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September 26, 2013

Terminals on tablets open new screen doors

Review by Jon Diercks

TTerm Pro is a $49.95 terminal emulator for iPad from Turbosoft, one with support for multiple IBM and HP terminal emulations. I recently had the opportunity to test TTerm with the CHARON Freeware HP 3000 emulator. I selected TTerm’s HP 700/92 emulation mode, pointed it at the CHARON emulator’s IP address, and got right in — the opening screen for the iPad app is shown below.

TTerm Pro review Fig 1As you can see, TTerm provides an expanded on-screen keyboard. In portrait orientation, the keys presented are pretty standard, with the addition of block-mode enter. But when rotated to landscape view, additional HP-specific keys appear (as shown below).

TTerm Pro review Fig 2

Those familiar with “real” HP terminals will feel right at home. Since I use an external Bluetooth keyboard, I closed the on-screen keyboard to let the terminal screen have more space (as shown below)

TTerm Pro review Fig 3



Block mode works as expected, as shown in the iPad screen shot just below.

BlockModeTTerm ProTTerm supports both Telnet and SSH, but since there is no SSH server for HP3000, TTerm cannot speak SSH to MPE directly. However, TTerm can tunnel a Telnet session through SSH — so I set up a tunnel through my home router, and then ran TTerm’s telnet connection through the SSH tunnel. With this setup, I can access my CHARON MPE system securely from my iPad, anywhere with internet access.

Overall, I didn’t encounter any problems in TTerm configuration. It’s pretty straightforward; there are a fair number of tweakable options in there if I needed them, but the default settings seemed to work fine. I missed the tunneling configuration in the version that I reviewed, at first. The only suggestion I have for the developer would be that there should be a more-obvious option to tunnel telnet through SSH.  

Jordan Foneska of Turbosoft replied in a note from me, “It may be that we need to look at our user interface and find a more logical, obvious home for the SSH tunneling settings. At present the user is required to select Telnet and edit the security settings section to enable communications with either SSL or SSH.”

In my test drive, TTerm appears to do exactly what it’s designed to do. It has a clean user interface, and performs well. In my limited testing, there were no crashes or unexpected errors. I would recommend TTerm for anyone who needs to use an iPad to talk to an MPE system.

Jon Diercks consults on HP 3000 projects and is the author of the only book about MPE/iX management, The MPE/iX Administration Handbook (available in online versions at the Safari bookstore.) Diercks can be contacted at jon@diercks.net.

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Well I think the Terminal-on-a-Tablet is a great idea and gosh we could have really used that and a wireless link
ten years ago when we needed to constantly interact with MPE.

I can see great usefulness for people who are using MPE actively, e.g for inventory.

It gives one more reason to stay with MPE and one more reason to buy Stromasys boxes on which to run MPE.

Note: Some time in the late 80s or early 90s there was a company that was marketing a wireless terminal. It used
short-haul wireless for use in warehouse operations. I do not recall what kind of wireless, and what was required as a base station. I do not recall the name of the manufacturer,
which might also have tried to market
into the mobile police vehicle market, i.e. terminal in a cruiser.

If anyone can recall the company, that would be nice to know.

Posted by: Tim | Sep 27, 2013 3:33:39 PM

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