This $150 contact database maximizes your limited time

Score  B+

Maximizer 5.0
Multiactive Software Inc.,
Vancouver, Wash.; tel: 800-804-6299
Price: $150

Pros and cons:
+        Good interrelation of contacts
–        Steep learning curve

Real-life requirements:
Win95 or NT running on a 75-MHz Pentium, 35M free on hard drive

Even if your desk is the Bermuda Triangle of paper, Maximizer 5.0 can make sure you
never lose an important contact.

The Multiactive Software Inc. package is a powerhouse among contact managers. It has
tools for managing your time, doing Internet research and tracking names, addresses and
phone numbers.

Maximizer 5.0 is perfect for managers of people and projects. The documentation’s
focus on small business at first made me think Maximizer would have little value for feds.

But after installing it, I was impressed by how much it could do for any Rolodex user.

Most contact managers are merely glorified databases of names and phone numbers.
Maximizer is different. Its interface is like that of other contact managers, but it
tracks not just people’s names and addresses but also how they relate to one another.

When you enter a new name into the contact database, you can flag other entries,
instructing Maximizer to show the whole group whenever one member is requested.

A separate screen reminds you which interagency task force or workgroup they all belong

Maximizer will track who is in charge of projects and who are peers. It saves phone
time because you won’t need to call people who work together about the same topic.

And it will keep you from, say, making disparaging comments about someone’s
co-chairman on an interagency committee.

Such details are missing from other contact managers and difficult to remember as your
contact database grows larger. Maximizer’s automatic tracking ensures you won’t
end up with egg on your face.

Although relational tracking is by far the most useful feature, there are other
management tools. Maximizer can draw a road map between the offices of two people in the
database and display it through a Web browser when you are connected to the Internet.

If you enter yourself as a contact, you can draw a map between your agency and the
office of someone you want to visit.

Research about a person or organization inside the contact database is equally easy.
You click on the contact you want more information about, and Maximizer does an Internet
search using the search engines you specify.

Maximizer integrates itself into e-mail applications such as Microsoft Exchange or
Outlook and Eudora Pro from Qualcomm Inc. of San Diego. By dragging and dropping e-mail
messages into Maximizer, I instantly entered new contacts into the database each time a
new person sent me e-mail.

The package has an appointment calendar for planning and finding open times to schedule
meetings. An online pegboard lets networked users sign in and out, eliminating the walk to
the office’s dry-erase board.

Feds won’t be interested in some features, such as online order tracking. But the
extras don’t bog down the main function of contact organization.

The one bad thing about so many good features is that you have to learn them. You might
encounter 25 or more buttons on the program’s task bar, depending on what word
processors and other programs Maximizer detects on your PC.

Maximizer has a series of good, though noninteractive, tutorials that teach each
program’s function. Even so, it takes longer to learn than veteran database users
will expect.

If you want only a contact list, Maximizer is like renting an armored truck to take
your lemonade stand profits to the bank. If you thrive on always knowing who’s who
and how they relate, I doubt you can find a better tool at any price.  

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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