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100BUDDY REVIEW:100LX Users Have a good Buddy!

100BUDDY REVIEW:100LX Users Have a good Buddy!

HP 100LX users have waited 10 months for their version of Jeff Mattox's Buddy program -- but it was worth the wait. 100Buddyadds dozens of features and shortcuts to the Palmtop, making life easier for 100LX owners.

[Note: 100Buddy only works with the English language versions of the HP 100LX.]

By Fred Kaufman

Buddy Enhances The WorldTime Map: Graphic

 Everyone Needs a "Buddy"

It's been a long and lonely year for many former 95LX owners.

They upgraded to the 100LX to get a better screen, better built-in applications, and a more standard serial port. They got those features, plus the ability to easily set up and use more application and utility programs on their new Palmtop. However, there's one particular program they can no longer use, and many have been feeling a bit homesick for their old "Buddy."

95Buddy [ON DISK] was probably the most useful program written for the original HP Palmtop. This compact utility made the 95LX a lot easier and more fun to use. 95Buddyreduced the number of keystrokes needed to complete many common tasks, provided additional hardware status information and control, allowed the user to link files to applications, and added many more features to the built-in applications. However, 95Buddy was written specifically for the 95LX. It does not work on the newer HP 100LX.

Not being one to rest on past accomplishments, Jeffrey Mattox has been very busy these past months. He has completely rewritten Buddy, and created a 100LX version as useful as the original. For example, many 95LX owners got used to going to FILER, highlighting a file and pressing (ENTER) to take a quick look at the file's contents. If you try that on the 100LX, it thinks your letter to Mom (.DOC file) is a program and tries to run it. You need to press (F8) to view a file on the 100LX.

Install 100Buddy [ON DISK] and you can view your text file the old way, by highlighting it and pressing (ENTER). Press (ENTER) again while you're viewing a file, and 100Buddy automatically loads it into MEMO so you can edit it, just like 95Buddy would.

This is just one example. Many of the old 95Buddy features, and many new ones, are now available on the HP 100LX thanks to 100Buddy.

Linking Files to Applications Saves Time

100Buddy "links" a data file to the appropriate built-in applications. This means that you can go to FILER, highlight a .DOC file, press (ENTER) twice and wind up in MEMO with that .DOC file open. You can load .WK1 files into Lotus or .PBK files into PHONE the same way. 100Buddy "links" the appropriate data files to PHONE, 1- 2-3, APPT, NoteTaker, Macros, and to the Database applications.

You can even set up Buddy to link a data file to its DOS program. For example, if you configured Buddy to link any type of DOS program, even Ed Keefe's MUS-LX [ON DISK], a program that plays music on the 100LX, or PCXVIEW [ON DISK], a viewer for PCX graphic images.

100Buddy's linking ability goes beyond loading files into applications. You can also link information within files. For example, you can link your Appointment Book to a MEMO file, a DATABASE, or PHONE file so you can easily access text, contact information, or data related to a specific appointment. (100Buddy lets you link MEMO, PHONE, APPT, TODO, DATABASE, NOTETAKER, and the Full Screen Note field in any database application.) You set up linkages in the NOTE field of the application. However, you don't have to be in the Note field to use these links.

For example, with 100Buddy installed you can highlight the word Smith in a MEMO file and press (Fn) (P) to go to the first Smith in your Phone Book (Buddy looks at the first column only in any data base application).

After you've found Dr. Smith's phone number in the example above, you can schedule an appointment with the help of a link 100Buddy creates between PHONE and APPT.

You pressed (Fn) (P) to go to the first Smith in your Phone Book. From there, press (Fn)(A). 100Buddy whisks you to the Appointment application, pastes the PHONE entry's name and business number into the APPT Description field, and opens a little calendar to allow you to scroll to the date. The Appointment entry screen should look something like this:

APPT Entry Screen With Calendar Showing:  Graphic

 After you've selected the date of the appointment, tab to the Start Time field and set the time. (To use the Fn A feature in Phone Book, you first have to set up a simple Smart Clip in PHONE.)

With a little planning and practice, linking lets you accomplish a lot more with fewer keystrokes. Links make the integration between applications both tighter and more flexible. Buddy is nothing, if not flexible.

SmartCaps and Double-Click Makes Typing Easier

100Buddy includes many features that change the way you use the keyboard.

Double-Click

The Double-Click feature lets you get the shifted value of a keyboard character by pressing a key twice quickly. (Buddy lets you define how quickly the key has to be pressed twice to be recognized as a double-click.) Double-Click (d-click) applies to the alphabetic characters. There are two related features: Double-Gray, which applies to the numeric keypad and its symbols, and Double- Blue which applies to the blue application keys.

