At least 35)
   ii.  Labels
   iii. Envelopes
2. Basic Calendar with:
   i.   Events (recurring ones too)
   ii.  Alarms
   iii. ToDos
   iv.  Phone calls
   v.   Daily / Weekly and Monthly views
3. Write/Memo Section with
   i.   Merge Document ability (with user defined fields)
   ii.  Fax (well printto at least)
   iii. Send to Email

What do you think you can't do without?

Regards
Jim
Helpful Member!  Zoltan627 (MIS)
1 Aug 05 22:32
I was talking with a friend of mine who does programming about SK's date problem and he said if he had the source code it wouldn't be a problem to fix. The next question is, how do we get the source code?
Helpful Member!  newsnet (TechnicalUser)
6 Aug 05 2:37
100% agree it would be great if someone was able to revive Sidekick. My (ancient) Sidekick 2 is indispensable - even through the diary can be flaky and unpredictable (so much so that I now use MSN diary to make sure my entries won't disappear wiothout trace as they sometimes do in SKW2).
 
The source code - presumably - was written by Borland before the Starfish takeover and extra trimmings added on after that.
I think I've got installation software of all the versions brought out  since SKW1 - but SKW2 is still my favourite.

I was concerned to see that the mobile phone company T Mobile is now using the name "Sidekick" for one of its products - so whoever took up the challenge of re-making and re-marketing the product would have to sort that out.
Helpful Member!  bigdent (TechnicalUser)
6 Aug 05 13:59
Resurrecting SK is a great idea. There is no program on the market that comes close to SK98. I keep looking, but nothing. I have often thought that there could be a business opportunity to buy the SK source code, update it and remarket the software. But I'm not in that business.

Starting in 99, Starfish began eliminating features from SK. They believed that the money was in their syncing software, Truesync. They changed SKs name to Truesync Desktop and bundled it with Truesync, but it was completely stripped-down. The exact same skin as SK, but without most of the features.

Motorola bought Starfish, then sold it to Pumatech, which changed its name to Intellisync Corp. Intellisync now distributes a product called Intellisync Desktop. I can't find a screenshot, but it seems to be just a syncing template to interface with other programs, like Outlook. It may not be related to SK at all. Does anyone know?

If Intellisync has completely abandoned all of the SK code, they might make it available free or for a small royalty to someone that wants to run with it. But it is also possible that the reason Starfish abandoned SK in the first place is that the source code is inefficiently written and labor intensive to maintain and update.
Helpful Member!  jimalex (TechnicalUser)
11 Aug 05 19:27
Great idea. How do you do it? Who owns it. Who has the source code. I'd like to take on the job.
jimalex (TechnicalUser)
27 Aug 05 18:49
I checked with Intellisync and they said they no longer handled Starfish products; Motorola were supporting Starfish- contact number 1.800.289.6080
ThomasHDowney (TechnicalUser)
2 Sep 05 19:26
Returning the auto-dialer to an updated Sidekick would be a big help, particularly if (as believe I am correct with earlier versions) one could enter calling-card information, pauses, and then have a selected number auto-dialed.  With the proliferation of area codes, the feature would be even more helpful now.

The ASCII table would be useful on occasion, but I never understood what the "Vogon poetry" (I believe it was in Version 2) was all about.  

The synchronization system seems to work well with Palm OS vesion 3.+ so it would help (those of us who still use obsolescent Palm Pilots and Handsprings) if that could remain the same.

It would be nice to be able to have differing type faces/sizes within the calendar and a fix for the post-2005 "To Do List" problem.
WDane (TechnicalUser)
9 Sep 05 11:36
I too would add my desire to see SK98 resurrected. It is the best PIM on the market. I use the same functions that James33 indicated above. It would be very useful to add the ability to import it into any of the popular PDAs in use.
Zoltan627 (MIS)
9 Sep 05 22:39
Ok, we know what we would like to see; what is the next step to resurrecting SK98?
Helpful Member!  mickygriff (Vendor)
11 Sep 05 20:12
I had some recent contact with a programmer called Nico Cuppen, from the Netherlands, who does utility programmes for Windows. He had a look at SK99, and unfortunately he felt it was too big a project for him, as it would use up his resources for too long a time. I also sent e-mails to Intellisync regarding interest in either developing it or allowing use of the source code to this group, with no reply.
If the existing software has the time limit that makes it unuseable, could the basic source code be obtained from the programme, and recompiled? Forgive my ignorance/naivity if this is technically impossible, but it seems as though no-one (from a corporate point of view) is bothered. If we as a group of interested users, choose to resurrect SK, we may also be able to improve on it.
Topdraw (Programmer)
14 Sep 05 13:16
I want to add my support for a SK revival. I have used it since day one. I am not sure why it was dropped b/c i always bought upgrades before 98. I have a lotsa of data to redo if SK98 fails the next new laptop and OS upgrade. I will not upgrade from XPpro to Longhorn/Vista or what ever BG is calling it w/o  SK98. Whoever resurrects SK will get a life long profit from me.
mickygriff (Vendor)
23 Sep 05 15:15
In Jim's wish list he mentioned 'ToDo's' - this field should have a higher limit if possible. My colleagues and I have used it to keep track of regular evaluations required for patients care plans (we work for the NHS. There is a limit of 97 entries but as ever, more is best. I also see that some people prefer the more usuable sk98 version but '99 is sufficient for our purpose.

I may try to open a dialogue with Microsoft to consider a version - what do you think? sk99 d(eath)-day is near!
james33 (TechnicalUser)
23 Sep 05 15:33
Dear All,

I don't know why that suggestion jars a little, but I guess why not?

I guess it could be seen as a contender to be developed in Works?

Jim
jimalex (TechnicalUser)
25 Sep 05 18:10
Motorola's reply is that Sidekick98 is an obsolete product, in fact, 'not one of their products'. TrueSync is also obsolete and also no longer supported through the live call center. It appears all have been replaced with Mobile Phone Tools. FAQ on TrueSync can still be found on hellomoto.com. I have often wondered why it is not possible to get into an exe file and sidekick.exe is a prime candidate.
james33 (TechnicalUser)
25 Sep 05 18:29
Dear All,

It is not a problem getting into any .exe file (Resource Hacker is one program that can do that), it is the Copyright that is the problem.

Mind you, Sidekick98 like Windows contains a lot of Legacy code some of it pre-dating Sidekick95.... and the reason it was left in, I imagine, is because they weren't sure what would happen if they left it out and these people I might mention, were the people that wrote it!

So we are not talking an easy job here.

Regards Jim
Check the FAQ area of this Forum for answers (If there are any FAQs!) , it could save you a lot of time and effort!

Zoltan627 (MIS)
25 Sep 05 20:24
The key to resurrecting SK98 is the source code. I have been told by my business partner (the programming half of our consulting organization) that if he had the source, he could fix it with out any problem. But Starfish does not exist any longer and Motorola does not seem to care; where does that leave us? I am no expert on the law, but could Sidekick be considered to be “Abandoned”? Meaning that it is in the public domain?
philipw2 (TechnicalUser)
26 Sep 05 11:00
I would not assume that it is in the public domain, not after 6 years. No judge would consider it abandoned after a mere 6 years, even if the technology has rendered it obsolete.
james33 (TechnicalUser)
26 Sep 05 15:51
Dear All,

I am not trying to be negative, but the Synchronising software in Sidekick is probably copyrighted separately and it is an underlying part of all versions of Sidekick including and after Internet Sidekick/Sidekick97 it is that which allows you to Sync with a handheld.
Motorola bought it for that synchronising software which underlies a lot of their software I imagine and it may prove difficult to separate from those versions.
Having said that, there might be a way to purchase (for a very small sum) Sidekick95 and then work on that as it is probably simpler code and has less baggage.
Adding something to a program has to be simpler than trying to work out what to take out.

Jim
jimalex (TechnicalUser)
26 Sep 05 16:25
I thought ResHacker was no good for Sidekick as it is for Win32 executable files- anyway point taken. More significantly, my queries to Intellysync and Motorola have all been aimed at copyright. Copyright is a protection for the originator who wants it but no interest has been shown and I think anyone could work on Sidekick without worrying about copyright. Even is something turns up it is easy to demonstrate that an attempt was made to find it: nobody intends to pinch it. My latest comment to Motorola is that we (mickygriff?) are contacting Microsoft- if that does not wake them up why should there be any worries about copyright? I think James33 knows more than the rest of us put together about Sidekick and it may be that the work involved is the real obstacle.
james33 (TechnicalUser)
26 Sep 05 18:37
Whoops!
Yes Jimalex,
you are right about ResHacker, pardon my ignorance I used it a couple of times to get icons from Sidekick and you can re-size dialog boxes and rename them + a few other things too and then re-compile the program and it works for that but you cannot see the actual code just the resources.
I have tended to keep a low profile when it came to checking the copyright for reasons best known to myself and this forum!!!
When I first set it up I was very careful to respect the status quo, the most important thing for me was that I wanted Sidekick to remain available.
Now the same holds true, but the program needs to be fixed in the near future.
Jim
jimalex (TechnicalUser)
27 Sep 05 13:32
We might have to think of new names. Starfish is another company- not the one we know. Sidekick is the name of a recent phone product.

Both suggest that Zoltan627 has a point: if it is not "abandoned" what is it? These names are trademarks and our Starfish Sidekick names must have died a death before they were reused in their new definitions.
mickygriff (Vendor)
28 Sep 05 20:07
I tried to 'contact' Microsoft about this as mentioned previously - my efforts have ended up as a thread in a 'Communities Discussion Zone'. Indeed, one reply has identified my question as 'This looks like one of those suggestions to microsoft that seem to be routed to who knows where'!

I will paste the long-winded link to the thread, but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere - unless everybody here supports it as a thread over there, and it gets noticed?

http://www.microsoft.com/office/community/en-us/wizard.mspx?query=Adopting+and+developing+an+existing+popular+and+efficient+PIM&dg=&cat=en-us-office&lang=en&;cr=US&;pt=3a4e9862-cdce-4bdc-8664-91038e3eb1e9&catlist=&dglist=&ptlist=&type=suggestion&w=1&sloc=en-us&tid=bd90df2a-59a0-4e15-a1ed-c2d76b67226c&mid=f4093536-460a-479f-b202-dc948296c92e
newsnet (TechnicalUser)
15 Oct 05 13:30
Anyone know if Frank Borland or any of his company are still around. It was they who invented Sidekick in the first place wasn't it?
Andybabe (TechnicalUser)
17 Oct 05 14:32
Yes

I would put my money behind this. Thought of selling my house to buy the software. However it looks like knowbody owns it anymore.

The key to a successful relaunch of Sidekick is to get it working and syncronising with current MS mobile units. MS mobile 2003 and the new version 5.

For sales people the main benifit of Sidekick 98 is the ability to drag and drop your customers from database window straight into your diary page. You can't do this in outlook. As a sales person I can plan a months sales calls in one evening.

In reality there is perhaps not much of a business oportunity here. I dont think that sidekick is commercially viable. But with some expansion on the contact manager side it could become of interest to small businesses
However I for one would be prepared to invest in a revamp and run a concortium of investors. New updates could be charged to users for downloads purely to fund future upgrades to keep up with software updates.

Viability would depend on the demand for the software.

If you get any further with finding the access codes and gain licence control let me know.

In the meantime if anyone knowns of PIM programmes that allow drag and drop diary planning from contact listings I would be very interested.

A finally thought, can we get a 'shit hot' computer student to write a similar programme for his/her PHD project, say fund his/ her education for a year. That way you can forget about sidekick and sart with a clean sheet.

Money: get 1000 people to invest £100 and you have £100,000 would that pay for a total rewrite?

I'll put the first £100 in the bag. Anyone else want to come on board?

Andy
tilltek (Programmer)
22 Oct 05 9:19
I,ve used Sidekick 98 and earlier versions since way back in the dos days. Now on modern CPU's running XP, it's starting to get a bit flakey so a new version would be a good thing.
There is a site called "rent a coder" or something like that where you can ask for bids to get a bit of programming done. Most of these programmers are in India and The Philippines so are willing to work for 2 dollars an hour (40 hours a week = $80 = 4,000 pesos = one months salary in 7 days). Why not ask for bids to duplicate the look, feel and versatility of Sidekick 98. I can't see any of the "owners" of Sidekick taking anyone to court over a "look and feel" issue over something they dropped 6 years ago.
From the bids on rent a coder, I'd say you could get the job done for a thousand bucks. You would then have the source code which could be made available to all.

