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quinbus_flestrin
Posted 2013-01-06 3:16 PM
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Best wishes to all members, for a continued association with HandHelds, and for a prosperous new year.

Anyone know if PocketDOS is still being supported... anywhere?
Last upgrade of any kind was in 2009.
Forum link seems to have closed before that.
I've just resurrected a project that I had outstanding in PocketDOS, and wanted to query some points... as you do.
It's either that, or get a closer look at assembler on a Psion Organiser II... something else I have put off for too long.

The PocketDOS man used to respond to support queries in the PocketDOS support forum, in Pocket PC FAQ.
And that is still on-line, but no longer active.
There seems to be no other way of getting in touch.

QF 06-01-13
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C:Amie
Posted 2013-01-06 3:36 PM
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They became / were taken over by Mediator Software last February I think with a view to release it against Android, but it hasn't happened.

I believe that they are South Africa based, so not easy to hunt down, but you could try and raise someone from MS via http://www.youtube.com/user/IANfromAfrica/

(... and if you do manage to get hold of them, please ask if they will exemptionware their legacy code to the HPC:Factor community http://www.hpcfactor.com/downloads/exemptionware/ )
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quinbus_flestrin
Posted 2013-01-06 4:26 PM
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Thanks for you swift reply. I'll give it a try and report back.
They are being very optimistic if competing with Android is their purpose.
I've not looked at programming inside Android, since anything you might want is either already there, or in process.
And their model of marketing, where the author collects his fee almost directly, would tend to support it.
No need for a publisher, and therefore no fees to pay.
Hark at me, who never wrote a piece of code worth copying in my entire life!
But Android is pretty amazing, whilst at the same time appearing to me to be just that bit technologically behind in execution.
It can be slow... my tablet takes longer to boot than my Vista laptop... and sometimes the Android comes back and moans that such and such is not running properly, and would I like to close it. But when I want an advanced keyboard... over and above the already-installed one... then the Google Store presents me with a selection priced from free to very low cost. Same went for an Office package.
I'd say those guys at Mediator Software have several mountains to climb.

I don't know if it has struck you, but not only does the Android industry appear to me to toll the knell for what we might term the previously accepted marketing models,
but it also seems to me that it may well toll the knell of the Intel processor line, with that horrible segmented archiecture.
I know thats been postulated almost to death in every decade since the original IBM PC, but when I read that AMD are producing wafer in quantity with AMD processor(s) embedded, and coupled (on-chip) with pretty advanced graphics processor engines... eg. for PlayStation Portables, it makes me think that this might just be the decade...

Any of you interested in the real history of the PC, which was pretty unsavoury at times, might like to see if you can run to earth Big Blue: IBM's Use and Abuse of Power. IBM started with cash registers in shops. And their singular methods for keeping those cash registers in those shops, and for stopping those same shops from using any others, might be a jaw-dropper for a lot of folks. And that was just for starters.

It is here on Amazon UK
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Big-Blue-IBMs-Abuse-Power/dp/0330302930/ref...
I just got a "good" used hardback edition there for a real bargain price.

QF 06-01-13

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C:Amie
Posted 2013-01-06 4:32 PM
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I find the Android devleopment system to be adequate, if a little clunky. The relationship between code, interface and views takes a little getting used to. I have written apps for Android myself a few times, but not published.

aDOSbox does the same thing for Android basically and uses the DOSBox code base for its emulator. It might be too late for the PocketDOS team to get it out there... having said that if they can make it more efficient and the UI better than aDOSBox it may just work.

Please do let us know if you manage to raise them.
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quinbus_flestrin
Posted 2013-01-07 11:49 AM
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Not getting anywhere with the search C:Amie.

It seems that even your clue is a year old, and Mediator is actually a flavour of multi-media programming software... kind of Powerpoint for making DVD presentatilons and videos. "Mediator is a multimedia authoring tool for Windows, developed and distributed by MatchWare, first released in 1993."
See http://www.pcpro.co.uk/reviews/media-software/247882/matchware-medi...

We turned up a Mediator Software Ltd - Computer Services in Ashton Under Lyne OL6 7LQ, but they are clearly not in SA.

I never learned the name of the correspondent that I had on PocketPC FAQ, so that rests on whether the guys who run/ran it are prepared to talk to us.
Since the quest really is for altruistic reasons, not to say archeological... or before it all becomes archeological... I can't see why someone would object.

I had this once with an author, who's book I found somewhere (as a PDF) that he took exception to when I wrote to congratulate him on his work. On polite enquiry however, it turned out that his publishers had told him that he had received all the royalties that he was going to get, some thirty years ago. And by now it covered such a narrow area, and about a product that had not been manufactured for twenty-five of those years at least, it really was a bit pointless pursuing it. I think the axe came down to grind because no one had actually asked him, presuming as I did that by now he was well beyond this veil of tears and would not care.

