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Author Topic: Looking for a Decent Contacts Manager  (Read 9684 times)
J-Mac
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« on: June 14, 2010, 03:15:42 PM »

Anyone like to recommend a contact manager for personal use?

First of all, I am not using Outlook so please don’t bother recommending it. Gmail's contacts are terrible IMO. Google insists on adding any address I Send mail to, plus they require me to add any contacts that keep getting sent to spam, so it is always cluttered up with crap I don’t really wish to keep as contacts. Postbox, which I am currently using for email, has a really lousy address book. Can't add much in the way of details, minimal sorting/filtering, and if a contact has only address or phone number but no email address it cannot be added. I have a free Highrise account but that is actually very limited also. Wouldn’t help if I paid either - the interface/layout is just not that good IMO.

I have looked at a few stand-alone programs: Efficient Address Book and Contact Wolf. Anyone familiar with either? Or any others you know of that are good specifically for managing personal contacts? What I want to do is fairly simple:


  • Add contacts with ability to add details, like spouse, children, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
  • Able to add notes and if possible, links to associated files.
  • Ability to slice and dice the data in many ways.
  • This one I have had difficulty finding: Ability to print the address book without having to print them as a series of separate cards.



Thanks for any ideas.

Jim
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steeladept
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2010, 03:27:16 PM »

Never heard of either of them, sorry.  I have heard good things of PIM though.  I never used that either, but I did look at it when I was looking for a good electronic organizer.  I don't recall the exact issues I had that prevented me from using it - probably something to do with integration with whatever PDA I was using at the time.

Another thought is Thunderbird.  It is primarily an Email app, like Outlook et. al., but perhaps it will fit the bill?  Never used it either, BTW.  Outlook has always fit the bill better than the alternatives for me.

*EDIT* I guess the reason I couldn't find it was I was forgetting the full name.  PIM was referring to EssentialPIM and the link points to a comparison between the free version and the paid version for those interested in seeing what it offers.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2010, 03:30:03 PM by steeladept » Logged
steeladept
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2010, 03:32:40 PM »

Just rereading about EPIM and an added bonus is it will work with your existing GMail account information (as well as Palm, Windows Mobile, and Outlook).
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J-Mac
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2010, 03:38:54 PM »

Just rereading about EPIM and an added bonus is it will work with your existing GMail account information (as well as Palm, Windows Mobile, and Outlook).

Are you still talking about Essential PIM? Oddly enough the Efficient Address Book developer also has Efficient PIM, Pro and Free versions. That would be easy to get the two mixed up! I have seen people mention one or the other of those PIM programs but I couldn't say whether it was Efficient PIM or Essential PIM now. Too close for comfort - looks like one might be named to mimic the other. Just don’t know which, though.

Regarding T-bird, I won't install that while I am using Postbox. Postbox is developed by the guy who initially developed T-Bird for Mozilla and I would think the Address Books are about the same. Equally BAD!

Thanks!

Jim
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superboyac
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2010, 04:32:26 PM »

Ah!  one of my favorite subjects.  I actually joined this forum initially because I was looking for addressbook software.  Unfortunately, addressbook software are considered outdated today because everyone just uses whatever is on their email program, and more accurately, whatever they use for their cell phones.  Most people are fine with just having their contacts on their phones.

here are the threads that talk about this.  Even though these are old threads, the software mentioned hasn't changed.  My favorite that I still use is Handy Addressbook.  It's the best of the bunch.
http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=1898.0
http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=1155.0
Addressbook Shootout

Despite what those threads say, I am currently using Handy Addressbook as my contacts manager.
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JavaJones
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2010, 04:50:20 PM »

As it happens, one of the 2011 NANY pledges is a new address book/contacts app. So here's your chance to contribute some ideas and maybe get the contacts management app *you* want. smiley
http://www.donationcoder....m/index.php?topic=22723.0

- Oshyan
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J-Mac
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2010, 09:09:19 PM »

Ah!  one of my favorite subjects.  I actually joined this forum initially because I was looking for addressbook software.  Unfortunately, addressbook software are considered outdated today because everyone just uses whatever is on their email program, and more accurately, whatever they use for their cell phones.  Most people are fine with just having their contacts on their phones.

here are the threads that talk about this.  Even though these are old threads, the software mentioned hasn't changed.  My favorite that I still use is Handy Addressbook.  It's the best of the bunch.
http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=1898.0
http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=1155.0
Addressbook Shootout

Despite what those threads say, I am currently using Handy Addressbook as my contacts manager.

