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MP900c: Tips and Tricks

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joval Page Icon Posted 2021-05-31 7:33 PM
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Having rediscovered my MP900/900c collection I have been thinking of a Tips and Tricks thread, in part because I have owned these for over a decade and am only now finding new features or tricks that some of you new owners may benefit from. Also, Anyone else can jump in and contribute.

Of course, Rich Hawley, Member Emeritas, knows this stuff better than anyone having hosted the HPCNEC site for years... still available on the waybackmachine I believe.

I'll throw out some of my ideas quickly and flesh them out in greater detail later. Here goes:

joval


Edited by joval 2021-05-31 8:06 PM
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joval Page Icon Posted 2021-05-31 7:36 PM
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1. Upgrade to Cmonex NET 4.2 Rom v2. Especially true for the MP900! Easy to do, but must have correct 4.10 bootloader version. Details later.

2. Buy/obtain/snitch a AmbiCom WL54 CF Wifi card, as cheap as 6 bucks on Fleabay. Install driver from downloads section. Now you can set up WPA encryption on the MP900/c and set up your home router for WPA2/WPA encryption so you can connect directly to the internet ( if you use a long complicated password it will provide good security for most part) . A Netgear MA401 will also work as WPA (had one for years and never realized WPA was feasible!).

3. Install Opera mini 5.0 browser. It has quite few nice features, allows you to save webpages for offline reviewing, etc. It has some limitations, but accesses /renders most https:// sites. It does "hog the GUI", so always start up My Computer/windows explorer so you can toggle "alt-tab" to open any other program if in Opera. Now you can surf the net comfortably.

joval
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joval Page Icon Posted 2021-05-31 8:02 PM
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3.5 In Opera mini the "8" key is for page down, the "2" key for page up. Web pages can be saved and viewed offline but are not saved in HTML thus are not viewable without Opera mini

4. Use Screen snap app (CMonex's ROM included) to save a jpg of a webpage etc. Long press on an image allows you to save it to documents folder,etc. Webpage text can be cut and pasted in simple text form to pocketWord,etc.

5. Find the smalltweaks app in control panel. Check the battery warning box. This will allow you to prolong battery life when surfing the net on battery power only, as the Ambicom wifi card chews up battery time. So surf to the webpage you want to read/view, then quickly just press the on/off power button toggling it off and then back on. A few seconds later the battery power card warning appears highlighting"no" option, just click it and wifi remains shutdown. When ready to surf elsewhere, toggle the power button and click on "yes" in the card warning, wait a second or two for wifi, then surf on.

joval
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joval Page Icon Posted 2021-05-31 8:20 PM
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6. Use smallTweaks to change the system font and weight... this can really give your MP900 a new appearance. Also, the Opera font is rather blockish so you can customize the appearance a bit moreto your liking.

7. Use the soft-reset app to reboot after making smallTeaks changes to implement them. You have to power up manually though with the on/of button.

8. For convenience, navigate to the programs folder, highlight the app of your choice and use the alt-F menu to select "send shortcut to desktop".Do this for 6 or 8 of your favorite programs, or more. Then, return to/open the Desktop and drag and drop each app shortcut into the My Computer desktop folder. Now, click on My Computer before starting Opera mini. Then use alt-tab to toggle back to My Computer where you can easily start your favorite apps then toggle backto Opera mini.

joval
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joval Page Icon Posted 2021-05-31 9:01 PM
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9. Download now, read later. With Instant on/off feature of HPC's, it it quite nice to start reading , say a wikipedia article or a tutorial on python, webpages and then turn things off... and quickly return hours, or days later just by pressing the on button. In this manner the MP900/c is very much like reading a paperback book: the font is simple, the background is not distracting, and its easy to find where you left off. (There are a few work arounds if files are downloaded in Opera mini, covered above somewhat). I enjoy rediscovering what I was reading/ viewing earlier.. sort of "oh, yeah... echinoderms... starfish, etc...date back to Cambrian days, primitive yet successful over 450million years, etc," or "HTML/ CSS reference."

