Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Favorite PalmOS Applications

All the hype about the Palm Pre and its new operating system has made me nostalgic for the old PalmOS applications which I've enjoyed on my various Palm PDAs and smartphones. These applications are the real reason why I still use my Pam TX and occasionally a Treo 680 even though their OS is ancient in gadget terms and I have a modern T-Mobile G1 which runs rings around them in many ways. One can only hope that when Palm's new OS premieres that it attracts the kind of developer support that leads to the creation of nice apps like these:

  • DateBk5—Palm has some great built in personal information manager (PIM) applications, its Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, and Memo applications are all excellent, but DateBk takes them a step further. Utilizing the same databases as the PIMs, DateBk5 expands on them by adding features such as templates, Floating Events which are to do items on steroids, the ability to link your appointments to contacts, to do items, and memos, and icons. The original DateBk application was so good that Handspring used a stripped down version of it as the default calendar on its Visor handhelds and later on the first Treo smartphones. Sadly, Palm dropped it in favor of its own calendar app on later Treos when it bought Handspring. But DateBk is has survived and has only gotten better over the years. It's a must have application for anyone who wants to get more from their Palm.
  • HandyShopper—A powerful shopping list which allows you to track your shopping by item, store, price, or even by aisle, HandyShopper allows you to estimate the cost of your shopping trip and can even account for local sales taxes. HandyShopper is a good example of what makes PDAs useful. No longer are you subject to the tyranny of your feeble memory or chicken scratch hand writing. You can just write down what you need in medium which is a little harder to lose than a piece scrap of paper.
  • PalmFiction—Probably the best e-book reader available for the PalmOS, PalmFiction features custom fonts, screen rotation, autoscroll, and good-looking skins. It can also be configured to maximize your screen real estate.
  • CorePlayer/TCPMP—CorePlayer spent a long time as a free beta called TCPMP but even in its beta stage, it was an excellent video player that could play videos off a Palm's SD card. I ripped a bunch of my old DVDs to watch on my LifeDrive during long commutes. This was at a time when the iPod was still new and still couldn't play video. Today, CorePlayer has added streaming Youtube videos to its repertoire and looks great a on my three year old Palm TX.
  • OliveTree BibleReader—I was raised pretty religious and one of my biggest pet peeves has always been expositor who would jump rapidly from one verse to another during a sermon. BibleReader was the solution to this problem. It allows you to keep a complete copy of the Bible on your PDA or Smartphone. With a wide variety of translations in a number of languages available BibleReader is a great tool for anyone who is religious or just interested religion.
  • Novii Remote—Back when everyone carried a Palm Pilot, it was a common sight to see business people "beaming" each other their business cards with the Palm's infrared port. Now that PDAs have declined and smartphones have ascended in popularity, the advent of Bluetooth and the fragmentation of mobile usage into different incompatible platforms, the IR port sees a lot less use. But it doesn't have to be that way. Most PDAs like the Palm TX have fairly powerful IR ports (smartphones on the other hand have fairly IR ports if they have on at all) and could be used as a television remote control if they had the right software. Novii Remote is that software. It's perfect for controlling multiple TVs and television accessories like TiVos, DVD players, and sound systems.
  • Diddlebug—A simple drawing, note-taking, and alarm application, Diddlebug is so good that Palm tried to copy it but I never really liked their version. So I include Diddlebug here, its a great little application.
  • PhoneSearch—Palm has always had very good search tools on it smartphones but this little application does one thing extremely well. It searches your contacts not by name but by number. It's a nice little simple application which can come in very handy.
  • McPhling—I almost forgot this application because it's so unobtrusive but I probably use it more than any other program on my Palm. McPhling is a task switcher which pops up a menu of favorite and most recently used applications. Most newer Palms and Treos pop up a similar menu when you hold the home button but McPhling is much more comprehensive. It's list is holds more programs, it includes favorites, and it includes support for Desk Accessories, little mini-applications which can pop up in front of your current application and allow you to perform tasks without leaving your current application. It's about as close as you can get to multitasking on the ancient PalmOS.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Howdy! :-)

I just found this posting via Google search on HandyShopper, and I just wanted to say thanks for listing your favorite Palm applications. I've recently dug out and started playing with my Palm Zire72, and I've been looking for some nice applications to put on it and try out. I've used HandyShopper before and liked it, and now I'll give your other recommendations a try. Thanks again! :-)