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REVIEW: TERMITE V1.0 BY OREGON RESEARCH
David Manvell PutytheCat@delphi.com
Retail price: $49.95
I paid: $39.00 + $5.00 S&H
Any Amiga with 1 Mb or greater memory.
Kickstart 2.04 or greater.
A Hayes compatible modem.
Hard drive or second floppy is recommended.
16200 SW Pacific Hwy
Tigard, OR 97224
Customer Support: (503) 620-4919
Fax: (503) 624-2940
Reviewed on a standard A2000 ECS, 6 megs fast RAM, 3.1 OS, HD, Supra FAX
modem 14.4 V32.bis V42.bis MNP 2-5.
Before I submitted this article, I EMailed a copy of it to Oregon
Research for comments and to have them check it over for errors (seemed
like the fair thing to do). I received a reply from one of the
programmers (a Mr. Steven Frank) shortly thereafter. I have included
some of Mr. Frank's remarks, in brackets , at the appropriate places in
Experience has taught me to shy away from the first version of any
program...usually because of missing features, sloppy coding, and those
many legged insects we call bugs. However, with the state of the current
telecommunications scene being rather dismal, I decided to take the plunge
and purchase Termite to see how it compares with the other term programs
I've used - Term 4.0, Jr-Comm 1.02r, and for most part Terminus 2.0d (now
Let me say right off, I like Termite! It's not perfect, but it's the
best of the bunch in terms of ease of use, flexibility, and stability. I
went from opening the box to dialing my first number in under 5 minutes.
Very rarely can you get up and running in such a short time. I am also
very happy to report that since I started using Termite almost three
months ago, the program has not crashed even once! On to the details...
My copy of Termite came in a small box containing a disk, warranty
card, brochures for other Oregon Research products (they make quite a
few), and an 84 page spiral bound manual.
The manual rests flat on a desk and contains a complete Table of
Contents, Glossary, and Index. The main part of the manual describes each
menu item and window in detail with special sections devoted to the more
difficult items: Macros and Scripts; File Transfers; and most importantly,
telecommunication settings. Even the more difficult ideas (e.g. terminal
emulation, file transfer protocols, handshaking, parity, etc.), are
explained in a straight forward and easy to read manner. To round the
manual out, I found quite a few sections designed to get you up and
running and keep you that way: Tricks and Tips, troubleshooting, Keyboard
Shortcuts, the Hayes Command Set, and even a small section on BBS
etiquette! The only drawback to the manual was the skimpy Hayes Command
Set (only 13 commands are listed). Otherwise, I found the manual to be
complete. I was surprised to find that I had actually read the whole
thing and understood most of it.
The first thing I noticed about Termite is that it is completely 100%
Amiga Style Guide compliant - Quite refreshing. The included Commodore
Installer made installing Termite a breeze. The program will open on any
of the standard Workbench Screen Modes, the Workbench itself, or any
public screen. All the menus, the button bar (see below), the upload dock
(see below), iconification, ARexx support, are Style Guide compliant. I
almost fell out of my chair when I hit the Help key and got (Gasp) Help!
Not just a little screen listing the version number either, but an
AmigaGuide database listing all the program's functions and describing
what they do!
For terminal emulations, Termite comes with two built in emulations,
standard Amiga ANSI and VT-102, plus it supports the Amiga standard XEM
libraries which gives you a wide range of emulation modes to choose from.
Three XEM libraries were included on the disk I received, xemASCII,
xemHEX, and xemVT340. There was a note in the ReadMe file stating that
Oregon Research also had a xemRIP library available. I sent for it (I'll
take anything free) and received it a day later.
For transfer protocols, Termite supports the standard XPR libraries.
Included on my disk were six of them: xprASCII, xprKermit, xprQuickb,
xprXModem, xprYModem, and xprZModem. On a side note for Delphi users,
Delphi has finally fixed the bug in their ZModem protocol that prevented
it from working with the XPR libraries.
