Portable Air Conditioner Adapter for Casement Window

I’ve lived in this house for many years and every summer, for about a month, the bedroom is just too hot to sleep in until well past bed time. Though I have central A/C, the ducting was designed for heat only and the central A/C has never been very effective upstairs.

The bedroom has just 2 skinny casement windows. I’ve looked at skinny A/C units, but none of them are skinny enough. I’ve looked at portable A/C units, but I could never come up with an acceptable venting option.

This spring I saw portable A/C units for sale at Costco and the question came up again. This time I put the right search criteria into DuckDuckGo and found a guy that had cut a piece of plexiglass the size of his screen. He then cut a hole in the plexiglass to allow for the vent:

Genius! I had been trying to work out a way to build a wedge-shaped device that the window could close down on.

After going thru various reviews, I ended up purchasing this Black & Decker model BPACT08WT. The price was right, it would cool my bedroom, and it wasn’t overkill (I don’t like stressing the wiring of this 80 year old house).

Coming up with a flange to connect the hose to the wood screen adapter was another challenge. The black and decker A/C unit uses a 5″ hose, so I ordered two difference 5″ flanges and hose clamps on amazon. When they showed up I found the flanges were exactly 5″ as well. There was no way to get the hose over the flange short of cutting it and I just didn’t like that idea.

After more research I found this flange on Amazon:

At $27.99, way more expensive than the other flanges but this offer louvers plus threads to mate to the tubing. When the flange showed up it fit properly so I was ready to begin building the full adapter. Interestingly, the flange is 3D printed.

Using the screen as a template, I cut the proper size out of a half sheet of 1/4″ plywood. Using a compass and some of the scrap, I test cut a 5.5″ hole with a jig saw and a fine blade. The flange fit properly, and  I was confident I could cut a fairly round hole in the actual project.

Once the wood was cut, the edges smoothed with a router’s 1/8″ round-over bit, and everything sanded, I primed and painted it with matching semi-gloss paint.

For final assembly, I cut out a bit of screen I had laying around and found 3 nylon bolts to fasten the flange to the wood.

The white rectangle right of the bolts is paraffin. I rubbed that onto the flange where it would come in contact with the wood. I also rubbed it around the perimeter of the finished wood. This will prevent the paint from sticking to the flange or the old woodwork in the window.

Here is the finished adapter ready to be installed:

Here is the final install:

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Installing MinGW (for gnuCOBOL)

As I started researching how to install the gnuCOBOL SQL preprocessor, I found that there are no binaries (Windows or Linux). If I’m going to move forward, I’m going to have to be able to  compile the preprocessor.

One option is to take a step backwards and redo what I’ve done so far on Linux. But for no particularly good reason, I want to do this project on Windows. That means getting gcc running under Windows. Cue minGW.

For what seems like 20 years, I’ve been using unxutils to provide Unix based commands in Windows which allows me to move between Windows and Linux seamlessly. BUT unxutils just provides some basic utilities, it doesn’t provide the ability to compile and run C programs on Windows.

One option is the new Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). I have multiple issues with this – it requires Windows 10 64bit, is a full blown Linux install, and it is Microsoft. I’m looking for simple, small, and clean. That is not typical of Microsoft. OK, I have an attitude.

The other options are MinGW or cygwin. gnuCOBOL for Windows is compiled on MinGW and the preprocessor seems to have no preference, so I will install MinGW and see how it goes.

The plus side to MinGW is it will replace my old unxutils and provide the same features plus provide bash on top of Windows.

MinGW Installation

Considering the general complexity of what is being installed, the installation is amazingly simple. You download an installer which works much like the Linux Synaptic Manager. From there you select which parts of MinGW you want to install.

The installer is found at https://sourceforge.net/projects/mingw/files/Installer/

Once started, I selected the default options (installing into c:\MinGW). Once the installer is setup, it asks which parts of MinGW you want to install. I selected mingw32-base (gcc), and msys-base (bash + utilities):

Before attempting to run anything, edit the file C:\MinGW\msys\1.0\etc\fstab. It
must contain:

# Win32_Path                           Mount_Point
#------------------------------------- -----------
C:/MinGW                               /mingw
C:/                                    /c

C:/ is important because it allows bash access to the entire hard drive, otherwise you will only have access to the c:\mingw\msys\1.0 directory.

