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HPLX-L Connection

HPLX-L Connection

By Hal Goldstein

 Many HP Palmtop users enjoy participating in the HPLX-L e-mail list that Al Kind, at the University of Connecticut, maintains on a nonprofit basis to serve the HP Palmtop community. In the e-mail list, 200LX users ask and answer questions, report software and Web site discoveries, and chat (although that is discouraged).

If you want to sign up to get on the mailing list, visit www.sp.uconn. edu/~mchem1/HPLX.shtml. Once you sign up, you will start receive 100s of e-mails a week about the 200LX. To post a message, all you have to do is hit "Reply" to any message from your e-mail program.

Most e-mail programs have a feature that you can apply to avoid your e-mail inbox being flooded. Simply have your program send all messages from the HPLX-L e-mail list to a folder that you designate. Then you can look through the folder at your leisure without interfering with your other e-mail.

There are many nuggets of interesting information in these e-mail posts. However, in practice, it may take a half hour of reading e-mail to uncover one or two pieces of golden Palmtop advice.

 The purpose of this new column is to share some of the more interesting and useful pieces of information posted on the e-mail list. Except when someone's name and e-mail address are important in the context of the note, we will not include it. We exclude names mostly for expediency as it can take a long time, if ever, to get someone to OK a comment for publication. However, thanks goes to both those whose posts we reprint and the entire e-mail community of 200LX users. We feel that printing this information is completely within the spirit of users sharing knowledge and experience with other users.

 We have kept much of the informality of the HPLX-L in this column. That means, the language below is more "NetSpeak" than English. Therefore, for the purposes of this column:

We will do minimal grammatical editing --just enough to make sure the point is comprehensible.

 We use common e-mail abbreviations (see the Glossary on page 27).

 We will do some (but not thorough) checking, so be careful. Take the comments as someone's opinion, not something definitive.

 If you have questions about any of these, join the e-mail list! If a source for software is not given in the comment, click "Downloads" at www.palmtoppaper.com and search.

 Ready? Here goes.
 
 

Filer Battery Drain
Q: Does running Filer cause extra battery drain?

A: I have done quite a few tests in the past with Filer, and its effects on battery current drain, the results of which are a little surprising as follows:

When entering System Manager from boot to Topcard, current = 35mA

1) Open Filer & current drops to 25mA (or 30mA if serial port is on)

2) While Filer is open, even if in background, current remains at 25mA

3) Close Filer & current increases to 70mA and remains there with any application open

4) Close Filer and all applications, sitting at Topcard, current increases to 80mA

5) Return to DOS, current drops to 35mA (serial port power off) or 40mA (serial port power on)

6) Reload System Manager current remains 35mA - cycle repeats. Alternatively, power off & on and cycle repeats.

To summarize, the serial port, when on, consumes an extra 5mA, to reduce current consumption, keep Filer loaded at all times.

PDP-11 Emulator on 200LX
Recently there was a posting on one of the newsgroups about running a PDP-11 emulator on the HP Palmtops, so I gave it a try. It works, at least as far as I could test it. It's not an operating system, but a system simulator that would allow you to load an operating system and software intended for a PDP-11.

Want to try it? It's called Ersatz-11 and you can find it at www.dbit.com where they offer it for unlimited personal/hobby use or sell it to commercial users.

Programming Languages on the HP 200LX
Q: What languages can I use to program the HP200? Python, Perl, C++, Java?? Does anyone have much experience with these languages on the HP200? I'm looking for a new H/PC and want one I can program. I enjoy this more than playing solitaire and do it for the same reason, to pass time while waiting around.

A: Well, Java is probably out, but the others should work, with a few notable exceptions.

1. Python: I haven't tried this myself, but I have heard of at least one person having success running a 16 bit port of Python on the LX.

2. Perl: Perl4 runs well on the LX. While not as advanced as Perl5 (and memory can be a bit tight at times), it is okay for small scripts or just trying out ideas. There is a version of Perl available from www.palmtop.net (in the SUPER section)

3. C++: As with Perl, the versions of C++ that run on the LX do not have the latest enhancements that the language offers. The only version of Borland C++ to work on the LX is BC++ 2.0.

4. Java: no ports that I know of. Probably won't be either.

People have other popular scripting languages running on the LX too --Rexx, and of course the Bourne shell.

Cut & Paste between Software Carousel Sessions
Q: What is the best solution for cutting and pasting between Software Carousel sessions?

 A: I've found a solution to this problem. I'm using Clipvue & Exkey. First, the normal disclaimers. Backup your data. Use at your own risk.

