270503 Review #1 – GeoKron by VistaSoft


Reviewer: Kristian Skouboe

Developer: GeoKron

Version: 2.0

Price: Buy it now at a special introductory price of $9.95 (special offer valid until May 31)

Website: http://vistasoft.com/geokron/

Verdict: 3 stars


The Test System

The system that the software-test/review runs on is the following:



(Host computer)

- Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 1 Operating System.

- Microsoft ActiveSync 3.7


- PocketPC 2002 (newest ROM edition from HP)



(Host computer)

- Intel Pentium 4 based system with 512 MB DDR RAM


- HP iPAQ 5450 with 48 MB ROM, 64 MB RAM

- Processor Intel XScale PXA250


The Review

This review will analyse the software in an objective way, without including any feelings or personal experiences about this kind of software. It will look at the software in a mechanistic way.

Whenever I have comments I will write them in italic.

If I write tips for the software developer, the text will appear in blue text.

If I write tips for you as the user of the software, the text will appear in orange text.


The drawbacks of this review are that I am not a business man and I do not travel a lot. Therefore I do not review the software as a tool being ready-at-hand, I mean I do not use the tool or need to use this kind of tool. This review will therefore be done by looking at the tool current present-at-hand. I will look at the user interface layer, the function layer and the model layer of the software.


Furthermore the review will not look at ALL the features that are in the software but only on features that I think is essential. If you want to have the overlook of the software you can take a look at the developer’s website. The developer knows everything about the software and can show it to you what it can do, because he or she made it.


The Reviewer

My name is Kristian Reesen Skouboe. I am a professional software developer, and I have been it for about 13 years.

I am currently studying Bachelor of Computer Sciences and I am an educated Software Developer.

I live in Denmark, Europe in a small town called Randers near Aarhus.

In my working days I have worked for a bank where I developed software for them mainly database systems. Furthermore I have developed many different software solutions for both business and private persons. I have also made a software project for NEG Micon, which is a windmill producing business here in Denmark.

My software programming skills are: Turbo Pascal, BASIC, C++, C, C#, Sun’s Java, Borland Delphi, MODULA2, PHP, JavaScript, CGI, SQL Database programming/designing/administration, and many other languages.



I have never done a review of software to a PDA before.


What the software is

GeoKron shows you the current local time in cities around the world. The world map shows where it is light and dark around the world at the current time. With GeoKron, you can easily change the current time zone of your Pocket PC as you travel from city to city.


Some features of GeoKron:

- See the current local time in cities around the world.

- View city times on the Today screen.

- See where it is light and dark around the world.

- Set alarms in local time of any city.

- View sun and moon rise and set times

- View and edit information about each city, like airport and phone codes.

- Add, edit and delete cities

- Calculate the distance between cities and travel times.


You get to try it for 30 days. Afterwards you must pay for the software.



(1) Step

The installation of the software runs quite quickly. You just double click the GeoKron_20.exe file (523 KB Download) and it extracts its files to the Temporary directory on your Windows computer and immediately starts the “Add/Remove Programs” Install dialog.

If you do not want any unnecessary files on your desktop pc from the installation and you are a Superuser, you can open the exe-file with e.g. WinZip and extract the GeoKron.arm.CAB (if your processor is ARM compatible) file to your PDA, and then install it manually on your PDA.


(2) Step

After the installation has run on the PDA, the software asks you to choose a home city and a visiting city.

Here I had a problem with choosing my Home City, because Randers (which is a small town in Denmark, Europe) was not there. It was not possibly to choose even Copenhagen which is the capital of Denmark. This could however be chosen in the Visiting City. This I do not understand.

Only main cities are shown in the Home City and Visiting City list boxes. Furthermore only capitals can be chosen as Home Cities.

It should be possible to choose between the same cities in the Home City list box and in the Visiting City list box. However logically you should not be able to choose a home city and a visiting city that is the same. Furthermore there should be a button to add a custom city.

I choose BERLIN as my Home City and Aalborg as my Visiting City.

It does not matter what cities you choose here, you can always change them later on.



After this screen you are asked about whether you want to show GeoKron cities on the Today screen or not.

I think this is a good feature to have your cities shown on the Today Screen, however it depends on what information is actually shown. I would like to see the time (and maybe date) of my current city and my visiting city.



Immediately after the software executes by itself, and shows you the Welcome-help for the software.

I really like this, because it is very user-friendly and you give the user the possibility of taking a tour of GeoKron.

