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== Review: amiCheck 1.35 By: Jason Compton ==
It's always nice to know where your money is going and where it's at, and
how much you'll have left if you send some somewhere else. There have
been paper-and-pencil ways to keep track of this since people started
worrying about things like money, but those are no fun. You have to do
all the work yourself.
So, as usually happens with these things, the call goes out for "simple,
easy-to-use, yet powerful" software that takes care of the problem and
balances your checkbook and/or business accounts.
According to Douglas Dyer, his desire for just such a program is what made
him write amiCheck. And as far as I can tell, he knew what he was doing.
The main job of amiCheck is to keep track of where money is going and how
it came in and out of your life. The main action takes place on a
Workbench window, with 8 checkbook-style line entries and a host of
options below. From left to right across the bottom are your running
balances (both current and statement), data entry options
(depositing/withdrawing, reconciling the statement and editing templates,
to be discussed later), editing existing entries, and reporting on your
current budget situation, balance, and net worth.
Check entries, the bread and butter of the program, are straightforward.
The check number, date, and amount, along with the name of the payee or
payer go in input boxes, and multiple memos are allowed. Furthermore, you
can classify the check in one of any number of configurable categories:
salary, mortgage, rent, food, computer equipment, phone calls, cat
litter...anything you see fit to track. You can also flag the check tax
deductible, voided, or printed.
When it comes time to track where your money is going, the program filters
use your categories, along with your choice of qualifiers, to calculate
exactly what has been spent where. Quickly. Alternately, you can
graphically examine your transactions, either on a whole or as determined
by your filters. Again, done quickly. In fact, amiCheck's strongest suit
is its ability to track transactions in a variety of forms, all
efficiently and logically.
The templates allow you to preprogram types of transactions you'll
encounter frequently-a fixed salary or mortgage, for example, or perhaps a
donation to the Fund for Starving Programmers.
amiCheck is, according to Dyer, bug-free as of now. I have noticed
cosmetic errors appear in text gadgets: occasionally, words that amiCheck
creates in boxes will have a few extra characters attached, or a short
word replacing a long word will not blank out all of the end of the long
word. (i.e. if "Check" replaces "Investments", occasionally you get
"Check s") But amiCheck runs solidly on OS 2.04 and above, and the
cosmetic errors aren't too much to worry about.
amiCheck is based on GUIFront, a compact system reminiscent of MUI,
distributed with the archive. The up side is that the GUI is slick,
compact, and fast. The downside is that some people just don't like
prearranged GUIs. I, personally, am happy to find a well organized
interface, and in this Dyer has succeeded.
amiCheck and GUIFront both come in 68000 and 020 versions. The
documentation is available in AmigaGuide and PostScript format, and is
helpful in the more complicated areas. Example accounts are included,
and 15 minutes spent with one will make all of amiCheck's power clear and
The future promises enhanced check printing, and an upgrade to 2.0 is free
for all registered 1.35 users.
For US$25.00, Dyer has created an easy-to-use system of managing your
money. If and when Amiga Report ever has to worry about money as a
business, I will trust the money management to amiCheck.
Located on Aminet in biz/misc.
Douglas M. Dyer
5124 Observation Way
Alexandria, VA 22312
US$25.00 + $3 shipping if outside the US
703-941-8133 (amiCheck info line, not an order line)