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User to User: 100LX Upgrade Concerns and Some Useful Software

User to User: 100LX Upgrade Concerns and Some Useful Software

By Hal Goldstein

100LX Upgrade Concerns

There have been a number of legitimate complaints about HP's 100LX 1MB-to-2MB upgrade program. But credit must still be given to HP for making the upgrade available at all -- not the norm in the computer industry!

COMPLAINT ONE -- The 1MB-to-2MB upgrade is only available in the U.S.

This is the most serious complaint in my mind. My understanding is that HP is working on a more general solution, but there seems to be no easy answer for this one.

Traditionally, HP tends to operate in a decentralized fashion. Most U.S. divisions are their own profit centers. In addition, HP's international divisions are relatively independent entities with their own policies. What all this means is that HP Corvallis cannot force HP entities outside the U.S. to offer the upgrade. HP entities outside the U.S. may not be able to offer the upgrade because the logistics, government regulations, and taxes involved make it difficult to sell at a reasonable cost.

Even with these legitimate excuses, the lack of an international upgrade path is not a "customer-friendly" situation. As the world shrinks, HP will have an even greater international presence. They must find a solution to this type of problem.

COMPLAINT TWO -- The upgrade costs too much at $300.

The truth is that the upgrade consists of more than just memory. HP is swapping out the main system board (with all ROM software, CPU, 2MB of RAM etc). Still, $300 seems on the high side. U.S. street prices for a 1MB unit are about $475. And a 1MB RAM memory card sells for around $150. Still, given cost of materials and all logistics involved, apparently $300 was what the finance people at HP felt they needed to charge to make a reasonable profit.

COMPLAINT THREE -- The turn-around time on the upgrade is slow.

On the average, you're without your Palmtop for a little over a week. For those of us dependent on this little marvel, this is one long week! It is really to bad that HP couldn't express exchange units.

Despite these problems, the existing upgrade program is much better than no program at all -- which would be the easiest solution for Hewlett-Packard.

WHY UPGRADE AT ALL?

A 2MB Palmtop is important if you use the PCMCIA slot for fax/modem, and to a lesser degree for wireless work. More internal RAM gives you enough space to store fax software and still leave room for data. Other users might prefer to invest $300 in a flash memory card since it will probably buy 2-4 times as much storage space. I personally like having a 2MB unit and a flash card. I have the room to have my key files on the 100LX, and I keep them backed up on the flash card as a safety measure.

Call 503-750-3850 in the U.S. for more upgrade information. See page 7 of the Jan/Feb 94 issue for form.

Help for Users of DOS Programs

Contributing editor, Mark Scardina, has recently developed a number of software programs to make life easier for DOS users.

SET UP 100LX DOS APPLICATIONS EASILY

I finally got around to installing Mark's APPMAN program (a more user-friendly, commercial version of freeware APLOAD [ON DISK] available on our 1993 Subscriber PowerDisk.) This program takes much of the hassle out of installing DOS software correctly via the 100LX's Application Manager.

AppMAN's simple menu lets you install your DOS program, optimizing it for the HP 100LX. You can specify the amount of System RAM you want available for the DOS program. This makes it less likely that you'll get a "not-enough-memory" message when the program loads. You can select whether you want the program to run in CGA or MDA graphics mode and configure some to fit the size of screen. You can set the directory you wish to start the program from, whether you want the serial port on or off, and change several other variables.

AppMAN makes it easy to edit these start up variables, and this makes it easy for you to test different configuration combinations and get the right one. You'll be able to get your DOS application configured optimally and probably not have to worry about it again.

MAKE MORE SYSTEM RAM AVAILABLE

Mark has also released CLSFLR .ZIP[ON DISK], a simple freeware program for the 100LX that can save almost 60K of System RAM. (This gives you room to run more applications at the same time, or work with larger data files).

As a precaution, HP configured the 100LX so FILER is always running in System RAM (using about 58K). With this configuration, if you run out of disk space while trying to save an important file, you can access FILER, delete some unnecessary files, and save the file. However, many users don't need this feature and would prefer to have the System RAM available. Mark's program gives users the option of removing FILER from permanent System RAM. (100Buddy users may not want to disable FILER, since one of Buddy's enhancements allows you to easily launch programs directly from FILER.)

OBMAX for OMNIBOOK USERS

Mark's OBMAX software aids OmniBook 300 and 425 owners in using DOS on their superportables. Follow the short tutorial in the ACE manual and free up System RAM for DOS programs requiring a lot of memory. Without OBMAX, OB 300 users will be able to use at most 445K of System RAM for DOS applications. With OBMAX, users can gain over 600K of system RAM.

OBMAX comes with a text editor and an easy-to-use program that will let you swap AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files, making it possible to run your OmniBook in different ways.

Since OBMAX fools the OmniBook into thinking part of the C drive is the D drive, most users will need to make at least 5MB of C drive space available for D drive files to use OBMAX.

iPhone Life magazine


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