Mitch Kapor’s ON Technology gave up its grandiose idea of totally altering the look and feel of personal computing and instead came out with ON Location, a program that indexes hard disks for easy searching and retrieval of files. Although this is a useful ability, ON’s new product is a programs that most everyone would have killed for at some point or another. Meeting Maker is a network application that simplifies the tedious and usually contentious process of scheduling a meeting. Meeting Maker keeps track of room schedules and everyone’s personal schedule. You can have the program pick the first possible time for a list of required attendees, or you can send out invitations over the network (they show up as pop-up notices that can either be accepted or turned down). Once people start responding to your proposal, Meeting Maker will mark the meeting as fully confirmed, partially confirmed, or cancelled.
Since people might not use Meeting Maker if they had to keep the rest of their schedules separately, the program also includes a number of personal scheduling features, such as alarms, a To Do list, and the ability to print schedules in several appointment book formats. One of the most useful features for those busy executive types is the Proxy feature. Proxy allows someone else to manage your schedule (over the network, not at your computer). Just think of the havoc potentially caused by abuse of the Proxy feature – I’d schedule everyone for a midnight meeting on April 1st.
Meeting Maker isn’t a complicated idea, but it is a tough programming job because of all of the variables in different schedules at different times in different rooms. I remember a long meeting in college to decide when I and my five co-workers could schedule a weekly meeting, a task complicated by trying to coordinate our college class schedules. We tried all the possibilities and finally settled on alternate weeks at different times. If I still went to meetings, I’d insist on Meeting Maker. It’s pricey at $495 for five users and $895 for ten users (I presume you can add more than that, though nothing says what the limits are.), but it sounds like an excellent way to shorten meetings about when to meet (the ultimate in recursive uselessness). It works on AppleTalk networks and does not require a dedicated server, though check the requirements if you plan to run it with other programs on the same Mac.
ON Technology — 617/876-0900
ON Technology propaganda
MacWEEK — 08-Jan-91, Vol. 5, #1, pg. 5
InfoWorld — 07-Jan-91, Vol. 13, #1, pg. 30
PC WEEK — 07-Jan-91, Vol. 8, #1, pg. 41