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I finally found a decent "contacts aspect" upgrade, C-Organizer

I finally found a decent "contacts aspect" upgrade, C-Organizer

I finally found a decent "contacts aspect" upgrade, C-Organizer

I just posted a lengthy reply on the "support for an independed version of Sidekick" thread re: finally finally finally finding what at least for me is a workable alternative to Sidekick for the contacts / database aspect.

Now that we've heard from Philipe Kahn etc and it just doesn't look super likely to get our old friend Sidekick "modernized", like most of you I again have been looking for a decent alternative.  I'll cut out some sections of my long post on that other thread, starting a new thread here re: this decent program I finally found:

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 at(for the 9th time probably) the "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.  PimOne is not a serious program, all fluff, gosh so many of these programs are just popcorn and balony compared to Sidekick.
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.
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:
Many features I truly like with this C-Organizer, surprising after so much frustration looking at the other PIMS and checking out Outlook again, seeing the horrible reviews on Amazon on Anytime Organizer etc...

If you try this C-Organizer and like it (free 30 day trial of the full program, but it will also be updated / new version in about 3 months), it probably deserves to be promoted a bit on newsgroups etc so others can find it and try it as an alternative, it seems to be about the only good one I've found and I've been looking for 5 years like many of you have been.

Good luck everybody, here's to good migrations for us all, or good luck getting use from our old friend Sidekick for as many days as we can make the old motor run.
Frank H. in Oregon

RE: I finally found a decent "contacts aspect" upgrade, C-Organizer

As mentioned in my critique above on this alternative for those who need to migrate to a newer supported program from Sidekick, one thing I was disappointed by with this C-Organizer Pro program is that it didn't do mailing labels.

BUT, today, while painfully studying Goldmine to see if I should move to a "much more complex" but well featured program like that, I discovered reading their forums that even with that big fat mature program, many users export a database file then print mailing labels in MS Word.

Very interesting, being a Sidekick user I'd never needed to do that, then it occured to me that this major shortfall of C-Organizer Pro (otherwise a great looking program) could also easily lean on MS Word to print mailing labels, via database export.  It lets you export individual folders or the entire database, export and import and mobile device sync seems to be good with that program, it's been through enough upgrades to be "fairly" complete (though I still miss some Sidekick features, whaaaaa......).

MS Outlook truly did take the oxygen out of the PIM marketplace, yet in forums and newsgroups you see nothing but complaints (valid) re: Outlook.  Arrg.

As much as I like this C-Organizer, dang it, I'm going to keep using Sidekick and then check out their next upgrade to C-Organizer, due out in around 2 or 3 months.  Current version is good, but I'm not quite ready to leave yet.  (Sound familiar?...)

Frank H.

RE: I finally found a decent "contacts aspect" upgrade, C-Organizer

I downloaded and installed the trial C-Organizer and gave it a look. I have not been able to get very deep into the program, but what I have seen doesn't look too bad. It isn't Sidekick (I doubt anyone will every make a PIM as useful), but it does have some good points and it looks to be for me the most likely replacement of SK.

Why don't we all start listing what we would like to see in C-Organizer and then shoot an email over to them and see what happens? We have a fairly large user base here looking for a PIM, so I believe that they would pay some attention.

RE: I finally found a decent "contacts aspect" upgrade, C-Organizer

Hi Zoltan627, thanks for your feedback and info there!  My experience sending feedback and suggestions to the developer of C-Organizer has been favorable, he replied within a day each time and took the suggestions seriously, I made reference to "trying to find an upgrade path from the fantastic but long abandoned Sidekick 98" in my dialog with him, so he's familiar with our plight (probably heard it before LOL).

Not being able to drag and drop more than one contact at a time was a "bad piece of news" for me, he replied he'd fix that on the next program update along with several other wishes I had including being able to re-order group tab names by your choice of sequence rather than rotely alphabetical.