Aussie Ken (Philippines)
mickygriff (Vendor)
22 Oct 05 12:28
Count me in for a £100 contribution! Great excuse for a trip to see how the 'business opportunity' is getting on if we went with Ken's suggestion!

I've just spent part of an afternoon looking at PIMs on Tucows, I can't believe the mess that people offer as 'organisers'. Most are shareware too,  but would this not also be a way of reducing cost?

Maybe time to start asking for 'new name suggestions'?!
How about Sidewise / Sidetrack / Sidetack / Sideways for a kick-off?

james33 (TechnicalUser)
22 Oct 05 16:05
Dear All,

If we are going to be talking money and developing a project, I am not sure of the attitude here at Tek-Tips regarding that situation.

I would suggest that we need to get something going at another location.
We are talking about 'emulating' a fairly mature program which may (with testing) become a larger project than the one we are currently discussing and while it could be linked to this thread I would suggest we continue it elsewhere.

I have no suggestion for a location, but a blog of some kind would seem the most obvious(?)

I would be interested in putting money into the project too, however, anything of this kind that involves an investment, needs either unlimited trust or some binding legal framework.

I am a very trusting person but I have discovered in my life that it creates fewer problems if the boundaries are set at the beginning.

Regards
Jim
mickygriff (Vendor)
27 Oct 05 18:40
Guess what I've spotted?! A company called Sonnettech are marketing a double-jointed USB adaptor called 'Sidekick' - looks like we missed the boat!
ljt1 (TechnicalUser)
15 Nov 05 19:27
great idea......let's do it ....Intellisync should give up the source codes and let us deal with this....
Helpful Member!(2)  Gyula (TechnicalUser)
19 Nov 05 3:50
     I think we are getting carried away with this project.  As a long, long time SK user I believe all that needs fixing is the '06 ToDo problem.  The rest of the product is about 98% fine (I mean that is why we love it and are this concerned about it).  So all that needs fixing is the ToDo problem.  Thus, we are talking about a downloadable fix of probably not too many lines of code--and leaving the rest of the product and its name alone.  

    (Since the ToDo problem exists only with Sk98 and Sk99 [right?], actually the correct or solution code might be inside the earlier Windows or even the original DOS versions.)

    Also since we are here talking about only offering a few lines of codes to fix a flaw in an old program, I would think we would have much, much less copywrite issues and/or worries.  (But I'm not a lawyer.)

    So, let's try to get this one flaw fixed and then continue this Forum to deal with the other much smaller problems and issues with our poor abandoned orphan.
IanMcKean (TechnicalUser)
28 Nov 05 17:13
Hi all,

Has anyone got the ability or contacts to hack into SK and fix the date problem as Gyula suggests?

Alternatively, has anyone found any other PIM that is as good as SK98? I am talking desktop s/w - the post about Pocket Informant does not help me as I want a desktop PIM and hate Outlook (although I do use it for email, but anything interesting I save in SK98 because it's so much better)

Ian McKean
Helpful Member!  SDK98Fan (TechnicalUser)
8 Dec 05 16:09
I too continue to use Sidekick 98 and do not want to stop using it! If anyone finds a patch for the Due Date problem that Starfish Sidekick 98 suffers from please post it here.

I also would be willing to pay for a solution to this problem (~$50) due to the great number of appointments, To Do's, Contacts, etc. that I have collected over the past 10 years (I used an older version of Sidekick before I upgraded to SDK98).

Long Live Sidekick!!!
WDane (TechnicalUser)
20 Dec 05 12:31
One observation about the 2006 "To Do" date reversion to a 1998 date. I checked to see if a 2007 date would revert to 1999. It does. Thus, the problem altho' annoying, may not be a stopper for me. If that process continues I can simply remember that 98 means 06, 99 means 07, etc. and go merrily on my way (unless something more drastic breaks).

I am still in favor of an updated version of Sidekick and would buy it in a heartbeat - even contribute a reasonable amount to building it. But the comments about lack of access to the source code and a person(s) to do the rebuild seems to be a persistent problem.
rahamim (TechnicalUser)
26 Dec 05 13:24
I'm running Sidekick 98 with Windows XP. I agree that solving the "2006" problem is more important -- and I would imagine more doable -- that coming up with a replacement program. For me, the date problem involves more than just making a mental adjustment -- i.e. 1998 is really 2006. I make extensive use of the "goals" function to set up to-do's that will appear at a future date, and this apparently will not work because the program thinks that the date has already passed.

My workaround, at least for the time being, will be to replace the "goals" function with a separate application that does basically the same thing. I have two candidates; both are freeware programs. "Stickies 5.1a" (http://www.zhornsoftware.co.uk/) allows me to write a note, then hide it until a particular date, at which point it will appear and I will simply pasted into the Sidekick to-do column. The second, Alarm++ 7.03 (http://www.12noon.com/), functions in the same manner but is more sophisticated in its repeatability and capacity to perform other functions such as opening and closing programs.

Like most of you, I've used Sidekick since back in its much earlier versions. But I'm not a very sophisticated user; my uses are personal, not business, and include the basic cardfile, calendar, to-do (with goals), and memos, as well as syncing it to my PalmPilot (version 3). My main concern would be the ability to export all my data to a new application.

It might help in discussing the development of a new program to distinguish between copyright and proprietary rights. "Sidekick" as a registered trademark either no longer exists or has now been registered by another company, in which case it could not be used unless the new product could in no way be confused with the current product bearing that name. The source code is probably still proprietary and would therefore have to be purchased from its owner (public domain is a designation based on time, not use). It is true that making a good-faith effort to locate the owner would mitigate any legal claims, but if the new product were sold, the owner of the source code would probably have a legal claim to some of the money.
BowRowser (TechnicalUser)
26 Dec 05 18:14
Jeez, it had been so long since I'd been in here that I'd forgotten that I was a member and tried to re-register! And the reason I'm back is due to my having recently (foolishly, just before Christmas) attempted to install a new hard drive (in an economy Dell w/ only one HD slot), and opted to start from scratch with a freshly installed OS, etc...

   Well, it's hardly been a "fresh" experience, lost some data, blah-geek,blah; but the mere fact that I still had my old Win98 machine (in the living room as an MP3 jukebox) meant that I could have all my nicely saved data, license keys, etc, tucked away in their proper Sidekick cards, at hand as I went thru the process of refitting my XP machine. I loaded up my Sidekick backup on the old clunker (which is more what the program was designed for anyway!). But when it came to getting my Sidekick data back onto XP, ran into probs, went hunting on Goog, and came back full circle to you guys.

  Sorry for the meander, but I am making a point here.

  The last time I came thru, I was delighted to find an active source of help and discussion for a piece of software that I'd become so thoroughly attached to. Like many others, I'd originally assumed that things had moved on, and so should I: there was of course some even better application out there to replace it, so catch up with times, Mr. Me!

  The truth --in this oddly particular case-- however, is exactly the inverse! There is NOTHING out there REMOTELY as good as Sidekick. And that still continues to confound and amaze me.

   So I would most definitely be willing to pay $100 to see that program broght back to the masses, and more particularly, me! I will not be so long in checking back in here as before, therefor; and would like to take the moment to thank all of you geeks for providing such cynosure for so elegant a carcass as Sidekick, and of course, to wish one and all a Merry Christmas, retroactive a day.  ;)
Zoltan627 (MIS)
26 Dec 05 18:31
I think I mentioned in a prior posting that I believe the date problem with SK98 is being caused by something as simple as a dll. I am not a programmer, but I have worked them enough to know if it is this, a fix would be something simple that could be done in an hour or two. The key is finding someone to do it, and getting the source code so this person can find the problem.

I am going to speak to a friend who programs and see if he has any ideas; I will post again when I have more.

Merry Christmas
tilltek (Programmer)
26 Dec 05 21:31
It's not just a question of date problems. The fact is, Sidekick 98 is becoming decidedly flaky on XP and may be even more problematic under Longhorn.
What we need is a re write from the ground up with the "look and feel" of Sidekick 98 (plus any sensible additions)
Ausie Ken
"Far, Far Away"
CAMIGUIN
mickygriff (Vendor)
31 Dec 05 20:22
Happy New Year to you all! Working a night shift on one of the wards, and thought I would spend the moment of Sidekick's demise writing this in my break.
 
I would make the following points:
 
1.There is no support/development forthcoming from Starfish (bought out), Intellisync (no reply), Microsoft (sidelined query into an obscure forum).
2. It makes sense to attempt to patch the ToDo problem as Gyula suggested, considering the difficulty of copyright/ownership
3. There are people who read this forum who can access others, or are prepared to attempt to fix the source code.

Having made these points, can I suggest a simple series of questions to direct any effort?

(A) Can we obtain the source code from the exe file using a specialist programme, if so, what with?
(B) Having obtained it, who has the necessary skills to work on the patch, and is prepared to do so?
(C) How does the patch get tested - considering Sidekick in all its various formats?
(D) How would the patch (or patches, if needed, for the various incarnations) be distributed?

That’s it then - simple as A, B, C, D. Please respond to this series of questions, add to them if absolutely necessary, but this has to be our (ToDo!) challenge for 2006, c'mon guys, let's DO IT!
mickygriff (Vendor)
1 Jan 06 10:03
I guess I’m kinda talking to myself at the moment, being New Year’s Day and all that! However, I think I may have managed to devise a slightly long-winded way of moving items through the To Do or Calls feature.
 
1.    Enter a numbered and dated item into either the To Do or Calls lists.
e.g. “01 – text description of item – 10th January 2006” or date it American style (mm.dd.yy) “01.10.06 – text description of item
You must keep to this numbering/date format as Sidekick will sort the number 13 before the number 2, but after 02, or datewise, the 11.01.06 will come before 6.01.06. These items will then forward in the usual way.

2.    Right click to edit the item, highlight and copy the text from the task or call entry.

3.    Paste into the relevant date that you want to complete the item by.

4.    The To Do and Calls lists roll-over each day, and can be checked against the diary entries for each day.

5.    Mark off completed items as required.

6.    There are 97 entries each in category – total 194. If you need more, you can create a new series from ‘File – New Calendar’, and name it appropriately.

I have tested this method by advancing the computer’s internal date to the 10th January, to the first entries I had made this way and it worked! My preference would be to number rather than date entries, as it is immediately clear to me – I have difficulty with the American style. The only problem I had was that when I changed the date back, all of the entries I had made were left on that first date. I tried to cut and paste these items back – not recommended as Sidekick generates an error code and then terminates.

Do try the above and see if it works for you –

Hey Jim - I also noticed some dialogue between you and ronriche, back in May 2004 – what happened to him and his work? He hasn’t logged on since then.

Finally, I found some programmer forum discussions which indicated that you can’t decompile exe files to track the source code – something to do with it changing the original data once compiled, making it impossible to work on. It would seem to have come full circle, to coding Sidekick from scratch.

Time for bed!
james33 (TechnicalUser)
1 Jan 06 16:41
Dear Micky,

You aren't the only one around today.
I haven't seen any other posts by ronriche since that post in May 2004, but I do see from Googling that he is based in New Orleans so I do hope he is ok.
Great idea with the calendar though you could just type in the date as in:
2006/01/01 at the beginning.
or even 20060101 or 060101
...
Nice to know we are trying anyway.
Sleep tight
Jim
Zoltan627 (MIS)
2 Jan 06 18:03
I mentioned in an earlier post that I was going to speak to a programmer that I know about Sidekick’s year 2006 problem. We came up with two different possibilities; one would be to patch the existing SK98 and the other is that my friend would look at SK98, see what it does, and write an application that works the same way. Obviously creating a whole new app will cost some; what I would like to know is how much interest is there in creating it? I am still talking to him about this, but I will try to move it along if I get a positive response.
markc22 (TechnicalUser)
3 Jan 06 1:05
I would be happy to invest in a Sidekick rewrite. Not a lot, but if enough of us are willing and able perhaps Zoltan's friend can afford to take it on. If we are slick enough in naming (to avoid trademark issues) and someone makes the effort to set up online distribution, it might give us some money back. Alternately, we might establish open-source status, and it might at least fund itself through contributions.
I suspect we will need a palm synch eventually, but I could live without that for the near term. (I am currently running 98 on a WinXP laptop, with no serial ports.)
WDane (TechnicalUser)
3 Jan 06 13:44
Writing code for a new version of Sidekick that performs the same functions sounds appealing. However, I wonder how much time would be involved for such a task? How many "betas" would have to be generated to obtain a final bug free version? I'm not a programmer, but experience with using software in development suggests that the proposed remake would be a time consuming, and at times, frustrating process. When a company with adequate funding and commitment make a new program it is probable that there will be a final product. I wonder if that would be true for an ad-hoc volunteer approach to remaking Sidekick. Could the programmer count on the continuing support for funding and testing on many differing platforms from an eager, but unorganized community? These, I believe are relevant questions that must find answers if I were to commitment $ toward a remake. Sorry to be a bit negative, since I love Sidekick, but I believe these are hard questions that should be raised.
jeffbeal (TechnicalUser)
5 Jan 06 15:48
I would buy and updated version if somebody wrote one.  Also does anybody know how to solve the date problem.  The calendar function (goals, events, to-do lists) will not accept 2006 dates. It changes any 2006 date to 1998.
james33 (TechnicalUser)
5 Jan 06 18:46
Dear All,
I quote jeffs email to me:
My sidekick calendar, (to do, goals, events lists) will not accept any 2006 dates.  It changes any 2006 date to 1998.  Is there a fix for this that you know of...

