I wish I could just get him an internet connection...modem help please.
February 6, 2007 1:15 PM   Subscribe

This may be an easy question, but it has been so long since I used a modem or any of the software that goes along with it....

I have a computer (A) running Windows XP that has only a modem and no subscription to any ISP.

If it dials into another computer (B), also running XP, what software can I use on A that will let me create a script that, upon a simple double-click of that script, will *automatically*
a) Dial the number
b) Establish a connection with (B)
c) Start up an FTP session
d) Download 3 or 4 files (the same ones every time)
e) Disconnect

What software must be running on B?

Is any of this software Freeware or very cheap (under 20 dollars)?

If I use something like Telix or ProComm (or maybe something that comes with Windows), I can probably get it to do steps a, b, and e, but can programs like these handle FTP? If so, would computer B need to have its FTP server running from within the software than answered the modem call from A? Or will any FTP server be enough?

Is there a less stupid way to do what I am trying to do?

(Unfortunately, everything does have to be automated because the user is a very old nearly blind man who will never accept anything less than a double-click to start a script/program.)

Thank you so much in advance for your ideas.
posted by omair to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
You can use the terminal program that comes with windows.

@A: atdt 555-1212
(when the phone starts ringing at b)
@B: ata

Then use one of the file transfer protocols (Zmodem should do the trick nicely). No FTP required.

posted by IronLizard at 2:14 PM on February 6, 2007

Err, he will have to use the pull down menu under file transfer, i'm not sure if windows terminal has scripting available, but it's not difficult. All he needs to do is type three letters (ata), press return and then navigate two menus (iirc). Just remember zmodem.
posted by IronLizard at 2:16 PM on February 6, 2007

If you're transferring files over a modem, you wouldn't use FTP. You need to use a protocol designed for the purpose, like zmodem. I checked and it looks like Hyperterminal (the TTY program that comes with Windows) doesn't support an Automation interface, which is needed if you want to be able to script it easily.

Probably your best bet is to find a TTY program for Windows that supports scripting, or you can look into running a dial-up server on Computer B so that you can use Windows' file sharing, which should be easy to script, but I don't think Windows comes with a dial-up server anymore.

Also, you're probably aware of this, but Computer B needs access to a dedicated phone line, unless you're willing to have the man call you to arrange it whenever you want to transfer the files.
posted by zixyer at 2:24 PM on February 6, 2007

All he needs to do is type three letters (ata), press return and then navigate two menus (iirc).

Check out something like AutoHotKey to handle the automation. It's like a system-wide macro program that can record the mouse and keybord input, and save it as an executable file.
posted by niles at 5:13 PM on February 6, 2007

AutoIt is pretty nice, and free.
posted by Chuckles at 10:10 PM on February 6, 2007

This may not be the kind of solution you're looking for, but if you wanted to install Cygwin, you'd have a Bash shell, with all of its associated scripting capabilities. You'd need to install Cygwin itself, plus the binaries for a terminal program like Minicom, but then you should be able to write a quick Bash script to establish the connection and transfer a few files. (I think Minicom has a straight CLI interface, not just ncurses...it's been a while since I've used it.)

Not a trivial project, but not impossible either.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:58 AM on February 7, 2007

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