BENTO IN A BOX

Bento 4The new Bento database for the Mac, iPod and iPhone has some great new features: It’s a cut-down but still powerful version of Apple’s larger Filemaker program, which you can get for Mac or Windows.

Bento 4 for the Mac lets you print labels and forms without leaving your customer list, record inventory, or any other list. You can create invoices, sales orders and other forms. Selecting “export” lets you share your database with others.

For iPhone and iPad users, there’s a $5 Bento app that updates to version 1.1. for free if you have Bento installed. Unfortunately, the iPhone/iPad app doesn’t print labels, but it does include voice notes. This could come in really handy when you’re at a film festival, say, and have an expression of interest in your next project from an angel in the wings. (“Angel in the wings” Get it?)

He says he’ll do the deal, so you tap your iPhone or iPad to record him saying what he’s agreeing to and what he’ll pay for it. Those voice notes can be attached to the angel’s record in the Bento database. If he tries to back out later, you can produce the recorded agreement. Though as former MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer used to say, in a bit of convoluted thinking: “A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.”

Bento 4 sells for $49 at Filemaker.com. (“Bento,” by the way is Japanese for “boxed meal,” though it’s often used to refer simply to a lunch box.)

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