Using a Pocket PC (iPAQ 2210)
For Mass Storage to Support Model 100/102/NEC

 

Just thought I'd share some technical details/lessons learned. If anyone is interested in using an iPAQ (Pocket PC) as a Model T mass storage system, please let me know if you find the info below helpful, or if anything important is missing.

Most of this information has previously appeared on the Model 100 list, but I am trying to "add value" by pulling it all together in one place.

Summary: TEENY + DeskLink + PocketDOS + .BAT files + serial sync cable + plain adapter + Pocket PC = mass storage solution. Total cost, assuming you already own a Pocket PC, is about $45. Each piece is described below.

 

TEENY (client software on Model T)


On the Model T, I am running TEENY.CO. If you have a Model 100 or 102, get TEENY.EXE from http://www.club100.org/catalog.html#hotsetup and run it on your PC to inject TEENY.CO into your Model 100/102. The instructions are extremely clear, though you must read them carefully. Use the CLEAR statement as instructed, and TEENY.CO should run like a champ.

 

If you have a NEC PC-8201A or 8300, get TEENYN.BA (which I recommend renaming as TEENYN.DO) from
http://www.web8201.com/Files/public/Utilities/TEENYN.BA. Acknowledgment to John Hogerhuis and Gary Weber for passing me that link. Copy TEENYN.DO to your NEC, load it with LOAD "TEENYN.DO" followed by SAVE "TEENYN.BA" and RUN. This creates TEENY.CO, and then you need to use a suitable CLEAR statement so that TEENY.CO will actually run. I am having good results with CLEAR 256,61000 but your mileage may vary. After everything is working correctly, you can delete TEENYN.DO and TEENYN.BA. There is no specific documentation available for TEENYN, except for an e-mail message from Ron Wiesen, the author of TEENY.

 

DeskLink (server software on iPAQ)


DeskLink (from club100.org) comes together in the same archive that has TEENY. Install DeskLink first on a desktop PC, and then copy DESKLINK.COM to the iPAQ by your favorite method, such as ActiveSync or CompactFlash transfer. (The location I used was My Device\Program Files\PocketDOS\DeskLink.dir, but the location is not critical.)

 

PocketDOS (DOS emulator software)


PocketDOS is shareware that I can recommend, $34.95 from www.pocketdos.com. It does a decent job of emulating MS-DOS 6.22 on the iPAQ, the objective here being to support DeskLink. Installation instructions are provided.

 

.BAT Files


Remember those .BAT files that we used to use in DOS, 15-20 years ago, in order to automate tasks? They are very convenient, if not downright necessary, on a PDA that has a cumbersome tiny stylus. I use a number of PATH-reachable batch files (e.g., X.BAT to invoke EXITDOS, D.BAT to invoke DIR %1 /ON/P) so that the things I frequently need to type do not require very many keystrokes.

 

Of course, my most-used batch file is DL.BAT, which invokes DeskLink. This is a 4-line batch file as follows:

 

SETCOM COM1: COM1:

C:

CD\ROOT

S:\DESKLINK.DIR\DESKLINK

 

1. The first line is the only tricky part and is necessary for compatibility reasons related to PocketDOS.

 

2,3. The next two lines make sure that the working directory is C:\ROOT, which is the working directory that DeskLink expects to use. (Note: If a CompactFlash card is installed in the iPAQ, PocketDOS automatically uses C:\ to refer to the CompactFlash card; otherwise, C:\ refers to My Device\iPAQ File Store, which is also convenient.)

 

4. The fourth line invokes DeskLink. (As mentioned above, the place where DeskLink is installed is not critical. Change this as needed. Incidentally, if you happen to use S:\, S:\ refers to the PocketDOS directory. This is distinct from B:\, which is the DOS boot location, i.e., the place where COMMAND.COM is located.)

 

Serial Sync Cable


An iPAQ serial sync cable, which I thought would be the trickiest part of the whole system, proved to be no problem at all. The total cost, including shipping from Hong Kong, was only $6.24 on eBay.

 

Plain Adapter


Between the 9-pin end of the serial sync cable and the 25-pin connector of the Model T, you need a plain 9M-25M adapter. Or, equally well, you could use a 9M-25F adapter followed by a 25M-25M gender changer. The important thing to remember is _not_ to use a null modem adapter.

 

Pocket PC


The PDA I used was an iPAQ 2210, but any Pocket PC that supports PocketDOS should probably also work. The best feature of the iPAQ is that it reads and writes CompactFlash cards.

 

WARNINGS


As long as you use your iPAQ only to save and retrieve your own documents and BASIC files, there should be no problem, since the formats you will be saving (namely, ASCII for .DO, tokenized for .BA) are the same as what you will be loading. However, since TEENY treats any file with a .D? extension as a document and any file with a .B? extension as being a tokenized BASIC file, there is a potentially serious problem if you use TEENY to load/save files that are not in the proper format, as is usually the case with .BA files that you find on the Web.

 

As Rick Hanson recommends on club100.org, a .BA file that is really a document (i.e., in ASCII format) should be renamed to have a .DO extension on your PC. That way, when you load it into the Model T using TEENY, TEENY will treat it as a document. That is correct, since it really is a document. Both the Tandy and NEC machines then allow you to load it and convert it to a .BA file.

 

For example, suppose the name of the file is XBW.DO. On the Tandy or NEC, issue the command

 

LOAD "XBW.DO"

 

and wait. (For a large file, the wait can be quite long, while the Model T is chugging away and tokenizing.) Then issue the command

 

SAVE "XBW.BA"

 

(which has no wait, since all the tokenizing has already occurred). You can now delete the .DO file, since there is no further need for it. If you use TEENY to make a backup copy of XBW.BA on the iPAQ, that is fine, since now the .BA extension correctly describes the contents.

 

Although I have never (knock on wood) experienced this problem, I am told that storing document content in the region reserved for BASIC files, or vice versa, will eventually cause the Model T to cold-start. Obviously, this is not a desirable situation.

 

Epilogue


The system described above, despite the large number of components, is quite easy to use now that it is installed. (Type DL on iPAQ, invoke TEENY on Model T, and away you go.) Nevertheless, I am looking forward to John Hogerhuis' forthcoming DLPilot. DLPilot will run on PalmOS machines and, since it removes the need for a DOS emulator running DeskLink, will be conceptually simpler.


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Last updated: 11 Aug 2004