I think everyone should have a personal assistant; even a personal assistant needs one sometimes. How many times do we watch a movie or TV show and see the typical boss/assistant conversation? You know, you’ve seen them conversing while hastily walking to a meeting or waiting cab- quick updates and instructions are traded and a caffeinated beverage is passed on. It’s awkward, it’s funny and it’s a tired stereotypical work relationship. If an individual is that busy, they will obviously be using a smartphone to send and receive updates and other messages. It makes for a much more accessible and obedient assistant. The question is; who is going to pass them their much needed java? All joking aside, if you find that your time and attention is becoming more and more in demand, you are going to need all the help that you can get.
Before posting an employment opportunity online, you should check out the aptly named Personal Assistant application. Instead of sucking up, Personal Assistant gets right down to business and keeps you in the know, when you need to know. Before I assign it a parking spot on my BlackBerry, I had to make sure Personal Assistant passed the probation period.
Personal Assistant is available as a free application, as well as a premium one. We will look at what each offer later on. Both versions were developed by Pageonce, Inc. Launched in June of 2008, they specialize in personal information management applications. The current version for both free and premium is 2.5. The file size is approximately 476KB. BlackBerry App World states that all devices are currently supported. In order to use Personal Assistant, you need to sign up for a free account. You can do so directly from the application, or from the Pageonce website.
Think of Personal Assistant as the answer to “What can I keep track of”? Essentially, Pageonce sorts the vast number of potential accounts and such, that you can track into 6 categories; Travel, Finance, Social, Utilities, Email and Shopping.
These categories are filed under the Accounts section of the main menu. Personal Assistant makes use of icons to help you differentiate between these categories; for example, Utilities are marked with a light bulb and Email with an envelope- you can easily access various types of accounts and check on their status. This doesn’t work for all types of accounts; Twitter functionality and appearance are both quite limited. Where Personal Assistant really soars (in my opinion), is with accounts such as my Rogers Wireless. I had nearly instant access to my account balance and usage for every line on my account. I was able to see due dates, cycle end dates, as well as progress bars representing data, voice and SMS usage. Who wouldn’t want to see what kind of damage they have done to their monthly plan? It’s also nice to get reminders when the bill is due, so you can avoid late fees.
Besides the Accounts section, from the main menu you can also check financial transactions, financial balances and credit cards.
In order to ensure secure, private access to your accounts, Pageonce offers a high level of security by including 128 bit SSL systems, firewalls and 256 bit data encryption. This offers peace of mind, especially when you are dealing with your finances. I was impressed with how easily I could check on the balance of my bank account, credit cards and investments. The application is smart enough to not display your full account or credit card numbers, deterring any prying eyes that may be looking over your shoulder. They may know how much you have, but they won’t know where to get it. Personal Assistant also includes transaction history, so you can see where your money is going, when transactions happen and the amount of each transaction. You’ll have a tighter grip on your checkbook when you can easily see if you have been charged correctly or not.
If there are any changes to your accounts that Pageonce believes you need to know, you will be notified. For example; you may receive an email informing you that your credit card is within 10% of its credit limit. If you want to keep track of your itinerary, you are able to view weather information and travel details. Now with all this account accessibility what happens if your BlackBerry is lost or stolen? No problem. All you have to do is head over to the Pageonce site and enable their Self Data Destruct feature. All points of access to your accounts will then be severed, locking them out.
For more control, you can purchase the Premium version for $6.99. The Premium version is ad free, gives you flight information in real time, lets you manage unlimited accounts and provides you with an “exclusive” PIN number for added security. There are thousands, upon thousands of accounts you can access. If you don’t see your desired account on the list, PageOnce welcomes you to request it and the information you wish to obtain from it.
Personal Assistant is the key to accessing and managing accounts and details that are important to you. Set up and functionality are both a breeze, allowing you to focus on the information at your fingertips. While it isn’t the ideal solution to access all of your accounts (i.e. Twitter), it is a great way to manage more important items, like your finances. Whether you go for the free or premium version for $6.99, Personal Assistant will help you keep on track and in check. Both versions are available through BlackBerry App World. Now where’s that latte?!?