Next, in C:\MinGW\msys\1.0, copy a link of msys.bat to Start Menu, named bash, so bash can be run from the start menu.

At this point, you can double click on the msys.bat (bash) link and bash will start.

Finally, add c:\mingw\msys\1.0\bin to your path. When done, commands such as ls can be run from cmd.

Installing Other Packages

There are some other packages that I know I would want. These can be installed directly using mingw-get:

mingw-get install msys-vim
mingw-get install msys-wget

Some Operational Notes

You can start bash from inside cmd like this:

bash -l

-l means to run login scripts.

To run a script with bash, you run bash and specify the path as you would inside bash. For example, if I want to run c:\tmp\test.sh, use:

bash -l -c /c/tmp/test.sh

You may or may not want -l. I have an extensive login script that I always want run.

Using scp (or pscp) requires a slightly screwy path as well.

scp myfile /tmp

will work fine.

scp myfile myhost:/tmp

will fail with ssh: Could not resolve hostname myhost;c: No such host is known.

I don’t fully understand what is going on, but myhost:/tmp is not being translated correctly. To get it to work you need two //:

scp myfile myhost://tmp

I have found that I can copy the entire MinGW environment between machines by simply copying c:\MinGW and adding the path.

Conclusion

I’m looking forward to further experiments with MinGW. I don’t have to write many cmd BAT files any more but when I do I just detest them. They are so clunky compared to bash. I would be perfectly happy migrating everything to bash.

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Installing PostgreSQL (for GnuCOBOL)

I recently wrapped up a couple of mainframe COBOL/DB2 classes at udemy.com. In general, these were refresher courses in COBOL, but I did find the EXEC SQL pre-processor very interesting.

I left the COBOL world before SQL was mainstream. When we used the computer database management system (DBMS), it was via calls like one would still do in most modern computer languages such as

CALL "DBGET" USING DBNAME, TABLENAME, ....

Once SQL came along some COBOLs (as far as I can recall HP’s COBOL/3000 was given this ability), there was a pre-processor (EXEC SQL) that allowed you to code SQL directly into COBOL such as

DISPLAY "ENTER USER-ID:".
ACCEPT USER-ID.

EXEC SQL
    SELECT USERNAME INTO :USER-NAME 
      FROM USERTABLE WHERE USERID = :USER-ID
END-EXEC.

IF SQLCODE NOT = 0, 
    DISPLAY "USER ID WAS NOT FOUND".

The mainframe COBOL/DB2 uses this pre-processor. Since there is no practical way for me to code on a mainframe (the service I looked into wanted over $300 / mo), I thought it would be neat to see if I could get a pre-processor running on gnuCOBOL. Turns out someone has written just such a pre-processor.

Getting the pre-processor running is a future topic, but one of the requirements is PostgreSQL – that is the DBMS it interfaces with.

So this blog post is my notes for getting PostgreSQL up and running.

PostgreSQL, mySQL, and SQLite

It has been years now since I used mySQL, but I did once heavily use it. I wrote an application that handled netflow data from a couple hundred routers. At the time I was pretty impressed that I was processing roughly 5 million records a day in mySQL. I liked mySQL but my knowledge of it is now 10 years out of date (jeez, how can that be??).

In my own projects for the past several years I selected SQLite as my DBMS software. I liked the licensing, and I was OK with the fact that cannot allow networked access. Plus it is very lightweight.

I believe I had looked at Postgres (as it was then called) when I looked at mySQL and mySQL looked like a much better solution then.

So how does PostgresSQL compare to mySQL and SQLite?

This article is a pretty quick comparison of the differences between the three:

https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/sqlite-vs-mysql-vs-postgresql-a-comparison-of-relational-database-management-systems

A super high-level summary:

SQLite is good for IOT, or where an embedded database is necessary (my situation). It is not good for large volumes or networked access.

mySQL is popular, easy to use, and provides fast reads. Great for websites. Downside is Oracle hasn’t been keeping it current.

postgreSQL is better at data integrity and complex operations. Downside is a more complex product.

