I think I might be stuck on this USB drive for a while as I keep finding new software for it. While browsing around I was looking for a sophisticated calendar/contacts/to-do program that was free and would run directly off the USB drive. I found, quite possibly, the perfect solution. It’s called EssentialPIM! If you have time, go and check it out. It can be installed on your PC or run directly from your USB flash drive. This program has so so so many cool features and I feel a review from me will give it very little justice, but I’ll try. When you launch the program, you are given the option to import contacts and calendar files from Outlook. I am not an Outlook user, but was able to export data from Mozilla Thunderbird and then import it using EssentialPIM’s import tool. It opened the .csv file and asked you to match up, on the first contact, the data to EssentialPIM‘s info fields. Easy.
After launching the program, the start page is the “Today” view. On the left is a fixed menu to switch between areas of information, including Schedule, To-Do, Notes, and Contacts. The main view, in the middle, shows you today’s and tomorrow’s schedule, where you can jump to detailed descriptions by clicking on a task, via a link. On the right, in the main view, lists your To-Dos and Birthdays, of all things. I’d prefer something like “Holidays” or “Upcoming Important Dates” that you can flag in the calendar. As you can see, I am not very busy today and tomorrow.
Selecting Schedule offers a calendar like view in either Day, Week, Month or Year views. I have always been a “Month” type of viewer as I like to see weeks at a glance and a little bit into the future, but not too much. The year view, though, is just so cool and could probably be used for long-term planning or for planning projects that require large portions of time to complete. Adding events is super easy as well. Click on a date in any Schedule view and add an event/task. By clicking and dragging, in day view, you can select a span of time to add an event. I think this is an awesome feature. Here is the Schedule in “Month” view:
The Contacts section of the program is amazing. You can enter in all of the vitals, including name, address, email, phone numbers, birthday, and notes. Also, in contacts, you can have unlimited custom fields. This is super handy since the program only allows for one email addy for each contact. My default view is first name, last name, and email address. All contacts’ email addresses appear as links and use the mailto: link to open the default email program. Another cool feature is that you can add pictures of your contacts to their profile. Seen below is my contacts page with a picture showing for the selected contact. In this case, my girlfriend. 😉
Having this kind of data on a USB drive is a security risk. Loss of the drive could make myself or any of my contacts vulnerable to weirdos. I looked for a way to password protect the directory but couldn’t find anything logical and easy to use. It appears a 3rd party program is not needed since EssentialPIM has a built in password protect feature. When the program launches, the main window pops up, no data is displayed, and the user is prompted for a password. Genious.
I hope I covered enough about this program to at least make you click through to the creator’s site. It’s free and oh so cool. There were a few things I didn’t cover including Notes, which seems to be an integral part of the program but I have yet to find a use for, so you may want to check out other screenshots of the program. The developer does issue new releases every month, and takes requests for program features in his forum. If none of this is a selling point, the installer is only 1MB and after you install it and add contacts, you are only looking at about 2MBs of used disk space. Insane…. EssentialPIM