An improvement of the Welcome Help would be to make it colourful. Show an image of the software’s icon. Use different text colours to welcome the user. It gives a good impression for the user that the programmer has played with details when developing the software.



After reading the help the system is ready for use.


First Impressions

The Main Screen of GeoKron is shown below.

The screens different sections have been described. It is possible to change the different cities shown on the screen. This can be done by clicking on the “pull down” button and choosing another city. However the city above the world map uses the “pull down” button for a different purpose. It shows information about the city when clicking upon and will show you the city if you click “zoom”.


As seen on the illustration the main screen is built up on four sections. It shows the current time in the home city, and then a world map. Afterwards four cities are shown with their time.

A new feature would be to make it possible to see more cities at one time than just four. Maybe you could show cities on the whole screen, making it possible to have a clear time overview over the main cities in the whole world.


The software is running in a good speed all the time and you are not experiencing any critical problems with the software.

I think that it works well and feels good to work with. The main function of the software is fulfilled: Being able to see the time and date all over the world.  


The blue dot makes it possible to change the current city to one of the other cities. This changes the time zone of the Pocket PC to Eastern Standard Time - notice the Pocket PC's clock has changed to be the same time as New York. As you travel from city to city, simply change the current city and your Pocket PC, and all your appointments and reminders, will use the local time.


Furthermore you can see that the “Tools” menu gives you the possibility of setting alarms, seeing airport/phone codes, calculate distances (straight line), calculate the time, see sunrise and moonrise times.

I think that the alarms option is a good thing to have. The idea that you can set a time in a given city is good, e.g. if you have a New York meeting at 12 o’clock, and you set the alarm to this, it will automatically notify you when the time is 12 o’clock in New York. This is awesome. You can also write a custom text to be shown at the alarm execution. 

Here it would be good if you could implement this feature directly into PocketPC standard PIM. However this is not easy – if not impossible. This would give the user the benefit of integration with the PIM, so that the user can create a meeting in his or her calendar. Then you can e.g. add it to a category and have it show up in MS Outlook. However you need to take care of the time zone in the calendar system, because the time you set for a given city in GeoKron would have to be converted to the current time that is selected on the PDA.

The menu option “Airport Codes” and “Phone Codes” is only for viewing purposes, so you cannot edit the values in these.

It should be possible to change these values, because I cannot add Randers’ Airport here in Denmark to the list, nor can I change the phone code for Denmark, if it at some time would change…


The Settings menu makes it possible to set the time of your PDA, just as in the PocketPC Control Panel. However a new feature is that you can synchronize the clock with the internet time. This is neat, but it needs an Internet Connection on your PDA. Furthermore remember that ActiveSync automatically syncs your PDA with the Host computers time, so maybe this feature is not needed unless you travel a lot.

A good feature would be to have an Automatic Synchronize Option, so that every time an Internet connection is detected, it will automatically synchronize the time.

The Edit Cities menu makes it possible to edit the cities that are registered in the software and to add/delete cities. This is a required feature when using this kind of software, because you always need to add a new city to the software. However when the software comes that have all the cities in the world available it will an unneeded feature.

You could make this feature online updateable, because then people could synchronize with a global city database and share cities with each other.  

The Preferences menu is where you can change settings for the entire software. This will be reviewed later in this article.

You can register the software by using the menu Register and see who made the software by looking at About GeoKron.


User Interface analysis

The user interface (UI) analysis will look at how the user interface is built, if it satisfies the PocketPC platform and if the user interface is user friendly.


I will run through some of the user interfaces in the software and review them.


City Info UI

You can click on any city to get more information about the city and the city’s location is shown on the world map. A “zoom” button in the information box about the current selected city on the world map makes it possible to zoom in on the current city you have selected on the world map. However zoom is only in one level.

I am missing the opportunity of zooming into the city at country view. This makes it possible to see where the city is more precisely. It is not clear enough where the city is.

An improvement is to make it possible to zoom into Country View, so that you can see the city’s location more precisely. However this will increase the size of the software and the complexity of the map graphics.


About UI

The About dialog shows you the current version of GeoKron.

I have not tried the version 1.0, so I cannot tell you in this review what new features are available in this version.


Register UI

Here you can see that you need to enter a registration key in order to register the software and be able to use it for more than 30 days. You can see that the key is calculated from your Owner name.