Installing PostgreSQL

While researching PostgreSQL I found this tutorial site which I found very useful for quickly getting the DBMS installed, running, setting up some test tables, and experimenting with the DBMS:

PostgreSQL Tutorial

Here are the highlights of installation:

  • The installation procedure found in PostgreSQL Tutorial starts at

https://www.postgresqltutorial.com/install-postgresql/

  • Download the Installer.

Installers are found at

https://www.enterprisedb.com/downloads/postgres-postgresql-downloads

I’m installing onto a test Windows box. So I selected the latest and greatest PostgreSQL version.

  • Run the Installer.

Answered a few questions and 10 minutes later PostgreSQL was installed. I looked at stack builder (end of installation), but there were no other optional packages I could see using at the moment.

  • Once the PostgreSQL server is running, I started pgadmin4 (in start menu) to poke around. Although browser based, this is a very nice built in query tool.

Installing Test Data

The tutorial site includes test data of a fictional DVD rental store. It includes many tables, fields, and relationships to experiment with. Besides providing example data for their tutorial, it will provide me example data down the road for gnuCOBOL.

The instructions for downloading the DVD Rental Store database is found at

https://www.postgresqltutorial.com/postgresql-sample-database/

The procedure for uploading the data into the service is at

https://www.postgresqltutorial.com/load-postgresql-sample-database/

Once the data is loaded, I used pgadmin4 to verify the tables and data exist:

Following Along with the Tutorial

At this point, you have the necessary data installed to do the PostgreSQL tutorial. I did so just to get a feeling for this DBMS.

Compared to SQLite which I know well and my fading memory of mySQL of 10 years ago, this is an amazing product. It was easy to get running and use.

Installing a Different SQL Query Tool

pgadmin4 is much nicer than the tools that come with SQLite (and what I recall coming with mySQL long ago), but I’m not a big fan of web-based software. So I went looking for a different query tool.

I ended up settling on DBeaver. It is free, has lots of features, and also works with mySQL and SQLite so it could possibly become my de facto SQL tool. In my, so far, limited use of it, I like it though it has been really slow to start up.

You can find DBeaver here

https://dbeaver.io/download/

Here is an example of output:

Conclusion

I now have a working DBMS to use with gnuCOBOL.

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The Ultimate Electronics Toolbox

In the early 80’s I stumbled across a Plano 757 tackle box and purchased it to store my small assortment of electronic tools and parts. It quickly ended up at my office where I was constantly having to make cable ends for RS-232 equipment or crimp RJ-11 and RJ45 connectors for LAN patch cords.

In my opinion, it is the best electronics toolbox I’ve ever seen. The compartment layout allows for lots of little parts and some fairly long tools. I could even keep small wire cutters and needle nose pliers in the trays. On top is plenty of room for big equipment where I kept the crimpers and multimeters.

Tackle boxes generally have a bunch of trays that open when you lift the lid, or they have plastic boxes that slide in. You have to remove the box, then open the lid. This one you just slide open drawers to gain access. I loved it.

After purchasing this box, I really wanted another but either Plano stopped making them or they were very hard to come by. In the late 90’s (nearly 15 years later), I stumbled across a clearly old ‘new’ one at a mom&pop sporting goods store. I snapped it up and that became my home toolbox.

After I retired, the work toolbox became my primary toolbox and the newer one contains everything I need to go onsite and work on telephone or CATV wiring. Here is the 1980’s model still going strong:

Never saw one again until today (20+ years later). Today I was going thru amazon looking for a small tackle box for first aid supplies and I stumbled across a model 757-004 (I’m guessing revision #4). Here is the Amazon Link.

It is hard to tell if the drawer layout is the same. I tried to locate other pictures of the drawers, but this is the only picture anyone shows in their ad. My version’s lowest drawer has some bigger bins for small tools. This new box also has some bins on top of the lid.

Toolboxes, like work benches, are pretty specific to your own taste, but if you are looking around for an electronics toolbox, I’d say this one is worth a look.

