Reviewed by Alan Goldsbro


Issue 25

Jan/Feb 87

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Royal Software


Helpmate is one of the breed of desktop accessories now available for the ST range, comprising of three different programs which can be used separately within any Gem program.

Calculator, Calendar and Phone pad make up Helpmate and are accessed through the desktop after booting up. The three files can be split up and copied onto your appropriate boot disks.

Calculator: This is similar to a standard four function pocket sized calculator available almost anywhere. All the standard keys are there plus 'Memory' and a 'Copy Key'. Screen keys are activated by using the key pad on the ST or by pointing and clicking the mouse and are displayed immediately on pressing. The only exception to using this method is the 'Copy Key' which can only be accessed using the mouse.

The screen keys actually flash when you press the corresponding keys on the ST. The function of the Copy Key is to copy the value of the calculators display on to a file on disk. This file has a pre-set name [Scrap.TXT] which can be called up by a Gem based Word Processor such as 1st word. The file will constantly overwrite itself so multiple dumps to file will result in the last file copied being the only one available for patching into your document.

Calendar: To get the best use of this section the computer needs to know the correct date and time. Using the control panel resident on the Gem Desktop, you must type in the correct date and time although those of you who use a clock card can by-pass this operation. The 9000 year calendar, like the calculator, is selected from the Desk Drop down menu and is displayed on the screen. Provided the date was correctly set prior to this selection the display will show you the correct month and from this you can either display the previous month or the following month and continue to scroll through the months at will.

Select a date by clicking the mouse on your choice and the 'alarm' feature is activated. Based on the 24 hour clock you type in the time of your appointment or reminder and a brief message of up to sixteen characters. Click on the OK panel and it is stored in memory. A maximum of six appointments are allowed per day. At the given appointment time, a 'peep' is heard from the speaker and a box is displayed on the screen with your appointment message. If you require it, a list of appointments can be dumped to printer although every time I tried this the time was always 12:34 even though the screen display showed the correct time and the alarm 'peeped' at the stated screen time.

Phone Pad: Not much use in this county as we have a different telephone system from Old Ma Bell in America. The main functions of this file is to list up to 100 names and telephone numbers and, provided you have a Hayes compatible modem and the American system of pulse/tone dialing then, it will automatically call-up your selected number. At a pinch you could use the phone pad as a mini data base to record phone numbers etc, but unless all your contacts have three figure area code, you won't get much use out of it.

All the accessories can be moved around the screen or overlayed on any other GEM application. The manual is eight pages long, well written and informative. Overall I found the program fairly useful, well two parts anyway, although priced at 24.95 I feel its a little costly for what you get. If it had a note pad instead of the phone pad then it may appeal to a wider audience.