Athletix it is.

Well I decided to go with Athletix to track my training for 2006, but I hope I'm not making a mistake. I've paid and registered the software, and then accessed the Yahoo Group.

However, the Yahoo group has had any new posts since March 2005 and I've sent two in that have not been posted by the moderator at NormSoft. Both posts are on the topic of data export from Athletix. Reading through the posts on the Yahoo group this is the number-1 requirement. Back in 2004 Tim Norman of NormSoft promised to do something and through 2004 people asked about future releases, Tim said something was coming and then in November  205 he declared "Athletix works great as it is right now, and I personally use it every day. There are obviously some additional features that we'd like to get in there, but we currently don't have a plan for a new release. If I can squeeze some time in for an update, I will do so, but we can't promise any updates at this point."

Thats bad news. The real problem is that data once entered into Athletix is locked up forever. There is no way to export data to imbed in Spreadsheets, Word Processing or email programs, to share with other athletes, coaches etc. Thats too bad. I've suggested to Tim that if he really doesn't want to do another release then perhaps he should consider "open source"ing either the program or at least the data format.

If they would at least provide a description of the data and its fields, types, layout etc. it would be a big deal to write a program to convert to CSV or to produce a XML Schema and stream, this could be done on Palm or via the HotSync backup data that is available on the desktop. Hopefully NormSoft and its erstwhile number-1 user and creator Tim Norman  will see has more advantages than disadvantages.

NormSoft are also the producer of that "humming" pTunes MP3 player for the Palm and especially the Treo 650. Excellent product but couldn't exist without the open formats, documented data types and licensed encoders for MP3/M3U and related music technology. Hopefull NormSoft will see the irony in the comparison with Athletix.

Hopefully next time I review a product I'll be able to see beyond the pure function and think about the consequences. After 5-years keeping my workot data in Iain Curtis excellent and free XLS Triathlon training Spreadsheet, I hope I don't regret paying money for something...

For those that want to use a Palm to track their workouts, weight, diet, BMI etc. then there is an excellent page on the Palm Source website with a link to many other products as well as Athletix.
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