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comp.sys.palmtops HP100LX Frequently Asked Questions
Section - 15. Obscure undocumented tips, tricks, and trivia

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Q: What is xine?
A: It is a built-in file compression program (D:\BIN\XINE.COM).  To
use, type "XINE infile outfile".  If infile isn't compressed, xine
will compress it to outfile.  If infile is compressed, xine will
expand it to outfile.  CAUTION:  Don't specify infile and outfile
as the same name, or you'll lose your data.  Xine is not documented,
although it appears in all versions of the 100/200LX (including
non-English versions).

Q: What is pushkeys? 
A: Pushkeys is a program to run keyboard macros from a DOS batch
file. It's in D:\BIN, but it has its hidden file bit set, so you must
use "dir /a:h" to see it.  Run it once with the /i argument, and it
installs itself as a TSR.  Run it again with the name of a .MAC file,
and it run the 10 macros in sequence.  Pushkeys is not documented,
and may be missing from some non US-English versions of the
100/200LX. It does appear in the European-English 100LX, however.
International users who don't have it built-in may be able to get a
copy from the Palmtop Paper.

Q: What is hexcalc? 
A: It's a programmer's calculator that supports hex, octal, binary,
and decimal.  It's System manager compliant, and included in the
200LX ROM, but not automatically included in the system manager menu.

Q: What is ICN200LX.COM?
A: It's a simple icon editor in the 200LX ROM.

Q: What are the special characters I can use in the comments field of 
the Application Manager?
A: An inverted question mark (keystroke Fn-3) inhibits the "Press any
key to exit from DOS ..." message after finishing the application.

An inverted exclamation point (keystroke Fn-Filer) disables the
system manager and prevents switching to another application while
the current application is running, giving the application total
control of the console and serial port.  This is needed to make
certain DOS programs (intersvr, terminal emulators, etc.) work

Neither special character is documented in early versions of the
100LX manual, though both appear in the 200LX manual and in later
editions of the 100LX manual (they work the same on both machines).

Q: How can I customize the fields in the phone book?  (e.g. add an
e-mail address)
A: Close the phone book, open the database manager, select file/open
and open the phone.pdb file (the file formats are the same for the
database manager and phone book, only the extension is changed).  Now
use file/modify database to add/subtract/move fields to your heart's
content, quit the database manager, and use the phone book.

Be aware that certain other software which reads phone book files
expects the fields to be "vanilla", so don't use this trick (or at
least back up your data and test it first) if you plan to transfer
your phone book data to such software.  The "Xlate/Merge" feature
of the connectivity pack is one program which wants the files to be

Q: How can I get the filer to run a program based on a file's type?
A:  On the 100LX, get 100Buddy.  On the 200LX, you can create the
file c:\_dat\filer.ini, containing file extensions and commands to
run, as shown in this example:

   ICN=D:\BIN\ICN200.EXE %

When you select a file and press ENTER, if the selected file has the
extention ".ICN" the icon editor on drive D: is started and the file
name (the `%' is replaced by the name of the selected file) is given
as argument. If the selected file has the extention ".ZIP" it is
automatically unzipped (assuming PKUNZIP lives on a:\bin).

Q: What's the "disable filer" trick?
A: As shipped by HP, the application manager always keeps the filer in
memory, consuming approx 58K of RAM.  This is so that, if you run out
of disk space while using an application, you can enter filer, delete
some files, and save your work.  The "disable filer" trick allows you
to completely terminate the filer, and recover that 58K of RAM.  This
is undocumented, unsupported, and nobody at HP has recommended it,
although several users have reported success with it.  Nevertheless,
please back up your disk before trying this.  To disable the filer, do
the following:

1) Activate the application manager (press {More}).
2) Move the filer to the first position, using F7.
3) Close the application manager.
4) Start DOS (cntl-123), and type the following:
   debug c:\_dat\appmgr.dat
   e 10a 01
5) Start the application manager and move the filer back to its
original position, if desired.

Now, you can close the filer by first opening it, highlighting it in
the application manager and pressing F6, or by menu/application/close
all.  The filer's quit command will behave as before, just putting
the filer to sleep, not recovering the RAM.  If the filer is asleep,
the application manager CANNOT close it.  The filer must be open
(awake) for the application manager to close it.  If the filer has
been completely terminated (not just put to sleep), it will take two
presses of the filer key to open it up again.