My method is somewhat limited in scope. For the most part, the only program I need to use the system clipboard (outside of System Manager) is PalEdit. Generally I have the SM running in one SC session & PE in another. Here is how I've done it.

1) I installed Clipvue.exm (which will load/save the clipboard to c:\_dat\clipvue.txt) to hotkeys Ctrl+F3

2) create 2 macros in exkey.ini

--- exkey.ini ---

[200]

; load c:\_dat\clipvue.txt to SM clipboard

{Ctrl+c}={Ctrl+F3}{F2}{Escape}{Escape}

; save SM clipboard to c:\_dat\clipvue.txt

{Ctrl+v}={Ctrl+F3}{F3}{Escape}

-----------------

3) Run Exkey from autoexec.bat before starting SM (exkey -fc:\_dat\exkey.ini)

4) Create 2 PalEdit Macros

; Ctrl+c Save selection to c:\_dat\clipvue.txt

#2e03=#5d00#2e63#273a#2b5c#0c5f#2064#1e61#1474#2b5c#2e63#266c#1769#1970#2f76# 1675#1265#342e#1474# 2d78#1474#1c0d#1c0d#011b#011b; Ctrl+v Insert file c:\_dat\clipvue.txt #2f16=#5c00#2e63#273a#2b5c#0c5f #2064#1e61#1474#2b5c#2e63#266c#1769#1970#2f76# 1675#1265#342e#1474#2d78#1474#1c0d

The keys used are Ctrl+c to copy & Ctrl+v to paste. In System manager, it is necessary to get the data into the clipboard first (via Ctrl+Copy or smart clip) then execute Ctrl+c. The reverse is true for Paste. It is necessary to press Ctrl+v to get the Clipvue file into the clipboard prior to hitting Ctrl+Paste.

In PalEdit, I just use Ctrl+c/v for SM clipboard & Ctrl+Copy/Paste for PE's internal clipboard.

If anyone can think of a better method, I'd love to hear it.

DOS Database Software on HP 200LX
I've always liked PC-File very much. It goes way back and should be available on most DOS repositories. One search found version 6.5 at a Simtel echo: www.qdnet.pl. It appears that version 7.0 is the current offering at $130 US. I've used version 5.01 for many years --there are some things it does better than the latest and greatest (?!) Paradox. Version 5.01 runs fine on my DoubleSpeed 32MB 200LX.

PC-File for DOS is available on the 2000 CD InfoBase from Thaddeus Computing, Inc.
 
 

200LX and Digital Camera
I found a pretty nice freeware called photopc (www.average.org/digicam/) and I successfully control my camera (Agfa >E Photo 1280) with the 200LX. Apparently, photopc works with: Agfa (ePhoto line), Epson PhotoPC, Olympus, Sanyo, Nikon, Sierra Imaging, Toshiba (list on www.average.org/digicam/cameras.html). I started to write a user interface with LXBatch.

I have written a Web page about my experiences connecting my Olympus camera to the HP200.

http://huizen.dds.nl/~kropveld/olympus.html

The short story is that I use PHOTOPC to operate my camera. It works excellent. I have published some example codes (4DOS batch) on that page. The timer batch file I use very often on the field to take long series of pictures every so many minutes.

Last summer my Olympus hung up (read my previous technical problems on my page), and bought a NIKON 700. The other program CAMEDOS, www.butaman. ne.jp:8000/~tsuruzoh , refuses to communicate with Nikon cameras, but PHOTOPC runs OK.

One disadvantage: my HP does display the Nikon 1600x1200 pix JPEGs on my HP screen, but it is very slow!

Q: What do you do with the LX and digital camera exactly?

A: Bore relatives with pictures of the kids. Bore strangers with "real graphics" on my Palmtop. Bore my kids with my trip photos e-mailed to them via the LX while on the road.

All of the above are actually better done using my Omnibook 800CT, but I'm more inclined to leave it (and my camera) behind compared to the ever-present LX, which becomes something like my pocket photo album... a bit underpowered but still capable of inflicting pain and suffering on the unsuspecting.

A2: With my old Kodak DC-20 and LXDC, I was able to control the camera, use the 200LX as a timer to take group photos, view the pictures (not very well, but you could get a rough estimate of how it turned out), download pictures to the 200LX for additional storage on the road, etc. Now I have a SoundVision MiniCam 3209, which takes CompactFlash cards, so I can view the JPEG files with LXPIC and copy them to the Palmtop to free up space on the CF card. If a program was written specifically to control this camera over its serial connection, like LXDC did with the DC-20, I could do neat things like change the shutter speed from the Palmtop, or even possibly display live video from the camera (though that would be pretty slow on the Palmtop, of course).