I've been tempted to post more often with the trails and tribulations of trying to make Time & Chaos 6 work etc etc, but I never felt I had much of a big helpful suggestion to make other than "isn't looking for an upgrade frustrating".

I DID find one other program that actually looks VERY promising to me, except for one super major proglem the program is fantastic, and that is the "Do-Organizer" program from Gemx.  I can't find a way to make it save custom fields.

You can create custom fields, but I can't find a way to save them as a template or to clone / copy a created card, such that future contacts that need the same custom fields can "have" the custom fields without typing the field names in from scratch each time.  Other than that, Do-Organizer ROCKS.

The tree-form notes part of it and the calendar / appointment book / to-do's part of it is actually stronger and with more versions of prior history than the contact manager part of the program, but the contact manager part is amazingly great for being a fairly new add-in from the company.

I've written the company / developer at Gemx, but unfortunately it's been a week and no reply at all, I wrote again from a different address in case it was an e-mail bug and still no reply, hopefully he'll get back from vacation or being out of touch and I can get resolve on the fields name thing, if so I'm DONE, that's my program, I do actually like "most things about it" more than C-Organizer though C-Organizer does have a better free-form blank sheet of paper format for contacts.

Groups in folders in a tree for contacts with list view or "card view" with Do-Organizer and the stronger notes & calender make it look like a better option for me.

They give a 60 day trial, and truly the notes part and calendar part are robust and very very very good, thus, they get a lot for the program, it's $150, "steep", but I'd pay it in a heartbeat to quit wasting hours looking for an upgrade to Sidekick.

The C-Organizer guy said he was NOW working on his next version upgrade to C-Organizer, if the few needed tweeks get done, that's a great alternative at a cheaper price, $39.99.  I tell ya that Do-Organizer is a very deep very slick program though, even much nicer than the screenshots can show once you play with it a bit, and very extensive help and tutorials available, no forum though.

Kind of an odd Scandinavian clip-art style to the website, but the program itself is gorgeous and it's evident the programer is a very smart cookie.  The contact manager part is clearly not as mature as other components of the program, but still it is very very good:


To the search being over one day LOL, while using and loving Sidekick, waiting for the next big operating system roadblock (64 bit, yippie, while driving a Model-T...)

Frank H.

RE: I finally found a decent "contacts aspect" upgrade, C-Organizer

I just dropped in to thank Frank10 for his suggestion of C-Organizer as a possible SK replacement, and found the new thread.

I would like to add that my initial impression of this company was favourable.
They responded to my comments in a quick and positive way.  I was asking primarily if they intended to add vCal and vCard support to the import/export routines, which they said they intended to do.

I think it is a very nice, simple interface, and the freeform database structure is the most similar to SideKick I've seen.
I also like that it will run from a USB memory stick.

It seems the stumbling block for others is that SK98 was so much more than just a PIM to many users.
Possibly the only solution to that is to recreate Sidekick, but I would certainly recommend C-Organiser as a PIM.

CSoftLab do make an 'add-in' for the C-Organizer (Advanced Diary).  If there was a market, perhaps some of the other lost functionality from SK98 could be added to C-Organizer on this basis? (i.e. the core market could just buy a PIM, with others adding what they need or are willing to purchase).

RE: I finally found a decent "contacts aspect" upgrade, C-Organizer

Dear All,
I have downloaded the program and am messing around with it,
You CAN Save a set of fields as a template and then add all those fields to a Card at any time, & if fields keep disappearing just untick the 'delete empty fields box.'
I have also messed with the reports and they work very much like the memos in Sidekick98.
You can have TABLES in the Reports/Memos too, With the value of fields in cells of the table, wow! I am getting excited.
The idea of having hyperlinks is another great thing in the program and you can save a picture in a card as in Palm desktop.(I hope they are just links as the database would get very big very quickly if they were embedded).
I am going to try again to import an 11,000 card cardfile into this program as it seemed to get messed up first time around.
Will let you know how I get on...
I agree with Frank10, C-Organizer does seem to ROCK.
Before anyone accuses me of having sold out, I must point out that I haven't been offered any financial inducements,
And I am still using Sidekick every day in a very big way.

