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<  Computer connections  ~  Antares-- an Altair replacement for 32-bit & 64-bit Win.

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qubits
Posted: Sun May 30, 2010 12:22 am Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 26 May 2010 Posts: 164 Location: Australia
I recently bought a new computer with 64-bit Windows 7, and soon realised that I couldn't run Altair anymore. I know that a virtual machine can provide a workaround, but I thought it might be fun to instead try developing a more elegant solution, and maybe learn some Windows programming in the process.

So I've been trying to write an Altair-like program that is 64-bit compatible, and I've actually made some progress. I have a GUI which is basically a clone of Altair. The current version can be used to browse the contents of the toppy and PC, and copy files in either direction. Many of the other functions aren't implemented yet, such as delete, new folder, rename, and turbo mode; and certain error conditions aren't handled gracefully. Continuing the astronomical theme of official Topfield utilities I've called it Antares.

You can check out some screenshots if you want. If you're brave or curious you could even try installing the current development version.

The actual functions for communicating with the toppy are adapted from the source code of the command line utility Wuppy by Simon Capewell, which is in turn based on the linux-based utility Puppy by Peter Urbanec.

Like Wuppy, Antares doesn't need the Topfield driver because it makes use of the open source "libusb" library. In particular, I use the "libusb-winusb" version of that library. The point of libusb-winusb that it allows access to a usb device via the generic windows usb driver, winusb.sys. This driver is available from Microsoft for all versions of windows (XP or later), including most importantly a signed 64-bit version for Windows 7 :)

What do people think? Is this a worthwhile thing to be doing? Any feature requests? :)
Cheers,
Henry

--EDIT--
I'll maintain a brief summary here of how Antares is progressing. The latest version can always be found at the Antares homepage.
---------
v0.9 (26/6/11) You can instruct Antares to automatically sleep, hibernate or shut down at the end of the transfer. Windows' automatic sleeping is temporarily disabled during transfers. The right hand side automatically refreshes when the contents changes. When you resize a column, Antares remembers. Other minor changes.
v0.8.2 (13/5/11) Fixed a bug that in some circurmstances caused Antares to not shut down properly. The turbo mode checkbox has been put back on the main window. Antares now remembers the window size and window location from last time you ran it.
v0.8.1 (5/5/11) Fixed a bug introduced in 0.8 (if a connection error occurred, Antares would jam up instead of reconnecting). Files on the PC are created at their full size at the start of the transfer, to reduce fragmentation.
v0.8 (30/4/11) Now works with standard Topfield driver (on 32-bit Win.). Transfer progress shown in task bar (Win. 7). "Type" column more informative. Browsing large folders on PC is faster. Scroll position & selections preserved when you refresh. A few other changes.
v0.7.3 (20/3/11) Added the option to Move instead of Copy. Added drop-down history lists to both sides, so you can quickly jump to another folder that you have recently viewed.
v0.7.2 (9/3/11) Added two new optional columns to each side: "Channel" and "Description".
v0.7.1 (27/2/11) Fixed a problem transferring 0-byte files or empty folders. Can now connect via a "virtual" USB connection such as a network USB server. You can now interact with the main Antares window while a transfer is in progress. It's now okay to run two copies of Antares at once (if you have two toppies).
v0.7 (26/1/11) Can change turbo mode in the middle of a file. The transfer no longer quits when connection errors occur. Warnings appear when not enough space. Minor GUI enhancements and bug fixes.
v0.6.1(30/12/10) Fixed bugs/crashes that were triggered by performing an operation (e.g. copy) on a file that had just been renamed.
v0.6 (3/11/10) Folders (and their contents) now transfer correctly. Correct file icons are now shown. Some causes of crashes have been fixed.
v0.5.1(30/8/10) Improved transfer rate from PC to PVR.
v0.5 (14/8/10) Resume mode implemented. Can view detailed program info stored in .rec files. Remaining GUI functions implemented (delete, new folder, rename on the PC side).
v0.4 (31/7/10) Can now do "New Folder" on the PVR. Can now "Cut"/"Paste" on the PVR (to easily move files on the PVR). Can now plug in/unplug PVR while Antares is running.
v0.3 (24/6/10) Can now rename/delete files on the PVR. Can now change turbo mode during copy, if you are copying several files (takes effect next file). The folders you are viewing are now remembered from last time.
v0.2 (31/5/10) Turbo mode now works. Some bugs relating to file modification dates have been fixed.
v0.1 (30/5/10) The first version posted, as described in the post above.


