Quick Tutorial - Interactive from computer

Step 1 - start up Heavy Metal:

Depending on your operating system, you may start the program by either double-clicking on the "heavymetal.pl" icon, or by invoking the program directly from a command line.  At first, though, it's best to use the command line so that we can examine any error or warning messages that might crop up.  On Windows, open up a MS-DOS prompt window from your Start menu.  Then, "cd" to the directory in which you saved the "heavymetal.pl" file.  If you have trouble finding it, you can use the "Find File" or "Search" utility.  Verify that you are in the same directory or folder as heavymetal.pl by doing:

dir heavymetal.pl

Now, to invoke the program, type:

perl heavymetal.pl

After a few seconds, the MS-DOS window should minimize, and the Heavy Metal window should appear.  If the Heavy Metal window does not appear, click on the minimized MS-DOS window to see the error message.  A failure at this point usually means a problem in the installation of the Perl environment.  If this is the case, review the installation instructions, or email me for assistance.

Step 2 - Verify Heavy Metal settings

Heavy Metal comes with default setting regarding which serial port to use, what code, baud rate, etc.  Chances are, they don't exactly match your needs.  When Heavy Metal (let's say HM from here on out) completes its initialization - which can take 5-10 seconds - look at the status line, which is between the large and small narrow windows.  It should look something like:

LC lock:Off - Code:USTTY - Port:COM2: - WPM:60 - B:45 - S:1.5 - W5

If it doesn't, chances are it says something about COM2: being an invalid port.  This means that either you should be using COM1: (or some other port), or some other program has is already using the serial port.  Let's say you want to use COM1:.  To change it, drop the "Config" menu and click on the "Serial Port" label.  This will drop a cascade menu with your port choices.  Select "COM1:".  At this point, HM will try to open and set up your new port.  If everything goes OK, you should see a status line similar to the above.  If you need to change the code, baud rate or other UART setting, do so in a similar fashion.  When you are done, drop the "File" menu and select "Save Configuration".  Now, the next time you start up HM everything should be the way you want it.

There is one other setting that you may wish to do at this time.  If you are running HM without a teletype machine attached (which is a good thing to do at first while you're getting used to the program), you'll want to select "Local Echo" on the Config menu (it may already be set).  If, though, you're attached to an RS232<->Loop converter in which Rx and Tx  share the same loop, you'll want to make sure "Local Echo" is off.

Step 3 - Type something

A somewhat confusing feature of Heavy Metal is that the large window with the block cursor is only used to show data incoming from the loop or local echo.  You can't type directly there.  To type, you must click the pointer in the long, narrow box at the bottom of the window.  This entry box will allow you to compose a single line of text to be sent to the loop.  When you have finished, hit <enter> or <return>.  The data will be sent to the loop, and then echoed in the large window.  If you want to send the data without a carriage return, click the <no cr> button instead of hitting <return>.

If you type and nothing appears in the small box, make sure you've selected it by clicking in it first.  If you successfully type in the small box, but nothing shows up in the large window after you hit return then check to see if your loop converter box is powered up correctly, or select "Local Echo" in the "Config" menu.

Step 4 - Internet access

The real point of HM is connecting your teletype to the internet.  Before continuing, make sure you have an active internet connection open.  Then, drop the "Internet" window and select "Portfolio".  Within a few seconds, you should see a short list of indexes and stocks printed out.  If not, double-check to make sure your internet connection is open.

The stock quotes are gathered from Yahoo.com, and are 15-or-so minutes delayed.

Next, try the weather reports for San Jose and Albany.  These reports are ftp'd from the National Weather Service, and are easily changed to your own locale by editing heavymetal.pl with a regular text editor.

Finally, select "RTTY Art" and print out a nice picture.

Step 5 - Prompted Internet access

The above examples were all canned - in other words, you were able to select them entirely from a menu without having to type in additional info.  Let's try some examples that need input.  From the "Internet" menu, select "Stock Quote".

When you do this, you should see a prompt displayed in the main window, looking like:

Stock Symbol ?

And, if you have a teletype machine hooked up, it will have printed:

Stock Symbol .,.INL ?

Ignore the ".,.INL" for now, and type a stock symbol in the input box.  For example, "TMTA" (without the quotes).  Hit <return>, and you should soon seen the quote appear.

Now, let's try a more complicated example - sending email.  Before we do, though, let's talk a little about the "period-comma-period" escapes.  Because we are dealing with a 5-level code which has only upper-case letters and a handful of symbols, we need to have some mechanism to send lower-case and special letters (for case-sensitive passwords and such). What HM uses is a special convention.  A ".,." followed by a special name will cause HM to perform a special action such as insert a special character, downshift letters sent to the internet or initiate actions such as printing a stock quote.   The .,.NAME is terminated by a space or <return>.  The full list of actions appears in the full HM manual, but here are a few examples:

bullet.,.LC - This turns on Lowercase lock, and will cause all letters received by HM from either the loop or local echo to be shifted to lower-case.
bullet.,.UC - Turns off Lowercase lock.
bullet.,.AT - Insert an "@"
bullet.,.CARET - Insert a "^"
bullet.,.SPLAT - Insert a "#"
bullet.,.PORTFOLIO - Display stock portfolio
bullet.,.ABORT - Cancel the current action.  This only applies to actions in which you are being prompted for info.  To cancel another action (such as printing out a big RTTY art piece), use the "Cancel" menu items.

Okay, now let's send some email.  Before we start, though, you'll need to find out the name of your SMTP mail server.  It's usually called something like "mail.myhost.com".  If you don't know offhand, fire up your browser and look in your browser settings (internet options).

We could start sending email by dropping the "Internet" menu and selecting "Send email message."  Instead, let's use an escape code to trigger the action.  Click in the entry box to make it active and then type:


The first command turned on lower-case lock.  The second should have initiated the email-sending subprogram.  You will now be prompted for the following:

bulletSMTP Host ?
bulletTo ?
bulletFrom ?
bulletSubject ?
bulletMessage ?

The first four prompts are looking for a single word of line of response.  Sample responses might be:

bulletSMTP Host ? mail.myhost.com
bulletTo ? teletype@buzbee.net
bulletFrom ? me@myhost.com
bulletSubject ? I got it working!

The last prompt, though, is for the body of the email message.  You can type as many lines of text as you want.  When you're finished, you can terminate the body prompt one of two ways:


If you use the "NNNN" method (which I understand is a standard method to signal the end of a teletype transmission), you must make sure that it is the only thing on the line.

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