The "real" GeoWorks and a portable trackball!

Brian Smithson (
Sat, 2 Nov 1991 14:52:55 -0800

Well, I did it. I got a real copy of GeoWorks Ensemble ($129) and
a Logitech Trackman Portable ($99).

The Trackman works great. It has a couple of clamp-on devices which
allow it to fit on many different keyboards. One of them fits just
fine on the edge of the UltraLite. My only complaints with it are
that it seems really big and that it is putty colored. You'd think
that given the target market, they might have made it a bit smaller
(although there may be some ergonomic reasons for its size) and they
should have offered it in black. Now I *really* need to get one of
those 9-pin DIN connectors so that I can make a custom cable for it.
Having the Trackman->DB9 cable hooked to a DB9->DB25 adaptor hooked to
the DB25->DIN cable is a bit much. If someone out there has found
something, let everyone know!

The first copy of Ensemble that I bought was version 1.0. Realizing
that, I took it back this morning and got the current version 1.2.
I was having some trouble getting 1.0 to load on my desktop PC
(memory problems, I fear), and so I started thinking about how I could
install Ensemble directly on the UltraLite. Ensemble comes with both
5-1/4" 360KB and 3-1/2" 720KB diskettes, so I had lots of options.
The problem is that even the "minimal" install requires 2.7MB of disk
space, and sure enough, it filled up my 1.7MB stacker volume (getting
only 1.5:1 compression). Luckily, there is a simple ASCII file that
Ensemble uses to control it's installation. Along with some other
stuff, the file (GEOS.TOC) lists all of the files in the following

[*]0[1[2]] pathname

which means:

- an optional "*", meaning that it is compressed on the distribution disk
- a "0", meaning that it gets installed in the "full" install
- an optional "1", meaning that it gets installed in the "intermediate"
- an optional "2", present only if "1" is also present, meaning that it
gets installed in the "minimal" install

What I did was I diskcopy'd the first distribution disk and then editted
GEOS.TOC on the copy. I removed all of the display drivers, memory drivers,
printer drivers, mouse drivers, foreign keyboard drivers, sample files, and
"applicance" applications that I didn't want. When I installed using the
modified GEOS.TOC, it worked fine!

If you want to order either the full Ensemble or the working model, and
you're interested in what I cut and what I left, send mail directly to and I'll send you a copy. If there's just a ton of
interest, I'll send it to the list.

I'll be on the road all of next week, and so I'm anticipating a fair
amount of boring hotel time during which I'll play with Ensemble and
report on what I find.

What really worries me is that I seem to have fallen victim to the dark
side. I used to be a real "tty man". You know: cryptic command line
options, vi, troff, lots of pipes and shell tricks, elaborate TSR schemes,
etc. Now I seem to be one of those point-and-grunt zombies!

-Brian Smithson
 Motorola Inc., Computer Group, Commercial Systems Division
 2001 Logic Drive, M/S 1-E10, San Jose, CA 95124 USA, (408)369-4104, {apple | pyramid}!motcsd!brian