Its not often Bill Gates applauds an application that users say works better than one of his companys programs.
But last month, the chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft gave the nod to DateLens, a scalable calendar user interface that runs on devices including the Pocket PC, Tablet PC and Windows desktops.
Created by Benjamin Bederson, director of the Human Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Maryland, DateLens (formerly called FishCal) uses the same source code to execute on a variety of platforms.
Bederson ported DateLens, which is written in C#, from a desktop to a Pocket PC using .Net Compact Framework.
.Net Compact Framework is still in beta and can be downloaded at msdn.microsoft .com/vstudio/device/sdebeta. asp.
Microsoft provides access to its source code to academic institutions through its Shared Source Initiative.
I have often cursed PDA calendars and text-entry searching—particularly when Im in a hurry. DateLens fixes this by employing a fish-eye representation of dates coupled with compact overviews and search capabilities.
Users can also find what days their appointments fall on by tapping the appointment entry to automatically populate the search field.
The DateLens calendar interface is not yet available for download. Additional information can be found at www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/datelens.