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Run Your Desktop PC from your HP 100/200LX by Phone

Run Your Desktop PC from your HP 100/200LX by Phone

pcANYWHERE lets you use your HP 100LX or 200LX and a modem to access your desktop PC in the office or on the road, to transfer files and run programs.

By Craig Payne

[Note: the software in this article was tested on an HP 100LX. The points should also be valid on the HP 200LX. Later versions of pcANYWHERE (5.0 and above) require a 286 or greater processor and do not work on the HP Palmtops. This article covers pcANYWHERE Ver.4.5, which is still available through Symantec. See page 47 for Symantec contact information.]

For some time I've used pcANYWHERE on my desktop PC in Utah to access the home office PC in California. Its a robust and reliable program that has let me transfer up to 20MB of compressed files via modem and phone lines without any problems. However, occasionally Id be on the road and need to access the home office computer. It was a little frustrating until I discovered that pcANYWHERE /Remote V4.5 works flawlessly on my 100LX.

Using pcANYWHERE Remote on the HP 100/200LX

pcANYWHERE is more than a file transfer program. Its a remote access program that lets you remotely run one PC computer from another. A host computer runs the main pcANYWHERE program and a remote computer runs a smaller program (AWREMOTE) that lets it control the host. Remember those terms: host (a desktop) gets controlled by the remote (a Palmtop).

I copied the AW_REMOT directory (862,073 bytes) onto a SunDisk SDPL5-5, 5 volt, 5MB (no Stacker) PCMCIA card. I used the standard HP Connectivity Cable (F1015A) and the modem adapter from the HP Adapter kit (F1023A) to connect the 100LX to a US Robotics V.32bis modem. I have pcANYWHERE on my desktop configured so that when I call in from my other office, the desktop automatically hangs up and calls me back. This trick keeps me from racking up a big phone bill and having to go through the process of submitting paperwork for reimbursement. Unfortunately, the automatic dial-back feature can not be used while traveling since the host doesn't know your current phone number.

This arrangement worked fine on the 100LX. The minimum set of files needed to run the Remote part of pcANYWHERE 4.5 is:

File............................................Filesize Kb

AWREMOTE.EXE..................413,770

 AWR.MSG...............................214,76

BTRIEVE.EXE........................42,524

AW.RC....................................12,182

 AW.HW...................................14,096

 AW.HI1....................................6,144

 ` Total: 683,478

If I eliminated any of these files AWREMOTE.EXE bombed out with an error message. AW.RC1, AW.HW1, and AW.HI1 contain my specific configuration information. Since your configuration may be different than mine, these files may have different sizes on your machine. You may be able to use a file compression program like Diet or Stacker to cut disk storage requirements in half.

Setting up remote control software is painful, but do-able. Here is some advice:

  1. 1. Use the same type of modem on both ends. V.32bis is getting more standard but it is not perfect. At least try your modems together and return one if it can't connect reliably.
  2. 2. Do a test run. Try out your configuration in a room with both machines, modems and two phone lines. Debugging this stuff when the machines are physically separate is tough.
  3. 3. If you haven't bought your modems yet make sure they are both V.32bis. 2400 baud is livable but sluggish. A V.32bis is cheap these days and will soon pay for itself in connect time. There was a review of V.32bis modems in PC Magazine, June 29, 1994, volume 12. The Practical Peripherals Inc. 14.4 pocket was one of the Editors Choices. There is also an inter-operability chart on page 282 of the same article which will be very helpful when choosing modems for this purpose.

  4.  

     

Software I ran remotely; files I transferred

I was able to run the following desktop software remotely from my HP 100LX: cc:Mail for DOS (network version), XTree Gold 2.5, Brief 3.0 and Lotus Magellan.

Word Perfect 5.1 Preview Screen: Graphic

 I was also able to run WordPerfect 5.1 remotely. Most amazing to me was that I was able to use WordPerfect 5.1s page preview when it was running in VGA 640 X 480 black and white mode.

With the 100LX screen in 640 X 200 mode the horizontal resolution was fine, but it was vertically squashed. I would grade it usable in a pinch. The screen on the desktop PC was in black and white so I don't know if or how pcANYWHERE would handle color mapping to the 100LXs 640 X 200 mode.

I was also able to run a simple CGA-graphics application (320 X 200 in four colors). Running in any graphic mode is much slower than using a text mode even with V.32bis. If you can, configure the applications you will be using for 80 x 25 text in black and white. With many programs it is possible to have more than one configuration so you could have color when using your desktop directly, and black and white when running it remotely. You may have to play games with batch files that copy configuration files around. Some programs have command-line options like /m that will start up in monochrome.

I used the pcANYWHERE utility AWSEND on the desktop PC to send a 47K file to the 100LX and back to the desktop machine. AWSEND also transfers Word-Perfect 5.1 files. The 100LX received the file in 39.5 seconds and sent it in 29.1 seconds. V.32bis is limited to 14.4 K baud but it also does up to 4/1 compression (on a very good day with a tail wind). The throughput on the 100LX was roughly comparable to what I get when using my desktop PC remotely to another desktop.

Using DataComm to access pcANYWHERE

You can also use the Palmtops built-in DataComm application to dial into AWHOST on the desktop PC. This approach saves having to load 300K to 600K of pcANYWHERE's software on your 100LX. pcANYWHERE supports ANSI and VT-100 terminals, which the DataComm application on the Palmtop can emulate. (See Calling a Host from a Terminal, page 230 of 4.5s documentation). However, performance using DataComm is a bit sluggish. Fortunately, there are other alternatives.

ProComm or TeleMate are fairly small communications programs and are more responsive than the built-in DataComm. TeleMate is better than my old copy of ProComm because you can turn the status line off and get 25 lines. After installation I was able to cut Telemate 3.01 down to about 300K. The latest version 4.12, but I don't know how big it is. (TeleMate is available on CompuServe's IBMCOM forum. Download the following files: TM4201.ZIP, TM4202.ZIP, TM4203.ZIP and TM4204.ZIP.)

So that the display of the desktop PC fits the 100LX screen, make sure that the desktop PCs screen is set up for 80x25. Also, make sure you have a full 25 lines in Data-Comm or your other communications program. Fn-ZOOM should eliminate the title line at the top and the status line at the bottom. Also, ESC-T and ESC-B are pc-ANYWHERE commands that should make bottom lines visible.

pcANYWHERE gives best results

I use pcANYWHERE every day and have tried other remote access programs. pcANYWHERE works flawlessly on my 100LX and has consistently given me the best results. If you need to transfer files and run another PC from a distance, this package is definitely worth your consideration.
 
 

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