• Please review our updated Terms and Rules here

DOS users can now access AEIN

AEIN

Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
Messages
10
A version of the software to access the Alternative Electronic Information Network is now available for DOS:

http://aeinetwork.com/signup.htm
http://aeinetwork.com/

There were some mistakes in the initial launch of the AEIN, which I apologize for. However, it is now completely free to use and offers a tremendous variety of content. It truly delivers the most convenient and enjoyable online experience available on a pre-Pentium computer.

For those of you who haven't heard about it, the AEIN provides a source of online forums, games, software downloads, weather forecasts, recipes and other material. It offers a graphical, interactive way to use the Internet on low-speed connections and older PCs (even 8086s).

The AEIN features a small encyclopedia (1,400+ entries) and a selection of e-books as well. It has remained online for over two years and now consists of about 650 pages, plus 150 downloads and 50 bitmap images. There is a direct messaging system that members can use to communicate.

Each page and image is capped at four kilobytes; all downloads are zipped and cannot exceed 500k. The pages are coded using a very efficient system that enables graphics, colors and other parameters to be specified in very few bytes. It rarely reads or writes to disk.

The AEIN Access Software is compatible with EGA, VGA and TGA video cards/adapters. It requires an Internet-connected (modem or NIC) computer with a packet driver such as LSPPP. The software will even fit (and run quickly) on a single 5.25" or 3.5" floppy disk. 640k RAM is recommended; 512k might work.

Please give it a try and let me know what you think. Thanks!
 

k2x4b524[

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2009
Messages
1,519
Location
Tacoma, Washington, USA. Zip code 98404
This looks very good. Minimum of 9600 Baud? Does that mean it will work with slower connections, say a 300 baud via dial-up? This AEIN seems to offer another way for a vintage computer to get on the internet, so this is definitely worth a look see. One question though. What kind of downloads does AEIN offer?
 

Trixter

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2006
Messages
7,259
Location
Chicagoland, Illinois, USA
A Prodigy reboot! I love it! I'm going to give it a try on my XT with CGA tonight (you wrote that it requires EGA/TGA/VGA but the modeset program looks like it supports 640x200x2 CGA, hope that is true).
 

creepingnet

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2005
Messages
1,057
Location
Sparks, NV
Another thing to add to my list of stuff I want to try out on my old machines. Might have to install this on the XT, Tandy 1000, and 286
 

Trixter

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2006
Messages
7,259
Location
Chicagoland, Illinois, USA
I tried to run it tonight and ran into a few problems. The first problem is that no matter what video mode I tried to specify with DMVID, it always defaulted to VGA 640x480. Secondly, the display was corrupted because it was trying to use a font that was not present in RAM/BIOS:

dosaein_graphics_trouble.jpg

Also, I could not run it on my 8088 + CGA as it could not find the DMVSCGA.RES file.

Other suggestions: I had to go digging around for a sample WATTCP.CFG, so maybe put an example one in the documentation next time, or provide a sample one?
 

Ole Juul

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2008
Messages
3,982
Location
Coalmont, BC, Canada
I must say, it looks really good. :) For me there's no setup. All I did was type "dosaein" and I was in.

A couple of comments though. After registering, one might think that one was logged in, when in fact one then has to log in at that point. Using "Esc" works sometimes and not others. Also, when logging out, one still has to exit the program. I guess that's just a programming choice, but I'm just sayin'. The only other problem is that I can't log in a second time - the program just exits.
 

Trixter

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2006
Messages
7,259
Location
Chicagoland, Illinois, USA
Did you get the graphics corruption I saw? I ran it in a VM for testing once the 8088+CGA combo didn't work out. I do not blame the VM because the lack of EGA 8x16 font characters being present is a common problem for software that assumes the characters are there.
 

Ole Juul

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2008
Messages
3,982
Location
Coalmont, BC, Canada
I just realized a WATTCP anomaly. It's actually mentioned in the readme. It requires WATTCP.CFG to be in the same directory, which is unusual. Since I have it in my environment I don't normally even think about it, but in this case copying it to the same directory as DOSAIN made the program work again.

The program ran, but crashes on login after the first registration. Again, reading the directions helped. :) It didn't write a configuration file when first run, as suggested in the readme, but after I put "DMCONFIG=O:" in the environment, all was good.

Again, I really like the look of the screens. I'm using VGA with a LCD monitor. I also run a mono card in the same computer and when I switch to that the program crashes. Programs normally display just fine using either "mode co80" or "mode mono" so I don't know what's up with that.
 

Great Hierophant

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2006
Messages
1,920
Location
Massachusetts, USA
Did you get the graphics corruption I saw? I ran it in a VM for testing once the 8088+CGA combo didn't work out. I do not blame the VM because the lack of EGA 8x16 font characters being present is a common problem for software that assumes the characters are there.

The DOSAEIN program should work with a CGA card, Deskmate 3.x certainly supports it and the DOS version is essentially the program working in a stripped down version of Deskmate. EGA should have an 8x8 and 8x14 font present in the BIOS.
 

Ole Juul

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2008
Messages
3,982
Location
Coalmont, BC, Canada
The OP hasn't been here for ten days now. Does anybody know how to send him a message with AEIN? I couldn't find the place to do that.

