MacInUse is Useful
Author: John Longshore
Date: March, 1987
Keywords: software program utility review
Text: For the first time, I am inspired to write a review of software for Known Users. After seeing a short description of a program called MacInUse ($49 from Softview, 1-800-MACVIEW) in the January MacUser, I decided it was software meant for me. I am one of those people who can never (and I mean never!) remember to keep track of the time I spend on my Mac. For the IRS, I am supposed to keep a detailed log of the business or personal applications run on the Mac, and the time spent on each, for the entire year. Despite having a log book next to the computer, I seem totally unable to remain at my desk the extra 20 seconds or so required to record each Mac session. I would also like to keep track of time spent on the Mac at work - how long did it take me to revise that course schedule, or make up that quiz, or revise that paper - but I never take the time to record these uses, either, for some reason. MacInUse comes to the rescue! The program is easily installed in a system folder by following simple instructions in the manual. Once installed on any startup disk, MacInUse automatically keeps track of the hours, minutes, and seconds spent in any application run with the system on that disk. The program also stores the date, hour, minute, and second that the application session was begun. I installed MacInUse on the RAM disk I use at work; every application I run now with the RAM startup in my Mac will be timed and stored in a data file. Several selectable options allow the user to adapt MacInUse to particular needs, and to format and display stored data in a variety of ways. For instance, the data file in which usage information is kept may be made visible (and discardable), or invisible and locked, to protect it. The dialog box that appears at the end of each application's use can be set to prompt the user for comments, or simply to require the click of a button, indicating whether that session was a personal or business application. MacInUse is shipped with templates for easy retrieval of data. Templates are available for MacWrite, Word, Multiplan, and Excel. Usage information is kept in a ''text only'' file which can be copied into the clipboard and then pasted into any of the templates. The table below shows formatted data as it is printed from the MacWrite template. Application Date Start Time Seconds Duration Excel 1/28/87 12:38:45 PM 420 0:07:00 Business record grades MacDraw 1/28/87 1:10:16 PM 937 0:15:37 Personal graphics for card MacWrite 1/28/87 1:28:56 PM 1508 0:25:08 Business test revision MacInUse data files may be kept on each application disk and consolidated at the end of the year (for instance, at tax time), or a single data disk can be used for all applications (which requires inserting the data disk after each user session to record the saved information). I have only had MacInUse for about two weeks, but so far I have no complaints - it does what it is advertised to do, and it is a useful tool for me. The only drawbacks I can see in the program are the following: it requires about 10K of disk space, and usage data will also accumulate and occupy a lot of disk space after a year's operation; the time required to load or quit a program is somewhat longer when MacInUse is installed, and it does necessitate clicking a box or adding a comment each time an application session is ended. I highly recommend the program to anyone who wants to keep track of Mac usage accurately and with very little hassle.
Copyright © march, 1987 by John Longshore