Short answer if you have Sidekick98 or 99 for the moment is no, a work around is to type the due date thus 2006-01-05 (which would be correct for today) at the very beginning of the SUBJECT TEXT BOX in the ToDo or Call.

Events and their alarms do work ok AFAIK.

Todos and calls are also showing a DAY after the DATE

If you wish to sort your ACTIVITIES list by Date Due then assuming you have inserted the date as I suggested you can click at the top of the DESCRIPTION column.


Hope this helps for the moment
Jim
bmlonsdale (TechnicalUser)
11 Jan 06 6:11
I would be very interested but don't have the skills to contribute
MEdgar7863 (TechnicalUser)
13 Jan 06 6:24
Just wish to add to the weight of support for a 'new' Sidekick...  I don't have the skills to code to a professional standard, but I would buy a copy of the final product!

I would agree with those who say keep the existing program and fix the date problems.  (Possibly also an update to the email and vCard/vCal integration?) Most people seem motivated by their affection for the existing product, so why make major changes?
bigdent (TechnicalUser)
13 Jan 06 13:04
I have a hypothesis that the current bug resides in the Y2K patch, not in the main code. The current problem and the Y2K bug were both date management problems. The Y2K patch was hastily drafted code that Starfish produced after SK98 stopped working on 1/1/2000. If the patch is the problem, it might be easier to fix. But I am not a programmer.
IanMcKean (TechnicalUser)
15 Jan 06 13:46
I think bigdent may have something here. I make extensive use of the recurring todo feature in SKW. Interestingly the recurring todos DO come up on the right day EVEN THOUGH the date is displayed wrong. So whatever format the date is held in internally (probably the number of days after some random date like 1/1/1980), some parts of the program interpret it correctly and other parts don't. Very strange!!

Incidentally, one feature that SKW has and none of the others that I've looked at has, is that in SKW you can specify all the fields in Contacts. So a "Contacts" cardfile may not be contacts (people) at all. All the others I have looked at have a core set of fields like name and address. This is one thing about SKW that I really appreciate.
jeffbeal (TechnicalUser)
15 Jan 06 18:01
Ian,

Do you think it can be fixed?
IanMcKean (TechnicalUser)
17 Jan 06 19:47
jeffbeal,

I really don't know as I am not a hacker or disassembler. I suspect that if the Space Race depended on it NASA would find a way. I really find it strange that none of the programmers who developed SKW have surfaced here. Here's hoping ...
OldTechGuy (IS/IT--Management)
23 Jan 06 10:07
I would like to add my 2 cents worth also.  I really need to have the to do date fixed.  I have used SK forever and all my records are on it such as hours worked, daily progress, and expenses.

I am involved in Linux and had been thinking about trying to get SK ported to Linux before the to do date problem arose.  Talking to other Linux people, different people tried to convert other windows programs to Linux and the big show stoppers were all the DLLs and libraries that were used that were owned by others.  Maybe SK isn't like this, but it could be a problem.

I still use Windows in a dual boot mode, just so I can use SK 98.  If we can get the date problem fixed, and the ownship resolved, maybe we could it it make open source and the code available so it could also be used on Linux.
jeffbeal (TechnicalUser)
23 Jan 06 11:57
I'm not a tech guy, just an old faithful user.  If I can be of any help, just ask.
Helpful Member!  kWkW (Programmer)
29 Jan 06 10:55

Hello,

I have been spending two working days on reverse-engineering TrueSync desktop in order to solve the 2006-ToDo-Problem.

It is possible to change the highest end-date in order to add entries with a date after 2005-12-31. Now I can choose dates like 2006-01-30. This is good news.

However, TrueSync Desktop itself has a _very_ weird internal date format for ToDo entries, which actually is different from the internal date format for Call entries.


The _very_ weird internal date format format is as follows:

It is a 32 bit number composed of following bits (MSB to LSB):

  1y0ddddd 1yyymmmm 10000000 10000000

where
   yyyy are 4 bits denoting the years from the year 1990
   mmmm are 4 bits denoting the months from the start of the year
  ddddd are 5 bits denoting the days from the start of the month


Months start with zero, so mmmm=0 means January, mmmm=1 means February, mmmm=2 means March ....

so the date 2004-06-29 is encoded as
   yyyy=14 (14 years from 1990)
   mmmm= 5 (5 months from the start of the year)
  ddddd=29


As you can see, the bit #3 of the year number (call it "y3") is already "displaced" (it is not neighbouring to the ohther year-bits).


The internal date calculation is as follows:

The "Microdate"-software-component (sitting in "micrdate.dll") returns an ordinary UNIX-time to TrueSync Desktop (this is a time measured in seconds since 1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC).

This ordinary UNIX-time is broken up into (year,month,day of month,hour,minute,second). However, year is measured here as years from year 1900. So year 2007 is represented as number 107. TrueSync desktop takes this year and subtracts 90 from it to create year2 (year2 is an 8-bit-value). So for year 2007, it calculates year2 = 107-90 = 17. For year 1994, it calculates year2 = 94-90 = 4. For year 1989, it calulates year2 = 89-90 = 255. (!) (This is unsigned 8-bit-subtraction, so negative values "wrap around").

Then TrueSync Desktop compares this value (year2) wether it is greater than 7. If year2>7 (this is true for years from 1980 inclusie to 1990 exclusive and for years from 1998 on), the bit y3 is set to 1, otherwise it is set to 0. The other bits y2y1y0 are set to the lowest 3 bits of year2, the highest 5 bits of year2 are silently dropped.

So
  for year 2004, yyyy = 0b1110 = 14 meaning year 2004
  for year 2007, yyyy = 0b1001 =  9 meaning year 1999
  for year 1994, yyyy = 0b0100 =  4 meaning year 1994
  for year 1989, yyyy = 0b1111 = 15 meaning year 2005

This fully explains the odd behaviour when selecting different years on the ToDo entry dialog, resulting in other years than intended.


However, this also makes things more problematic. Unlike in many other date formats, the date format

  1y0ddddd 1yyymmmm 10000000 10000000

has no obvious place where to store additional year information. Whoever created this particular part of TrueSync Desktop or Sidekick (this very weird and inusable date format) must have been very very stupid and inexperienced. sad

Maybe the '0' in "1y0ddddd" can be set to 1 do represent dates beyond year 2005, but this is unkown.


Interestingly, the Call entry list (the listing of whom to be called up to which limit time) below the ToDo entry list uses a different date format, which basically is as follows

  10000000 1yyyyyyy 1mmmmmmm 1ddddddd

where
  
  yyyyyyy is the number of years since year 1900

The Call entry date format is actually a bit different (I have not found it out yet, as the Call date format was not my objective), but what counts: it leaves enough room for additional days beyond 2006 (namely up to year 2027).


It is notable that actually there are two different date formats for no apparent reason. Maybe different software developers worked on different parts of SideKick|TrueSync Desktop. It may also be that these measures were taken to obfuscate the data format - to make it difficult to create compatible software. I do not know. Using two different date formats in the same software application als also very stupid (as this increases costs and bugs and interoperability problems).


To summarize: there is not much hope that any ToDo list entry can have a year 2006 or greater as part of its expiry date. (However, if any user manages to create such a ToDo list entry, please write me.)

But there is hope that one can use the Call entry list to simulate ToDo entries, including expiration of entries and so on.


If anybody wants these investigations to be pushed further, please contact me (I also like to work for money winky smile). If anybody wants to use these investigations and wants to credit me, then please credit the pseudonym "kWkW".

So far,

kWkW.
bigdent (TechnicalUser)
29 Jan 06 11:46
Excellent work kWkW. I don't know if this is mentioned before, but I found an intereting piece to the puzzle. By default, I do not use due dates. "No Due Date" is checked by default. When I enter a new ToDo, it shows the today's date (2006) correctly in the grayed-out due date register. It is only if I uncheck "No Due Date", close and reopen the entry, that the date changes to 1998.
mickygriff (Vendor)
29 Jan 06 12:02
Hi kWkW,

First of all, can I welcome you onboard! This thread started last July, and has had the highest number of responses within the Sidekick forum to date, so is an indication of the effect this has had and how popular the software is. It would be fair to say that there will undoubtedly be great interest in you continuing to investigate these issues. Every so often the question has been asked as to why no programmer has emerged with an interest in tackling the problem, so welcome indeed.

Your response is unfortunately over my head, but raises some questions too. For example, having analysed the problem of the To-do date, is it possible that you can 'patch' or repair that part of the programme with a hybrid of the 'Call' element?  I apologise if this is too simple or off-tack. There will undoubtedly be other questions.

I appreciate your wish to be paid, and have an idea how this could happen, will make my suggestion later.
 
Tilltek and James33 also mentioned improvements that might be worth looking at in the future, also maybe we could hold some sort of 'Sidekick seminar' to consider these issues?

Hopefully, in response to your signing off comment, we are possibly in the position of 'so near, yet so far'. Maybe you will turn it to 'so far, so good'!

Regards,

Mick
Gyula (TechnicalUser)
29 Jan 06 12:19
KwKw, I too want to thank you for your labors and detailed reply.

Like Mickeyg., it is a little above my head--but not that much.  But one quick--and I think an important one--question:

Why did you spend so much time on the TrueSynch Desktop??  The TrueSynch, I thought, was to transfer the SK date to a Palm device.  It did not create data.  Right?  So again, why spend so much time on it?  Or to put it another way:  what does the TrueSynch Desktop have to do with out "ToDo" problem?

Thank you.
kWkW (Programmer)
29 Jan 06 12:34
Hello bigdent, mickygriff,

the important part is to get a due date later than the year 2005 printed in the "due date" column of the ToDo list. I did not manage this and I doubt that this is ever possible with simple binary patching (as the data format used for due dates does not seem to be every ready to hold that data).


For anything more invasive than changing some bytes in the software binary (like changing the internal due date format or "misusing" Call entries as ToDo entries), the source code is really cruicial.

For non-technicians: Source code is like the ingredients of a very complex meal, along with a very precise recipe to create that meal out of the ingredients. Binary code (like we users have in the computer) is like the ready meal, ready to be used, but very difficult to change.

If you have a ready tomato soup and you realize that you are tomato-allergic, you cannot easily change the tomato soup into an onion soup, because you have to remove all the tomato out of the tomato soup. You would need a full chemical laboratory and a dedicated research program to do that.

It is much cheaper to just take the tomato soup recipe and replace tomatoes by onions and create another soup.

That is why it is of utter importance to have access to the source code (the precise recipe), at least for us "cooks" (programmers). (This is also why "open source" and "free software" is getting weight these days.)

So it might be more effective to find out the persons (software engineers) who worked for StarFish|Motorola|Intellisync at the time, talk with them, they might have a private copy of the SideKick|TrueSync Desktop source code. I do not expect copyright to be a problem (because no one cares, companies who might care do not exist anymore and because all of you are legitimate buyers of the software licence).

It also might be worth to contact press|media regarding this issue to create some pressure to companies. (They do not want to get a bad image just because they do not care.)

Regards,
kWkW.
kWkW (Programmer)
29 Jan 06 12:46
Hello Gyula,

I'm user of the Motorola Accompli 008 device which is an PDA and a smartphone. The only software capable of syncing with this device is TrueSync Desktop, as far as I know. I do not want to stop using ToDos on the desktop and on the Accompli 008 device just because some programmers did bad work.

