Science Marches On

Dear Lazyweb,

I need a copy of some shitty Windows software called "Tranax Graphics Conversion Utility". Can you find it?

Long version:

So, we've got this ATM. And the bank insisted we "upgrade" it recently, which seems to have dragged us, kicking and screaming, from 1976 technology to 1981 technology.

It used to be that I could type in several pages of snarky comments for the ATM to cycle through while idle. But you can't do that any more: now, you have to upload those screens as images instead of typing in text.

That's right: 320x240, 1-bit, amber-on-purple images.

Whoa, teh future.

Anyway, the manual says you have to convert them from "PCX" to some proprietary format with this free Windows software... which I can't find, because apparently the manufacturer took all their downloads offline after the idiotic "ATM default password" bloggorrhea last year. I'm guessing they just trashed their entire download directory to prevent people from finding the PDF of the manual. Of course, the PDF of the manual is still easy to find, but the stuff I actually need -- the software to convert the images, and the software to upload them over the serial port -- is nowhere to be found.

I mailed them and asked, and they said, "no, go jump through someone else's hoops and have your distributor mail you a CD." Gee, thanks.

In the meantime, do any of you know where to find a mirror of the former download area of, probably somewhere in the vicinity of man_sw.cfm?

The creatively-named programs I'm looking for are called "Tranax Graphics Conversion Utility" and "CDOWN6.EXE" (or possibly "DOWNLOAD.EXE").

(If you're curious, details are in appendix D (page 94) of that still-easy-to-find manual.)

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MFF vs The Evil Dead

Scene missing! A video in this post has disappeared. If you know of an accessible version of this video (search), please mail me so that I can update this post.
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Current Music: Monkey Farm Frankenstein - MFF vs The Evil Dead

software solutions to hardware problems, and outbreaks of the future

So, my Roomba started misbehaving: it kept turning to the right and backing up, and generally acting like one of its sensors was gummed up. I tried the things their web site suggested to no avail, and took the whole wheel assembly apart, and couldn't find anything amiss. It's out of warranty, but I mailed iRobot anyway to find out if they had a repair program, or if I'd just need to buy a whole new one.

Their response? "The Roomba's behavior is indicating that the internal wheel sensor has malfunctioned. We will send you a device called an osmo that will update the Roomba's software and most likely eliminate the issue."

So they sent me this stylish little dongle that plugs into the serial port and flashes the firmware, and an envelope to mail it back afterward.

And it works fine now. So the new firmware apparently detects broken wheel sensors and compensates for them. Which is awesome.

And, they did this for free, which is also awesome.

But let me rephrase that story:

  • My personal cleaning robot has malfunctioning hardware.
  • The manufacturer sent me a piece of hardware to update the software.
  • That software fixed the hardware.

I just felt a bit like I was living in the future for a minute there. I got a little chill.

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