So with 100Buddy active, press tt in quick succession and you will wind up with "T" without pressing the shift key. You can go to the Keyboard Translations screen in 100Buddy and adjust the d-click timer to suit your typing speed. You can also check the "Inhibit after a lower-case letter" box in the same screen. This sets up d-click so that letters in the middle of a word won't be capitalized. For example, if you want to type in "Buddy author Jeff Mattox..." you key in the following, without using the shift key: bbuddy author jjeff mmattox. The dd, ff, and tt in the middle of the words will not produce T, F, or D if the "Inhibit lower-case" box is checked.

If you accidentally d-click and get an uppercase letter or character you do not want -- press (DEL) immediately and Buddy will delete the uppercase character and replace it with the double letters you intended.

SmartCaps

A similar but incredible feature is SmartCaps. It can be activated in MEMO, in any application that uses Notes and in DOS. It teaches the 100LX a bit about punctuation and capitalization. You don't have to press the shift keys (or double-click them) to get uppercase letters or punctuation. The following is a demonstration from the 100Buddy manual that demonstrates the usefulness of SmartCaps:
  1. 1. Start MEMO
  2. 2. Turn on SmartCaps by pressing (Fn) (S)
  3. 3. Type in the following paragraph, exactly as it appears below.
Note that you are not pressing (<Shift>) to produce capital letters or punctuation.

at the time, i didn6t understand the problem4 i was confused. *never mind,* he said, *we6ll take care of it.*

As you type, SmartCaps changes your entry to the following:

At the time, I didn't understand the problem; I was confused. "Never mind," he said, "we'll take care of it."

SmartCaps knows sentences start with capital letters. It also knows that the letter "i" in isolation, or when used with certain contractions, must be capitalized. It also recognizes that the number 6 doesn't make sense in the middle of a word, so it shifts it to an apostrophe ('). Similarly, it changes the asterisk at the end of a sentence into a quotation mark ("). Finally, SmartCaps recognizes that after a period (.), a new sentence begins, so it capitalizes the next letter.

Most of the features described above can be activated or deactivated in 100Buddy's SmartCaps or Keyboard Translations definition screens. In addition, if features get in the way, they can be toggled on or off with one or two keystrokes. Finally, you can set up SmartCaps and Double-Click, Double-Gray and Double-Blue so they're only active in certain applications. For example, I do not have d-gray active in Phone. If d-gray was active and I keyed in the phone number 1-800-555-2244, it would be entered as 1-800-:5->: instead.

Enhanced Display and Control

Perhaps the most extensive changes that 100Buddy makes is in the way information is displayed on the built-in applications' screens, and in the ways that you can control and access the 100LX's functions.

FILER's top "Status Bar" has some additions.

Buddy Shows Battery Status in Filer: Graphic

 Between the word "Filer" on the left and the system date/time on the right you'll see some additional information:

Battery 3.00v 1.78 hrs (124 sec) Ser off

The status bar additions, from left to right, indicate whether you are running on batteries/AC adapter/charging batteries (batteries in the example above); the voltage of your batteries (3.00 volts); how long you have been using those batteries since you inserted them (1.78 hours); a count-down timer, showing how many seconds left before the 100LX goes into auto shutoff to conserve batteries (default setting 180 seconds); and the status of the serial port (infrared, on, off, or locked off). You can turn the serial port on by pressing (+), off by pressing (-), and lock it off by pressing (-) twice.

Finally, at the left of the bottom status bar, 100Buddy shows you how much system RAM is available.

If 100Buddy gets in the way, or if you want to see how Filer looks without it, turn Buddy off by pressing (CTRL) (-) (the additions Buddy made to the status bar are displayed until you exit and re- enter FILER). Turn Buddy back on by pressing (CTRL) (+).

In FILER Buddy "hides" the less frequently used function keys, Connect (F10), Tree (F9) and Remote (F6). This helps you avoid inadvertently pressing them and sending 100LX on a useless, mistakenly requested task. Buddy replaces the F-key labels attached to these functions with a dot. If you accidentally strike one of those keys, the REAL label (Remote, Tree, or Connect) will appear. You have to press the key again to execute the command. 100Buddy also hides the Bold (F2) and Underline (F3) commands in MEMO. This helps prevent inadvertently formatting an ASCII batch file you're editing. (Batch files must be in unformatted ASCII to be executable in DOS.)

