There are hundreds, if not thousands, of great programs that will manage your schedule, be your contact manager, and keep your address book in order. Microsoft Outlook, which ships with Microsoft Office, will work seamlessly with Office applications and
will manage all aspects of your personal and professional life. There are
also many online calendars that can organize your schedule and
address book, and make them available to you anywhere you have Internet access.
This all sounds great and I admit I do use the calendar feature of Outlook to keep my appointments, but I use Eudora for email and find the complicated contact manager of Outlook overwhelming and un-needed. The idea of a Web based Calendar or even a web based desktop is very enticing, particularly to those who have broadband access.
However I don't trust these sites enough to leave my personal data on them. I don't like the notion that a bored SysAdmin on a graveyard shift might decide to while away a few minutes looking over my schedule and address book.
All of this is why, up until recently, I kept my address files in old Windows 3.1 Cardfile. I started my Cardfile
data way back in 1992 and now have quite a lot of entries. Over the years, I have considered, and even attempted to switch to other programs, but the first obstacle has always been importing the
Cardfile files. I have never found a program that would do this well enough so that I wouldn't have to spend days editing the
entries. Every program I have tried to import .crd files to has predefined
fields, while Cardfile has no fields. The second obstacle has been that these other programs have always been too bloated, too complicated. too proprietary and just too much.
Another reason I have stayed with Cardfile is the same the reason I use Outlook as my calendar and
MS Office for my business applications. I figure that Microsoft will always be around to support them at some level. There is nothing worse then finding a great program, transferring all your data, spending a couple of years getting really good at using that program, only to have the company disappear or the program suffer functional obsolescence because the manufacturer is unable or unwilling to upgrade, or the user base has shrunk to the point where no one can share your
files. Of course, even when software is regularly upgraded it is usually full of new unheeded features, bloated code, and new bugs, glitches, and headaches.
Microsoft Office is a good example of this.
Cardfile suffers from none of these problems. It works on any version of
windows at lightning speeds. It runs completely out of it's own directory. In fact it is just two files, the executable and the help file, although it doesn't need the help
file to run. You can put it on a floppy with the .crd data files and run it from the floppy on any computer that is running any version of windows. All of this is why I have never made the switch from
plain old Cardfile ... until now.
A couple of months ago I came across a program by Antanas
Mr. Zdramys used Cardfile for all the reasons I do, but he wanted to create a simple
32bit Cardfile replacement that had the benefits of the original Cardfile with just a few modern tweaks. After two months of testing
AZZ Cardfile, I believe Mr. Zdramys has succeeded.
The interface is easy to understand and work with. There are no predefined fields, which
means you can use this program as a database for just about anything. You can import your
Windows Cardfile (crd) files perfectly.
You can customize the interface colors, the position of the toolbars, and the look of the interface. AZZ Cardfile has network support. Data files are compressed and can be encrypted
as well as password protected. AZZ Cardfile will minimize and run in the tray
out of the way of your desktop chores, but can be brought back with
one click access. It is extremely easy to work with ... just like Cardfile!
Like the original, AZZ Cardfile also dials the phone and remembers numbers for you. It will send email using a default or user defined email client. Best of all, it doesn't install any files outside of it's own directory and while it's directory isn't small enough to fit on a single floppy, it still is only 1.5 megabytes without any data files.
The download unzips to a setup program but once you have
installed and created the AZZ Cardfile directory, you can then move it to any drive or computer. There is nothing really to
install. Like all the best utilities it runs completely from it's own directory. Just make a shortcut to the AZZ Cardile.exe program and put the shortcut in your START folder or anywhere that suits you. I like to make a
shortcut to my address data file. I put that shortcut in the fast launch bar and assign it a hot key for instant access.
Windows knows to associate the AZZ exe file with the azz file extension
so the shortcut / hotkey loads AZZ Cardfile with my
address.azz file already loaded.
If you go to the AZZ Cardfile web page you will find lots of free databases that you can download. These are made available by end users and you will find everything from tips for Paint Shop Pro to Windows tips in Spanish
... even 400 Pie recipes.
AZZ is shareware that is only $12.00 U.S. to register. It is well worth doing.
I really like this program. It is well written, easy to use, fast, non intrusive
... even the price is reasonable. If you love
Cardfile then this is the upgrade you have been waiting for these long years!