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Finally I can read the phone numbers!

Finally I can read the phone numbers!

Magnify! from ACE Technologies displays enlarged sections of the HP 100/200LX's screen and saves your eyes in the process.

By Rich Hall

[Note: Our initial tests indicate that Magnify! functions on the 200LX, but has a few problems. For more information on this, see "First Impressions..." article, this issue.]

MAGNIFY Enlarges Parts of the Screen: Graphic

 The biggest problem I've had with the 100LX is looking up phone numbers. If the room is the least bit poorly lit and I don't have my reading glasses on, it's agony. Sure, the zoom feature is nice, but it doesn't work in the database applications such as Phone Book, except in the Notes field. In fact, some 100LX users have started storing phone numbers in the Notes field of phone items just so they can zoom in on them. Well, the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity is perspective. I guess to deal with problems like this is the reason God invented third-party developers.

Magnify! for the HP 100LX

The problem of readability has come up on CompuServe's HP Handheld forum. Some users have opted to load other appointment book and phone book software on the 100LX. Such a program, HKFON100 , is on this years Subscriber Power Disk.

One forum member suggested applying a thin, paste-on magnifying lens to the screen. ACE technology's new Magnify program turns out to be an electronic version of that simple idea.

Magnify is a small DOS Terminate and Stay Resident program (TSR) for the HP 100LX. Press (Fn)-(1) and Magnify enlarges the dots or "pixels" underneath it by 2, 3, or 4 times. So, for example, if you position your cursor on John Smith's name in your Phone Book and press (Fn)-(1), you'll get a screen that looks something like the one at the top of the page. Press (ESC) or (ENTER) to return to un-magnified screen view.

Magnify works in any of the built-in applications. It can also magnify DOS programs if they run in CGA's high resolution graphics mode, 640 by 200. Magnify will not support DOS programs that run in character mode or in other graphics modes. If a DOS program is zoomable, Magnify will not work with it.

Installing Magnify!

The procedure was fairly simple. Connect the 100LX to a desktop via the HP Connectivity Cable and run Magnify's install program on the PC. Then make a minor modification to your AUTOEXEC.BAT file and reboot. Make sure the baud rate of the install program matches the baud rate of your 100LX. (Press (FILER) (MENU) Communications Remote Settings.)

I tried running the Magnify install program from a DOS shell of Windows 3.1 and kept having problems with the file transfer. When I quit Windows entirely and ran install, it worked fine.

Using a desktop PC and Connectivity Cable and running the install program is the easiest way set Magnify up on your Palmtop. If you don't have these, then you'll have to copy MAGNIFY.COM and MAGNIFY.ICN from the program disk to your Palmtop using some other form of file transfer.

[Note: Magnify's original documentation had some serious typos, but they have been reprinted and should be correct. If you get a copy with a corrections sheet, be sure and read it!]

Other Magnify! Options .

When you open up the Magnify lens, you can move it around using the ArrowKeys (Shift+ArrowKey moves in small 1-pixel increments). The next time you open Magnify in that application, the lens will be positioned there. Magnify remembers the lens positions for different applications.

The magnification option lets you double, triple, or quadruple the magnification of the characters. Press (+) to increase the magnification and press (-) to decrease them.

You can permanently change the character magnification by using the /M switch in Magnify's command line (e.g. 2M, 3M, 4M). The double (2M) size is default. The smaller the characters, the larger the size of the area you can magnify using the next option.

3X Magnification:  Graphic

 Use the /S switch in the command line to change the size (width and height) of the lens. The smaller the character magnification you're using, the larger the size of the lens itself.

4X Magnification: Graphic

 Once you've positioned and sized your lens and characters, you can run the Magnify /B (backup) option to store them in a backup file. If you have to reboot the Palmtop for any reason, Magnify will remember your settings.

Interesting Quirk

I have my Phone Book list view set up so the Category field is displayed to the extreme right of the screen. I noticed that when I highlighted an item in the list view with two categories in the category field, the "jump to highlight" feature would sometimes not work. When I looked closely at the category field in the list view, I noticed that the problematic entries always had a character in the extreme right-hand column, that butted up against the edge of the display area.

Possible Bug in Magnify: Graphic

 Magnify finds the highlight bar to jump to by looking first to the extreme left of the display for 12 vertically stacked black pixels with a white pixel above and below. If Magnify finds the pattern at the left of the screen then it looks for the same pattern at the right of the display. In the situation described above, magnify cannot find the 12 vertically stacked black pixels on the right of the display because the right-most character in the Category field disturbs the pattern.

I like Magnify! I don't often make strong product recommendations, but Magnify deserves one. It's a simple product that does a needed job. My biggest problem with the 100LX is reading text in applications that can't be zoomed. Magnify eliminates that problem.

iPhone Life magazine


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