Last edited by qubits on Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:20 am; edited 27 times in total
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Darucla
Posted: Sun May 30, 2010 3:10 am Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 06 Jun 2007 Posts: 1420 Location: Norwich
Sounds good to me. With the common current practice of supplying PCs with Win 7 64 preloaded, it can only become more useful with time.

_________________
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -CpFm+C0EgIPeUUsUuUyVyWf
TAPs: EIT Sub v0.6; EPG2MEI v0.96; MyInfo B5.5; MHEG Control B2; MyStuff 6.4; Extend v1.7; SecCache (UK) v0.4;
Sig generated by MyInfo on 24/5/11
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andrec
Posted: Sun May 30, 2010 7:48 am Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 15 Jul 2005 Posts: 1345 Location: Bristol, U.K.
Darucla wrote:
Sounds good to me. With the common current practice of supplying PCs with Win 7 64 preloaded, it can only become more useful with time.

Hear, hear! Please continue to develop it - though from what you've said, even in its current state it allows Toppy Life As We Know It to continue into a Windows 7-64 future. Thank you Very Happy.

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André Coutanche
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glenmcfar
Posted: Sun May 30, 2010 10:22 am Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 07 Dec 2006 Posts: 4519 Location: Dundonald, Ayrshire, Scotland
This is great news..... but I can't install the file in the second link. It tells me not suitable for a 64-bit OS.

_________________
H/W: TF5800 | URC-7555 | Asus | Best Firmware Ever!
A/S: SecCacheUK, EitSub, EPG2MEI, Display, Extend, QuickJump, FontManager, TapLauncher, MyStuff
T/L: TapCommander, Surfer, MeiSearch, MediaManager | HDFW, CutAds, Sudoku
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qubits
Posted: Sun May 30, 2010 10:41 am Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 26 May 2010 Posts: 164 Location: Australia
glenmcfar wrote:
This is great news..... but I can't install the file in the second link. It tells me not suitable for a 64-bit OS.

Ah, thanks for letting me know. Now I think of it, Windows 7 should come with its own version of the .NET runtime installed by default. Try skipping step 2, and if that works I'll update the instructions.
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Iken
Posted: Sun May 30, 2010 12:00 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 13 Jul 2006 Posts: 109 Location: Hertfordshire, Sandy Heath Tx
Henry, you're an absolute star!

I'll be trying this out shortly, will report back...

_________________
TF5800t, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -R+BmC0DsEvIMPeR0UUuUyVyZ
Autorun TAPs: Power Restore V0.7.8; MHEG Control B2.1; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EPG2MEI v0.96; Extend v1.7; Font Manager 1.0d; TF5000 Display v1.53; MyStuff 6.5; MyInfo B5.6.
Manual TAPs: ChannelOrganiser B2X10; FwLoad B3.3; HDD Info V2.4d; SignalMonitor 0.54; TAP Commander 1.34.

Last Updated 21/10/2013
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Iken
Posted: Sun May 30, 2010 12:28 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 13 Jul 2006 Posts: 109 Location: Hertfordshire, Sandy Heath Tx
Currently copying PVR to PC at around 1.80MB/sec.

Driver installed fine as long as you trigger the search from the \drivers directory and not specific sub-directory (as the instructions say Embarassed )

Aero interface works without issue and looks classy!

Minor bug: Date displayed on the Toppy side is a month out (e.g. Jan is displayed as month 00, May as 04)

_________________
TF5800t, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -R+BmC0DsEvIMPeR0UUuUyVyZ
Autorun TAPs: Power Restore V0.7.8; MHEG Control B2.1; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EPG2MEI v0.96; Extend v1.7; Font Manager 1.0d; TF5000 Display v1.53; MyStuff 6.5; MyInfo B5.6.
Manual TAPs: ChannelOrganiser B2X10; FwLoad B3.3; HDD Info V2.4d; SignalMonitor 0.54; TAP Commander 1.34.

Last Updated 21/10/2013
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glenmcfar
Posted: Sun May 30, 2010 12:33 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 07 Dec 2006 Posts: 4519 Location: Dundonald, Ayrshire, Scotland
Same as Iken - tried to search x86 with no joy. Searched drivers and bingo!

Keep up the good work fella (and I can give up trying to make sense of ubuntu!)

Glen.

