Contents of the BLOCKCUR.DOC file
BLOCKCUR Copr. 1988-9 by Soapbox Software, PO Box 17998, Boulder, CO 80308.
BLOCKCUR creates a user-chosen cursor and then maintains that shape through TSR
or terminate-and-stay-resident logic.
A one or two-digit number after the command causes BLOCKCUR to wait about
that many seconds before forcing the cursor into the desired shape. This can
cut the background processing required to maintain the shape of the cursor. If
you find your cursor changing shape too often, using an interval of zero forces
the cursor into shape about 20 times a second; issue the command BLOCKCUR 0.
Issue BLOCKCUR OFF to inactivate BLOCKCUR. Start BLOCKCUR with the /B switch
if BLOCKCUR does not seem to work with your hardware; it will use your BIOS.
Switches will produce cursors other than the default full block; use
/F to get a full-height block;
/H to get a half-height block;
/M to get a middle-block;
/O to get an overline cursor;
/T to get a top half-high block; or
/U to get an underscore cursor.
The switch /Q reports the current state of BLOCKCUR, with no other action.
BLOCKCUR 1.08T Copr. 1988-9 by Soapbox Software, Box 17998, Boulder, CO 80308.
After a week of free testing, contined use requires a ten-dollar license fee.
Above is the information printed out in response to the command BLOCKCUR ? (the
BLOCKCUR command followed by a question mark). What follows is additional
information for the curious or interested user.
A cursor is generated by a computer video card to let programs draw attention
an important position on the display -- usually the position where the next
character typed will appear.
Unfortunately, the cursor that is usually adequate on a CRT display can dis-
appear on a display with less contrast, such as a liquid-crystal display (LCD)
of the type commonly used on laptop or portable computers. The same problem
exists for some monochrome displays, since most programs are designed for
high-contrast color displays. Even a CRT user may wish for a more visible
BLOCKCUR addresses this problem, allowing the user to specify the size of the
cursor, and then continuing as a resident program to prevent other programs
from changing the shape chosen by the user. It takes less than 1K (1,024 bytes)
of memory to do this, and allows changes of mind by the computer user with no
additional cost in memory; further BLOCKCUR commands update the copy it finds
already resident in the computer, so the user can experiment with various
alternatives before settling on one.
Here are the parameters of the BLOCKCUR command. All are optional, and the
default values are given for each. They may be entered in any order.
"interval" is the approximate number of seconds between the times that BLOCKCUR
forces the cursor into the shape chosen by the user. It is given as one or two
decimal digits and varies from 0 to 99 seconds. If 0 (zero) is specified, the
cursor shape is updated as often as possible, approximately 20 times per
second. When BLOCKCUR is preventing cursor changes by monitoring the
BIOS service call (Interrupt 10H, AH=1), running with a large value for this
interval should work acceptably; therefore, 60 seconds has been chosen as the
default value used if no value is entered. However, if the programs you use
do change your cursor shape (as they can do by writing directly to the
video hardware), specifying a short interval should make the changes less
"?" generates a display of the information shown above. No other action
is taken if this parameter appears on the command line.
"/Q" (for "query") generates a report of the current status of BLOCKCUR. If
it is resident in memory, the report will indicate whether it is active or
turned off; how many seconds the interval is set to; and the values being
used for the top and bottom lines of the cursor.
"/F" specifies a cursor the full height of the character box. This is the
default value used if no cursor specification is entered.
"/H" specifies a cursor about half the height of the character box.
"/M" specifies a cursor occupying the middle half of the character box.
"/O" specifies a thin, line-sized cursor (an "overline") at the top of the
"/T" specifies a cursor about half the height of the character box at the top.
"/U" specifies an underline cursor at the bottom of the character box.
"/B" specifies that BLOCKCUR should use the BIOS interface to your video card,
rather than attempting to program the hardware itself. Use this option if
BLOCKCUR does not seem to have the desired effect on your machine. Since
the BIOS programs resident in your machine have been tailored to your machine's
hardware, possibly they can do the job when BLOCKCUR finds the hardware
"/V" specifies that BLOCKCUR should program the video hardware directly. This
is the default; you can use the flag to reverse the effect of the "/B" flag.
"C=XY" allows you to specify your own cursor. "X" represents a hexadecimal
digit used to specify the top line of the cursor and "Y" another hexadecimal
digit used to specify the bottom line. (Hexadecimal digits are those used
in the computer field to represent base 16 numbers, where the letters A through
F stand for the decimal numbers 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15, respectively.)
BLOCKCUR is designed to work on CGA, EGA and VGA cards using the true cursor.
If the cursor you select doesn't look right to you on your hardware, you can
use this option to try to generate one that does. You can also try for
unusual effects. On some display hardware, for instance, specifying the
bottom line higher than the top line (such as C=D3) will produce a "split"
cursor, with part of it at the top of the character box and part at the bottom.
On other video cards, however, the result may be to make the cursor invisible.
Experiment until you find something that works for you.
"/N" tells BLOCKCUR to allow other programs to change the cursor shape
through the BIOS interface; by default, BLOCKCUR prevents use of this interface.
"/W" tells BLOCKCUR to keep other programs from using BIOS to change the cursor.
You may want to use "/N" to allow other programs to change the cursor so you
can see, for instance, whether an editor or word processor is in insert mode.
If so, specify a short interval so that BLOCKCUR will change it back quickly.
"OFF" causes BLOCKCUR to turn itself off. It remains resident in memory and
can be turned on again with another BLOCKCUR command. Just BLOCKCUR will be
sufficient; the program will remember the options you have previously chosen.
You might want to turn BLOCKCUR off if it is not compatible with another
program you want to use. (Since graphics modes do not show true hardware
cursors, BLOCKCUR watches for programs entering graphics modes and turns
itself off until the computer is set back to a non-graphics mode.)
(Note that turning BLOCKCUR off has no effect on the cursor; however, it
allows other programs to modify the cursor without interference.)
The term "true hardware cursor" as used above here deserves some explana-
tion. The hardware cursor is generated by the video card that drives the
display. Since it is generated automatically by a part of the computer,
there is no program overhead involved. BLOCKCUR modifies the shape of this
hardware cursor, but spends none of your computer processor time in making
it appear, since that is a function of the hardware.
Some programs turn off the hardware cursor (which can be done by defining
it to be very small -- starting and ending on the same line, for instance --
or by positioning it off the screen) and generate a software or "virtual"
cursor. Programs that produce a non-blinking cursor or one that blinks
faster or slower on demand usually do this through the "virtual cursor"
approach, since the commonly available display cards do not provide for a
non-blinking cursor or one with a variable blink rate. While the effect
may be pleasing, you should remember that there is a cost in using the
power of your computer processor to simulate something usually done by
hardware. A considerable part of the processor power may be lost. In some
cases, there may not be enough power left to do the job at hand -- for
instance, running a communications line at rated speed without errors may
not be possible if the processor is also being used to simulate a cursor.
BLOCKCUR is a shareware program created and distributed by Soapbox Software,
PO Box 17998, Boulder, CO 80308. Shareware is supported by satisfied users.
After a week of free testing, contined use requires a ten-dollar license fee.
BLOCKCUR.DOC Copr. 1989 by Soapbox Software. All rights reserved.
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