 

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Installing Vino (VNC) on Linux Mint 19.2

I wasted too much time figuring this out so I’ll document it here for future use and if anyone else hits the problem.

As of Linux Mint 19.2 (or maybe a little earlier), they stopped including the simple Remote Desktop support. As far as I’m concerned, idiots!! I need that on every damn system I use.

When I first hit this problem I found these instructions,

Enabling remote desktop sharing (VNC) on Linux Mint 19

These worked as far as they go, but they don’t explain how to assign a password to VNC. I must have passworded access.

Here is my full set of instructions:

  • Install Vino:
sudo apt install vino
  • Assuming the password you want to assign is ‘mypassword’, enter the following commands when logged into the user that will be running vino:
gsettings set org.gnome.Vino require-encryption false
gsettings set org.gnome.Vino prompt-enabled false
gsettings set org.gnome.Vino authentication-methods "['vnc']"
gsettings set org.gnome.Vino vnc-password $(echo -n 'mypassword' | base64)
  • You can verify the settings with
gsettings get org.gnome.Vino require-encryption
gsettings get org.gnome.Vino prompt-enabled
gsettings get org.gnome.Vino authentication-methods
gsettings get org.gnome.Vino vnc-password
  • Finally, search for the Startup Applications Preferences applet, and add
/usr/lib/vino/vino-server
  • Reboot and you should be good to go!
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Installing gnuCOBOL on Windows

7 years ago I did some testing with Open COBOL. I wanted to see how well it implemented COBOL and do some performance testing as well. As I recall, the implementation was lacking a bit, but I was still able to write some decent performance testing code.

I’ve been looking into COBOL again, just for fun, and decided to review the current state of the compiler. I would also like to do some performance testing and see if / how it integrates with SQLITE.

Just to make my life easier, I want to start with a Windows installation of gnuCOBOL though I may decide Linux is a better choice for my testing. So this post records my installation of the compiler.

Open COBOL is now gnuCOBOL

I didn’t look into the reasoning (legal I presume), but Open COBOL has become gnuCOBOL. From this point forward, any reference I make to COBOL is gnuCOBOL.

Locating the Compiler

See Jun 2020 update at the end of this post for a better location for Windows binaries.

gnuCOBOL is located on sourceForge.net. But I found that the default download for windows, like Linux, does not include a binary of the compiler.

Compiling projects on Linux isn’t tyically too bad, but Windows is a whole other beast. I just want a binary, I don’t want to have to build the compiler for Windows and deal with the whole Window/Linux/minGW compilation mess.

What I discovered is if you go to nightly_snapshots, there is a windows binary for gnuCOBOL 3.1.

In case that binary goes away, I have put a copy here BUT it will be as of this writing so use nightly_snapshots if you have a choice.

Note that this compilation does not include indexed file support.

Installing the Compiler

  • Unzip the distribution file. I unzip into c:\gnuCOBOL and my examples will assume that location.
  • In c:\gnuCOBOL\bin you will find various EXE files particularly cobc.exe and cobcrun.exe:

  • In System Properties | Environment Variable you need to add the path c:\gnucobol\bin:

  • In CMD at C:\, cobc.exe should work:
C:\>cobc -V
cobc (GnuCOBOL) 3.1-dev.0
Copyright (C) 2020 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <https://gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html>
This is free software; see the source for copying conditions. There is NO
warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
Written by Keisuke Nishida, Roger While, Ron Norman, Simon Sobisch, Edward Hart
Built May 05 2020 16:26:39
Packaged May 05 2020 15:48:49 UTC
C version (MinGW) "5.3.0"

C:\>

Setting Up a BAT File

There are parameters you’ve got to pass to the compiler every time. It is easiest just to have a bat file. I’ll call mine COBOL.BAT and simply put it into c:\gnucobol\bin.

