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jouke (587)


Jouke has been programming Perl since 1997 and started using Perl to write programs to make life and communication easier for disabled people early 2001. Take a look at his website [] for more information.

Journal of jouke (587)

Monday August 27, 2001
02:58 AM

Writing but little Perl...

[ #709 ]
I've been writing a lot lately. And it feels good. I want to write, so I can't complain can I?

I wrote a tutorial on wxPerl for, which I hope will be approved to be published.
I wrote a non-technical article on pVoice for Closing The Gap, which will be published in their next (september) issue.
I wrote almost the same article (in Dutch) for a website/newsletter on education for disabled, called Kennisnet Speciaalonderwijs

And in the mean time I have dropped the laptop of my daughter. Laptops can have much, but this was too much. The LCD screen was smashed into pieces. To repair it costs about 2000 guilders. That's what a good second hand laptop would cost. But it's more than my budget allows.

Luckily she was going to get a new PC, all built into her wheelchair. I phoned the insurancecompany to ask for the status of the proposal her therapists had written. It turned out that they already approved it and had sent it to Voice Technologies in NL, the supplier of the thing. I phoned them and -YAY- they had the computer itself on stock. The accompanying dockingstation and accessoiries weren't, but I needed the computer itself fast. The other things could wait. They were very cooperative and the next day I had the thing on my desktop.

And what happened after that you don't want to know. But I'm going to tell you anyway:
1. Imagine a device sized as a soup plate. 10.4" touch screen. No keyboard (but a connection for it), no CDROM, no Floppy Disk and one serial interface and an USB interface.
2. The supplier was so kind to ship it with a USB bridge cable. And a driver disk. Read the previous point to see why I could not use it...driver *disk* I tell you...
3. Finally (thanks to Macphisto) I came to the conclusion that using a terminal program with Z-modem and a nullmodem cable I could download pVoice and pStory onto it.
4. It worked!
5. Now I only had to download the ~600MB of pStory stories. Made one big zipfile (~400MB) and started the download. Takes a while, but what the heck. Only every time around 40MB the sending program crashed :(
6. Came to the conclusion that I should be able to download the driverdisk by now (duh!)
7. Installed the USB bridge cable successfully!
8. After configuring both ends with an IP address (Win98 sees the cable as NICs), the machines don't see each other. They can't even ping. I spent 24 hours on it, but I gave up.
9. After reading the manual (always the last thing) it turned out that the thing had to have two PCMCIA sockets. But where? My quest for the sockets had begun. After intense examination of the machine I found two screws....unscrewing them revealed a beautiful sight of TWO PCMCIA SOCKETS! Unbelievable. I plugged in my Xircom ethernet adapter and it worked immediately!
10. The stories were copied within 15 minutes
11. Now all that was left was attaching the Icon II, the interface between my daughter's headrest and the PC and to disable the touchscreen (because otherwise she'll accidentally touch it....).
12. The Icon II does not work. Hmm...Trying, selecting another mousedriver, it does not help. Attaching it to the desktop computer and configuring it there: does not work there either. I was going nuts.
I finally grabbed the (crashed) laptop, where I knew it was configured correctly, attached an external monitor to it, attached the Icon II and tried it there: no go. The device must have died. AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!
13. Hmmm..coincidence that this is step 13? I phoned the insurancecompany this morning (they paid for the device at the time) if I could get it repaired. They approved to call the supplier and let it be repaired at their costs. Yay! Just called the supplier and in 5 minutes I have to call again because the right person will be at the office then...I'm keeping my fingers crossed...