Opera mini doesn't render media,but sometimes will download an audio media file or PDF file which can be played/shown on another app.I need to get some better details on this and report back.

10.The MP900/c's a good way to learn basic HTML 4 and CSS and JavaScript. To do this FTX browser or IE browser and any text editor will do. Design simple Webpages, change fonts, add colors and borders, add data input buttons, on-click feature.

The HTML based Date Time "Clocks" I've created this way are really great to have around the house... without them I'm not always aware of which weekday it is, or day of the month. Its so easy to set them up when the MP900 is idle by setting the home page to the clock html file in the documents folder.

11. With WPA wifi on the MP900, webpages can be created from a free standing esp32 or arduino wifi microprocessors with various sensors. I have a mini weather station that gives outside Temp/Humidity/Barometric pressure along with Date and Time for example, another one uses the MP900 to turn sprinklers on and off for a certain time using buttons... all via/using my local WPA2/WPA set router/LAN. I can use the ftx browser to easily switch between the clock or weather station or sprinkler timer, etc.for example.

Well... enough already!

joval





Edited by joval 2021-05-31 9:11 PM
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joval Page Icon Posted 2021-06-03 2:06 AM
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I found these instructions on how to upgrade the bootloader and ROM on one of my old drives. It was written by Cmonex in 2007 or there abouts. Read it over to become familiar with the process, later I go through the process on one of my MP900's and 900c and take photos to help out... maybe show you what can go wrong and how to recover. Frankly, it's easy as Pie... (easier and faster than RaspberryPi image setup)... Yummy!! Now serving!!

joval

Quote

==================CMonex's ROM Upgrade INFO=======================


OR...how to install the custom rom





DISCLAIMER: NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY PROBLEMS. however, i'm willing to help if i can.







1. flash this only if you already have bootloader version 4.10!!!! you can check your version information in the NEC firmware info applet in control panel on your 900c.



2. if you have bootloader 4.5.1-6., the links to upgrade are on my main 900 support page. please go there and check them out.



3. if you already updated to 4.10 using the update kit, but no longer have the files, use C+F keys method described below.



4. if you still have the kit, then you can use the updater. read instructions below.



5. if you need to update to 4.10, then you can use the update kit posted on my support page AND either use the original XIP.BIN in it, or change that file to the custom rom's XIP.BIN. if you do use the original one first, then after first update please refer to the instructions below.



6. troubleshooting: if the flashing process of the OS image stops for whatever reason, go and use the C+F keys method (detailed below) to reflash.



7. to confirm you did get the custom rom installed: check the firmware version, it should say CMONEX v1.0.









***instructions step by step***





updater method:





if you already updated the 900c using this kit, now you need to reformat your card again.

copy only update.exe, UPDBL.NB0 and XIP.BIN (the one for custom rom!) to its root. and do the update. as a reminder, below are the instructions again.





step by step instructions:



1. format a CF card (size at least 64mb) to FAT16 (xp calls it FAT),

2. use normal format (not quick), then unzip the needed files to its root.

3. you must do this even if the card was already fat16.

4. if you currently do not have bootloader version 4.10, make sure you also copy the SABOOT.NB0 from the package, to update the bootloader to 4.10.

5. to check your bootloader version, go to control panel on your 900 or 900c, and read NEC firmware info applet.

6. if you do not have bootloader version 4.10, copy the SABOOT.NB0 from the package to the card, this is mandatory.

7. if you already have bootloader 4.10, do not copy SABOOT.NB0 to the card.

8. if every file is copied OK, hardreset the 900/900c by removing all batteries and AC.

9. do not insert CF card yet.

10. reinsert batteries, put the 900/900c on AC (mandatory), boot to the (old) OS,

11. then insert the CF card and run update.exe on the CF card. that's it. it will take about 6 minutes in total.