Thanks SB. I did look at those and am checking out some of those apps, but since the threads are two years old I thought I would get some up-to-date info.

Thanks again!

Jim
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J-Mac
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2010, 09:12:10 PM »

As it happens, one of the 2011 NANY pledges is a new address book/contacts app. So here's your chance to contribute some ideas and maybe get the contacts management app *you* want. smiley
http://www.donationcoder....m/index.php?topic=22723.0

- Oshyan

Yeah but I can't afford to wait till the 2011 NANY apps are ready. I kinda need something now. There was a contacts app in last year's NANY too. Unfortunately development seems to have stopped in the early stages.

Thanks!

Jim
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superboyac
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2010, 11:15:39 PM »

Ah!  one of my favorite subjects.  I actually joined this forum initially because I was looking for addressbook software.  Unfortunately, addressbook software are considered outdated today because everyone just uses whatever is on their email program, and more accurately, whatever they use for their cell phones.  Most people are fine with just having their contacts on their phones.

here are the threads that talk about this.  Even though these are old threads, the software mentioned hasn't changed.  My favorite that I still use is Handy Addressbook.  It's the best of the bunch.
http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=1898.0
http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=1155.0
Addressbook Shootout

Despite what those threads say, I am currently using Handy Addressbook as my contacts manager.

Thanks SB. I did look at those and am checking out some of those apps, but since the threads are two years old I thought I would get some up-to-date info.

Thanks again!

Jim
That's what I'm saying.  i kind of keep my eye out for this kind of software.  There's nothing new that has come out in the last 5 years.  Nobody really cares about this software.  Try out Handy Addressbook.  If it's not good enough, let me know what is missing, and I'll see if there's anything else that I know about.

The other one to try is Infoqube.  it could be set up to probably do everything you are looking for.  but you will need to learn how it works.
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« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2010, 12:52:11 AM »

Jim,
Do give WinOrganizer a try, if you haven't already. I've found it to be the best PIM for my needs and it has an excellent contacts module integrated - you can attach files and alarms to contacts.

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« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2010, 05:08:03 AM »

J-Mac,

I have searched and searched for address book/contact management software that will allow you add details such as spouse, children, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. as you mentioned in your original post. I also wanted one that will provide some flexible printing options as I like to have a printed copy of my address book. One program that I found that seemed to work well, in fact for me, it worked better than anything else that I tried, was the program StatTrak Address Manager. They have a home version and a business version, but no free version. Like I said, this one worked well for me, but it may not be what you are after. It is work a look, however.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2010, 11:28:22 PM »

I want to thank everyone for the suggestions. They turned up a number of really nice-looking apps that I hadn't found previously.

It looks like it is down to Start Trak Address Manager or Handy Address Book. WinOrganizer looks pretty nice but as it's a full PIM it is a lot more than I need, and priced accordingly. Custom Addres Book looks pretty decent also, though its UI looks like it stepped right out of the first Windows release. Probably would work just fine but the other two I mentioned above have similar features and better UIs.

SB, you say that you are using Handy Address Book? How are the printing options? They don’t mention much on their web site about printing. Start-Trak shows a heck of a lot of printing options and the overall features look to be as good as if not more extensive than Handy. mwfuss, you say you did use it; any reason you are no longer using it?

Thanks!

Jim
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mwfuss
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« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2010, 05:10:24 AM »

Jim,

I still have the trial version installed on my computer; I just have not gotten around to purchasing it yet. I do plan to do so and I will make use of it as I found it fits my needs quite nicely.

