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Dodel ©December 2000 |
PM Timer: http://www.habets-it.nl/~jeffh/pmtimer.html
Download PM Timer v1.19(Freeware): http://www.habets-it.nl/~jeffh/files/pmt119b.zip
For years I have been looking for a simple utility to log my dialup phone usage.
Not a log for my internet connection, since I have a cable modem which has gives
me a 24hour/7day connection to the internet. What I needed this for was to track
my business usage when dialing into client mainframes. I am a mainframe computer
consultant/programmer, and over the years I have racked up several hundred dollars
in long distance charges each month.
Since I am a self-employed contract worker, those charges are my own, so keeping
track of them would have been nice. I have tried one application for this previously,
but it required my manually clicking on a button to start a timer. I am just not
strict enough to keep doing that, so the results were pretty useless. What I needed
was something I could install and forget. Finally after looking for years, I stumbled
onto the answer - PM Timer. This is a small PM application by Jeffrey Habets, who
resides in the Netherlands. Jeff is also the author of PM Notes. It seems the Europeans
are far more concerned about tracking telephone charges, since they are dinged even
for local access, something most Americans take for granted. PM Timer was written
to help OS/2 users track these charges realtime, as well as produce a log for comparing
against your telephone bill. It turns out that PM Timer has been around for years.
I guess I just didn't know the right place to look before. Unfortunately Mr. Habets
is not working on OS/2 applications anymore, so PM Timer is frozen in time as far
as features are concerned.
The author suggests creating a batch command script to start PM Timer, then your
dialer program. For me it was easier to create a program object for pmtimer.exe
and stick it in my communications Work Area folder. When I open this folder
PM Timer, my dialer(Dials/2 4.53) and a PComm (Personal Communications
for OS/2 4.1) all open automatically.
You can also set a periodic beep and set the tone frequencies of the beep. Also
one of the neat features of this app is that you can configure a title bar display
of the timer and running costs. You can position this display, so that it doesn't
interfere with other titlebar enhancers like Xit and NPSWPS.
Finally you can configure how PM Timer automatically monitors your COM port.
First you need to set which COM port to monitor. You can adjust the seconds between
connect and carrier(default is 10). There are two methods to access the serial ports,
the Direct Hardware access (IOPL) or via the serial Port driver (COM.SYS
or SIO.SYS). Default is Direct Hardware access. If you use Direct Hardware
Access you have to have IOPL=YES in you CONFIG.SYS
file. If you decide to use the serial port driver access method be aware of two
problems that you may encounter according to the README.TXT, "The disadvantage
of driver access is that (with COM.SYS) DOS/WIN-OS2 sessions have
exclusive access to the port, so PM Timer won't be able to access the port. Also,
there are some OS/2 apps that won't hang up if PM Timer is monitoring using driver
access. For those reasons I recommend using direct hardware access.".
When I use Dials/2
to dial into my clients, after a connection is initiated, the word Start
fades out, and the word Stop appears in the red button. The timer starts
incrementing and the costs are shown.
Then the window which has focus shows the same data in the title bar. In the
image below the PM Timer data is in red digits. I use Xit, which adds several title
bar buttons and a current time to the title bar also. So you can keep an eye on
this data while you are working. Here is a screen capture of a PComm/2 (Personal
Communications for OS/2) window with PM Timer activated. Note the Cost amount and
elapsed time in red digits in the titlebar. Other title bar enhancers in use in
this shot are X-it 2.51(dark blue system time clock and the three buttons to the
right of it) and Styler/2 v22.214.171.124 (title bar bitmap and title font).
PM Timer creates a log file in the PM Timer directory, which you can view either
with any editor of your choice or by clicking on the left corner button and selecting
Log Window. The log shows when PM Timer was started, when the carrier
was detected and dropped, Connection time and the cost and Zone.
19:09:28 Saturday, October 21 2000 - PM Timer version 1.19ß
19:10:28 Carrier Detected
19:16:33 Carrier Dropped
19:16:33 Connection time: 00:06:15
19:16:33 Costs: 0.700 - Zone 4
19:25:19 User exit requested - terminating
21:55:59 Saturday, October 21 2000 - PM Timer version 1.19ß
22:37:20 Carrier Detected
22:37:25 Carrier Dropped
22:37:25 Connection time: 00:00:15
22:37:25 Costs: 0.100 - Zone 4
Other command line parameters are as follows:
/H to start PM Timer minimized.
/Q to close a running instance of PM Timer.
/W to prevent a warning message from being displayed if you close PM Timer while it is timing.
/INI=filename.ini PM Timer will use the file "filename.ini" instead of the default pmtimer.ini to store and retrieve it's configuration.
All in all I was pleasantly surprised to find this little utility. It amazes
me that after having run OS/2 for almost 10 years I am still discovering useful
applications and utilities. For someone looking to get a handle on their telephone
costs, PM Timer is a gem of a discovery. And speaking of costs, PM Timer is freeware.