Saturday, December 10, 2011

Iron Geek retro part 1.

One of my special projects is to help keep older computer equipment viable. This can be especially important for those who are less privileged.  Most people have heard of the "Iron Chef" TV shows where chefs are challenged with ingredients and limited equipment to prepare a meal for the guests. Thinking in that vein, why not sort of combine the two, but without a time limit per se.

Your goal is to make a networkable pentium one computer act as a home automation controller. You will be using and Intel Pentium I system that has a floppy drive, 3com network interface card, and a two gig hard drive. You will get to use a monitor just long enough to set up the system. You also get a bootable dos disk with the system plus, bootable dos wattcp disk (with the tcpip stack), and two blank floppies.. You will also have free access to the internet from another system (using Linux of course or another os if you must). You get no other software. (Hint. Hint. internet access.)

We need to install dos on the hard disk so we have a place for all the software we will need. Since we will only be able to use the monitor for a short time, we will need to access the system remotely. Fortunately, I actually found a server for VNC (A popular network communication  program for remote access) that works with dos. We will also have to take the open source Wattcp disk (formerly used with a popular network system imaging program called Norton Ghost) and migrate files to our hard disk install so the system can support the tcpip networking protocol using dos.

 Well then what other software might one need? First we need software to control the parallel port for turning on and off various devices. We could  use qbasic but that might not be fast enough for what we our doing. Let's look at Freebasic for dos. That will give a chance to build executables from Qbasic like code.  We can download that. Secondly we need a way to serve out a web page to control the set up. I vaguely remembered a web server for dos called Boa.  it is still around but pretty much just in C source code format. Do not really want to have to deal with all of that. Fortunately, I happened across a program called Souix that is a descendant of the Boa web server. Awesome as it I think supports cgi (common gateway interface).

Since this will be on a closed network, security per se should not be an issue. We will still need to cook or write our own code to make it all work. Stay tuned for part 2.

Update: I decided to use Webserv instead. Sioux requires access to the real world.

For more details see:


After you download the file called PKUNZIP.ZIP, YOU will have to RENAME it to restore it as an EXE file

No comments:

Post a Comment