Because I'm a programmer myself, I'm (as a matter of principle) capable of changing software, even software without sourcecode. Reverse engineering (the process of understanding software at the finest detail level without having access to sourcecode) is one of the highest arts of computer science.

So I spent time on this because I am bugged by errors other people did and because I should be able to tackle this, maybe seeing this as a sport.


This is also not my first reverse engineering. For example, I managed to change the firmware of the controller of the fan of my laptop computer in order to make less noise when the fan is switched on. (Most notebook fans start roaring for just some seconds and then go silent for some seconds and the start roaring again. This behaviour is very annoying and distracting. Smooth steady slow fan operation is much more pleasent.)
jeffbeal (TechnicalUser)
1 Feb 06 15:59
Thanks for taking this on. Looking forward to the results.
SCOTCHEGG (TechnicalUser)
3 Feb 06 17:54
Wholehearteadly support this idea- now who will do it??
 and no news of the To do / Calls patch to get us back on track for 2006??
kWkW (Programmer)
3 Feb 06 18:58
Does anybody else use the program binary file "TSDesktop.exe" which is 1702400 bytes long?

I'd like to provide a patch (which effectively will only work for Call entries, not for ToDo entries), but patching is only possible if we are using exactly the same program binary file.

Which other program binary files versions (Filename and file size) of Starfish Sidekick or TrueSync Desktop?
Zoltan627 (MIS)
3 Feb 06 23:03
I checked my machine, I looked in C:\Program Files\Starfish\Sidekick 98\Program and I could not find  "TSDesktop.exe". I don't have TrueSync installed, so that could be why, or am I looking in the wrong location?
kWkW (Programmer)
4 Feb 06 4:44
Hello Zoltan627,

if there is no "TSDesktop.exe", how is the main executable binary file called in Starfish Sidedick 98? (And how long is this file?)
BowRowser (TechnicalUser)
4 Feb 06 12:02
In Sidekick 98, the executable is sidekick.exe, and it 2,860 KB
bigdent (TechnicalUser)
4 Feb 06 13:06
kWkW- TrueSync Desktop is actually a scaled down version of Sidekick. SK98 was the most powerful version Starfish ever published. Later versions, including SK2000 and TrueSync Desktop, had the identical skin, but eliminated a number of useful features (including a phone dialer, which I still use all the time). SK98 had a Y2K bug, which caused it to crash on 1/1/2000. Starfish first offered the SK98 users a free "upgrade" to SK2000, but most users objected. Then they put out a Y2K patch for SK98. If you are going to tackle the current problem, you may want to consider upgrading back to the full-featured SK98. It think the install files and the Y2K patch are still available on this site.
Zoltan627 (MIS)
4 Feb 06 13:29
kWkW- if you can't get the install for SK98 and the patch, I have it and can burn you a CD.
bigdent (TechnicalUser)
4 Feb 06 14:22
kWkW-

I would like to comment on your post of Jan 29. Let me see if I understand this correctly:

When a date is entered into the ToDo module of TrueSync Desktop("TSD"), TSD uses "micrdate.dll" to convert the ASCII date to a UNIX format binary number starting at 1/1/1900. TSD then parses this number into the year, month and day protions. Then, in order to shorten the number of bits required in each date entry, it subtracts the binary value for 90 from the year portion.

The resulting binary year number is 4 bits, with 1990 = 0000 and 2005 = 1111. The problem is that 2006 becomes a 5 bit number, 10000, which TSD mishandles. It looks like TSD is taking the first 4 bits only, so 10000 becomes 1000, which TSD interprets as 1998.

Presumably, when TSD wants to display a date value, it converts the TSD date format back into UNIX format and uses "micrdate.dll" to convert it back to ASCII format. To do that, it would have to add back the binary value of 90 to TSD's 4 bit year register.

The simple fix would seem to be to change the binary value of 90 to the binary value of 100 in the TSD subroutines for date input AND date output. TSD would count years from 2000 rather that 1990. This would postpone the problem for another 10 years!

If this fix works, I would assume the same fix would work in the earlier Sidekick programs, which undoubtedly uses the same date module.
kWkW (Programmer)
4 Feb 06 14:30
Hello bigdent,

you are right: If one changed the year base from year 1990 to year 2000 (in every function operating on the weird dates), one would have another 10 years. However, the meaning of current date entries would change (so, for example, old ToDo entries would become new ToDo entries).

But even if that was not a problem, I'm currently unable (lack of time) to locate every function which translates ToDo due dates to various other date formats (like to the "micrdate.dll" date format or the date format used to display the due date in the due date column).
jsc1 (TechnicalUser)
4 Feb 06 22:42
Had to add my two cents here.  I to, have been looking for an SK98 replacement for years.  Actually, on my home and work machine, I have both SK98 and SK97 installed, because only SK97 can export the Cardlog field that I am so dependent on.  I take that exported file, clean it up in a macro in Ultraedit, import it into Excel, reduce the Cardlog field to 255 characters, and re-export it into an abbreviated tab delimited file which I then suck into another obsolete piece of software, dbNow, for my Handspring Visor.  I've got at least 15 years of names and addresses, and Cardlog notes totaling 3400 records.  Yes, I'm getting VERY nervous that the clock is ticking and NOTHING comes close to Sidekick.  I'm at the point that I only use the Address book and Notes functions, but there is nothing on the market that I can find that works as well as SK97/98.  EVERYTHING is either fixed Outlook format, or such a memory or disk hog that it is useless, especially for 3000+ records.  I've tried some that created a 15meg file, where Sidekicks was 1.5meg.  Talk about bloat!

Yes, I'd love to see a Sidekick replacement.  Just make sure the fields are all flexibly named (not like SK99), and that the Cardlog can be exported.

BTW, just before I found this thread, I tripped across a company by the name of "Satori Labs" (http://www.sartorilabs.com), who claim to have had some involvement with "REX and REX PRO PDAs, Sidekick PIM, TrueSync Plus synchronization engine and web-based PIM server" in their background.  I wonder if someone there would help with this project, or shed some light on the possibility of updating Sidekick???

jsc1 (TechnicalUser)
5 Feb 06 14:55
Sorry, link above should be http://www.satorilabs.com/
kWkW (Programmer)
5 Feb 06 16:58
Hello jsc1,

maybe it just suffices to ask some people of
  • Roy Feague (Starfish development team leader)
  • Philippe Kahn (Starfish founder)
  • Sonia Lee (Starfish founder) and wife of Philippe Kahn
Lee and Kahn should be reachable by this e-Mail-Address: info@lee-kahn.com


Maybe we simply should cooperatively write a request by which we ask for
  • source code accesss to or
  • source code release of or
  • at least a bug fix release of
SideKick|TrueSync Desktop. This request should be drafted in a Wiki. This request should be "signed" by Names (maybe also e-Mail addresses). The more signers, the better. smile After some signing time, somebody should submit this petition to Sonia Lee and Philippe Kahn.


(Another approach is to get one of them at the phone and ask them gently. This might have a higher success rate, as talking with people and listening to their needs generally has a higher success rate. For me, phoning with them is difficult, as I'm not a native English speaker.)

(Sources:
http://www.satorilabs.com/company/bios.html
http://www.stanford.edu/class/ee380/9798spr/lect01.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippe_Kahn
http://www.lee-kahn.org/htm/B_contact.htm
)
jeffbeal (TechnicalUser)
5 Feb 06 19:58
I am glad to see so many top notch people working on this.  My offer still stands- i.e. willing to pay for the fix.
Gyula (TechnicalUser)
6 Feb 06 2:17


      Re:  Philippe Kahn, Starfish & Sidekick

    Please note that Sidekick preceeded Startfish (and Windows).  It was one the first DOS PIMs created and marketed by Borland.  At this time Philippe Kahn was the head of Borland and Borland was a major player in the pre-Windows software world.  Their principal products were the Paradox db program, Quattro Pro spreadsheet program and numerous high-end programming tools.  Like dBase and WordPerfect(and my favorite wordprocessing program, Office Writer)Borland was not able to successfully make the transition from DOS to Windows.  The company shrank and one day Philippe was no longer the president.  He then went on to start-up Starfish.  Sidekick "went with" Philippe to Starfish.  Starfish then developed the Windows version of Sidekick (even though I'm not positive about this fact) and  then subsequently brought out SK 97, 98 and 99.
     Thus, to further confuse and complicate the "ToDo" issue, the original kernel or module might actually still be the-written-in-DOS (by Borland) and just tweaked by Starfish for Windows.  Furthermore Borland might also have some rights to Sidekick.
jimalex (TechnicalUser)
6 Feb 06 17:20
I am still trying to find someone who had anything to do with the source code. Alan Reiter, President of Wireless Internet & Mobile Computing an ex-Sidekick user has been helpful and my current hopes are on Philippe Kahn, who founded Starfish.
tilltek (Programmer)
7 Feb 06 5:16
I think most of us would not complain at chucking $50 into a kitty to develop a new Sidekick 98 (look and feel with improvements),
The question is, how to we do this?
I'm not going to send a cheque off to someone who says "Pick me, I can do it".
We would need some sort of body or trust worthy foundation or.....?
Aussie Ken
"Far, Far Away"
CAMIGUIN
bigdent (TechnicalUser)
7 Feb 06 13:56
Getting the current bug patched may be possible, but getting SK upgraded and supported for the future is probably a pipe dream. The long term outlook for SK is dim. No one wants to deal with cumbersome legacy code. It may not run at all on the next version of Windows.

A better long term solution is to get the features that make SK so useful and powerful incorporated into a currently supported PIM. The best candidate I have found is Time and Chaos. I evaluated this program about a year ago, but found difficiencies that sent me back to SK. But I see that they just came out with T&C Version 6 in January. http://www.chaossoftware.com/chaos6/

It already had a lot of the features I liked about SK, such as a good all-in-one desktop view and a phone dialer. Judging from the web site, T&C Version 6 may address many of the deficiencies: User configurable fields, drag & drop Contacts into Calendar or ToDos, mailing labels, email interface with Outlook, faxing, etc.

Most importantly, this company seems eager to support and improve improve their product. I plan to download and evalaute T&C Version 6 as soon as I find the time (which is hard). I recommend that other SK/TSD users do the same and  post any deficiencies here. See James33's post of 7/11/05, this thread, for a good checklist.  Then we can contact the product development team at Choas Software. My guess is that they will be eager to improve their product. By Version 7, we may have everything on our wish list.
BowRowser (TechnicalUser)
7 Feb 06 14:46
There is something very poignant about seeing --not just users like myself-- but experienced programmers assiduously applying bits of duct tape and patch code here, there, and here again, trying to keep a pre-Windows era piece of software alive, simply because nothing else can come close to it in plain usefulness. That alone makes one want to root for the continued survival of the jurry-rigged beast.

But the plain truth is that I'd quickly (and with a fond, farewell look over my shoulder) ditch Sidekick for a more future- (hell, I'd settle for present-) compatable alternative; and while I'd gladly shell out $50 bucks for a Sidekick patch solution, I'd rather throw that towards a proper "contemporary" program, provided that it had the features desired.

I wound up on this forum after first thinking that there just HAD to be SOMETHING out there, researching the terrain, downloading and trying out three or four of them, and giving up in disgust and amazement. I don't have the free time to be installing/uninstalling unsuitable potential Sidekick replacement suitors; but I will give a look at Time & Chaos, since you've taken the time to mention it.
jsc1 (TechnicalUser)
7 Feb 06 20:51
I haven't seen anyone mention something that I heard a long time ago.  Supposedly, Windows Sidekick (the first version for Win 3.1), came from a shareware program called "Yourways".  It did not evolve from the old TSR Sidekick.  I've searched for this "Yourways"/"Yourway" etc., and could never find any mention of it.  It does seem like when you want to, the Internet can swallow information into oblivion.  I was hoping that if I could find the original shareware version, the author might be still developing it, but as such, I haven't been able to find a thing.

Anyone else hear of this?
jsc1 (TechnicalUser)
7 Feb 06 20:55
Guess I didn't try hard enough - look at this:

"YourWay is often reviewed as a personal information manager (PIM), Prisma Software prefers to call it a Personal Productivity Workstation. What's that? It turns out to be a contact management-based program that handles schedules, phones, to-do lists, and basic written communication centered on the personal information database that's the hub of an office worker's day."

This was from a 1991 review in Compute! by Richard O. Mann.

