TDOS, SmartKEYs and You
SmartKEYs make life easier when used in TDOS
by Bob Blair

Anyone who uses CP/M or TDOS knows that when you boot up those operating systems a listing of SmartKEY commands appear at the bottom of your screen. When you press a SmartKEY (the black keys), a command is typed on the screen which is the executed by pressing RETURN. The commands include things like: DIR - for directory of files on disk / ddp, or DEL - to delete a file, etc. The SmartKEYs just type the name of frequently used commands on the screen for you as a time saver.

TDOS, however, gives you the ability to decide what command name the SmartKEYs will print on the screen, and can be set to execute the command for you, as follows:

When you originally set up TDOS on your data pack or disk, one of the many questions you are asked is: Do you want to "change the SmartKEYs?" If you type in "Y", for yes, you are then prompted to rename each of the SmartKEYs. But did you know that in addition to having the SmartKEYs type the name of a command on the screen, you can also have them automatically execute that command without you having to press the RETURN key? It's easy!

When you tell TDOS what Command you want a SmartKEY to print on the screen, put a ^ M immediately following the command name. For instance, If you frequently use a program called MAINT12.COM (by Guy Cousineau), type in:

MAINT 12 ^ M

when answering the above question for SmartKEY I. Thereafter, when using TDOS, to execute this fantastic utility program called MAINT12 , just hit SmartKEY I, and it types the command name on the screen and (in effect) presses the RETURN key for you.

The above feature, plus the ability of TDOS to automatically perform a whole series of commands and tasks through the use of ".SUB" (short for SUBMIT) files, sets the stage for the introduction of a very useful new series of programs from Guy Cousineau. These new programs allow you to execute a single command, while using TDOS, which changes your SmartKEYs to almost anything you want. And it includes the ability to execute another command to reset those SmartKEYs to the original settings.

But, what can this do for me???

Imagine this:

By pressing a single SmartKEY, you could...

1) Boot up the TDOS installation file, have all the questions answered for you and have the TDOS system written on a new data pack or disk; or,

2) Boot up the word processor called VDE266.COM and automatically have a whole new set of SmartKEYs available at the bottom of the screen which would perform things like FORMAT, SAVE, PRINT, QUIT, TOP, BOTTOM (of page or document). And when you do QUIT, the original SmartKEY settings appear at the bottom of the screen; or,

3) Execute your favorite modem program (plus dial the number, using MEX) and have a new set of SmartKEYs with commands for your modem operation like: YOUR NAME, PASSWORD, DOWNLOAD, SAVE, UPLOAD, EXIT. And after you saved the messages from the BBS to a file and exit from the modem program, the file you saved is called up in the VDE266 program automatically, complete with new SmartKEY settings to enable you to automatically go to any message containing your name (FIND your name), NEXT PAGE, PREV PAGE, TOP FILE, BOTTOM (of file) and SAVE. When you exit VDE266, the original SmartKEY settings are reset and the file is sent to a data pack or disk after being "crunched" (all blank spaces removed in text) for archive purposes, and the screen cleared.

And I'll bet you can invent ways to use the SmartKEY setting programs beyond my above uses.

If you are a M.O.A.U.G. or 463 ADAM member and want to try out the new SmartKEY setting programs yourself, send me a formatted blank data pack or disk, and sufficient postage for me to mail it back to you in the same package, and I will send you these neat programs, including ".DOC" files explaining how to operate them (ED. NOTE: The T-DOS V4.59 volume in the N.I.A.D. Public Domain Library contains these SmartKEY programs or you can follow Bob's instructions on how to obtain them). In fact, if you include a note that tells me about the drives, expander and printer you are using (like: one 160K Disk Drive, two Digital Data Drives, 64K Memory Expander and ADAM Printer), I will pre-set the data pack or disk to boot up with the SmartKEYs set for you, and include a few surprise programs that I designed which you may find useful.

Also, if you let me know what programs you use most often, I will include those in the SmartKEY settings. Besides, it will be interesting to me to find out what programs T-DOS users find most useful.

A special THANKS to Guy Cousineau for writing the SmartKEY settings programs and to James Poulin for including them on his "Wish List" for Guy to write, and then sharing then with us.

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