Swiss Army Knife On Your Palm
In the October 2001 issue of the HAL-PC
I wrote about HandyShopper 2.
In that article, I mentioned that this free software was not only a great
program for shopping lists, but also is effective for project management.
While this already sounds pretty good for a free program, the Readme file
that comes with HandyShopper lists 20 other uses for the program, which have
submitted by other users. Here is a sampling of databases you can construct
- Gift Ideas: My preferred approach to gift shopping
for birthdays, Christmas and other events is to be blunt and direct – I go to the person and ask, “What
do you want?” That way I know that my gift is something that
they actually do want.
However, some people are put off by such directness, and I’ve started
using HandyShopper to keep a list of gift ideas. Instead of Stores, I enter
the names of people I’ll be buying gifts for. I use the Price field to
record the cost of the item, so I’ll have an idea of what I’m planning
to spend on that person – or for everyone on my list.
When I hear a person mention something they’re interested in, I make
a note in HandyShopper under that person’s name.
- Travel Preparation: I always forget something when I travel, and it
finally occurred to me to use HandyShopper to make a list of things
to pack. I
set up two Stores: “Pack” and “Prepare.” I use the Prepare
list to remind me of things to do before I leave – stop the newspaper,
hold the mail, make a reservation to board the dog, set VCR, etc. All of these
items are on the All list, and I check off the items that should go on the
Need list. For example, if I’m traveling for business and my wife will
still be home, I don’t need to do things like stop the newspaper
On the Pack list, the All view shows everything I might ever want
to pack. Before the trip, I will check off the things that I actually
need to pack
for this trip. Then as I pack each item, I check it off.
- Movies to see or rent: I often don’t get around to seeing all the movies
I’m interested in while they’re in the theaters, and I want to
make sure I remember to look for them once they’re out on
video. Even if I did see the movie in the theater, sometimes I
want to buy
In this database, I just have one Store set up, called “Movies.” I
use the category to specify how I want it: Buy DVD, Rent, or Theater. Now when
I get to the video store or rental store, I can quickly scan the list and recall
what I’m most interested in.
- Home Improvement Projects: A suggestion in the Readme file mentions
that you can track plans and progress for home improvement projects.
of the year
can be entered as stores (enter them in the format of “01 Jan” so
that they’ll sort in calendar order), and categories can be “Indoor” and “Outdoor.” If
you include a store named “99 Someday,” you can use it to enter
projects that you’re not ready to schedule for a specific month. When
you decide which month the project should go in, it’s easy
to move to that month.
- Remodeling a House: An alternate approach suggests that the Stores
list have the names of contractors, or specify that you’ll
do the work yourself, or names of stores for required purchases.
everything preplanned and prepurchased,
there will be no last-minute trips to the store.
- Recipe Database: Use the Stores list to create one level
of categories, such as meat, pasta, vegetarian, dessert, etc. Use the actual
Category field for
a second sort, which could be something like Low-fat and Low-cal,
or Spicy, Mild, Super-Spicy, or whatever might be important to
you. Enter the recipe
name in the description field, and the instructions in the Note
- Wine List: Use the Stores to specify Red, White, Sparkling, etc.
The category field can specify information like Chardonnay, Shiraz,
etc. Use the Priority
field to record your rating for the wine, and the Note field
for any additional comments.
This is just a sampling of the ideas that have been submitted
for HandyShopper, but it should give you an idea of the
power and flexibility
of the program.
It could easily become the most-used program on your
Support is provided in the HandyShopper Yahoo group,
at groups.yahoo.com/group/ handyshopper. This group has
additional databases that you
HandyShopper is free, but the program author asks that
you send him a postcard if you like the software.
Download from www.palmgear.com
© 2003 by Charles M. Olsen