In this case however we have no one to actually ask.
I'm not sure, but I think that the e-commerce aspect of PocketDOS sales seems to be still live, and running through something called Digital River.

https://secure.element5.com/shareit/checkout.html?productid=164077&l...

I've emailed them with the following query and will report any results.

eMail: quinbus_flestrin2000@yahoo.com
From: Quinbus Flestrin
Phone: NA
Subject: Contact with the vendor

Message:
I am trying to contact a customer of yours who trades under the name of PocketDOS.
My query is made on behalf of a number of interested parties, who are themselves customers or potential customers for this product.
The site appears not to have been maintained, and the forum, with which it was directly connected for support, is closed. The last upgrade to the product sold on this site was made in 2009.

QF 07-01-13
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C:Amie
Posted 2013-01-07 12:02 PM
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Pocket PC FAQ is Chris De Herrera's website, perhaps he will have some ideas?

Mediator are these people: http://mediator-software.com
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quinbus_flestrin
Posted 2013-01-07 12:40 PM
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C:Amie,

Yes, I came across that one link too, but since it deals with what we used to call vapourware, and is little more than a placeholder or bookmark, I gave it a miss.
The e-commerce route seemed the more likely prospect.
That product is probably never going to amount to much anyway, since by the time they get anything to market... even if they got it there tomorow... it would be pretty long out of date.
Don't know about you, but I always wonder what these guys do for a crust whilst they develop their products.
If you're Microsoft, or even something in between, you can maybe afford to dither around, tweaking and things, but this... by the emails in the forum it sends you to alone... is old news by now... by at least a year. And as far as I can decipher from those emails, it appears to be a lot more like a kind of GAPI with movement sensing, than an OS. But as you know, I'm no programmer.

Still waiting for a response from Digital River, who themselves appear (by the auto-email response) to be an aspect of share-it! (CSE).

QF 07-01-13
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quinbus_flestrin
Posted 2013-01-07 5:51 PM
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I always thought that De Herrera was a sort of contributing member here. Like Clinton Fitch?

Certainly there seems to be no easy way to contact him from the pages of that web site.

QF 07-01-13

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C:Amie
Posted 2013-01-07 5:59 PM
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Chris De Herrera has never been involved with HPC:Factor. We were always legacy focused even with the H/PC was being developed. Until we merged with S|HPC, we didn't even have a HPC2000 focus! Chris De Herrera was a MVP and focused on 'the here and now' and anything else was archive material. Then you had people like Paul Thurrott who focused on the future.

I always knew my community

Hmm, I had fogotten that Chris doesn't like being contacted. The person you'll have to ask about current contact for him is in fact Clinton Fitch via http://alliosnews.com/contact/

I'll try and remember to ask him the next time we have tea; I've no idea when that will be mind.
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quinbus_flestrin
Posted 2013-01-07 5:59 PM
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This is the response from Digital River... it would seem the query about PocketDOS has floundered in the Digital Shoals.

"Dear Quinbus Flestrin,

Thank you for contacting the online store.

We?re sorry; we cannot answer questions about licensing, available
upgrades, special purchasing conditions or technical issues regarding
the product in question.

We recommend reviewing the website of the publisher for information on
how to contact them directly. They will be able to assist you with your
inquiry about their product.

Sincerely,
Joemark R.
Your share-it! Team"

Obviously they only want to take the Digital Money.
But by the same token, someone must still be paying them the fees to keep PocketDOS in the Digital River.

QF 07-01-13



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C:Amie
Posted 2013-01-07 6:02 PM
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They probably have a zero disclosure agreement.
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quinbus_flestrin
Posted 2013-01-07 8:37 PM
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I'm sure you are right... non-disclosure about fits their posture.

Perhaps if we had someone who was about to make a purchase of PocketDOS??
Thus stimulating the e-commerce aspect??
I wonder if it still works.

The man who posted the responses on De Herrera's board, as well as being intimately acquainted with PocketDOS and it's workings, was also a sometime flyer at one of my old haunts. He was even able to unbend enough to comment on a rather clever series of procedures derived by one of the other ghosts there. That is positive thinking, and an uncharacteristic appreciation of life in the real world... where the curious will educate themselves in this way, and benefit from it... whether we like it or not.

And I quote...

"Interesting... We changed the protection schemes in PocketDOS (v1.11.1 and later), so it would be interesting to see if these methods would still work on later versions (we would expect not).

Of course it goes without saying that we do not promote the piracy of our (or anyone else's) software. Despite numerous requests (and promises to refrain from the administrators), this board still promotes the piracy of our software. This is vaguely useful to us, as piracy would still happen without this board, and this gives us a "heads up" on what (some of) the "pirates" are doing...