Mark
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« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2010, 07:04:45 AM »

Kinda irrelevant now from the sounds of it, but I was still talking about Essential PIM.  I never heard of Efficient PIM.  Please keep us informed on what you go through for this (a mini-review maybe?).  I know I am ALWAYS looking for a good PIM, none really have fulfilled my needs to my full satisfaction.  I have always stuck with Outlook just because it was the only one that filled my needs, but it is so big, cumbersome, and most of all overkill that I am always looking for something better.

I want to avoid a threadjack, but for those interested in my wants/needs in this kind of software -

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superboyac
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« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2010, 08:39:58 AM »

SB, you say that you are using Handy Address Book? How are the printing options? They don’t mention much on their web site about printing. Start-Trak shows a heck of a lot of printing options and the overall features look to be as good as if not more extensive than Handy. mwfuss, you say you did use it; any reason you are no longer using it?
I'm not sure.  I've never printed with it before.  I can try later (when i get home) and post back.  The website says this:
Quote
Printing
Print your addresses in a list or table format.  Print them in a detailed report format, or in a booklet format.  Create a compact, folded, double sided wallet or purse phone book.  You can also print mailing addresses out on envelopes and labels.  Printing is very customizable, so you can make your printouts appear just as you want.
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« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2010, 11:51:35 AM »

Thanks again folks. A few comments:

@superboyac:  Actually both seem to offer decent printing features. My main reason for wanting this is that my much better half is just starting to get comfortable with computers (despite my prodding for years now!) but she still will not jump on the box to get someone's phone number, address, etc. She prefers a good old-fashioned phone book with the numbers scribbled in it. But as our contacts list grows such books become outdated fast and trying to print add'l pages for them can be hell. I want to be able to print out a "phone book", whether it is a group of pages that can be punched and placed into a physical book or even just a nice, well organized listing. I really don’t like apps that just print one "card" per page. When you get to 300 or even 500 contacts that is a really big, heavy list/book! Both Start-Trak and Handy appear to have the ability to do what I want. I'll do a trial with both and see for sure.

@steeladept:   

Quote
1) I need my contacts when I am away from home.  At home, I can just look them up in the family phonebook (which, yes, I did port to Outlook for ease of maintenance, safekeeping, etc., etc.).  If it doesn't synch with the most popular phones and devices, it really misses the mark for me.

If the app I settle on has decent reports I can post one online and get access from any computer if needed.

Quote
2) I want something that has a huge list of fields available, but allows me to customize it to just use the fields I want/need.  Moreover, ideally I want these mapped to match those in my mobile device (probably easier and more lucrative to provide a mobile version of the app to sync to).

This used to be a prime consideration for me at one time but I no longer use smartphones. (Which is amazing since I once wrote programs for Palm, PPC, and then Symbian Series 60!). Now I just use the best regular cell phone I can get and leave my computing to computers.  Cool

Quote
2a) If a separate app is deemed the correct route to go, make sure it integrates fully and can dial/message/whatever just like the native app can so you can ignore it completely (delete it if possible).

This is what I want - a separate contacts app; no PIM necessary. I would only go with one of the Outlook-clones if the contacts module was that much better than any of the stand-alones I find.

Quote
These have always proved to be way to much for any PIM I have found in the past other than Outlook.  Even then, Outlook doesn't satisfy all these requirements (specifically the ability to remove unwanted fields), but at least it doesn't miss any information.

I never liked Outlook much for email; it always managed to be limited in areas I wanted the most. IMAP for example, was always difficult to use freely in Outlook. (I am referring to versions up to and including Office 2003's Outlook build). Contacts were always Outlook's strongest point IMO however as my PST grew in size I would experience more and more corruption sneaking in. And it felt like when I really needed to get some important piece of information that was exactly when Outlook wouldn’t open and needed to be "fixed". Drove me even crazier than I already am!)

@Mark:  Aha - so you are still on the fence? Or pretty much decided on Start-Trak? BTW, one thing I did notice is that the Personal edition is more limited than I originally realized: No custom fields, no add'l email addresses, etc. It appears that if you want most of the little extras like that you have to get the Business edition at almost 2X the price. That might just place my bet on Handy Address Book. Am I reading all that correctly?

Thanks!

