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Author Topic: IDEA: Specialized anti-idle and 'modem booster'  (Read 7692 times)

app103

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IDEA: Specialized anti-idle and 'modem booster'
« on: March 12, 2008, 06:02:01 AM »
I need a utility to act as a specialized 'keep alive' for my old 233mhz, 64mb ram, WinME pc that has a 33.6k dialup connection.

I have a combo soundcard/modem that requires continous sound in order to work properly, otherwise my internet connection becomes unstable because if a sound plays on the pc, it locks up just long enough to kick me offline.

Additionally, the ISP will disconnect me automatically after a lenghth of time without any http internet activity.

I have tried other keep alive utilities and none have worked. The most effective way to kill both birds with one stone has been to run Winamp with a looped playlist, 24 hours a day, and a lyrics plugin that downloads a web page with lyrics when the song changes.

As long as I do this, I can keep sound flowing through the soundcard/modem and beat the ISP's idle timer at the same time, staying connected for up to 7 days straight.

But this is an extreme waste of my pc's resources to run something as bloated as a media player with a built in browser, all the time. Additionally, after awhile, the changing of the songs from one to another will cause a freeze up of my pc that lasts just long enough to cause me to be disconnected, defeating the purpose of the whole reason I am running Winamp.

And if I am working on this pc at night, I have to keep the speakers turned off so people can sleep, meaning I can't hear any other sounds like various alerts.

So basically, this is the small utility I need:

1. has to accept a url to a file as command line parameter.
2. produce a continous tone at frequency of 25hz (something my cheap speakers can't produce, so it will be 'silent noise') You can NOT loop a wav file for this, it will not work to produce the results I am after. The application must generate the sound itself.
3. test for an internet connection every 10 minutes, and if connected download the file specified in the url given as command line parameter, overwriting the old one that may exist from a previous download. (I plan on downloading a small txt file from my website for this)
4. sit in my tray and not get in my way
5. work on 9x
6. be light as a feather and use as little resources as possible to accomplish the job. (this means no .NET!)

Now, if you want to attempt this, I'll help you a little bit by providing this link to some info on how to produce the tone needed: http://www.codeproje.../SoundGenerator.aspx

I would attempt this myself but I only code in Delphi and that isn't a Delphi project...and I don't understand it enough to be able to do it in Delphi.

If you can manage to create this little tool, every person that still has a really old pc on dialup with an Aztech Sound4 combo card will love you for it.  :-*

f0dder

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Re: IDEA: Specialized anti-idle and 'modem booster'
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2008, 09:03:49 AM »
Holy moley, the messed up box from hell! :)

Sounds like a doable task, I don't currently have time for doing it (personal stuff), but doable. With some luck I could perhaps find time for it next week/weekend.

Do you basically always keep the dialup dialed-in, or do you sometimes disconnect? (In other words, should the app blindly try to access an URL, or should it query the telephony API for connected status?).
- carpe noctem

rjbull

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Re: IDEA: Specialized anti-idle and 'modem booster'
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2008, 09:37:07 AM »
I don't understand the sound bit, but could you do the http:// part by launching any old download manager, and setting its scheduler to download a non-existent page or file from a Web site that does exist, repeating as often as needed?

For a keep-awake utility, I used Caffeine by Zhorn Software, much better known as the maker of Stickies.


app103

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Re: IDEA: Specialized anti-idle and 'modem booster'
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2008, 12:25:33 PM »
Do you basically always keep the dialup dialed-in, or do you sometimes disconnect? (In other words, should the app blindly try to access an URL, or should it query the telephony API for connected status?).

No, it has to check connected status first, before attempting to download the file. But the sound should be continous whether I am online or not.

I don't understand the sound bit, but could you do the http:// part by launching any old download manager, and setting its scheduler to download a non-existent page or file from a Web site that does exist, repeating as often as needed?

In theory that could work, but in practice it doesn't. This morning the site the lyrics plugin uses was down and because winamp's minibrowser couldn't load the page the ISP's nag popped up and I was kicked offline because I wasn't in front of the monitor to answer it.

I have to actually download something over http for this to work. I plan on downloading a small text file from my website and I will play with it to find what is the smallest file size that works.

This is a pc with very limited resources. I really don't want to run anything that is overloaded with features I won't be needing for this purpose. I'd like to have something left to actually run some programs I want to use.


For a keep-awake utility, I used Caffeine by Zhorn Software, much better known as the maker of Stickies.

You might have misunderstood what I meant by locking up. It's not that kind of lock up. What I am referring to is when everything freezes up for a few seconds and you can't use your pc...nothing will work till it unfreezes. Maybe it has been so long since you have experienced similar problems...think back to about 10 years ago...your Win95 days, maybe? (that's how old this pc is)

This happens every time a sound plays on my pc, like the alert sound when I get a new voicemail, playing my voicemail messages, instant message sounds, some dialogs, the hourly chime in my clock program, etc. It freezes, unfreezes and plays the sound and life goes on...of course it was locked up just long enough to cause a disconnection from internet.  :(

The only way to stop this freezing from occurring is to have some kind of sound going through the sound card at all times. I have tried just about everything over the last 8 years and this is what works. Now I just need a tool to do the job...both jobs....without using all my pc's very limited ram & cpu power.