We have spent many years and a lot of money (for development tools and test hardware) to develop this product. It's not made by a big company, but by individuals who are trying to make a living from it. Needless to say, if we can't make a living from it, then we can't develop it further...

PS. We are not the people who wanted to sue this site (if that was the question)."

Unquote

I'll reproduce the post in question for the benefit of the 200 odd readers that we seem to have interested... please feel free to disperse it to atoms if you feel it's a bit too risque. However by the same token, it may well stimulate the PocketDOS people into some kind of reaction.
Ours is after all, a positive case, with positive outcomes.

As an educator myself, albeit from more than a decade back, I obviously cannot condone the suppression of knowledge... any knowledge... unlike our verminous governments and their police... and took an academic interest myself in this adventure into what I have always regarded as shark infested waters... ie. coding for Intel PC derivative processors and their overly-complex segmented memory models.
As a dear old colleague (died in the wool Z80 man) used to say increasingly frequently until he met the great PIO chip in the sky, "The Intel Line of 8088/8086 processors were designed to run process control in a chemical plant, and they should have been quietly left to do so.".

Quote Begins:

Protection: Nagscreen, keycheck, CRC in program and in the Pdos_con.dll

There is a keygen for this, but it doesn't work because it doesn't use the Device-id.


Tools used:
-Ida Pro 5.0
-Highlighter to mark the executed code
-Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 MSFP Emulator (and activesync installed)
-Axe hex editor (or any other)
-Win CE Cab manager (to decompile the installation cab)

The first contact:
-PocketDos begins as bad as they come: With a nagscreen
To make it worse, it stays for 15 seconds..

So fire up IDA PRO, and disassemble the program (extracted from the cab).
Search for the string:
The XREF for it is: sub_850B0ff_85334 double click on the xref (and again)
Ida switches automaticly in graph mode, tracing this back to the beginning of the sub, and checking for alternative routes,
you can clearly see that this whole sub best can be passed.
So after a quick analysis I decided it's best to ignore most of the sub, and end it as soon as possible.

In Ida (text view) it looks like this:
Code:

sub_850B0:

text:000850C0 MOV R7, R1
.text:000850C4 BL sub_85810
.text:000850C8 MOV R5, R0
.text:000850CC CMP R5, #6
.text:000850D0 0c0100aa BGE loc_85508 ; 0c0100ea skip all this demo and registration nonsence
.text:000850D4 CMP R5, #4
.text:000850D8 BNE loc_8511C


In hex-editor:
000850D0 (= offset:744D0)
change 0C 01 00 AA
in 0C 01 00 EA


Would it be that simple?

NO!
After replacing the old exe with the newly patched exe in the emulater I fire up the program.
It loads, without nagscreen... and crashes..

So I try a different approach, the debugger.
(don't forget to set the debugger process options to the right path: \Program Files\PocketDos\pocketdos.exe)
Start up the emulator, install pocketdos and replace the exe with the patched one. (save state, because you will have to restart the emulator a few times after the crash)

The last thing I saw was "configuring Hardware"
So I placed a breakpoint on the function from which it's called.
After counting the [CTRL-F7]'s, and [F7], replacing breakpoints and some restarting (savestate starts up fast and saves you from re-installing ), I finaly reached:

Code:
.text:000A6648 ; sub_A64A4+170j ...
.text:000A6648 BL sub_87934
.text:000A664C MOVS R3, R0 ; LAST BP
.text:000A6650 BEQ loc_A6660 ; Do Bad Branch
.text:000A6654 BL sub_88234 ;


By Moving R3 to R0 I make the program believe the checksum is ok.
So it will look like this:
Code:
.text:000A664C 0003a0e1 mov R3, R0 ; copy R3, R0
.text:000A6650 MOVS R3, R0 ;
.text:000A6654 BL sub_88234 ;

In hex editor:
000A664C (= offset:95A4C):
Change: 00 30 B0 E1 02 00 00 0A F6 86 FF EB
in: 00 30 A0 E1 00 30 B0 E1 F6 86 FF EB


Again I refresh the exe in the emulator and fire it up..

It loads
I see the DOS screen loading, and then it crashes... Again (but on a different place).

I reload IDA Pro with the altered EXE.
Again I start the debugger, and let it stop on load of a library.
After loading PDOS_CON.DLL it crashes, Nice, I now know it is in the dll provided by pocketdos.