C:\gnuCOBOL\bin>type cobol.bat
@echo off

rem Compile a COBOL program

rem are env strings already defined? (tried using () here, but it failed so goto it is

if NOT "%COB_MAIN_DIR%" == "" goto cont

rem define env strings

set COB_MAIN_DIR=c:\gnucobol\
set COB_CONFIG_DIR=%COB_MAIN_DIR%config
set COB_COPY_DIR=%COB_MAIN_DIR%copy
set COB_CFLAGS=-I"%COB_MAIN_DIR%include" %COB_CFLAGS%
set COB_LDFLAGS=-L"%COB_MAIN_DIR%lib" %COB_LDFLAGS%
set COB_LIBRARY_PATH=%COB_MAIN_DIR%extras
set PATH=%COB_MAIN_DIR%bin;%PATH%
	
:cont

rem Start the compiler

cobc -x %*

-x indicates the output from the compiler should be an EXE file.

If you want to use the cobc command directly, simply use “cobol -V” once to set up the environment, then cobc can be used directly.

Testing

In c:\gnuCOBOL, you will find gnuCOBOL.pdf, a very comprehensive manual of the compiler.

If you want to do a hello world test, here is the code:

C:\gnuCOBOL>type hellow.cob
        id division.
        program-id. hellow.
        procedure division.
            display 'hello world!'.

Note there are 8 leading spaces on every line and another 4 for the DISPLAY verb. This is how fixed format COBOL code must be written.

Here is the compile and subsequent execution. Note that I use the -t- option during the compile. This will create a compiler output listing.

C:\gnuCOBOL>cobol -t- hellow.cob
GnuCOBOL 3.1-dev.0 hellow.cob Tue May 05 13:57:13 2020 Page 0001

LINE   PG/LN A...B............................................................

000001       id division.
000002       program-id. hellow.
000003       procedure division.
000004           display 'hello world!'.


0 warnings in compilation group
0 errors in compilation group

C:\gnuCOBOL>hellow
hello world!

Learning COBOL

If you have stumbled across this post because you want to learn COBOL here are a few resources I can give you (and I’ll try to keep this updated when I find others).

I am towards the end of taking this udemy.com course:

https://www.udemy.com/course/mainframe-the-complete-cobol-course-from-beginner-to-expert/

This is an IBM mainframe-based course. But COBOL is COBOL. All COBOL code shown will work the exact same way in gnuCOBOL.

The list price is $175, I paid $10. For $10 it is a decent course. I would not have been very happy had I paid $175. But I get more from books than videos.

There are several books I used during my career that are, as far as I’m concerned, essential in writing production COBOL code.

The first is The Programmer’s ANSI COBOL Reference Manual, 2nd Edition by Donald A. Sordillo. This book is, of course, out of print and fairly expensive. It is $250-$800 on Amazon and no listing on ebay today. But if you want to code in COBOL, keep watching for this book at a reasonable price. It is the best I ever saw.

My college textbook (yes, I took COBOL in college), is Fundamentals of Structured COBOL Programming by Carl Feingold. You can probably find this for < $20 if you are patient. It only covers the 1974 standard, but as a college level text book it has a very thorough coverage of the language.

When I wrote the COBOL standards for the companies I worked for, I used Handbook of COBOL Techniques (Computer Partners, Inc) and COBOL with Style (Louse J. Chmura). These are great books for producing clean code that others can read.

June 2020 Update

The gnuCOBOL binary available from Source Forge doesn’t include ISAM support and for experimentation I really would like ISAM.

I messed around with building my own compiler which was successful, but it took days of messing around. Then I stumbled on Arnold Trembley’s website. He has exact instructions for building the compiler as you want it. More importantly, he keeps various flavors of the recent release available in binary form.

From his website I was able to download

GnuCOBOL 3.1-dev r3577 (16MAY2020) MinGW compiler for Windows XP/7/8/10 with COBOL ReportWriter. Includes VBISAM 2.0.1 for Indexed Sequential file access support, GMP 6.2.0, and PDCurses 4.1.0 (17.0 megabytes). Rename .7z to .exe for self-extracting archive.

Extracted this to c:\gnuCOBOL and it works perfectly, well on a hello world test anyway.

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MoneyDance: First Impressions

I did a little testing of MoneyDance and I’ll share what I saw. This is by no means a ‘review’.