This _does_ sound like Windows Sidekick.
jsc1 (TechnicalUser)
7 Feb 06 21:08
And look at this snippet:

Sona MedSpa Sona Management Team  
... principal in Prisma Technologies Corp. whose principal product, Yourway, was sold to Borland Software Company and became ...

Couldn't find any more on the Sona web site - must be buried in the archives.

I tried the (800) number in the 1991 Compute! article just for kicks, and naturally, it was no longer Prisma.
jsc1 (TechnicalUser)
7 Feb 06 21:20
Found the predecessor!  Found "Yourway.zip" at "http://cd.textfiles.com/smsharew/WIN2/"

I unpacked it and just ran it on my WinXPsp2 system.  Boy, does it look dated!  (But it RAN!)

Okay, so that was fun, but it's not going to get us anywhere.
Gyula (TechnicalUser)
9 Feb 06 13:58
       Re:  Have contacted Philippe Kahn

     Following up on several of your earlier suggestions of using Google to track down Philippe, Gyula, the 66-year old boy detective, learned the following:

    From an '04 "Wired" article learned that Philippe had founded a company called Lightsurf.  Going to the Lightsurf Website learned that in April, 05 Verisign had bought Lightsurf and Philipe had not gone with the company.  I then phoned Verisign and they have no record of how to reach Philippe, but suggested I got to www.fullpower.com as this was Philippe's new company.  At that Website learned that the new company will begin operations this April 15th.  It also has a page which allows you to contact them via the e-mail form on that page.  I send Philippe the following e-mail (from that page):

              For Mr. Philippe Kahn

      Re: Help creating a patch for Sidekick 9x

    I am a volunteer with a all-volunteer help Website--Tek-Tips.com--which has large and quite active "Sidekick" forum.

    As I'm sure you know, the "ToDo" function on the later versions of "Sidekick" comes to a dead stop at the end of 2005. For over six months we've been trying to get it fixed or patched with no results.

    Mr. Kahn, any chance you could help us repair or patch "Sidekick" so that the "ToDo" function would work throught at least the first decade of the 21st century.

    Thank you very much.
=================================
    I had come to know Philipe when I had been active with the Chicago Computer Society, which had him out to speak several times during his Borland period.  He always struck me as one of those Frenchman who only speaks to God; therefore I'm not at all sure I will hear from him.  But then you never know.

    I was also given a name of one of his Lightsurf executives who came over to Verisign and is still there.  He will be back at the end of this month and, if I don't hear from Philippe, I will try to phone him at that time.
jeffbeal (TechnicalUser)
9 Feb 06 14:04
Great and thanks for your dective work- lets hope for the best.
mickygriff (Vendor)
10 Feb 06 6:07
Hey Gyula,

Great minds think alike (or maybe ‘fools seldom differ’!) I tried to send an e-mail to Mr Kahn through the Fullpower site but failed. I then sent one via the Lee-Kahn Foundation website, with a similar request for help and a link to this thread. Hopefully he will respond positively.

If you read through the information on the site, they go public on the 17th February 2007. I am intrigued by the tantalising description of what may be coming, but Full power are in ‘stealth mode’ till then. Definitely one to watch, you heard it hear first!

I also wrote to the guys at Individual Software (AnyTime Organiser as previously mentioned) and received an invitation to discuss our ‘needs further’ with John Connors, Director of Sales. I aim to do so this evening (UK time), 10am PST, and get back to you all.

Regards,

Mick
Gyula (TechnicalUser)
10 Feb 06 10:49
Mickey,

     1.  Glad you corrected my mistake that Philippe's new firm expects to start business in 2007 (not '06 as I had listed).

    2.  By the way, I had submitted quite early on a submission on "Any Time Organizer".  Unfotunately the submission was on its marketing not how it worked.  I then, and still now, have not had time to seriously try it.

    3.  John Connors:  isn't also the superhero who saved the human race in the three "Terminator" movies?
mickygriff (Vendor)
10 Feb 06 13:54
Hi all,

Spoke to John Connors this evening (Hey - JC, initials of a real guy who saved the human race!), who will refer me on to someone in the company who deals with this type of thing.

Having an opinion on AnyTime Organiser and its suitability would be vital to enable us to have a meaningful dialogue, so would appreciate anyone's input ASAP. I have used it, it is a sophisticated piece of software that works well, but I would prefer to hear other opinions as well. It is skinable but not to the degree I would want.

Is it appropriate to start a new thread in this forum that gives an indication of where we are based, just to get an idea of the 'global' appreciation of SK? If not, we could just identify ourselves in this thread? Let me know if this is inappropriate and I will amend this entry.

I am from Birmingham in the UK, and 49 (today!).

Mick
tilltek (Programmer)
10 Feb 06 21:02
I looked at Time & Chaos a couple of years ago and dismissed it as to tricky.
Because I feel that I will need a replacement for Sidekick within the next year or two (only because it will probably fail to work in coming Windows versions) I took the suggestion of a participant in this thread to look at the latest version (6) of T & C .
To my surprise, it had a feature I’ve been looking for years. The ability to highlight one or more contacts and then click a button to send out a mail merge form letter (in my case a yearly invoice) to that contact or contacts. Brilliant. But what team of programmers then insist on you finding, and then dragging and dropping the documents back into T & C for the appropriate contacts.

The help file isn’t too bad, but lacks quite a bit of information. It doesn’t tell you how for instance, how to change the apparently mandatory fields for Pager: URL: and MapQuest? You can delete, say, “Pager” (remember them) for a contact, but not globally. Try that with a couple of thousand contacts.

The interface is sort of MS word’ish, very boxed and angular, which does not suit this style of utility. The Sidekick 98 interface or the new Microsoft OneNote, both of which have tabbed interfaces, is the way of the future.

Sorry guys. You can see promise in T & C but with a few exception, they still haven’t caught up with Sidekick of 98 vintage. I’ll stick with SK98.

mickygriff (Vendor)
11 Feb 06 6:05
The response from Individual Software:


You are an active advocate for reviving SideKick.  I visited the Tektips site linked from your email, and read most of the threads and indeed, there is much nostalgic fondness for SK.  Good luck with getting P. Kahn back involved, but short of that, I'm not sure where you will find a patch.  

Of course, AnyTime Organizer does not have the date problem but this is a solution only for new users, since migration from SK is not feasible due to their native file format.  I read in one of the posts that someone was going to review AnyTime Organzier and report back as an alternative.  We have thousands of previous SK users using AT, so this may be the best alternative. We really would not be inclined to create a "SK skinned" version.


Oh well, next hurdle...............!
jimalex (TechnicalUser)
11 Feb 06 6:14
Looks like a few of us decided to contact Philippe Kahn at the same time! Alan Reiter, who knows Philippe Kahn, sent on my email to him. So I'm looking for a response as well.
Gyula (TechnicalUser)
12 Feb 06 12:13
      Re:  Importing SK files into "Any Time Organizer"

    On the box of "Any Time Organizer 9.0" it states:  "Seamlessly import data from Sidekick, Lotus Organizer, .... and other organizer software." This was the primary reason I bought it.  But once I loaded the software I tried to import my SK99 files and was not able to do it (I must admit I did not try very hard or for a long time).  Now in their above-quoted e-mail to mickeyg they state, "... migration from SK is not feasible due to their native file format"--so who is one to believe?!

    I do again want to state that from my brief attempts at running "Any Time" I do believe that, if one decided to dump SK, AT 9.0 would be a good--but certainly not perfect--replacement.

    (For myself, I have decided to uninstall SK99 and reinstall SK98 [and the SK98 patch] and will keep trying to get by with the SK98 and try to live with the "ToDo" problem.)
Gyula (TechnicalUser)
12 Feb 06 12:46

      Re:  Sidekick 9x and the new version of Windows (Vista)

    I am not a programmer and have not attempted any programming since the DOS-only days when I got pretty good at modifying the execution of programs with creative batch files.  So please keep that in mind for what follows below.

    Several of the above commenters have stated that SK will no longer work under Windows when Vista arrives.  No one has questioned this assertion.  Well, I QUESTION IT.

    SK 98 and 99 really had no problems with the Windows operating system.  Sometimes it helped if you ran them in the Win95 or Win 98 compatible mode, but SK ran fine.  So I see no reason why a program which ran pretty much flawlessly under XP should turn around 180 degrees and not run under Vista.  

    What did NOT run well under Windows and ran considerably worse under XP than under Win9x was the programs--True Sync and HotSync--that synched SK with the handheld Palm pda's.  Under XP, no matter what you set the compatibility at, the two programs only barely worked and then had to be considerably jerry-rigged to make them work.  And in my case anyway, if I had to completely reinstall SK9x, it always took me less than 10 minutes to get SK installed and up and running but at least several hours to get the synch programs working more or less properly again.  I feel fairly certain that the synch programs--which barely work with XP-- that are now available will NOT work with any major revision of Windows.

    I should add that it was always my belief--again, remember who's not a programmer--that the sync problem was not with SK but the two sync programs as well as with the sync program that came with the later Palm operating systems.  (Note that this belief is further complicated by the fact that the last major project that Starfish worked on was a major improvement/upgrade to TrueSync [which was aimed for primarily syncing with cell phones].)

     We always seem to come back to the hard kernel of truth that SK is a a pretty da*n good program and that the original people who created it must have been very talented indeed.
Gyula (TechnicalUser)
13 Feb 06 20:20
      Re:  Receive reply from P K

    Much to my surprise--if not shock!--received the below reply from P:

===========================================
From:  P K" <test@test.com>                 Save Address                 Reminder
To:        [Gyula]
Subject:        Thank you
Date:        Mon, 13 Feb 2006 19:10:19 +0000   [View Source]


I would love to help you, but I can’t. Sidekick was acquired by Motorola when they acquired Starfish. Sorry that I can’t help you. – P -
===================================================

     1.  I guess that closes that door.  

    2.  His mention of Motorola brings a new player into our quest.  You may remember that in my recent posting--or rant--about SK and the new version of Windows (Vista) I mentioned that the last major project that Starfish was working on was extending HotSync to work with cellphones.  I have a very vague memory that Starfish sold Sidekick--NOT Starfish itself--to Motorola NOT for its use as a PIM but rather as a sale of the technology behind the latest version of HotSync which, of course, Motorola was interested for its cellphones.

    3.  I will still go ahead and contact the Starfish exec, who came over to VeriSign with Philippe and is still there, when he returns (to VeriSign) at the end of this month.

    4.  Plus, if nothing else, I finally have something worth putting on my tombstone:  "He got P K to reply to one of his e-mails."
IanMcKean (TechnicalUser)
14 Feb 06 4:49
Not having posted for a few days I thought I would send a quick message that I too have never found anything as good as SKW and would be prepared to pay for a replacement. I am from Oxford UK by the way.

I have looked at some demo systems recently like red box and time & chaos but don't really feel they are anywhere near. So I am struggling on with SKW and finding it not too confusing that my Todos are one day (and several years) out. I

Well done Gyula to get a reply from Kahn. Has anyone now asked Motorola if they still have the source code?
Gyula (TechnicalUser)
14 Feb 06 13:29
"Has anyone now asked Motorola if they still have the source code?"
====================================
     Ian, contacting Motorola was discussed at the very beginning of this thread.  Go to top of this "page" and do a search for "Motorola".
ct412 (TechnicalUser)
14 Feb 06 14:23
Add another voice for getting Starkick restarted somehow.  I have informtation going back ten years that I am afraid I'm going to lose when Vista starts running.  I am using SK99 and it rolled over into 2006 okay.
mickygriff (Vendor)
15 Feb 06 19:57
Evening all,

'100 UP' for this thread, guys!

I am currently reviewing something called PIMOne, which is extremely close to Sidekick and its functions. There is a 20-day trial download available through Download.com ( http://www.download.com/PIMOne/3003-2074_4-10433833.html ). Its interface is 'cleaner' and works more intuitively than any of the other PIMs I have seen. I have noted some minor things, which I will let the company know about, and some review comments on Download.com. Can I ask that others review it also? However, I must admit it does feel like sacrilege to maybe find something that may replace our abandoned orphan!

Meanwhile I wrote to PIMOne Computing and put it to them that there was an opportunity to respond to our plight, and this was their speedy response.

Hi Mick Griffin,
Sorry, PIMOne doesn't support to import the data from "Sidekick". But it supports to import data from some general format files, e.g. .CSV, etc. If the "Sidekick" can export its data to the general format files, then PIMOne can import the files which exported by "Sidekick".
Of course, we will add the feature for import the data from some other products directly to our development plan. We will try to find the way to support this in the future versions.