Again close the project in IDA and now load the dll.
(in debugger process options make sure to load the exe)
After putting breakpoints in the dll on suspicious routines, I reached the routine responsible for the program crash @
Code:
.text:013F1968 ADD R3, SP, #0x4C8+ClassName ; Warning you are using an illegal or cracked.....
.text:013F196C ADD R3, R3, R0,LSL#1
.text:013F1970 MOV R1, #0 ; lpWindowName
.text:013F1974 STRH R4, [R3]
.text:013F1978 ADD R0, SP, #0x4C8+ClassName ; lpClassName
.text:013F197C BL FindWindowW
.text:013F1980 CMP R0, #0
.text:013F1984 MOVNE R2, #0 ; dwNewLong
.text:013F1988 MOVLNE R1, 0xFFFFFFFC ; nIndex
.text:013F198C BLNE SetWindowLongW
.text:013F1990 BL GetForegroundWindow
.text:013F1994 MOVL R3, 0x50010
.text:013F199C ADD R2, SP, #0x4C8+Caption ; lpCaption
.text:013F19A0 ADD R1, SP, #0x4C8+Text ; lpText
.text:013F19A4 BL MessageBoxW
.text:013F19A8 ADD SP, SP, #0x4C0
.text:013F19AC LDMFD SP!, {R4,PC}
.text:013F19AC ; End of function sub_13F1860


Switch to graph view, and analyse the whole subroutine.
Again I think it's wise to ignore the whole sub, so I do a return here:

Code:
.text:013F132C
.text:013F132C
.text:013F132C Killer_1 ;<- name I gave to the sub.. ; CODE XREF: sub_13F1000+Cp
.text:013F132C ; DATA XREF: .pdata:013F7010o
.text:013F132C
.text:013F132C lpData = -0x1188
.text:013F132C cbData = -0x1184
.text:013F132C hTemplateFile = -0x1180
.text:013F132C Buffer = -0x117C
.text:013F132C hKey = -0x1178
.text:013F132C var_1174 = -0x1174
.text:013F132C Filename = -0x116C
.text:013F132C
.text:013F132C STMFD SP!, {R4-R11,LR} ; make this return: 0e f0 a0 e1
.text:013F1330 LDR R12, =0x1164
.text:013F1334 SUB SP, SP, R12 ; lpData
.text:013F1338 MOV R2, #0xD30
.text:013F133C LDR R1, =unk_13F50F0 ; void *
.text:013F1340 ORR R2, R2, #5 ; size_t
.text:013F1344 MOVL R0, 0x42C
.text:013F134C ADD R0, SP, R0 ; void *
.text:013F1350 BL memcpy
.text:013F1354 MOV R11, #0
.text:013F1358 LDR LR, =unk_13F5E28
.text:013F135C MOV R6, R11
.text:013F1360 MOV R0, R11
.text:013F1364 LDRB R1, [LR]
.text:013F1368 ANDS R1, R1, #0xFF
.text:013F136C BEQ loc_13F13A8
.text:013F1370 MOV R3, R1
.text:013F1374 ADD R1, SP, #0x1188+Filename

In hex editor:
013F132C (= offset:72C):
change F0 4F 2D E9
in 0E F0 A0 E1



Replaced the old dll (in /windows) with the patched one
Firing it up again,

And now it runs withouut a glitch



Summary:
patch pocketdos.exe:
Code:
offset:744D0
change 0C 01 00 AA
in 0C 01 00 EA
And:
offset:95A4C
Change: 00 30 B0 E1 02 00 00 0A F6 86 FF EB
in: 00 30 A0 E1 00 30 B0 E1 F6 86 FF EB


Patch PDOS_CON.DLL
Code:
offset:72C
change F0 4F 2D E9
in 0E F0 A0 E1


This was a fairly simple patch, however it's a nice one to do, because it's a good practice in debugging exe and dll.
I completely ignored the keycheck for registering, because it's not used, I removed it from the help menu with Restorator 2007.
I also replaced the bitmap in the splash-screen.

BTW my name has changed to protect the guilty

Unquote

QF 07-01-13

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woolfman
Posted 2013-02-10 1:35 AM
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Tried to add PocketDOS, but it is too large. PM me, if you want it.

Edited by woolfman 2013-02-10 1:37 AM
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markfptuson
Posted 2013-03-11 10:35 AM
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I must say myself, that I am more than a little bit frustrated with the PocketDOS situation... I used to run the trial version when I was using a J720, ages ago, and now I've got hold of a 728 cheap, I go to download it again and it's the same version, and the site says they're still asking $33 for it. Oh, I grabbed the trial version again, and it's very nice - but to be frank, I'm not about to pay $33 for a program that was released 4 years ago so I can run it on an 11-year-old H/PC. All I want is QuickBASIC and KROZ without having to wait 15 seconds every 5 minutes, heh. At the risk of being ostracized/banned, I must say that it's very tempting to ask if there's a way around this - some type of hack/crack.

Anyway, I'm going to watch this thread and keep my ear to the ground, so to speak.
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hpcr
Posted 2013-08-19 8:54 PM
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Quote
markfptuson - 2013-03-11 10:35 AM
Anyway, I'm going to watch this thread and keep my ear to the ground, so to speak.

I am also.
I am looking to skip the seconds on my J680e.
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