C+F keys method:



DO NOT USE THIS WITH ANY BOOTLOADER OTHER THAN 4.10. you've been warned!





1. format (fully) a CF card that is at least 64 MB. use FAT16 (xp just calls that FAT)!

2. you must format the card even if it was already FAT16!

3. NOW CONFIRM YOU HAVE BOOTLOADER VERSION 4.10. the next steps will help you.

4. go to control panel on your 900c, NEC firmware info applet and read the bootloader version there.

5. if it is not version 4.10, you stop here and do not go further. you need the external updater bootloader to flash anything.

6. if you have 4.10, you can now copy XIP.BIN to card. this is the OS image.

7. insert the card in the 900c.

8. hard reset 900c by removing all power (main battery, backup battery, ac adapter)

9. before reinserting main battery (do not touch backup battery yet!) or ac adapter (easier), press and hold C and F keys on the 900c.

10. make sure the battery lock is locked.

11. give power to the 900c while still holding the keys until the 900c switchs on - on its own! no need to press the power key.

12. if it doesn't switch on within 5 secs, release the keys and it will turn on then (again on its own).

13. it should tell you that it is searching for bootloader update. of course it won't find this file so it will continue searching for OS update, which should be found on the card. it will flash it in automatically.

14. when the process is completed, it should boot the OS automatically. eject card, don't forget to reformat it again!

that's all!


Edited by joval 2021-06-03 2:17 AM




Attachments
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Attachments bootloaderupgradeinfo.rtf (4KB - 1 downloads)
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joval Page Icon Posted 2021-06-04 3:40 AM
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Ok here we go... Just found out that Cisco Aironet 350 wifi card works for WPA encryption on the MP900. There is quite nice featured applet that installs along with the cisco driver. I had this card for quite a few years... and now I recall reading that it was WPA capable. I finally found the driver, maybe from the HPC CDROM I purchased at least 5 years ago and never looked at until I transferred it to my laptop recently. "I love it when a plan comes together!"

So... Ambicom WL54, Netgear MA 401, and Cisco Aironet 350 are all WPA wifi compliant and have driver cab.s available for MP900 installation. These will get you on the internet safely "enough" (particularly if a long random-ish password is used).

Just turn your MP900c on and continue reading that Wikipedia article on Spinosa... you started last week, or that python tutorial
you've been working on over the last few months, here and there.

You can save a webpage and read it offline... Your MP900 is like a school text book, a paperback, a newspaper... that you set aside and pick up later at idle times, for example. The MP900 provides a dependable versatile multifaceted friendly resource, a calm little Harbor safe from the many electronic/
electromagnetic storms of pop ups, alerts, Ads, come-on Freebies that haunt the internet ( a true "climate" change?)

The more you learn about this wonderfully complex and ancient planet of ours, the more you can appreciate and value its stability, its beautiful creatures, the efforts of so many others as unsung heroes, and maybe just how blessed you and I really are to be a witness and participant here and now...

joval

Edited by joval 2021-06-04 3:46 AM
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H2OGuru Page Icon Posted 2021-06-04 3:35 PM
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Thanks for all this information in this post.

HG
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joval Page Icon Posted 2021-06-06 3:20 AM
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H2OGuru - 2021-06-04 7:35 AM

Thanks for all this information in this post.

HG


Many thanks for the feedback... its been a bit of a ghost town on this thread!

I see you've been around this site even longer than I have!

I do wish a thread like this had existed when I obtained my first MP900c over a decade ago.