_________________
H/W: TF5800 | URC-7555 | Asus | Best Firmware Ever!
A/S: SecCacheUK, EitSub, EPG2MEI, Display, Extend, QuickJump, FontManager, TapLauncher, MyStuff
T/L: TapCommander, Surfer, MeiSearch, MediaManager | HDFW, CutAds, Sudoku
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Darucla
Posted: Sun May 30, 2010 12:47 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 06 Jun 2007 Posts: 1420 Location: Norwich
Kinda brings to mind the question - Why didn't Topfield do this? Confused

_________________
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -CpFm+C0EgIPeUUsUuUyVyWf
TAPs: EIT Sub v0.6; EPG2MEI v0.96; MyInfo B5.5; MHEG Control B2; MyStuff 6.4; Extend v1.7; SecCache (UK) v0.4;
Sig generated by MyInfo on 24/5/11
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Darucla
Posted: Sun May 30, 2010 1:06 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 06 Jun 2007 Posts: 1420 Location: Norwich
And extra kudos for quietly slipping it onto the forum in the early hours of a Sunday morning. Cool

_________________
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -CpFm+C0EgIPeUUsUuUyVyWf
TAPs: EIT Sub v0.6; EPG2MEI v0.96; MyInfo B5.5; MHEG Control B2; MyStuff 6.4; Extend v1.7; SecCache (UK) v0.4;
Sig generated by MyInfo on 24/5/11
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qubits
Posted: Sun May 30, 2010 1:39 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 26 May 2010 Posts: 164 Location: Australia
Thanks for being the guinea pigs, guys. I found the bug that's causing the month problem, and I updated the installation instructions to make the "drivers" folder thing a bit clearer.
Darucla wrote:
And extra kudos for quietly slipping it onto the forum in the early hours of a Sunday morning. Cool

It won't seem quite as impressive when I tell you that it was 10:22am where I am Smile
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Iken
Posted: Sun May 30, 2010 1:52 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 13 Jul 2006 Posts: 109 Location: Hertfordshire, Sandy Heath Tx
qubits wrote:
Thanks for being the guinea pigs, guys. I found the bug that's causing the month problem, and I updated the installation instructions to make the "drivers" folder thing a bit clearer.

It was pretty clear, actually, I just rushed it a bit... Embarassed

qubits wrote:

It won't seem quite as impressive when I tell you that it was 10:22am where I am Smile

As far as I'm concerned, even at that time you still deserve the kudos!

_________________
TF5800t, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -R+BmC0DsEvIMPeR0UUuUyVyZ
Autorun TAPs: Power Restore V0.7.8; MHEG Control B2.1; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EPG2MEI v0.96; Extend v1.7; Font Manager 1.0d; TF5000 Display v1.53; MyStuff 6.5; MyInfo B5.6.
Manual TAPs: ChannelOrganiser B2X10; FwLoad B3.3; HDD Info V2.4d; SignalMonitor 0.54; TAP Commander 1.34.

Last Updated 21/10/2013
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Iken
Posted: Sun May 30, 2010 2:06 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 13 Jul 2006 Posts: 109 Location: Hertfordshire, Sandy Heath Tx
Darucla wrote:
Kinda brings to mind the question - Why didn't Topfield do this? Confused


Now that is an extremely good question...

_________________
TF5800t, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -R+BmC0DsEvIMPeR0UUuUyVyZ
Autorun TAPs: Power Restore V0.7.8; MHEG Control B2.1; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EPG2MEI v0.96; Extend v1.7; Font Manager 1.0d; TF5000 Display v1.53; MyStuff 6.5; MyInfo B5.6.
Manual TAPs: ChannelOrganiser B2X10; FwLoad B3.3; HDD Info V2.4d; SignalMonitor 0.54; TAP Commander 1.34.

Last Updated 21/10/2013
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Darucla
Posted: Sun May 30, 2010 2:20 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 06 Jun 2007 Posts: 1420 Location: Norwich
qubits wrote:

It won't seem quite as impressive when I tell you that it was 10:22am where I am Smile


Oops, east of Adelaide, didn't see the location. Still cool.

I'll be trying soon to see if this works OK with the Medion wireless usb hub. This would provide a nice permanently connected solution. (Can't see why not really).

_________________
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -CpFm+C0EgIPeUUsUuUyVyWf
TAPs: EIT Sub v0.6; EPG2MEI v0.96; MyInfo B5.5; MHEG Control B2; MyStuff 6.4; Extend v1.7; SecCache (UK) v0.4;
Sig generated by MyInfo on 24/5/11
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qubits
Posted: Sun May 30, 2010 2:57 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 26 May 2010 Posts: 164 Location: Australia
Darucla wrote:

Oops, east of Adelaide, didn't see the location. Still cool.

Yep... Canberra actually. But about half of the development of Antares was done on Kangaroo Island, a mere stone's through away from Adelaide Smile (I'm from S.A. originally like you).
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