Alarm UIs


In the alarm UI you can add a new alarm for a given city in the city’s own time zone. This is a neat feature and you can even set up your own alarm text. However when you click on the “Alarms” menu option in the main screen, you are always prompted to create a new alarm. You should instead just be shown the list of alarms as on the left picture, and then afterwards be able to choose to create a new alarm.


Airport & Phone Codes UIs


The Airport Codes and Phone Codes are only for viewing pleasure. You cannot create your own codes, this should be a possibility. However the available information is good to have in your pocket.


Distance Calculator UI

The calculation of a distance from one city to another is done in a straight line perspective. So you can only use this distance if you are travelling by plane and use it as an approximation.

I do not see the need for such a function. It should instead be possible to calculate the correct route from one city to another either by plane, by ship and/or by road. This gives a much precise estimation. However the calculation of this is much more complex.


Time Calculator UI

The time calculator makes it possible to show what time it is and day it is in other cities, when choosing a main city.


Sunrise and Sunset & Moonrise and Moonset UIs


These UIs makes it possible for you to see when the sun and moon is going to show up or fade away in different cities around the world. However remember that the magic is all done by mathematics and it is only an estimate given from the current location on earth.


Set Time UI


The set time UI makes it possible to synchronize with an NTP time server. I think that the programmer made a typing mistake, because it is not SNTP but a Network Time Protocol (NTP).



Here you can set up general settings for the software. The Unit System has to be Metric for me, because I live in Europe. It is good that you can choose this. However the software should have looked at the PocketPC preferences because you set this up in the PocketPC.


Cities, City Info, City Time Zone & City Location UIs


Theses UIs are important if you live in a city that GeoKron does not know.

You can also edit and delete cities from the list of cities. However in order to create a new city, you need to do something weird, you need to copy an existing city and then edit this to create a new city.

This is not standard for User Interfaces; you should be able to click NEW CITY.

Furthermore there is a small glitch in the CITY NAME when you have to write a new name, because if you delete the city name and want to type in a new name with a beginning Capital and you use Fitaly as text input, you will be prompted indefinitely with the message about the city name has to be unique. This is a bad design in the software. But afterwards it functions as designed.

However you should be able to choose Airport + Country code from the Airport codes & Phone codes that already exist in the software. No need to type them in again.

The time zone tab is good for choosing the time zone for your city. However this should actually be possible to calculate when you type in the latitude and longitude in the location tab, because the time zones are sections set up as a standard for the entire world. So no need to the time zone tab.

The Location tab is good for choosing the city you want to by typing in latitude and longitude, however the world map is too imprecise to able to select a city on it.



In order to uninstall the software you go to the Remove Programs in the Control panel and remove “VistaSoft GeoKron”.

You can choose to uninstall the city databases also. Any changes you have made in the city databases are erased, unfortunately you cannot backup these databases automatically, so you need to either keep them on the PDA or delete them.

After uninstalling the PDA had removed the software completely. Both the main program, city database and the today screen applet was removed without any problems. 

I like this, being able to remove an application on your PDA completely is essential, because memory is low on a PDA.



The software is functioning as it ought to do as described in the specification of the software which is on the developer’s website.

However it has some small glitches, such as not being able to naming a new city correctly, not being able to edit airport codes or phone codes, and you cannot choose a custom made city when you install the software for the first time.

It has a lot of features, such as the alarm feature and it works as it should by letting the user be able to set alarms in a city’s current time. This makes it easy for the user to set alarms, however you can only set alarms and not appointments in time zones and this is a wanted feature in a new edition.

You are able to see sunrises and sunsets, moonrises and moonsets. You can calculate the time between different city times and you can calculate the distance in straight line between cities also. Furthermore you can add your own cities and it is possible to see a graphical overview of the entire world enabling you to see what the time is in different cities around the world.


If you are a business man and/or travel a lot and you need to take care of your time in different cities this software will support some of your needs. The user interface is quite easy to use for a standard user of PocketPC and you are able to quickly start using the software as being ready-at-hand.


However if you really need to enter appointments into your calendar in different time zones then you need to use another software, because you are only able to create alarms in this software. Another solution would be to use CityTime from www.codecity.net, which has the possibility to create appointments in different time zones directly in the PocketPC standard PIM.


Though if you are happy with the number of features that GeoKron have you will be satisfied and not disappointed if you buy this software, especially if you buy it at the price of the introduction price.


Because of the missing features the software only gets 3 stars out of 5.