Connectivity Pack ("CPack"), the way to emulate a HP 200LX on any PC, runs on almost any DOS-capable computer with at least a 386 processor, also under DOS emulations or DOS on PC emulations.
For example, you can run CPack on
- Windows PCs and UMPCs such as the Viliv N5 or UMID M1 in a command window (should work on 32bit systems) or under DOS emulators such as DOSBox (works also on 64bit systems)
- on Windows CE based devices using PocketDOS
- the Linux-driven Pandora Palmtop using DOSBox for Pandora
- even on Android systems, such as Tablets or Smartphones, using e.g. DOSBox Turbo
- on iOS devices (iPad, iPod, iPhone) you can use DOSPad, but this software requires a jailbreak
- on the Mac using DOSBox
- on your Linux PC at home using DOSBox
In addition to a DOS environment, CPack needs an INT5F Palmtop graphics emulator. One is already supplied with CPack, called CG.COM. It is automatically called from inside the app200.bat batch file that launches CPack. You may experiment with different Palmtop graphics emulators, to get different - maybe better - results. CG.COM is sufficient for larger screens, but since the CPack main screen is compressed to only half the size of the real screen using CG.COM, on smaller screens CG.COM is not ideal. You may replace CG.COM by
- Palrun by Stefan Peichl
- INT5fh by Harry Konstas
- On Windows PCs or UMPCs, you may try PocketDOS (use the Windows evaluation version: direct download link). This replaces not only CG.COM, but also DOSBox. PocketDOS was a DOS emulation program for Windows CE devices, that already had HP Palmtop graphics emulation built-in.
The following photos show how CPack looks on different systems:
This is with CPack's own "CG.COM" Palmtop graphics emulator, with CPack running on a UMID M1 UMPC (Windows) and on the Pandora (Linux with DOSBox):
- "Squashed" image: Only about half of the height of the M1's screen is actually used for the interesting contents. While this may be acceptable on a large PC screen, it makes CPack almost unusable on a very small screen.
And this is with Palrun (command line arguments: -c for the white background and -c -n for the black background):
- Slow vertical line-by-line scrolling: Under DOSBox using Palrun, scrolling with arrow keys is terribly slow when scrolling beyond the last screen line. Without DOSBox, i.e. in cmd.exe, it's faster but still very noticeable and maybe annoying
- Some screen refresh problems: Hour glass leaves a black box in the middle of the screen after it disappeared
- Missing text cursor: When editing, you don't know where the cursor is
Other palmtop graphics emulators work even worse than Palrun. Tested: PALMPC (crashes DOSBox, CPack not executable also under cmd.exe), and INT5F (very slow operation, started programs under program manager are instantly closed again).
Ed from the HPLX mailing list had the idea to use PocketDOS instead of any other INT5F graphics emulator. PocketDOS actually is DOS emulation software for Windows CE based pocket PCs. However, there is also an evaluation version for Windows (XP, Vista, 7...)
And indeed, it works. All problems mentioned above are solved. PocketDOS even allows you to control the F keys with the pointer device (mouse or Stylus on the M1), tapping / clicking on the F key labels. This is really nice. (Is this normal in CPack?).
Operation is very fast and smooth under PocketDOS and everything seems to work fine.
However, there are a few new display problems. See the pictures:
- Some menu items are "greyed out" (not readable) but seem to be functional
- All edit forms of the database-based PIMs are messed. The field borders are somewhat slightly diagonal and disturb the look of the forms.
How to install this setup:
You need ActiveSync by Microsoft in order to make PocketDOS work under Windows XP (PocketDOS probably needs some libraries of ActiveSync). So install ActiveSync, e.g. version 4.5. Afterwards, install "PocketDOS for Windows" from http://www.pocketdos.com/download.htm
Entirely remove or comment out the CG.COM references from app200.bat in the CPack setup.
After starting PocketDOS and reading the 15-seconds nag screen, you can directly go to the CPack directory and start CPack using app200.bat. Then you can maximize the PocketDOS window to have almost fullscreen display. If you now use the menu item "View" / "Cycle Display Zoom Mode" twice, you have a nice 200LX-like display on the UMID M1.
Try tapping/clicking the F key labels. :-)
Ideas for optimization are welcome!