While the Palm OS has one of the most versatile and easy-to-use handheld interfaces, there is always room for improvement. Here's a handy shareware app that adds organizational tabs, drag-and-drop capability, and easy database management to the Palm.
Palm’s biggest selling points include the simplicity of the Palm operating system (OS) and the organizational features of the Palm Pilot. But there is always room for improvement, and that is where Launcher III comes in. This freeware utility by Benc Software Production, a Palm software developer based in Croatia, uses simple organizational techniques to make Palms even more efficient.
In this article, I will examine several of this application launcher’s best features, including:
- Tabbed application organizers.
- Drag/drop functionality for deleting, beaming, or moving applications.
- A gadget toolbar, which can be customized for individual use.
A peer-to-peer recommendation
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Tabs allow for easy organization
One of Launcher III’s handiest features is its use of tabs to organize applications. It’s a simple and resourceful method of providing a file system on your Palm. Figure A shows what Palm's main screen looks like while running Launcher III.
|Launcher III’s tabs put everything in its place.|
The tabs are customizable and can easily be renamed and reordered. Applications can be dragged and dropped to different tabs, according to their category. To boost the Palm’s security features, Launcher III allows you to hide tabs that you don’t want others to see.
Launcher III allows users to drag/drop icons for beaming, deleting, and retrieving information for applications. Want to beam a coworker that handy new application you just installed? Just drag the application onto the beam icon at the bottom of the screen. Your Palm will instantly beam that application to a waiting receiver.
No longer need an application that you were testing? Drag the application to the Trash Can at the bottom of the screen. (See Figure B.)
|The application is represented by the large black square hovering over the Trash Can icon at the bottom of the screen.|
You will instantly get a delete confirmation message. (See Figure C.) By removing the need to go through a menu list, Launcher III makes deletion and beaming quick and easy.
|After the application is dropped in the Trash Can, the Palm OS confirms that you want to delete the application.|
Launcher III also features a customizable gadget toolbar. (See Figure D.)
In the lower left-hand corner of the screen, users can customize a timed scrolling of the day, date, and time. In the middle of the toolbar, users can customize how they would like to view the battery (either by a volt reading, percentage, or bar graph) and the amount of memory that is available (either by a byte reading, percentage, or bar graph). In the lower right-hand corner of the screen, there is room for five different tools or icons. The 11 available tools are: Trash Can, Beam, Information, Backlight, Contrast, Brightness, Off, Off & Lock, Security, Tools, and Rename.
A relatively unknown advantage of using Launcher III is that you can quickly delete any database or application simply by using the Trash Can. By tapping the Trash Can icon in the gadget bar, the application displays a list of all the applications and databases that the Palm has available, as shown in Figure E.
From this list, you can choose the database that you want to delete, tap it, and it will be removed immediately. As long as you know the database you want to delete, the rest is easy.
The bottom line
Launcher III is a good all-around tool for anyone wanting to enhance the organizational structure of the Palm OS. In addition, it can be a great tool for support techs in manipulating Palm applications and/or databases in a quick, efficient manner.
Version 3.0.5 of Launcher III, which is offered as a shareware utility (as opposed to the freeware version described above), was released on Oct. 29, 2001. For more information on this latest release and to download your copy today, go to PalmGear.com.
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