Q: How do I prevent the 100/200LX from powering down while on batteries?
A: There are several utility programs to do this, but the following
procedure will create a short assembler program that should do the
trick.  Warning: back up your machine before running this, as a
typing error might wreak all sorts of havoc.

The computer says:      You type:

A:\JUNK>                debug
-                       a 100
1970:0100               mov ah,46
1970:0102               mov bx,0000
1970:0105               int 15
1970:0107               int 20
-                       r cx
CX 0000
:                       9
-                       n
-                       w
Writing 00009 bytes
-                       quit

Now, you've just created a short program, called, that you
can run to inhibit the automatic time-out feature.  Re-booting will
restore the default timeout limit, or you can create a corresponding
"" program, by following the above procedure except change
the second mov statement to "mov bx,0c9a", and change the n statement
to "n".  The number after the "mov bx," is a hexadecimal
integer equal to 18 times the number of seconds desired for automatic
power-down.  0433 corresponds to 1 minute, 0c9a means 3 minutes, 14ff
means 5 minutes, 3efd means 15 minutes, etc.

Again, back up your machine before running either of these programs,
until you're confident the programs work correctly.

Q: How can I get owner info and date/time on a custom topcard? 
A: Name the file "TOPCARD.PCX" and put it in the \_SYS or \_DAT
directory on the A: or C: drive.  There may be other directory names
which work, but most random directory and/or filenames will not
display the owner info and date/time.

Q: How do I get the keyboard self-test diagnostics to work?
A: Press each key, in order, starting at the top left, going across,
and finally ending up at the bottom right.  For further explanation
of the self-test sequences, see the manual.  

Q: What are the various ROM revisions?
A: (incomplete list of bugfixes/features, need 
    help here)

The ROM versions are listed here with the earliest known serial number
prefix containing that ROM.  For example, the SG342 by 100LX ROM
version 1.04a means that it was introduced around the 42nd week of
1993.  There may be a few weeks' time when the two different ROM
versions were being manufactured simultaneously.  See the description
of what's encoded in the serial number, below, for more details on
decoding the serial numbers.  E-mail the editor if you have an earlier
serial number with a given ROM version.

Ver.  Ser.#   Comments
1.01a SG3??   Original version.  Some were eproms
1.02a SG325   Infected by the HEU bug
1.03a SG336   HEU (sHift kEy bUg) fixed, speed up for carry-forward todos.
1.04a SG342   Last ROM version prior to 2MB Model.  Does not need
                FS.COM that comes on the CPACK disk for the redirector.
1.05a SG351   Added support for 2MB
1.06a SG412   Final 100LX version.  Some cc:Mail bugs fixed.  Found on
                latest 2MB units, and on some 1MB models.

At least one user reported a dramatic (2x) speedup in the calendar
app monthly view when updating from 1.02a to 1.04a.

Ver.  Ser.#
1.00a SG425
1.01a SG430
1.02a SG448

Q: How do I determine which ROM version I have?
A: Reboot the machine (cntl-alt-del) and watch the screen.

Q: What is the Shift Key Bug (HEU)?
A: It is a bug that occurs on 100LX ROM versions 1.02a or less.
Occasionally, the key that is pressed after the shift key is ignored
and the next key pressed is capitalized.  If you try to write "Shift
Key Bug" it becomes "Hift Ey Ug".  This problem is intermittent and
not all users observe it.

Q: What information is encoded in the serial number?
A: The week it was manufactured.  A serial number is of the form:


Where y is the last digit of the year of manufacture, ww is the week
of manufacture, and nnnnn is the individual serial number.  Thus
SG45101234 is the 1234th unit manufactured in the 51st week of 1994.
The "SG" is the country of origin (apparently all are manufactured in

It seems a similar scheme is used for many HP calculators.

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Top Document: comp.sys.palmtops HP100LX Frequently Asked Questions
Previous Document: 14. Batteries, Battery life, AC adapters, etc.
Next Document: 16. Double-speed crystals

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM