Butler – Palm OS Utility

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The Palm Centro is an amazing device for its price and size. I love mine almost unconditionally- almost. Today, I am going to rant about a couple of the things that bug me.

{Rant Mode}. A couple of things that tick me off about the Centro include the odd tendency for the built-in alarms to only sound once or twice regardless of how you set the repeat, the worthlessness of the ‘green button’, and the inability to easily reprogram other buttons. I mean really- as a Certified Power User, why do I have this dumb big green button that apparently does absolutely nothing? {/Rant Mode}

I’ve already expressed my fondness for Hobbyist Software in earlier reviews of their software titles: Initiate and Power Hero. This review looks at a program that could have been written just to help the Centro become more of a power tool- Butler.

Butler Menu 1
Butler Menu 2

[Butler’s menu is so long, it takes 3 screens. Here are two of them!]

Butler is “the assistant who thinks of everything” according to the website. If by ‘everything’ you mean handling the Palm’s alarms, button assignments, key guards, and even LED use, then yes, Butler thinks of everything! The $14.95 program comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a years worth of free upgrades, and the typical sweet trial offer that Hobbyist uses on other programs. After my trial, I knew I had to have this and Hobbyist graciously offered me copy for a full review.

Butler does so much that a review like this can easily become just a quick list of features, parroting the website so let me touch on a few highlights.

Butler Alarm
Butler Attention

[Alarm Manager and Attention Grabber screens]

I hate to wake up, and have kind of an odd schedule of when I need to be up. Normal alarm clocks are not flexible enough so I have used my Palm ever since they got loud enough to work. When I started using my Centro, I could not get the alarm to sound often enough to do the job- a few chirps and it was done.

Butler, however, features not only a good, intuitive alarm element that lets you set 6 different independent alarms, it combines with Attention Grabber (a program that helps make sure you don’t miss alarms or messages) and Flexible Alerts. These work together to allow you to tailor an alarm to flash the screen, flash the LED, vibrate, launch programs, start up MP3 files, and more.

With this arsenal, I can create a series of alarms that pretty much force me to wake up on time just to stop the cacophony! (Between you and me, I still use the default alarm in Calendar as a pre-alarm so I can stop Butler before it explodes.)

Butler Button

[One of the button managing screens]

Applications like Key Launcher, Volume Keys, and Buttons allow me to assign more keys to more functions than I can remember! Resetting the volume control keys to scroll keys was handy, but giving me a quick button for Memos and Notepad* saves me tons of aggravation on a nearly hourly basis. I have a LOT of memos on my Palm and I use them and Notepad for a lot of things, and I really missed the Quick Buttons other Palms included. No more- now I can launch them with 1 or 2 button presses as long as I remember the buttons because, of course, they are not labeled as such this way. Using the button management software, I can set up many other options simply.

(*= OK, so Notepad is not standard on the Palm Centro- rack up another annoyance. You can beam it from another Palm, or use something like BugMe

Butler Keyguard
Butler Keyguard Icons

[Keyguard Manager and Keyguard Icons]

A suite of security applications allows you to tailor the keylock- how and when it works, what it displays, timing, and so forth. I like that it can be rigged to display status icons, like battery, memory, etc. It almost makes up for the loss of the status elements in the Centro from the Tx.

Butler finishes off with some nice touches- it addresses you politely as you request, it can restore some “old” features, and so forth.

Butler Prefs
Butler MP3

[A couple more screens…]

This little 211k program is stable, well-documented and supported, and reminds me a lot of the ‘Power Toys’ for Windows in the mix of fun and powerful. This program has been officially added to my list of programs to automatically reload whenever my Centro is wiped out.


Product Information

Manufacturer:Hobbyist Software
  • Palm Centro and Treo
  • Adds many missing features
  • Easy to use
  • Small and stable
  • Great alarm and button management
  • None

2 thoughts on “Butler – Palm OS Utility”

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  2. You said, in your excellent review, that you could beam Notepad from another Palm device. Mine shows up as locked and cannot be beamed. s there another way? Thanks for all you do on the cutting edge.

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