Personal Computer Museum, Canada's Videogame Museum

Silent Butler

Silent Butler
Silent Butler

SystemAtari 8-Bit
Floppy (5.25")2

Atari

Atari 8-Bit

0  77000  40003  1

Release Date: 1/1/1985
Manufacturer: Atari
 
Developed by Ted A. Goldstone, Silent Butler is a two-disk personal finance package that can track three checkbooks, three savings accounts, and includes a reminder file that holds birthdays, anniversaries and other dates. If you order the optional plastic checkholder, Silent Butler will even print on your own checks.

Silent Butler is easy to understand and use. It does what it claims to do. The program guides you to organizing your bills into fixed or variable expenses and automatically collects them into a current bills file for processing.

If you put the program disk into a 130XE, it automatically loads more of the program into memory in order to work faster than it does on the 800XL.

As the program loads, it displays a picture of a distinguished pipe-smoking gentleman-your "Silent Butler" The program is organized into two sections (mysteriously called "Bookmarks"), one with everyday procedures and the other with less often used activities.

The program leads you through each function in order, asking if there is anything you want to do here. When you become more experienced with the software, there is also a Jump feature that lets you skip around between functions. The program also saves automatically fairly often, so inexperienced users do not run the risk of losing much of their data.

At the end of each Bookmark, you are given a chance to review what you have done and make corrections. At the end of Bookmark 2, the Butler asks to "retire for the evening." You dismiss him by removing your disk and switching off. The cutesy formal language soon wears thin, and slows down the actual work.

The records disk is supposed to hold a year of data and can be backed up, but the program disk is copy-protected. As noted in the heading, you need an Atari 1050 disk drive, because Silent Butler is in an enhanced density format which runs only on the 1050. The program allows use of only one drive, even if you have more. Some of its functions require interminable disk-swapping because of this.

Silent Butler is simple to use and is functionally adequate for home needs. But I could recommend it for more users if Atari produced a single density version that would work on other drives besides the 1050.

Review by Stephen Roquemore

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