Jim
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superboyac
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« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2010, 12:03:53 PM »

Ah!  Jim, I understand what you are looking for.  I'll see if Handy can do that tonight, I don't see why not...and easily at that.

I once looked into the online capabilities of Handy and also A-book.  But this was before I had a website and before cloud computing became so big.  Now, I can just put a report on my website and find all my contacts from there.  i don't need to be adding and editing contacts when I'm on the run anyway.

Also, as for dialing, I'm your expert there.  I looked heavily into that.  Handy won that battle, hands-down.  I'll tell you why.  For dialing, I wanted it to be as quick and easy as possible.  All the applications I tried had too much clicking and windows popping that I had to later close, it was all very cumbersome and annoying.  What was great about Handy is that you dial, and the little window will pop up while dials.  but then you can set it to automatically close after a few seconds, which is GREAT.  That means, you just click once to dial, and that's it.  No extra windows left over afterwards, and no multiple clicking while dialing.  it was the only one that did this.
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« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2010, 12:10:22 PM »

Jim,

Quite right on the fence sitting business! I do plan to purchase StatTrak, though and when I do, I will use it primarily to keep up with addresses and other information on church members as well as family members.

You are right on the personal versus business editions. When I do buy, it will be the business edition for the custom fields. Let me say that the one feature that really sold me on StatTrak is the ability to add individuals to a family along with personal information such as birthdays for that individual. If I remember correctly, this was one of the few relatively inexpensive programs that would allow me to do that.

Mark
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« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2010, 12:12:39 PM »

I never liked Outlook much for email; it always managed to be limited in areas I wanted the most. IMAP for example, was always difficult to use freely in Outlook. (I am referring to versions up to and including Office 2003's Outlook build). Contacts were always Outlook's strongest point IMO however as my PST grew in size I would experience more and more corruption sneaking in. And it felt like when I really needed to get some important piece of information that was exactly when Outlook wouldn’t open and needed to be "fixed". Drove me even crazier than I already am!)
Alas, here I must agree whole-heartedly.  I do use Outlook as a PIM and just forgo the email components (very heavy PIM, but effective).  I don't bother even setting up email accounts, so these issues don't affect me anymore.  I use Outlook for contact and calendar management because it offers all the functionality I want (and a lot more that I don't!), sync's with just about everything, and has not previously been bested by anything else.

Do you intend to use this request with calendaring as well?  If not, why not a simple Access contact list application?  I believe Microsoft built one eons ago as a trainer for Access that was basically a quite capable phonebook.  With this database, you could expand your fields as needed and create reports formatted any way you like.  Of course this assumes you know or are willing to learn Access....
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« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2010, 12:44:14 PM »

J-Mac - there's RGS-CardMaster, the gui is a bit special but it might do what you want but perhaps not everything you want ! I've been using it for a while.
You can print the whole address book as a spreadsheet, or all cards or a selection of cards.
You can search in many ways...
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« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2010, 12:52:14 PM »

I never liked Outlook much for email; it always managed to be limited in areas I wanted the most. IMAP for example, was always difficult to use freely in Outlook. (I am referring to versions up to and including Office 2003's Outlook build). Contacts were always Outlook's strongest point IMO however as my PST grew in size I would experience more and more corruption sneaking in. And it felt like when I really needed to get some important piece of information that was exactly when Outlook wouldn’t open and needed to be "fixed". Drove me even crazier than I already am!)
Alas, here I must agree whole-heartedly.  I do use Outlook as a PIM and just forgo the email components (very heavy PIM, but effective).  I don't bother even setting up email accounts, so these issues don't affect me anymore.  I use Outlook for contact and calendar management because it offers all the functionality I want (and a lot more that I don't!), sync's with just about everything, and has not previously been bested by anything else.

Do you intend to use this request with calendaring as well?  If not, why not a simple Access contact list application?  I believe Microsoft built one eons ago as a trainer for Access that was basically a quite capable phonebook.  With this database, you could expand your fields as needed and create reports formatted any way you like.  Of course this assumes you know or are willing to learn Access....

