Viewpoint terminal emulation on a Mac mini?
February 25, 2005 9:14 AM   Subscribe

My dad just switched from a Hewlett-Packard to a Mac mini. His clinic keeps its records and email accessible via a dial-up network, which he would access on his PC with AccuTerm's terminal emulation software, emulating a Viewpoint A2 Enhanced session. What are his options on the Mac? Is there a solution that doesn't cost an arm and a leg?

So far I've found MacWise (which costs a ridiculous $95), and some other terminal emulators like MiniCom, iTerm and ZTerm...but I don't know if those latter ones can handle Viewpoint. Then again, I don't really know what Viewpoint is...

Some more detail: with the PC, my dad clicks a shortcut, AccuTerm dials a number, a PPP session is established and authenticated, and then it initiates a telnet session to what I presume is the Viewpoint server.
posted by jbrjake to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
MacWise? (never used it, but it claims viewpoint compatibility)
posted by Popular Ethics at 9:42 AM on February 25, 2005

He already looked at MacWise and the cost is prohibitive.

If you can't find a terminal emulator on the Mac, you might try QemuX which will emulate Windows (and it's free). It is actually a OS X GUI front end for Qemu, an open source emulator. Then just run what he is currently using on the HP PC. The other thing I would look into is if there are any emulators that run on X11 (which can be installed on your Mac through the OS X installation disk. Also if there are linux versions, you can always install through Fink.

I haven't tried QemuX myself yet (in the process of loading it now that I found it), so I can't say if it will work or not.

Sorry for not linking to the actually pages of these programs, as I don't know how to do that in a reply yet. Use google to your advantage.
posted by qwip at 9:56 AM on February 25, 2005

Response by poster: Popular Ethics, I'm thinking MacWise will work, but I'm really looking for an option that's a little more thrifty...$95 seems like an awful lot to spend on anything involving a command line interface and plain-old telephone systems...

qwip, interesting, I hadn't thought of emu-ing it. The only possible problem is that this PC is old enough that finding the Windows system cds might be an adventure. So I am now running to google to look for any X11 options...I've never played around with Fink, but maybe that'll be my weekend project. (BTW: On MeFi sites you can include links in the replies through plain ol' html anchor tags)
posted by jbrjake at 10:06 AM on February 25, 2005

You might want to try getting Minicom from Fink set up on his system.
posted by revgeorge at 10:45 AM on February 25, 2005

He already looked at MacWise and the cost is prohibitive.

Oops, missed that. Sorry.
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:00 AM on February 25, 2005

Response by poster: revgeorge, well, part of the reason I came to AskMe with this query is that before I fool around with installing Fink, I'd really like to know if MiniCom can handle ADDS Viewpoint emulation, and if so, how to go about enabling it. Everything I googled before coming here has indicated that MiniCom is for (or at least defaults to) VT102 emu, which, I gather, is very different from Viewpoint.
posted by jbrjake at 11:14 AM on February 25, 2005

Maybe you could define your own termcap to emulate it? ADDS Viewpoint is supposed to be fairly primitive. See this and this and (longest) this. Couldn't find something more turnkey, at least for free.
posted by brool at 12:00 PM on February 25, 2005

Response by poster: brool, cool, I'd found your first and third link on my own, but it's only with that middle one that I'm starting to get a sense of how it fits together. I'm still kind of confused, though...

Once I add that termcap entry, what program do I use it with, and how do I tell the program which termcap to use?

Should I be looking for a Finkified or ported kermit?

Does it tie into XTerm somehow?

How does the dialing and PPP and telnet stuff get dealt with? Is there some way to do it where OS X's Internet Connect handles the dialing+auth, and the built-in OS X terminal does the heavy lifting of emulation with that termcap profile's help?

I'm not afraid of setting up something that isn't turnkey, but I'm also not a unix guru, so I don't know how to build these blocks into the structure I require.
posted by jbrjake at 12:13 PM on February 25, 2005

Consider trying Datacomet (the Secure version does SSH, but you're doing telnet, so Datacomet's all that you need, if it can work with Viewpoint terminal settings.
posted by AlexReynolds at 1:06 PM on February 25, 2005

If your description of what the PC does is correct, you need to fire up Internet Connect and enter the phone number, username, and password. This will connect you to the clinic's network. You then open Terminal and type telnet [server name or address]. This connects you to the specific server. From then on Terminal is under control of the Viewpoint software, and may or may not display its commands correctly, which is why you need a third party app.

I found MacEmulate ($200) and ProTerm Mac ($70) on Google, but both appear to be abandoned.
posted by cillit bang at 1:07 PM on February 25, 2005

You could buy an actual Viewpoint terminal. Wyse Link MC5s are available on eBay for $100 or so.
posted by kindall at 1:31 PM on February 25, 2005

Response by poster: I'm pretty sure cillit bang's elegant method will work. The problem, now, is getting to display things correctly. In the end, this will be a simple matter of choosing ADDS Viewpoint from the drop-down menu in the preferences, but first I've got to get it on the list of emulation types. My assumption is that's list mirrors the terminfo database.

I've found termcap entries for ADDS Viewpoint, but it seems OS X uses terminfo now instead, and I don't know how to add entries to terminfo. I see references on google to an ADDS.ti file that could do it, but I can't locate the file itself. Nor do I know if a terminfo file for Linux would work on OS X without modifications.

PS: Kindall, yeah, an actual terminal would be the obvious answer. But at that price, I might as well buy MacWise.
posted by jbrjake at 2:31 PM on February 25, 2005

Here's adds.ti. Use tic to compile the description. Good luck.
posted by brool at 2:44 PM on February 25, 2005

Yeah, I'm surprised that the actual hardware is so cheap. The idea behind terminal emulator software for a PC is that it's less expensive than buying an actual terminal. That sort of goes away when terminals are so affordable. $95 seems pretty reasonable to me, though, especially for vital business software. I remember MicroPhone Pro used to cost like three times that.
posted by kindall at 3:09 PM on February 25, 2005

I think everything you need is already there and you won't need to spend any money.

What you want to do before telnetting into your dad's practice is set the environment variable, TERM, to addsviewpoint.

setenv TERM addsviewpoint
tset -a
telnet whatever.machine.itis
posted by substrate at 7:17 PM on February 25, 2005

There are a few other TERM settings that emulate various flavours of viewpoint too. Here's a list:
setenv TERM addsviewpoint
setenv TERM addsvp60
setenv TERM ncr160vppp
setenv TERM ncr160vpwpp
setenv TERM ncr260vppp
setenv TERM ncr260vpwpp
setenv TERM screwpoint
setenv TERM viewpoint
setenv TERM viewpoint3a+
setenv TERM viewpoint60
setenv TERM viewpoint90
setenv TERM vp3a+
setenv TERM vp60
setenv TERM vp90
setenv TERM wyse-vp
posted by substrate at 7:22 PM on February 25, 2005

Would running a VNC server on the PC and a VNC client on the mini get you anything? (I guess you might have a problem since apparently both would have to rely on dial up.) Still, VNC software tends to be free....
posted by kimota at 12:17 PM on February 26, 2005

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