Card Shark

Database applications allow people to store important information in meaningful ways and then retrieve it quickly and flexibly. SpeedDex, from Information Technology Solutions's Rolodex-style card metaphor, provides an easy, yet powerful solution for the simplest database needs.

Most databases divide each record into a set of fields. This allows for searches to be done on particular fields. SpeedDex, on the other hand, is a free-form database, meaning that each record is a single fixed field.

This has the advantage of allowing the addition of an another piece of information in a record such as a second fax number without adding a new field to the record in the database. The records can also contain completely random notes, such as a friend's flight information. The disadvantages to this are the limited flexibility of searches and the difficulty in exporting information to another database.

Users can place text, graphics, or even a file within a SpeedDex record. Text can be searched for within a record, a whole file of records, or over multiple files. Unfortunately, there is no way of selecting or searching within a subset of records.

A more serious problem resulting from the inability to select multiple records is that users must select and print each record separately impractical for all but the smallest files.

The best workaround is to export the whole database to an ASCII or RTF file and then print a selection from it. Despite the absence of on-line help, an experienced user can figure out SpeedDex quickly. The 76-page manual is complete, full of graphic examples (and more errors than one might expect), and is suitable for those with minimal computer experience.

Files can be imported from tab-delimited ASCII files, Rolonex format, and QuickDex on the Mac. Files can be exported into either ASCII or RTF format. Despite shortcomings, SpeedDex is a well-designed product that offers a convenient, easy-to-use solution for the simplest database needs at an affordable price.

by M Carling


SpeedDex

3 Cubes

A simple, free-form database that is easy to use. Its price makes it a good value for meeting the simplest database needs. Some small improvements would make this an excellent package.

$149

Information Technology Solutions, 400 W. Erie #402, Chicago, IL 60610.

312/951-7462.