In Lotus 1-2-3, Buddy adds to the bottom of the screen the function key labels that were on the physical keyboard on the 95LX (but removed from the 100LX).

Buddy Adds Function Key Labels to 1-2-3 Display: Graphic

 It adds the ability to use the key sequence (MENU) File Open, to open a .WK1 file and (MENU) Quit (without further prompting) to exit 1-2-3.

Buddy adds many more "enhancements" to make Lotus more friendly for less seasoned Lotus users. These changes can be turned on or off in the Buddy configuration program found in the 100LX Application Manager.

Fn Macros Now Have Labels

Can you remember what characters or commands you assigned to the 10 Fn-Function keys? I do well to remember my one basic set, but the 100LX can have an unlimited number of Macro files, each with 10 Fn-macros. It gets complicated real fast.

Fortunately, when you've got a Buddy with a good memory, you don't need one. Press (Fn) and Buddy displays a menu bar at the bottom of the screen with the first five characters of the macro description field (or the first five keystrokes) for each macro, F1 through F10. Load a new macro file and Buddy will automatically show the new labels.

Reassigning the Blue Keys

Buddy's Blue-Key Control screen lets you re-assign the Blue-keys to other applications. I don't use cc:Mail, so I reassigned it so that it starts up DOS.

Any of the Blue-keys can be reassigned to mimic any other key on the keyboard. You can also deactivate it (pressing the key does nothing).

You can use the Blue-Key Control screen to set up Lotus, HP CALC, MEMO, or the Full Screen Notes of any DATA BASE application to "Swap Blue (keys) with Shifted-Symbols." This means that you don't have to hit the shift key to get the punctuation marks above the blue keys. Press (FILER) and you get an exclamation mark. Press (<Shift>)-(FILER) to go to FILER.

More controls in SETUP

When you press (FILER) twice you'll see that Buddy provides a host of additional features to the 100LX's Setup application (press any Blue-key twice to get its Ctrl-key value). No longer do you have to wade through a series of menus to get to the most- used HP Setup features. Buddy attaches some of the most useful Setup features to F2 through F8.

Setup Screen With Buddy: Graphic

 The menu bar at the bottom of the screen now shows that you can access the Volume setup by pressing (F2), Contrast (F3), Memory (F4), Printer (F5), DOSpwr (serial port power) (F6), Redr (the Redirector) (F7), Batt (battery settings) (F8), and Date/Time (F9).

The main SETUP screen now shows Battery voltages as numeric readouts below the battery bar. The battery usage timer is shown as well as the Buddy version number. From this screen you can manually change the battery usage counter back to ZERO when new batteries are installed. You can also increase or decrease the counter by 0.1 hr increments. This feature would be useful if you're reinserting batteries that you've already used.

Setting Up Buddy's Features

The main 100Buddy program (100BUDDY.COM) is installed by adding a line to your AUTOEXEC.BAT file. Once this program is installed, it's always running in the background and the default settings for Buddy's features are always available. (This program uses 40K of System RAM, 50K if the registered version's World Map Overlay is active.)

You can also install an optional 100Buddy setup program (100BUDDY.EXM) in AppManager that lets you go to setup screens and select or un-select most of Buddy's options. The setup program lets you configure Buddy to fit your needs (the changes take place immediately). The only time you need to run this program is when you're changing Buddy's default settings. Press (F4) from any of the setup screens to save setup changes and quit Buddy setup.

When you run 100BUDDY.EXM you are presented with the following setup screens:

Buddy's Status Screen :  Graphic

 The Status screen shows the Buddy Logo, Buddy's status, the location of 100BUDDY.ENV file and when you register, your Serial number in the lower right corner.

It also shows you the "quick strokes" you can press to go to the desired setup screen (W for Worldtime, D for Default Directories, etc..). To cycle through the setup screens you can press (F7) (Last) or (F8) (First). You can also press (MENU) Settings to select a setup screen. Many of the set up screens will have check boxes where you can indicate which applications you want the feature to work in.

Buddy's File Keys Screen: Graphic

 The File Keys screen lets you quickly select a file or a path when opening a file in any of the built-in applications. In the example above, if you pressed (F9) (Open) in MEMO, F1 would open C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT, F2 would list all .DOC files in your A:\_DAT directory.

This screen lets you create and assign three sets of eight different file paths to the function keys (F1 through F8).

Buddy's Default Directory Screen:  Graphic

 This option lets you associate a directory with a specific application. Once you have defined a path in this screen, press (DEL) (DEL) in an application's File Open screen to go to that "Default Directory."