[I was not aware of this! Very good news indeed - Steven]
The nice part about XEM and XPR libraries is that you can just change
or add new libraries as they come out without having to upgrade the
One useful feature of Termite is the Button Bar. The Button Bar is a
small window with up to 16 user definable buttons on it. Each button can
have its own picture and function. You just click on one to upload,
download, send text, dial a number, clear a window, etc. There are 21
commands you can assign to a button including the Run ARexx Script
command. The Button Bar can be positioned either vertically or
horizontally anywhere on the screen. Each button is a 32x32 pixel IFF
brush that you can edit with any standard paint program. The only
drawback I found with the Button Bar is it tends to get in the way on low
resolution screens. I would prefer to be able to use smaller buttons, say
10x10, in order to make the bar a bit smaller. This would give you space
for more buttons too. A minor complaint at most as I normally use higher
Another handy feature is the UpLoad Dock, which is a special icon that
Termite places on the Workbench upon start-up. Any file you drag onto the
UpLoad Dock will be placed in the UpLoad List. At any time after that,
you can execute an Upload From List from the pull down menus, the button
bar, or from an ARexx script to batch upload all the files in the UpLoad
list. This is a lot easier than working your way through file requestor
after file requestor picking out which files you want to upload.
Termite's PhoneBook is very flexible. Each PhoneBook entry can have
multiple numbers and virtually every function can be set for each number:
screen mode, palette, serial and modem settings, transfer protocols,
paths, screen fonts, Macros etc. Every number can be completely
customized. You can place frequently used numbers in the Dial pull down
menu for quick dialing. Just select a number from the pull down menu and
it dials it without you even having to open the PhoneBook.
Termite has 29 ARexx functions. All the basics are included: upload,
download, dial, hang up, set baud rate etc. Not the largest amount by any
means, but enough to get most jobs done. In a future version, I would
like to see an ARexx "Menu" function that would execute any pull down
menu. Also missing are functions to detect mouse clicks and loss of
carrier. In addition, I would like to see an expanded requestor function
that would allow you to bring up a requestor with configurable text,
input, and buttons. The current Yes/No requestor just doesn't cut it. A
list of errors would also be beneficial.
[We do intend to expand the ARexx support in future versions - Steven]
ARexx scripts can be attached to phone numbers for automatic execution
after connecting, or to the Button Bar. Perhaps in the next upgrade they
will allow us to assign ARexx scripts to the function keys and pull down
menus as well.
[Yes, it was an oversight that you can't attach a script using the
macro editor - Steven]
There are many more features that Termite has to offer: Automatic call
logging, where, for how long, and how much; configurable text macros which
are assignable to any function or shifted function key; a multi-tasking
chat window; an adjustable review buffer with cut and paste editing
between windows; completely font and screen sensitive screens and windows;
script recording for the programming impaired; serial port sharing to
allow Termite to share the serial port with other programs; and many
There are a few minor problems with Termite, but you have to look hard
to find them. First, the ASCII Send is very slow. It sends text out just
a little bit faster than a decent typist with no adjustments available.
[We should be speeding this up soon. You're not the only one that was
bothered by this - Steven]
Second, there is no Print Screen option. There is a Print Clip command
which allows you to print the current contents of the clipboard, which in
turn could be "Copied" from the screen. This is awkward to use though and
doesn't work at all with emulations other than the internal ANSI. On the
plus side, it does allow you to print just a section of the screen which
you cannot do with a normal Print Screen command.
[This is also a candidate for future versions - Steven]
Another minor glitch is in the Dialer Time-out. It is not reset after
the Redial Delay counts down. Luckily this doesn't affect the operation
of the program.
[We have finally found the root of this bug, thanks to one of our users
on GEnie. It seems to work okay UNLESS you have a blank init string for
one of your systems. That causes the dialer to count down into negative
numbers. It will be fixed as of 1.1 - Steven]
The only other problem I've encountered is I have yet to be able to get
the Monitor button to default to on, no matter how many times I save it.
When Monitor is turned on, it is supposed to echo all the modem control
strings to the screen. Currently, I have to manually click it on every
time I dial a number.
[Yes, you are correct. We just found out about this one. It will be
fixed for 1.1 - Steven]
All in all, Termite has a very impressive user interface. It is
responsive, straight-forward, and easy to operate. It's compliance with
the Amiga Style Guidelines makes it a joy to use. Help is just a
key-press away and the program never crashes. For $49.00 retail, what
more could you ask for?