Installation

When I attempted to install MD, I immediately encountered problems. The most recent version is 64bit only. The system I need to run this on is 32bit (it’s a long story but there is a good reason). A little research revealed it is run in Java and Java is no longer supporting 32bit? OK….

Honestly this is a show stopper for the moment. I really want to maintain accounting on a specific machine and I’m not ready to upgrade that machine to 64bit for at 6-12 months until I know how I’m going to deal with hardware drivers.

Also, I have not been a fan of Java programs since the early days. I know Java software is better now than the early days of Java, but having to clock in/out of work on a seriously crappy Java app required by our payroll provider left a bad test in my mouth for all things Java. Nothing will piss an employee off faster than being in the office but not being able to clock-in!

Nevertheless, I really want to play with MD as it may become an option in 6-12 months. I also like the fact that it will run on linux as my laptop is now linux-based and that would allow me to do my accounting on the road w/o a VM.

Importing Data

MD did a pretty good job of importing data though certainly not perfect. First I imported my old quicken data file that has data going back to 1994. It managed to do so w/o crashing (unlike gnuCash) though there were many oddities I wasn’t sure of. So I decided to simplify and import just the past 2 years worth of data.

For the most part transactions, accounts, and categories imported fine. My biggest ‘gotcha’ was in asset accounts where I have the bad habit of depreciating back to the same account. For example, once a year I check the blue book value of my car, then I ‘depreciate’ the car by reducing the account by the appropriate amount. But instead of recording against a depreciation account, I just used the account itself. Quicken gives a warning when you do that, but it does it.

If you record transactions back to the same account like this, MD will not like it and will create a different account to record those against. So if my account is named [CAR] and I create a transaction for -10 and record it against [CAR], MD will create an account called [CARX] and record the transaction against that new account.

Once I realized what all of these ‘X’ accounts were, cleanup wasn’t that bad. PLUS I decided I really shouldn’t be taking the easy way out and I went back and properly recorded all of my depreciation against a real category .

Most of the bank/investment accounts imported with very few issues. The investment account did have quite a few bogus transaction additions. I never figured out what triggered these, but they were pretty easy to find because all of the real transactions were reconciled and the bogus ones were not so I could just delete them.

Usage

As I worked on cleaning up data I started to get used to how the MD GUI works.

I kept finding I had to use the mouse too much. I am NOT a mouse person. I expect to be able to do normal day-to-day operations with minimal mousing. I know the shortcut keys to everything I do daily. I’ll use a mouse to get an app running, then stick to the keyboard since it is far faster to use. I could navigate to some extent in MD w/o a mouse but then there were operations I just could not find a non-mouse way to handle. As I recall, some drop-down fields I would get into and could scroll with keys but couldn’t actually select the value – I’d have to click. In windows this would never happen – this was a Java problem.

As I cleaned up data I hit the MD 100 transaction limit on the trial version. I wasn’t expecting that to happen before I got a chance to test bank downloads.

As it turns out, when you hit that limitation, not only can you not add more transactions, you cannot setup bank accounts so there was no way for me to proceed with testing w/o purchasing MD.

Given the fact I knew I wasn’t going to be using it in the near future, I decided to conclude my  testing for now.

Summary

So far I would judge MD to be NOT UNACCEPTABLE to me (which is a notch down from ACCEPTABLE 🙂 ). I’ve decided to keep going with Quicken for the near term partially because of the 32bit issue and partially because MD’s interface is about as quirky as Quicken’s. So I will stick with the devil that I know for now.

 

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Playing Old Interactive Games (Adventure, Warp, Mystery Mansion) Online

I made a copy of my setup of the simH HP3000 emulator available for download a couple of years ago. There are several downloads of that file every day. Evidently there are a few that really enjoy playing these old games.

I have setup online access to my emulated HP3000 so you can play the games directly through the internet rather than having to download and install the emulator. The downloadable version is still available here:

https://bigdanzblog.wordpress.com/2019/09/16/playing-old-interactive-fiction-games-on-the-hp3000/

To access the game system online, follow these instructions.

Set up Telnet Client

Telnet is the only supported protocol into this system and is not initially installed in Windows 7, 8, 0r 10.

