All advanced software programs walk a fine line.
They must offer all the features any power user might want. Yet they need to be simple and easy to use.
Maintaining that difficult balance is precisely the challenge facing GoldMine 4.0, the latest version of the popular contact management and scheduling program.
GoldMine is software for people who take their appointments, projects, address books, e-mail and phone calls seriously - people such as doctors, lawyers, sales representatives, managers and secretaries.
At the heart of the software are three interrelated functions: the contact manager, the calendar and the "to-do list."
The contact manager is a powerful and sophisticated tool for helping users keep track of everyone with whom they do business. Besides tracking such details as name, address, phone number and title, the database lets users record notes on every interaction they have with their contacts - whether by phone, fax, e-mail or appointment.
Similarly, the calendar database goes well beyond giving users a place to type their daily schedule. It works with the interactive "to-do list" to help users create and execute detailed project management plans.
The program works great for single users, but a five-user version is available at a street price of $695 for small businesses that want to use it for work group management.
The biggest difficulty with GoldMine is getting started. Whether you're starting from scratch or moving from some other contact/scheduling software, inputting all this data - and learning to take advantage of all its features - can be a major barrier.
Although GoldMine does allow for data to be imported from other programs, it's a somewhat clunky process that requires a decent amount of computer know-how. A major improvement would be to create systems for easily dragging in data from such programs as Microsoft's Schedule Plus or Outlook.
Regardless of how you get started, though, if you take your schedule and contacts seriously, GoldMine deserves a serious look.
Subject: Contact and schedule management
Format: Windows 95
Manufacturer: GoldMine Software Corp.
Price: $199 street price for single-user version ($100 rebate for owners of certain competing products)
Web site: $www.goldminesw.com
Pub Date: 5/04/98