Buddy's Keyboard Translation Screen: Graphic

 This screen lets you set many of the Double-click options, letting you press a key twice in quick succession in one of the built-in applications or DOS to produce its shifted value or an entirely different keystroke.

Buddy's Smart Caps Screen: Graphic

 This screen lets you set up the Buddy feature that will automatically enter the shifted version of the key you press, under certain conditions.

The pregray window lets you set up keypad characters to be promoted to their shifted values if they are pressed prior to a letter key. For example, if the asterisk (*) box is checked and you press * before a letter, you automatically get a double quotes (") symbol.

The postgray window lets you set up keypad characters to be promoted to their shifted values if they are pressed immediately after a letter key.

Buddy's Blue Keys Screen: Graphic

 This screen lets you re-assign the Blue-keys to start other applications. The d-blue option lets you double-click a Blue-key to bring up the alternate application assigned to the key.

The Blue-Key Auto Inhibit option gives you a couple of ways to set up the automatic shifting of the blue keys so that the symbols above them appear when the blue key is pressed in MEMO or the Full Notes screen of any database application.

The Swap Blues with Shifted-Symbols window lets you do just that in MEMO, 1-2-3, HP CALC, or the Full Notes screen of database applications.

Buddy's Key Preference Screen: Graphic

 This screen lets you make additional changes to the keyboard, including making the CTRL and ALT keys "sticky" (press once and let go, you don't have to hold them down).

Buddy's Memo Bookmarks Screen:  Graphic

 This screen lets you set "bookmarks" in your MEMO documents. Set this feature up and it's easy to jump down a pre-set number of lines in a text file.

Buddy's Filer Settings Screen: Graphic

 One of the more complex screens in 100Buddy, providing users with some advanced features.

The EXT and DOS Program option lets you link datafile extensions to a DOS program. Then you can highlight the data file in FILER and press (ENTER) twice to run the DOS program and load the data file.

  • .BAT extension: ... -- prevents the accidental execution of a batch file in FILER.
  • MENU-dot in DOS: and +ENTER -- lets you press (MENU)(.) to return to System Manager from the DOS prompt.
  • Lite Sleep Control -- is an advanced feature -- best to leave it alone unless you know what you're doing.
  • The next two lines provide an advanced application launch feature.
  • The Battery Usage Timer -- lets you reset the battery timer.
WorldTime Map Overlay screen

This screen is available to registered users only. The WorldTime Map Overlay graphically displays day and night on the WorldTime map (see screen graphic, page 15 this article).

Buddy's Other Settings Screen: Graphic

 The last settings screen is the catch all for other Buddy features, including Change to a larger cursor in DOS; Unload Buddy when you terminate SysMgr to go to DOS; Force the small font to be used in F-key labels; Set up a global password for your 100LX (for registered users); and more.

Registration Information screen

The final screen provides shareware registration information. I won't moralize too much. However, Jeff Mattox spent a lot of time on this shareware beauty. My advice is as follows:

  • Try it out first.
  • Decide that you like it and will continue to use it.
  • Register it!
Remember that 100Buddy took about six-months to develop, and adds many useful features to your 100LX. Register your copy and you won't have to give these features up. In addition, you'll get the WorldTime Map overlay and system password capability.

100Buddy is available on The HP Palmtop Paper ON DISK, or through on-line BBS systems like CompuServe and America On Line. You can also get a registered copy directly from Jeffrey (see address below) for $40 plus $5 for a diskette. The registration fee is reasonable. You can register 100Buddy on CIS using Shareware Registration (Go SWREG), or via U.S. Mail and check sent to: Jeffrey Mattox, P.O. Box 45282, Madison, WI 53744-5282, USA.

Some Final Comments

Jeffrey has just released 100Buddy version 1.1[ON DISK], that corrects minor bugs in the original release and enhances a few features. In particular, the Fn-F password logic has been improved. No major features have been added. This version is available on this issue of The HP Palmtop Paper ON DISK.

This should give you a taste for some of the Buddy basics, and the impetus to find out more about how Buddy can make your life easier on the HP 100LX.

Using Buddy requires the installation of a TSR application that reduces the RAM available for opening both built-in and DOS applications. Fortunately 100Buddy is easy to unload. You can free up 40-50K of System RAM when you need it -- but only if you can do without 100Buddy's features!.

Finally, even though 100Buddy is easy to setup and use, some of its features are a little obscure. In fact, some of the features can't be understood without reading Buddy's documentation. In spite of this, once you get used to Buddy, using the 100LX without it will be even more difficult!

iPhone Life magazine


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