Running Connectivity Pack on 1000CX
If you run Cpack on 1000CX, you can connect 1000CX to PC with Cpack or Transfile. Procedure is as follows:

1. Install Cpack on 1000CX. Remove the line "CG.exe" on app200.bat of Cpack.

 2. Run app200.bat on 1000CX.

3. Start filer of Cpack on 1000CX.

4. Run Cpack or Transfile on PC.

After these instructions, you can operate 1000CX almost same as 200LX. Baud rate must be the same for both 1000CX and PC. On FILER on 1000CX, push Alt + C and select remote settings. You can set up baud rate.

Predicting Tides
Nautical Software replied about Tides & Currents for DOS. $79 (U.S., I presume) is more than I wanted to spend but I thought someone else might be interested. If their Windows software is any guide, it must be an impressive package.

I tried out Tide24.zip from http://vancouver-web pages.com/peter/index.html and it seems suitable for my needs. I just need to know when tides will be high or low for river mouths when bushwalking on the coast, and the occasional hiring of a seakayak, so I know when mangroves are accessible. It runs quite happily on a double speed 200LX. It gave results very close to published tide predictions for Sydney and the east coast of Australia. Out of curiosity, I tried it for areas like Darwin and Thursday Island where tides do strange things. Rather than give an incorrect result, it refused to give any. I don't mean it stopped working. It just said it couldn't possibly work that out.

We still sell Tides & Currents for DOS, and it sells for $79. If you would like to order a copy, please give me a call at (800)946-2877 and I can help you place an order. If you have any further questions, please feel free to e-mail me directly at josh@tides.com.

Josh Harman Nobeltec-Nautical Software www.tides.com

Encryption in MEMO
The encryption algorithm used with MEMO is different from the one used with the database engine, because the HPCRACK program that is able to decode the database passwords fails with MEMO. However, there is reason to believe that the encryption algorithm is not stronger than encryption with a 40-bit key: at the time the HP 200LX was released, the US Government wouldn't have allowed crypto products with stronger encryption to be exported without an export license.

Ulrich Boche

IRC/LX
Q: What Is IRC ? Why would I be interested in it? What do you do with it or use it for?

A: IRC is an acronym for Internet Relay Chat. By logging onto one of the various chat networks, you can chat in real time with others from all over the world on subjects ranging from quite tame to ones that make you blush with embarrassment.

IRC/LX appears to be a DOS port of ircII or BitchX with a splash of PAL programming thrown in for good measure. The source code for ircII is widely available and is the world's most popular IRC client. In today's world most people probably use mIRC or one of the other Windows clients, but the purist will still want to use either ircII or BitchX on a UNIX box.

One thing that is a possible problem with ircII are possible security flaws in source code and it is recommended that you compile it yourself. Since you are connecting to a network with IRC it is possible that people can hack your machine without your knowledge while you are connected. There are several ways of doing this and some are horrendous on mIRC. I am curious about the level of security provided by IRC/LX.

I have only played with IRC/LX a little since Saturday and since I only have the unregistered demo copy from the D&A web site, I am limited in really using it for any length of time.

Jeff Johns

 Q: Are you using IRC/LX?

A: The short answer is that I have used it a little. It is kind of hard to get used to, especially being an ircII user. Although it is somewhat similar, it is different. It is quite frustrating to be on two channels at the same time. On ircII, it's quite easy to swap between all the active windows and to resize them. Also, there is a plethora of available scripts for ircII and since ircII is basically a DOS port that uses WWW/LX it would be nice to be able to use some of these scripts. One of the most popular scripts for ircII is the one that binds the <TAB> key so when you press it, it automatically messages the last person that sent you a /msg I'm still trying to figure out some of the different key assignments of IRC/LX. I haven't had a lot of time since I discovered that it was available to play with it. Does the registered version preface the user's domain name with WWW_LX? The docs, IMHO, leave a lot to be desired about the program and if someone isn't very familiar with IRC with a client such as ircII they will probably end up being very frustrated. Honestly, if improvements such as multiple, resizable windows will not be a future option and the ability to write scripts for the client are not implemented, I would be hard pressed to spend $25 for it. This is just my opinion and other users may have other ideas and opinions. There is a program called VIPER that performs basically all of the same functions of IRC/LX but uses the WATTCP stack. The author never finished the software and never finished the /dcc portion of it. It is available at www.agate. net/~tvdog IIRC. It's a shame the author is unreachable and that the source wasn't included with the beta release.

Lionel Zuckier, MD Nuclear Medicine Albert Einstein College of Medicine Bronx, NY 10461

iPhone Life magazine


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