More to follow

joval
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joval Page Icon Posted 2021-06-06 5:39 AM
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Remember, many Jornada 720 programs will run on the MP900 such as the Plus! apps: rezmeter, ppaint, imgVuePT, etc.

pocketpaint (ppaint.exe) is actually a small but quite sophisticated program. It offers custom canvass sizes, and color resolutions, pen, fill, rectangle and circles, solid or lined, image axis flips. Looks great on the MP900 screen and is a fun way to doodle away time while listening to music. Everything I draw smacks heavily of Picasso, modest as I am. Using a mouse lets you creativity fly

MOUSE!!! if you copy CMonex's gwes.exe.0409.mui file to the windows file you will have full USB mouse support. Including a functioning scroll wheel! Her gwesxxxxmui file replaces the stock file like old one 108kb vs new:113kb. Microsoft type mouse or generic... work nicely(logitech doesn't work ...may need a special driver). as I post this on my J720/RasPi I have my MP900c 2 feet away and using the mouse I can open apps, scroll thru folders checking the file names of things.

TouchScreen hint: when you calibrate your touchscreen, do so with a very light touch. Then you can use the backside of your finger, your nail in essence, to softly stroke the screen... it works very much like a regular touchscreen... no stylus necessary, to scroll up or down or left or right, viewing large images, etc.

One other item is one that C:Amie introduced me too, (he is such an amazing fellow, has an incredible bank of computer knowledge including hpc's), and that is VxUtil. Besides all its network tools it has
"AUTOMATIC" TIME/DATE UPDATE tool! Choose the hpcxxsa.cab, and .
change the Host (time server) name from "time-a.nist.gov" to "time-d.nist.gov" (change the -a to -d). So when you're online with your WPA wifi, tap the Query button for GMT, then click Set Time a few times! Voila, your date time is updated!!! ( Be sure to set you proper time zone in World clock to correct from GMT). FYI I loathe setting time date up after every restore, etc. Thank you C:Amie!!! You are a Gem!

There's a hack when VxUtil starts demanding randsom money for continued use: use a PHM registry editor ==> local machine ==> software ==> Cambridge ==>VxUtil ==> delete the date/key/name keys. Follow this up with a soft reset and no randsom needs to be paid cuz the warning/lockout stops (i don't know how long, says 27 day trial, I just figured this out today.... they should put me in charge of those oil pipelines!!!!)

Enough already! Thanks again to CMonex and C:Amie!!

joval

Edited by joval 2021-06-06 6:09 AM
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H2OGuru Page Icon Posted 2021-06-07 5:37 PM
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I don't post a lot but I'm here a lot. Most know more than me, but occasionally I am able to throw in a needed nugget of aged wisdom. I'll keep reading and learn. If I can add, I will. I mostly use my Jornada 728 but my MP 900 sits on my office desk when needed. Its battery packs are not what they used to be (nor are mine... )

HG
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joval Page Icon Posted 2021-06-08 3:15 PM
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H2OGuru - 2021-06-07 9:37 AM

I don't post a lot but I'm here a lot. Most know more than me, but occasionally I am able to throw in a needed nugget of aged wisdom. I'll keep reading and learn. If I can add, I will. I mostly use my Jornada 728 but my MP 900 sits on my office desk when needed. Its battery packs are not what they used to be (nor are mine... )

HG


Well, it was the same for me until recently. Learning some arduino coding and HTML/CSS and trying to eek out some functionality from the Jornada720 led me to jump into the fray. Those who make a living doing computer coding are way way ahead of the rest of us, but they often have no idea nor the time to dumb it down so we can "savor the nectar." I do my best to translate and put a little icing on the delicious pastries they keep cooking up, grateful as I am for each crumb of tasty morsel. Quite a group/team effort!
============================
<Fortunately I have found a way to use gmail from my mobilepro 900c using Opera mini. After initially refusing my login, saying I need an updated browser, I pressed ahead somehow and this very simple legacy email web page opened up.

This is good news (for so long as it works) as it give me a relatively easy way to post messages on the HPCFactor website, albeit indirectly, if I can copy and paste messages. I will try it out when logged in with my Jornada720 running Devuan.>

OK, that worked! I wrote the < above Post> on my MP900 with that dreamy keyboard and now just opened gmail to copy and paste into HPC:Factor forum. Great because although MP900 with Opera mini cannot login to HPC:Factor, it can view the forums so a reply can be written and sent to gmail and posted later with my Jornada720/devuan/RasPi Hybrid!