This shows some promise for future development I suppose, but doesn't Sidekick use the CSV format anyway? In which case it would possibly work - one reviewer commented on a problem with importing O*t***K (forgive me!) and not letting you 'specify which fields are which'. Please can others review and report?

There are a few skin variations available, so maybe we could get in there and do a ‘Sidekick’ version if we can find out how to do this. I guess I will write again to ask, unless we have the expertise here?!

By the way, I have the colour values from some screen shots of SK99 that maybe could be used for skinning purposes - are these of any use? I must get out more!

Mick
mickygriff (Vendor)
15 Feb 06 20:40
Drat - too early to do the '100th post' boast due to the e-mail faux pas being removed, oh well!

I think we established that Motorola said that SK was not one of their products, and I never received any response from Intellisync, so we would seem to have exhausted that line of enquiry - although maybe we should try to SPEAK to someone - any one got a number, I'll have a go!

I also meant to mention that PIMOne has been downloaded over 9600 times, almost 3 times the number of people who are members of this forum, so there might be something of worth in this software!
ct412 (TechnicalUser)
16 Feb 06 15:02
I downloaded PIMOne this morning and played with it for about 2 hours.  You can export/import from SK but there is no way to change the destinations.  Thus, "First Name" in Sidekick does go into "First Name" in PIMOne, but all Notes disappeared somewhere since there is no corresponding "slot" in PIMOne and, as far as I could tell, no way to create one.  Also:  I'd like to keep my back calendars and transfer from existing SK into the dream version we'd like to create and I cannot figure out how that might be accomplished.  
jsc1 (TechnicalUser)
16 Feb 06 17:28
I also briefly looked at PIMOne last night.  It seemed more concerned over skins and looks than anything functional.  I installed it, but even before I ran it, I looked in the subdirectories installed and saw nothing but fluff.  This is not serious software.  I uninstalled immediately.

THE MAIN REASON I got started with Sidekick 10+ years ago, was that I already had several hundred names and addresses in a format of my own design (good or bad, but there was nothing else at the time).  Sidekick let me design my own Contacts fields, so that I could directly import it and keep my arrangement.  Now that everything is so Outlook-centered, EVERYTHING out there seems to have only canned Outlook fields and a few "custom" fields as an add on.

I really WANT the Sidekick Contacts design flexibility and functionality and cannot find anything.  I've been looking for over 5 years!  (I gave up on the calendar functions of Sidekick pre-y2k, but even the Contacts module is getting a little flaky as time goes by.  (SK98, with export through SK97, because SK97 is the only way I can export and preserve my Cardlog notes.)
Helpful Member!(3)  Frank10 (TechnicalUser)
18 Feb 06 3:45
I agree very much with the last couple of posts here...

Twice over the last year I've installed PimONe, forgetting what I realized the first time, "this is not serious software", nowhere near the contact / address book facilities of Sidekick.

I've lurked on this forum off and on for years, while I've looked for a replacement for Sidekick, I used the early TSR (terminate / stay resident) dos version of Sidekick, then 95, 98, "Internet Sidekick", then Trusync, now back to 98 on XP (which works great), BUT, I look every few months to find SOME workable repacement program, keep making the rounds through Anytime Organizer (kiddie stuff really), Time and Chaos (not terrible, but I don't like the "set in stone" first contact fields then all the customizable ones are lumped into 1-20 on tab three...).

I think us Sidekick fans fall into two camps, those who badly need and are used to the great calendar features, the simplicity and good features of the calendar aspects, and next is the camp that really is devoted to / requires, an "equal to Sidekick" contact manager / database / address book functionality (some require both, and obviously some are big on the nice notes section).

Many programs out there do a decent job of being a calendar, I'd settle for a separate program for that.  But the address book part, I'm spoiled by Sidekick's ability to let you custom define ALL fields, the ability to have the text be NOT limited to just 40 characters or whatever, and the nice tabs at the bottom.

I looked (for the 9th time probably) at "also drifting now" Lotus Organizer, it just doesn't have the flexibility, can't do many tabs, just not as serious of a program.

Looked at EssentialPIM (very popular download on CNET, due to a free version to drive the fish in), it's a very unstable program, the big claim to fame is being able to run off of a USB drive, and those who need portability try to love the program in spite of many bugs and it not being very stable.

I did find ONE program this past week that I think I will move over to, for the contacts part of things.  It's "C-Organizer Pro", at csoftlab.com .

One thing about that program that Sidekick calendar people won't like, it's got a pretty darned good appointments / to do type thing going, but it does NOT have a "hours of the day like a day-runner" appearance, it's got the month view and events but not an hours of the day "column".

BUT, the contacts part is the first thing I've seen that I could switch to:

It lets you set up folders on the left, very much like MS Windows Explorer interface of folders on the left that you'd click on to show the files on the right, to the right is the contact list, you click on a contact and it brings up the contact box.

You can customize ALL of the field names, any length, and the text you fill in seems to be able to fit long lengths of text in any field, something I've not seen do well outside of Sidekick.

At first I didn't like the interface of having to bring up a new window to enter contact info (though 99% seem to require that), but, this program is nice, you can go full screen on that contact, and even without popping the window open the "info line" representing the contact is BROAD, and can include like 4 or 5 fields (not just the 3 fields of Sidekick for the "contacts index line), and it's got a very cool thing of being able to click on icons and reveal the phone #'s and e-mail address without clicking open the record's window.

Lots of slick features, and the program looks nice and is modern.  The developer said he's starting work this month on another upgrade.  I asked for an autodialer, he said he probably could do that.

One thing he acknowledged needed work when I brought it up is that you can't select a range of contacts and drag and drop then to a new folder, it's one at a time drag and drop for some reason, he said he's working on that feature.

BUT, you can set up folders, and have folders "under" folders, expanded or collapsed, and the search is GLOBAL, that's one thing we all know was missing from Sidekick, the ability to search once among all tabs.

One other MAJOR missing piece though on this C-Organizer Pro is that it prints reports well but does not currently do mailing labels.  I ragged at the developer on that, said get the specs from Avery etc. and get that done, he said he'd work on that but currently it doesn't do labels (nether does the paid version of Epim, and users of Outlook claim it's about the worst feature of Outlook, trying to print mailing labels).

It wasn't simple in Sidekick either, but at least doable.

With C-Organizer Pro you can set up your field names etc. then save it as a template, you can save MANY templates, then name one as the default template, you can enter contacts chosing any of your templates, AND, you can add a custom field here or there for just individual contacts, it's very flexible, has a place for a little photo with contacts etc, and basically it's SIMPLE, it's not like Act / Goldmine / Maximizer etc.

Seems to have a very good import / export facility, similar in it's mapping look and feel to Sidekick.  There is a Palm and MS Pocket PC side-program they have available, and it seems C-Organizer runs on a USB flash drive for those that need portability.

It's got a decent number of downloads for being only recently on CNET, but just one review a positive one, I think I'll throw one on there as well.

I've tried to accurately describe this one to save you the download if it's not your cup of tea, for me I think it's finally my "migration point" away from my old friend, Sidekick.  Honestly in some ways, nothing will ever be as good.

But, it's "with a pulse" abandonware, and this day must come, at some day.  It may be a few months before I bite the bullet and do the transition, but for me as an contact / database / address book heavy Sidekick fan, I think I'll be going with this C-Organizer Pro.  I use a paper day scheduler anyway, so the appointment / to do thing is adequate for my needs, too bad it doesn't have a column - time of day thing, maybe they'll add that as the program is still supported and being developed, the Russian guy doing it does answer e-mail promptly and intelligently.

Here's the addresses, and this one is actually nicer than the feel you get just looking at screenshots, nice flexible features, well designed, seems stable as well:

http://www.csoftlab.com/C-OrganizerPro.html

http://www.csoftlab.com/ScreenshotsPro.html

http://www.download.com/C-Organizer-Pro/3000-2074_4-10464941.html?tag=tab_pub

Good luck everybody, and hey well done on getting that brief response from Phillip Kahn.  That was hillarious the comment "one of those Frenchmen who only speaks to God".  Good on getting a sentence out of him, though his answer was a cop-out.  He could help if he gave a flip.  He certainly knows the people to go to etc, could open doors etc if he gave a flip.

I think he knows he got paid a lot of money for something that died and didn't pan out for Motorola, and he's not all eager to show up or make contact, LOL.  Or Crying out loud, as the scene has been for us Sidekick orphans, here's to good migrations for us all, or good use from our old friend for as many days as we can make the old motor run.

Frank H. in Oregon
Helpful Member!  barkis (TechnicalUser)
19 Mar 06 13:40
Hi...

Just stumbled upon this forum while trying to find a replacement for Sidekick 98 :)

I started using Sidekick when it was Prima's Yourway 3.0.

Like all of you I would pay for a viable replacement.

Did a search on Yourway and Sidekick and came up with with a resume for Brian Ferrin who appears to have been a QA Engineer for both Programs.

http://btferrin.home.netcom.com/

I emailed him and asked if he had any advice or knew of anyone who could help with the problem. I'll post if I get any response.

Rob
Gyula (TechnicalUser)
19 Mar 06 23:16
    I think that "Yourway" was/is the father of Borldand's "Sidekick" is something of a computing urban myth.  

    Take a look at:  

http://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/issue60/186_1_REVIEWS_
Sidekick_For_PC_And_PCjr.php

   This is a (VERY positive) review of the early DOS version of SK from the May 1985 issue of "Compute" magazine.  There are also several reviews of  "Yourway" from the late '90's.  So to say that Borland bought "Yourway" and turned it into SK just doesn't make sense.  Plus when you read the "Yourway" reviews at this "Compute" magazine site, YW doesn't really sound very much like SK.

    
jimalex (TechnicalUser)
20 Mar 06 17:41
Just a footnote I did not post before- maybe you have it elsewhere. Motorola sold the name 'Sidekick' to T-Mobile  (only the name). So any new Sidekick as wanted here would definitely need a new name.
mickygriff (Vendor)
20 Mar 06 19:22
Hi Jimalex,

I made some suggestions last October -

Quote:

Maybe time to start asking for 'new name suggestions'?!
How about Sidewise / Sidetrack / Sidetack / Sideways for a kick-off?

Wouldn't it be nice to be in need of a name?!

I wonder how kWkW is getting on with attempts at repair, and Frank10 and liaison with the Softlab guy?

I found some residual stuff on an old hard drive - another version of a PIM which may be worth looking at called EasyNoter 3.7 by Art Plus - tracked it down to the following site - check out http://www.artplus.hr/adapps/eng/easynote.htm
to see if it is suitable (Lite version free, up to the Pro version is $34.95)

Keep on 'Sidekicking'!

Regards,  Mick
ct412 (TechnicalUser)
20 Mar 06 19:32
I don't care WHAT it's called - I just want to be sure it will also roll over into Vista.

BTW: just in case this hasn't been posted:

http://siderealb0x.250free.com/index.html

All versions of SK seem to be available. I haven't needed to use it, but others here might.

I, too, would be willing to add some $$ to the pot for anybody to do some reverse engineering.
Zoltan627 (MIS)
20 Mar 06 20:05
Has anyone had time to play with the C-Organizer Pro that was mentioned a couple of posts ago? I did a little exploring; I exported one of my SK98 address books to a *.csv file and imported it into C-Organizer Pro. It went ok, although I had to go into each address entry and specify what fields would appear in the index of addresses.

It seems to be the best alternative to SK (nothing will ever be as good as SK98 though), anyone else have an opinion?

Thanks

Z
barkis (TechnicalUser)
21 Mar 06 6:50
I received a interesting reply from Brian Ferrin:

-----------------------------------------------------------
Hi Robert,

I haven't read through that entire thread yet, but unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to help.  I've lost contact with the core people on the R&D team, (a few have moved back to China last I heard), and the developers I'm still in contact with who worked on it at one point wouldn't be able to help much as they mostly just did minor bug fixes or UI issues.

I was laid off from Starfish before Motorola sold it to Intellisync, so I don't know who retained the rights to the source code to Sidekick.
  
Intellisync was purchased by Nokia last year.  The last time I saw a product called Intellisync desktop was when I was still at Starfish, so that version definately had no relation to Sidekick.

The post by James33 is correct, there is a lot of legacy code dating back to YourWay 4.0 in Sidekick98.  In my opinion, especially for the calendar,starting fresh and copying the UI would be best.