Ahhh, regarding Access, I gave up on it after (I think) the version that came with Office 2003. Prior to that I could get by with relatively simple databases. However once they made the VB editor pop up whenever I wanted to add something my brain starting melting! I was never quite able to wrap my head around it and feel comfortable at all. TBH, dBaseIII+ was the last DB app that I really excelled at. In dBaseIV Borland tried to force users to use the Q menu and I didn't like that at all; you could still work the back end but it tried hard to put you back out front. Access was OK till the VB attack. I stay away from it now because even with a nice, well-designed DB it can still suddenly pop me into VB and start shaking all over!

I installed the Start-Trak trial and I'm not liking it too much. I couldn't live with the personal version; too few fields. I can see having a "Business" version for linking networked computers, web access, etc. Collaborative stuff. But they shouldn’t limit personal users to ONE email address per contact! Kinda silly and IMO just making reasons to make customers purchase the business edition. Methinks this one is getting uninstalled shortly!

Thanks!

Jim

Whoops! You didn't point me toward Start-Trak, did you?! Pretty sure that was Mark - I am obviously getting confused, finger-tied, or whatever!   huh   Grin   Start-Trak comments still stand however.  smiley
« Last Edit: June 16, 2010, 12:55:10 PM by J-Mac » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2010, 12:56:41 PM »

Jim,

Quite right on the fence sitting business! I do plan to purchase StatTrak, though and when I do, I will use it primarily to keep up with addresses and other information on church members as well as family members.

You are right on the personal versus business editions. When I do buy, it will be the business edition for the custom fields. Let me say that the one feature that really sold me on StatTrak is the ability to add individuals to a family along with personal information such as birthdays for that individual. If I remember correctly, this was one of the few relatively inexpensive programs that would allow me to do that.

Mark

Mark, my Start-Trak comments are above in my reply to steeladept. Will you be getting the Business edition? Or are the limitations in the Personal one adequate for you? Just curious.

Thanks!

Jim
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« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2010, 01:06:57 PM »

Ah!  Jim, I understand what you are looking for.  I'll see if Handy can do that tonight, I don't see why not...and easily at that.

I once looked into the online capabilities of Handy and also A-book.  But this was before I had a website and before cloud computing became so big.  Now, I can just put a report on my website and find all my contacts from there.  i don't need to be adding and editing contacts when I'm on the run anyway.

Also, as for dialing, I'm your expert there.  I looked heavily into that.  Handy won that battle, hands-down.  I'll tell you why.  For dialing, I wanted it to be as quick and easy as possible.  All the applications I tried had too much clicking and windows popping that I had to later close, it was all very cumbersome and annoying.  What was great about Handy is that you dial, and the little window will pop up while dials.  but then you can set it to automatically close after a few seconds, which is GREAT.  That means, you just click once to dial, and that's it.  No extra windows left over afterwards, and no multiple clicking while dialing.  it was the only one that did this.

Hey SB - I'm not really interested in Auto-dialing or any dialing for that matter. However the printing options seem to be very light. Also, Handy has a butt-ugly UI, doesn’t it? I realize that as long as it does its job the interface shouldn’t matter...  But man oh man, this is ugly!! Actually the printing capabilities might be its saving grace for me.

The only one I have installed that I like using (and looking at!) so far is the Efficient Address Book, believe it or not. But its printing options suck so that one's out.

Thanks!

Jim
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superboyac
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« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2010, 02:42:26 PM »

Jim, there's also a little known program called Addza:
http://www.addza.com/

There's a lot of things I like about it, but I think I've stuck to Handy because of the dialing.  however, you mentioned the UI, so maybe you will like Addza.  Addza has a very pretty UI with some unique looking things going on.  It claims to have flexible printing options as well.  Check it out.

Addza's search is the best of all of them.  It's like evernote: search as you type, it highlights the matches as you type, and it filters the list down to the matches as you type.  It's great.  My favorite part of the program.  i even mentioned it in the blog thing I wrote here once:
http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=7286.0
« Last Edit: June 16, 2010, 02:44:45 PM by superboyac » Logged

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« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2010, 03:07:05 PM »

I want to avoid a threadjack, but for those interested in my wants/needs in this kind of software -

If synch with handhelds is a must, how about ListPro?
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