Friday, February 6, 2009
I was running the PowerBasic client for a week and half in the shelter in December and I really missed the capacity for a good graphic GUI. Every time I wanted to have a nifty lookaround or update some files, I was missing the graphics capabilities of a strong, easily configured GUI front-end. I got sick of the console after a very short while when I wanted to stop the program and examine something on the machine or copy a file.
... so I wrote a similar client in C++ Builder 4.0 for Windows 98 in just under 6 hours of work the first week of January! Basic management of I2C, IPX and SCADA control over parallel port 8 relay system to control lights, fans, dehumidifier, AC, battery charging and sensors for temperature, humidity, passive infrared, CO2 and a 1-wire oxygen sensor normally sold for cars.
It stands alone on a version of Nano98 running on a board with 8 megs of system ram, 20 megs of storage space on a flash card. So far in testing in my study it is running perfectly day in and day out without a glitch. My only problem so far is turning off the RAM swapdisk to keep spooling to a minimum. This device is sending IPX messages out on the Ethernet link and maintaining data in a DB2 database with no problems. It doesn't matter if the master server is even plugged in or not, this has no affect on performance.
What is even cooler is that I tailored the Windows theme to look like a green monochrome version of PipBoy - even my icons look like VFD images. I also changed the LOGO.SYS to display VAULT-OS instead of Windows '98 when it starts up. This system can be monitored on a B&W portable television or switched over via a VGA selector to the main color screen at the touch of a button.
You can run a thin client on this little box if you want over Citrix but the thin client takes up almost as much room as Nano98 does on the storage card.
If you want to crush Win98SE down under 5 megs of storage space, you should use UPX to compress the executables. They will need the same amount of RAM in memory but they'll store and load in a much smaller package in most cases.