Best of luck.  I may keep an eye on the thread, but don't really have the time to help.  I'm still of the opinion Sidekick/YourWay is the best PIM for windows, although I no longer use it myself since I've kept my personal contacts in my e-mail client, and keep my personal calendar at work in private appointments.  (In Outlook unfortunately, since I don't have a choice in the matter.)  I'd love to know how it comes out, though I'm probably going to be abandoning Windows all together on my personal machines after I get my taxes done.

Regards,

Brian
------------------------------------------------------------


This seems, at least, to settle the question of wether or not Sidekick evolved from yourway ;)

Rob
Frank10 (TechnicalUser)
22 Mar 06 2:07
Hi, re: "The post by James33 is correct, there is a lot of legacy code dating back to YourWay 4.0 in Sidekick98", it looks like the confusion re: which came first etc. is refined in that reply, "Sidekick 98" containing legacy code, not the earlier versions etc.

MS Outlook has so taken the oxygen out of the room for the "broad marketplace PIM" market it seems, not many want to put in all the development time for "table scraps" sales though one would think there should a pretty huge market.

Re: the question "do I have anything new to report in dialog with the C-Organizer Pro developer", I started another thread on C-Organizer Pro and most of the info (and some other good users feedback) is there, I did send a number of suggestions to the developer and he as nice and honest expressing what suggestions he could go with and what ones he won't tackle, but the main thing is it seems he IS doing a fairly major update right now.  So I'm kind of "continuing limping" with my old friend Sidekick until that next C-Organizer Pro is out, he said it would probably be a couple of months.

Many things I do like about that program, nothing "is" Sidekick though unfortunately.  There are many cool features in C-Organizer yet it still manages to be remarkably simple, very easy learning curve, and stong on field name / layout customization, savable as templates.  I tried to cover the flaws as I saw them in that other thread, thanks to all who are trying it as well, send the developer your observations on flaws or "oh if you'd fix this it would be great", I've seen nothing better in 4 years of looking.

I'm looking forward to not looking for a Sidekick replacement!  I wish I had a nickle for every disappointing trial download, including disappointments with Time and Chaos, Everyday Organizer, looking for the remnant dust of Lotus Organizer (then remembering how limited it was anyway), I must have tried 30 or so PIMs, most are like high school projects compared to Sidekick.  Sigh.

For notes I've been very much enjoying TreeDBNotes Pro, the free version is "good" but the paid version ($28) has Sidekick like tabs which each has it's own "full tree" (like Treepad, TreeNotes etc), you can strip away most of the toolbars etc and have lots of open space (as Sidekick allowed) and can run the "topic / tree" tabs at the top or bottom of the screen, very nice.  I'm splitting up the duties that Sidekick used to serve all in one place, my main need is for the contacts part now, C-Organizer so far shows good promise but I know the next upgrade will be improved on a few key points.

Frank H.
gordone (TechnicalUser)
22 Mar 06 12:16
Just wanted to add my name to those who have used Sidekick since the beginning.  I currently am using SK99, and have no problems with it, other than wondering how to port it over to something equally as useful, and easy to use, when Microsoft makes it unusable.
Frank10 (TechnicalUser)
24 Mar 06 4:20
Zoltan627 wrote:

"Has anyone had time to play with the C-Organizer Pro that was mentioned a couple of posts ago? I did a little exploring; I exported one of my SK98 address books to a *.csv file and imported it into C-Organizer Pro. It went ok, although I had to go into each address entry and specify what fields would appear in the index of addresses."

Zoltan, I've had trouble a few times exporting from Sidekick 98 to other programs, at times it seemed something wasn't "standard" about my titles / field headings in the exported file, I remember having to edit and tweek to get the file to be imported correctly, and actually that's what the C-Organizer developer guessed as well re: the issue you described.

Though you wrote your post several days ago, I just now wrote the developer with a different question and while at it I told him exactly what you expressed, this was his reply (and he replied rapidly, as he has every time I've written, what a nice change that is), this is what he said:

"I think that he did not map the "Title" field and all records were imported without title.  In the next version we'll add an option to create the new titles automatically. Will be possible to select the fields to use as a title and then build new titles for entire Address Book database."

I think he was referring more to the status of the import file than any aspect of "what you did".  I like the responsiveness of this developer, the C-Organizer Pro guy, CSoftlabs (refered to in above posts).  C-Orgainizer Pro is about the only "create any fields you want, locate them in any sequence you want, save it as a template" thing that I've seen out there, rivaling Sidekick 98 in field flexibility.

It has a database record "tab" called description (notes) for each record, I wrote him to see if that description area was mappable when importing a database, since my use of Sidekick 98 includes a field where I've got lengthy text, he said yes the notes "box" was mappable to be a field on import.

It's not a "perfect" program, but it's very good.  It's modern, has some nice bells and whistles, has companion programs for Palm and Pocket PC, can run on a USB stick, and it remains pretty darned simple with low learning curve, so far it's the best but I'm looking to see what his next update will contain, should be roughly 3 months away.

I've made my little suggestions to him, make yours if you have some!  He won't change the entire program to look like Sidekick 98 of course (and in some ways he's got some improvements already), but he's open to actual valid suggestions as long as it isn't towards huge bloatware etc.

The developers "presence" and responsiveness is refreshing, I wrote to the "Do-Organizer" PIM company 6 times and never got the slightest response, same thing posting to their googlegroup site, very dead customer service (as I've found with several).  I'm impressed with CSoftlabs, GREAT responsiveness, finally it looks like I'll have a place to move my contacts over to.

My main requests to the developer are to be able to drag and drop more than one contact at a time (he's got a bit of a database "issue" to resolve to allow that he said), and to be able to create database groups (folders in tree to the left) that don't auto-sort, that don't sort alphabetically so I can choose their order (though I can put in a 1, 2 prefix etc).  Labels can be done by exporting to Word and printing labels through Word.

It has global search and some nice features re: being able to select many fields to "show" in the list view (where with Sidekick you were limited to 3, like first name / last name / and a phone # or call-back-date, and that was it).

Individual e-mails launch easily but it doesn't currently do "by group" e-mails, I'll probably just export to Group Mail Pro by Infacta for those needs.  It does export by group folder or the entire database, overall a very good program.  It's got a neat feature of being able to pop-up a contact and have that contact "ride" like a sticky-note while you are in the calendar, while you open another database etc.

Though I wish the dream wasn't dead for someone to modernize Sidekick while retaining the full look and features of Sidekick 98, looks like that dream is a dead horse.  Thanks to all who tried and who got the info as has been expressed in the thread (or, novel), above!

Frank H.
Gyula (TechnicalUser)
25 Mar 06 1:11
     Frank 10, thank you for the great thought and effort that went into your March 24th posting.  Very impressive indeed!!

    I would like to share my thoughts on your posting--and, in fact on the trend of most recent postings.  Your posting and many of the other recent ones look at SK as a PIM which at its core is a highly personalizeable datatebase program.

    I have always viewed--and accordingly used--SK as a PIM which at its core was a calendar/appointment program.  With database--and, of course, several others--functions thrown in.  (I also valued SK's ability to d/l information into my Palm PDA.)  Yes, I loaded my contacts--which I kept/keep on "Lotus Approach"--into SK, but it was primarily as a conduit to loading them into my Palm.

    Frank, for the heavy duty database functions you are talking about, I really believe you should look at PIMs which are really heavy duty contact managers, with some calendaring and word processing functions thrown in.  The one that comes to mind is "ACT!".  In fact, some of the popular pure database programs, with some tweaking, might satisfy your needs.

     Again, just some thoughts from a long, long time SK user who comes to the program from a very different direction than you do.
Frank10 (TechnicalUser)
25 Mar 06 2:34
Hi Gyula, I agree with you!  In fact, quoting my own post up above from February 18th,

"I think us Sidekick fans fall into two camps, those who badly need and are used to the great calendar features, the simplicity and good features of the calendar aspects, and next is the camp that really is devoted to / requires, an "equal to Sidekick" contact manager / database / address book functionality (some require both, and obviously some are big on the nice notes section).

Many programs out there do a decent job of being a calendar, I'd settle for a separate program for that.  But the address book part, I'm spoiled by Sidekick's ability to let you custom define ALL fields, the ability to have the text be NOT limited to just 40 characters or whatever, and the nice tabs at the bottom."

So yes, I recognize Sidekick was great with the calendar and scheduling functions (though honestly those weren't the main features I needed), and I know those features fall short in many of the PIMS's out there!  Sidekick was great in so many ways.

Re: "Big" database programs, it seems every 6 months or so I do another rotation of checking out ACT!, Goldmine and Maximizer etc, believe me every one of those camps has at least as much headache as we do, even with current supported programs!  ACT! has had absolute h*ll with a very slow running database chassis and their new owner Sage Software being very iffy in support, Goldmine, wow their forums are like a walk through an ER department, Maximizer, horendous complaints on their lack of customer service etc. on CNET reviews, the Amazon reviews on the current version of ACT! is about the lowest percentage and most thumbs down I've ever seen, "wow".

It's not easy to find a great contact manager, and Sidekick served me well with running like 27 different lists, thousands of contacts, never a problem.  As I check out other options a small voice often speaks, "Frank you are a fool to try and move off of Sidekick..."

And another voice crabs about will it work on Vista, can I forget the "cobbling" that gets it to work on XP, can I just accept that it seems to be stable for now, and get on with life, relying on Sidekick.  It's the relying on part that makes me want to look out for the future steps ahead, but honestly, Sidekick still gets the job done for me.

For those that were more heavily using the calendar section, I realize the end of the diving board is more a pressing thing, and I've seen nothing out there that does all of the fuctions Sidekick did as well as Sidekick did it.

Whether for calendar, notes or contact management, I bet a lot of us will use more than one program to do what Sidekick did, as most "all in one's" are weak on at least one of those areas.

But you've guessed me correctly, contact management is the camp I'm most "in".  And frankly if ACT! etc were great and stable and even had a decent looking future, I'd go through their price tags and learning curves etc.  But they don't look good, shocking, but they don't.  The reviews etc. make my hair turn white (from grey LOL).  So, I'm limping on Sidekick, in touch with the C-Organizer developer, while using TreeDBNotes Pro for notes, while 99% of the world seems content to curse MS Outlook but using MS Outlook.  I've read enough cursing there, newsgroups etc, to find some comfort that at least I'm not stuck with Outlook.

To good productivity for all of us,

Frank H.
tilltek (Programmer)
3 Jun 06 0:35
I think these guys just might have something here. And it's still being developed AT USERS SUGGESTION!!!
http://www.essentialpim.com
Ken F
Frank10 (TechnicalUser)
3 Jun 06 1:05
Hi Ken F., I checked out Essential Pim (several times), aspects of it do look nice, BUT, especially going through the month after month topics in their forum archives, it is not a stable program, it is downright buggy.

It's true that to some degree the developer (Max) listens to input, the MAIN thing he is trying to do with Epim is have something that stays small enough to go on a USB "keychain drive", that is the overriding constraint.

Any suggestion that would require a bit more "to" the program, if it endangers that mandate of being a tiny portable device functional program, the idea is scratched off the table.

Like, for instance, the ability to print labels.  "no".  And, "never", are the answers.

The main thing that threw me was the constant "whoops, discovered this explosion", release after release.  Good that there are new releases, but, I never developed confidence in putting my data into the program and moving forward.

Many things are initially attractive to the program, including Mobile Windows and Palm facility etc, but, at the end of the day, it to me has stayed an "almost" program.

That C-Organizer program mentioned earlier in this thread (and mentioned in a new thread), they did come out with their anticipated updated version, lots of very nice feature enhancements.  I haven't had time to put it all through the paces, but that developer took lots of input and DID the suggestions (without constraints on if it would bring the size of the program beyond "tiny").

There are so many "almost" programs out there, since Outlook took most of the oxygen out of the room for PIM's like Sidekick or Ecco or whatever...

Frank H.
tilltek (Programmer)
3 Jun 06 4:29
I downloaded the "portable" version of EssentialPIM and find it hard to believe that there is concern about its size. It easily fits into 2 meg which these days, is nothing. My smallest usp drive is 16 Meg. Even my Nokia 6260 has a 256 meg memory chip.
Further, there is a dektop version and a portable version so size really should not be a problem.

