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Using Time Matters Messenger

This question was recently posted to the Wisconsin Bar Association’s Practice411 listserv.  I thought the question and my response would be useful to our readers.

Hi all. We are using Timematters. We have been having problems with the “message” portion of the program. Approx every 2 months the message portion of the program malfunctions and causes the entire program to hangup/not appear.  I have to delete the messages from the data section (causing them to be lost) in order to run the program. Has anyone else had this problem?

Here was my response.

The TM Instant Messenger is a single table in the TM database.  A filter causes you to only see your messages when you open your message inbox but everyone else’s messages are in the same table.  For this reason, the more messages in the system, the larger the database and the more likely you are to experience speed issues, data corruption, etc.  The same thing is true of the Time Matter Email Inbox, by the way.  Instant messages should be used for temporary notification type messages and should be deleted once read.  Also, the instant messenger is in continuous contact with the database making more susceptible to network issues and corruption than other Time Matters records.  Given all of that, here are my suggestions:

1.  Everyone should keep their message inbox as clean as possible.  Act on the message and delete it or create another TM record for the task then delete the message.  For example, if an instant message is an instruction to complete a task, highlight the message and select Ctrl-Shift-T to create a To Do for the task.  Another way to accomplish the same thing is to create the record first then use the messenger to notify someone of the record.  In this case, there would be no need to keep the message.

2.  Periodically, perform a reindex of the database.  This does not have to be the full reindex that takes so long.  Try doing the one that only reindexes the main database.  It should take no longer than 5 minutes to do just that part.  Try this once a week and do a full reindex perhaps once a month.  It should keep the database in better order.

3.  Consider upgrading to TM Enterprise.   Without going into all of the technical reasons, it might play better with your network and it is certainly less prone to corruption and faster than the Professional version.  I would especially recommend this if you also use Billing Matters.  I used to say that Enterprise was unnecessary unless a firm had 10 or more users but I now have firms with as few as two and even a few solos on Enterprise.  It does cost a little more but I think it is worth it.

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