Edit: I just reinstalled and did the fixes I tried earlier (set drive in environment and put wattcp.cfg in same dir) and this time it didn't work. Combine that with the author's lack of interest and I'm not going to pursue this any further.
 
Last edited:

Trixter

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2006
Messages
7,259
Location
Chicagoland, Illinois, USA
Well, I hope he returns because I'd absolutely love to try this on low-spec platforms. It would make for a great demonstration at vintage computer festivals.
 

AEIN

Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
Messages
10
Sorry, I have been really busy.

Regrettably, the AEIN doesn't support CGA or Hercules. DeskMate does, but some DM programs don't support all of its video modes. CGA monitors can be used, but only with a Tandy 1000 or an EGA card.

It's difficult to run the program twice without rebooting. You might be able to do this by making two copies of the EXE file.

As for software downloads, the AEIN has a wide range of games, reference programs and utilities; please visit the Software page for more information.

Thanks for trying it out and giving feedback.
 

Ole Juul

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2008
Messages
3,982
Location
Coalmont, BC, Canada
Regrettably, the AEIN doesn't support CGA or Hercules. DeskMate does, but some DM programs don't support all of its video modes. CGA monitors can be used, but only with a Tandy 1000 or an EGA card.

So this is not for older computers? That's too bad.

It's difficult to run the program twice without rebooting. You might be able to do this by making two copies of the EXE file.

You really must fix that ASAP. :) I did get it to run twice in a row the first time, but then it wouldn't any more. I'm certainly not going to reboot a computer to run a program. Yes a DOS box boots fast, but I still lose all the RAM drives and rebooting is something that should not have to happen on a healthy system.
 

Great Hierophant

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2006
Messages
1,920
Location
Massachusetts, USA
So this is not for older computers? That's too bad.



You really must fix that ASAP. :) I did get it to run twice in a row the first time, but then it wouldn't any more. I'm certainly not going to reboot a computer to run a program. Yes a DOS box boots fast, but I still lose all the RAM drives and rebooting is something that should not have to happen on a healthy system.

I cannot think of too many PCs that are not upgradeable to EGA. Systems like the IBM PC Convertible and other CGA-only portables/convertibles are one, and systems with built-in graphics that cannot be disabled like the Amstrad PC1512 are another. I would also include the PCjr. and Tandy 1000/A/HD/EX/HX, but these apparently work with AEIN or Deskmate in 640x200x4.
 

Ole Juul

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2008
Messages
3,982
Location
Coalmont, BC, Canada
I cannot think of too many PCs that are not upgradeable to EGA. Systems like the IBM PC Convertible and other CGA-only portables/convertibles are one, and systems with built-in graphics that cannot be disabled like the Amstrad PC1512 are another. I would also include the PCjr. and Tandy 1000/A/HD/EX/HX, but these apparently work with AEIN or Deskmate in 640x200x4.

Get a new, somewhat rare, monitor and change the adaptor? I don't think so. Mono is bog standard on old kit. But you're right, there are quite a few CGA only systems.
 

MikeS

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2005
Messages
7,493
Location
Toronto ON Canada
I cannot think of too many PCs that are not upgradeable to EGA.
Well, perhaps, but doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose of a largely text-based system designed for low speed access and boasting about how eco-friendly it is by using less power (?!) if you have to scrap your monochrome adapter and card and find and buy a power-hungry EGA graphics monitor and adapter instead? But I suppose since EGA monitors are pretty scarce on the ground you might as well go to a VGA LCD monitor while you're at it...
 

mbbrutman

Associate Cat Herder
Staff member
Joined
May 3, 2003
Messages
6,269
Power savings is a dubious reason to use an older computer for anything. My 2009 vintage quad core monster desktop is using around 120 watts. I'll fire up the PCjr with the original CRT based monitor to get an exact number, but I'm quite sure it is not going to compare well.

I have a lot of machines in the house that are monochrome (5151 monitor) or CGA. The PCjr might even be capable of displaying the graphics, but not without a modification - it depends on the graphics mode being used.

If the service is going to target old, low-spec machines then excluding monochrome and CGA is a major oversight. Nobody is going to tear apart a vintage machine to upgrade it to EGA (monitors are hard to find) or VGA just to connect to this service. Making the graphics optional for those machines would go a long way toward expanding your user base.

What does AEIN use for a server system?
 

JGardner

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2009
Messages
200
...there are quite a few CGA only systems...

I'd add a guess that quite a few HP200LX users would be interested, but - CGA ...
 

MikeS

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2005
Messages
7,493
Location
Toronto ON Canada
Power savings is a dubious reason to use an older computer for anything.
For sure; I was referring to AEIN's claim:
Q. How does the AEIN save electricity?
A. It saves power both on your computer and at the hosting server by: not showing advertisements, capping the size of each page, offering all file downloads in compressed ZIP format, and very seldom reading/writing to your computer's hard drive (only when starting and exiting).
Having to replace a TTL mono monitor with an EGA would offset any such savings by a huge factor.

I wonder how much power you save by sending a ZIPped file, say 1 meg vs. 2 (minus the power used to ZIP and unZIP it of course)
 
Last edited:
Top