It's still the closest thing to the look and feel of Sidekick 98 and even if it's buggy, the bugs eventually get fixed.
I was using a combination of MS OneNote and Sidekick 98, now I use just EssentialPIM.
Ken F
Frank10 (TechnicalUser)
3 Jun 06 4:47
I agree that it should't be a concert re: size, but that's what the developer said to me personally when I asked him and it was re: the "full desktop" version, if I remember correctly people wanted to use the full version on portable USB drives, and features came 2nd to making sure it was small enough, but yeah memory is cheap, make the program good should be the motto!

Like a lot of the Russian developers, Max is very hard working and stays at things, many ongoing improvements, I have no doubt it will improve to be a great program at some point.  After looking for 5 years for a good place to move house to from Sidekick (my main needs being contacts related), I guess my patience is short to see what a current program evolves into.  One thing Epim very much DOES have going for it is that their lighter free version is very popular at the free download sites (and on CNET), so there is a very large feeder pool for their paid version, thus, I think the company and product will stay in existance and be supported.

That's an important aspect, beyond if the program is perfect, as some pretty good PIM's even in recent years have gone the way of Sidekick, abandoned or dropped etc, so yes, those are positive aspects of Epim.  And it's darned near impossible to find something exactly as intuitive, as configurable etc. as Sidekick was once we're used to "it", so, making a move no matter what is probably the point we all come to.  With your ongoing suggestions given to Max, no doubt Epim will shine more and more brightly.

Frank H.
Frank10 (TechnicalUser)
3 Jun 06 5:13
(Whoops, meant to type "shouldn't be a concern..." re: my typo in post just above).

Tilltek, I just went to the Epim site, and see that 5 days ago they release a major upgrade to the Pro version (which is available as desktop or USB drive version, pretty much the same program, and both can run on USB drives though portable has specific features for it), nice updates with the recent 1.8 release!

One of the problems I'd run into with Epim seems to be fixed (per the history notes for this recent update), that is that custom fields that should have been able to run up to 200 characters of content (like doing a semi-notes field, "recent history notes" or whatever which I would do with Sidekick fields), Epim would allow that (and per Max should have been ok), but it would crash in actual use on long fields, looks like that is fixed.  Several wish-list items look fixed.

C-Organizer Pro's recent new version update also improved that program greatly, I think Epim's notes component is much better than C-Organizer's though.  Aspects of C-Organizer's contacts component such as the ability to save and use distinct templates are really helpful for me, that program has many neat features (that aren't revealed just looking at the screenshots), but I'll have to compare them both newly now that Epim has a major recent update.  Thanks for the tip!  Sounds like Max had collected up every recent bug and suggestion and took a machine gun to it, very impressive history upgrade list of fixes and improvements.

Frank H.
Vuudoo (TechnicalUser)
3 Jun 06 16:49
Haven't been in for quite awhile, but like Frank I surface every now and then to see if something could take the place of Sidekick.
I would take Franks analysis further and say that the two kinds of users are those that want the program to impose order on them and those that want the program as an expression of their order (loosely: impose order on the program).  Frank is obviously an ordered mind.  His posts are concise.  I think he would want to use the program as an extension of his order, and thus looks for something that can be customized to reflect his order.
I am the opposite.  I am chaos trying to exist in an ordered world.  
Sidekick was good and could be used for either and has a continued following because it could do both.  It helped impose organization as well as had the depth and customization to allow order to be imposed on it.
I've downloaded 3 of the suggested programs as possible replacements, and am playing with them.
I noticed that there was little mention of pocket informant. Has anyone played with it much?

20 minute overall quick impressions (note chaotic mind):

Epim takes less memory.  Epim runs around 16,000K.  I've run through a number of items and they seem intuitive.  Haven’t had to run through help yet.  The boundaries ‘feel’ stronger in Epim and I think it lends itself to imposing organization.  It has on the surface (haven’t gone deep yet) obvious structure to assemble information and interact with it.  Many of the items look like they have customization ability, but they are more of a choice if you want or need to utilize them.

C-org takes more memory.  Well I thought it did, but it appears to vary quite a bit.  As low as 8,000K when no windows are open but the program is active in the quick launch and as high as 21,620K.  The sticky note option is interesting.  C-org acts more like an accessory on your desktop, opening things in their own windows and allowing them to be always on top or transparent etc.  Some of the preloaded reminders come up and have something to do with the address book but I don’t understand what the reminder is reminding me of.  C-org has more of an excel’ish feel to it.

Overall Epim seems oriented to imposing it’s order, and may have the depth to allow order to be imposed.  C-org seems oriented to having order imposed on it and has an ‘open’ feel to it rather than the normal ‘contained’ feel of most programs.  Both seem to have customization and most of the standard functions.  I am not synching to a PDA or such so none of that is explored here.  And that’s my 20 minutes worth.

V
jsc1 (TechnicalUser)
3 Jun 06 21:42
I tried Essential Pim 1.8 and C-Org.  I was diappointed with both.  My 10 year old, 3500 name address file in Sidekick 98, which does NOT look like Outlook, ie, completely different field labels and organization, exists in a 1.5 meg Sidekick file.  E-Pim and C-org both blew it up to 16 meg, and wouldn't match my fields at all.  Yes, they were sucked in as custom fields, but they weren't ordered the way I wanted them.  And C-Org was slower than mud.

Yes, very disappointed with both.

Is there any database program out there that can be configured as easily, and with the totally custom field arrangement that Sidekick had?  Please don't suggest something like the bloated overkill of MS Access or the like.  I wouldn't trust Access anyway - they have a way of clobbering there file formats every time they "improve" things.
pjo1966 (TechnicalUser)
6 Jun 06 19:25
The Essential PIM is OK, but if there's no way to transfer over my calendar info from SK98, what's the point?
ct412 (TechnicalUser)
7 Jun 06 20:01
I feel lucky that my Starfish 98 is still working after reading much of the above.  BUT ... today all the information completely disappeared from my computer.  No card files; no calendar.  Luckily, I have a recent backup, but has this happened to anyone before?  I haven't emptied my trash or restarted my computer since it happened.  Anyone got any ideas what happened or where the data went?  Curiously, my Earthtime settings did not change.  I'm totally puzzled.  Thanks for any help.
Frank10 (TechnicalUser)
7 Jun 06 22:59
Your cardfiles (each of them) and your calendar are distinct data files which Sidekick 98 "reads" or loads in, it is very bizarre for them to just "disappear".

Are you fluent with your operating system re: looking at your data files, verifying location re: your "userdata" folder etc?  You also should be able to go like in contacts view "file / open cardfile" and navigate around to SEE your prior existing cardfiles (same with opening a calendar file).

Unless something happened with your main program that is making it look to a different default location for your data files, "no" there should not be simply a disappearance of the data.  I'd imagine the program is not looking in the correct path for some reason.  If you didn't re-load the program, nothing should have changed.  Re: Earthtime settings, that's a distinct / different userdata file.

Poke around for your data files and let us know what you see!  Frankly though, probably best to start that as a new topic since this topic is hugely long already, on the topic of re-birthing Sidekick and addressing alternative programs.  Good luck!

Frank H.
tilltek (Programmer)
7 Jun 06 23:26
After working with Essential PIM for a week I'm still of the opinion that it is by far the best "next Sidekick" if only because the rest of the offerings are so poor.
I have made a list of some items that Essential PIM should add and will be emailing it to them a suggestions for future releases. Most are so obvious, I can't think why they're not there already.
These are some items I would like to see added to EPIM.

1: Phone dialer with log (like Sidekick)

2: Ability to write a letter in my own word processor and have it recorded or logged.

3: Spell checker, even if only in notes.

4: When pasting from the internet, the site the item came from should be saved (as in OneNote)

5: Ability to turn off tabs "Business", "Notes" and "Pictures" in contacts so show all detail in one screen

8: Groups for contacts like sidekick. Or multiple contacts.
at present there is only one address book and I don't want to mix up friends, business people and etc in on huge book, even with filters. I much prefer Sidekicks many available address books.

10: Ability to cut and paste name and address from the address book, for instance, to address an envelope.

I will persevere a little longer.
Ken F
Zoltan627 (MIS)
8 Jun 06 6:04
Essential PIM looks interesting and I will add it to the list of SK replacements. I do have one question though, does it work with a Palm PDA? I did not see anything on the site that addresses that question.

Thanks
BowRowser (TechnicalUser)
8 Jun 06 13:14
(for CT412):
   This has happened to me on occassion, and I finally tracked it down to an otherwise pretty handy utility called Registry First Aid, which runs through your entire system looking for broken, outdated or nonfunctional registry entries and then gives you the option to delete, edit etc them. Although in general such house cleaning can greatly improve an operating systems speed and functionaility, caveats are of course in order when messing with the registry; and the only real problem I've noticed is with Sidekick. For some reason, ---and can't remember the precise nature of the problem, but--- the program would find several Sidekick entries as in error, and not only that, but would mark them as safe to fix (it does try to warn you of potentially unsafe changes, but not with Sidekick), but if you accept the default "fix" the next time you open Sidekick you get blank templates for Calendar, Notes etc, and all your data has disappeared.

   But not really: as mentioned by Frank10, if you can locate the files on your own hard drive (or on your back up) and just open, then save, them, you should be fine. And if this IS the problem, you should be able to open the WORKING files, not just the BACK-UP (in case your back up didn't include recent data, try to find the working ones first so you don't lose any unbacked up data).

  Hope that helps.
ecallan (TechnicalUser)
10 Jun 06 10:45
jsc1 In relation to exporting your 3500 contacts, I experimented with exporting the addresses to a .csv file.  Then using Excel to modify the data to suit the Outlook fields.  I also used =CONCATENATE(A1," ",B1) to get the name into a single cell for example.  When I was happy that I had the format suitable for Outlook I then selected all the data and then used Copy and Paste Special to change the cell contents from formulae to the value.  I then removed any redundant columns and saved the file as an Excel Workbook.  This was then correctly importable into Outlook.  Its a bit messy but worth it for 10 years of my collected life!  I still mourn the demise of Sidekick's functionality.
Hope its useful.
tilltek (Programmer)
10 Jun 06 11:40
What about the moderator taking this stuff to a new thread.
We are talking here about a replacement for Sidekick.
Ken F
Frank10 (TechnicalUser)
10 Jun 06 15:26
Good point Ken, on that note, the actual "beginning life" of this thread was the hope for an independent version, a "back from the ashes" re-tooled literal Sidekick, that chapter of the book seems to have fully come and gone, "nope", as covered in the 100+ postings above.

Though other threads have been newly started expressing hope for this replacement or that replacement, we probably would be better off with a NEW thread on these topics rather than appending to a 100+ thread on re-birthing Sidekick "as" a new Sidekick, since that topic is now decided and known (unfortunately as "no").

Frank H.
edwardaevans (TechnicalUser)
16 Aug 06 21:51
Great idea!

An update to Sidekick 99 would be excellent. I am surprised that no one has done it. I would have but don't have the expertise.

I would be pleased to support an effort like this.

eaevans@aldercompany.com
Frank10 (TechnicalUser)
16 Aug 06 22:18
Edward, no disrespect intended, but you must not have read the thread above.  Granted it's a huge long thread, but you'd need to read at least a bit of it to have familiarity regarding the original topic of "the wish for Sidekick to be updated".  It's a long read, but end result, it ain't gonna happen.  Sad but truthful.  If you have time, read the thread...

Frank H.
MEdgar7863 (TechnicalUser)
23 Aug 06 7:43
Just felt I had to speak up in defence of C-Organizer and EssentialPIM.  The latter is the closest I've seen to the 'look and feel' of Sidekick, but some of the additional functionality people have asked for is in the latest C-Organizer.  I haven't had any problems with speed or reliability, but I admit I don't have anything near jsc1's 3500 records.  Transferring data may involve renaming fields and/or reordering csv files, but, as ecallan says, this has to be offset against the time invested in collecting the data in the first place.

Apologies to Frank10 and others - I know this really should be in the "suggestions for a Sidekick replacement" thread, but all the discussion seems to be happening here.
Frank10 (TechnicalUser)
23 Aug 06 8:13
Good info MEdgar7863, and you're right that most alternative program info is in this thread, oddly enough it's the original topic of rejuvinating Sidekick "as Sidekick" that is a dead topic, ironic as that is.

Maybe I'll move over to C-Organizer as well now that it allows better template saving and the other nice features the developer added, for now I admit I'm still using Sidekick for contacts (thousands), it's been so stable and such a comfortable old pair of shoes...  But that day is coming LOL, I'll have to transition somewhere.  Keep us posted on your experiences with those alternatives!

Thanks,

Frank H.

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