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  • PB/DOS & HP200LX Palmtop

    Ever seen or used a 200LX?

    I think it's one of the best & more practical palmtop ever produced.
    The orginal model was a PC with a 80186 with 2MB RAM, CGA graphics, an 80x25 B/N supertwisted LCD (very readable), IR, Serial & PCMCIA port.
    It even has Lotus 123 in ROM, along with a RPN Calculator (hey, it's HP!), terminal, phonebook, agenda, filemanager, etc.
    All in 300gr. x 16x8x3cm, with a week or so of battery live (2 AA, alkaline o rechargable.)

    And it come with DOS 5.0. So, no problem to develop software for it.
    In facts, we have sold over a hundred of them to various customer with various software.
    It was also a very strong & reliable machine.

    We also used them all the time as a working tool: such a programmable "small beast" with a serial port, could be used for a number of tasks, like reprogramming cash registers, storing configurations profiles/info for various devices, testing modems, etc.

    At that time, developing was made primary in Microsoft Basic 7.x. Even some low level library code in C & ASM, for example for controlling the serial port, worked without a problem.
    All testing & debugging where done on a normal PC, and the exact same executable run on the 200LX (with the unique limitation being not be able to enable 286/386 code generation, obviously).

    Theese days, I have tried to run some PB/DOS made programs, as now I'm more confortable with this BASIC.
    But I have noted some strange things.
    For example, when a PB EXE is run, the screen flash for an instant, and the execution is suspended until a key is pressed.

    This is true even for a simple, do near nothing (like assing a var) program.
    Instead, file I/O or screen display functions seems to works without problems.
    I'll do some more indepth testing in the next days, I hope.

    I whould like to ask Tom or other PB guys if they have any experience of PB EXE working on this kind of palmtop.

    Thanks,
    Bye!

    P.S.
    If you want to see some info about the 200LX, here are some URLs:
    HP 100LX/200LX Technical Information
    http://www.hplx.net/
    Thaddeus Computing (they still sells used & like new 200LX!)

    ------------------
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    [This message has been edited by Marco Pontello (edited March 30, 2004).]
    -- The universe tends toward maximum irony. Don't push it.

    File Extension Seeker - Metasearch engine for file extensions / file types
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  • #2
    PB/Dos programs do some hardware testing on start-up, to see what kind
    of equipment is installed. It sounds like the 200LX hardware is not quite
    100% compatible with full-sized IBM PCs. I will see what I can find out.

    ------------------
    Tom Hanlin
    PowerBASIC Staff

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks!

      Bye!

      ------------------
      Try TrID file identifier! Over 1000 filetypes and counting...
      Give a powerfull scriptable Lua interface to your application with PowerBLua
      PBTracer - Tracer / Profiler for PowerBASIC (soon!)
      -- The universe tends toward maximum irony. Don't push it.

      File Extension Seeker - Metasearch engine for file extensions / file types
      Online TrID file identifier | TrIDLib - Identify thousands of file formats

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Marco Pontello:
        Ever seen or used a 200LX?
        I work for a large Power & Water utility in Phoenix, Arizona. In
        1993, I used PB 3.2 to create a Dam Deformation Monitoring and data
        collection program for a ruggedized MSDOS field computer called a
        PARAVANT. Our field crews loved my program but hated the PARAVANT.

        Then the HP200LX hit the market.

        The changes that I needed to make to my program to get it to
        function correctly in the HPLX200 were trivial. That program
        (and the HPLX200) is still in use today.

        I wrote another program exclusively for the HPLX200 that also
        is still in use today. The program is a field data collector
        that uses an special language interpreter that I wrote to
        perform a bevy of calculations on the fly during the course
        of capturing precise elevation measurements around the Phoenix
        valley.

        I'm a long time fan of PowerBasic and HP, starting out with
        Turbo Basic back in 1987, and wearing out a number of HP
        calculators along the way :-)



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

        Comment


        • #5
          The problem looks like an incompatibility in the 200LX keyboard support.
          It does not properly handle the test for a 101-key "enhanced" keyboard.
          Fortunately, PB/DOS was designed with a way to bypass this test, just in
          case of such problems. What you need to do is to set an environment
          variable, 101KEY, to specify whether the "enhanced" keyboard functions
          are available. Here, I guess, the answer is FALSE. So:

          SET 101KEY=FALSE

          Put that in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file, or otherwise run it before you run a
          PB/DOS program.

          ------------------
          Tom Hanlin
          PowerBASIC Staff

          Comment


          • #6
            Tom,

            I'll try tomorrow, as soon as I have one of the spare 200LX at hand!

            Thanks a lot!

            Bye!


            ------------------
            Try TrID file identifier! Over 1000 filetypes and counting...
            Give a powerfull scriptable Lua interface to your application with PowerBLua
            PBTracer - Tracer / Profiler for PowerBASIC (soon!)
            -- The universe tends toward maximum irony. Don't push it.

            File Extension Seeker - Metasearch engine for file extensions / file types
            Online TrID file identifier | TrIDLib - Identify thousands of file formats

            Comment

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