Scheduling for the active family

January 25, 1999|By JOHN M. MORAN | JOHN M. MORAN,THE HARTFORD COURANT

No doubt about it, running a family is an information-intensive job.

There are meals to plan, schedules to run, gifts to buy, doctors to visit, and grocery shopping to tackle - to name a few.

FamilyTime, a new organizer program from Westport, Conn.-based TimeSoft (Windows 95/98, $9.95), aims to help families keep track of all those activities quickly and easily.

Using the software, each member of the family can create his or her own ``profile.'' Those profiles let individuals maintain separate calendars and other lists of helpful data, such as gifts to give, appointments to make, or clothing to buy.

But FamilyTime's real strength comes in the area of menu and shopping management. A meal schedule section lets users plan breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for days in advance.

Pressed for time? FamilyTime will recommend a menu of foods you might like. Included with the program are 350 recipes from Food & Wine Magazine.

FamilyTime continues with a built-in shopping list maker and an organizer for coupons and other shopping discounts. The list of available coupons and discounts can be updated over the Internet so that it stays current.

Draw from these offers and from your menu to easily create a shopping list that you can print out and bring to the supermarket.

Those are handy features, but FamilyTime falls down in other areas.

For one thing, its profile section offers a rather basic note-taking section for recording such items as clothing sizes, gift records and medical visits.

Hardly the tool for tracking the gift-giving, and dentist and doctor visits experienced in the typical household.

Similarly, the program's calendar/scheduler function is barely adequate for tracking the activities of today's busy families.

Perhaps they should have called this program MealTime and left it at that. For information, surf to www.familytime.net.

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