If you are using Windows 10, follow these instructions to install Telnet:

https://www.technipages.com/windows-10-enable-telnet

If you are using Windows 7, follow these instructions to install Telnet:

https://kb.iu.edu/d/ahjz

Alternatively you can download putty:

https://putty.org/

Here is an example of configuring putty to use Telnet:

How to telnet using Putty ?

If you use putty, you will most likely need to change how the backspace key works. In putty, in the left column, select Terminal | Keyboard to bring up keyboard settings. Then change the backspace key to use control-H NOT control-?

Using Telnet to Connect to the HP3000 Emulator

You will need to bring up the CMD window

  • pressing the WIN+R keys,
  • typing CMD into the open box
  • and then clicking OK.

At the CMD’s > prompt, type

telnet xyfyx.com 31777

  • This will connect you to the emulator:
Connected to the HP 3000 simulator ATCD device, line 1
  • Press the ENTER key repeatedly until you see a ‘:’ prompt:
Connected to the HP 3000 simulator ATCD device, line 1 

:
:
  • Now type HELLO USER.GAMES:

  • This will log you in and you will see a menu of games:

To play a game, enter the number of the game and press return to begin.

Additionally

There is no way to exit Trek 73 prematurely. If you want out, close the telnet window.

The emulator supports only 5 simultaneous users. If you are the 6th user you will get a connect message like this:

Connected to the HP 3000 simulator ATCD device, line 6

BUT you will not be able to get a : prompt when you press return.

I make no guarantee nor warranty regarding this emulated system. It may go down for maintenance without any notification and may disappear all together.  If it is abused, that day will be sooner rather than later.

 

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gnuCash and Online Banking: A Complete Failure for Me

I have several bank accounts that quicken downloads transactions for on a daily basis. Every morning, I do a sync and check transactions to make sure everything is legit. I don’t want to loose that ability.

One of my accounts uses Quicken web-connect to provide transactions. gnuCash doesn’t support those web-connect accounts at all. The other accounts use the older and more feature rich direct connect. Purportedly gnuCash supports those.

Unfortunately I was unable to get any of the direct connect accounts to work thru gnuCash’s aqbanking wizard. Most wouldn’t connect due to authorization issues. I know I have the credentials correct, it just doesn’t work.

The only account that made it past authorization then got stuck in the wizard such that I was never able to assign the bank account to  a gnuCash account.

Not being able to download transactions quickly, easily, and daily is a deal breaker for me. gnuCash is off the table.

While working on gnuCash I ran across MoneyDance, a recent finance manager software application. Like Quicken, my data is NOT stored in the “cloud”. It also supposedly supports direct connect accounts though not web connect. I can probably live w/o web-connect, so I’m going to give MoneyDance a chance next.

 

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Importing Quicken Data into gnuCash

Before I went the the procedure of cleaning up my quicken data I attempted an import which failed, of course. Worse, there was no indication of what caused the failure. But I knew my data file was a monster, so I set out to clean it as already discussed.

After cleaning my Quicken data file so that I only had about 18 months of transactions, only open securities, and no unused accounts I tried the import again.

I still have trouble, though I don’t recall the exact error. What I found is I needed to create a very basic chart of accounts before trying import the data. Once I did that, the data imported without failure.

I won’t try to kid anyone. The data imported but it was quite a mess. I easily spent 8 hours cleaning. And that was for maybe 300 transactions, 400 max.

First I had to organize all of the accounts into some sense of structure. Bank accounts in Assets, Quicken expense categories in expenses, etc.

With that done I started checking every asset and liability to make sure the accounts matched between gnuCash and Quicken. I don’t think a single account actually imported cleanly. The largest issue, for me, was a lot of duplicate transactions. I quickly realized most of these were UNCLEARED whereas everything else was cleared. So I would run down the register looking for UNCLEARED transactions, look for a dupe and delete the uncleared.

After that fix, I would still have to go thru the entire register for each account for both systems to verify everything was correct.

Then I checked all transactions for all securities. It did very well on those. Only a few issues.

I believe both sets of books now match. Next up, I need to figure out how to download transactions from the bank.

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