Daleus

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Re: IDEA: Specialized anti-idle and 'modem booster'
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2008, 12:31:34 PM »
What about one of the little proggies suggested in the thread about the search for a Pink Noise generator?

http://www.donationc...ex.php?topic=12603.0

The great thing is that the noise level would be fairly low and have the added benefit of being relaxing to anyone who *did* hear it.  Of course this doesn't solve the problem of having to do a download occasionally to keep the connection alive.

Daleus, Curmudgeon-at-Large

Lashiec

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Re: IDEA: Specialized anti-idle and 'modem booster'
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2008, 07:31:00 PM »

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Re: IDEA: Specialized anti-idle and 'modem booster'
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2008, 08:02:42 PM »
App, do the "keepalive" and continuous-sound parts need to be combined? Otherwise, it sounds like using one of the sound generators form the pink-noise thread would solve half of the problem :)

Is there any amount of data transfer that needs to be done, or would a single ping (for instance) be enough? I was thinking of perhaps simply loading google's front page every now and then, it's pretty rare that site goes down :)
- carpe noctem

app103

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Re: IDEA: Specialized anti-idle and 'modem booster'
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2008, 12:56:40 AM »
With the exception of the one I suggested in the pink noise thread, do any of them make 'silent noise' that won't be heard at all? The one I suggested in that thread would be perfect for the sound part except for the problem that it doesn't run on 9x so I can't even try it on this machine.

I am not sure how much data needs to be transferred, which is why I wanted to be able to specify the url to a file myself...so I can play with it and find out what the lowest amount required is.

I know just simply pinging some server will not work because I am pinging tons of them with no results as far as keeping my connection alive. I have been pinging a different time server every 15 seconds for the last 8 years, connected to 2 IRC servers, connected to an ares chat server, all involving pings to keep me connected to those...but none of it keeps me connected to the internet itself...ISP doesn't consider that valid activity.

If you wanted to do only one part of this or do it as 2 separate tools, the sound generation would be the part I am mostly interested in.

I can do the file downloading utility myself, and I even have all the code for it already, that I can recycle from another project I was working on. It's the sound generation I can't do.

I was going to do this project myself by looping a 10 second wav file with the 25hz tone, but that didn't work out too well for avoiding the pc freezing. It was good for about 2 hours after a fresh reboot but then it kept freezing up when the wav restarted. (just imagine your pc freezing every 10 seconds and you will have some idea of what it was like)

The only reason why I requested a tool with both all in one, is because I thought it would be better and a little lighter if a single app could do both rather and 2 separate apps running in the background all the time. With the very limited resources this pc has, every little bit saved can make a noticeable difference in total performance of this pc. I also figured that if someone that knew what they were doing could do this in c++ that it would automatically be lighter than anything I could do in Delphi.

rjbull

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Re: IDEA: Specialized anti-idle and 'modem booster'
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2008, 05:12:19 AM »
Given the hoops you're trying to jump through with limited resources, would it be easier just to change your ISP?


app103

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Re: IDEA: Specialized anti-idle and 'modem booster'
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2008, 11:25:01 AM »
OK...I no longer need a file downloader to accomplish what I want to do. I have made one that works and fools my isp. (turns out you can't use the same url repeatedly or they disconnect you any way, so I went with performing different google searches every 10 mins)

Now, I still need the sound part. I have acquired a small app that can generate the sound and it's working quite well, except that I have to change it from the default 500Hz to 25Hz and click a button to start the generation of sound each time, and it takes up space with a taskbar button rather than minimizing to the tray. It won't save settings and I don't want to have to write an app to change the settings, start it, & hide it... and end up having to run 3 things to do the job.

So...if someone could do just the continuous 25Hz tone through soundcard on 9x, sitting in my tray...or point out how I can generate the continuous tone in Delphi (not using Beep() or Windows.Beep()) I would greatly appreciate it.

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Re: IDEA: Specialized anti-idle and 'modem booster'
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2008, 06:41:15 PM »
App, stumbled on this a couple of days ago - http://www.soundborb.com

it's an ambient sound generator.  i've had a brief game with it and it allows some customisation of the output (volume, intensity, happiness??) and there are quite a few alternative schemes available for download (program is an 18M D/L, schemes seem to be around 1M each).

it may not be quite what you're looking for, but it may get you by (you could even run it 'hidden' by starting it via AHK, or minimise it to the tray with one any number of apps)

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app103

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Re: IDEA: Specialized anti-idle and 'modem booster'
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2008, 07:12:27 PM »
I think the thing I am using currently, minimized to a taskbar button, is probably much lighter than that, but I really would just like something that produces that continuous single tone I need, and sit in the tray without me having to run something else to get it to tray would be better.

Like I said...I have something that works and produces the tone, (PC function generator) but I don't feel like manually configuring it every time I reboot, and I don't want to run a 3rd app to do it and another to hide it in the tray.

I only have 64mb of ram here.  :(

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Re: IDEA: Specialized anti-idle and 'modem booster'
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2008, 08:22:23 PM »
no probs, just offering another possibility

FWIW, task manager says it uses about 9M of memory on my machine (tecra A9 laptop)

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app103

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Re: IDEA: Specialized anti-idle and 'modem booster'
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2008, 08:51:58 PM »
I am glad you can tell how much memory something uses because I don't have anything that can tell me that on a 9x machine...not even process explorer will tell me that info on 9x.

Mostly just have to guess, based on free ram before running something, and while it's running and compare, although that is kind of a bad way to try to figure it out since I always seem to have less then 1mb free before, during, and after...so I usually just go by the green bars in Resource Meter and how things 'feel'.