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!

RE: I finally found a decent "contacts aspect" upgrade, C-Organizer

Hi MEdgar and James33, thanks for your notes and thoughts.

James I admit that I ramble and weave from thought to thought LOL, the program that won't save templates or field names that you have customized was the "Do-Organizer" program by Gemx (referred to in my post above, those comments being within a post mostly referring to C-Organizer).

You're right about C-Organizer being "good" with saving customized fields, you can save exactly what you have customized AS a template - you then can go in and choose which of your templates is the default, then adding new contacts you simply HAVE your customized stuff, yippee!

That's the one total deal-breaker I had with Do-Organizer which though everything else about the program looked great, who wants to one at a time add custom fields to each new contact, that's crazy.

I wrote the Gemx / Do-Organizer guys AGAIN with a very short note to see if they'd gotten my other questions etc, still no reply in over a week, writing from multiple addresses to try and make sure I wasn't going to a trash folder etc.

C-Organizer, I wrote the guy last night with a template question, he wrote back immediately with an answer, just like every other time I've written him.  I had tried chosing a different template on an existing card and it seemed to wipe out the cards info, he responded with a clarification that avoided that.

He seems very honest in what he WILL take on in the next update (underway right now) and what he WON'T take on in the next update, I respect that.  The program is very simple and straightforward (great Sidekick attributes), and he's probably wise to not take every single piece of advice and have it turn into a bloated ACT! or Maximizer or MS Outlook type program.

After again loading and diddling with 5 or 6 PIM options in my ongoing struggle to move on from Sidekick, I also am leaning towards C-Organizer more and more, especially with the lack of response from the Gemx people and that is an expensive program also.  I'd pay a rediculous amount of money (if I had it LOL) to have a modern, supported, "future looks good" version of Sidekick, so far C-Organizer comes closest (though it by no means is a look and feel clone).

C-Organizer has good report printing facilities but doesn't have Avery label printing templates, the work-around for that is to export a file and import with MS Word which has good label printing facilities.

Having a Palm and Pocket PC conduit available and being "alive" to deal with operating system upgrades for the future, able to run on a USB drive, being simple so I can recommend it to others I work with without burying them in a learning curve, good import and export, so far it looks like the best compromise.

Time & Chaos looked "terrific" in features going through their website, actually using the program was a very different experience, I was surprised it had good reviews on CNET.  I wrote them and heard nothing back in two weeks by the way.

Re: a notes and note organizing program, Sidekick had a very good facility for that, not as great as KeyNote (now abandoned also) and other tree / note organizing programs, I tried (and then bought) TreeDBNotes Pro for my notes needs and I like it VERY much.  You can run tabs at the bottom like Sidekick which each tab has it's own full tree of folders to the left, notes to the right, you could write 20 books with this thing, exports e-books, very configurable with visual themes etc, very very nice notes / organization program, I'll be moving to that from Sidekick for that part of things.

TreeDBNotes Pro lets you get rid of most of the toolbars and icons and status bars etc. for a very stripped down "open deskspace" feel like Sidekick, seems very much worth the $28 for the paid version (free version doesn't have multiple tabs / multiple trees of notes). http://www.mytreedb.com/index.php

Thanks for the feedback and good luck to us all!

Frank H.

RE: I finally found a decent "contacts aspect" upgrade, C-Organizer

Another good notes filer I've come across is Jot+ Notes

In fact, my first reaction to C-Organizer was that it combines the best of Cute Organizer and Jot+ Notes, (plus a lot more).

TreeDBNotes seems to fill that role too.
I can't remember whether Jot+ Notes has the multiple tabs, though.

At the moment, I'm still very taken with C-Organizer in terms of function, support, look & feel, and ability to readily exchange data with SK98.

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