By the way, MP900 batteries are quite easy to rebuild ...I use old laptop batteries as "organ donors."

joval




Edited by joval 2021-06-08 3:18 PM
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joval Page Icon Posted 2021-06-12 2:25 AM
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check out my recent post on time/date updating with vxUtil (freeware available in downloads section) https://www.hpcfactor.com/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=20163&po... Open the program and click on the clock icon and make download site change from time-a to time-d (must be online via wifi,WPA was discussed earlier).

Also, Opera mini can access Gmail through https://mail.GOOGLE.com/mail (NOT
mail.GMAIL.com -- which requires a modern updated browser and will tell you so!) This is great because I'm in love with the MP900c keyboard and can now write posts and email them directly and then later use my J720/devuan/RasPi to post them from my email to self, etc. It has some limitations...(Can't add attachments AFAIK)
Long press the message box to copy it to the clipboard as sometimes send function glitches and you'll lose it.

joval


Edited by joval 2021-06-12 2:36 AM
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joval Page Icon Posted 2021-06-13 5:12 PM
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Ok, let's get an understanding of the Bootloader and ROM upgrade process.

On the MP900 ROM there are 3 different non-volatile boot related "programs". They were all "flashed" onto the ROM ( Read Only Memory) memory at it's creation, and each occupies a specific "sacred" location on the ROM memory registers. Unlike the Jornada 720, the MP900(c) ROM can be overwritten or "upgraded," a process that involves re-Flashing specific areas of the ROM memory registers. This is a delicate procedure and like "brain surgery" requires great care to avoid a fatal outcome by overwriting/damaging critical areas. The "Correct" Bootloader is like a well trained brain surgeon who knows the "specific" ROM anatomy in great detail and can perform the proper "excisions" and "transplants." An "Incorrect" Bootloader will , like a Ginsu knife salesman, muck things up... potentially rendering a comatose or brain dead MP900(and that's not all)! Thus, all the many strident Warnings from CMonex, etc. regarding the "correct" Bootloader version: 4.10.

The Big Three (as I understand it) ROM Heavyweights:

1. Bios
2.Bootloader
3. WinCE OS with kernel and apps, etc.

We will review the function of each in the following post(s) ...later, my friends

joval
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joval Page Icon Posted 2021-06-20 3:31 AM
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Here's the MP900 with WPA wifi access to 2 different ESP8266's (cheap) with Temp and Humidity sensors (really cheap) acting as Webservers. Using <meta http-equiv=\"refresh\" content=\"20; url=http://10.97.222.xx\" > the MP900 displays Inside data for 20 seconds then outside data for 20 seconds then back to Inside... over and over. Date and time are included as well. Just an example of what you can do with your idle MP900 or Jornada720 ! (Yes, it was a hot day!) Displays info all day long 24/7... no problem.

I've also included a snapshot of the vxUtil set up / site details for updating your J720 or MP900 Date/Time via ethernet to router or RasPi (or WPA wifi on MP900) Really works great.! (Here the time zone is off by one hour... the GMT offset is one hour off... you set it in the world clock settings... sometimes it's finicky or squirrelly and needs switching time zones back and forth to get it right).

I've written a rough draft explaining Bios, Bootloader, and OS/Kernel "roles" and how's and why's of flashing... should appear in the near future.

joval

Edited by joval 2021-06-20 3:59 AM




(inTemp.bmp)



(outTemp.bmp)



(TimeUpdate_vxUtil.bmp)



Attachments
----------------
Attachments inTemp.bmp (300KB - 0 downloads)
Attachments outTemp.bmp (300KB - 0 downloads)
Attachments TimeUpdate_vxUtil.bmp (300KB - 0 downloads)
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